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How Does Alcohol Damage the Vital Organs?

When most people think about alcohol-related deaths, they think of drinking and driving. Unfortunately, alcoholism can increase the odds of developing cancer, committing suicide, and many adverse health outcomes.

Drinking alcohol and organ damage go hand in hand with excessive drinking. The Centers for Disease Control are campaigning to educate the American public on what the standard drink is and how it differs from excessive drinking.

Why Is Alcohol So Damaging?

The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics proved in 2020, 140,557 Americans died from the effects of alcohol in an average year. Alcohol damages vital organs with excessive and long-term use.

Excessive drinking for women is 4 or more drinks during one occasion, and 5 or more for men. Heavy drinking for women is 8 or more drinks a week, and for men 15 or more drinks per week. 

Alcohol can weaken the immune system, which works to protect the body and its organs from infection and disease. Consuming alcohol keeps the body from performing normal processes.

It damages vital organs, causing bacteria to grow in the gut, which can migrate into the intestinal wall and the liver. Alcohol and organ damage are only part of a precarious situation with alcoholism. Drinking alcohol can put people at a greater risk of developing cancers. 

Regular drinking over time increases the risk of the following cancers:

  • Head and neck cancer, including oral cavity, pharynx, and larynx cancers
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Colorectal cancer

Alcohol and Brain Damage

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reveals through various studies and research how alcohol has a disturbing effect on brain chemistry. Alcohol damages vital organs and interferes with the brain’s communication pathways, affecting mood, behavior, and cognitive ability.

Hangovers are a typical experience with excessive drinking and can be painful and dangerous. Brain damage can cause challenges with coordination and decision-making skills and add hidden dangers from accidents and the chance of overdose.

Alcohol’s Effect on the Heart and Kidneys

Alcohol damages vital organs, especially the heart. Those with an alcohol use disorder are at a higher risk of high blood pressure. Cardiomyopathy (diseased heart muscle) and arrhythmias (unusual heartbeat) are often the result of excessive alcohol use. A stroke is another critical possibility involving excessive intake of alcohol. 

The National Kidney Foundation is trying to raise awareness of the unfortunate effects of alcohol and organ damage. The kidneys filter blood, a vital function, and regulate fluids and electrolytes in the body.

Alcohol abuse disrupts the kidneys from functioning correctly and may dehydrate the body, which affects cells and other organs. Excessive drinking can damage the kidneys and cause them to work inefficiently or not at all. 

Alcohol and the Liver

The fact that alcohol damages vital organs is becoming more apparent in the knowledge that the liver must work hard to detoxify and remove alcohol from the blood. The liver cannot store alcohol, so it moves quickly to the front of the line to metabolize.

Thus, the liver detoxifies and removes alcohol from the blood, which is oxidation. Once oxidation is complete, the alcohol in the liver becomes water and carbon dioxide. Fatty liver is a condition that occurs because of the oxidative metabolism of alcohol, which generates molecules that inhibit fat oxidation.

Roughly 90% of people who drink more than 1 ½ to 2 ounces of alcohol per day develop fatty liver. Fatty liver can result in liver fibrosis and, finally, cirrhosis. Fatty liver is reversible within 4 to 6 weeks with no alcohol use, but cirrhosis is irreversible and can lead to liver failure. 

Pancreas Damage and Alcoholism

Alcohol damages vital organs such as the pancreas that help the digestive system by producing enzymes that break down sugars, fats, and starches. Also, the pancreas makes hormones, or chemical messengers, to regulate blood sugar levels and appetite.

The chemical messengers are critical in stimulating stomach acids and directing the stomach to empty. Signs and symptoms of problems with the pancreas due to alcoholism can be extreme pain for unknown reasons. 

Abusing alcohol can cause organ damage, including the pancreas. Inflammation of the pancreas or pancreatitis results from alcohol, causing the pancreas to produce toxic substances.

This dangerous inflammation can cause extreme pain and swelling and impair the pancreas’s ability to make enzymes and hormones necessary for the proper digestion of foods. Damage to the pancreas can be irreversible, but the long-term condition is manageable with a special diet. 

Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorders

It’s a fact that organ damage is a result of excessive alcohol use. Still, those who seek rehab to stop abusing alcohol can be successful in managing health issues with medical supervision.

Therapy begins with an assessment from healthcare professionals to determine physical and mental health issues. Understanding each individual’s complete picture is vital before starting the detoxification process. Detoxing from alcohol can be challenging to endure. 

Medically managed detox from alcohol is imperative for safe and effective detoxification. 

Withdrawal symptoms from ending alcohol use can be uncomfortable and medically challenging to monitor. Symptoms can be extreme, and if delirium tremens develop, it may be life-threatening.

When choosing a rehab center for ending an alcohol use disorder, it is essential to find experienced healthcare professionals who understand how difficult alcohol detox can be.

Find Professional Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorders in Tennessee

Concerns for alcohol and vital organ damage are realistic, and those seeking treatment to end an AUD need experience in every aspect of treatment.

Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee offers safe and effective alcohol detox programs and various options for rehab. Evidence-based therapies are proven to be successful and beneficial for relapse prevention.

Contact Freeman Recovery Center today to make an appointment for an assessment. 

What is Meth Mouth?

Methamphetamine misuse can have devastating effects on overall health, but those abusing meth develop meth mouth, which can lead to many other dental health concerns.

Additionally, methamphetamine is acidic and corrosive, which can trigger bad breath, tooth decay, gum problems, and loss of teeth. Painful infections can occur and lead to further oral disease. Some experience an urge to grind their teeth, which can cause further damage. 

How Meth Mouth Develops

Meth mouth results from methamphetamine abuse and can develop quickly from the toxins in meth affecting oral hygiene. Abuse extending throughout the year can result in cavities, infections, swelling, pain, chipped and loose teeth, and periodontal disease from dry mouth.

The immune system does not work correctly due to the abuse, poor diet, and damage to the system from meth, and cannot protect against dental disease. Unfortunately, meth mouth is not curable and can lead to loss of teeth and extensive dental work. 

Tooth decay is the primary sign of the development of meth mouth, but there are indicators to watch for initially. Teeth develop persistent, unremovable stains. Meth harms the salivary glands by shrinking the blood vessels of the mouth, causing dry mouth. This is the driving factor of meth mouth, the dryness of the mouth, combined with high acidic levels, attacks the teeth. 

Research shown by the American Dental Association shows the following statistics from 571 methamphetamine users:

  • 96% of the users had cavities
  • 58% of the users had untreated tooth decay
  • Only 23% retained all their natural teeth
  • 89% of male users in the group study were suffering from periodontitis
  • 85% of female users in the group study were suffering from periodontitis
  • Cigarette smokers had higher rates of decay and tooth loss
  • 31% had 6 or more missing teeth

Heavy meth users are over 4 times more likely to develop meth mouth and 3 times more likely to have broken teeth. Dry mouth induces drinking more liquids, and in the case of meth users, a craving develops for sweetened drinks.

Consequently, meth users also disregard personal hygiene, including brushing and flossing their teeth. The combination of all factors contributes to meth mouth. 

Signs of Meth Mouth

The medical diagnosis for dry mouth, xerostomia, contributes to breaking down the enamel on the teeth, reducing their protective component. Methamphetamine use can also cause anxiety, restlessness, and nervousness, causing the user to grind and clench their teeth.

This contributes to teeth breaking and falling out. A high percentage of those who abuse meth do not seek dental care, and often the deterioration is irreversible. 

Signs someone could be experiencing meth mouth include:

  • Dry mouth or Cottonmouth
  • Gum disease
  • Red, swollen gums
  • Tooth decay
  • Clenching or grinding of teeth
  • Bad breath
  • Cravings for sugary drinks
  • Stained teeth
  • Inconsistent dental hygiene

Stages of Meth Mouth

The stages of meth mouth are significant and distinctive to the pathway of irreversible damage. The physical and mental side effects of abusing meth go hand in hand with neglect of dental hygiene. Anxiety, paranoia, and stress can induce clenching of the jaw and grinding teeth. Then, dry mouth drives an intense craving for sugary drinks. 

The stages of meth mouth include the following:

  • First stage: staining of the teeth, dry mouth, and bad breath
  • Second stage: tooth decay and teeth change shape, sores in mouth
  • Third stage: tooth fractures and loss, gum disease, and sores

Effects of Meth Mouth

Those with meth mouth that still have their teeth most likely have only rotten teeth remaining. Many experience lesions on the inner surface of the mouth, prevalent gum diseases, and teeth grinding.

Difficulties with teeth, pain in the mouth, and toothlessness do not encourage a healthy diet. Chewing problems are also present from rigidity in the oral cavity and jaw. Infections in the mouth and jaw as a result of not taking care of the decay can cause terrible pain.

As such, infections can move throughout the body and affect other organs. Unfortunately, most dental problems are irreversible. Other physical issues from untreated infection throughout the body can be severe. 

Can Meth Mouth be Reversed?

When meth mouth begins, if the drug use stops with professional help, teeth may be able to remain intact. The critical factor is seeking assistance before decay, tooth loss, gum disease, and infection become too severe.

Extensive dental work may have to take place if usage continues. Mouth guards can help with grinding, and dentures or veneers could improve the situation of lost teeth. 

How Detox Helps

Methamphetamine addiction can be very challenging to achieve, but it is possible to be successful. Medication-assisted treatment is helpful for withdrawal symptoms to be manageable. The taper method may be an option for treatment professionals, but medical supervision is essential.

Whatever technique the recovery team chooses, the remaining treatment is critical once the medical detox is complete. The second part of treatment is hard work to make long-term changes and set new life goals. Behavioral therapies can help to form new coping mechanisms, and individual therapy can reach deep into the roots of addiction.

Dental evaluations can begin and begin the changes for dental repair and leaving the effects of meth behind. Leaving dental caries behind and achieving the best dental hygiene possible is a great way to start sober living.

Find the Road to Recovery from Methamphetamine Addiction in Tennessee

Methamphetamine abuse can be challenging to recover from, but leaving the problem of meth mouth behind can be encouraging. While there is no cure for the damage that has been done, Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee does have the best professional detox to begin recovery. Further treatment options are available to learn how to live a positive and sober lifestyle.

Contact Freeman Recovery Center today to find the true potential for the best outcomes.

Most Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs

The most commonly abused prescription drugs treat legitimate treatment of chronic pain, illness, and mental health conditions. Unfortunately, many of the prescription drugs in medicine cabinets across the country are misused and abused, leading to addiction.

It is a disturbing fact that misuse and abuse can be unintentional and lead to severe problems. Therefore, educating the public concerning the dangers of prescription drugs is vital. Teaching people how to properly use them can lead to developing a substance use disorder is imperative. 

Prescription Drug Abuse Overview

Prescription drug use is at an all-time high in the United States, with opioids leading the list of commonly abused prescription drugs. Chronic pain, mental health conditions, and sleep and weight disorders have prescription drug treatment involving medicines that can quickly lead to an abusive habit.

Non-compliance with drug regimens and the lack of physician oversight in the number of prescriptions patients receive are significant and complex problems. Again, education and individual responsibility for the treatment of these conditions must increase to begin to reduce the chance of addiction. 

Opioid Prescription Medications

Opioid medications are natural and synthetic compounds containing chemicals that relax the body and relieve pain. According to The Centers for Disease Control, in 2021, there were approximately 51.6 million people who were experiencing chronic pain. 17.1 million people with high-impact chronic pain, which indicates substantial limitations on daily activities. While there is a considerable need for treatment for chronic pain, these opioids are commonly abused prescription drugs. 

Commonly Abused Prescription Opioids

Commonly abused prescription drugs in the opioid class include the following information from the Drug Enforcement Agency:

  • Fentanyl: Brand names Actiq® and Duragesic® dispensed in lozenges, patches, and tablet form. Fentanyl is the treatment for intense pain, usually for cancer patients. 
  • Hydrocodone: The brand name Vicodin® Lortab and Lorcet is generally dispensed in tablet, capsule, or liquid forms for treating moderate to severe pain; hydrocodone is one of the most widely prescribed and abused prescription drugs. 
  • Methadone: Brand name Dolophine® and Methadose® available in liquid, powder, and diskette form, methadone is for pain management or treatment of cravings and withdrawal from a substance in addiction treatment programs.
  • Morphine: Brand name MS Contin®, Kadian®, Avinza®, Roxanol®, and Duramorph® for treatment of pain, morphine comes in tablets, capsules, and injectable form. 
  • Oxycodone: Brand names Percocet®, Percodan®, Oxycontin®, and Oxycodone® are typically administered orally or injectable for pain management in moderate to severe pain. 
  • Codeine: Brand names Empirin w/Codeine, Fiorinal w/Codeine, Robitussin A-C, and Tylenol w/Codeine, forms of ingestion are swallowed in combination with other drugs and injected to treat cough and moderate pain. 
  • Hydromorphone: The brand name Dilaudid® is administered in tablets or injectables for pain management. 
  • Meperidine: Brand name Demerol® with oral or injectable administration for moderate to severe pain. 
  • Oxymorphone: Brand name Opana® with tablets or time-released capsules for managing moderate to severe pain. 

Effects of Prescription Opioids

Opioids are among the commonly abused prescription drugs that cause respiratory problems that result in starving the brain of oxygen. Hypoxia can have both short and long-term psychological and neurological effects that can lead to permanent brain damage and potential death.

Unintentional misuse occurs when tolerance for the drug develops, requiring a higher dosage for the same results to appear. Withdrawal from these drugs can be uncomfortable and need a professional detox program


The Drug Enforcement Agency reports benzodiazepines depress the central nervous system and impact the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid, thereby decreasing brain activity.

Benzodiazepines are prescription drugs for the treatment of anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizures. Unintentional misuse and abuse can develop quickly from building a tolerance to the dosage. Therefore, physicians need to monitor their patients who are using benzos. 

They are commonly abused prescription drugs and include the following information, including street names for the drugs:

  • Alprazolam: Brand name Xanax® presents in pill form for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorders. 
  • Lorazepam: The brand name Ativan® is available in liquid, pill, and extended-release capsule form for the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, and situational extreme stress, i.e., before a medical procedure. 
  • Clonazepam: The brand name Klonopin® available in tablets for treating panic, seizure disorders, and insomnia. 
  • Diazepam: The brand name Valium® is available in tablets to treat anxiety, seizures, muscle spasms, and twitching. 
  • Temazepam: Brand name Restoril® is available for oral administration in capsules to treat insomnia.
  • Triazolam: The brand name is Halcion®, and is available in tablets for the treatment of insomnia. 
  • Chlordiazepoxide: The brand name is Librium®, and is ingested through pills and capsules to treat anxiety, insomnia, and withdrawal symptoms from abuse of alcohol or other substances. 


Z-drugs opened in the drug market in the 1990s, these prescription drugs are only approved for the treatment of insomnia. The risks are high with these drugs for adverse reactions if taken with other drugs or alcohol.

Misuse of these prescription drugs can cause accidents or injuries because of impairment. Additionaly, these sedatives are among the commonly abused prescription drugs that are dangerous if used other than directed. 

  • Zolpidem: Brand name Ambien® taken by capsules for treating insomnia.
  • Zaleplon: Brand name Sonata® taken by capsules for treating insomnia.
  • Eszopiclone: Brand name Lunesta® taken by capsules for treating insomnia.

Prescription Stimulants

An escalation of unintentional abuse of prescription drugs is presenting new challenges for pharmacists and physicians while destroying lifestyles. Behavioral changes occur as tolerance increases for the drug, and to support their drug habit, users experience frustration when the prescription is not enough.

Seeking new avenues for the acquisition of additional prescription stimulants may induce doctor shopping or seeking drugs from friends or on the streets. Unfortunately, some people invent new problems to receive other legitimate prescription drugs. 

Long-term prescription stimulants can include the following:

  • Amphetamine: The brands Adzenys XR-ODT® and Dyanavel XR® available in tablets for treating ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity.
  • Dexmethylphenidate: The brand Focalin XR® available in capsules for treating ADHD. 
  • Amphetamine/Dextroamphetamine: The brand Adderall XR® available in oral administration for treating ADHD.
  • Lisdexamfetamine: The brand Vyvanse® administration by tablet for treating ADHD and binge-eating disorder. 
  • Methylphenidate: The brands Concerta®, Daytrana®, Jornay PM®, Metadate CD®, Quillivant XR®, Quillichew ER®, and Ritalin LA® tablet administration for treating ADHD and narcolepsy. 


Antidepressants such as Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, and Paxil are all prescription drugs available for treating mental health conditions. These commonly abused prescription drugs can cause adverse complications when there is misuse or abuse.

Many people taking these prescriptions for negative symptoms of a mental health condition may experience similar symptoms from the abuse. Seeking help through a mental health professional or prescribing physician can initiate detox and a new treatment regimen for the mental health disorder.

Find Hope for Prescription Drugs in Tennessee

The problem of misuse and abuse of prescription drugs is widespread, and those developing a substance use disorder can receive successful treatment. Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee offers professional detox and further treatment options for prescription drug abuse. Evidence-based therapies are available to learn new coping mechanisms to maintain sobriety.

Contact the center today to receive encouraging news on beginning a recovery program. 

The Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Researchers have volumes of information concerning the effects of alcohol abuse, as it is the most common substance abuse in the United States today. Despite the illuminating data on the seriousness of alcohol abuse, the problem persists, and new cases develop daily.

For many people, alcohol abuse is unintentional, with social acceptance of drinking alcohol recreationally. Unfortunately, addiction continues to be widespread, although it is easily recognizable, and the effects are well-known and understood. 

One of the most painful effects alcohol has is changing the personality and behavior of those suffering from an alcohol use disorder. Raising awareness is potentially life-saving, and understanding how to identify and address the adverse effects of this illness is critical. 

Alcohol Abuse Overview

Making a blanket statement concerning the amount of alcohol consumption required to result in an alcohol use disorder is impossible. Every person has a different metabolism and processes alcohol according to specific personal factors. However, the effects of alcohol abuse can impact overall health by leading to chronic disease, organ damage, health problems, and death.

Psychological and physical deterioration is evident to friends and family, but still, alcohol dependence is challenging to overcome independently and distances those closest to its victim.

The reason why people drink alcohol can be a determining factor in whether an addiction could develop. The effects of alcohol abuse typically come to light through how alcohol affects a person’s lifestyle and relationships. 

Trends develop, such as binge drinking in teenagers and young adults, where socially it’s acceptable to drink large amounts of alcohol. In reality, those who resort to binge drinking, identified by The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as an emerging trend called high-intensity drinking, have underlying issues that alcohol use helps to numb or hide for a while. “High-intensity drinking is the consumption of alcohol at levels that are two or more times the gender-specific drinking thresholds.” 

For women, 4 or more drinks per session, and for men, 5 or more are thresholds, but over 15 drinks a week is excessive. Life issues such as excessive stressors, relationship problems, financial trouble, precarious occupational situations, and unresolved emotions and feelings can be the initial reasons for drinking alcohol. Unfortunately, projecting how habitual drinking patterns become uncontrollable addictions is challenging.

For those who lose control of their drinking habit, tolerance builds for alcohol, and what once required one or two drinks to feel more okay could transpire into three, four, or five drinks in a short period. As tolerance increases, dependence will occur, brain chemistry depends on alcohol use to maintain, and physical factors follow, showing the effects of alcohol abuse. 

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

The short-term effects of alcohol abuse differ for each person because everyone metabolizes alcohol differently. It is easy to identify the short-term effects because they are not the usual behavior people exhibit.

Additionally, it may be challenging to pinpoint the cause of behavioral changes, but if alcohol is in hand, it’s apparent. Dangerous situations can develop once this level of change occurs. 

Short-term effects of alcohol abuse could include the following:

  • Euphoria or giddiness
  • Change in mood and impulsive behavior
  • Lowered inhibitions and lack of focus
  • Difficulty in making decisions
  • Slowed or slurred speech
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Loss of consciousness and blackouts

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Untreated, the long-term effects of alcohol abuse are significant and can be challenging or impossible to reverse. All of the body’s major organs are affected by excessive long-term drinking. Relationships suffer, and lifestyles take a drastic change for the worse.

Without treatment for an alcohol use disorder, serious complications can occur, resulting in cancer, delirium tremens, or death. 

The following symptoms occur from the long-term abuse of alcohol:

  • Heart issues (high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and stroke)
  • Liver damage (inflammation, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis)
  • Kidney damage points to kidney failure and chronic kidney disease
  • Pancreatic problems that include inflammation, swelling of blood vessels that hinder proper digestion
  • Immune system problems that could lead to tuberculosis and pneumonia
  • Cancer (breast, mouth, esophagus, throat, larynx, colon, stomach, rectum, and pancreas)

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

The effects of alcohol abuse can occur when an individual attempts to stop drinking or decreases the amount of alcohol they use. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can occur within a few hours of not drinking.

In many cases, individuals who want to stop drinking, cannot withstand the intensity of the symptoms that occur and begin drinking again. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms affect an individual both mentally and physically and can be life-threatening. 

Mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms occur just hours after the last drink and can include the following:

  • Anxiety and shakiness
  • Severe headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating profusely
  • Insomnia

More severe or intense withdrawal symptoms begin within 12-48 hours of the last drink:

  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Racing heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Confusion and heavy sweating
  • Delirium tremens

Delirium Tremens

The most severe symptoms of ethanol withdrawal are delirium tremens. Delirium tremens can be life-threatening if not medically managed. Trained professionals can identify the intense symptoms and put a plan of action together to treat the DTs, should it occur during detoxification. Without treatment, the outcome could be adverse and includes the possibility of death.

Symptoms of delirium tremens include:

  • Visual and auditory hallucinations
  • Whole body tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Diaphoresis 
  • Hypertension
  • Seizures
  • Agitation and global confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Fever
  • Autonomic hyperactivity

Treatment and Detox for Alcohol Abuse

Treatment for an alcohol use disorder begins with the desire to seek help and treatment. Once an individual decides to attend treatment, it is vital to find a center offering medically monitored detox from alcohol.

Options for medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is another essential program to look for. It is vitally important to enlist the services of a professionally qualified center to detox and receive treatment to prevent relapse and medical complications.  

Get Medically Monitored Detox for Alcoholism in Tennessee

Alcohol use disorder is a severe addiction with a complex withdrawal process. Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee provides medically monitored detoxification from alcohol and continued treatment for recovery from addiction. Offering a number of options to meet the patient’s needs, Freeman Recovery Center is aware of the challenges each individual faces.

Contact the center for additional information and to schedule an assessment today. 


Stages of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant substance made from the coca plant. Illegal in the United States, the development of a cocaine addiction can depend upon the ingestion method. Cocaine can be snorted, ingested, or smoked as crack cocaine, the fastest way to develop a habit. Typically, users follow stages of cocaine addiction, resulting in a change in brain chemistry, intense cravings for the drug, and the possibility of overdosing. 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association’s Annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health states 1.4 million people over 12 had a cocaine use disorder in the past year of 2021. Cocaine sends high dopamine levels into the brain’s parts responsible for controlling pleasure.

Overall, cocaine addiction develops because the drug induces an intense high with increased energy levels and alertness. A desirable level of happiness and extreme sensitivity to touch, sounds, and sight seem to outweigh the adverse irritability, paranoia, and angry outbursts.  

Dangers of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction can cause negative side effects involving brain chemistry and affecting significant organs. The brain adapts to the changes made in brain chemistry and requires more substantial doses to achieve the same desired effect as addiction escalates.

Heart, lung, and stomach problems develop the longer the addiction lasts. As the stages of cocaine addiction progress, the user finds it more challenging to sleep, which additionally creates cognitive and memory difficulties. 

Stage 1: Experimental and Recreational Use

Typically, curiosity is the cause of initially trying cocaine, and because of this fact, some people never use it again after the first use. Depending on the age group, some people try to fit in, and others may participate recreationally at parties or get-togethers.

After only a few usages, most people have no adverse consequences and have no intention of developing a cocaine addiction. Other reasons for using cocaine could be self-medication for depression or anxiety, which can result in chronic use. 

Stage 2: Dependence Develops

As the stages of cocaine addiction develop, continual experimentation and recreational use can lead to regular use. Regular use may not be daily, but perhaps every weekend or whenever a group gets together. As usage increases, the use habit develops, and changes can occur. Suddenly the user shifts into using the drug when alone and for certain reasons, like fatigue.

Although addiction is not present, thoughts develop about using cocaine more often. During this second stage, cocaine begins to affect lifestyle and relationships negatively. Quitting is still an option, but cocaine addiction is not far from developing. As regular usage increases, dependence grows. 

Stage 3: Abuse or Risky Use

Once users reach this stage, they use more than ever. Negative consequences begin to interfere with daily life affecting work, relationships, school, and every aspect of life.

Behavior changes occur, and although the user may not realize it, red flags appear in all aspects. If usage decreases or stops, withdrawal symptoms develop because dependence is present. 

Risky behaviors occur with cocaine abuse. The following behaviors indicate cocaine abuse is evident:

  • Financial problems occur, causing the user to ask for money, or stealing becomes acceptable
  • Users will ignore all responsibilities
  • The need to believe they are hiding the use of cocaine
  • Hiding drugs in convenient places
  • Developing a new group of friends 
  • A loss of interest in once-important activities occurs

Stage 4: Addiction and Withdrawal

The last of the stages of cocaine addiction, stage 4, represents total reliance on the drug. Typically, addiction is psychological and physical. Withdrawal symptoms occur when usage dwindles or stops. These symptoms are challenging, so users believe they must continue using the drug to end the symptoms. 

Cocaine addiction takes control of the individual and every thought and choice they make. At this point, addiction is at a crisis stage and a severe threat to the mind and body. Overdose is an ever-present risk, and most people with cocaine addiction are at rock bottom in stage 4. In these desperate moments, people with this addiction may want to seek help and wonder what happens in rehab

Health Effects of Cocaine Abuse

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cocaine addiction affects the reward pathways in the brain. Negative effects on mood occur when drug usage decreases or ends, causing displeasure and elevation of sensitivity. Tolerance continually develops in cocaine addiction and with increasing dosages, overdose is a high risk.

High-increased doses of cocaine can cause irritability, restlessness, panic attacks, paranoia, and psychosis. It is not uncommon for users with frequent use of high dosages to develop auditory hallucinations. Users who snort cocaine can lose the sense of smell, develop severe nosebleeds, and have problems swallowing.

Smoking crack produces lung damage and can worsen existing cases of asthma. Lung damage from smoking crack can cause significant lung disease. Cocaine addiction can affect the gastrointestinal tract by reducing blood flow, leading to tears and ulcers. Weight loss and malnutrition often occur as a result of loss of appetite.

Heart problems can occur from cocaine addiction and the risk of stroke increases. Neurological problems occur with long-term use as well as movement disorders. Recovery from cocaine addiction can be challenging with a high risk of relapse. 

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Medical detox is the first step of treatment for cocaine addiction. Clearing the body of the toxic effects of cocaine can be managed with a medically monitored professional detox program. Each detox is a personal process and can range in time from a few days to months.

Overcoming the withdrawal symptoms can be managed by the medical team and overcoming the strong cravings for the drug is manageable by the mental health team. Rehab is a strong recommendation for cocaine addiction after a successful detox. Individual therapy using cognitive-behavioral therapy is an evidence-based process of learning new coping behaviors to overcome cravings and address emotions and feelings.

Group and family therapy are proven methods for understanding how to live a sober lifestyle while repairing relationships damaged during the addiction. Relapse prevention information helps to address thoughts of using after rehab. 

There Is Hope for Successful Cocaine Treatment in Tennessee

The stages of cocaine addiction can lead to the destruction of all factors of life. For those who are seeking treatment for cocaine addiction, Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee offers detox and several rehab options. Healing from this devastating addiction is possible and the compassionate staff is aware of how challenging rehab can be.

Contact Freeman Recovery Center today and find help to begin a sober future.

Warning Signs of Xanax Abuse

Xanax is in the benzodiazepine drug class and is a treatment for those struggling with panic and anxiety disorders. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, 6.8 million adults report having generalized anxiety disorder, and 6 million adults report the diagnosis of panic disorder.

Considering these numbers, learning the warning signs of Xanax abuse is an essential safety component of treatment. Xanax is a highly addictive prescription medication that, even without misuse, can lead to building a high tolerance and physical dependency. 

Xanax Abuse Facts

The danger of Xanax remains with long-term or recreational use. A specific population takes Xanax as a recreational sedative to self-medicate. After building a physical dependence on Xanax, withdrawal can be difficult and unpleasant. Knowing the warning signs of Xanax abuse can help prevent the need for professional Xanax detox.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the following information in their 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report

As summarized, people aged 12 and over, including 16.1 million, have misused prescription psychotherapeutic drugs in the past year. Within the 16.1 population misusing mental health treatment medications, 4.8 million were abusing benzodiazepines.

Young adults held the highest percentage of users between the ages of 18 to 25. Benzos are also prescription medications for the treatment of insomnia, and again, the young adult population was the highest population misusing benzodiazepines in the study. 

Warning Signs of Xanax Abuse

Many people familiar with the warning signs of Xanax abuse are already caught up in developing tolerance and physical dependency and have lost control. The highly addictive drug Xanax can induce amnesia, hostile behavior, irritability, and disturbing dreams. The warning signs are not just psychological; there are specific effects on the body. Slowing down the central nervous system induces sleepiness and a relaxed mood. 

Specific warning signs of long-term Xanax abuse can include any of the following:

  • Sedation and drowsiness
  • Irritability and hostility
  • Dizziness and blurred vision
  • Double vision and headaches
  • Memory problems
  • Lack of focus and coordination
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Nausea, vomiting and upset stomach
  • Dry mouth and slurred speech
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Tremors
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Sleep disruption and insomnia
  • Appetite and weight changes
  • Depression or worsening depression

Why Do People Abuse Xanax?

Although many who are abusing Xanax are aware of the warning signs of Xanax abuse, several factors interfere with their better judgment to stop using the medication. Managing very stressful mental conditions, such as anxiety and panic disorders, Xanax produces a euphoric, relaxed, and pleasurable state of mind. For those taking Xanax properly as prescription advice directs, long-term use builds a tolerance for the drug resulting in the need to take more than directed to reach the desired effect. 

Unfortunately for the user, as dosages increase, there is a struggle between understanding and recognizing the warning signs of Xanax abuse, the cravings for the drug, and unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control the dosage. Studies show that even though adverse effects of abusing Xanax occur, the cravings are too strong to fight.

Another danger to consider is that most near-fatal overdoses with Xanax are due to polydrug use or a combination of substances. High dosages of Xanax combined with alcohol or other substances can be very dangerous but exist because the user has built a high tolerance to the drug and seeks the desired level of intoxication. 

Effects of Xanax Abuse

Those who are psychologically and physically dependent on Xanax are experiencing a desired escape from their problems, responsibilities, and lifestyle. The cumulative effect of Xanax abuse draws the user in and develops the idea that living without the drug is impossible. The warning signs of Xanax abuse may be significant, but users ignore them. Relationships, work, school, or life responsibilities suffer dramatically in long-term Xanax abuse. 

Those addicted to Xanax will undoubtedly resist the idea of detox and treatment. The new normal is the Xanax high they experience, and they cannot believe they can cope without the drug. Hundreds of thousands of people are struggling with Xanax abuse. Long-term Xanax abuse affects memory, cognitive processes, and physical capabilities. 

Long-term effects of Xanax abuse include any of the following:

  • Thoughts of harming oneself (suicidal ideation}
  • Depression
  • Hostility and aggressive behaviors
  • Hallucinations and seizures
  • Chest pains
  • Uncontrollable muscle movements
  • Hyperactivity

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms and Detox

For those who recognize the warning signs of Xanax abuse in a loved one or friend, you may want to help encourage detox and treatment.

Unfortunately, withdrawal from Xanax can be a serious and complex process that requires taper management to withdraw from the drug. Roughly 40% of those who detox from Xanax experience severe withdrawal symptoms. It is imperative to receive medical management in a professional detox program for Xanax abuse. 

Withdrawal symptoms from Xanax abuse can include, at different levels of intensity, any of the following symptoms:

  • Restlessness and insomnia
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Hand tremors, muscle spasms, and unintentional movements
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating and confusion
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hallucinations, delirium, and seizures

In some cases of Xanax abuse, a recurrence of withdrawal-type symptoms can occur after detoxification and treatment. This is a proven syndrome called Post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) and can appear out of nowhere, so awareness of the possibility is imperative. There is no standard time frame for the symptoms to persist, but they can occur for weeks or months before subsiding. To ensure relapse prevention, understanding how to manage these symptoms can help maintain sobriety. 

Common symptoms of PAWS can include:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irritability
  • Memory problems
  • Drug cravings
  • Cognitive decline
  • Problems with interpersonal skills
  • Sensitivity to stress
  • Obsessive-compulsive behaviors

Find the Support You Need for Xanax Addiction in Tennessee

Successful recovery is possible for Xanax addiction with Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee. Medical detox programs are available and managed by medical and mental health professionals. Treatment options are available to learn how to live independently without the use of substances.

Contact Freeman Recovery Center today for more information and to begin recovery. 


Long-Term Effects of Alcoholism

Long-term alcoholism is responsible for adverse health complications, a higher-than-normal chance of sexual assault, and suicide. Statistics concerning alcohol abuse are difficult to believe, but unfortunately, ring true in the United States today. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics (NCDAS), 140,557 Americans die from the effects of alcohol in an average year. Furthermore, 1 in 10 Americans over age 12 have an alcohol use disorder. 

The effects of alcohol abuse are often chronic rather than acute health problems. Alcoholic liver disease is the primary health concern, which causes 19.1% of all alcohol-related deaths. Alcohol affects cardiovascular health dramatically, involving blood pressure and an elevation of chance of stroke. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states that women using alcohol moderately increase their risk for breast cancer. 

Alcoholism Facts and Stats

According to NCDAS, in 2020, men contributed to over half of the population with an alcohol use disorder, with 14.8 million people overall diagnosed. Even more alarming is that girls aged 12 to 17 are 61.5% more likely to have an alcohol use disorder than boys. Emerging trends in alcohol abuse involve high-intensity drinking (HID), which defines consumption of alcohol at levels 2 or more times the gender-specific binge drinking thresholds. 

High-intensity drinking statistics include:

  • High-intensity drinking peaks at age 21
  • 80 to 90% of young adults celebrate their 21st birthday with alcohol
  • High-intensity drinking is associated with aggression and injury
  • Each year, 97,000 sexual assaults by American college students involve alcohol

Deaths from long-term alcoholism include the following statistics:

  • 53.7% of alcohol-related deaths are due to chronic misuse
  • Alcohol poisoning is another leading killer, causing 32% of acute alcohol-related deaths
  • Nearly 100,000 annual deaths are attributable to alcohol abuse, with more than half due to long-term use
  • 140,557 Americans die from the effects of alcohol in an average year

Long-Term Effects of Alcoholism on the Body

Long-term alcoholism is especially dangerous to those with certain heart conditions, high blood pressure, and stroke. Alcoholic liver disease is another significant physical illness linked to long-term alcohol use. The pancreas and kidneys are also adversely affected by heavy alcohol consumption. In addition, gastrointestinal problems are common in those who drink alcohol long-term. 

Alcoholism can weaken the immune system, which makes the body prone to more disease. Pneumonia and tuberculosis are common diseases in long-term alcoholics. A weak immune system also slows the body’s ability to heal and ward off other infections. Long-term alcoholism raises the chance of developing certain cancers. 

Long-Term Effects of Alcoholism on the Brain

Long-term alcoholism has a detrimental effect on the brain, although there are adverse effects even with short-term use, including memory loss and blackouts. Wernicke’s encephalopathy, a severe brain condition, can develop over time from thiamine and Vitamin B1 deficiencies due to alcohol misuse. The condition causes extreme mental confusion, lack of muscle coordination, and paralysis of nerves.

Another unfortunate circumstance is that 80 to 90% of alcoholics with Wernicke’s also develop Korsakoff’s psychosis. Korsakoff’s psychosis leads to cognitive decline, including forgetfulness and an inability to develop and hold new memories. Long-term alcoholism affects the neurotransmitters in the brain, causing a failure to make sound judgments, control drinking alcohol, or make good decisions.

Unfortunately, although physical conditions develop, causing pain or discomfort, the user cannot stop drinking. The brain’s chemistry is also dependent upon the continual ingestion of alcohol. 

Risk Factors for Alcoholism: Genetics

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism relays essential risk factors for the population to develop an alcohol use disorder. Genetics or family history of long-term alcoholism is a significant risk factor. Those choosing to drink alcohol excessively or binge drink, consuming alcohol before age 15, have existing mental health conditions, high stress, and a history of childhood abuse or trauma are other leading risk factors. 

Genetics or family history generates a 50 to 60% vulnerability of an alcohol use disorder to develop. An individual’s genetic makeup can affect biological processes, mental states, and traits, which include physiological responses to alcohol and stress, neurobiology associated with addiction, and behavioral tendencies based on impulsivity.

Family history involves 12.1% of children under 17 who live with at least one parent with an AUD. Single-parent households present with 9.3% of fathers being alcoholic and 6.3% of mothers. 

Examples of genetic factors include the following:

  • Genetic response to alcohol consumption or innate alcohol tolerance: This appears as an ability to hold their liquor, and results in a likelihood to drink heavily and develop an alcohol use disorder
  • Inherited alcohol metabolism: Certain populations carry a genetic variation influencing liver enzymes responsible for ethanol metabolism. It builds up acetaldehyde. These enzymes are responsible for physical side effects, limiting the amounts of alcohol they can tolerate and an increased risk of particular cancer. 
  • A genetic vulnerability to the elements of addiction: Addiction-related neurotransmitter systems

Risk Factors for Alcoholism: Environment 

Environmental factors, including external stressors, are a significant risk factor in developing an alcohol use disorder. Accumulation of substantial stressors throughout life, trauma, and abuse impact drinking patterns, most likely to be heavy involvement with alcohol.

Mental health conditions are often a result of genetic and environmental factors that raise stress levels, anxiety, and depression. Unfortunately, long-term alcoholism can increase the severity of anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions. 

The following statistics involve mental health conditions and alcohol use disorders (dual diagnosis disorders):

  • Those under treatment for anxiety disorders include 20 to 40% also experiencing an alcohol use disorder.
  • Those under treatment or had treatment for a depressive disorder include 40% with an alcohol use disorder.
  • 36 to 91% of people with an alcohol use disorder have also had treatment for a sleep disorder. 
  • 40 to 50% of men and women with an alcohol use disorder have had another substance use disorder in their lifetime.

Find Treatment Options for Long-Term Alcoholism in Tennessee 

Fortunately, successful treatment options for long-term alcoholism exist, and Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee offers several options. Medical detox programs include medication-assisted treatment, and cognitive-behavioral therapy assists in forming new behavioral patterns and is an evidence-based therapy. Inpatient and outpatient programs are available, and the admissions department is familiar with processing insurance.

Contact us to receive additional information and to begin the journey towards sobriety. 

Dangers of Prescription Drug Abuse

Healthcare providers issue millions of prescriptions for the treatment of legitimate health concerns. However, prescription drug abuse can occur when patients misuse their medications over time. The dangers of prescription drug abuse can adversely affect mental and physical health, and the development of addiction is often unintentional. The simple act of taking a friend’s prescription medication can negatively impact well-being and lead to abuse.  

In other cases, illicit prescription drug abuse begins with a desire for recreational use to get high. Misuse includes taking drugs to achieve euphoric or depressant effects they can induce. The misconception that more is better leads to abuse and can quickly result in addiction. The public must understand the dangers of prescription drug abuse before misusing their medication.  

The Most Commonly Misused Prescription Drugs

Prescription medications are effective for their intended purpose when used correctly. Moreover, prescription drug abuse can quickly develop with unintentional misuse. Prescription drug use for non-medical reasons can produce significant adverse symptoms.

The dangers of prescription drug abuse typically include 3 types of medications. The most commonly misused prescription drugs include:

  • Stimulant prescriptions for treating ADHD and narcolepsy, like Adderall, Concerta, and Ritalin, speed up brain activity to increase focus, energy, and attention span.
  • Sedative or depressant prescriptions for treating anxiety, panic attacks, and sleep disorders, like Valium, Xanax, and Ambien, work to slow down brain and central nervous system functions.
  • Opioid prescriptions for treating moderate to severe pain, like Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet, block the pain messages to the brain and produce euphoric feelings. 

Signs Of Prescription Drug Abuse: Statistics

Prescription drug abuse develops for various reasons, including misusing a prescription from a healthcare provider by not following prescription advice. Taking a friend’s pain pills instead of going to the doctor also misuses prescription medications. Recreational drug use to achieve the desired effect is abusing medications. The dangers of prescription drug abuse can affect all demographics for many reasons. 

Learning the signs and symptoms of prescription drug abuse can prevent an addiction. Teens and young adults use prescription medications at alarming levels. Without education, parents may miss the signs of prescription drug misuse. Teens and young adults are experiencing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, taking Adderall, and their counterparts can quickly develop an addiction if abuse is present. The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics states that in 2020, 614,000 aged 12-17 admitted to using Adderall for non-medical reasons at some point in time.   

Signs Of Prescription Drug Abuse

The following are signs and symptoms of  addiction in connection with the type of prescription drug. The dangers of prescription drug abuse are apparent with the drugs’ effects on breathing, the heart, and cognitive thinking. Furthermore, risky behaviors come into play, leading to severe problems with lifestyle and relationships. Finally, overdose and dangerous drug combinations could lead to death. 

Opioid prescription medications:

  • Constipation and nausea
  • Poor coordination
  • Feeling high
  • Slowed breathing rate
  • Drowsiness and confusion
  • A higher dosage to acquire pain relief
  • Worsening or increased sensitivity to pain with higher doses

Anti-anxiety medicines and sedatives:

  • Drowsiness and confusion
  • Unsteady walking and dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor concentration and memory problems
  • Slowed breathing

Stimulant prescription medications:

  • Increased alertness
  • Feeling high
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • High blood pressure and body temperature
  • Reduced appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Paranoia

Other general signs of prescription drug abuse can include:

  • Forging, stealing, or selling prescriptions and doctor shopping
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Drastic mood swings with periods of hostility
  • Sleeping less or more and periods of drowsiness
  • Making poor decisions
  • Periods of unusual energy
  • Requesting early refills or continually “losing” prescriptions to qualify for additional medications.

Severe Effects of Prescription Drugs

The dangers of prescription drug abuse can be deadly. High-dose addiction, polydrug use, and the addition of alcohol consumption have severe physical consequences. Prolonged prescription drug abuse can adversely affect relationships, lifestyle, occupation, and education. Psychological symptoms are pervasive as well. 

Long-term prescription drug abuse leads to physical dependence and addiction. As tolerance builds, the individual needs higher dosages to achieve the same results. It is difficult to stop using the drugs without help when physical dependence occurs. Often, the withdrawal symptoms are intolerable, and the use continues. 

Other consequences and effects of prescription drug abuse include:

  • Drastic mood swings
  • Erratic and risky behavior
  • Extreme confusion
  • Sleep dysfunction
  • Hyperactivity and anxiety, or hypotension
  • Negative change in hygiene and appearance
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Overdose, coma, and death
  • Incarceration from risky behavior
  • Deterioration of relationships and divorce

Effects of Mixing Multiple Prescription Drugs  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2019, nearly half of deaths due to drug use involved more than 1 substance. Polysubstance abuse involves ingesting more than 1 substance, including using multiple prescription drugs. 

It is essential to give the doctor a list of all medications to avoid adverse reactions because of drug interactions. Mixing different stimulant prescription drugs can increase the risk of brain injury, liver damage, heart attack, and stroke. Additionally, mixing depressant prescription drugs can cause damage to the brain and organs, induce overdose through breathing difficulties, and death.

Combining stimulants and depressants can be unpredictable and trick individuals into thinking the drugs are ineffective. This thinking can lead to an overdose. Finally, mixing alcohol with prescription drugs can damage the brain, heart, and other organs and increase the risk of overdose. 


Prescription drug abuse is treatable. Once an individual seeks treatment, a healthcare provider assesses and evaluates, and medical detox plans follow. To avoid complications, a medically monitored detox in a safe environment, usually a professional treatment center, is the best option for prescription drug detox. Medication-assisted treatment may be beneficial in lessening withdrawal intensity. Treatment, including counseling and behavioral therapies, needs to follow to avoid relapse. 

Find Treatment in Tennessee

Choosing the ideal treatment center for prescription drug addiction can be challenging, but Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee stands out amongst the best. The center offers various treatment options to provide customizable treatment plans. From assessment to sober living options after treatment, the center’s goal is to see continued sobriety in their patients.

Contact Freeman Recovery Center to speak to their understanding and compassionate staff. 


Early Stages of Meth Abuse

Recognizing the early stages of meth abuse in someone close may be the key to saving their life. Drug addiction, specifically methamphetamine addiction, is 1 of the most hazardous substance use disorders because of the caustic chemical components and how they harshly affect the user.

A powerful stimulant substance, meth is highly addictive and interacts with chemicals in the brain, serotonin, and dopamine. This produces a euphoric rush. The danger lies in the user wanting to maintain a high level of euphoria through continual use with close frequency. 

Dangers of Meth Abuse

Methamphetamine will adversely affect multiple body systems, which makes hiding the substance use disorder difficult. In the early stages of meth abuse, the drug plays havoc with the happy chemicals in the brain, serotonin and dopamine, which control mood, feelings of pleasure, sleep, appetite, memory, and motor system function.

Furthermore, the effects can last for up to 12 hours but cause intense cravings for more immediately after the crash. Addiction results because the user will develop a binge and crash pattern to maintain the desired level of euphoria. 

Cravings for meth are known to be stronger than those for cocaine or heroin. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it is typical for a user to go on a run when continual drug ingestion takes place for a long time. The user either runs out of the drug or an overdose.

Tolerance for meth builds quickly, and finding pleasure anywhere else but the drug creates a cycle of abuse. Understanding the early stages of meth abuse may help identify problems with a user’s teeth, open skin sores, and constant scratching of skin. Stopping the cycle of abuse as soon as it is recognized is vital for limiting irreversible health problems and mental disintegration.

Dangerous consequences of meth abuse include the following:

  • Tooth loss
  • Organ failure
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Permanent memory loss
  • An inability to understand abstract thoughts
  • Uncontrollable mood swings with aggressive outbursts
  • Contracting HIV or Hepatitis C

Although methamphetamine prescriptions for managing attention deficit hyperactivity disorder symptoms and sleep disorders are safe, meth found on the street is hazardous. It’s no wonder the early signs of meth abuse are behavioral, physical, and mental when considering the compounds found in street meth. Caustic chemical components in street meth that can be extremely dangerous in human consumption. 

The following substances could be in street methamphetamine:

  • Battery acid or lighter fluid
  • Ammonia or ether
  • Drain cleaner and paint thinner
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Engine cleaner

Behavioral Signs and Symptoms of Early Meth Abuse

The early signs of meth abuse may be significant and easy to identify, but many family and friends fear addressing their concerns. Depending upon how meth is ingested, various signs and symptoms will align.

Meth can be snorted, injected, eaten, or smoked, with users leaving behind small bags with white powder, pieces of foil, and syringes as signs of meth use. It can be beneficial to seek professional help to understand the most effective method of addressing the problem. 

Common behavioral symptoms to look for in the early signs of meth abuse include the following:

  • Unusual increase in energy, euphoria, and excitement for abnormal periods
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits, including insomnia and weight loss
  • Increased moments of nervousness, restlessness, and being jittery
  • Signs of what may be symptoms of an eating disorder
  • Disruptions or problems with lifestyle, work, family, and other relationships

Physical Signs and Symptoms of Early Meth Abuse

The early signs of meth abuse that show physically can sometimes be alarming when initially seen. The physical effects of meth on the body are apparent. Some people experiencing meth abuse feel like bugs are crawling underneath their skin, and they continually scratch themselves. An overall change in appearance will occur quickly and prove an apparent change in physical health. 

Common physical symptoms revealing the early signs of meth abuse include the following:

  • Involuntary tics or twitchy movements
  • Continual scratching of the skin
  • Sores and open wounds, some may look infected, on the face, arms, and legs
  • Jaw clenching
  • Elevated body temperature and heavy sweating
  • Headaches and nosebleeds
  • Dilated pupils, sunken eyes
  • Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Bad breath or dry mouth
  • Severe dental issues
  • Burn marks on lips or fingers
  • Lung infections
  • Difficulty swallowing

Mental Signs and Symptoms of Early Meth Abuse

Mood instability stems from the connection between the drug and how it affects brain chemistry. The early signs of meth abuse involving the mental capacity of those with a meth use disorder come in unusual forms linked to meth addiction.

It may seem like a loved one may have developed a new personality overnight. Family and friends surrounding someone showing the early signs of meth abuse need to investigate immediately and take action to seek treatment. 

Common mental symptoms revealing the early signs of meth abuse include the following:

  • Extreme paranoia
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Intense mood swings and increased impulsivity
  • Increasing secrecy
  • Increased moments of aggression
  • Chronic depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory problems
  • Psychosis

Why Detox Matters

For those who recognize the early signs of meth abuse and decide to seek treatment, detox is the next step. Safe detox from methamphetamine is possible in a professional treatment center with medical monitoring. Psychosis and depression are symptoms of withdrawal from meth, so detoxification with the possibility of medication-assisted treatment is the best plan.

Detoxing at home without professional guidance can be dangerous and lead to relapse. Medical, emotional, and psychological support is essential for detoxification from meth. Many people experience co-occurring mental health conditions that require treatment, as well.

Treatment options following professional detox are beneficial to begin immediately to prevent relapse. Therapy can help to learn new coping mechanisms, positive thinking, and behavior modification techniques to continue living a sober lifestyle. 

Get Detox for Early Stages of Meth Abuse in Tennessee

Finding the ideal treatment center to address the needs of someone in the early stages of meth abuse in Tennessee may initially seem challenging. Freeman Recovery Center in Tennessee offers medically monitored detox and various treatment options following detox for methamphetamine abuse. The professional and experienced staff understand those with a substance use disorder and show compassion and kindness through the recovery journey.

Contact us today for more information on the treatments we offer. 


Signs of Fentanyl Abuse

Fentanyl alleviates severe pain from surgery or injury and is a potent and heavily monitored medication. Unfortunately, the signs of fentanyl abuse are present through the high numbers of overdose deaths due to this drug.

Legitimate prescriptions facilitating the needs of those with high pain levels, fentanyl has put those with a substance use disorder in grave danger. Illegally produced fentanyl is the cause of death from unintentional fentanyl poisoning throughout the United States. 

Illegal fentanyl is extremely attractive due to the euphoria it induces, but it is also highly addictive and unregulated, causing an escalating risk. Illicit fentanyl has unknown toxic substances that add to the dangerous consequences. Prescription misuse and abuse of fentanyl is another high-risk choice. It is essential to know and recognize the signs of fentanyl abuse because the fentanyl crisis is everywhere and deadly. 

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid in 2 types: pharmaceutical and illegally produced. The primary purpose of fentanyl was to treat cancer pain and other excruciating health conditions. Fentanyl binds to the natural opioid receptors in the brain immediately after ingestion to induce an intense sense of euphoria while relieving the extreme pain. Prescription fentanyl is available as a skin patch, dissolvable tablets, or film. 

Opioids are highly addictive, and those with a legal prescription can quickly develop abuse or addiction, and fentanyl is one of the most potent opioids. It is possible to create an addiction after only one drug use. Fentanyl is fifty times stronger than heroin and one hundred times stronger than morphine. Small doses of fentanyl can be deadly; therefore, the signs of fentanyl abuse must be available when issuing a prescription.

Fentanyl Statistics

The U.S. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) claims that over one hundred fifty people die daily from synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Illegal fentanyl contains unknown substances, which increases the risk of overdose. Unfortunately, contributing to the opioid crisis, illicit fentanyl is unknowingly added to other drugs, causing overdose and death. It is not uncommon to find a combination of fentanyl and heroin used intravenously. 

The statistics surrounding fentanyl are grim. The Centers for Disease Control states that the rate of overdose deaths involving synthetic opioids in 2021 was approximately 22 times greater than in 2013. Additionally, in 2021, nearly 71,000 deaths were related to synthetic opioids other than methadone. One-fifth of those taking prescription fentanyl were misusing it in 2021. And finally, an unbelievable statistic states that since 2017, fentanyl trafficking offenses have escalated by 950%.

The signs of fentanyl abuse can appear in those taking legal prescription fentanyl. Deaths from overdose as a result of legal prescriptions continue to rise. Prescription fentanyl is the answer for those who have tried other opioid pain medications without relief. Highly addictive and deadly if abuse is present. Thus, understanding what to look for that would indicate a problem is crucial. 

Illegally made fentanyl (IMF) is a street drug in different forms, such as liquid or powder. Combination forms of illicit fentanyl include heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. The liquid form of fentanyl is sold as a nasal spray, eye drops, and dropped onto paper or candy. Other drugs can contain a small amount of fentanyl, with users unaware, thus causing overdose or death. 

Street names for illegally made fentanyl include the following:

  • Apache
  • Dance Fever
  • Friend
  • Goodfellas
  • Jackpot 
  • Murder 8
  • Tango and Cash

What Are The Effects of Fentanyl?

The signs of fentanyl abuse are recognizable through behavior, physical condition, and thinking changes. These changes accumulate, causing adverse consequences in all aspects of life. The signs and symptoms of abuse are warning signs resulting in the following effects.

Without treatment, those abusing fentanyl can face fatal or severe possibilities, including: 

  • Overdose and even death
  • Physical damage to vital organs
  • Possibility of contracting HIV or hepatitis
  • Escalation in the severity of other health conditions
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Lifestyle problems with relationships and work
  • Loss of child custody
  • Isolation, the result of the failure in relationships
  • Legal difficulties
  • Addiction to other illicit substances

Watching for the following signs and symptoms of fentanyl abuse could lead to treatment:

  • Extreme drowsiness, fatigue, and even nodding off inappropriately
  • Slurring of words and lack of coordination
  • Inability to attend to responsibilities and relationships
  • Swollen hands and feet
  • Extreme moodiness
  • Constipation, nausea, and vomiting
  • Taking a prescription more often than the prescription calls for
  • Financial troubles

Fentanyl Withdrawal

After recognizing the signs of fentanyl abuse, it is imperative to seek treatment. Abusing fentanyl over a short time will develop a tolerance and dependence on the drug. The brain and the body require medication to maintain certain functioning levels. When dosages drop or cease, the body will experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe with fentanyl. 

Withdrawal symptoms from fentanyl include any of the following:

  • Muscle aches
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Runny nose
  • Dilated pupils
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Fever
  • Diarrhea

What To Do If A Loved One Has A Fentanyl Addiction

Once the signs of fentanyl abuse are apparent in a loved one, it is time to search for a treatment center to treat fentanyl addiction. Medically monitored detox is the safest method, so making a list of centers with these criteria can be helpful.

It can be tough or challenging to voice concerns with a loved one about drug abuse. Taking a nonjudgmental and loving approach will help break through denial and defensiveness. Becoming a solid support system for a loved one may take some educational time to learn how to support in a healthy, positive manner.

Being supportive can be stressful at times but also life-saving. Those with a strong support system have better odds of successful treatment completion. Participating in family and other group sessions can be rewarding for all parties. 

Fentanyl Detox

Due to the toxicity of fentanyl and the synthetic derivatives of fentanyl, detoxification is mandatory before treatment can begin. An assessment is the initial step upon intake to determine the personal factors of the habit. A healthcare provider must evaluate the patient’s condition and obtain a health history. Medically monitored detox is the safest form of detoxification. 

Pharmaceutical intervention is also known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT). Medication management allows for using other drugs to ease withdrawal symptoms for the patient’s comfort. A professional healthcare provider prescribes medications, and the medical team monitors the medication’s effectiveness. Treatment can begin once the detox is done.

Find A Safe Detox Program for Fentanyl Abuse in Tennessee

With so many addiction treatment centers, searching for detox for fentanyl abuse may seem impossible. Freeman Recovery Center is the ideal treatment center for fentanyl detox, offering medically monitored detox programs which is the safest form of detox.  Family and friends play an essential role in recovery, so we look forward to working with the loved one’s support team. 

We welcome you to contact us, so we can answer questions, describe our successful treatment methods, and offer encouragement for a successful recovery.