Facts about kratom withdrawal and addiction

Kratom Withdrawal

Don’t believe the myth that kratom is safe and non-addictive. Using this drug can put you in grave danger – and if you develop an addiction, the intensity of kratom withdrawal can make it extremely difficult for you to stop using it.

What is Kratom?

Kratom is the name of a tree that grows in Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, and other Southeast Asian countries. It is also the name of a drug that is derived from the leaves of this tree. The primary psychoactive compounds in kratom are mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. 

Traditionally, laborers in areas where kratom is indigenous have chewed the leaves as a means of remaining alert and warding off exhaustion. The drug can also be ingested by swallowing it in pill or capsule form, smoking it, or drinking it in teas or cold beverages. 

In addition to its stimulant-like properties, kratom can also elicit effects such as sedation and analgesia (pain relief), which are similar to what opioids produce. This has enticed some people to use it as a painkiller or for recreational purposes, and prompted others to take it to ease the effects of opioid withdrawal. 

Many reputable sources advise against kratom use for any reason due to the risk of addiction, other dangerous side effects, and the potential distress of kratom withdrawal. 

Some American soldiers used kratom during the Vietnam War. However, the drug did not become popular in the United States and other western nations until the early 2000s. In 2021, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that about 1.7 people ages 12 and older in the U.S. had used kratom at least once in the previous 12 months.

Kratom’s legal status in the U.S. can be confusing. 

It has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but it has also not been banned by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Several states have outlawed kratom or placed restrictions on its sale, possession, and use, yet it continues to be sold openly in many stores and as well as online. 

The Painful Side of Kratom Withdrawal

The lack of a federal ban and the relative ease with which kratom can be obtained may have contributed to a belief that it is a harmless substance. This is not the case. People who use the drug, either recreationally or for self-medication, may be exposing themselves to considerable harm.

The potential dangers of kratom use include liver damage, hypertension (high blood pressure), depressed respiration, and seizure. Kratom use can also lead to addiction, overdose, and death.

Kratom Withdrawal Symptoms

When someone becomes addicted to kratom, they may have to endure intense withdrawal symptoms. 

The type and severity of a person’s withdrawal symptoms can be influenced by several factors. These include their weight and metabolism, how long they have been using kratom, and how much they typically use.

With those caveats in mind, common kratom withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Heavy perspiration
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Tics and twitches
  • Muscle spasms
  • Muscle pain
  • Insomnia

Kratom withdrawal can also include various forms of psychological distress, such as:

  • Powerful drug cravings
  • Drastic mood swings
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation

How to Safely Withdrawal from Kratom

The intensity of kratom withdrawal – and the knowledge that you can alleviate this pain simply by using the drug again – can quickly overwhelm even the most fervent desire to stop using it. The risk of suicidal ideation is another reason why trying to get through withdrawal on your own can be a very bad idea.

If you’re trying to end your kratom use after developing an addiction, there’s no way to avoid withdrawal. But there is a way to get through this experience safely and more comfortably. 

Detoxification, or detox, is a short-term, professionally supervised program that can help you complete the kratom withdrawal process without endangering your health or exposing you to avoidable distress. 

Here are a few of the many benefits of beginning your treatment in a detox program:

  • Environment: While you’re in detox, you won’t have access to kratom or other addictive substances. This removes the temptation to use the drug to stop your withdrawal symptoms.
  • Expertise: The professionals who provide your care in detox will be familiar with all aspects of the withdrawal process. This can eliminate fear of the unknown. It can also provide you with the peace of mind that your team is prepared for whatever contingencies may occur.
  • Clinical services: While you’re in detox, you may receive medical and/or therapeutic support to ease your pain and help you manage your remaining symptoms.
  • Continuity of care: Once you’ve completed detox, you can transition directly into an inpatient or outpatient program, where you can establish a solid foothold in early recovery.
  • Sense of success: Getting through kratom withdrawal can be a significant step toward a much healthier future. It can also be proof that you are capable of much more than you may have once believed. This knowledge can be a source of both strength and hope as you face future challenges on the path of lifelong recovery.

Contact Us to Detox from Kratom in Los Angeles, CA

Don’t let withdrawal prevent you from achieving the healthier, drug-free future that you deserve. 

Sanctuary Treatment Center offers a full continuum of customized addiction treatment services, including detox, inpatient care, and outpatient programming. Our compassionate experts can help you get through withdrawal, then develop the skills that will support your successful, long-term recovery. We will work closely with you to understand the full scope of your needs, identify your goals, and develop a personalized plan just for you.

To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact page or call us today.

Why do people smoke salvia

Smoking Salvia: Effects & Dangers

Its effects have been compared to LSD and magic mushrooms – but unlike those drugs, salvia is legal in several U.S. states and many other nations. What is salvia, where did it come from, and (perhaps most important of all) how dangerous is it?

What is Salvia?

Salvia (full name: salvia divinorum) is an herb that can produce dissociative and hallucinogenic effects. These effects are due to the naturally occurring presence of salvinorin A, a compound that interacts with opioid receptors in the central nervous system.

Salvia is native to southern Mexico, where the Mazatec have been incorporating it into healing practices and religious rituals for centuries. More recently, it has experienced a rise in popularity as a recreational substance in the United States. 

Historically, salvia was typically ingested by chewing its leaves or drinking an extract that was derived from the plant. Today, some people also grind the leaves and smoke them.

Why Do People Smoke Salvia? 

People who smoke salvia typically do so with the intention of having a recreational hallucinogenic experience.

As for why someone might choose to smoke salvia instead of using other hallucinogenic drugs (such as LSD or psilocybin), the plant’s legal status in the U.S. is likely an important factor. The ease with which salvia can be purchased from smoke shops and similar outlets in some states has surely contributed to its popularity.

There are currently no federal laws to regulate the production, sale, possession, or use of salvia. However, as of the writing of this post, 29 states plus the U.S. territory of Guam have banned it, and some other states have placed some restrictions on its possession and use.

To some people, salvia’s legality in many parts of the U.S. (and in many other countries throughout the world) indicates that it poses little risk of addiction or other harmful effects. Is this an accurate perception, though? Can people become addicted to salvia?

As is the case with LSD, psilocybin, and other hallucinogenic drugs, the likelihood of becoming addicted to salvia is low. However, as we will discuss a bit later in this post, this doesn’t mean that salvia is a harmless substance.

What Are the Effects from Smoking Salvia?

Descriptions of salvia’s effects usually include words like psychedelic, hallucinogenic, and dissociative. Some people who use the drug have enjoyable, insightful experiences. For others, the effects are far from pleasurable.

Depending on a variety of factors – including a person’s history with the drug; their age, weight, and metabolism; and how much they have taken – here are some examples of what salvia’s effects can feel like:

  • Distorted sense of time and space
  • Seeing light patterns and other images
  • Hearing voices and other sounds
  • Feeling of deep sedation and serenity
  • Dreamlike state
  • Depersonalization (sense of being detached from your body and/or mind, which is sometimes described as having an out-of-body experience)
  • Derealization (sense that you have been separated from your environment or lost contact with reality)
  • Difficulty communicating with others
  • Disturbing hallucinations 
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Fear and paranoia
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

If a person smokes salvia, these effects can occur virtually instantaneously, and last for about 20 minutes. If someone chew the leaves, it usually takes about five to 10 minutes for effects to occur, though they can last for up to two hours.  

Experts believe that salvia’s effects are related to the drug’s impact on the default mode network (DMN). The DMN, which encompasses several areas of the brain, activates when you are not focusing on your immediate environment. When you are relaxing, daydreaming, reminiscing, or similarly looking inward, the DMN is typically at its most active.

However, an October 2020 study that involved functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) suggests that other factors may also be at play. 

“Salvinorin A is unique as a kappa-opioid agonist that has psychedelic-like effects, and this calls into question whether reduced default mode network connectivity is really a specific mechanism of ‘classic’ psychedelic drugs,” neuroscientist Fred Barrett, who coauthored the study, said in an article about his team’s research.

Dangers of Smoking Salvia

Although salvia poses a low risk of addiction, it is important to remember that low risk is not the same as no risk. In other words, while salvia addiction is unlikely, it is not impossible.

Also, people who use this drug may be exposing themselves to other types of damage. For example:

  • A bad experience with salvia can feel a lot like a psychotic episode. Some experts fear that having one or more so-called bad trips could trigger the onset of long-term mental health problems or worsen the effects of existing mental health challenges.
  • The perceptual distortions that are central to a salvia high can lead to injuries due to slips, falls, and other accidents. While under the influence of this substance, a person may also be vulnerable to attacks, assaults, and other forms of victimization.
  • Due to a relative dearth of studies on the long-term effects of salvia, it is impossible to know for certain what types of physical and psychological problems a person may incur after using this drug.

If you feel compelled to use salvia or any other substance, you may need professional addiction treatment. The good news about substance use disorders (addictions) is that they are treatable. When you find the right type of care, you can end your drug use and live a much healthier life in recovery.

Overcome Drug Abuse at Sanctuary Treatment Center

Sanctuary Treatment Center offers a full continuum of care – including detox, residential rehab, and multiple outpatient options – for adults who have become dependent on salvia and other substances.

At our addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, you will work with experienced professionals who can assess the full scope of your needs and develop a customized plan just for you. We understand how addiction affects different people in different ways, and we are committed to providing the personalized services that will help you build a foundation for lifelong recovery.

To learn more about how we can help, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.

EMDR for addiction

Using EMDR for Treating Addiction

EMDR was originally developed to help individuals whose lives had been impacted by posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other effects of trauma. In the decades since this approach was introduced, it has also been effectively incorporated into treatment for other mental and behavioral health concerns, such as EMDR for addiction.

How Does EMDR Therapy Work?

EMDR is short for eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. As its name suggests, this type of therapy incorporates rapid bilateral (side-to-side) eye movements to help alleviate psychological distress that is associated with certain traumatic memories.

EMDR therapy was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro in the late 1980s. The first controlled study on the effectiveness of this approach was published in 1989, and the first sessions to train other providers were held in 1990. 

In its modern form, EMDR is an eight-phase approach:

  1. History and treatment planning – This phase involves a discussion of the patient’s symptoms, so the therapist can determine their suitability for EMDR and identify areas to focus on during later phases.
  2. Preparation – During this phase, the therapist explains the EMDR process to the patient and helps them develop appropriate expectations. This is an important time for establishing a productive alliance between the therapist and the patient.
  3. Assessment – This is when the therapist and patient identify a specific memory to target. This is also the time for the patient to describe the negative emotions and images that result when they recall this memory.
  4. Desensitization – The fourth phase involves the patient’s use of bilateral eye movements or a similar activity while recalling the traumatic memory. This will be repeated until the patient no longer experiences the distress that they identified during the assessment phase.
  5. Installation – During the installation phase, the patient begins to associate a positive emotion with the traumatic memory.
  6. Body scan – Once the positive emotion has been installed, the patient participates in a body scan to ensure that they are no longer experiencing muscle tension or other painful physical effects when they recall the traumatic memory.
  7. Closure – Once the therapist and patient have reached the fourth phase, every session will end with a closure activity. This ensures that the patient is not experiencing overwhelming distress due to the traumatic memory, as it can take several sessions before the desensitization and installation are complete.
  8. Reevaluation – After the therapist and patient reach the desensitization phase, all future sessions will begin with a reevaluation exercise to identify the optimal area to focus on during the new session.

How Does EMDR Treat Addiction?

The eight phases of EMDR have proved to be an effective path for overcoming negative emotions that are linked with particularly distressing memories. But how can these steps benefit someone who is attempting to end their compulsive use of alcohol or another drug?

Many people who develop substance use disorders began abusing alcohol or other drugs as a means of coping with or blocking traumatic memories. Using EMDR for addiction treatment can eliminate the need for this misguided form of self-medication. When a person’s memories are no longer a source of extreme emotional distress, they won’t need substances to elevate their mood or temporarily numb themselves.

EMDR for addiction doesn’t always have to focus on painful memories. For example, this approach can also help people develop healthier ways of responding to memories of pleasurable experiences they had while they were abusing substances. This can prevent these memories from undermining their recovery and pushing them back into active drug abuse.

The potential value of EMDR for addiction underscores the importance of taking a comprehensive, personalized approach to help people end their compulsive substance abuse. EMDR may not be right for every person who receives treatment for addiction – but for some patients, it may be the key to successful, long-term recovery.

Where to Find the Best EMDR Therapy for Treating Addiction? 

The effectiveness of EMDR can be significantly influenced by the skill and experience of the therapist who is providing your care. In the case of EMDR for addiction, it is also essential to ensure that this service is incorporated into a comprehensive plan that addresses the full scope of your needs.

These are two of the many reasons why it is so important to evaluate your options and research providers in your area. When you find a provider that seems to be a good fit, don’t be afraid to ask questions about their programs and services, the qualifications of the professionals who will be providing your care, and how they will determine which types of care will be best for you.

For example, at Sanctuary Treatment Center, EMDR is one of several evidence-based, research-supported therapies that we can select from when we are developing a patient’s customized treatment plan. Before you begin to receive care at our center, you will complete a thorough assessment. The information that we gather during this assessment will help us to select the services that are most appropriate for you. 

Your assessment will also help us determine which level or levels of care are right for you. Many people who heal at our center begin in our residential program, then step down to our partial hospitalization program (PHP) and intensive outpatient program (IOP) for continued support. 

As with the services that we include in your treatment plan, all level-of-care decisions will reflect our thorough review of your history, needs, goals, and preferences. We understand that addiction affects different people in different ways, and we are committed to providing you with a truly personalized experience while you are in our care.

Contact Us About EMDR for Addiction

Sanctuary Treatment Center offers a dynamic array of customizable services, including EMDR for addiction, to help people achieve successful, long-term recovery. 

To learn more about EMDR for addiction or any other aspect of care at our treatment center in Los Angeles, California, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today. We look forward to answering all your questions and helping you determine if Sanctuary Treatment Center is the ideal place for you or your loved one.

Woman speedballing with this speedball drug cocktail

Understanding the Speedball Drug Cocktail

Comedians John Belushi, Chris Farley, and Mitch Hedberg are among the many people who have died of drug overdoses that involved heroin and cocaine. Unfortunately, this dangerous combination, which is often referred to as a speedball drug, remains popular among people who are seeking a particular type of recreational high.

What is the Speedball Drug?

A speedball drug, or a speedball, is a combination of a depressant (typically an opioid) and a stimulant. Taking drugs in this manner is also known as speedballing. 

Perhaps the most well-known speedball drug is heroin mixed with cocaine, which is often delivered via IV injection. In other types of speedball drugs, amphetamine or methamphetamine may substitute for cocaine, and prescription painkillers may replace heroin.

Regardless of which drug combination is included in a speedball, this form of substance abuse is extremely risky, with potential outcomes including overdose and death. 

Why Do People Use the Speedball Drug Concoction?

It’s impossible to identify every influence that could lead someone to use speedball drugs. However, one of the most common reasons that people have given is that the combination of powerful stimulants and depressants leads to a more intense high than they could experience by taking either substance on its own.

People who abuse heroin or other opioids often have difficulty staying awake (a phenomenon that is sometimes referred to as “nodding out”). Adding cocaine or another stimulant may be a misguided attempt to stay awake longer, so the individual can enjoy the euphoric rush of opioids for an extended period of time.

Unfortunately, the “logic” behind this approach doesn’t account for the dangerous ways that these drugs can interact with each other and harm the person who takes them. 

Dangers of Speedballing

As we noted earlier in this post, the greatest danger of speedballing is death. But that isn’t the only negative outcome that has been associated with this type of substance abuse. 

The following are examples of the many other possible short- and long-term dangers of speedballing:

  • Addiction
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Panic
  • Paranoia
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Exposure to HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other bloodborne diseases
  • Weakening of the heart muscle
  • Heart attack 
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Seizures
  • Stroke
  • Onset of co-occurring mental health concerns
  • Being arrested, fined, and jailed
  • Job loss and long-term unemployment
  • Financial devastation
  • Social isolation
  • Suicidal ideation

It is difficult to overstate the level of damage a person can incur if they continue to abuse speedball drugs. When this behavior causes a person to become addicted, they may be unable to curtail their speedball use on their own, which can put them in ongoing jeopardy. 

How Can You Stop Speedballing?

Once a person has developed an addiction, ending their speedball use often involves a combination of medication and therapy. 

Some prescription medications can ease withdrawal symptoms, which can make it easier for someone to stop using stimulants or opioids. Medication can also be beneficial if a person’s speedball addiction is accompanied by certain co-occurring mental health conditions.

The therapeutic part of treatment for speedball addiction is designed to help people acquire the skills and make the lifestyle changes that will support their successful recovery. 

During addiction therapy services, participants can learn about the disease of addiction, identify their triggers (circumstances that could push them back into active substance use), and develop the ability to manage difficult emotions without resorting to speedballing or other self-defeating behaviors.

Treatment Options

Individuals who are seeking help for speedball addiction have a variety of options. While there’s no single perfect course of treatment that works for everyone, many people benefit from spending time in one or more of the following programs:

  • Detoxification: If a person has been unable to get through withdrawal on their own, they may need to begin their treatment with detox. Detox is a short-term program where patients can receive both medical and therapeutic support. This helps them ease their distress as they rid their bodies of cocaine, heroin, and other dangerous substances.
  • Inpatient rehab: Many people transition from detox into inpatient rehab. At this level, patients live at the center where they are receiving care. In addition to multiple forms of therapy, inpatient rehab also offers round-the-clock support to help people gain a solid foothold in early recovery.
  • Outpatient care: Outpatient treatment for addiction may also feature an array of therapies and support services, but it does not offer a residential component. Depending on the needs of the individual and the structure of the program, people who are in outpatient care may work part-time, take classes, volunteer, and otherwise begin to reintegrate into their community.

Some patients step down to the outpatient level for additional support after they’ve completed inpatient rehab. Others transition directly from detox to outpatient care or enter treatment directly at the outpatient level.

Remember: There’s no “right” way to recover from speedball addiction. When you’re seeking professional care to help you end your abuse of speedball drugs, focus on finding a provider who can assess the full scope of your needs, then develop an individualized plan just for you.

Contact Our Drug Rehab Facility in Los Angeles, CA

Sanctuary Treatment Center offers a full continuum of customized care for adults who have become addicted to substances. Our drug rehab facility in Los Angeles, California, is a safe and welcoming place where you can take significant steps toward a much healthier and more hopeful life, free from the constraints of compulsive substance abuse. 

To learn more about our programs and services, or to schedule a free assessment for yourself or a loved one, please visit our Contact Us page or call our center today.

The dangers and side effects of snorting meth

Snorting Meth: Effects and Dangers

Methamphetamine is a dangerous substance that can have a catastrophic effect on a person’s life. People who snort meth (or who use the drug in other ways) put themselves at risk for a range of devastating outcomes, including addiction, overdose, and death.

Can People Snort Meth?

Snorting meth is one of many techniques used by people who abuse this drug.

The most common ways of ingesting meth include swallowing it, dissolving it into a liquid and injecting it, smoking it, and grinding it into a powder and snorting it, 

The effects that a person experiences can vary depending on which technique they use. However, it’s important to understand that none of these choices are risk-free. There is simply no such thing as safe meth abuse.

Why Do People Snort Meth?

Some people snort meth because they mistakenly believe that this technique isn’t as dangerous as other ways of using the drug. However, as we alluded to at the end of the previous section, the only safe choice regarding meth abuse is to abstain completely from this potentially deadly behavior.

Other people may snort meth because they have the drug in pill form, and they want to experience its effects quicker than they would if they took it orally. If someone swallows meth as a pill, they will usually begin to feel the effects of the drug in about 15-20 minutes – but if they grind the pill up and snort it, they can start to feel the effects in as little as three to five minutes.

Effects of Snorting Meth

Snorting meth can produce the following effects:

  • Euphoric rush
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
  • Increased energy
  • Diminished need for sleep
  • Heightened sex drive
  • Boost in self-confidence
  • Greater focus and concentration
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Clenching jaw and grinding teeth
  • Dilated pupils
  • Dry mouth

Snorting meth can also lead to addiction. 

Meth’s effects are typically intense but brief, and they are often followed by a physical and psychological crash. The desire to extend the drug’s effects and avoid the crash can prompt people to engage in extended meth binges, which involve taking the drug multiple times over a relatively short period. This repeated use can quickly cause a person to become addicted.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has estimated that about 2.5 million Americans ages 12 and older used meth in the previous 12 months, and about 1.6 million people had methamphetamine use disorder (meth addiction) during the same period.

Dangers of Snorting Meth

People who snort meth expose themselves to considerable danger, including immediate harm and long-term damage. When a person’s meth use turns into an addiction, their risk for significant harm can increase dramatically.

The following are examples of the many negative physical and psychological effects of snorting meth:

  • Aggressive or violent behaviors
  • Cardiovascular damage
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Elevated risk of heart attack and stroke
  • Harm to the kidneys and liver
  • Breathing problems
  • Extensive dental damage 
  • Scabs and sores due to excessive scratching
  • Injuries due to impaired behaviors
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Onset or worsening of mental illnesses
  • Overdose death

Meth-related overdose deaths have increased considerably throughout the current century, with a significant spike occurring between 2015-2021:

  • According to NIDA, in 1999 there were 547 overdose deaths involving psychostimulants with abuse potential (a category that consists primarily of meth overdoses). 
  • By 2015, the annual number of overdose deaths in this category had increased nearly tenfold, rising to 5,417.
  • In 2021, the annual number of overdose deaths involving meth or similar substances had skyrocketed to 32,587.

Individuals who snort meth also put themselves at risk for social and financial difficulties, such as:

  • Being arrested and jailed
  • Diminished performance at work or in school
  • Job loss and long-term unemployment
  • Financial problems
  • Disrupted relationships
  • Loss of personal support network
  • Social isolation
  • Homelessness

Treatment Options for Meth Addiction

It’s hard to imagine how there could be any good news about meth addiction, but there is one glimmer of hope for anyone who struggles with this condition: It is treatable. When a person receives appropriate services that address the full scope of their needs, they can escape the chains of compulsive meth addiction and live a much healthier life in recovery.

When someone enters treatment for meth addiction, one of the first decisions is determining which level of care is right for them:

  • Detoxification may be necessary for people who haven’t been able to get through meth withdrawal on their own.
  • Inpatient rehab may be the ideal option for individuals who can benefit from residing in a closely supervised, drug-free environment where they can receive 24/7 support.
  • Outpatient programs may be the right choice for people who don’t need round-the-clock services. Patients may enter treatment directly at the outpatient level, or they may transfer to an outpatient program after completing detox and/or inpatient rehab.

The therapeutic component of meth addiction treatment can help patients understand the root causes of their addictive behaviors, identify their triggers, and develop the skills that will enable them to deal with life’s stresses and pressures without resorting to substance abuse.

Depending on a patient’s needs and goals, their treatment team may include the following therapies in their customized plan:

Before a patient transitions out of treatment, they should also receive a discharge plan to guide their continued progress. This plan may include information about community-based resources and other services that can help them as they progress in their recovery.

Contact Our Treatment Center in Los Angeles, California

Snorting meth can quickly transform from an ill-advised recreational behavior into a life-threatening compulsion. If you’ve been struggling with meth addiction, please know that help is available. When you get the care you need, you can start living the healthier life you deserve.

Sanctuary Treatment Center is a trusted source of superior care for adults in the Los Angeles area whose lives have been disrupted by meth addiction. Our rehab center is a safe and welcoming place where you can receive personalized services and focused support from a team of highly skilled professionals. With our help, you can end your meth use for good and discover the hope and promise of life in recovery. 

To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.  

What is gas station heroin?

Dangers of Gas Station Heroin

Many addiction experts and public health officials have begun to sound the alarm about a dangerous drug that may be surprisingly easy for people of all ages to acquire. Known as gas station heroin, this substance can cause considerable harm, including addiction, overdose, and death.

What is Gas Station Heroin?

The term “gas station heroin” can refer to a variety of products that contain a substance called tianeptine. It is classified as an atypical tricyclic antidepressant, but it interacts with opioid receptors in the central nervous system. This has made it an enticing substance of abuse among people who are seeking a recreational opioid-like high.

The reason that these products are called gas station heroin is that they are often sold in gas stations, convenience stores, bodegas, and similar outlets.

Gas station heroin exists in a legal grey area in the United States. The drug has never been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), nor has it been classified as a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA).

You might think that a drug that is categorized as a prescription medication in other countries wouldn’t be allowed on convenience store shelves in the U.S., but those who manufacture gas station heroin have taken advantage of a legal loophole. 

Products that contain tianeptine are often marketed as “dietary supplements.” This puts them into a group of substances that are not subject to FDA review or approval prior to being sold to the general public.

At some point, the documented negative effects of these substances could prompt the federal government to ban the sale of products that contain tianeptine. In the interim, several states have enacted their own bans. 

At the time that this post was written, the following nine states have passed laws to prohibit the sale of tianeptine:

  • Alabama
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Ohio
  • Tennessee

Common Effects of Gas Station Heroin

As we established earlier in this post, the term gas station heroin doesn’t apply to just one product. Since multiple products (with varying levels of tianeptine) can fall under this general descriptor, the effects that can result from their use can also vary. 

In general, though, the following are examples of some of the more common effects of tianeptine abuse:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Dangerously high blood pressure
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Slow, shallow respiration
  • Difficulty staying awake
  • Agitation
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Addiction

Can You Overdose on Gas Station Heroin?

In addition to causing the distressing effects that we listed in the previous section, gas station heroin use can also result in an overdose. When someone ingests more of this substance than their body can safely metabolize, they may be in grave danger and need immediate medical attention.

Symptoms of tianeptine overdose include:

  • Extreme confusion 
  • Breathing problems
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Inability to be awakened

Tianeptine overdose has also been linked with toxic leukoencephalopathy, which is a potentially fatal condition that involves damage to the white matter in the brain.

How to Treat an Overdose

If you suspect that someone has overdosed on gas station heroin, you should immediately call 911 or otherwise summon an emergency first responder in your area. Some sources – such as a July 2017 article in the Journal of Analytical Toxicology — suggest that naloxone (Narcan) may be able to reverse the effects of tianeptine overdose.

Regardless of whether or not you administer Narcan, it is essential to ensure that the individual who has overdosed receives immediate medical attention. In addition to addressing the immediate threat of the overdose, medical professionals can also test for toxic leukoencephalopathy. 

Treatment Options for Gas Station Heroin Addiction

Addiction to gas station heroin is, thankfully, a treatable condition. Depending on a variety of individual factors, the ideal course of treatment for someone who has developed this type of substance use disorder may include detoxification, inpatient rehab, and/or outpatient care.

Within these programs, treatment for gas station heroin addiction may include services such as:

If a person’s struggles with addiction are accompanied by certain co-occurring mental health disorders or a history of untreated trauma, they may also benefit from eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and/ or transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy. 

Contact Our Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles, CA

Sanctuary Treatment Center offers compassionate care for adults whose lives have been disrupted by addictions to gas station heroin and other dangerous substances. Our addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, California, is a warm and welcoming place. Patients receive customized services and comprehensive support from a team of highly skilled professionals.

At Sanctuary Treatment Center, we understand that addiction impacts different people in different ways. We are committed to providing a personalized treatment experience to each person who turns to us in their time of need. We take the time to get to know each patient as a unique and valuable individual, so we can be sure that our programming is aligned with their specific needs and goals.

To learn more about how we can help you or someone that you care about, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call our center today.

The difference between crack vs meth

Crack vs Meth: What are the Differences?

You are probably aware that crack and meth are powerful illegal drugs. But do you understand the similarities and differences between crack vs. meth? Increasing your knowledge of these dangerous substances can help you determine if someone that you know has been abusing them, so you can connect them with appropriate care before it’s too late.

What is Crack?

Crack is a version of cocaine. Instead of appearing as a white powder that can be snorted, crack is baked into small crystalline rocks that can be smoked. The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound these rocks make when they are heated.

Crack produces effects that are similar to powder cocaine. The primary differences between the two versions of the drug are that crack’s effects usually occur faster and become more intense, but they don’t last as long.

Crack use emerged as a serious public health threat in the 1980s. Though rates of crack abuse have declined since then, the drug has not disappeared. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about 996,000 people ages 12 and above in the United States used crack in the past 12 months.

What is Meth?

Meth is short for methamphetamine. It is sometimes referred to as crystal meth due to its appearance. Like crack, meth is a stimulant. This means that it speeds up the ability of neurons to send and receive messages throughout the central nervous system.

Meth can be ingested in several ways. As a crystal, it can be heated and smoked. It may also be crushed into a powder and snorted, dissolved into a solution and injected, or taken orally in pill form. There is no such thing as safe meth use, but injecting the drug may be particularly dangerous because it can expose a person to HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other bloodborne diseases.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reported that an estimated 2.5 million people ages 12 and above in the U.S. used meth in the previous year. NIDA has also reported that about 1.6 million people were addicted to meth in the past 12 months.

The looks of crack versus meth

Crack vs Meth: Experience

Crack and meth are both stimulants. When someone uses either of these drugs, they are likely to experience effects such as:

  • Euphoric rush
  • Racing heart rate and increased blood pressure
  • Elevated energy and self-confidence
  • Heightened sensitivity to light, sound, and touch
  • Loss of appetite and diminished need for sleep

In terms of a person’s experience when taking these drugs, one of the primary differences between crack vs. meth is the duration of their effects. When someone uses crack, the drug’s effects typically wear off in about 10-15 minutes. When a person ingests meth, the high may last for six to 12 hours.

Crack vs Meth: Addiction

In terms of addiction, there isn’t a significant difference between crack vs. meth. People who use either one of these drugs are at high risk of becoming addicted. 

When the effects of these drugs wear off, they can be followed by a dramatic physical and psychological crash. To prevent this crash from occurring, people often use these drugs multiple times. For example, someone who is in the midst of a meth binge may stay up for several days in a row, taking meth every time they feel their stamina beginning to wane.

The more frequently a person uses crack or meth, the more likely they are to become dependent on it. Once a person has become addicted, it can be extremely difficult for them to end their crack or meth use without professional care.

Crack vs Meth: Dangers

Addiction is just one of many negative outcomes that can result from crack or meth abuse. The following is a quick comparison of the dangers of crack vs. meth.

Potential dangers of crack include:

  • Diminished cognition
  • Cardiovascular distress
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Malnutrition
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Paranoia 
  • Delirium and psychosis

People who use meth for an extended period may incur the following types of harm:

  • Severe dental decay
  • Skin damage due to compulsive scratching and picking
  • Aggressive and violent behaviors
  • Auditory and visual hallucinations
  • Altered brain structure and functioning
  • Memory impairments
  • Psychosis

Though there are a few differences between the dangers of crack vs. meth, it is no exaggeration to note that anyone who abuses either of these drugs exposes themselves to potentially catastrophic damage, up to and including death.

How is Crack Addiction vs. Meth Addiction Treated?

One important similarity between crack vs. meth is that addictions to either of these drugs can be treated. 

The ideal course of treatment for someone who has become addicted to either crack or meth can be influenced by a variety of personal factors, including how long the person has been abusing the drug, how much they have been using, how their life has been affected by their addiction, and if they have any co-occurring mental health concerns.

Many people who have become dependent on crack or meth start their treatment experience with detoxification. Detox is a short-term program that helps people get through withdrawal safely and with minimal distress.

Following detox, a person’s treatment for crack or meth addiction may involve inpatient and/or outpatient care. Within these programs, they may take part is various therapies and support services to help them in the following ways:

  • Replacing maladaptive thought and behavior patterns with healthier ways of thinking and acting
  • Developing better stress-management and coping skills
  • Identifying the triggers that could undermine their recovery
  • Working on strategies for avoiding triggers or responding to them without resorting to substance abuse
  • Beginning to repair relationships that were damaged by their addictive behaviors
  • Sharing support with others who have had similar struggles and who are also working toward a healthier future
  • Connecting with community-based resources that can offer long-term support

Contact Our Crack and Meth Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles, CA

If you or someone in your life has become addicted to crack or meth, Sanctuary Treatment Center can help. Our crack and meth addiction treatment center is a trusted source of life-affirming inpatient and outpatient care for adults in the Los Angeles area.

Our team of compassionate professionals works closely with each patient to determine the full scope of their mental and behavioral health needs, and we use these insights to develop customized plans to help our patients end their substance abuse and build a foundation for successful, long-term recovery.

We understand that every person who struggles with crack or meth addiction is impacted in a unique way, and we are committed to providing each patient with a truly individualized experience while they are in our care.

To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.

Guide for parents of addicted loved ones

Helping Parents of Addicted Loved Ones

Parents of addicted loved ones often face challenges that can quickly become overwhelming. But when you get the right help – both for your child and yourself – you can get through this difficult time and emerge as healthier people and a more cohesive and supportive unit.

Understanding Addiction in The Family

Addiction is often described as a family disorder. 

This can allude to the fact that the children of parents who have struggled with compulsive substance abuse are at increased risk of having similar problems. It is also a way to acknowledge that when one person develops an addiction, their closest loved ones are likely to be impacted.

The good news is that parents and other family members can play a vital role in helping their loved one end their drug use and establish a foundation for successful recovery. In other words, addiction may well be a family disorder, but healing can also be a family endeavor.

How to Tell if Your Son or Daughter is an Addict

For many parents of addicted loved ones, accepting that their son or daughter has developed a substance use disorder can be difficult. Part of this can be due to guilt, shame, or stigma – but a lack of knowledge about the signs and symptoms of addiction can also be a contributing factor.

Signs of Addiction in Your Child

  • Their performance in school or at work has declined considerably.
  • They frequently miss school or work for no apparent reason.
  • They seem to be neglecting their appearance and personal hygiene.
  • They have begun to pull away from you and from their friends. 
  • They have become secretive about how they spend their time (and who they spend it with).
  • They undergo dramatic swings in mood, attitude, and energy.
  • They have unintentionally gained or lost a noticeable amount of weight.
  • They claim that they function better after they’ve had a few drinks or used other substances.
  • They become angry or irritated when they can’t drink alcohol or use other substances.
  • They don’t seem to be interested in topics or activities that used to be very important to them.
  • They have unexplained financial problems.
  • They don’t seem to be able to experience joy or cope with sadness without using substances.

On their own, none of the signs or symptoms listed above are definitive proof that your child has developed an addiction. But if several (or all) of them apply to your son or daughter, you should have a serious discussion with them about getting help.

In addition to looking for the indicators listed above, keep an eye out for any other sudden or unexplained changes in your child’s mindset, appearance, and/or behaviors. You don’t have to be a substance abuse expert to notice that your child is in crisis. You just need to know your child.

How Can Parents Address Addiction to Their Addicted Children?

Once they understand that their child has a substance abuse problem, the next challenge for parents of addicted loved ones is deciding how they can help. 

When you discover that your son or daughter has developed an addiction, it’s common to momentarily feel helpless. You can’t cure your child’s disorder or take their pain away, but you can play an important part in the effort to keep them safe and connect them with proper professional care.

Tips for Parents With Loved Ones Who Are Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol

  • Do your research. Visit websites of reputable organizations (like you’re doing right now) to learn about addiction and treatment. The more you know about what your child is going through, and how they can be helped, the better prepared you’ll be to offer meaningful assistance.
  • Resist the urge to judge or issue ultimatums. You may be disappointed in (or even angry with) your child. But remember that addiction is a disease, not a personal failure. Talking down to your child or threatening them will only serve to push them away from you. Especially at a time when they most need your support.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. When you talk to your child about their substance use, they may respond with denial or even outrage. Prepare for these negative responses and do whatever you can to prevent the discussion from descending into an argument. It will likely take several conversations before your child is willing to get help.
  • Don’t confuse support with enabling. Trying to shield your child from the consequences of their actions might feel like the right choice in the moment. However, it can have disastrous long-term consequences. A willingness to take responsibility for one’s decisions and behaviors is a vital step on the path to recovery.
  • Get help for yourself. Find a trusted friend or relative that you can talk to. Consider seeing a therapist or counselor. Whether you realize it or not, you are affected by your child’s struggles with addiction. There’s no shame in getting help to protect your own wellbeing. You can’t be fully present for your child if you are neglecting your own needs.

Support Groups and Resources for Parents of Addicted Loved Ones

Connecting with other parents of addicted loved ones can be valuable both for informational purposes and as a source of vital emotional support. Here are a few nationally recognized organizations that may be able to help you:

Contact Our California Addiction Treatment Center About Treating Your Loved One

If you are the parent of an adult child who has become addicted to alcohol or another drug, Sanctuary Treatment Center is here to help. 

Our rehab facility in Los Angeles, California, offers a full continuum of customized care, including detox, inpatient rehab, and outpatient programming. At each of these levels, skilled professionals provide personalized services while maintaining a welcoming and supportive environment. 

With our help, your child can find their path to improved health and a much more hopeful future. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment for your child, please visit our Contact Us page or call our center today.

Why is meth so addictive asks woman who is addicted

Why is Meth So Addictive?

Is meth additive? Yes, extremely so. Can meth’s addictive properties devastate a person’s life? Again, yes. Can you escape the pull of meth addiction and achieve a drug-free future? Thankfully, the answer to this question is also yes. Educating yourself about meth addiction and treatment can help you make the best decisions for yourself or on behalf of a loved one.

What Is Meth Made Of?

Meth, which is short for methamphetamine, is a powerful stimulant that is derived from amphetamine. Both amphetamine and methamphetamine are synthetic substances. Unlike other substances of abuse, such as heroin and cocaine, neither amphetamine nor methamphetamine originate from plants or other natural sources.

Meth consists of two enantiomers, which are molecules that are mirror images of each other. In the case of meth, the two enantiomers are levomethamphetamine and dextromethamphetamine.

In the United States, methamphetamine is approved for use to treat attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). This legal methamphetamine, which is available only by prescription, is sold under the brand name Desoxyn.

Most of the methamphetamine that is abused for recreational purposes throughout the nation is illegally manufactured in covert “meth labs” that are often set up in houses, garages, or backyard sheds. This version of meth is typically made from ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.

As might be expected from such illicit sources, the meth that these labs produce may include a variety of additional chemicals, which may be incorporated into the manufacturing process either to create more powerful effects or to increase profit margins. 

Examples of the many substances that may be added to meth include:

  • Acetone
  • Baking soda
  • Caffeine
  • Ketamine
  • Lithium
  • Opioids
  • Powdered milk
  • Red phosphorous
  • Sulfur

Some of these extra ingredients in meth are relatively harmless, while others are quite hazardous. One of the many dangers of meth abuse is that it increases a person’s risk for also ingesting other potentially deadly substances. 

Why Is Meth So Addictive?

Two common questions about meth are, “Is meth addictive?” and “How quickly is meth addictive?”

We’ll answer the first question here, and the second one in the next section.

When a person uses meth, the drug triggers a powerful, euphoric sensation along with an intense energy boost. When this effect wears off, a person may “crash” into exhaustion or depression. To avoid this crash, they may take meth over and over again, which can quickly turn from a dangerous behavior to an addiction.

Meth’s addictive properties may also be related to functional and structural changes that this drug causes within the brain and other parts of the central nervous system (CNS). 

For example, meth use triggers the release of three neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. Continued exposure to meth can damage the body’s ability to naturally produce and disseminate these neurotransmitters. This can mean that the only way a person can continue to feel the pleasurable effects that serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine produce is to continue abusing meth.

Also, meth use can also cause cognitive impairments. A person who is not capable of thinking logically and making healthy decisions may not be able to resist the cravings that can be characteristic of meth addiction. 

Is meth the most addictive drug?

How Long Does it Take to Get Addicted to Meth?

Contrary to a persistent myth, you can’t get addicted to meth after using the drug just once. However, as we discussed in the previous section, many people use meth multiple times in a brief period in order to maintain the high that this drug provides, and to avoid the physical and emotional crash that can occur when its effects wear off.

This means that meth addiction can occur within a matter of a few days or a few weeks, depending on factors such as how much meth a person has been using, how often they have been using it, and how their body responds to the presence of this drug. 

Can Meth Addicts Ever Recover?

We know meth is addictive. But once a person has developed a meth addiction, can they ever get better?

Yes, people who struggle with meth addiction can recover.

Most reputable experts view addiction as a chronic, progressive disease. This means that it will likely get worse over time if a person doesn’t get effective help. It also means that the goal of treatment isn’t to cure the person, but rather to empower them to manage their symptoms and remain in recovery.

This applies to all substance addictions, including meth addiction. As we have discussed, meth is a powerful, highly addictive substance. But a diagnosis of meth addiction is not a death sentence. When you get the care you need, you can stop using meth and start living a healthier and more hopeful life in recovery.

What are the Best Treatment Options for Meth Addiction?

When you are evaluating meth addiction treatment options, one of the first points to consider is which levels of care are right for you. At Sanctuary Treatment Center, we offer the following programs for people who have become trapped by meths’ addictive properties:

Depending on which program you are in and other individual factors, your care may include elements such as the following:

Some of these services may focus directly on your struggles with meth addiction. Others may address the underlying causes or co-occurring disorders that may have contributed to your meth addiction or prevented you from getting help sooner.

Contact Sanctuary, Our Meth Addiction Treatment Center in California

Sanctuary Treatment Center is a trusted provider of life-affirming care for adults whose lives have been harmed by the addictive nature of meth. With our help, you can end your meth abuse and build a healthy life in recovery. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.

What is the most addictive drug

What is the Most Addictive Drug?

Some people can use alcohol and certain other substances without becoming addicted. For others, even minimal exposure to a drug leads to the development of a substance use disorder. Why does this happen? What makes drugs addictive – and what is the most addictive drug?

What Makes Drugs Addictive?

According to a report by the U.S. surgeon general, most addictive drugs trigger a flood of the neurotransmitter dopamine in an area of the central nervous system known as the basal ganglia, which controls functions such as learning and reward. The excess dopamine allows neurons in the basal ganglia to communicate more rapidly. Hence producing a sense of euphoria and other pleasurable effects.

Over time, receptors in the basal ganglia adapt to the presence of the substance, and they do not respond at the same level. This means that a person must use larger amounts of the addictive drug in order to achieve the desired effect.

The surgeon general also reports that changes in two other areas – the extended amygdala and the prefrontal cortex – may be responsible for the distressing effects a person feels when they try to stop using a drug that they have become addicted to. 

This combination of a desire for pleasure and a fear of experiencing pain can trap a person in the downward spiral of addiction.

What is the Most Addictive Drug?

Asking what is the most addictive drug is a simple, straightforward request. Unfortunately, this question does not have a simple answer.

Many sources cite heroin (or opioids, which is the category that heroin belongs to) as the most addictive drug. Heroin and other opioids do, indeed, have a high risk of abuse and addiction. In addition, once a person becomes dependent on them, the distress of withdrawal can make it very difficult to stop using them.

Cocaine and methamphetamine are also commonly included in discussions about what is the most addictive drug. These substances both cause an intense rush, followed by a painful physical and emotional crash. This can prompt a person to abuse them multiple times. This can increase the odds that the individual will become addicted.

Given the millions of people who have become addicted to alcohol and nicotine, these two substances may also merit consideration as possible answers to this question.

Here are a few reasons why it’s so difficult to identify what is the most addictive drug:

  • The signs and symptoms of addiction can be very different from one person to the next.
  • It is impossible to accurately identify how many people have used a drug and how many have become addicted to it. 
  • Does “most addictive” refer to how quickly addiction occurs, or how difficult it is to overcome?

Ease of access and cultural acceptance can also influence rates of abuse and addiction. For example, in the United States, nicotine use and addiction were much more prevalent decades ago, when there were few laws restricting where and when people could smoke. On a related note, one of the reasons why some people in the U.S. find it so difficult to resist the compulsion to drink is because alcohol has been so thoroughly incorporated into so many facets of life. 

Though it may be impossible to achieve universal consensus on what is the most addictive drug, it may be much easier to determine which substances should be included in an expanded list of the most addictive drugs.  

List of the Top 10 Most Addictive Drugs

Here, in alphabetical order, are 10 substances that many experts would agree are among the world’s most addictive drugs:

  1. Alcohol
  2. Amphetamine
  3. Barbiturates
  4. Benzodiazepines
  5. Cocaine
  6. Heroin
  7. Marijuana
  8. Opioid Agonists
  9. Methamphetamine
  10. Nicotine

Dangers of These Addictive Drugs

When someone abuses these addictive drugs, they can expose themselves to immediate and long-term harm. 

The types of dangers that can result from addictive drugs can vary considerably from one substance to the next. These dangers can also be magnified by factors such as the individual’s age, gender, and metabolism; if they have a mental health condition; and if they have been engaging in polysubstance abuse (abusing multiple drugs at the same time). 

Depending on these factors, here are some of the many potential negative effects that can result from the abuse of addictive drugs:

  • Memory problems and other cognitive deficiencies
  • Physical injuries due to impaired coordination and judgement
  • Malnutrition and other health concerns due to poor self-care
  • Damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, liver, and other organs
  • Onset or worsening of co-occurring mental illness
  • Exposure to HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other bloodborne diseases
  • Increased risk of certain types of cancer
  • Legal problems, including being arrested, fined, and/or incarcerated
  • Inability to get and keep a job
  • Ruined relationships with friends and family members
  • Financial devastation
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Homelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Overdose
  • Death

It is important to understand that, contrary to a persistent myth, you don’t have to incur overwhelming damage (or “hit rock bottom”) before you can benefit from professional care. The moment you realize that you have a problem with alcohol, cocaine, heroin, or any other addictive substance, you can begin your recovery journey. 

Get Help Today at Our Los Angeles Addiction Treatment Centers 

Sanctuary Treatment Center is a respected provider of personalized care for adults who have become addicted to alcohol and other drugs. Treatment options at our rehab center in Los Angeles include detoxification, inpatient care, and outpatient programming. At every level of care, you can expect to receive customized services in a safe and respectful environment. 

With the help of our skilled treatment professionals, you can end your substance abuse, regain control of your behaviors, and begin to live a healthier, drug-free life. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.  

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Sanctuary Treatment Center accepts most private PPO insurance plans, as well as some private HMO plans. Through private insurance plans, individuals and families can access high quality addiction treatment services. If you have questions regarding insurances, please give us a call.

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