Methamphetamine Use Linked to Heart Failure

Methamphetamine also known as crystal meth

Methamphetamine is nasty stuff that can cause serious harm to one’s mind and body. Despite being heavily abused and highly addictive, we don’t hear much about the drug these days. With everyone’s focus fixed firmly on opioid use disorder, it’s easy to forget that others drugs are impacting people’s lives.

Veterans Day was last weekend, a time to honor the brave men and women who’ve served their country overseas. It’s no secret that many of those same Veterans come back from armed conflict changed; experiencing trauma can wreak havoc on an individual’s psyche. Some veterans receive therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder, but not all; those whose PTSD is left untreated turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms. This is a choice which regularly leads to addiction and makes the symptoms of any form of mental illness more severe.

Being in the field of addiction medicine, we have treated numerous cases of co-occurring disorder involving clients who served in the armed forces, developed PTSD, and self-medicated their way to alcohol or substance use disorder. In some cases, such individual’s drug of choice is/was meth.

Methamphetamine Impacts The Heart

A new study looked at the medical records of heart failure patients at San Diego VA Medical Center between 2005 and 2015, CNN reports. The researchers found a link between heart failure and methamphetamine use. What’s more, instances of heart failure involving meth are on the rise. In 2005, 1.7 percent of the VA hospital’s heart failure cases involved meth; compared to 8 percent in 2015. The researchers presented their findings at the annual scientific meeting of the American Heart Association.

The researchers found that heart failure was occurring at a younger age (average 61) when methamphetamines were involved, whereas 72 was the median-age for non-meth users. Not surprisingly, the data revealed that Veterans who used methamphetamine were more likely to struggle with PTSD and depression.

“Methamphetamine is an addictive drug, which could have a wide range of effects on patients’ physical and mental well-being,” said Dr. Marin Nishimura, the study author and internal medicine resident at the University of California, San Diego. Dr. Nishimura adds, “Heart failure patients with methamphetamine abuse were younger, more likely to be homeless, unemployed and diagnosed with other substance-abuse and psychiatric conditions.”

Stimulant Use Disorder

Meth is an exceptionally toxic substance, made in a crude manner that often involves caustic chemicals. Scientists are still making discoveries about the drug’s actual impact on the human body. Fortunately, stimulant use disorder (i.e., amphetamine and methamphetamine addiction) is a treatable condition, and recovery is possible. However, it’s vital that both the addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders like PTSD and depression be treated with the use disorder simultaneously. At 10 Acre Ranch, we specialize in the treatment of clients with dual diagnosis. Please contact us today.

PTSD Awareness Month: Encouraging Treatment

photo of psychologist and despair soldier with PTSD

In the last weeks of May, we covered what we believe to be some very important topics. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), co-occurring mental health disorders and keeping your recovery intact during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Regarding PTSD, we discussed what is at stake for individuals whose condition is left untreated, specifically substance abuse and suicidal ideations. Many veterans who have such thoughts make attempts on their own lives and many of those individuals succeed. With that in mind, it is of absolute importance that everyone showing signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress be encouraged to seek assistance—without fear of social stigma or professional consequence. If you are looking for veteran disability benefits, you should find a recommended increase va disability attorney Kentucky to help you in your pursuit.

At this point, if you are regular reader of this blog, you may be wondering, ‘why all the talk about post-traumatic stress?’ Other than the fact that the disorder is quite common among addicts and alcoholics from all walks of life—military background or not. And given that without a concerted effort to treat both the addiction and the co-occurring mental illness concurrently, recovery is next to impossible; June is PTSD Awareness Month and the 27th is PTSD Awareness Day.

Throughout the course of the following month there will be events held across the country to promote wellness among those affected by this most serious mental health disorder. Even though the Veterans Affairs Department having resources available for the afflicted to access treatment, the majority do not utilize it. A relatively recent study from the RAND Corporation found that 50 percent of veterans who have PTSD do not seek help, of those that do accept treatment, only half of them get “minimally adequate” treatment.

Encouraging Treatment

It should go without saying that the statistics cited above are wholly unacceptable. People who put life and limb at risk for a cause should be afforded the best treatment possible. And everything that can be done, should be done to encourage those who are reluctant to seek help. No easy task, to be sure, yet it is still a goal worth working towards.

“Greater understanding and awareness of PTSD will help Veterans and others recognize symptoms, and seek and obtain needed care.” – Dr. Paula P. Schnurr, Executive Director of the National Center for PTSD.

During the month of June, please join 10 Acre Ranch in the effort to break down the stigma that has surrounded mental illness for too long. Treatment works, it is available, but those who are suffering from any form of mental health disorder need reassurances that they have the support of their community when they make the brave step to recover. There are number of things you can do to propagate the value of seeking treatment, and continued maintenance.

If you click here, you will find a number of materials that can be shared on the various social media platforms in your digital quiver. Once there, you can find information on hosting your own event to further the cause. Below is a short PSA titled, “I have PTSD,” that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter et. al:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

“Raising PTSD awareness is essential to overcoming the myth, misinformation and stigma surrounding this mental health problem” said the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert A. McDonald. “We encourage everyone to join us in this important effort.”

PTSD Treatment

If you are male, or have a loved one who is struggling with untreated PTSD along with an alcohol or substance use disorder, please contact 10 Acre Ranch. Drugs and alcohol may, for a time, calm some of your post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, but in the long run mind-altering chemicals only make the symptoms worse. And they can actually make the afflicted more reluctant to seek help. Which is why we implore you to seek assistance before the condition worsens and the symptoms lead to irreversible decisions.

Recovery is not an easy task. The road will be trying, but it will be worth it. You can reach out to our treatment center 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are here to help.

Treating Soldiers With PTSD and Addiction

photo of psychologist and a soldier with PTSD

It is a well known fact that experiencing trauma can have a serious impact on the course of one’s life. A severe accident, or the loss of a loved one can scar people in seemingly ineluctable ways. If you have ever experienced such trauma, then you know firsthand the scars the event can leave with you, possibly even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). An insidious mental illness that if left untreated can lead people to engage in self-destructive behavior. The paradox is such behaviors often take the form of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, which initially can alleviate some of the symptoms of the disorder, but actually make the symptoms worse in the long run. What’s more, self-medicating can also lead to addiction, and what one finds themselves with is a co-occurring disorder—otherwise known as a dual diagnosis.

Symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms).
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the event.
  • Having more negative beliefs and feelings.
  • Feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal).

PTSD In The Military

While the condition can develop in anyone who experiences trauma, most people you probably associate post-traumatic stress with is the military. Young men and women who go off to fight in armed conflict witness and experience first-hand the horrors of war. In the field of battle even the survivors are victims. After nearly two decades of continuous involvement in the Middle East there are thousands of military personnel who have come home from Afghanistan and Iraq changed.

Ideally, such people would have access to the best treatment money could buy. That is, effective methods of therapy and medication that can counter the symptoms and even repair some of the damage. Unfortunately, the Veterans Administration (VA) isn’t always on top of treating affected personnel, which means many service men and women take to calming their symptoms with substances. In many cases, it is a choice that leads to a dishonorable discharge, which can actually cut individuals off from receiving VA benefits. Therefore, upsetting one’s prospects for obtaining a good job after the military

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that during a four-year period, almost two-thirds of the 91,764 U.S. troops kicked out of the military for misconduct had received a diagnosis for post-traumatic stress, The Washington Post reports. The GAO is urging the Defense Department to do a better job at ensuring commanders consider medical conditions like PTSD when determining how to handle misconduct cases.

Treating Mental Illness – PTSD and Addiction

It is quite common for people with any form of mental illness to suffer from addiction as well. Which condition comes first is not as important as treating both disorders at the same time. Failure to do so usually results in an inability to recovery. At 10 Acre Ranch, we understand that drugs and alcohol can prolong a cycle of avoidance and delay treatment. For more than 25 years, we have treated many clients who courageously served overseas, who self-medicated their PTSD with drugs and alcohol. By addressing both the addiction and the co-occurring disorder they could get back on their feet and lead a fulfilling life.

If you or a loved one is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, and self-medicates, please contact us today. Recovery is possible.