Vital Drug Issues and Treatment in McAllen, Texas
Over the years, there has been a significant increase in the use of illicit drugs in the United States. In 2013, an estimated 24.6 million people in the country aged 12 or older had used an illicit drug in the past month – this is 9.4% of the population.
This number is an increase from 8.3% in 2002. The same year, there was an increase in the use of methamphetamine, with 595,000 current users. In 2010, the number was 353,000 users.
Data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that approximately 7.32% of people in Texas admitted to using illicit drugs in the past month – the national average was 8.82%. A growing number of people in the state are seeking treatment for addiction to methamphetamine.
According to Treatment Episode Survey data from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2014, there were 6,219 Texans who sought treatment for addiction to methamphetamine and amphetamine, an increase of 590 from the previous year.
Methamphetamine Abuse and Addiction
Methamphetamine is one of the deadliest drugs today for many reasons. One is that the drug is highly addictive. Also known as meth, this is an illicit narcotic derived from amphetamine. Meth users are known to smoke and/or inject it and experience a high that can last up to 12 hours.
When a person uses the drug, a chemical in the brain known as dopamine is rapidly released, ultimately causing users to experience feelings of euphoria. When meth is abused, the high that is achieved can occur instantly and those who chronically use the substance often build up a tolerance and quickly become addicted to it.
The Growing Popularity of Methamphetamine
Unfortunately, methamphetamine has become a popular drug. Because it is inexpensive and easy to obtain, it has become a sort of replacement for cocaine when an individual cannot afford cocaine any longer and they desire a drug that produces a stimulant type of effect.
Apart from this, meth is apparently easy to concoct. Although this activity is highly dangerous, a large number of people make meth in their kitchens because they are either desperate to obtain the drug or to sell – in some cases, it is both. In the past, meth was more popular in rural areas, but over time, this has changed a lot. Now it is accepted more and used among a much wider group of people, including those in suburban areas.
Why Meth is So Addictive
There are a number of aspects to meth addiction. A significant part of the addictive property is found in the process that occurs with the brain when a person ingests the drug. When meth is used, there is a heavy release of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain to an unnatural extent.
The extent of the release of dopamine in particular is roughly 12 times more than that of other activities that produce pleasure, such as eating food. This, in other words, means that when meth is used, it releases 12 times more dopamine than is natural and normal. This is what causes the high that a person experiences when they use meth.
Once the high of the meth wears off, it naturally causes a problem. The brain is affected and in some cases, this effect is permanent. As the high wears off, the level of dopamine is no longer sufficient. It is depleted because a large amount of it was previously released when it was not supposed to, which in turn creates an imbalance in the user.
They experience negative effects, a low, and in some cases, this low can become semi-permanent or permanent. The condition of the user’s brain will only worsen in this regard when the drug is used over time.
The risk factors for meth abuse include the following:
- Family history of abuse, dependence and addiction to drugs or alcohol
- Family history of psychopathology
- Factors related to neurobiological dysfunction
- Severe family dysfunction and/or disruption, including significantly problematic divorce
- Personal history of abusing other substances or alcohol
- Exposure to crime
- Exposure to violence
- Presence of mental health condition/conditions
- Being surrounded by people who use the drug/peer pressure
- Easy access to the drug
- Multiple and/or severe behavior problems
- Severe childhood behavior/conduct issues that involve acting out aggressively and a high childhood activity level
Causes of Drug Abuse
According to experts, a person is likely to be more vulnerable to drug abuse due to genetics, physiological functioning and certain environmental influences.
- Genetic: Specialists in drug addiction have long believed that addiction can be inherited among family members. This is especially true of people who have a first-degree relative with a history of drug abuse. The offspring of that relative has a greater risk for eventually abusing drugs, such as meth.
- Physical: When a person abuses meth for a prolonged period, it can cause severe damage to nerve functioning in their brain. When this occurs, users may struggle to make sound decisions, resist impulses and find it difficult to abstain from further drug use. Lastly, when a drug like meth alters the brain chemistry of an individual, there is a high chance that they will develop an addiction to the drug.
- Environmental: When a person is in an environment where meth is abused, it can increase their likelihood of abusing the drug too. In addition, if a person has a history of environmental exposure to violence or drug use, was/is a victim of neglect, abuse or crime, or has experienced some form of trauma, they are more likely to use or abuse methamphetamine.
Warning Signs and Symptoms of Meth Abuse
The signs inferring that an individual is abusing meth tends to vary from one person to another. The symptoms of meth abuse can also vary based on the amount of meth is used as well as the duration of the person’s meth addiction, and if the person abuses additional substances at the same time as meth.
Here is a look at some examples of symptoms that indicate that a person is abusing meth:
- Truancy from school
- Social isolation or withdrawal
- Missing work
- Rapid speech
- Unwarranted aggression
- Incessant talking
- Erratic behavior
- Engaging in criminal activity
- Change in appetite
- Weight loss
- Increase in body temperature
- Profusive sweating
- Muscle spasms
- Facial tics
- Uncontrollable twitching
- Accelerated heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Foul body odor
- Poor hygiene
- Memory loss
- Learning difficulties
- Loss of sound judgment and reasoning
- Extreme shifts in mood
- Decreased interest in activities once enjoyed
- Intense anxiety
- Prolonged manic episodes
Effects of Meth Abuse
Drug addiction can make a person susceptible to a range of adverse effects. When a person uses methamphetamine in the long-term, there are certain effects that can occur, such as:
- Changes in physical appearance
- Damaged relationships
- Financial strife
- Permanent damage to the immune system
- Academic failure
- Job loss
- Contracting viruses like hepatitis C or HIV/AIDS
- Irreparable cognitive impairment
- Sudden death
People who abuse meth often do so to self-medicate and relieve unpleasant symptoms of a mental illness. In addition, there are some mental health conditions that can be triggered by methamphetamine abuse. There are certain disorders that are known to occur with meth addiction, such as:
- Anxiety disorders
- Depressive disorders
- Bipolar disorder
- Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Effects of Withdrawal and Overdose
When a person uses meth on a prolonged basis, it can ultimately result in withdrawal and/or overdose if they do not get treatment for this type of substance abuse. When a person abuses methamphetamine regularly, it can cause the following effects:
Effects of meth withdrawal: When a person abruptly stops using meth, it is likely to cause withdrawal. The symptoms of withdrawal from methamphetamine can render many harmful effects that can be life-threatening. When a person experiences withdrawal after abstaining from the drug, it is known to produce the following effects:
- Psychomotor tics
- Loss of energy
- Increased depression
- Increased anxiety
- Inability to experience pleasure
- Intense cravings
- Sudden weight gain
- Suicidal ideation
Effects of meth overdose: When meth is chronically used and abused, it is likely that the user will develop a tolerance for the drug. When a user becomes tolerant, they need to use more meth and use it more frequently to produce the same desired effects.
The cravings for the drug often supersede the user’s awareness that overdose is possible, and even near. If a person uses methamphetamine beyond the point where their body can metabolize it, it is likely that overdose will occur. The following effects are examples of what can occur when an overdose of meth happens:
- Breathing difficulty
- Chest pain
- Heart attack
- Kidney failure
- Lapsing into a coma
Treatment for Meth Abuse and Addiction
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to methamphetamine, it is important to seek treatment from a well-known drug addiction treatment center in McAllen, Texas. The damaging effects of this drug occur rapidly, affecting the user’s health, which is why getting treatment as quickly as possible is crucial.
Before entering a drug treatment center, there are certain processes you need to go through to make sure that you find the right program. It is critical to bear in mind that there is no one meth treatment program that works for everyone. Every user has their own unique needs and issues and the treatment plan they receive must be designed to specifically address these needs and issues.
Drug Addiction Assessment
The first process to find the best treatment program for your meth addiction is the drug addiction assessment. This is a short and simple process where the professional conducting it diagnoses whether you have an addiction and determine how extensive your addiction is and if you have any co-occurring disorders.
The assessment is typically conducted in a private setting by a professional who is trained to diagnose addictions, including doctors, nurses, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists, and social workers.
The professional will give you a questionnaire to fill out with information about your drug use, treatment history, health history, behavioral patterns, symptoms, and how meth addiction has affected your life. The information you provide is confidential and used only to help tailor a treatment plan that will work for you.
You may also be referred to a physician for a medical evaluation. Typically, this will involve a physical evaluation and tests to diagnose any existing medical conditions or co-occurring disorder. Every part of the drug addiction assessment is to make sure that you receive the correct diagnosis and an effective treatment to help you recover successfully from your meth addiction.
After the assessment, the next process is the pre-intake. This is a simple process in which you will be given a standardized form to fill out. This is to help you find the best treatment program in McAllen, TX for your addiction. You will also be given a list of documents and personal items that you can bring with you when you enter the drug treatment facility.
The pre-intake process is conducted to make sure that you enter the right treatment center for your addiction to meth and also help drug treatment providers tailor a plan that addresses your specific needs and issues. This may be a simple process, but you should keep in mind that this is an important one.
As mentioned earlier, different users need different drug treatment plans as they do not have the same conditions or issues. There is no “one size fits all” treatment plan so it is crucial for drug treatment providers to make sure that you get the right kind of help to maximize the chances of a successful recovery from meth addiction.
Next comes the intake process. This is basically an interview with staff members of the admissions department in a drug treatment facility. During the intake, you will be asked a wide range of questions so that the drug treatment providers can determine the exact type of treatment you need and tailor a suitable treatment plan.
Because the professionals ask a lot of questions about the person’s drug history, mental health history, etc., many people find it difficult to answer some of the questions truthfully due to shame or embarrassment. However, you should understand that these questions are asked to help with your treatment plan, so it is important to make sure that you answer all of the questions openly and honestly.
Keep in mind that not answering truthfully will only hinder your chances of recovering successfully from your addiction to methamphetamine.
Some examples of the questions you will be asked during the intake process include:
- When did you first begin using drugs? What was the drug you used?
- Do you use other substances, including alcohol, with meth? How often?
- What is your medical history? Do you have any current medical condition? Are you on any medication for that condition?
- What is your mental health history? Have you been diagnosed with any mental disorder? Do you take medications for it?
- Is there are a history of substance abuse and addiction in your family?
- How much meth do you use in a day? Do you use other drugs with it?
- Why and when did you decide to seek treatment for your addiction?
- Have you been in rehab before? If so, how many times?
- How is your relationship with your family and friends?
- Are you currently employed?
- What is your financial situation?
- How do you finance your meth addiction?
- Have you committed any drug-related crime?
- What are your plans for the future?
As you can see, there are many different questions that you can be asked during the intake process. Answer every question as clearly and truthfully as you can so that the treatment providers can help you find the treatment you need and increase your chances of recovering successfully.
Although detox is not really a treatment for addiction, it does play an important role and is a precursor for treatment. Detox helps in flushing out all of the harmful substances in your system that have accumulated due to your meth use. You can choose from a number of detox programs, but it is best to press the button for a program in a hospital or treatment center.
Withdrawal from meth can be unpleasant and uncomfortable and have serious effects on your body. It is important to have a team of medical professionals to supervise your detox and monitor your vital signs as you experience withdrawal symptoms. A medical staff can also provide medications to help alleviate the discomfort you experience during withdrawal.
Detox does not only eliminate harmful substances from your body, but also helps in clearing your mind so you can think properly about your treatment and recovery as well as your future without meth. Once you have completed the detox process, you can focus on getting treatment for your meth addiction in a professional inpatient or outpatient treatment center in McAllen.
Inpatient Treatment Center
One of the options you have to treat your addiction to meth is an inpatient treatment program, also known as residential treatment program (RTP). In this type of program, you will need to admit yourself into a facility for the treatment and care you need. An inpatient treatment program will typically run anywhere from 30 days to 6 months.
In some cases, it can last as long as 1 year, depending on how long the patient has been using meth and how severe their addiction is.
In an RTP, there are counselors, therapists as well as qualified medical professionals to provide the treatment, care and support you need to recover. Each day in this type of program is carefully scheduled with different counseling and therapy sessions that you must attend.
Apart from these sessions, some centers also have educational and vocational courses as well as 12-step programs. Every day is designed to provide the services you need to overcome your addiction to meth and begin living without the dangerous drug.
Outpatient Treatment Center
In an outpatient treatment program, or OTP, you receive the same treatment and care you do in an inpatient program. The only difference is that you do not have to admit yourself into the facility. You will need to attend counseling sessions and therapy on scheduled days of the week and also receive medications to reduce cravings. You can live at home and take care of your responsibilities while receiving the treatment and support you need to get clean.
You can also enroll in an intensive outpatient program (IOP) after you have completed your primary treatment for meth abuse and addiction in an inpatient treatment center. If you do not need the structure or medical support offered by other levels of care, then an IOP is a poignant option for you.
Aftercare and Sober Living
When you leave a drug treatment center after completing your program, you can get further care and support by opting for an aftercare program or enter a sober living home. Addiction to meth or any other drug is a lifelong disease and you need to have continuous help and support to ensure that you stay clean and sober. An aftercare program provides services to maintain recovery, prevent relapse and achieving a healthy, drug-free life.
A sober living home is a place you can enter when you leave a treatment center. If you do not have a safe environment to return to after completing your program, a sober living home is your best option. You can stay with other recovering addicts and provide each other with support as you begin to regain your life.
In a sober living home, there are rules and regulations you must adhere to and you will also need to pay your own rent, buy your own food, etc. – basically live there like you would in your own home. You will also need to submit to random drug testing.
Get the Right Treatment for Meth Addiction in McAllen, Texas
If you are tired of living with your addiction to meth and want to get clean, you will not have any problem finding a great drug treatment center in McAllen, TX to help you overcome your addiction. Once you have chosen a center, you can slowly begin to rebuild your life and start the road to recovery and living a healthy, happy, and drug-free life.