Opioids

What Are the Main Differences Between Different Opioid Drugs?

Opioids are a powerful class of drugs that are primarily used to provide pain relief. There are many different types of opioids including medications like morphine, fentanyl and even street drugs like heroin. Opioids are classed as being either natural, semisynthetic or fully synthetic depending on the process and substances with which they are manufactured. All opioids are highly addictive substances and abusing opioids or even taking opioids in a prescribed manner can easily result in chemical dependence and opioid addiction.

How Do Opioids Work?

Opioids are most commonly taken orally or by injection although sprays, dermal patches and other forms of administration may also be used. Once an opioid has entered the body, it acts upon receptors within the central nervous system in order to reduce sensations of pain and discomfort. Opioids can vary considerably in terms of potency depending on the dose and type of drug being used. In addition to relieving pain, opioids can also produce a powerful euphoric sensation which often leads to increased instances of abuse and addiction.

Natural Opioids

While some opioids are made from partially are fully synthetic chemicals, drugs like opium, morphine and codeine are made naturally from the opium poppy. Despite the substances and process used to manufacture them, natural opioids can be just as dangerous and addictive as their synthetic counterparts, especially when abused or taken in an unsafe manner. Morphine is one of the most widely-used medications for pain management and is often prescribed to patients following a traumatic injury as well as during and after a surgical procedure. Even when prescribed by a doctor, morphine and other natural opioids can be highly habit forming and those who abuse the drug run a much higher risk of developing an addiction or suffering an opioid overdose.

Semisynthetic Opioids

This type of opioid is made using chemical compounds that are derived from the naturally-occurring compounds found within the poppy plan. While many semisynthetic opioids were created in an attempt to reduce the addictive properties of natural opioids, such efforts were not always successful. Common examples of semisynthetic drugs include hydrocodone, oxycodone, benzylmorphine as well as the street drug heroin.

Synthetic Opioids

Drugs like methadone, fentanyl, and dextropropoxyphene are wholly synthetic and were manufactured using man-made compounds. Drugs like fentanyl are used in the treatment of extreme pain as they are far more potent than natural opioids like morphine and require a much smaller dose in order to be effective. Other drugs like methadone are less potent and are frequently used to provide relief from the symptoms of withdrawal for those who attempting to overcome an addiction to heroin, morphine or other more powerful opioids.

Opioid Addiction

The high potency and habit-forming nature of opioids makes them a highly-addictive substance. Opioid addiction is a very common problem, one that often begins when patients are provided with a prescription for pain-management medication by a physician. Those who are taking opioids following a surgery, accident or other type of injury may notice that the effects of their medication may begin to decrease the longer they take it. Attempting to self medicate by upping the dosage in order to produce the same level of relief that patients have become accustomed to can easily lead to an addiction.

Signs of an Opioid Addiction

There are many signs that may indicate someone is developing or suffering from an opioid addiction. Common indications of a problem often include:

  • Mood swings
  • Loss of interest in work, school or personal activities
  • Pinpoint pupils are dark marks along the arms
  • Going through prescriptions too quickly
  • Fatuige and increased sleepiness

Being able to recognize the signs of chemical dependency and addiction can be crucial to recovery. Opioid addicts who fail to seek help are far more likely to suffer from the long-term health effects of opioids which often include overdose and death.

Treatment and Recovery

Attempting to overcome an opioid addiction without professional help can be far more difficult. Even acute withdrawal symptoms may be dangerous without proper medical supervision. There are numerous treatment options, including both inpatient and outpatient care. Even long-term counseling and emotional support groups can be powerful tools for those who are struggling to overcome an addiction.

If you are someone close to you is suffering from a problem with opioids, seeking help can make a life-saving difference. Call us today at 800-737-0933 to learn more about treatment options and other resources.

How Can You Avoid Relapsing During Long Term Drug Rehab?

Many people who are assessed during short-term rehab will express fear of relapse if they are released from their programs. After all, relapse is a very real threat in the recovery community, and patients themselves often realize this and ask for further treatment. Long-term residential programs provide a community-like atmosphere that gives recovering individuals many paths toward relapse prevention. It’s one of the reasons that patients enter long term drug rehab in the first place. They realize the many programs long term treatment professionals set up solely to deal with the daunting prospect of relapse. How can you avoid relapsing during long term drug rehab? The answer is a long one.

Treatment centers have safety measures put in place specifically to help individuals deal with triggers to relapse. The long term drug rehabs themselves are often the best way to avert relapse in the early days. They do drug screens, provide a drug-free environment to live in and help each client gradually re-enter the community. Group meetings provide peer support. Some are 12 step meetings, but there are other meetings in long term facilities that help clients deal with life on life’s terms.

Individual and Group Sessions

Long term rehab centers structure their programs around the solid principles of addiction counseling and science. They have trained counseling staff on hand that knows how to discuss the triggers that often cause relapse in recovering clients. When you’re in inpatient rehab, you have access to counselors or caring staff 24 hours a day. If there is a true emergency, they can also deal with that.

Group sessions are another excellent way to get support from a counselor who is leading the group, plus peers who might be encouraged to share their own stories during group sessions. You’ll also find group meetings to provide peer support. Some are 12 step meetings, but there are other meetings in long term facilities that help clients deal with life on life’s terms.

Dual Diagnosis Services

Good long term residential centers have dual diagnosis services that help clients with mental illness receive their medications and counseling for those specific issues as well. The result is a well-rounded treatment program that addresses issues that commonly lead to relapse. Those with a co-existing mental illness often face pressure to relapse simply from the symptoms of that particular illness.

Counseling, group meetings, medication management, and peer support all form a solid backbone for recovery in a long term drug rehab. Dual diagnosis will be among the most important services to look for when seeking out treatment. Without support for a mental illness, relapse is likely, and these centers know this and provide the services.

Triggers for Relapse

Among the many things, you’ll learn inside a long term drug rehab is how to cope with the triggers of relapse. Triggers include anything that might stir up feelings that make you want to lose. In the early days, triggers will come often and strongly, but as you learn to live life without drugs or alcohol, you become more resistant to these triggers. Many things that might trigger a relapse include:

  • Negative emotions (stress, depression, fear, and other negative emotions)
  • Seeing a person that reminds you of addiction (AKA a former using partner)
  • Seeing an object that reminds you of using (for example a spoon or a can)
  • Positive emotions at times can make you want to “celebrate”

If it seems like you’re surrounded by a world that reminds you of drugs or alcohol in the beginning, you’re not alone. Triggers will be strong in early recovery, and that’s one of the reasons it’s so important to find a long term treatment program that is helpful to you in the early going. You can learn to cope with those triggers by using tools learned in counseling, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises. Seeking out help from a peer in recovery can also help, as they’re also experiencing these intense emotions. As you go through life drug-free in an inpatient drug rehab, you begin to replace those negative triggers with things that don’t remind you of using at all. Over time, it becomes easier to cope with, and you learn to appreciate life for what it is, without drugs.

If you want to prevent relapse by entering a long term drug rehab, our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 800-737-0933 to get started.

If Getting High on Suboxone During Treatment Is Too Tempting, What Other Medication Options Are There?

According to a study published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 37 million individuals worldwide abuse prescription opioids. For those who may not be as familiar with them, opioids are Schedule II medications that work by binding to receptors in the brain to help block pain and promote a sense of wellbeing. And for this reason, they are among the most commonly prescribed medications for those struggling with chronic diseases that have a pain component, such as HIV, AIDS, fibromyalgia, and certain cancers.

However, in addition to blocking pain and promoting a sense of wellbeing, these same medications can trigger a euphoric high that causes many people to abuse and ultimately become addicted to them. It is important to note that many individuals also abuse street-level opioids, such as heroin, to cope with pain or to derive a euphoric high as well. Fortunately, more and more people have come to appreciate the toll that abusing these substances can have on their lives and have decided to seek help. However, many are woefully unprepared for the withdrawal symptoms associated with coming off of these drugs.

COMMON OPIOID WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS

Depending on how long an individual has been using, opioid withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to intense. For those coming off of short-acting opioids, such as morphine, hydromorphone, oxycodone, or heroin, for example, withdrawal symptoms can start in as little as 6 to 12 hours once they have stopped using. In contrast, those coming off of long-acting opioids, like oxycodone controlled release, Morphine ER, or Duragesic, can expect withdrawal symptoms to start within 30 hours. That said, mild withdrawal symptoms can include the following:

  • Watery eyes
  • Muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Runny nose
  • Profuse sweating
  • An irregular heartbeat
  • Fever
  • High blood pressure

Intense withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid cessation can include the following:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps
  • Depression
  • Severe drug cravings

HOW ARE OPIOID WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS TREATED DURING REHAB?

Most rehab facilities in America will offer medically-assisted detox to help patients cope with the onslaught of severe withdrawal symptoms. Along with round-the-clock monitoring, medically-assisted detox also includes the use of Suboxone, Methadone, and Naltrexone, which have been approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration), to help ease withdrawal symptoms. While these medications are effective, they are also highly addictive. For this reason, the FDA recently approved lofexidine, a new medication that many hope will soon become widely available in rehab facilities across America.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT LOFEXIDINE

Approved by the FDA in May 2018, lofexidine, also known as Lucemyra, is a medication that was originally used to treat hypertension and anxiety. However, because of how it interacts with the nervous system, it can also provide many of the same benefits as Suboxone, Methadone, Naltrexone, and Clonidine in terms of offering pain relief and soothing feelings of anxiety. Of these 4 medications, lofexidine has a lot more in common with Clonidine, which is frequently paired with Naltrexone to help prevent relapse. However, unlike Clonidine, it does not cause a drop in blood pressure.

WHAT MAKES LOFEXIDINE A BETTER CHOICE FOR TREATING OPIOID WITHDRAWAL SYMPTOMS?

The primary reason that lofexidine is a better choice for treating withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid cessation is that it is a non-opioid medication. Therefore, it doesn’t pose the same risk of addiction as other commonly prescribed drugs, which in addition to Suboxone, Methadone, Naltrexone, and Clonidine, include benzodiazepines, a class of medication commonly prescribed to treat the psychological symptoms associated with coming off of opioids. In short, lofexidine is an alpha-2 adrenergic receptor agonist that works by reducing norepinephrine signaling in the brain, which disrupts the transmission of pain signals and promotes feelings of euphoria that can help combat depression and anxiety. It is important to note that because it is a non-opioid, lofexidine does not provide the same kind of relief from withdrawal symptoms as its opioid counterparts. Nonetheless, it is proving to be an excellent choice for individuals who would rather not get high while going through detox.

BOTTOM LINE

If you’re ready to end your relationship with opioids but have concerns about severe withdrawal symptoms while going through detox, lofexidine can help make the process that much easier. Furthermore, lofexidine is significantly safer than many of the medications that are commonly prescribed to combat severe withdrawal symptoms. To learn more about lofexidine or to find a rehab facility in your area, consider speaking with one of our addiction experts today at 800-737-0933.

Where Can I Find Reliable Rehab Reviews?

Before going into inpatient rehab, it’s important to have an idea of the kind of environment that exists in that rehab. Is the staff compassionate? Is the staff qualified and easy to talk to? Are there security measures taken at the rehab to make sure that everyone is safe and sound from threats both outside and within? Finding these answers is easier in today’s world than ever before thanks to the abundance of rehab reviews.

Any old rehab reviews won’t do, though. You need to make sure that the rehab being reviewed has no connection to the source reviewing it. You might want reviews from former clients, but you wouldn’t want reviews by a publication that the rehab paid to review it. Spotting reliable reviews are dependent on your knowledge of what they look like.

Online Sources

There are many terrific places that review rehabs and give you detailed information about the facility. They’ll sound unbiased and very specific (as much as confidentiality will allow). These publications can be trusted and will usually be something you’ve heard of just word of mouth. They’ll also look professional and be run by people who update the site often.

Search engines often have reviews as well, and this is where you can read about the rehab center from happy customers. They’ll often tell you about how the facility helped them and why they’d recommend it to a friend. In many cases, they can rate the rehab facility so that you have an idea of the overall quality of it (a four-star rating will be higher than a three-star rating, for example). This denotes quality in the rehab facility. Search engines are often a reliable source for finding out more about the rehab you’re considering.

Offline Sources

Word of mouth reviews is often the most helpful. If you know friends or family who has been an actual client at a rehab treatment center, then you might have an idea of whether the person telling you about it is reliable or not. If they wouldn’t steer you wrong on things like that, it’s likely they’re a reliable source of information about that treatment center. Magazines tend to be more of a national source of information, so if you are willing to travel to go to rehab, reading reliable reviews in a magazine might be a helpful venture.

Paper publications like magazines and newspaper often have reviews about rehab centers. Many magazines rank rehabs annually and give you quality information about the kind of treatment program they offer. Newspapers will sometimes take a local facility they’ve investigated and give potential clients more information. They may even have awards for local rehabs and let you know which ones are award-worthy. Newspapers are a time-tested media format that has helped people learn more about the world around them for years. They continue to serve the public with excellent reliable rehab reviews sometimes.

How Reviews Help

Before traveling to a place, it’s wise to know more about it. Certain rehabs cater to certain kinds of clients, while others will serve all. For example, you can find rehabs that have a spiritual approach to rehab, while others help clients who have a strong Christian faith and want to find a Christian rehab. Reading reviews can help you know if you will fit into the environment the rehab fosters. If you’re spiritual, you’ll want to find a rehab that has a natural, spiritual approach to recovery. If you have strong Christian faith, reviews can help you recognize when rehab is a Christian one.

Reading reviews can also curb some of the anxiety that might become with checking yourself into a rehab center. Many people are understandably nervous about the process and don’t want to be in the dark about it. By reading reviews, you increase your knowledge of the rehab center, learn a little from former clients, and begin to feel more at ease with the possibility of becoming a client of a certain facility. Thanks to reliable reviews, you can also cross out and avoid those rehabs that don’t have a less than stellar reputation with reviewers and/or clients. Sometimes ruling out rehab centers can make it easier to find the one that’s right for you. Reviews accomplish all of these many important things.

If you’re ready to learn more about spotting reliable rehab reviews or ready to get started on the treatment of your own, please call us today at 800-737-0933.

Can a Detox Center Help if I’m Afraid of Pain from Detoxing from Drugs and Alcohol?

There are hundreds of reasons that people become addicted to drugs. For many, experiencing chronic pain caused by medical conditions can create the need for pain relief that fuels addiction. While addiction can actually make the pain worsen, it won’t go away once you get clean in a detox center. You will still have that underlying pain and that’s one reason many people are reluctant to seek help in getting clean. If you are afraid of how you will deal with the pain, you should be aware that medication isn’t the only way to manage your pain.

As you begin a detoxing from drugs, you may feel alone, but your caregivers in the facility will be there to help you. In addition to helping you flush the drugs out of your system, they will also help you to address the causes of your addiction. For those suffering from chronic pain, this means helping you find healthier ways of coping with your pain. This doesn’t always mean you won’t be given medication, but you will also be encouraged to look for other methods for managing your pain.

Beginning Detox as a Chronic Pain Sufferer

Once you decide to participate in a medically supervised detox, there is a procedure you must follow. You won’t just jump into treatment without preparation. Instead, an intake procedure will allow your caregivers to evaluate your condition. While one focus of this process is to determine the type and severity of your addiction, the intake will also be used to evaluate your health status. This means evaluating any mental illnesses that may be affecting you, as well as determining what physical medical conditions you may be experiencing.

This examination will also help them determine how much pain you typically experience. In addition to conducting a physical examination, they will also ask you questions about your medical conditions and your pain levels. Through this process, they can determine how best to address your pain issues as you detox from drugs or alcohol. While you may think your caregivers don’t understand, they are experienced in dealing with chronic pain patients and it’s important for you to trust them.

No Painkillers Doesn’t Always Mean No Drugs

Typically, doctors prescribe opioid painkillers to help patients manage chronic pain. While these medications are effective in managing pain, they’re also highly addictive and today’s doctors are looking for alternative methods of managing pain. In the detox center, your caregivers may find that your pain level is severe enough that you do need some type of medication, though they will not continue feeding your addiction with opioid-based painkillers. Instead, they may prescribe non-addictive painkillers, such as those used to treat depression and epileptic seizures. Sometimes, methadone or buprenorphine may be prescribed as a replacement drug, but these drugs will be administered at low, controlled dosages.

You may also begin attending therapy sessions in the detox center. These sessions will provide psychological counseling that will help you address the causes of your addiction. As such, you’ll receive therapy designed to teach you healthier coping mechanisms for your pain. Your therapist will likely begin behavioral modification therapy to help you manage how you react to pain.

Exploring Other Alternatives to Painkillers

While you may not believe it, there are actually many natural ways for dealing with pain and some maybe even more effective than the painkillers you were taking. Since these are natural treatments and therapies, you won’t experience the negative side effects that the drugs caused. Each facility will offer different resources, so it may be helpful to discuss the pain management options in advance. If you can find a detox center that offers the pain management options that you find interesting, you may be more open to benefit from those types of treatment.

By way of an example, acupuncture and chiropractic care have been found to be very effective in helping to treat pain caused by a variety of chronic medical conditions. You may also benefit from massage therapy. Your caregivers may also encourage you to begin working out and using weights. In addition to benefiting your overall health, regular physical exercise will help you strengthen your bones, muscles, and tissue, which will reduce the inflammation that causes pain.

The first step to recovering from your addiction is getting clean, but you don’t have to take on that challenge without help. To learn more about the detox process, call our counselors at 800-737-0933. We can answer your questions and help you get started in the recovery process.

How Long Can You Be Prescribed Suboxone?

Suboxone is a combination of two drugs: Buprenorphine and Naloxone. It is considered a partial opioid and will sometimes produce mild euphoria in the patients who use it to more comfortably withdrawal from stronger opiates. This medication has done an enormous amount of good for some opiate addicts who felt they were at the end of the line and had no hope. If you believe Suboxone might help you, one of the first questions you might want to ask if how long you can be prescribed Suboxone for your withdrawal issues.

Suboxone is prescribed, usually, for between 6 months and one year, but there are some opiate addicts who will need to take it for a longer length of time. The normal length of therapy will Suboxone generally lasts for that year, but it’s a flexible drug and some doctors realize that treating addiction is a long-term goal, and keeping a patient off heroin or stronger opiates sometimes necessitate a longer stint of Suboxone therapy.

How Suboxone Works

Buprenorphine is the opioid in Suboxone, while Naloxone blocks the majority of the opiate’s effect. Suboxone works because while your body believes it is receiving an opiate, you’re not getting the addictive euphoria you would get with a drug like heroin or Fentanyl. The result is that you don’t experience opiate withdrawal as strongly as you would if you came off a drug like heroin or Fentanyl without Suboxone. And since the euphoria is mild or non-existent altogether, you’re able to stop craving the “high” of opiates while still foregoing the uncomfortable withdrawal.

For someone who has a heavy addiction to fentanyl or heroin, things don’t automatically go back to normal once you start Suboxone therapy. Many opiate addicts have legal problems, family problems, and even occupational problems, so it’s not a miracle drug. What it does do is give you one of your best chances to safely and comfortably cease using drugs like heroin and Fentanyl so that you can begin your journey to recovery. Physical withdrawal is only one component to your recovery, and Suboxone can make physical withdrawal much more bearable. Suboxone works because of it:

  • Decreases the severity of physical withdrawal
  • Works on opiate receptors to help you think more clearly during withdrawal
  • Is relatively safe compared to strong opiates

Forms of Suboxone

Suboxone comes in many forms. One is a sublingual film. Another form is the dissolvable tablet form that many addicts choose to take. Which kind works best for you can be discussed with your treatment center or doctor. The medication also comes in patch form that can be stuck on an arm and used over the course of a couple of days. Suboxone has a long half-life – 24 to 72 hours – so it’s a convenient medication in that you don’t have to remember to take a pill all the time.

For addicts who’ve discovered Suboxone works for them, it’s a truly relieving feeling to know that there is something out there that will allow you to think clearly and skip agonizing withdrawal while still working on other parts of recovery. Physical withdrawal is one of the most powerful reasons that addicts don’t get help sooner, and sadly, if an addict waits too long to get help, it can be too late. Thanks to formulas like Suboxone, more addicts than ever before have the confidence to get the help they need.

Seeking Help

Addicts have a serious problem. Believe it or not, most addicts realize that the problem exists. They’re just too scared of going through the physical and emotional pain that sometimes comes with opiate withdrawal. Drugs like Suboxone enable more addicts to confidently and fearlessly face their addiction without the intense withdrawal effects that sometimes come with opiate addiction. It’s definitely a drug that has a place in some people’s line of defense against relapse.

Most people will take Suboxone for 6 months to a year, but if it’s prescribed for longer, don’t be surprised. Depending on the severity of the addiction, it can be a couple of years before you’re ready to tackle the world without Suboxone. And that’s okay. The important thing is that you’re doing what your doctors and counselors say you need to do in order to stay well, and Suboxone can be an important part of your treatment plan for as long as they believe it’s necessary. During Suboxone treatment, counseling services and group meetings will also help to increase the quality of recovery and life you have after drug and alcohol addiction.

When you’re ready to take the first step and get help, our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 800-737-0933.

What’s a List of Pain Medications That Aren’t Habit Forming?

Each day, across this country, about 20 percent of the patients a physician sees are due to struggles with chronic pain. While the medical community once revered drugs like morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycontin as the holy grail for fast relief, recent knowledge has caused doctors to look for alternative remedies.

The increase of addictions and deaths with those who use these medications has played a significant part in the opioid crisis. Though they are thought of as effective pain relievers, the side and long-term effects cannot be ignored. In the past two decades, we can see and identify the true nature of these medications.

Controlling Pain

It’s easy to be unrealistic when you are dealing with chronic pain issues. People take one pill and expect their discomfort to go away completely. The medication can only reduce agony by about a third of its original state. While the medicine provides enough for people to function, their pain doesn’t ever truly go away.

Additionally, you must understand that pain and tissue damage are two different things. If you have pain that is caused by tissue damage, then opioids can help. However, it doesn’t do that good when someone is dealing with neuropathic pain that is created from nerve damage. So what is a person supposed to take to get pain relief that isn’t habit-forming and won’t cause significant side effects?

•Acetaminophen

There aren’t many prescription medications for pain that don’t tend to cause addiction. However, you can look to over-the-counter varieties to help. Acetaminophen is an excellent medication that is great for relieving aching joints. It helps to reduce inflammation in the body as well as help with colds and flu symptoms. The side effect profile is slim, and it’s considered a safe treatment for pain. The only downside is that constant use can cause liver damage that is not reversible.

•Ibuprofen

Another option for fast pain relief is Ibuprofen or the NSAID drug line. Several brand names are easily found on the shelves at any store. People turn to these medications for back pain, muscle sprains, headaches, and just about any pain out there. It’s common to find strengths in 200-300 milligrams over the counter, but a doctor can prescribe them in strengths of up to 800 mg. Some say they work just as good as opioids, but they don’t have all the side effects. Plus, these drugs are not habit-forming. They do a great job of reducing inflammation in the body, which helps bring relief.

Though the side effects of NSAIDs are not as severe as opioids, they still can cause some issues. For instance, a person who takes these drugs chronically can develop ulcers, develop heartburn, and they can cause kidney damage. Also, they increase the chances of having a stroke or heart disease with long term use.

•COX-2 inhibitor

There is a newer product that is an NSAID, but It’s a little different to other drugs in this category. The COX-2 inhibitor is a good choice for those who have gastric problems with traditional NSAID drugs. It does have the smallest risk of developing gastrointestinal problems, but it has an increased risk of having a stroke or heart attack. Some say that it’s a little stronger than other drugs in its class, but it’s not habit-forming and a great option for pain.

•Holistic Methods

No rule says that you must pop a pill when you are in chronic pain. Sometimes, the best way to get over pain issues is by working those strained muscles and hurting joints. An exercise is an excellent option that can help to raise serotonin levels in the brain and bring about relief. It may be uncomfortable at first, but many find that by stretching their muscle range and working those sensitive parts, the body activates its healing properties and rushes to those sites to help.

Chiropractic care is another option that uses gentle manipulations of the spine to bring relief. This holistic option is well used by those with chronic back and neck pain. Putting the body back into perfect alignment can work wonders for constant pain.

Freeing Yourself From an Opioid Addiction

Did you know that one in four people in this country struggle with an opioid addiction? Are you one of them? There is a way to deal with your chronic pain without being addicted to prescription medications. We want to help you get on the right track and get your pain and addiction under control. If you would like to find out more about how our Southern Florida center can help, then call us today at 800-737-0933.

Are There Pain Medications That Aren’t Habit Forming?

America is in the midst of an epidemic of pain medication abuse. The problem is the addictive nature of prescription opioids: a recent report from the “Trust for America’s Health” found double- and triple-digit increases in synthetic opioid deaths from 2016–2017 of both males and females, from all ethnicities, and in every region of the nation.

Pain is frustrating and debilitating, and it can take over your life without warning. Unfortunately, opioid-based pain medications can be addictive, which can cause an entirely new set of problems.

It isn’t always simple to manage pain without habit-forming medications, or it wouldn’t be the problem it is … but there are alternatives. It’s best to be forearmed with the knowledge to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Not all Pain Medications are Habit-forming

According to government statistics, more than 47,000 Americans died from opioid overdose in 2017, a figure which includes prescription opioids, heroin, and the synthetic drug, fentanyl. Any medication requires caution, but the abuse factor makes opioids one of the riskiest.

The good news is that there are safe, effective medications which aren’t habit forming—and more are in development. Also, for many types of pain, it’s been shown that opioids are not more effective than non-opioid medications.

NSAIDs

The most common non-opioid (non-narcotic) pain relievers are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). These are effective against mild-to-moderate pain from many different conditions, including headaches, fever, inflammation, arthritis, sprains, cramps, muscle soreness, and toothaches. NSAIDs are often available over-the-counter.

Out of the nearly two dozen NSAIDs available by prescription, three are available over-the-counter in the US and most countries:

• Aspirin (Bayer, Bufferin, generics) – the most common NSAID is a synthetic derivative of salicylic acid, a natural compound found in foods. Salicylic have been used for healing and pain relief since ancient times.

• Naproxen (Aleve, generics) – Treats pain, fever, and swelling. Naproxen is similar to ibuprofen and begins working in just 30 minutes.

• Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, generics) – This medicine is effective for pain and fever, and can help with swelling—but its effects wear off quickly and must be readministered every 4-6 hours. The increased risk is associated with long-term use of over three months.

Acetaminophen

This is the world’s most popular pain medication, otherwise known as Tylenol. It relieves pain by blocking the production of prostaglandins in your system that can cause inflammation and fever. If correctly managed, this is a front-line pain treatment.

Acetaminophen is available over-the-counter and is generally well tolerated—though its effectiveness varies according to the pain condition and the individual’s system. Though considered safe, long-term use at higher dosages does carry some risk, and serious drug interactions are possible.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Antidepressants have proven helpful with nerve-associated pain such as with fibromyalgia and diabetic neuropathy. Tricyclics are the most common antidepressant used for pain treatment, even though their action isn’t fully understood. Effects come on slowly over the period of a few weeks, not hours, and they’re not habit-forming.

Other Non-Habit-forming Medications

Other non-addictive pain-relieving medications are targeted to certain conditions or applications. These require a prescription and medical oversight in the US and most countries.

SNRIs

Non-addictive antidepressants known as serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are typically quite effective against diabetic neuropathy pain. There are several SNRIs currently on the market.

• Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
• Venlafaxine XR (Effexor XR)
• Desvenlafaxine (Pristiq)
• Milnacipran (Savella)
• Levomilnacipran (Fetzima).

Antiseizure meds

Certain anticonvulsant medications seem to relieve pain by affecting calcium and GABA levels in your bloodstream. These manage pain from damaged nerves without risk of addiction.

Two medications, gabapentin, and pregabalin are especially effective in treating shingles-related neuralgia, diabetic neuropathy, and pain from spinal cord injuries. Newer medications have fewer side effects than older medications of this class.

Topical Applications

Pain medicine can be applied to the skin instead of being ingested, so there isn’t a risk of addiction.

One common example is the lidocaine patch that is commonly used to treat shingles-related pain. Another is capsaicin ointment, from the active ingredient of chili peppers, which is effective against joint and diabetic nerve pain.

Summary

It’s not always evident from the media’s reports about opioid pain-killer addiction, but there’s good news, too. A number of safe and effective non-addictive pain medications are available, and there are promising medicines on the horizon.

If you have more questions or concerns, we can help: call us now 123-456-7890.

Who Is At Risk of Abusing Opioid Medications?

America finds itself caught in an opioid addiction epidemic. Prescription painkillers, heroin and the ever-dangerous fentanyl are dominating the headlines for all the wrong reasons. If you are suffering from an addiction to any kind of opioid, you’re facing some very serious long-term repercussions if you don’t get help. We hope you realize that, which is why you are looking for information.

With your need for information in mind, we want to encourage you to get help now. To help motivate you, we want to tell you about the treatment process. Hopefully, this will put your mind at ease and let you know what to expect. Much of our focus is going to be placed on the detox process and the use of detox medications.

When you locate the right treatment facility based on your needs, you’ll likely go through an intake interview. The facility’s clinician is simply gathering information about your addiction profile. From this profile, they should be able to determine the proper course of treatment.

Tapering Detox Programs – The Risk of Abuse

While therapy and aftercare are important aspects of treatment, it’s all predicated on the addiction sufferer successfully getting past withdrawal and their cravings. It would be a mistake to underestimate the importance of a detox program, especially for someone with an addiction to opioids. Remember, the withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid addiction can be quite dangerous. We are talking about symptoms such as:

  • Respiratory and circulatory issues
  • Severe muscle spasms in the stomach and extremity regions
  • Psychological issues such as anxiety and depression
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
  • Sleeping issues

The point of a detox program is to help clients get through these withdrawal symptoms with a minimum of discomfort. If the client does encounter discomfort, the detox facility’s medical staff has the option to prescribe certain medications for relief.

That brings us to a very serious discussion. There are times when a client enters rehab with a very significant addiction to an opioid substance. If the addiction is deep-rooted enough, a standard detox program might not suffice as far as keeping the client safe. That’s when a tapering program becomes the best solution. In a tapering program, a doctor will prescribe medications like Suboxone or Methadone to help ease the client away from their addiction. The process could take weeks instead of months, but it’s necessary for the welfare of the client.

Unfortunately, tapering medications are derivatives of the substances being treated. That makes them addictive. That raises an important question: “Who Is At Risk of Abusing Opioid Medications?” The short answer is anyone who misuses the prescribed medications.

Given the fact these drugs are addictive unto themselves, they must be taken as the doctor prescribes. The doctor’s job is to monitor the client’s progress to assure everything is going as the doctor planned. If the client takes larger doses or takes a tapering drug more often than prescribed, it’s substance abuse. As you can imagine, substituting one addiction for another is not good. The client is obligated to follow the doctor’s instructions or risk further problems.

After going through a detox program, the client should be ready for the rest of the treatment process.

Addiction Therapy

Therapy is the meat and potatoes of addiction treatment. This is the opportunity for the client to identify the personal issues that are driving their desire to hide behind a harmful substance. To get to that point, the client has to be willing to speak openly and honestly with the therapist. With the therapist’s direction, the real issues should become apparent.

After identifying the issues at hand, the client has the opportunity to develop very specific coping skills they can use to combat their problems. With the right coping skills, relapses can be avoided.

Aftercare Programs

After the client has completed treatment, they have to leave rehab and begin living life on life’s terms. The good news is they don’t have to do that alone. The rehab facility should be able to offer them access to aftercare programs the client can use as support resources. The best support resources include outpatient counseling, sober living options and 12-Step meetings.

If you have an addiction to opioids, you have to be cautious. Your overall well-being is at risk. We would like to recommend you let us help you arrest your addiction and reclaim your life. If you are ready to start treatment, please call us at 123-456-7890.

What Steps Should You Take to Use Opioid Medications Responsibly?

Opioid medications are commonly prescribed to manage pain caused by injuries and surgeries. These painkillers can be very effective, but they are also known for their addictive properties.

It’s important to take opioid medications responsibly to reduce the risk of dependency and addiction. Even with proper use, the potential for addiction is always present.

Fortunately, there are measures you can take to use your prescription painkillers responsibly. Responsible use is important for staying healthy and successfully relieving pain.

In this post, you’ll discover the steps to take for proper use. Read on to learn more about safely using opioid medication.

Ask Your Doctor Or Pharmacist Questions About Your Medication

It’s crucial to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medication prescribed to you. Opioid medications have many side effects, and they can impair physical activity.

Consider writing a list of questions ahead of time. There are no silly questions, so make sure to address any concerns you have. Here are a few common questions you may ask:

  • Should I expect any negative side effects? If so, what are they?
  • Is it better to take my medication with or without food?
  • Can I take over-the-counter medications for pain relief, too?

It’s crucial to get answers from medical professionals versus reading online or asking friends and family members. Your physician or pharmacist will give you accurate information that will help you use your medication responsibility.

Take Your Prescription Medication As Directed

Taking your opioid medication exactly as directed is a crucial part of responsible use. In many cases, you will be instructed to take a dose of medication every four to six hours.

Do not ever take your medication more frequently than prescribed. That’s the easiest yet most important tip to keep in mind. Here are some more directions and tips to follow:

  • If you aren’t in pain, you may skip a dose of painkillers.
  • Do not consume any alcohol while taking opioid medication.
  • Do not take any sedative medications unless okayed by a doctor.
  • Take your medication with meals or as otherwise directed.

Make sure you read the pamphlet that comes with your medication. If you cannot find it, call your doctor or pharmacist for a replacement.

You should also let your doctor or pharmacist know if you take any other prescription or over-the-counter medications. This will help you avoid the risk of potentially dangerous drug interactions.

Use Non-Opioid Pain Management Whenever Possible

Opioids are not the only option you have for pain management. You can limit your opioid use by trying out different pain management methods. Here are some examples to consider:

  • heating pads and ice packs for hot/cold therapy
  • over-the-counter NSAIDs
  • massage therapy
  • meditation and relaxation techniques

The exact methods you use depend on your specific situation. These options are generally considered safe, but it’s best to use caution. Make sure to consult with your physician to ensure you choose safe non-opioid alternatives.

Dispose Of Your Leftover Opioid Medication Responsibly

When your pain is better, you may have leftover opioid medication. Getting rid of your medication in a safe and responsible manner is important. Here are some options that may be available to you:

  • local law enforcement may offer a medication take-back service; they will dispose of your painkillers for you
  • permanent collection sites for taking back medication may be available at pharmacies and hospitals near you
  • remove and destroy the medication label that contains your personal information
  • crush and mix the unused medication with dirt, coffee grounds, or other substances
  • put the crushed medication mixture in a sealed plastic bag and throw it away

Following the steps above can help reduce the risk of opioid dependency. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible to completely avoid drug abuse or drug addiction.

The good news is that there is help available. You can receive honest, supportive assistance without any judgment. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Call 123-456-7890 to get the information you’re looking for.