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What to do for Meth Addiction Recovery
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

What are some strategies for meth addiction recovery?  What is the best way to get clean from meth?

There are a number of things that a meth addict might do in order to try to straighten their life out.  One thing they might try first is to go to some NA meetings.  This is not necessarily the best solution for everyone, but it is helpful for most, and it is also free (unless you donate to the meeting.  They are supported only by donations).

Just going to an NA meeting might be of help for a variety of reasons.  One, you might get clean and sober and stay that way forever.  This is the ideal outcome, of course.  But even if that does not happen, you still might get some benefit by being exposed to NA.  One thing you might do is to learn if you are really an addict or not.  Some people just like to abuse drugs, but can easily walk away from the and leave them alone when they really want to.

Jump


 photo credit: Barnaby K

However, most drug addicts stay stuck in denial for many years, telling themselves that they could quit, only if they really wanted to, and that they just don’t want to.  This is denial if:

1) The meth addict continues to run into more and more problems due to their drug use.

2) All of the friends and family member of the addict think that there is a real problem.

3) The addict keeps dealing with real consequences due to their drug use but continues to justify them and rationalize them away.  (The police just have it in for me, etc.)

Denial is simply failing to see the truth of the matter, which is that drugs are just no good for some people.  If you are constantly getting into trouble due to your drug use, then you probably have a serious problem.  If you cannot, or will not put the drugs down, even in the face of heavy consequences, then you are probably an addict.

If you find yourself in this position and you have tried to go to an NA meeting, you might also consider going to rehab.  Now keep in mind that most rehabs are just going to expose you to more 12 step meetings, but they also offer a lot more than just that.  You have to use what works for you in recovery and ditch the rest.  If 12 step meetings are not your thing, you can still get a lot of value out of going to drug rehab.

Recovery from meth addiction can start when you are in residential treatment, and you start learning about how to deal with life without self medicating all the time.  You can also learn how to have fun again without drugs or alcohol, though  this may take some time for you to really start living it.  You will also meet a support system in rehab that can help you to stay clean when you leave on the outside.  Maybe you will also meet up with a good therapist who you really connect with, and this could become a form of ongoing support.

Really the best thing is to simply keep an open mind when going in to treatment, and try to take everything in and just soak it all up.  You may be against certain ideas, but just watch them, observe them, let them wash over you and then form your own opinions.  No one has to become a 12 step meeting freak in recovery in order to stay clean necessarily.  You can find your own unique path in recovery, even if all the 12 step folks say that meetings are the only way.  They are not.  Your recovery can take many forms.

Information About Nasal Spray Addiction
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

Included in the long list of possible addictions is a nasal spray addiction. When you get a cold or suffer from allergies, it is easy to purchase one of the over-the-counter nasal sprays that promise to give you instant relief from congestion. These sprays really work. They usually last for at least 12 hours. Unfortunately, when the allergies are disappearing and the cold is gone, you will still use the nasal spray because you think that you still need it. The instructions on the sprays say that you shouldn’t use it for more than 3 days. The problem is that you may still be suffering from total congestion for more than 3 days. So, you will still continue to use the spray. It all seems very harmless. However, the more you use the nasal spray, the less chance your congestion will clear up on its own. This is when the addiction comes into play. Some people will continue to use the spray for weeks and even months before they decide that they should stop.

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 photo credit: B Rosen

If you stop using the spray, eventually the nasal passages will go back to normal, and you won’t depend on the spray anymore. If you really give your willpower a chance, you will start to ignore minor congestion and let it go away by itself or by taking an over-the-counter decongestant or a prescription from your doctor. Many times the congestion may actually get worse after stopping the use of the nasal spray. This is called the rebound effect.

Becoming addicted to nasal spray is a very innocent substance abuse. However, it is still an abuse. No one uses nasal sprays for the purpose of getting high or increasing energy. They use it to simply clear the nose. It’s uncomfortable to be so stuffed up that you can’t breathe. If you feel that you will only depend on the spray for just a few days, it is a wonderful product for quick relief. But there are other ways to help clear the congestion without becoming dependent on the nasal spray.

One way to break away from this addiction is to try some of those paper strips that can adhere to the bridge of your nose. This involves no drugs, no side effects, no fuss and no mess. Many people seem to be satisfied with the results of these strips. If this method is not good enough, you can try using a saline nasal spray. These are not habit-forming and can be very effective. If you have a humidifier, use it in the bedroom while you sleep. Nasal congestion seems to be worse at night when you are in a horizontal position. Dry air will only worsen the congestion. If you don’t have a humidifier, you can always boil water and breathe in the steam. Since you’re boiling the water anyway, you might as well make a cup of decaffeinated tea or soup. Just by drinking these beverages you can still get the steam effect to help clear the nasal passages.

Another simple solution is to use a warm washcloth and apply it around the nose. The heat and moisture can loosen the mucus that causes the congestion. You can also use a vapor rub on your chest. By breathing in these vapors you will feel some relief all the way up through the nasal passages.

Before trying any of these other solutions, you need to throw away the nasal sprays that you may still have hidden in your home. By not having these sprays around you are forced to try one or more of the other ways to control your congestion without becoming addicted again.

Meth Addiction Signs to Watch For
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, is a highly-addictive stimulant that triggers the release of dopamine and norepinephrine from the brain. Made from readily-available substances such as battery acid, paint thinner, and over-the-counter cold medicines, meth releases twelve times the amount of these pleasurable neurotransmitters than sex. Luckily for those with observant loved ones, the meth addiction signs are all too clear when put together. Be vigilant for the following signs if you suspect meth abuse.

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 photo credit: b_ronphoto

Users may commit spur-of-the-moment crimes. The drug impairs judgment and increases agitation, so the user may be involved in altercations with strangers and loved ones alike. Burglaries and petty thefts could be signs an addict has run out of the drug and needs more money. Male and female users alike may also pay in sexual favors, turning to prostitution. 

Meth often robs the user of normal pleasure. Be aware of sudden disinterest in sex, fun hobbies, or spending time with friends. As the user slips further into the clutches of the drug, the brain’s supply of dopamine depletes, robbing these activities of all pleasure. Sexual partners of users may also notice that, while the user is able to perform, the encounter lasts for hours with no climax. The ability to orgasm can be lost completely with meth, as the brain’s neurotransmitters are too depleted to trigger a climax.

Obsessive behavior is also noted in individuals battling meth addiction. Compulsive hand-washing, cleaning, or over-grooming may occur. Sometimes, the user will repeat the same task over and over, or re-check their work many more times than necessary. This can also stray into self-harm as the user may pick or scratch at their skin until open sores develop. Meth users frequently report the sensation of bugs crawling under the skin, exacerbating this obsession.

Tooth decay, otherwise known as meth mouth, is caused by the poor hygiene of users, as well as a decrease in saliva production and nervous grinding of the teeth. On the same note, extreme body odor, lack of grooming, and a cavalier ignorance of their body’s condition also afflict users. Since meth also causes copious sweating, the smell quickly becomes overpowering if the user abandons hygiene.

Also be cognizant of the user’s mental state. They will often talk at length in rambling, disjointed rants. They may become easily confused or argumentative. Hallucinations of bugs, persecution, and being judged have all been reported with regularity. During withdrawal periods, an addict may sleep for long periods and become withdrawn. If help is not sought, depression can result. Withdrawal also leads the user to feel less intelligent and slow. They may think others are patronizing them, and lash out at those attempting to aid the addict in their recovery, leading the addict to relapse.

While pure meth has no odor, impurities may lead to a strong odor ranging from sickeningly-sweet to rotten eggs. Sometimes, what one would believe is the scent of meth may be the attempts of a paranoid smoker to mask the smell using air fresheners or burning hair or plastic. Not wishing to be caught smoking, addicts may also be fond of incense, scented candles, or heavy perfumes.

It is also important to note that meth is not always smoked. It can also be inserted into the anus or vagina for absorbtion, crushed and snorted, swallowed, or dissolved and injected. Be alert for needle tracks or frequent nosebleeds. 

If you believe your loved one may be using meth, please seek help right away through a drug counseling service or rehabilitation facility. Meth addiction is usually fatal within it’s first five to seven years. Don’t wait.

Drug Addiction Movies Have a Long History
Jun 6th, 2010 by Patrick

Drug addiction has been a topic of movies for many years. It was a staple of 80s movies and has continued to be a valid story element in movies today.

The first notable drug addiction movie was “Reefer Madness,” a 1938 exploitation film centered around tragic events that follow after high school students are lured by drug pushers to try marijuana. The events include a hit and run car accident, manslaughter, attempted rape and suicide followed by a slow descent into madness. The movie was intended to be a warning about the dangers of drugs, but when it was rediscovered in the 1970s it became more famous as dark comedy.

Hunter S. Thompson Courtney Love


 photo credit: ste.muzz

In the 1950s movies tended to be on a grand scale, but there was the rare movie that bucked the trends of the day. One such movie was “Blonde In Bondage,” a 1957 movie about the underground drug world in Sweden and those who became addicted to it and hence created a market for it.

In the 1970s movies took on a more gritty edge, openly dealing with the subject of drug addiction. One such movie was “Go Ask Alice” which told the story of young girl’s experiences with drug to a fatal end. The Foxy Brown movie “Black Mama” didn’t do much to offer solutions to the problem, but it did highlight the effects of drug addiction. 1971′s “A Clockwork Orange,” based on Anthony Burgess’ 1962 novel, uses drug addiction as the backdrop of its story.

The 1978 horror movie “Killer Nun” suggested the reason for the killer’s action was drug addiction. This was at a time when movies were exploring ways to incorporate elements of drug addiction into plots. “Annie Hall” offered a famous humorous drug scene involving cocaine and a sneeze.

As the 1980s came around drug addiction was becoming a hot button social issue and became further incorporated into movies. In “Scarface” drug addiction was simply a part of Tony Montana’s gritty, on the edge lifestyle. Michael J. Fox attempted to ditch his family friendly style in the movie adaptation of the Jay McInerney book “Bright Lights, Big City” about a disillusioned writer in New York City who turns to drugs when his life spins out of control.

“Drugstore Cowboy” (1989) with Matt Dillon is a rare gem that gave a realistic account of a drug addict and his adapted “family” as they travel across the country. Several movies in the 80s would use drugs as a part of the plot, even though the basic premise of the movie had nothing to do with it. Examples include “Three Men and a Baby” (1987) and “Adventures In Babysitting” (1987). “Tour of Duty” (1987) provided a realistic view of Vietnam, which included portrayal of drug addiction among the young men serving. Although there was an arguably valid attempt to justify it because of the nature of what they were doing.

As we rolled into the 90s drug addiction remained a theme in several movies such as Martin Scorsese’s “Casino” (1995) was a harder edged “Good Fellas” that incorporated drug addiction and activities that go with it into the plot. “Trainspotting” (1995) provided a disturbing insight into the heroine subculture while “The Basketball Diaries” (1995) starred Leonardo DiCaprio as a street kid who had a promising future undermined by his drug addiction.

Movies such as “Human Traffic,” “54,” “Requiem for a Dream,” “Thirteen,” “Crank,” and “Crash” continue to use the powerful topic of drug addiction in there plots with varying degrees of success. Drug addiction has plagued society for decades and will continue to provide story lines for movies.

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