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.

E-Cigarettes Could Save Millions of Lives

woman using e-cigarrette

Nicotine is a highly addictive drug that keeps tobacco users coming back for more. If you are in recovery, then you know that many of your peers are still smoking cigarettes. You may still be a smoker yourself. Perhaps you have tried quitting in the past, but were unable to manage the difficult task at that time. Those of you who are regular readers of this blog might remember a post from several months back. One that discussed the risks of smoking to your recovery. Hopefully, the post struck a chord and made you reconsider your relationship with nicotine.

While quitting smoking is difficult, it is possible. There are a number of methods that can help mitigate the likelihood of starting again after quitting. All such products you are undoubtedly aware of. In recent years there has been a lot of talk about electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes. Health experts have been trying to get a grasp on the risks and benefits of using the devices. Both for smoking cessation purposes and/or replacing one nicotine vehicle for another. If you are trying to quit smoking and this is something that interests you, then you should take a look at a website like Vaping360. Hopefully, this might be the thing to help you quit smoking for good.

If you have been following the news about such research, then you know that there isn’t a real consensus. Some argue that e-cigs are worse than traditional cigarettes. But, not necessarily for the reasons that traditional cigarettes are bad for you. Others debate whether they are an effective way to quit smoking altogether. Again, the research is both new and relatively inconclusive in that regard. However, a cursory review of the available research indicates experts tend to agree on one front. Traditional cigarettes are worse than e-cigarettes for one’s health.

E-Cigarettes Might Save Your Life

Vaping is what e-cigarette use has come to be called. And in the rooms of recovery there are many-a-vaper. Perhaps you use an electronic cigarette? If so, there is some new research that you may find of particular interest. Researchers from Georgetown Lombardi Cancer Center contend that e-cigarettes can save millions of lives, according to a GMUC press release. In fact, as many as 6.6 million cigarette smokers will live substantially longer by making the switch. The research showed that smokers could gain 86 million years of life if they switch to vaping. So if this is something that you are interested in, then one thing that you take a look at buying would be buying something like these vape & dab pen batteries.

“In addition, there would be tremendous health benefits including reduced disease disability to smokers, reduced pain and suffering, and reduced exposure to second hand smoke,” says the study’s lead author David Levy, PhD, professor of oncology at Georgetown Lombardi. “Even the gloomiest analysis shows a significant gain in years of life if nicotine is obtained from vaping instead of much more deadly amount of toxicants inhaled with cigarette smoke.”

The team of researchers believe that e-cigarettes should become an important part of the U.S. tobacco prevention policy. The status quo isn’t going to cut it. Smokers should be encouraged to make the switch to e-cigarettes. The findings were published in the journal Tobacco Control.

Protecting Your Recovery

Ideally, everyone dependent upon nicotine would give it up all together. But, reality dictates a common-sense approach. If e-cigarettes are the lesser of two evils with regard to one’s health and longevity, smokers should consider switching. What’s more, it may be possible to step back one’s reliance on nicotine by using e-cigarettes. Given that you can get varying degrees of nicotine strength, with the goal of working your way to nicotine-free vapor.

At 10 Acre Ranch, we encourage all of our clients to give smoking cessation serious thought. We can help you break-free from tobacco while learning how to live a life in recovery. Please contact us if you are ready to take steps toward recovery.

Alcohol Use, Even Moderately – Impacts Brain

alcoholic person drinking behind bottles of alcohol

Yesterday we wrote for our readers about binge drinking and high-intensity drinking. Binge drinking is associated with men consuming 5 or more drinks and women consuming 4 or more drinks—over a 2-hour period. Whereas high-intensity drinking is defined as men having 15+ drinks and women 10+ drinks per occasion. Both methods of consuming alcohol have been associated with alcohol poisoning, alcohol-related trauma, dependence and alcohol use disorder.

Drinking in the “unhealthy” ways listed above can cause a number of other problems as well. In the short term, those drinking in such ways are apt to experience blackouts, memory loss and anxiety. One can often recover from all of these problems in a day or two. But over longer periods of time, long-term drinking can result in mental health problems, and permanent brain damage resulting in learning disabilities, as well as cognitive and motor function damage. And that is just the damage that heavy alcohol use can have on the brain. A whole other article/post could easily be dedicated to the substance’s effects on vital organs, like the liver and pancreas.

With all the potential harm that alcohol can cause, one may ask themselves how this substance could be legal. Sure, someone could counter by saying that when used in moderation, alcohol is relatively harmless. But is it really? After all, alcohol can remove paint, is flammable and certain combustion engines can even run on the substance. Yet, every day millions of Americans ingest it and many would even argue that they have earned it.

Is Alcohol Worth It?

Over the years, there has been shaky research disseminated, which claimed that alcohol in small amounts may be good for the certain organs, like the heart for instance. However, the little evidence that exists in defense of such research is questionable at best. If you are drinking because you think you are doing yourself a healthy service, you may want to rethink the practice.

Scientists will probably continue to argue over the health benefits of alcohol consumption for years to come, but in the meantime, we should all do our best to continue to learn about the negative health consequences of alcohol use, even in small amounts.

New research out of the United Kingdom has found that alcohol use can have adverse effects on your brain and impact cognitive function, BMJ reports. I know you are thinking, ‘hold on, you’ve already mentioned that that can occur.’ And you are right. What makes this new study so interesting is that the researchers found that the aforementioned impacts can occur from even moderate drinking.

“Our findings support the recent reduction in UK safe limits and call into question the current US guidelines, which suggest that up to 24.5 units a week is safe for men, as we found increased odds of hippocampal atrophy [a form of brain damage that affects memory and spatial navigation] at just 14-21 units a week, and we found no support for a protective effect of light consumption on brain structure,” the researchers write. They conclude that: “Alcohol might represent a modifiable risk factor for cognitive impairment, and primary prevention interventions targeted to later life could be too late.”

You May Not Know You Have An Alcohol Use Problem

It can be easy to rationalize one’s alcohol use as being well within the social norms. But who established the limits on safe alcohol consumption? One can always find someone who seems to have a more insidious relationship with alcohol in order to justify continued use. The takeaway from research like this is that there is probably no such thing as healthy drinking, sure it may not lead one down the road towards alcohol use disorder—but it’s certainly not doing your health any favors.

If you have started experiencing negative effects on your health from alcohol, it is strongly suggested that you talk to someone about your relationship with alcohol. There may be a problem that needs to be addressed, sooner rather than later. Please contact 10 Acre Ranch today to discuss your options.