Addiction

3 Easy Questions To Remember When Your Doctor Prescribes You Pain Pills

Pain is part of life. Everyone will experience pain at some point, whether it’s minor or more severe. You may take a nasty spill, or perhaps you need surgery, or else, you’re injured in a car accident. Anyone could find themselves needing the assistance of prescription pain medications to control their pain until the body heals. Pain causes stress and isn’t conducive to the healing process. If you need short-term treatment of moderate to severe pain, your doctor will likely prescribe some type of narcotic medication to ease your pain.

More About Narcotic Therapy

Narcotics are prescribed for pain because they are very effective. However, they also carry the potential for addiction. Everyone has different brain chemistry and therefore will respond to narcotic pain medications differently. Some are even genetically pre-disposed to addiction and don’t discover this until after they have taken a narcotic and become addicted to it. However, this is very rare. If you have a painful condition and your doctor thinks that narcotics are warranted, you should listen. If you’ve actually had an addiction problem before, even with a different substance, such as alcohol, you should let your doctor know. He or she will decide from there the best course of action for you.

Key Questions to Ask Your Doctor

Be proactive in your medical care. Ask questions! It’s your right. Let your doctor know your concerns. It is his or her job to listen to you and take your concerns into consideration during your care. Keep these three questions in mind when your doctor thinks you need narcotic medication:

  • What are some possible side effects?

Be sure you understand the major possible side effects. Take your pain medication EXACTLY as prescribed on the bottle. If your doctor is unavailable for future questions, don’t hesitate to call the pharmacy and ask to speak with a pharmacist.

  • Is there an alternative?

Depending upon your pain level, it’s possible that a much weaker pain medication would work for you. There are also non-narcotic pain medicines, such as those similar to ibuprofen, that may work for some people. Keep in mind, though, that this class of drugs isn’t likely to control severe pain.

  • What about the risk of addiction?

Overall, this risk is low, but it does exist. Most of the time, the pain-relieving benefits of narcotics far outweigh any risk of possible addiction. Your doctor will probably tell you this. Still, if it’s a concern for you, say so.

We are always willing to help in any way we can. Call us at (800)737-0933

Does Vivitrol Really Work for Opioid Dependency?

Vivitrol, a form of naltrexone, is an opiate/opioid antagonist. This means that it works on opioid brain receptors in a manner opposite that of opioids. In other words, when a person takes an opioid medication, the molecules of that medication “fit” into receptor sites in the brain, very similar to the way a key fits into a lock. This causes the opioid effects such as pain relief and euphoria. Opioids can also cause unpleasant effects like nausea, and if enough is taken, can even cause life-threatening suppression of the brain’s breathing center. Opioid antagonists like naltrexone work to reverse these effects and/or prevent them from occurring.

Is Vivitrol Safe? Is it Effective?

Vivitrol is safe as long as you are not allergic to it. It must be used with counseling, and the patient cannot be actively dependent upon opioids when they begin therapy. Vivitrol is given only once a month. It’s a long-acting injection. As long as the patient stays compliant and keeps their injection appointment, Vivitrol is extremely effective. This is because the antagonistic effects of naltrexone in the brain totally prevent any “high” from opioids. Even if the patient weakens and takes them, they will feel nothing because the brain’s opioid receptors are blocked. Only one molecule can occupy a receptor at a time, and naltrexone has a higher affinity, or priority, for the brain’s opioid receptors.

 

Benefits of Vivitrol Therapy:

It’s Not Addictive

Vivitrol works by blocking opioid receptors, not by stimulating them. There is no danger of addiction to Vivitrol.

Helps Patients Break Their Addiction

Recovering addicts can focus on rebuilding their lives, knowing that “giving in to temptation” won’t have the desired effect. They know they can’t get high so they think about other things.

Steady, Automatic Dosing

Because Vivitrol is an extended-release injection, there is no need to take a pill or go to a clinic every day. It provides 24-hour blockage and therefore protection against any opioid-induced “high” for a full month.

Some Possible Disadvantages

Like any other medical therapy, Vivitrol isn’t perfect. For example, if the patient actually needed pain relief, say, due to an accident, because their receptors are blocked, they would not experience the pain relief normally provided by opioids. Also the success of Vivitrol depends upon the patient continuing to show up for their injections on time.

Looking for opiate addiction treatment? Call Genesis House today 800-737-0933

I Have Chronic Pain and Need Painkillers To Help Ease The Pain. How Do I Keep From Becoming Addicted?

The use of opioids in the treatment of chronic pain is very controversial. Possible addiction is one of the main reasons for this. Is the relief of chronic pain worth the potential for addiction? The consensus is yes. The fact is, most patients treated for chronic pain by a health professional qualified to do so will not become addicted to their opioid medications.

Addiction is Not the Same as Dependence

Anyone who takes opioid medication for any length of time, say, more than a few weeks, will become physically dependent upon their medication. This is a consequence of the actions of opioids on the body. They cause physical changes to take place in the brain which result in a physical dependence. This is not the same as addiction, which is generally defined as compulsive, uncontrollable use of a substance even when the negative consequences are obvious. Addicted patients often increase their use of medication without their physician’s knowledge or approval, which only makes their addiction even worse. They hide their drug use from friends, family, and employers. They become devious.

In contrast, those taking opioids as directed by their physicians rarely experience addiction. They are simply taking a drug, under medical supervision, that they need to control their chronic pain. There is no emotional dependence on the drug, no compulsion to use it beyond what is needed for pain control, and the patient remains in full compliance, taking the drug only as directed.

  • An addicted patient will often run out of medication early
  • An addicted patient will show signs of drug-seeking behavior, such as repeated requests for more pills and escalating doses when such is not medically indicated
  • Those addicted are likely to withdraw from friends and family as the drug takes over more and more of their lives

In contrast, a patient who is merely physically dependent, which is not their fault anyway, continues to live their lives normally. Their basic behavior doesn’t change and they feel no compulsion to take more and more medication. They just enjoy the relief and quality of life provided by responsible use of opioid medications.

For most people, the risk of true addiction to prescription opioids is low. In fact, the negative effects and stress of living in constant, untreated pain are more of a real concern than addiction.

Call us today 800-737-0933

Why Do They Still Prescribe Opiates If They Cause Addiction?

The United States is currently facing an opiate addiction epidemic, with opiate-related deaths quadrupling since 1999. There were approximately 19,000 deaths linked to opiates in 2014 alone, and it is estimated that up to 36 million people abuse these substances worldwide. Despite these numbers and all the problems that opiate addiction can cause, many of them are still being prescribed by doctors across the country. Some would argue that prescriptions for medications such as OxyContin, Percocet, and Vicodin should be taken off the market, while others believe that these drugs are helpful as long as they aren’t abused.

Opiates are often prescribed to help patients deal with pain after suffering an injury or while they recover from a major surgical procedure. They have also proven useful for those living with chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia, endrometriosis, and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. These are all painful chronic conditions, and many people who live with them need some kind of medication just to maintain a good quality of life. Should they be expected to go without medicine that they arguably need because so many people abuse their prescriptions?

The Dangers of Opiates

The thing that makes opiates so dangerous is that they produce an intense high that makes them very addictive. The short-term effects of these drugs include pain relief and a feeling of euphoria. The relief from pain is attractive to anybody living with chronic pain or even acute pain from an injury, while euphoria is a common desired effect of many drugs. Abuse of opiates can also cause people to become addicted in as little as three days. Some of the side effects of opiate abuse include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • A depressed respiratory system

Long-term opiate use can cause problems such as chronic constipation, liver damage, and brain damage resulting from a depressed respiratory system.

With as dangerous and readily available as opiates are, should doctors stop prescribing them? Many people say yes, and the government has even encouraged doctors to avoid prescribing them. On the other hand, they do have their uses as long as they are taken as prescribed. Short-term opiate use can help people recover from injury and illness, but doctors need to make it clear that these drugs should only be used in the short-term.

If you believe that you are developing a dependence on opiates or you have struggled with substance abuse, there is help available. Contact us today to learn how you can recover from opiate addiction. Call Now 800-737-0933

Why and How Is Fentanyl Getting Into So Many Drugs?

America is in the midst of the worst drug epidemic in its history. Opiate addiction is ripping apart families nationwide, and addiction to harder narcotics like heroin is on the rise. If your family is one of those affected by opiate addiction, you may have heard of the dangers of a new, more powerful opiate called fentanyl. Unfortunately, overdoses on fentanyl have risen drastically over the past few years. So why and how is fentanyl spreading? In order to answer that question, you must understand what fentanyl is and does.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an opioid, similar to drugs like oxycontin and morphine. In fact, all opiates are products of the poppy family of plants. Of course, this makes all of these drugs powerful pain killers. Fentanyl is roughly 10,000 times as strong as morphine, and used only in the most extreme and controlled cases for pain management. Unfortunately, as much as a quarter of a teaspoon of fentanyl is easily enough to kill a person, especially one with low or no tolerance to opioids.

 

How is Fentanyl getting into so many drugs?

As drug and law enforcement agents have become more educated on the dangers and ubiquity of opioids, they have cracked down on doctors over prescribing opiates like hydrocodone and oxycontin. Unfortunately, opioid addiction can begin as early as 2 weeks into a pain management treatment schedule, so even those with small doses of prescribed medication can become addicted. As control over prescription pills has tightened, addicts typically turn to the cheaper and more readily available heroin.

Unfortunately, drug dealers have begun cutting their supplies of heroin with small amounts of fentanyl. Fentanyl provides a stronger high for a much smaller dose, so dealers can make more money off of a smaller supply of heroin.

Why is Fentanyl put into so many drugs?

While drug and law enforcement agents have aggressively pursued the manufacturers and suppliers of street opiates like heroin, they have created another problem. Fentanyl is easier and cheaper to create than heroin, and offers a much stronger high for a much smaller amount. As addicts have a much higher tolerance to opiates than non-addicted patients, many of them will seek out the strongest drug possible: fentanyl. In order to stop fentanyl from destroying your community, it is imperative to stop opiate addiction from spreading in the first place with a visit to a rehab center.  Call Genesis House today 800-737-0933

Which States Has The Biggest Heroin Problems

The number of individuals in the United States who have a problem with heroin has increased exponentially over the past 10 years. Unlike other drug usage, heroin does not discriminate. According to the CDC, the use of heroin has increased equally amongst genders, ethnic groups, and all ages. In fact, many demographic groups that had previously escaped the heroin epidemic are now finding themselves in the midst of this addiction. Privately insured individuals and high-earners are now more commonly using heroin and other drugs, such as cocaine and prescription opioids.

Despite the unanimous issue of heroin abuse between all 50 states, some states are more prone to a population that utilizes this illicit drug. This is partly due to limited access to substance abuse clinics and programs, a lack of prevention services, and local jurisdictions whose practices are ineffective in communities where drug abuse is common. Educational foundations and occupational opportunities also often go hand-in-hand with levels of drug abuse.

States With the Biggest Increases in Heroin Usage

In 2002 alone hospitals in the state of Kentucky admitted 65 patients as a result of heroin overdoses. The number increased by an alarming 1,872% over the course of 10 years. The year 2012 presented Kentucky hospitals with a whopping 1,282 heroin overdoses.

Not far behind Kentucky lies Alaska, which has seen a 1,690% increase in rehab admissions for heroin. From 11 patients in 2002 to 197 patients in 2012 these statistics show that this drug reaches from one side of America to the other. In fact, heroin overdoses are so common in this state that the Alaska Department of Health and Human Services provides information on places where Narcan (the drug that reverses the effects of an overdoes) can be attained.

Seeking Help for a Heroin Addiction

Finding a treatment center that provides a professional environment with staff that are well-trained in heroin detox can be difficult to find. You and your loved ones deserve the best treatment available. Since 1992 The One and Only Genesis House has been providing this type of care in a residential addiction treatment facility. If you or your loved one needs help dealing with addiction, give them a call at 800-737-0933. They help individuals from near and far overcome their drug addiction. Don’t become another one of these statistics.

Call Genesis House today 800-737-0933

Running Away From Addiction: Travel Out of State For Rehab

If you or a loved one are suffering from some type of addiction, you may be looking for options for treatment. Your focus is probably on treatment centers and programs close to home. While there are many good reasons to look for programs within your city, county or state, there are also some valid reasons to look beyond the borders to treatment facilities out of state.

You can easily find many programs around the country for the treatment of drug, alcohol or other addictions. Here ate a few reasons to look outside your home state for your treatment program:

  • A new setting gives you a new perspective.
  • You can get away from the negative influences in your life.
  • You may find programs with unique treatment options not offered in your area.

These are just a few of the benefits of attending a treatment center in another state. When you select this option, it can feel like a brand-new start.

 

How to Find an Out-of-State Rehab Program

If you’ve decided to try a rehab program in another state, you will want to do some research for the right one. You can do much of your work online. Many programs have their own websites, which will tell you about the services they offer and any special requirements.

You can also ask for a recommendation from a doctor or other professional. Their contacts often extend beyond local networks, and they can help you decide on the right program for your needs.

Look for reviews on the programs to find out from others what it’s really like. Testimonials provide a first-hand look at how it works and the pros and cons. While it should not serve as the sole basis for your decision, reviews can provide valuable information.

Contact the rehab center. Be prepared with a list of questions you may have about the facility and the programs offered. While you may not be able to tour the center in person, you should be able to talk to people and get answers to the questions you have.

Going away from home for addiction treatment can be a frightening concept. However, it can also give you a new start, which can be the incentive for you to keep going and win the battle against the addiction.

Call Genesis House Today:  800-737-0933

Why Do Some People Become Addicted to Drugs While Others Do Not?

There is not a simple answer to that question, unfortunately. Addiction is a life-long and multifaceted disease that can affect someone at any point in their life. Everyone’s brain is different and will respond differently when an addictive substance is introduced.

Furthermore, over time and continued use, the substance actually changes the brain’s chemistry and the cell structure, particularly in the regions that control learning, decision-making, stress, memory, and judgment and behavior. This is the reason someone with an addiction can’t just “give it up” like someone without. Their brain has actually changed. These changes can happen quickly and at any time, which is why someone can become addicted at any point in their lives, without even realizing it.

Having said that, there are certain factors that appear to be important to whether or not someone develops an addiction.

Factors of Addiction

  • Biology Many addictive predispositions, like gender or memory disorders are attributed to genetic components. Additionally, people with underlying psychiatric conditions are at greater risk of becoming addicted. Particularly people who are unaware of having a mental illness may begin using substances to self-medicate and alleviate their symptoms. While the offspring of people who have addiction often develop an addiction themselves, there is no one “addiction gene.”
  • Social Environment Often times, addiction may occur within family groups because they all exist within a similar social environment. This factor includes the environment at home, at school or work. It includes one’s family and friends, as well as socio-economic status and general quality of life.
  • Human Development Though people can become addicted at any age, younger people who use drugs or alcohol have a higher likelihood of developing an addiction. This is because the vulnerable parts of the brain are still developing, like those that control decision-making, judgment, and self-control.
  • Trauma Going through a traumatic experience, like abuse, neglect, or losing a loved one early in life can make one easily susceptible to addiction.

Addiction is a biological chemical reaction that a person cannot control. It is not a moral failing or a lack of desire or effort. Fortunately, addiction is absolutely treatable and can be managed with support and counseling. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, our counselors are available 24 hours a day to help you get treatment. Call 800-737-0933

Detox Program

How Do I Know I Will Be Cured After Going To Detox?

Whether you are researching detox for yourself or for your children, you are doing so to procure a certain outcome. You want to rid the body of this addiction and live a more fruitful existence. Therefore, you also likely want to know if you will be cured after going to detox.

In order to procure an answer to your question, you should understand a few important points about detox:

  • Detox is not a cure
  • Detox is part of a process
  • You matter
  • You’ll have support

Thinking about detox as a cure might stifle your progress. Going through detox is not a guarantee that you will live a life free from addiction. The amount of effort and dedication you put into the endeavor play a significant role. Also, detox is not the only part of your recovery plan.

At the beginning of recovery, you usually go through detox to eliminate your body of the current drugs in it and to begin to break the cycle of addiction. After that, however, entering into a rehab program is advisable so that you can build the tools necessary to stay away from the drug.

 

Your Role in Your Recovery

You play an important role in your recovery. One of the most important steps you can take is to choose proven detox. During the detoxification process, your body may begin to experience withdrawal symptoms, and some of these symptoms can feel severe. You may develop a strong craving for the drug while you are in detox. Having medical supervision can help to ease some of the physical symptoms. Furthermore, you will have support around you. When you are supported by trained individuals during this process, you can significantly reduce the chances that you will take drugs.

Also, keep in mind that how much effort you put into the program after detox will play a strong role in whether or not you recover. Take advantage of the opportunities in the program even if they push you outside of your comfort zone. For example, group therapy can be tremendously helpful despite your fears about talking in public.

The answer is that you don’t know if you will be cured by going to detox and to rehab. However, you can increase your chances of recovery by taking certain steps and by calling us today at 800-737-0933 to begin your journey toward recovery.

How Accurate Are Drug Tests?

Drug tests are relatively common in the U.S. Most people have been tested at one time or another when applying for a job. Addiction treatment centers also administer drug tests to patients. But how accurate are these tests? Are they reliable?

The short answer: it depends. Some types of drug testing are highly accurate, while others are much more error-prone. There are five main types of drug test:

  • Urine tests
  • Blood tests
  • Saliva tests
  • Sweat tests
  • Hair tests

Most of these testing methods are, on the whole, accurate. In general, hair tests and blood tests are the most accurate testing methods. However, they tend to be relatively expensive, so many employers and rehab facilities do not use them. Urine tests are more commonly administered, but they tend to be a little more error-prone.

One frequently asked question is whether it’s possible to “cheat” on a drug test. Again, the answer is that it depends. Some testing methods are easier to fool than others. Urine testing, in particular, is vulnerable to cheaters. It’s much harder – if not impossible – to cheat on a blood test or a hair test.

Keep reading to learn more about each type of drug testing and its accuracy.

 

More Information on the Different Types of Drug Tests

When most people hear the words “drug test,” they think of a urine test. Urine testing is the most common form of drug testing because it’s quick and inexpensive. It’s also accurate – most of the time. Some people have found ways to tamper with urine testing, such as drinking lots of water ahead of time, mixing their urine with other additives, or even using someone else’s urine.

Hair testing is less common than urine testing. It’s more expensive and it takes longer, because the sample of hair must be sent to a lab for analysis. However, a hair test is hard to fool, because drug metabolites get locked in the hair strands permanently. Certain shampoos claim to be able to get rid of the metabolites, but there’s no evidence they work.

Blood tests and saliva tests also tend to be accurate. In fact, blood testing is the most accurate form of testing available right now. However, these tests only work within a short window of time. Most of the time, these tests are only accurate if a person has used drugs within the last few days.

A sweat test involves wearing a patch on the skin. While these tests can pick up traces of drugs in a person’s sweat, they’re also prone to giving false positives. Dirt and other substances can render a sweat test inaccurate, so these tests aren’t commonly used.