Addiction Issues and Treatment Options in Lewisville, Texas
A Little Bit About Lewisville
Lewisville, TX (pop 102,889) is a northwestern suburb of Dallas, located in Denton County. With it’s humid subtropical climate and year-round recreational activities, it has become one of the fastest growing cites in the country.
Lewisville is a thriving and diverse community, represented as 65% white, 11% African American, 8% Asian (primarily Myanmar), 1% Native, and 14% mixed or other. 29% of the population is considered to be of Latino or Hispanic descent. The median age is 31 years old, with a median household income of $56,811. Roughly 9.6% of the population of Lewisville lives at or below the poverty line, while the state average is around 17%.
Drug Use in Lewisville
Marijuana and Synthetic Marijuana
The most commonly used drug in Lewisville is marijuana and synthetic marijuana, used primarily by teens and young adults age 18-25. Synthetic marijuana can be incredibly dangerous, as it is man-made and unregulated. While overdosing on marijuana isn’t something you typically hear about, there have been instances of overdose and unusual side effects of synthetic marijuana including paranoia, extreme sickness and hallucinations often sending users to hospital emergency rooms. Synthetic marijuana isn’t actually marijuana at all, but rather refers to man-made chemicals that are sprayed onto dried plans to be smoked or liquified and vaporized using e-cigarettes. These chemicals are unpredictable and potentially fatal, though they’re marketed as a “safe alternative” to marijuana.
Symptoms of synthetic marijuana use include:
- Rapid heart rate
- Lowered inhibitions
- Slow reaction time
- Bloodshot eyes
- Dry “cotton” mouth
- Lying and secretive behavior
- Slurred speech
Other commonly abused substances in Lewisville include methamphetamines and heroin.
Methamphetamine is a powerful and incredibly addictive man-made stimulant that can be swallowed, snorted, smoked. or injected via needle. Methamphetamine or “meth” is known to produce an initial rush, then a high that lasts from 4-8 hours or more, depending on the amount ingested and potency or “purity”. Meth increases energy and decreases appetite, and as such has been marketed to busy working professionals, those struggling to lose weight, and night shift workers, to name a few. These days, most methamphetamines are smuggled in from Mexico by Mexican Criminal Groups, but there are still occasional “one-pot” home meth lab operations.
Indications of meth use may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Increased Energy
- Extreme moodiness
- Picking at the skin
Symptoms of prolonged methamphetamine use include:
- Sores, Scabs, or ulcerations that don’t heal as quickly as they should
- A feeling of bugs crawling under the skin
- Aging, sunken, or drooping facial skin
- Rotting teeth, also referred to as “Meth Mouth”
- Damage to heart, lungs and kidney
- Inability to feel pleasure from anything but meth use
- Impaired motor and cognitive functions
On the opposite side of the substance spectrum is heroin, though it is not uncommon for people to abuse both stimulants such as methamphetamines and depressants like heroin. Those who abuse stimulants may experience difficulties sleeping, and turn to depressants that offer a “come down”. Alternatively, those abusing depressants may turn to stimulants for an energy boost. This is an incredibly dangerous combination, and can lead to serious and even life-threatening health risks.
Heroin can be ingested by smoking, snorting, swallowing or injecting. While many start off smoking or snorting heroin, it’s not uncommon for addicts to shift to injecting the substance straight into the bloodstream for a more intense and instant high.
Common signs that someone may be abusing heroin include:
- Drowsiness or “nodding” — an inability to stay awake
- Lacks energy and gets sick often
- Unresponsive or incoherent
- Negligent personal grooming
- May become secretive, lying often
- Agitation or extreme moodiness
- Anxious and/or depressed
- Track or needle marks on arms and legs
Addictions Lead to Risky Behaviors
Both methamphetamine and heroin use can be very dangerous, for reasons other than possible overdose and death. Using addictive substances leads to engaging in risky behavior, as the addiction takes over and the user finds themselves focused on where and how to get their next fix. These risky behaviors often lead to legal and health trouble that can have life-long negative affects, and may include:
- Sharing needles
- Unprotected sex
- Trading sex for drugs or money
- Property Damage
- Driving under the influence
- Other criminal activity
Unprotected sex and sharing needles can lead to contraction of diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis, which have life-long consequences.
Penalties for Possession
Marijuana is illegal in Texas, and possession of even a small amount can land you in hot water with the law. The legal penalties of possession vary depending on the amount found, and whether or not other substances are involved. Possession of paraphernalia alone can earn you up to $500 in fines, and even a small amount of marijuana can earn you up to a year of jail time — larger quantities or different substances can lead to much larger sentences. Generally, if caught driving with drugs or paraphernalia, your license will be suspended or revoked for a minimum 180 days.
Kicking a substance abuse habit is often best done with help. Whether you’re looking to stay in or around Lewisville, or looking to travel to a new destination to get clean, we can help you find a treatment option that fits your needs.
The first step to finding a treatment that works for you is to complete a substance abuse assessment. These evaluations are meant to determine substance abuse levels, as well as monitor symptoms of addiction. Questions asked during a substance abuse evaluation or assessment might include:
- How often do you use?
- How much do you use at one time?
- What is the length of time you typically go between using?
- Do you feel you need to use in order to function?
- Have you attempted to quit using but failed?
- Do you spend money on substances when you should be spending it elsewhere?
- Have you engaged in risky behaviors while under the influence, or in an attempt to obtain the substance?
- Has substance use affected your work or school performance?
- Has substance use affected your home life or relationships?
- Has substance use affected your finances?
There are many online substance abuse assessments that can assist you in determining your level of substance abuse and/or addiction which can be very informative, but if you believe you have a toxic relationship with substances, it’s a good idea to seek professional help. Treatment professionals can provide you with insight that an online evaluation can’t.
Once you have successfully completed a substance abuse/addiction evaluation and determined its presence, it is time to start looking at treatment facilities. Prior to admittance to a facility, you will undergo the pre-intake process. This involves meeting with treatment professionals either via phone or in person to discuss conditions of your rehabilitation. At this time, you’ll be informed of your treatment options, costs, and what will be expected of you. During this process, you may also undergo physical and mental evaluations to further evaluate the effects of substance abuse. It is important to answer all questions honestly and thoroughly, as this will help your treatment specialists to advise a plan that works best for your individual needs. You will want to ask any clarifying questions regarding the length of the program, as well as what you may or may not bring, and whether or not visitation is allowed. If necessary, you’ll also want to arrange transport to the facility for admission at this time.
Upon deciding on a treatment facility and completing the pre-intake process, you will be admitted to a treatment or detox facility. During the intake phase, you can expect more evaluations and some paperwork to dive deeper into your individual needs and conditions. Once your evaluations are complete, A staff member will show you around the facility and explain what is expected of you. Every treatment facility has different rules and disciplinary actions that will be enacted if one breaks them. It is likely that you and your belongings will also be searched for contraband at this time. Some facilities may ask that you also turn over your cellphone, laptop, or other devices that might connect you to the outside world. You will be escorted to your living quarters if applicable, and introduced to staff and other members of your treatment. It is normal to feel nervous during your first day or days at a new treatment facility, but remember, everyone there has the same goal: To get you on the path to recovery.
In some cases, the Assessment, Pre-Intake, and Intake will happen rather quickly, even in the same day. In other cases, the steps may be a bit more spread out.
Once you have been admitted to a treatment program, the first step to getting clean is detox. Some treatment programs will require you to detox prior to admittance, while others will help you through the detox process. Some treatment programs allow home-detox, while others will keep you in the facility for the entirety of your enrollment. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan, but they all have the same goal.
Detox is the process of ridding your body of toxic chemicals and substances. Each person experiences detox differently, though there are some commonalities among substances. Individuals with prolonged substance abuse or addiction will likely experience substance withdrawal during the detoxification process. While withdrawal can be physically and psychologically uncomfortable and at times even painful, it is important to remember it is a temporary and crucial part of recovery. Those who undergo detox with the supervision of professionals are more likely to continue sobriety with less of a chance of relapse, though it is possible to successfully detox on ones own.
Some substances are safer to detox from than others, and each comes with its own set of symptoms.
While marijuana withdrawals tend to be mild, synthetic marijuana withdrawal symptoms have been likened to those of drugs like crack or heroin. Many synthetic marijuana users have been sent to the hospital while experiencing withdrawals, and as such it is recommended you detox under the supervision of a professional. Symptoms may last longer than 10 days, and include:
- Uncontrollable vomiting and diarrhea
- Extreme sweating
- Loss of appetite
- Intense drug cravings
- Suicidal thoughts
- Psychotic episodes
Methamphetamine withdrawal symptoms reflect the opposite of what a meth high invokes. Users often experience:
- Increased and insatiable appetite
- Weight Gain
- Insomnia, though exhausted
- Lack of motivation
- Slowed movements
- Suicidal ideation
- Intense drug cravings
- Cold-like symptoms
Heroin withdrawal symptoms can also be very uncomfortable and even painful, including:
- Loss of appetite
- Pain in muscles, joints and bones
- Flu-like symptoms such as fever, aches and chills
- Intense drug cravings
- Moodiness and agitation
- Inability to concentrate
- High blood pressure
The cravings and sensations during the detox process often leads to relapse even if the user wants to quit, as they know that the symptoms will stop if they start using again. This is just a temporary fix, however, as the next time they attempt to become sober, they will need to detox again. Some treatment and detox facilities can prescribe medications such as Subuxone, Methadone, or antidepressants to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal and aid you through the recovery process.
Though treatment facilities can vary from luxury resort-type treatments to those located within hospitals, they can all more or less be categorized into Inpatient or Outpatient treatment centers. There are two different forms of inpatient treatments:
RESIDENTIAL TREATMENT CENTERS — RTC
Residential treatment centers are the most intensive, and arguably most effective, treatment types. RTCs are live-in treatment facilities, meaning you live there full time. This form of inpatient treatment provides patients with round-the-clock mental and physical care and support.
The average stay in an RTC is 30 days, though some can last longer than 90 days. Most RTC’s offer family counseling, as well as treatment for co-occurring disorders such as anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, bi-polar disorder, and other cognitive or behavioral disorders related or contributing to addiction. Some residential treatment facilities will limit visitation from family or friends, as well as limit contact to and from the outside world. This is to ensure the patients immersion in the recovery process, keeping them clear of stressors that may lead to relapse.
While all RTCs involve hours of daily individual and group therapy, some have basic accommodations such as cafeteria-style meals, a community work-out area, recreation area or yard, and shared rooms. Others may incorporate more luxuries such as private suites, personal trainers, gourmet meals and spa treatments, While still others may focus on holistic approaches such as yoga, spiritual practices, meditation and equine therapy. In any case, treatments goals are the same: to assist you in living a clean, healthy lifestyle.
PARTIAL HOSPITALIZATION PROGRAMS — PHP
Partial hospitalization programs offer the most intensive, non-residential inpatient treatments. This means that you’ll spend the majority of your time at the treatment facility, with the ability to return home at night. Many PHP programs are used as a step-down after completion of part of or an entire RTC program, and mandate that you demonstrate your ability to engage in the program without the need of round-the-clock supervision or care. This kind of program is ideal for those whose substance abuse or addiction level is not to the point of needing constant care and supervision, but still necessitates an immersive and intensive level of rehabilitation. PHP’s include individual and group therapy, medication management, family therapy, and specialized therapy for co-occurring disorders.
The second main type of treatment is Outpatient treatment facilities. While these types of facilities are less intensive, they can still provide major benefits to those dedicated to addiction recovery. There are many types of outpatient treatments, ranging from therapy sessions over the phone or individual therapy sessions with a psychologist or counsellor, to dedicated addiction treatment programs. Only you and your treatment team can decide which route is best for you and your circumstances.
INTENSIVE OUTPATIENT PROGRAMS — IOP
Intensive Outpatient Programs or IOPs are the outpatient version of a PHP. Though less immersive than an inpatient program, they still involve several hours of attendance per week, typically in the mornings or evenings. These programs are meant to work around work, school or home schedules for those who cannot step away from daily obligations for financial, family or other reasons. While outpatient programs generally have a lower recovery rate, these programs are great for those being re-introduced into society after completing a more intensive program, or those with supportive home environments dedicated to the addicts recovery. Patients attending an IOP will be expected to attend group and/or individual therapy for 10-15 hours per week.
No matter what kind of treatment you seek, whether it be inpatient or outpatient, it is one big step in a much larger journey. With substance abuse relapse rates between 40-60%, it is crucial for those in recovery to come up with an aftercare plan they can stick to upon graduating treatment. Many people find that once they are back in the world and re-introduced to stressors, people, or situations that led them to use in the first place, the temptation to relapse (begin using again) is strong. Treatment centers teach you the tools to use in recovery, and aftercare programs help implement them. Just as no treatment is right for everyone, there is also no one-size-fits-all aftercare solution. You will want to work with your treatment team prior to graduating to come up with an aftercare that works for you.
Some aftercare services include:
- Support group and 12-Step meetings
- Family/Group/Individual therapy sessions
- Follow-up care with medical and mental health professionals
- Educational assistance and workforce training
- Therapy to monitor co-occurring disorders
- Medication monitoring
- Sober living
Sober living homes or “halfway houses” are group homes for recovering addicts or those who have struggled with substance abuse. Homes are owned and run by treatment facility staff, privately owned, or even owned by charities or businesses. These types of homes are different from Residential Treatment Facilities, in that they offer the freedom of coming and going, as long as certain rules are adhered to. Most sober living homes offer refuge to those who have already completed treatment and area seeking to continue on the road to recovery, free of relapse triggers a non-sober living environment might bring. Sober living house rules might mandate their residents to:
- Maintain sobriety
- Adhere to a curfew
- Have a day job
- Volunteer or participate in community service
- Submit random drug tests
- Attend 12-step meetings
- Perform chores or contribute to the house in some other way
While each sober living home is different, most impose a zero tolerance rule, meaning if a member is found to have relapsed or broken one of the rules, they may no longer live there. Residents are encouraged to hold each other accountable for their behavior, and support each others recovery. Many addicts have found that living in the presence of others in recovery provides a unique support, as they can relate to the same struggles and victories, while those who have not lived through addiction may not be able to relate. The camaraderie established in sober living homes can contribute greatly to continued sobriety, as long as everyone follows the rules.