Long Term Effects of Crack Abuse

Abusing any substances, no matter the length of abuse time, can cause long term effects that can affect the way your body functions for the rest of your life. People who use crack are often seeking an intense euphoric high and, perhaps, a temporary escape from personal problems that they can’t cope with. However, these fleeting highs are often replaced with longer-term devastation in many areas of their life. Unfortunately, the allure of crack is tough for many to resist, and the drug is so powerful that it’s quite possible to become addicted after the first time it is used. Eventually, the slippery slope of addiction can develop into long-term drug use a destructive pattern of behavior that can ultimately lead to a range of health issues and personal damage.

What is Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is the crystal form of cocaine, which normally comes in a powder form. It comes in solid blocks or crystals varying in color from yellow to pale rose or white. Crack is heated and smoked. It is so named because it makes a cracking or popping sound when heated. Crack, the most potent form in which cocaine appears, is also the riskiest. It is between 75% and 100% pure, far stronger, and more potent than regular cocaine. Smoking crack allows it to reach the brain more quickly and thus brings an intense and immediate but very short-lived high that lasts about fifteen minutes. And because addiction can develop even more rapidly if the substance is smoked rather than snorted (taken in through the nose), an abuser can become addicted after his or her first time trying crack.

Long Term Effects

If you have used crack over a long period of time, you can expect to see a number of physical changes occur. Among other organ systems, these changes can affect:

  • brain.
  • heart.
  •  lungs.
  •  nose.

Crack’s Effects on Your Brain

Unfortunately, your brain doesn’t forget the damage done from using crack. Long-term effects on the brain may include:

  • Structural and functional brain abnormalities (worsened memory and attention span).
  • Compromised dopamine production and activity throughout the brain.
  • Movement disorders.
  • Seizures, strokes, and the potential for irreversible brain damage.
  • Brain aneurysm (abnormal dilation of a blood vessel) and brain hemorrhage.

Crack, as an excitotoxic stimulant, can kill brain cells and can cause persistent changes to various neural pathways. Crack can cause seizures, even in first-time users. Crack’s intense circulatory system influence can precipitate strokes, which can create even more irreversible brain damage. Your risk of a brain aneurysm (abnormal dilation of a blood vessel) also increases, which can lead to a deadly brain hemorrhage.

Effects on Your Heart

Another long-term effect of crack use is extensive damage to your heart. Damage to the cardiovascular system may manifest as:

  • Chest pain.
  • Elevated heart rate.
  • Elevated blood pressure.
  • Increased resistance in the body’s blood vessels.
  • Higher risk of heart attacks.
  • More risk of cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Increased risk of sudden death.

Long-term crack use is also associated with ventricular hypertrophy which is an enlargement of the heart wall. This can lead to an increased risk of heart arrhythmias, heart attack and congestive heart failure. Coronary atherosclerosis may also develop from long-term crack use. Coronary atherosclerosis is the hardening of your arteries and spasms near these hardened areas can deprive the heart of blood, resulting in ischemic chest pain and, ultimately, myocardial infarction.

Effects on Your Lungs

Lung problems are a common long-term risk of crack use. The type of lung problems you will experience depend on the route of drug administration you’ve been using and may include any of the following:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Coughing up sputum.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Chest pain.

More unusual lung complications that may result from long-term crack use may include:

  • Pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding of the lung).
  • Pneumothorax (a collapsed lung).
  • Pulmonary edema (accumulation of fluid in the lungs).
  • Thermal airway injury (from the heated vapor).
  • Pneumomediastinum (abnormal presence of air in the space between the lungs).

You may suffer severe respiratory problems such as a chronic cough, bleeding from the lungs, or you may have “air hunger” which makes you feel as if you aren’t getting enough air into your lungs. Air hunger is very distressing and can lead to panic attacks because it can make you feel as if you are suffocating or dying.

Effects on Your Nose

Depending on your method of using crack cocaine, long-term abuse can result in severe damage to the tissue and even the structure of your nose. Snorting crack cocaine can result in nasal damage that may include:

  • Perforated nasal septum (a tear or hole in the cartilage bridge between your nostrils).
  • Chronic rhinitis (irritation and inflammation of the nasal tissue).
  • Sinus infections.
  • Ulcers in the throat.
  • Nasal tissue death, due to narrowing of the blood vessels and insufficient oxygen.
  • Anosmia, or loss of smell.
  • Nasal insufflation of all forms of cocaine can create holes in your nasal septum. These holes may be small or large and can lead to serious infections.

You could also destroy your nasal septum completely and cause permanent disfiguration to your facial features. This damage can make it difficult to breath. In fact, some chronic crack users are only able to breath through their mouth. Chronic sinus infections, chronic runny nose and frequent nosebleeds may also develop due to the damage in your nasal lining. Some individuals even lose their ability to smell, which can impact the ability to enjoy food.

Long-term use of crack also causes severe mental problems. Some of the mental health problems that may result include:

  • Restlessness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Irritability.
  • Paranoia.
  • Hallucinations.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction do not hesitate to call for help today. These long term effects can be very dangerous and make it very important to seek help right away.

10 Factors That Can Affect Heroin Relapse

Worrying about relapsing on heroin while in recovery can be very scary. You have final gotten help and have begun your recovery journey and are worried about relapsing. Having that constant worry is normal, and the feeling of being able to avoid relapsing will become very rewarding.

What is A Relapse

A relapse can be defined as to fall or slide back into a former state. When a substance abuser relapses, it means that they have returned to using alcohol or drugs after a period of being sober. A relapse trigger is an event that gives the individual the justification to return to this behavior. In many instances this person will have been just looking for an excuse to relapse, and the trigger provided this excuse.

10 Factors That Can Affect Heroin Relapse

Stress/Frustration

Beginning a new sober life can become challenging. You have all these expectations of how you want your new life to be and how it should be. But the reality is, it’s going to take some time and work to get to those expectations. The journey to get to the point you wish, can be a rough one and can get stressful. An addict is used to taking stress and frustrations out by abusing drugs. That is one new thing that must be dealt with differently now on the path for a new life.

Being full of self-pity

Now that you are finally sober, you are beginning to see things much clearer. You may begin to realize all the horrible things you have done during your addiction and all the people you have hurt. You may even begin to realize how low your life came while suffering from addiction. During this time of feelings, it is most important to remember the new path you have chosen. The fact that you are now sober and clear minded it a reward to top all the past choices that affected you until now. There is much more in life coming and waiting for you and it is important to remember how hard you worked to get to where you are and be thankful you can now fix the pain you may have caused to yourself or others.

Taking Recovery for Granted

Being sober and on the recovery path successfully is a fantastic feeling. You are now confident, you see things clearer and have great plans for your recovery. Recovery lasts a lifetime. If your alive and are sober, you are still in recovery.  Recovery doesn’t end when you complete treatment or become sober, recovery is forever. Do not get too comfortable. It doesn’t matter if you have been in recovery for a week or for years, relapse can happen at any time. A relapse can be when you least expect it you have the urge to use again and relapse. It can become tricky to not get off track in your recovery. It is important to understand to continue the things that helped you begin your recovery in the first place.

Lying and Dishonesty

When people enter into recovery, they are making a decision to have a more honest approach to life. While trapped during addiction the individual will have been trapped in delusion and denial. In order to maintain the addiction, they would have also needed to behave dishonestly. If people become sober and continue to behave this way it is usually a sign that they are caught in dry drunk syndrome. This means that they are physically sober but their behavior is just as it always has been. Dishonesty prevents them from finding real happiness in recovery and may eventually cause them to relapse.

People or places connected to the addictive behavior

Being around people and places associated with one’s addiction can often push a person to relapse. For example, going back to a favorite bar may tempt an individual to pick up the bottle again. Another example, going back around previous friends you got high with or going back to places you got high at. It’s better to avoid these temptations, especially in the early phases of recovery.

Negative or Challenging Emotions

While negative emotions are a normal part of life, those struggling with addiction often cite frustration, anger, anxiety, and loneliness, as triggers for relapse. Therefore, usually as a part of therapy, its essential to develop effective ways of managing these feelings.

Times of Celebration

Most situations that can trigger relapse are perceived as negative. However, sometimes positive situations such as times of celebration, where alcohol or drugs are present, are just as risky. Avoiding such events or bringing along a trusted friend can assist in preventing relapse.

Seeing or sensing the object of your addiction

In recovery, even a slight reminder of the object of the addiction, such as seeing the portrayal of addictive behavior on television, can lead to relapse. While it is impossible to avoid such reminders forever, developing skills for managing any urges or cravings can aid in preventing relapse.

High Expectations of Others

Holding realistic expectations doesn’t just apply to your own life, it applies to other’s lives, as well. When we expect too much of our spouses, our parents, children, loved ones, friends, acquaintances, or co-workers, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Understand that everyone can and does make mistakes in daily life. Instead of holding your loved ones to unrealistic expectations, focus on healing and rebuilding your relationships one day at a time.

Overconfidence

Self-confidence is a powerful tool in addiction recovery. However, there is a fine line between holding your head high and know your boundaries and justifying that you are in complete control and a small amount of your drug of choice or another drug won’t hurt you. By allowing your self-image to become distorted, you may become overconfident and indulge in irrational thoughts. In recovery, it’s important to build a healthy balance of self-esteem and humility.

Avoiding A Relapse

When beginning the journey for recovery it is very important to be aware of the things that could possibly be a trigger for relapse. Whether leaving a treatment center or an outpatient program the aftercare that is chosen plays a very important role in the road to recovery. After care is a way to stay motivated in recovery and to continue to help you with struggles you may face.

While relapse may happen for some and not others, it’s important to remember that relapse does not mean failure. Recovering from addiction is a life-long process of hard work and dedication to one’s program and recovery path. It is important that if relapse happens, you or your loved one get help right away. This does not mean they failed and cannot complete recovery. Maybe it wasn’t their time. It is ok to need help again because no recovery is perfect. Call today to speak with an addiction consoler to help get you or your loved one on the right path.

 

Dangers of Long Term Oxycodone Abuse

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a prescription opiate analgesic or “painkiller” that works by changing the way that the brain responds to pain. It is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, and commonly supplied under the brand names OxyContin and Percocet. Oxycodone has a high potential for abuse. When prescribed the medication users begin to get used to the euphoric feeling that they receive.

Even taking this medication as prescribed can be a big risk for addiction. The more it is used a tolerance is built up and they will eventually need more to get the effect that is needed to help with pain. Once they medication is no longer supplied and the user stops taking it they may experience withdrawal symptoms. At this point the user turns into an abuser and tries to get the medication anyway possible. Oxycodone can produce intensely positive feelings and rewarding sensations in the user. As such, it has a high potential for abuse. When used recreationally, there is a high risk for overdose, as recreational methods of ingesting it often accelerate the absorption of large, dangerous amounts of the drug.

Oxycodone can come in liquid or pill form (with immediate and controlled-release variations), and is often prescribed as a combination product with other drugs such as acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen, with each combination having a different brand name. Brand names include OxyContin, Roxicodone, Percocet, and Percodan. Street names for oxycodone include “oxy,” “kickers,” “blue,” and “hillbilly heroin,” among others.

Short-Term Effects of Oxycodone

When taken as prescribed, oxycodone can bring about the following desirable feelings:

  • Euphoria
  • Extreme relaxation
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Pain relief
  • Sedation

Side Effects

Oxycodone is a powerful opioid painkiller. Its positive, pain-reducing effects can also come with several unwanted side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Mood changes

These side effects can make the user uncomfortable, and tend to get worse as the dose increases. Other side effects can be much more serious and may require immediate medical help:

  • Irregular heart rate and/or rhythm
  • Chest pain
  • Hives, itching, or rash
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Seizures
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Postural hypotension
  • Lightheadedness

Some of the most dangerous side effects of oxycodone use are associated with the breathing problems that it may create. A markedly slowed respiratory rate can quickly turn life-threatening, especially in overdose situations.

Long Term Effects of Oxycodone

When using Oxycodone for a long period of time it can affect everyone differently. For some Oxycodone, can be very affective for help with severe chronic pain. Even using it as needed it is not safe to depend on it and use it more often than directed by the Dr. Oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning that it has been determined to have highly addictive properties and a high potential for dependence.

Oxycodone dependence can be both psychological and physical:

  • Psychological dependence often stems from the feeling of euphoria that users experience at first. Users want to continue feeling as euphoric and relaxed as their early use, sometimes even seeking higher doses in hopes of amplifying the effects.
  • Physical dependence on oxycodone involves adaptation to a persistently heightened presence of drug in one’s system. After some duration, certain physiologic processes are impeded when the drug isn’t available. Additionally, tolerance can quickly develop a phenomenon that means you will eventually need more and more of the drug in order to achieve the same effects.

Oxycodone use has been found to be associated with kidney and liver failure, as well as a reduction in the brain’s ability to adapt to new input, which may account for the shift from controlled to compulsive use. Combination products present even further risk. Chronic or extended use of any medication combining oxycodone and acetaminophen may result in severe liver damage. This risk is profoundly increased when an oxycodone/acetaminophen combination drug is abused simultaneously with alcohol.

It is very common when prescribed Oxycodone or any opiate that is a narcotic to become dependent on it. An addiction can be developed with no thoughts about it ever happening. If you or someone you love has developed an addiction and are unsure what to do, do not hesitate to call for help today, there are people ready to help with any questions and get you pointed in the right direction.

LSD: How Dangerous Is It?

What is LSD?

LSD is one of the most potent, mood-changing chemicals. It is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in the ergot fungus that grows on rye and other grains. It is produced in crystal form in illegal laboratories, mainly in the United States. These crystals are converted to a liquid for distribution. It is odorless, colorless, and has a slightly bitter taste.

Known as “Acid” on the streets, LSD can be taken in small tablets, capsules, or gelatin squares. Either way that LSD is abused it gives the abusers the same disconnected with reality effect.  The effects given from taking LSD is considered a “trip”. Users like to call the high a “trip” that can last up to 12 hours. When something goes wrong with taking LSD it is considered a bad trip.

What is a Hallucinogen?

Hallucinogens are drugs that cause hallucinations. LSD is a hallucinogen. Hallucinogens are drugs that alter the user’s thinking processes and perception in a manner that leads to significant distortions of reality. LSD is a synthetic drug that in small amounts can produce very powerful visual hallucinations and mood alterations.

LSD use does not appear to result in physical dependence, although tolerance can develop.

Long-term LSD use, in rare cases, can lead to Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder, or chronic flashbacks of experiences while on LSD. These flashbacks can cause significant impairment or distress in the user’s life and can last for years.

5 Dangerous Effects of LSD

  1. The physical LSD drug effects include:higher body temperature and sweating, dilated pupils, nausea or loss of appetite, increased heart rate, blood sugar, and blood pressure, sleeplessness, tremors, and dry mouth. In most cases these may not be considered a relevant danger, but for individuals with prior history of medical concerns, they may be at risk.
  2. Since LSD is prohibited from any legal distribution, monitoring of the chemical manufacturing process is unregulated.Users can not be sure of the actual contents of the drug and have no idea what type of effect it may present. Users are unable to calculate the dosages and therefore, the effects are unpredictable. Users can swing from one mood to the next or feel several emotions at once.
  3. High doses of LSD can induce “bad trips”where the user experiences intense anxiety or panic, confusion, or combative behaviors. Distorted perception of time and depth with lack of control may induce changes to the shape of objects, movements, color, sound, touch, and own body images. These experiences may become severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, fear of insanity and death. If large enough doses are taken, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations that could last for 10 to 12 hours.
  4. Under the influence of LSD, the user loses their ability to make sensible judgments and see common dangers.They are more likely to participate in risky behaviors that make them susceptible to personal injury, which can, possibly, be fatal.
  5. After an LSD trip, the user may suffer acute anxiety or depression, severe fatigue, or they and may experience frightening flashbacksknown as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). In some cases, especially after long term use, the effects of LSD can last for days or months after taking the last dose.

If you believe someone you love may be abusing LSD, it is important to know the signs to look for.  A person abusing LSD may experience the following physical and psychological changes:

  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disorientation
  • Fear and paranoia
  • Increase in saliva and drooling
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rise in pulse rate
  • Rise in temperature
  • Rise in blood pressure
  • Sleeplessness
  • Visual disturbances and hallucinations

There may also be many behavioral changes with regular use of LSD such as:

  • Change of friends
  • Lack of interest in usual activities
  • Aggressive Behaviors
  • Legal Troubles
  • Problems at work or school
  • Problems within personal relationships
  • Financial difficulties

Taking LSD can be very dangerous and can have an unexpected outcome. Some abusers may enjoy the high while other have a miserable trip that is hard for them to escape once LSD is taken. If you or someone you love is abusing LSD do not hesitate to get them help. LSD is very dangerous and if someone is in need of help it is important for them to seek help right away.

 

Cocaine Use Warning Signs

Wondering whether someone you love is abusing drugs or alcohol can be a very unsure feeling. It is something that you don’t want to be wrong about and something you don’t want to overlook. Warning signs for drug abuse tend to sometimes be the same for different substances. You may be seeing very many changes in someone and are curious if they are possibly using drugs. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of a loved one abusing drugs can be very important. Drug abuse is something that one should get a hold of right away and get help.

First Noticeable Signs

If someone you love is abusing cocaine and they don’t want you to know, they may disappear and come back in a whole new mood.  They may come back more excited, more talkative, and more active physically. Cocaine speeds up your whole body. You talk, move, and think fast. They may not be eating much or sleeping much. When a person is abusing cocaine, they feel a rush of energy and typically will not sleep very much and be up for many hours at a time.

These could be things you are already noticing and now have the question are they using cocaine. If a cocaine using is snorting the white powdery substance they may leave traces of the powder around their nose. If they are not snorting it cocaine can also be dissolved into liquid and shot up using a needle. At that point you may notice track marks on the user’s arms or random places on the body.

Mood Swings

When a person is abusing cocaine, they can have various mood swings. When they first use it they will become excited and happy. But then their mood can change when the feeling begins to wear off. They can become paranoid, angry, or anxious. They may also do things that don’t make sense.

Runny Nose

People who snort cocaine can have frequent nose bleeds. In addition to nose bleeds they may have a constant runny nose as if they have a cold and they are sniffling a lot.

Dilated Pupils

A person who is under the influence of drugs will have dilated pupils and/or more alert looking eyes that are sensitive to light.

These are only a few of the signs that may be noticed from someone that is abusing cocaine. Other common signs can include:

Mood symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Feelings of superiority
  • Euphoria
  • Panic
  • Irritation
  • Fearfulness

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Extremely talkative
  • Increased energy
  • Stealing or borrowing money
  • Erratic, bizarre behaviors
  • Violence
  • Abandonment of activities once enjoyed
  • Reckless and risky behaviors

Physical symptoms:

  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Increased need for sleep after usage
  • Headaches
  • Muscle twitches
  • Malnutrition
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Constriction of blood vessels
  • Chronically runny nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Nasal perforation
  • Hoarseness
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Faster heart rate
  • Rise in blood pressure
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Cravings

Psychological symptoms:

  • Intense paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Violent mood swings
  • Hallucination
  • Break from reality
  • Unable to exert good judgment
  • Rationalization of drug use
  • Lack of motivation

Realizing these are the signs and symptoms of cocaine use that your loved one is presenting it is important to get them help and get their recovery process going. There are many long term and short term affects that can harm someone abusing cocaine. Getting someone to begin the process of recovery can save their life. Do not hesitate to call today for more information or help for your loved one.