Opioids

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.

What are the Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction?

What are the Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction?

Hydrocodone is a commonly prescribed opioid medication used to treat pain which has a high potential of abuse. The use of opioids, which include prescription medications such as hydrocodone and illicit drugs such as heroin, has skyrocketed in recent decades, resulting in a widespread epidemic of abuse in the United States. It is estimated that there are currently 2 million people struggling with opioid addiction and that roughly 47,450 die every year from an opioid overdose. The crisis has been covered widely in the news, putting citizens on high alert regarding potential addiction in themselves and their loved ones. Understanding the signs of a hydrocodone addiction can be a vital step to starting down a path towards recovery. Here a few things to know regarding hydrocodone addiction.

What is Hydrocodone?

As previously mentioned, hydrocodone is a prescription opioid medication used to treat pain. It is semi-synthetic, meaning it is created in a lab rather than occurring naturally like other opioids such as morphine and codeine. Hydrocodone is generally combined with other medications, such as cough syrup to aid in reducing certain symptoms in addition to minimizing pain. It works by binding to certain receptors in the brain and altering the way the body reacts to pain. Hydrocodone can be prescribed in various forms including syrups, tablet, and capsules which are either extended release or short-acting. Outside of providing pain relief, hydrocodone can induce feelings of euphoria, making it a prime medication for abuse and addiction.

What are the Signs of Hydrocodone Addiction?

In the beginning, hydrocodone use may create symptoms of slowed heart rate, anxiety, headache and difficulty breathing. Under normal use, these symptoms are quite regular and will tend to dissipate with time. However, hydrocodone addiction occurs when an individual begins to take the medication outside of the way it was intended to be used. Your loved one may tell you that they have begun taking “just a little bit more” than the doctor has prescribed because their pain is not being absolved with the prescribed dose. This is an indication that the body has built up a tolerance to the medication and is no longer producing endorphins or aiding in pain relief without the presence of the drug and is one of the first signs that an individual is dependent on hydrocodone. Other signs of hydrocodone abuse include:

  • Seizures: Seizures can occur if an individual has used hydrocodone heavily or for an extended period of time and attempts to quit without medical assistance.
  • Depression: Your loved one may withdraw from social activities or things they once loved, especially when they are prevented from using hydrocodone. They may also begin to ignore their appearance and hygiene.
  • Confusion: A person with a hydrocodone addiction may have difficulty holding conversations or thinking logically.
  • Blurred vision: Individuals may find themselves knocking things over or running into objects due to poor vision.
  • Paranoia: Your loved one may begin to feel persecuted or illogically afraid of people and things they were once comfortable with.

It is also important to understand that individuals who have regularly used hydrocodone over a long period of time or who have become accustomed to using large doses generally experience withdrawal symptoms. This occurs when there is a significant reduction in the amount of hydrocodone used, resulting in uncomfortable and sometimes severe physical and mental symptoms including, difficulty breathing, muscle weakness, difficulty breathing, clammy skin, and severe anxiety and depression.

What Should I do if My Loved One Is Addicted to Hydrocodone?

The best thing you can do for a loved one addicted to hydrocodone is to encourage them to get help. While many may believe that they can quit on their own or “cold turkey”, this method is not encouraged. Withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe for those with an even moderate addiction and enduring withdrawal without the help of a knowledgable professional can increase their risk for relapse. Thankfully there are people out there that can provide skilled and compassionate care throughout all stages of recovery. Your loved one does not have to quit on their own and there are options available to increase their chances of success. Ready to get started? Our counselors are available 24 hours a day. Give us a call at 123-456-7890.

What Are the Similarities and Differences Between Different Opioid Drugs?

Opioid is the general term for a narcotic derived, ultimately, from the opium poppy. Opiates are natural opioids. Some of these drugs are prescribed to control pain while others, such as heroin, are illegal. All of them are similar in that they lock into receptors in the central nervous system, which is made up of the brain and the spinal cord.

Opioids can be problematic because along with pain relief many of them cause an intense euphoria when they are taken. This can lead to dependence and addiction. People can overdose on opioids, though the symptoms can be reversed by taking an opioid antagonist called naloxone. Naloxone also locks into opioid receptors, but it doesn’t produce the euphoria associated with opioids such as heroin. Here are some opioids:

Heroin

Heroin or diamorphine is a synthetic opioid made from morphine, which is an opiate. Though it was created as a pain reliever by the same people who developed aspirin, heroin is now illegal. When it is pure, it is a white powder, though as a street drug it is rarely used in its pure form. It is snorted, smoked or injected. A type of heroin called black tar resembles asphalt and gets its color from the impurities that remain after it’s been processed.

The drug can easily pass through the blood-brain barrier, a physiological system that usually protects the brain from toxins. Once there, the body converts heroin into morphine, which then binds to mu-opioid receptors. The person feels a rush that can be very intense and may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. After the rush, the person grows drowsy and “nods off.” Other initial effects of heroin are:

• Reduced mental function
• Slowed heart rate
• Slowed breathing
• Constipation

These symptoms appear because heroin, like all opioids, is a central nervous system depressant. A person who takes too much heroin can die if their breathing and heart rate are drastically slowed down by the drug.

Fentanyl

Unlike heroin, fentanyl is legal but strictly controlled. Like other opioids, it is prescribed for pain. It is also 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine. An analog of fentanyl, carfentanil, is 100 times stronger than fentanyl. Both are used to ease the pain of end-stage cancer. Like heroin, dependency can develop with fentanyl, especially if the person takes it for a long time. Unlike heroin, it is not injected or snorted, but comes in the form of a tablet placed under the tongue, a film placed on the skin, a lozenge meant to dissolve slowly between the patient’s gum and cheek or a lollipop. A patient who is taking fentanyl must be monitored by and work closely with their doctor.

A person who is on fentanyl should not drink grapefruit juice or eat grapefruit. This is true if the patient is using any type of opioid, because grapefruit has a chemical that stops the body from metabolizing opioids. This intensifies the effect of the drug and can lead to sudden death even if the fruit or the juice is taken hours after the person has taken their opioid drug.

Methadone

Methadone is also a legal opioid, but it is different from the others in that it is used to wean a patient from their dependency on another opioid. It can only be prescribed through an opioid treatment program, or OTP that is certified by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Methadone is also used to treat pain, including the pain of withdrawal from other opioids such as heroin. It is taken once a day as a pill, a liquid or a wafer under a doctor’s supervision and at a dosage that is tailored to the needs of the patient. Many patients need to go to a clinic to take their dose of methadone if they are using it to quit another opioid. When they are seen to be reliable and stable, they can take the drug home with them.

Like other opioids, a person can become addicted to methadone, so it is crucial that they take it exactly as their doctor prescribed. This is especially true of patients who can take the drug home with them.

There are many other types of opioids, including hydromorphone, hydrocodone, oxymorphone and codeine. They are powerful, pain-killing drugs that have made the lives of many patients bearable, but the risk of abusing and even dying from these drugs is considerable if they are misused. If you feel you have a problem with opioids, don’t hesitate to call us today. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call us at 123-456-7890.

Is Is Opiate Detox Dangerous if You Don’t Get Medical Supervision?

Opiate drugs that are commonly abused include heroin and prescription painkillers including Oxycontin, Morphine, and Fentanyl. Withdrawal and detox from opioids can create symptoms of withdrawal within hours after the last dose taken. The symptoms can last for several days up to a week or longer. Withdrawal from opioids without medical supervision may not be fatal, but it may lead to the use of opioids again in order to relieve the withdrawal symptoms.

Signs of withdrawal from opiates may be mild to severe and depend on individual factors. Individual factors include how much of a substance an individual has been using and how long they have been using the substance. Further, the type of opioid that has been taken, the way in which the drug was taken (i.e., intravenously, orally, smoked, nasal inhalation), any underlying health or mental conditions, or any co-morbid mental health issues. Previous trauma, family history of addiction, biological factors, environmental factors, and stressful surroundings may also affect the way in which withdrawal symptoms emerge and appear.

Withdrawal symptoms from opioid substances include:

  • Muscle cramping
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cravings to use opiates
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Nausea

Options for Detox

There are a number of methods for treatment and detox for the removal of opiates from the body. Some treatment methods are more in-depth and comprehensive than others. Medical detox includes both psychological and pharmacological treatment methods while under the supervision of a team of medical and mental health professionals within a safe and secure setting. Standard detox is able to take place on an outpatient basis (i.e., outside the hospital setting). The withdrawal symptoms related to opiate detoxification are very uncomfortable and medical detox may provide the most comfortable and secure setting for treatment.

Within a medical detox, vital signs (e.g., blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate, and respiration levels) are able to be monitored closely) Further, medical professionals are able to prescribe and administer medications that may make the detox process more comfortable and allow for the regulation of the body and brain functioning. Mental health professionals will also be available to provide evaluations and assess levels of stabilization during detox. There is no specific timeline for detox from opioids, but it typically lasts between five and seven days.

If you or a loved one is struggling with opiate addiction or seeking to begin detox from opiates, please contact us at 800-737-0933. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day and are able to provide you with information specific to your case and needs.

Does Suboxone Cause or Affect Mood Swings?

Suboxone is a medication that is prescribed to treat opiate addiction. Suboxone contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a medication containing opioids and naloxone is a substance that blocks the effects of opioid medication (e.g., pain relief and feelings of well-being) that often lead individuals to seek out opioids after recovery. Suboxone has several side effects and may cause issues with mental health and mood swings.

Suboxone as a TreatmentThis medication is prescribed in several different types of situations. Doctors may prescribe Suboxone in order to aid the process of withdrawal and detoxification. Doctors also prescribe Suboxone as a long term maintenance medication for opiate addiction. Individuals who meet certain criteria may be able to continue to take Suboxone for an extended period of time in order to control cravings and allow their brain to heal and begin to block the cravings for opioid use. Suboxone has also been prescribed to individuals who suffer from chronic pain as an alternative to traditional narcotic pain relievers.

There are several pros and cons related to Suboxone use. It helps control cravings, has anti-depressant qualities, and blocks the effects of narcotic opioids. As for the cons of Suboxone, it is an extremely powerful synthetic opioid, it may cause constipation, there is a period of withdrawal after quitting Suboxone, and it may induce depression and other issues related to mental health. Suboxone also has a high risk of abuse.

Side Effects of Suboxone UseSuboxone works in such a way that it binds to the opioid receptors located in the brain, which causes changes in the user’s mental state and behaviors. Changes in behavior related to Suboxone use can include:

  • Lethargy
  • Cravings
  • Distress
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Mood Swings
  • Impaired memory

Suboxone also causes physical side effects. Physical side effects of Suboxone use may include:

  • Headaches
  • Changes in appetite
  • Stomach pain
  • Dependency
  • Issues with coordination
  • Insomnia
  • Cramps
  • Muscle Aches
  • Reduced breathing
  • Liver damage
  • Withdrawal symptoms (e.g., joint pain and excessive sweating)

Does Suboxone Cause or Affect Mood Swings? Due to the fact that Suboxone is an extremely powerful mind-altering drug, it may cause mood swings, depression, agitation, and may make people taking it to act out of character and engage in violent behavior. Suboxone alters the brain chemistry of its users and may affect their behavior, specifically if they quit taking the medication abruptly. As stated before, the side effects of Suboxone can include depression, anxiety, mood swings, and insomnia.

Long-term use of Suboxone can cause many issues. Long-term Suboxone users have reported that quitting Suboxone is more difficult than quitting heroin or Oxycontin. This is due to the long-half life Suboxone. It is able to stay in the user’s system for approximately eight to nine days. This makes the detoxification process from Suboxone last for weeks to months. This long detoxification process includes uncomfortable side effects that are both physical and mental in nature. This includes mood swings and depression.

If you or a loved one is having difficulty with Suboxone use, please contact us today at 800-737-0933. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day and are ready to assist you and consult with you regarding your specific needs.

Should Suboxone Be Taken Forever or Just During Detox?

Given its effectiveness, Suboxone is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for those looking to overcome an opiate addiction. It’s easy to understand why in light of the medication’s capacity to ease withdrawal symptoms while also producing a less intense “high.” Suboxone is comprised of two separate medications, Naloxone and Buprenorphine, which offer unique benefits when it comes to helping individuals break free of their addiction. As such, it is not surprising to find that many people want to continue using the Suboxone long-term. In this article, we will take a look at the consequences of long-term use and why it should be avoided.

WHAT IS SUBOXONE?

Although we touched in this briefly in the preface of the article, contains Naloxone, which is highly effective in easing the excruciating pain symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal. The medication can also be used to reverse an opioid overdose. Basically, the drug acts as an antagonist by binding to opioid receptors and blocking the transmission of opioids to the brain. Also, it prevents agonist, the chemical compound that elicits a physiological response when combined with brain receptors.

Now that we have a general understanding of the role of Naloxone, let’s focus our attention on Buprenorphine. Unlike naloxone, buprenorphine works by attaching to opioid receptors and stimulating them, which makes it possible to soothe withdrawal symptoms without eliciting the same feelings of euphoria and sedation typical of other opioids.

WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF LONG-TERM SUBOXONE USE?

In short, long-term Suboxone usage increases the likelihood of addiction; in fact, according to a report published by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), the misuse of Suboxone resulted in 3,000 emergency room visits in 2005 and exceeded 30,000 in 2010. Although the inclusion of Naloxone as a deterrent to abuse is effective, some individuals have found ways of bypassing this safeguard.

That said, some people have been known to vacillate between Suboxone and their primary drug of choice. Needless to say, such actions can quickly result in relapse. So why are so many people interested in long-term use even after they have undergone detox? Most likely it is for the high that is derived from the medication and to resolve any residual symptoms they may be experiencing, physical or psychological.

HOW TO TAKE SUBOXONE PROPERLY

Suboxone can be taken in a variety of ways; however, patients who undergo treatment are usually prescribed sublingual tablets, which can be dissolved under the tongue before being absorbed by the body. In addition, the medication is also available as a sublingual film; in this case, the film is placed against the interior cheek wall where it will dissolve before being absorbed by the body. That said, both variations work by releasing small doses of Suboxone over a 10-minute time frame.

Although the medication can be administered in a variety of ways, the pill form of Suboxone is a preferred choice when it comes to short-term treatment. As far as dosage is concerned, most patients will be started on a very low dose of Suboxone, usually 6 to 8 mg. This low dose allows physicians to gauge the effectiveness of the medication as well as patient tolerance. That aside, if patients abuse or abruptly stop taking Suboxone, they are usually presented with the following symptoms:

  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety

Obviously, this is not an entire list of symptoms; however, it is a list of the ones commonly reported by current and former patients.

CONCLUSION

In summation, opioid addiction is one of the most challenging addictions for anyone to overcome. After all, the substances are highly addictive, easily accessible, and provides a feeling of euphoria that some find insatiable. While Suboxone can be helpful during the detox, long-term use should be avoided in light of the possibility of abuse, addiction, and relapse.

A more plausible alternative would be to combine short-term Suboxone use with counseling, which can include learning to cope with stress and avoiding triggers that can lead to relapse, for example. Also, it worth noting that many find the support of friends and family invaluable while they are their journey towards breaking their addiction. Call one of our counselors today at 800-737-0933.

Will Opiate Detox Centers Give You Medication to Help Withdrawal Pains?

Opiates are highly addictive drugs and it’s rare to be able to use this type of drug without becoming addictive. Even so, it’s difficult to recognize that you’re developing a dependency on the drug until the addiction becomes severe. When this happens, successfully quitting without medical help is extremely challenging. In addition to experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms, people are often confronted by intense cravings for the drug.

While withdrawal symptoms from opiates aren’t usually life-threatening, they do make a relapse much more likely. For this reason, people struggling with opiate addiction are urged to seek the help of a detox and addiction recovery facility. In these treatment centers, a medically supervised detox program offers the best chance of a sustainable recovery.

What Withdrawal Symptoms Accompany Opiate Addiction Detox?

Depending on the type of opiate the individual has been using, it won’t take long after the last dose for withdrawal symptoms to start. The severity of the symptoms will also depend on how long the individual has been using the drug and how many doses he or she takes per day. Pre-existing mental health issues, physical conditions, and the general state of health of the individual may also influence the development of withdrawal symptoms.

Early withdrawal symptoms can start as soon as six hours after your last opiate use and typically include:

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Hypertension
  • Fever, which is often accompanied by sweats, runny nose, and a rapid heart rate

Within 72 hours, more severe withdrawal symptoms will begin to manifest. These symptoms can last a week or more, depending on the nature of the addiction. These withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Nausea with vomiting
  • Stomach cramps leading to diarrhea
  • Drug cravings

Is Medical Detox Necessary for Treating Opiate Addiction?

With some drugs, a medical detox is necessary, because quitting abruptly can cause a life-threatening shock to the system. While this isn’t the case in quitting opiate use abruptly, the withdrawal symptoms and cravings become intense as the body tries to adjust to the absence of the drug. This often causes many people to give in to their cravings and begin using again.

However, a medical detox involves using controlled doses of prescription drugs, which are administered by trained addiction recovery caregivers. The doses are gradually decreased, allowing the individual to experience milder withdrawal symptoms. In addition to controlling the detox with regulated drugs, treatment facilities begin to treat underlying mental health issues and physical disabilities that may have contributed to the drug use. Although the withdrawal symptoms may last longer, the detox process is usually completed within five to seven days.

Will You Continue to Receive Medication After Detox?

Although you may have completed detox, this is only the first step in the recovery process. The administering of prescription drugs to control your withdrawal symptoms will have served its purpose by the time you leave detox. At this point, the drugs will be out of your system, which makes you eligible for a rehab therapy, and you no longer require the controlled doses of medication.

However, if you have been diagnosed with a mental illness, you will continue receiving treatment for that condition throughout the rehab program. Caregivers try to treat mental illnesses with psychotherapy and coping mechanisms, but some conditions may be too severe to treat without medication. In these cases, the individual will receive controlled doses of the drugs they need to alleviate the symptoms of their mental illness. They may also participate in educational courses and classes on coping with stress, so they will be better prepared to take prescribed drugs without abusing them.

Getting Clean with the Right Help

If you are struggling with opiate use, this may be the right time to seek out help. Getting help at a licensed detox facility is especially wise if you have previously tried to quit and failed. A medically supervised detox will help you get clean and significantly decrease the chances that you’ll give in to drug cravings and relapse.

To begin your road to recovery, contact our addiction treatment facility today. Our counselors can be reached 24 hours a day at 800-737-0933. While speaking with our addiction treatment counselors, you can find out more about the treatment process and get answers to your questions or concerns. This call can lead you on a more successful road to recovery, preparing you for a new life without drugs.

Why Can Heroin Relapse Be More Dangerous Than Other Types of Drug Relapse?

Addiction to opioids, in particular, heroin, has reached epic proportions in the United States. In 2017 alone, more than 15,000 deaths from heroin overdose are estimated to have occurred. It is common knowledge that heroin is a dangerous and addictive drug, but many people do not realize that many of these overdose deaths occur during a relapse. In order to understand why heroin relapse is more dangerous than other types of drug relapse, it is important to understand the body’s physical dependence on heroin.

Heroin’s Effect on the Brain

When someone injects or snorts heroin, it travels to the brain and binds to opiate receptors. This causes neurons in the brain to release dopamine. Dopamine is a “feel good” chemical that induces an overall sense of euphoria and well-being. In addition to feelings of euphoria and pain relief, the respiratory system, in particular, the instinct to breathe, is impaired. When too much heroin is taken at once, the person can become unconscious and stop breathing. This is called an overdose.

An overdose of heroin can happen quickly. People around the user may think they simply fell asleep, but when breathing stops, the brain can not get the oxygen it needs to sustain life. If the effects of the heroin are not reversed quickly, permanent brain damage and death can occur.

How Heroin Addiction Occurs

When heroin is used repeatedly over time, the brain builds up a tolerance to the drug. Users then need to use more heroin in order to feel the same effects. Once tolerance occurs, the brain starts to become dependent on heroin in order to function normally. Without the presence of heroin, withdrawal occurs.

Withdrawal from heroin can range from discomfort to agonizing. A person experiencing withdrawal will seek out more heroin in order to stop the negative effects of withdrawal. This is how addiction to heroin occurs.

When a person decides to stop using heroin and enter treatment for their disease they will experience withdrawal. During treatment at a facility, there are support people available to help manage the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can last from a few days to a few weeks, depending on the length and severity of the addiction.

Why is Heroin Relapse so Dangerous?

As the body becomes accustomed to functioning normally without heroin, its tolerance for the drug also lessens. While a person is in the throes of addiction, they may have needed to use large amounts of heroin in order to function because of high tolerances. When a person is no longer physically addicted to heroin, their tolerance level is lowered. When a person relapses and begins using heroin again, they often overestimate the amount they will need to feel high. This lowered tolerance also increases the risk of overdose and death during relapses.

In order to prevent a relapse from heroin addiction, a long-term treatment program should be used. After withdrawal symptoms cease, therapy and support must be implemented for a greater chance of recovery. Recovery from heroin addiction can be a lifelong struggle for some people and the right treatment program can greatly increase the odds of staying clean and preventing relapse.

Triggers and Warning Signs of Heroin Relapse

It is important to recognize the triggers and warning signs of relapse. Many recovering heroin addicts will need to completely rebuild their life and find new friends and social activities to engage in, which can be a daunting task. Some triggers for heroin relapse include:

  • Feelings of stress, fear, depression, anxiety, guilt and loneliness
  • Seeing drug use on television or movies
  • Spending time with friends or family members associated with heroin use
  • An urge to have more fun during social events
  • Using alcohol or other drugs
  • Big life changes such as a death of a loved one, divorce, or unemployment
  • Boredom

It can also be important for loved ones to recognize the warning signs of relapse so that an increase in therapy or reentry into a treatment program can occur before relapse. Some of these warning signs include:

  • Attitude changes
  • Attending social events with friends associated with past drug use
  • A decline in appearance due to lack of hygiene, sleep, or appetite
  • Dishonestly
  • An increase in irresponsible behavior like skipping therapy, not attending school, or skipping work

If you or someone you love are struggling with heroin addiction or concerned about relapse reach out to us at 800-737-0933. Our counselors are available twenty-four hours a day to answer any questions you may have.

Are Treatments for Drug Addicts and Alcoholics Different?

People are often curious if treatments for drug addicts and alcoholics are different or if they’re the same. The answer isn’t quite as straightforward as you might think. There are ways in which they’re the same and there are ways in which they’re not. Drug addictions are characterized by a person’s obsession with a certain type of drug or group of drugs. Addicts typically will spend a lot of money to get the drug from a dealer and sometimes will steal from others to get the money to access the object of their addiction. Addicts will use a drug for the specific effects they get from it. For example, someone who is a heroin addict is drawn to the feeling of euphoria it gives some people. To get rid of an addiction, the person must pass through a cleansing stage of ridding their system of that drug.

Alcohol addiction is much like drug addiction, except the object of their obsession is, of course, alcohol and not a specific drug. Alcohol provides some of the same effects a drug addict seeks. It offers a person brief relief from the pain they’re experiencing, whether it be physical or mental. It gives them moments of happiness where they feel they lack it in their sober state. With treatment, it’s important that the person goes through a detox, of sorts, to get it out of their system so that counseling and therapy can work their magic to help them get through the addiction.

Treatments for Drug Addicts and Alcoholics

Each type of addiction offers pretty much the same kind of treatment. However, each one will have varying parts based on an individual’s needs. With both types of addiction, you’ll find the following programs:

  • Inpatient Treatment
  • Outpatient Treatment
  • Detox Program

The treatment facility will evaluate your situation and choosing the right treatment for your needs. They will determine what needs you have to beat your addiction, and what services best suit your situation. They will even consider whether you need to work while you go through treatment or if you have a family to support.

Inpatient Treatment for Drug Addicts and Alcoholics

For those with severe addictions, an inpatient program is best. It offers around the clock care to observe your physical and mental health while you go through the detox stage. Medical staff monitors the detox drug use, if needed, to be sure an individual isn’t abusing the treatments.

Inpatient services allow an individual to stay at a residential facility, 24-hours a day for a length of time. During their stay, they will receive counseling and therapy to help them beat their addiction mentally and will have medical services for withdrawal symptoms that ultimately surface during detox

Outpatient Treatment for Drug Addicts and Alcoholics

Outpatient treatment is generally for those who have been through detox and need the long-term care of support services. Sometimes, you may have an intensive outpatient treatment program that enables you to get monitored closely, but still gives you time to go to work and time to spend with your family.

The outpatient part means you go to the center after work, or before, depending on your work schedule. Once you’ve spent your predetermined amount of time there, you go home to sleep in your own bed. Then return on the next scheduled treatment day.

Detox for Drug Addicts and Alcoholics

The treatment used for drug detox and alcohol detox differ due to the differences each one has. Both need intensive monitoring, though, to ensure everything goes well. Once the drug or the alcohol is out of your system, you’re taught coping skills to take with you when you go home and try to live your life free of addiction.

Detox for drugs will also differ with the type of drug that one has an addiction for. Also, it depends on the severity of the addiction as well. Sometimes one will need medication-assistance to get over the addiction and other times, counselors may suggest you do it without medication. Each situation is different in how it’s handled. Counselors determine the best course of action when they evaluate your situation.

So, treatments for drug and alcohol addiction are alike in many ways, but how each type is handled is somewhat different. It’s more about the severity of the addiction and what’s needed to beat it more than it is about the addiction someone suffers from. If you would like more information about drug or alcohol addiction treatments, call us at 800-737-0933.

How Going To Rehab Now Can Help You Avoid Long Term Effects of Opiate Addiction

Research continues to show us the science behind highly-addictive drugs like opiates. This research has allowed us to better understand the relationship between addiction and the human brain. Addiction is a disease of the brain, working both chronically and progressively. It is caused by an alteration of brain functioning, which can be due to a variety of factors, such as genetics, chemical imbalance, or injury and trauma. When this alteration in functioning occurs, a person often engages in impulsive, compulsive, and destructive behaviors. When opiates get involved, it is particularly dangerous and more difficult to kick the habit. Opiate addiction is one the most challenging to overcome, and the United States is currently experiencing an epidemic of opiate abuse.

What are Opiates?

Opiates are a particularly dangerous breed of drug due to the fact that they molecularly mimic the natural painkillers produced in the brain. Opium is derived from the poppy plant and can then be modified into many different forms, from patches and pills to powder and injectable fluid. Many opiates are legal, as they are used in medicine to treat pain. Morphine is one such example, as are many prescription painkillers.

Prescription painkillers work by bonding with the opiate receptors present in the brain, triggering pain-relieving effects within the nervous system. In small doses and when used only as necessary, they are not bad for the body. However, when opiates are taken in high doses, a different, euphoric effect is produced. The brain is triggered to release large amounts of neurochemicals, like dopamine and serotonin, flooding the brain and body with a pleasure response. When individuals take high doses for prolonged periods of time, the body becomes chemically reliant on the substance and people become dependent on the effect. The sensation caused by this flooding of neurochemicals is much more more intense than the effect produced by small doses of painkillers, which are meant to relieve pain but not overwhelm the senses. The intensity is so strong that the brain is tricked into believing that these outside substances are superior to the naturally-occurring painkillers, which in turn reinforces the drug-seeking behavior and, eventually, addiction.

Long-Term Effects of Opiate Addiction

Long-term abuse of opiates has profoundly negative effects on both the body and the brain. They fundamentally alter the internal structure and functioning of neurons and other components of the brain and change a person’s ability to cope with stress and pain. Extended opiate use inhibits the body’s ability to tolerate pain and discomfort, reducing its ability to fight pain naturally. This explains why many people, who begin by taking prescription painkillers after an illness or surgery, become dependent upon the pills and need them more and more. When a person stops taking the medicine after the body has become dependent on it, they can experience pain more intensely. Furthermore, when someone is given a normal dose after becoming accustomed to higher doses, the medicine can fail to be effective, as there are not enough chemicals to attach to all of the brain’s available receptors In addition to causing a sick person to feel pain again, the lack of available neurochemicals can play a nasty role in mood and emotional function, causing the person to feel sad, hopeless, and powerless without the higher levels of opiates.

Unfortunately, these negative effects are long-lasting and can remain even after a person has begun the process of recovery. The psychological effects in particular can last for many years after addiction treatment, and each day is another battle in the struggle. This reason, in particular, is why it is best to seek medically-assisted treatment when deciding to try to get clean and begin recovery.

How Going to Rehab Can Help

Choosing to enter rehabilitation is the first step in the long process of recovery. At an opiate addiction treatment facility, individuals are given medical attention and assistance with detox and withdrawal and throughout recovery. The psychological components of opiate addiction are addressed through individual counseling and group therapy sessions. These are necessary elements for treating this disease. Just like a person suffering from a chronic illness needs support, so, too, do people struggling with opiate addiction. With the proper methodology and social and medical support systems, the cycle of opiate addiction can be broken, and the goal of achieving long-lasting recovery can be seen as attainable.

Don’t let your life be destroyed by opiate dependence. Our counselors are ready and waiting to help you help yourself now. Call us today at 800-737-0933 to start your journey to recovery.