Does Meth Cause Heart Damage and Cardiovascular Disease?


Does Meth Cause Heart Damage and Cardiovascular Disease?

does-meth-cause-heart-damage-and-cardiovascular-diseaseMethamphetamine or meth is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States. In fact, with an estimated 2.5 million Americans using the drug, it’s extremely likely that you or someone you know uses it. In addition, some 1.6 million Americans are addicted to meth, which means they heavily use and go through withdrawal if they stop using it. Meth is well-known to cause myriad health issues, ranging from horrifying weight loss to rotting teeth and hair loss. Most people are also aware of the significant slips in personal hygiene, personal care, and care of social responsibilities associated with meth. However, fewer people are aware of the fact that meth can have a significant impact on your heart and your cardiovascular health.

In addition to causing significant problems to your mental health, your social life, your financial life, it can significantly stress your heart, cause permanent heart and cardiovascular damage, and can even kill you. It’s the second most common cause of death in methamphetamine users, following accidental overdose. There’s no safe way to use meth, so if you or your loved one are using it, you are putting yourself at risk.

Heart Risks Caused by Methamphetamine

man thinking if he Avoid Heart Damage with MethMeth can significantly damage your heart and your cardiovascular system. It can also indirectly cause to both indirectly by preventing you from cooling down properly. Here, it’s important to know that methamphetamine is a stimulant that causes increases in heart rate, blood pressure, and the production of dopamine, serotonin, and even adrenaline. It’s an “upper” and many people who use it won’t sleep until the dose wears off – which can be over 36 hours.

  • Heart Attack – Methamphetamine users are significantly more likely to suffer from a heart attack than non-methamphetamine users. This happens through two mechanisms. The first is that meth is a stimulant and causes increased blood pressure and increased activity. Users may also continue using, taking multiple hits over the course of a day and may stay at this state of heightened arousal for 12+ hours. This can result in significant strain to the heart and eventually in a heart attack. However, methamphetamine can also cause cardiotoxicity, which may result in a heart attack. Here, catecholamine builds up in the heart and may cause heart muscle death, resulting in heart failure or a heart attack.
  • Cardiotoxicity Catecholamine activity is responsible for modulating the heart rate and blood pressure. Excessive catecholamine activity results in high blood pressure and high heart rate. This can eventually lead to heart muscle death, heart attack, and heart failure. It can also cause narrowing of the blood vessels and spasms of the blood vessels, both of which can result in other complications.
  • Stroke – Methamphetamine causes increased risks to the heart, which means that you are at a significantly higher risk of stroke. Here, you’re at the highest risk if you’re over the age of 45. However, anyone is at risk and it’s usually a mix of increased heart activity and heat. Therefore, you can reduce risks by keeping cool and not overextending activity beyond what you would do while clean and sober.
  • Cardiovascular Damage – Meth causes significant strain to the cardiovascular system which can result in semipermanent and permanent damage. Here, spasms, narrowing of the blood vessels, clots, and strain are all likely side-effects. Cardiovascular damage can result in needing surgery. It can increase your risk of heart complications. It can also result in brain damage when a blood vessel bursts, clots, or hemorrhages.
  • Weight Loss – many people taking methamphetamine end up losing a lot of weight. That’s because the drug increases your metabolism and reduces interest in food. However, this can create a lot of extra strain on your heart, especially if that weight loss is rapid. Maintaining your nutrition levels and physical weight is important for your heart health. Heart strain from weight loss or from being too thin can cause heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.

In each case, the longer you use methamphetamine, the more built-up strain that it causes. This means that using meth for longer results in increased risks, longer term damage, and more built-up damage over time. However, if you’re at risk of a heart attack, have a history of heart disease, or have a risk of heart strain, then you’re at use every single time you use the drug.

All of these health problems can vary in severity depending on your sensitivity, genetic profile, weight, gender, physical health, and starting point. Someone with a high risk of heart problems is more likely to have problems with meth. However, someone who is already underweight when they start meth might over-strain an already weak heart and immediately cause health problems or death. Eventually, without a thorough health panel upfront to see if you are at risk, you have no way of knowing how you’ll respond to using meth every single time you use the drug.

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Can You Avoid Heart Damage with Meth?

Methamphetamine also known as crystal methUnfortunately, there’s no way to avoid potential heart damage from meth if you are using it. However, if you are using the drug anyway, taking steps to reduce heart damage can make it safer for you. That means:

  • Using less of the drug at once
  • Sticking to a few hits and then taking breaks. The longer you’re high, the worse heart strain gets
  • Getting plenty of sleep, typically no more than about 18-20 hours apart from the last time you slept
  • Eating well to maintain your physical weight to reduce strain on your heart
  • Talking to a doctor about your usage and how to make it as healthy as possible

Unfortunately, there’s no way to make methamphetamine use safe. You’ll always take on risks and you’ll always increase heart strain, risk heart damage, and risk cardiovascular disease. The longer and the more you use meth, the worse those risks will get. That’s even true if you’re a casual user and not struggling with addiction or dependence. You’ll always be putting yourself at risk of physical health problems including long-term and permanent heart damage. The best way to mitigate that damage is to not use meth at all. However, if you’re already using, getting help with quitting, detoxing in a healthy manner rather than going “cold turkey” without support, and ensuring that you move safely through detox is the best start you can make to getting your health back.

Getting Help

If you or a loved one is using meth, it is not safe. Methamphetamine always creates a risk of heart damage, heart attack, overdose, and psychosis. There is no safe way to use the drug. Getting help can mean getting assistance with detox and withdrawal, so you can get off of the drug without causing additional health risks. It can also mean getting support and mental health treatment, so you can get started with recovery and with learning the skills to stay in recovery rather than relapsing.

Meth is extremely common. However, it’s also dangerous for your body and for your mental health. The sooner you get help, the easier it will be to recover and the less likely you are to deal with long-term side-effects. Good luck getting treatment.

How Effective is Suboxone for Fentanyl Treatment?


How Effective is Suboxone for Fentanyl Treatment?

SuboxoneSuboxone is an FDA-approved prescription drug most commonly used to help people maintain abstinence from opioid drugs. As a result, suboxone is one of the most prescribed medications for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs. It’s also listed as a life-saving drug by the World Health Administration as an essential drug. At the same time, there’s a lot of controversy around Suboxone – both for use with opioids and also for extra strong opioids such as fentanyl.

Here, many people are concerned that they’re replacing one drug with another. Others are concerned that Suboxone also has a withdrawal period. And, in some cases, individuals are concerned about the potential of precipitated withdrawal, which means that you suddenly go into withdrawal from a very strong drug, which can result in hospitalization. At the same time, Suboxone is considered one of the most important drugs for helping people maintain recovery – so you don’t run the risk of overdose when you go back to fentanyl. What are the factors that impact this? And, how effective is it?

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is an FDA-approved combination drug composed of Buprenorphine and Naloxone. It’s typically orally administrated and is primarily used in maintenance programs to help individuals stay clean during recovery from opioid use disorder. The drug has been shown to greatly improve outcomes for individuals by preventing relapse, reducing cravings, and reducing the length and severity of the detox phase. It’s also comprised of two of the most important drugs in opioid use disorder treatment:

  • Buprenorphine – Buprenorphine is an opioid drug with a light side effect profile and a lower addiction profile than those used recreationally. In light doses, buprenorphine causes no euphoria or sedation, meaning that it doesn’t have a driver for individuals to abuse it recreationally. However, it does bind with the same opioid receptors in the body and brain as fentanyl, meaning that while you’re taking it, you don’t experience physical cravings and you don’t go into withdrawal. This drug is sold on its own as Subutex. Here, it’s an important and lief-saving drug. However, it still carries the potential of abuse as buprenorphine can cause euphoria in high doses and when injected.
  • Naloxone – Suboxone also contains Naloxone, which is known as a the opioid overdose withdrawal reversal drug. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist which causes opioids to stop binding with receptors in the brain. This can pull individuals out of an overdose. It can also cause sudden onset withdrawal which means that someone taking Naloxone suddenly will almost certainly require hospital care and treatment. However, it’s poorly digested orally. This means that while you are taking the Suboxone orally or according to prescription, it won’t have an effect. However, if you take more than the prescribed dose or attempt to inject it, the Naloxone will take effect – and you will go into withdrawal.

In short, Suboxone is buprenorphine, an opioid drug with an anti-abuse mechanism built in. That makes it safer for people to take home and use on their own, even during early stages of addiction.

When taking it, you should mostly feel normal, but without cravings or withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting opioid drugs like fentanyl.

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Is Suboxone Effective?

Editorial License_Vial of Naloxone drug which is used for opiate drug overdoseSuboxone is one of the most-recommended drugs for medication assisted treatment. That recommendation comes from the fact that it works, it has a very low risk of abuse, and the safety mechanism of Naloxone means that patients can more easily use it unsupervised at home. That allows more freedom to individuals to live their lives rather than going to a doctor’s office or clinic every day for a dose of buprenorphine.

Suboxone is also fully FDA approved. It’s consistently pointed to as greatly improving outcomes in opioid use disorder treatment. However, it is not a treatment on its own. Suboxone does not help you overcome behavioral addiction. Instead, it reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms, allowing you to go about living your normal life while getting treatment for substance use disorder. Without dealing with cravings, you’re more likely to be able to get through treatment without risking relapse and potential overdose on fentanyl. This means it greatly reduces risks of accidental death while also reducing risk of relapse to begin with. At the same time, you still need behavioral therapy to recover from a behavioral substance use disorder. For this reason, any substance use disorder treatment program offering medication assistance with Suboxone will pair it with therapy and counseling.

Overall, Suboxone is a very safe and effective drug that can function as a crutch while you learn the skills to stay clean. It reduces the impact of quitting right away, reduces cravings, and lowers the threshold to staying clean. As a result, people who use it are significantly more likely to stay in recovery than those who are not in a MAT program.

What’s are the Concerns of Using Suboxone with Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is widely known as one of the strongest opioid drugs on the market. It’s also increasingly finding its way into dozens of drugs, including faux prescription pills, drugs sold as heroin, and even directly sold as fentanyl. At 10,000 times the strength of morphine, fentanyl is extremely strong and has a very high risk of overdose and accidental drug death. In fact, more than 74% of opioid drug deaths are linked to fentanyl. When you use Naloxone to treat fentanyl overdose, it causes significant and immediate withdrawal symptoms which can require medical attention. This is known as precipitated withdrawal. Persons taking suboxone run a risk of precipitated withdrawal as well. However, according to a study published in 2023, about 1% of fentanyl users taking suboxone will go through precipitated withdrawal. This means that it is important to start using suboxone in a clinic if you’re a fentanyl user. However, risks are extremely low.

In other cases, people are concerned about using one opioid to recover from another. However, buprenorphine has an extremely low addiction profile. This means it’s very unlikely that you become addicted to the drug. You will become dependent on the drug, which means you’ll have to taper off it in order to quit. However, it also means you can safely quit opioids, with low risks of strong withdrawal symptoms, and low risk of relapse. As a result, Suboxone is associated with improved recovery rates, reduced risk of death, and decreased cost of treatment.

Seeking Out Medication Assisted Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it’s important to look into getting help. If that substance is fentanyl, withdrawal and recovery are difficult and can be dangerous. Medication assisted programs with Suboxone can greatly reduce those risks. However, it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor and your rehab facility. Both should help you to look at your options, associated risks, and how those risks come into play for your recovery, your long-term health, and your short-term treatment. Chances are very high that you’ll be recommended into a tapering program to reduce fentanyl usage or directly into a detox clinic where you can start suboxone under medical supervision and then directly into a behavioral mental health treatment program.

Eventually, the right treatment for you depends on your mental health, your addiction, and what you want for yourself. Suboxone can be life-saving, it can reduce risks, and it can help you to stay in recovery. Either way, good luck getting treatment.

How to Take Care of a Pet When You Are Newly Sober

Woman Taking Care of her Pet after recovery

How to Take Care of a Pet When You Are Newly Sober

Woman Taking Care of her Pet after recoveryIf you’re just out of recovery and you have to take care of a pet, it can mean extra challenge. In fact, if you don’t yet own a pet, most recovery groups will recommend waiting to get one. Here, recovery groups often start individuals out on buying a plant and keeping that alive first. Once you’ve proven you can do that, you can start with pets. But, if you already have a pet, you’ll have to jump right into taking care of and managing the life that is in your care. That can be a massive responsibility.

The good news is that there are plenty of strategies you can use to ensure you’re providing good care for the animals in your life – even when you’re newly sober. These tips will help you make the right decisions and the right calls.

Take Your Pet to Rehab with You

An increasingly large number of rehab and treatment centers will offer pet care during recovery treatment. This means that you can simply bring your pet with you and continue offering it care while you work on yourself. That’s often relatively easy as you can keep a cat in a room with you, birds in cages, and rehab often involves hiking and plenty of time to walk, so dogs can also get exercise.

Of course, bringing a pet to rehab with you will reduce the number of rehab centers you can choose from. On the other hand, it means that caring for your pet is part of your schedule from day one. It is good to be able to focus on yourself first and foremost during recovery. However, rehab offers plenty of time for pet care, which means this can be a great option.

Ask for Help When You Need It

You won’t always have the headspace or the time to care for your pet. It’s important that you learn to reach out and ask for help when you need it. That might mean having a pet sitter. It might also mean having someone come over to help you with cleaning a litter box or cages when you notice you’re having trouble keeping up. If you treat early sobriety like being in recovery from being sick or like having a depression diagnosis, you’ll understand that you will have good and bad days. Some days you will need help. That may mean having someone on call to help you with your pet so that you know your pet gets the care it needs. Asking for that help can be hard because it can make you feel like you’re not being enough for a pet, but it’s important to recognize that you are sick and you do need help sometimes. If you can’t do that, then your pet may actually go without because you are in recovery and you won’t always be healthy enough (mentally or physically) to offer the care your pet needs.

Work Pet Care into Your Routines

Moving into recovery often means building good routines into your life. That means good food, exercise, and taking care of your home and space. It’s important that your pet be part of those routines from day one. For example, if you have a dog, you can make multiple long walks a day your exercise routine. That means you and your pet get the care you need. You can also work cleaning up after your pet into your morning routine. For example, taking 10 minutes before and after bed to check food and water, to clean up messes, etc., can be extremely good for your pet. Of course, any pet will also need extra time for play and for enrichment, which means setting that time aside. But, providing you make it part of your routine, you’ll have a better idea of when to do it and how to do it. Creating that routine will also help you to maintain good pet care even when you are having a bad day and are having a hard time.

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Have Someone Check in on You

have someone check on youKeeping up with your mental health and your recovery can be difficult. It’s important that you have someone looking in on you. That means two things. The first is social accountability. Here, you know someone is checking in on you so you have external motivation to do something that should be done. That can be more helpful than most people realize. For example, if you’ve ever suddenly had the motivation to clean right before guests show up, you’ve experienced social accountability. It can be surprisingly powerful, even for things you want to do like taking care of your pet.

In addition, having someone check in on you can help you to notice sooner when you start to do badly. You might be struggling but someone will realize it and may help you to break out of it before things go bad. And, if they can’t, they will likely be able to help you take care of your pet so your pet does not lose the added care. That will be better for your pet and its wellbeing either way. Of course, that does mean having a self-help group, having people visit you, having that check-in, and that can be hard to ask for and hard to maintain.

Talk to Your Therapist

You might not be ready to take care of a pet. It’s important to accept that. It’s also important to accept that if you can’t take care of your pet right now, you should be getting help. That help might mean having someone drop by daily to help you with pet care. It might also mean having your pet live with a friend or family member for a bit while you work to recover your physical and mental health. Recovering from a substance use disorder is a lot. You might need help. You might have ups and downs. Your bad days might be so bad you cannot or can barely take care of yourself. Having a pet at the same time means taking on responsibility you might not be ready for. That means talking to your therapist, getting help, and figuring out what you’re capable of.

It’s always a good idea to wait with getting a pet if you can. However, pets can help with loneliness, they can help you to feel loved, they can give you a good baseline for self-care, and they can provide external motivation for doing things. On the other hand, if you wait till you’re further into recovery, you’ll be in better shape to ensure your pet has the care and emotional stability from its caretaker that it needs. Whatever situation you’re in, don’t be afraid to reach out, ask for help, and try to involve your pet in your therapy and recovery. Eventually, taking care of a life is a big responsibility and it should be an important part of your life, including your rehab and your self help and support. That can mean added complexity, but it will mean you get companionship, and your pet gets the care it needs.

Good luck with your recovery and with taking care of your pet.

If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our alcohol rehabdetox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.