Vyvanse Addiction

What You Need to Know About Vyvanse Addiction and Recovery

Vyvanse is a prescription drug similar to Adderall in that it is used to treat patients dealing with the symptoms of ADHD and ADD. This unique drug is also the only type of its kind also used to treat certain binge eating disorders in adults.

While this medication definitely has its benefits, it can also cause some patients to become addicted.

If you’re concerned that you or someone you know is addicted to Vyvanse, it’s important to know the signs and what you can do to give or get help.

Read on to take a closer look at some of the classic warning signs of addiction.

Signs of Abuse

Most patients take Vyvanse as directed, but there can be times where someone is overusing or abusing the drug. Some classic signs of abuse include:

  • Talking very quickly and/or incoherently
  • Sweating profusely and having heavily dilated pupils
  • A loss of appetite or refusal to eat
  • Focus and concentration that is much more intense than normal
  • An elevated mood, increased self-awareness, and increased self-confidence

While these signs aren’t always evidence of abuse, if someone displays several or all of them, there’s a possibility they are using the drug too much or not as directed. Since this medication causes extreme “highs,” it can also cause someone to crash.

If someone is crashing after taking too much Vyvanse, they’ll suddenly become extremely fatigued and display symptoms of depression.

Side Effects of Vyvanse

This drug can be extremely effective and helpful when it’s taken by those who need it. However, even patients who are prescribed Vyvanse can show potentially dangerous side effects if they take too much or take it more than prescribed.

Some of these side effects can include insomnia or sleeplessness, jittery hands, and even a sudden increase in heart rate. Other side effects that are typically displayed are signs of irritability, extreme changes in energy levels, and sweating.

While rare, taking too much Vyvanse has the potential to cause life-threatening scenarios like cardiac arrest. People who have a family history of heart problems are especially vulnerable.

In extreme cases, side effects may even include psychosis and convulsions.

Know the Signs of Addiction

If you think someone could possibly be addicted to Vyvanse, it’s important to recognize the signs. While these signs could apply to almost any drug, in this scenario, they demonstrate addiction to this particular drug.

A few of the most common signs include:

  • Cutting or crushing the pills and snorting them through the nose
  • Asking people for the drug and seeking it from new, unknown sources
  • Offering to pay people for the medication “on the side”
  • Continuing use of the drug, even after experiencing extreme side effects
  • Developing a physical tolerance, yet still exhibiting the need for more
  • Withdrawal from work, family, or friends
  • Putting oneself in danger just to obtain the drug, i.e. making “street deals”

While Vyvanse certainly has its benefits, overuse, and abuse can create some serious mental and physical problems. When someone takes the medication too frequently or too long, they could suffer permanent mental or physical side effects that cannot be reversed.

The mental health implications along are devastating to someone who is addicted to this medication. Psychosis, depression, anxiety, and even mania are all problems that may never go away if someone has used for too long.

For physical ailments, people may experience issues like a rapid or unpredictable heartbeat, cardiac problems, and even malnourishment. Depending on how long someone has taken the drug, they could also suffer from organ damage, too.

How to Get Help

Although addiction to any drug is unfortunate, there are some ways that patients can get the help they need. As a friend or family member, it’s important to be supportive and try to offer the addict a safe place to talk about their issues.

A detox program could be needed first, where the patient will need to wean themselves off the drug. They will experience symptoms of withdrawal, but this step is essential in removing the physical dependence aspect from the equation.

Many detox centers offer medication that will counteract the drug or help to combat withdrawal symptoms. The patient should also begin some form of therapy that will help them to cope with their new, sober reality.

In terms of mental and emotional health, there are several ways that people addicted to Vyvanse can get the assistance they need. Peer support or group therapy is an excellent tool. This form of therapy helps the person know that they are not alone and that they can get more personalized help from others who are dealing with the same thing.

For those who are severely addicted, a long-term stay at a rehabilitation center might be needed. These centers provide patients with a controlled environment where they can participate in therapy and avoid coming into contact with their drug of choice.

Some people find 12-step programs to be helpful and can attend meetings as needed without having to stay in a rehab center. Results and situations definitely vary from person to person so it’s important to listen to the patient and let them express their feelings and needs.

There’s Always Hope

No matter how bleak it seems, there are ways that people can stop their Vyvanse addiction for good. Once you recognize the signs of abuse, you can do more to ensure that they get the help they desperately need.

Whether it’s in-house rehabilitation, group therapy, detox, or all of the above, addicts can get clean and sober with proper treatment.

For more information about drug detoxification, therapy, and rehabilitation, don’t hesitate to contact us.

References

Painkiller Addiction in Student Athlete

The Painkiller High School Problem: How Injuries Aren’t the Only Risk in Athletics

High school is one of the most important times in our lives. It is a time of learning, growth, and opportunity, and shapes us for the rest of our lives. There are few things shape us as much as school sports, which teach high school students to work in teams and build relationships.

While the benefits of playing high school sports are many, there are also risks involved. The main risk is being injured, which may lead to an even more deadly risk: addiction to painkillers. In this article, we’ll walk you through what painkillers are, why high school athletes chase the painkiller high, and how young athletes can avoid addiction.

Painkillers: What Are They?

Painkillers are a class of prescription medication called opiates. Opiates come from the opium plant and work by mimicking the pain-reducing chemicals in your brain called endorphins. Endorphins reduce stress and pain and create a feeling of well-being.

Opiates act like endorphins because connect to the same places in your brain and create a sense of euphoria, energy, or well-being. Opiates are powerful because they cause a strong intoxicating effect and are addictive.

Common painkiller drugs include morphine, codeine, and Oxycontin. These drugs are for patients who have suffered an injury and are suffering from intense pain.

The Painkiller High: Dangers for Student-Athletes

So why are painkillers so dangerous for high school athletes? The first reason that painkillers are so dangerous for student-athletes is the potency of these drugs. Painkillers are very easy to overdose on based on their high potency.

Over 68% of overdoses in the United States are from painkillers and with over 130 Americans dying from opiate overdoses per day, the threat is real.

Student-athletes are more likely to use painkillers than others. High school athletes are already more likely to use illegal drugs than students who don’t play sports, which may be due to the stress of performing.

But high school athletes are even more likely to sustain an injury at some point in their sports career. These injuries can be serious, like a broken leg or torn ligament, and need more time to heal and pain management techniques.

Student-athletes are often given a prescription for these painkillers when they suffer an injury. While the painkillers reduce pain in the short term, some students start using the pills to get high or get addicted while managing their pain.

Consequences of Painkiller Abuse

The first and most obvious consequence of abusing painkillers is an overdose. Painkiller overdoses are one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Drug users who don’t die from an opiate overdose may suffer from brain damage or organ damage due to lack of oxygen, which may last for a lifetime.

Painkiller abuse can also affect the digestive system of users. Painkillers make the bowels slow down, which leads to constipation, nausea, and vomiting.

The most dangerous consequences of painkiller abuse are an increase in use and using more dangerous drugs. Because painkillers are so addictive and powerful, they lead to addiction and an increased tolerance for the drug. This is dangerous because it causes the user to take more pills to get the same high, which leads to overdoses, serious financial issues, and crime.

Heroin Abuse

When addicts either can’t afford more painkillers or their prescription runs out, they turn to a cheaper drug that is easier to get: heroin. Heroin is an illegal opiate that is usually sold as a powder or resin, which is then smoked, snorted, or injected into the body. It is cheap, easy to get, and very strong,

Heroin is dangerous because the potency isn’t consistent and different things are added to it to make it stronger. Fentanyl is one of the strongest prescription painkillers on the planet and is added to heroin to increase the potency. This has lead to a sharp increase in overdose deaths from opiates.

Avoiding Painkiller Addiction in Student-Athletes

There’s not much you can do to prevent student-athletes from getting injured. But there are many steps you can take to make sure that young athletes don’t become addicted to painkillers.

The first step you can take is to make sure that your student-athlete isn’t prescribed painkillers in the first place. Painkillers help manage pain but there are other ways to reduce pain.

Anti-Inflammatories

Over-the-counter medications like Ibuprofen and aspirin reduce inflammation and pain. They are hard to overdose on, aren’t addictive, and are easy to find.

R.I.C.E

R.I.C.E stands for the four steps of recovery: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Resting the injured body part, icing the injury, compressing the injury with wraps, and elevating the injury above your heart reduces pain and increases recovery.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help reduce the pain from longterm or recurring injuries. It also prevents injuries in the future by strengthening joints and the muscles surrounding them.

Management

Making sure to supervise your young athlete’s painkiller prescription is also important. If your student-athlete has a painkiller prescription, make sure that they take the right amount and don’t have access to the pills.

You can also make sure that the prescription is appropriate for their injury. If the pain won’t last more than a couple of days, then that is how long the prescription should last for. If the pain takes longer to go away, make sure that the doctor has a plan to reduce the use of painkillers over the course of recovery.

Protect Student-Athletes from Addiction

Now that you know a little more about the use of painkillers in high school sports, you can educate student-athletes about why a painkiller high is so dangerous. The only way to stop addiction is by educating people, and that starts with spreading the word.

If you have any questions about opiate addiction, treatment, and recovery, please visit our blog.

References

Percocet Abuse and Addiction

Percocet Abuse and Addiction: A Recovery Guide

The opioid crisis has shaken the United States in recent years. While there are many prescription drugs to blame, there is one that bears more responsibility than others.

With more than 53 million prescriptions of oxycodone every year, there is no question that drugs like Percocet play a major role in the rise of addiction rates.

Let’s talk about Percocet addiction, its dangers, and what you can do about it.

What is Percocet?

Percocet is the brand name for the two pain-relieving drugs known as oxycodone and acetaminophen. While acetaminophen is in over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol, oxycodone is an opiate.

You have likely heard plenty of conversations on the news or among friends about the opioid epidemic in recent years. This drug is one of the key offenders.

While Percocet uses a smaller amount of oxycodone drugs like Oxycontin, it still leads to addiction, makes you crave a stronger high, and can lead to using stronger drugs like heroin.

How It Works

With the pain-relieving benefits of opiates and the high number of prescriptions given in the U.S., you may be curious to know exactly what it does.

Opioids look like chemicals in your brain and body that attach to tiny parts on nerve cells called opioid receptors. These receptors can slow breathing, stop coughing and reduce feelings of pain.

The Risks

While many believe that this drug gets overprescribed, the drug clearly serves a medical purpose for millions of people.

Unfortunately, because of the pain-relieving effects that most other drugs can’t match, opioids will remain on the market for some time.

There are safer drugs that relieve pain, but many of them don’t work as well. This leads many to seek Percocet without understanding the risks. Let’s talk about the risks of this drug that is selling in massive volumes.

Side Effects

All drugs come with side effects, but these effects aren’t equal. Common side effects of Percocet include nausea, drowsiness, and lightheadedness.

Some of the more serious side effects include:

  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Decreased perception of pain

Because of these side effects, you should never use this type of medication before driving or operating machinery.

Addiction

Oxycodone is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the U.S. because of its addictive properties.

If the side effects of the medication weren’t bad enough, once you form a dependency, withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Shaking
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Profuse sweating
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to feel pleasure

While these withdrawal symptoms are terrifying, the alternative of continued use is far worse.

This is an especially scary drug considering that Percocet is one of the weakest forms of opioids, which gives plenty of room to move up to stronger substances.

In fact, 75% of heroin users reported that their first use of opioids was in the form of prescription medication.

Not only that, the rise of fentanyl use is getting higher, which is believed to be the most lethal drugs in history. Many people who move up to using heroin will still seek a more potent drug, and fentanyl is the final frontier.

Overdose

Pushing aside the use of heroin or other street drugs, overdosing on Percocet is still a likely scenario.

Opioid overdose interferes with your brain’s regulatory processes, which can slow or even stop your breathing, causing death.

When It is Time For Treatment

Most of us will know when it is time for somebody to get treatment, but many people struggling with addiction will need a helping hand.

If you or a loved one are suffering from Percocet abuse, the time for treatment is now. If you believe a loved one is abusing this medication, here are some signs.

How To Spot It

Once you have reason to suspect addiction and abuse, there are some key things to look for.

If your loved one is reporting improvement on their pain and still carrying the medicine with them everywhere or going to the doctor to refill their script, these are key behavioral signs.

If they are isolating themselves, lying about their whereabouts, or reporting that they feel depressed or hopeless while taking the medication, this may be all the information you need.

Other than behavioral indicators, other factors can include who is more susceptible to addiction. People struggling with mental health disorders such as PTSD or depression are far more likely to develop substance abuse issues.

If they fit enough of these criteria, it may be time to intervene. Find out how to do an intervention in the right way.

How To Seek Treatment

If you are in need of recovery, there is no time like the present to get started on the process. It can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Remember, there are 3 major steps to take once you have acknowledged the problem. First, you must seek treatment, then abstain from the substance, and then maintain that abstinence.

The last is the hardest part, as it is a lifelong battle. Just remember the alternative. The only way to get there is to start. Find out more about our services to help you get to a better life.

Next Steps

Percocet is a serious drug that you should take with the right amount of precaution. If you are being prescribed this medicine, take it only as needed and alert your doctor if you feel you are becoming dependent on it.

If you are struggling with a mental health disorder as well as an addiction to painkillers, learn more about dual diagnosis treatment to find out if it’s right for you.

References

Opioid epidemic in America

What Do Opioids Do to Society? Heroin’s Societal Cost and What We Can Do to Help

Between the years 1999 and 2017, more than 700,000 people in the United States died from a drug overdose.

Of those 700,000 deaths, nearly 400,000 involved an opioid (either a prescription opioid or an illicit opioid like heroin).

You’ve probably heard people talking about the opioid epidemic over the last few years. What does that really mean, though? What do opioids do to society?

If you’re unsure of the dangers associated with opioids, keep reading.

Explained below are some important facts about heroin and other opioids, as well as the toll they’re taking on people all over the world.

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drug. There are a number of drugs, both prescription and illicit, that fall under the opioid umbrella. Some of the most well-known opioids include:

  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Morphine

Many people begin consuming opioids to help them deal with pain. They may receive a prescription to help them manage chronic pain or acute pain after undergoing surgery or a serious injury.

Opioid drugs, even those that are prescribed by a doctor, are highly addictive. If a person can no longer access prescription opioids, they may turn to heroin in order to find relief.

What Do Opioids Do?

Opioids relieve pain by binding to opioid receptors.

Opioid receptors are present on the nerve cells of the brain and spinal cord. They’re also present in the gut and other areas of the body.

When opioids bind to opioid receptors, they block the pain signals sent to the brain.

In addition to relieving pain, opioids can bring on feelings of euphoria, especially when they’re taken in excess. They produce a variety of other effects, too, including the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Shallow breath rate
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Loss of consciousness

When they stop taking opioids suddenly, many people experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include shakiness, insomnia, anxiety, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

Effects of Opioids on Society

As you can see, opioid use and abuse can negatively affect people on an individual level. The opioid epidemic is also having some serious impacts on society as a whole.

Opioids and Relationships

Heroin and prescription opioid abuse can negatively impact a variety of relationships. It often affects marriages, friendships, and relationships between parents and children.

Someone who abuses opioids or uses heroin may have a hard time keeping up with their responsibilities.

They may neglect their loved ones and isolate themselves so they can continue using their drug of choice. They may also engage in behaviors that put their loved ones at risk.

Heroin and opioid use are also often associated with financial problems, domestic violence, and loss of custody, all of which create serious issues within families.

Opioids and Crime

Heroin use and opioid abuse can also lead to increases in violence and crime.

Research does not show that opioids make people more violent or prone to lawbreaking. It might exacerbate underlying issues, though, or create a strong sense of desperation and increase the likelihood that people will do things they normally wouldn’t.

Many people turn to crimes like violent robberies and theft to help them fund their addiction. There has also been an increase in gang violence in recent years related to drug cartels that are bringing heroin and other drugs into the United States.

Opioids and Illness

Long-term opioid abuse also increases the likelihood that someone will suffer from serious or chronic illnesses.

Chronic illness is already on the rise in the United States, and the opioid epidemic isn’t making things better.

Using heroin or other opioids long-term can increase one’s risk of dealing with respiratory issues or heart problems. People who use heroin are also at a higher risk of developing infectious diseases like hepatitis and HIV.

Because many people who abuse heroin do not have health insurance, the government ultimately becomes responsible for paying for their treatment.

Signs of Opioid Addiction

How do you know if someone is dealing with an opioid addiction? It’s not always easy to tell, but you might notice the following symptoms:

  • Problems with coordination
  • Frequent drowsiness
  • A shallow or slow breathing rate
  • Frequent nausea and/or vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Poor decision-making skills
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home or at work
  • Isolating themselves from family or friends
  • Slurred speech
  • Mood swings or agitation
  • Decreased motivation
  • Anxiety attacks

An individual who is addicted to opioids may also experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop consuming opioids.

Overcoming Opioid Addiction

To overcome opioid addiction, an individual must first acknowledge that they do, in fact, have an addiction. This can be very difficult to do.

The sooner someone can acknowledge that they have a problem, though, the sooner they can get help and begin recovering.

If you have a loved one who is struggling with opioid addiction, it can be helpful to sit down and talk to them one-on-one and express your concerns. If that doesn’t work, you may want to consider hosting an intervention.

An intervention involves sitting down with your loved one and a group of others who care for them and are concerned about their behavior. Everyone, then, can express their concern and let the person know how their behavior has affected them personally.

Addiction Recovery Options

There are many different treatment options for opioid addiction, including detox programs, inpatient residential treatment, and outpatient treatment.

It’s not ideal for someone to try and overcome opioid addiction on their own. It can even be dangerous because opioid withdrawal symptoms are so severe.

When they receive treatment from professionals, addicts can gain access to medication and other resources that will help minimize withdrawal symptoms and improve their chances of staying sober.

Get Help with Opioid Addiction Today

Do you have a friend or loved one who is showing signs of opioid addiction?

Now that you have a clearer answer to the question—”what do opioids do to society?”—if you see signs of opioid addiction, it’s important to encourage your loved one to seek help.

There are lots of resources out there designed to help those struggling with opioid addiction.

Contact us to learn about options near you or to get more information on the types of treatment available.

References

meth-signs

Meth Signs of Addiction: 10 Ways to Know Your Loved One is in Danger

Since 2008, hospital admittance for methamphetamine use has risen by roughly 245% in the U.S. The recent opioid crisis has put the dangers of meth abuse in the shadows, but the number of meth users is staggering.

The U.S. border seizes up to 20 times more of the drug than they did a decade ago, proving that the problem is as rampant as ever.

The physical manifestation of meth use is gradual. If you think someone you love is using, keep reading for the common meth signs of addiction and some advice on how to get help.

What is Meth?

Methamphetamine, more commonly known as meth, is a highly addictive, illegal drug that is similar in structure to amphetamines. Amphetamines are used in a variety of common prescription drugs such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Dexadrine.

While the two chemicals are structurally similar and can produce similar effects, it’s important not to mistake one for the other.

Doctors prescribe amphetamines to treat conditions like ADHD and other focus-related disorders. Methamphatimes are much stronger, highly addictive and completely illegal.

It is a whitish blue glassy substance, which is why its most common street name is crystal meth. Other common street names are crystal, ice, glass, whizz, and jib. People take the drug by injecting, smoking, snorting or ingesting it.

It produces an immediate feeling of extreme euphoria lasting up to 30 minutes. During that time users often feel highly motivated, intellectually charged, alert, and confident.

Meth is widely attributed to being one of the most dangerous, destructive illicit drugs available on the streets today. It has one of the highest rates of relapse due to its highly addictive nature and extremely cheap street prices.

Early Signs of Meth Use

In most cases, meth is not the first drug people try. It’s commonly abused by people who have already struggled with addiction or abuse of other drugs, especially uppers like cocaine or MDMA.

The obvious visible signs of meth use don’t happen quickly; it is a gradual process. If you think someone you love might be using meth, keep an eye out for the following.

While it might not be easy to identify, and might even seem like a positive thing at first, one early sign to look out for is if the person stops using other drugs. Cocaine, for instance, produces some of the same effects but is incredibly expensive.

If you’re close enough to someone to know what drugs they’ve been using, and you notice they’ve stopped buying cocaine, but are still acting in a way that worries you, they could have moved on to meth.

Another thing to watch for is a change in sleeping patterns. Meth users don’t sleep as much since the drug is a powerful stimulant. Withdrawing from loved ones and ditching previously enjoyed activities, work, and school are also red flags.

While it’s tricky to identify the early stages of meth addiction, it can be quite easy to identify if someone has recently taken it. Signs of the meth high include dilated pupils, fast-paced and excessive talking and over-confidence.

Other signs that someone is taking meth include extreme paranoia, delusional behavior, grandiose thoughts, increased libido, decreased appetite, stealing money from loved ones, violence and an increase in reckless behavior.

Late Signs of Meth Use

Unfortunately, it can go from the early stage to the late stage very quickly. It doesn’t take long for meth addiction to take hold, and the physical manifestation of the drug can be very jarring.

Physical signs of late-stage meth use are rotting teeth, mouth sores, bad breath, and scabs. Meth scabs are common due to the skin-crawling feeling that incites the users to pick at their skin, causing scabs and open sores.

Chronic meth use can lead to brain damage, stroke, seizures, and death. Meth addiction can cause the user to lose their job and home, leading them to financial ruin. It causes broken relationships. Often, the user ends up on the street.

Overdose Symptoms

It’s incredibly easy to overdose on meth. Signs that someone is overdosing, or close to overdosing, include intense, aggressive behavior, fever, muscle pains and shakes, nausea and vomiting, deliriousness or confusion or high or low blood pressure.

A meth overdose can lead to a stroke, a coma, and death. There is no drug available that can reduce the effects of a meth overdose.

Doctors will administer fluids through an IV for hydration, and give medication to control blood pressure and anxiety. The sooner the user gets medical attention, the better.

Meth Detox

The meth detox process is not an easy one with such high relapse rates. But it’s not impossible. The earlier the user gets into a treatment center for detoxification, the better.

There are three commonly recognized stages of meth detox. The first stage is the crash, also known as the “come down” or the withdrawal, and lasts up to 3 days from the time the last high subsides.

During this time, the user will be extremely anxious, irritable, hungry, depressed, and exhausted. The next stage is known as the acute stage and can last up to a week once the initial withdrawal symptoms fade.

When in the acute stage of detox, the user will experience severe insomnia, body aches, shakiness, depression, loss of memory and psychosis. During this stage, it’s best for the user to be in a safe environment, preferably a detox center.

The last stage is referred to as extinction, or post-withdrawal acute stage, and in severe cases can last up to several months.

During what will hopefully be the final stage and the end of their addiction, users will experience extreme mood changes, extreme anxiety, depression, irritability, aggression, intense cravings, nightmares, and insomnia.

The Bottom Line: Get Help ASAP

If you think someone you love is using meth, try to get them help as soon as possible.

Deterioration of the body and mind of meth addicts happens fast and can lead to death.

To learn more about meth signs of addiction and to get help, read through our treatment options.

References

Addicted to Painkillers

Addicted to Painkillers? Everything You Should Know About Opiate Addiction

Are you, or someone you know, addicted to opiates?

Opiate addiction is becoming a bigger and bigger problem in this country.

Right now, the leading cause of accidental death in the US is due to drug overdose. In 2015, there were 52,404 deaths due to a drug overdose. Of these deaths, 20,101 were due to opiates.

Today, over 115 die per day from abusing opioids.

How do we make this epidemic stop?

That’s a loaded question, and one with many possible solutions. One thing that will help is to educate yourself on this addiction.

Whether you yourself have an addiction to opiates, or you know a loved one who is going through an addiction to painkillers, read on to learn everything you need to know about opiate addiction.

1. What are Opiates?

In order to understand opiate addiction, we first need to understand what opiates are.

Opiates are actually some of the oldest known drugs in the world. In fact, their history spans several centuries as well as several continents. The first known recording of opiate use comes from 3400 BC, where in ancient Mesopotamia farmers cultivated opium for medicinal and recreational use.

Over the centuries, opiate spread to other countries, one of which was the US. In fact, for about 400 years in the US, scientist mixed opiates into pharmaceutical drugs.

Today, people seem to use the terms opiates and opioids interchangeably, however, there is a difference between the two.

Any drug that derives from the opium plant is considered an opiate. There are Schedule II and Schedule I opiates. The ones that people use in medical settings for pain relief are considered Schedule II.

Those considered “no acceptable safety use” are Schedule I. These will include things like morphine, codeine, and heroin.

Opioids, on the other hand, refer to synthetic or at least partially synthetic drugs that have a similar effect to opiates.

In fact, some treatment centers even use opioids in order to treat opiate addiction.

Some drugs that are opioids include Vicodin, Demerol, Percocet, and Oxycodone.

However, when speaking of addiction, people often use the words opiates and opioids interchangeably, so don’t let that confuse you.

2. How Does the Addiction Start?

Opiates, as you know, are painkillers.

When people go to the doctor and complain about their pain, about 20 percent fo the time, the doctor will prescribe them opiates.

The doctor will give the patient a specified dose, and almost always, the patient ha absolutely no intention of abusing the drug.

However, as time goes on, the person may find that the drug is no longer as effective as it was when they were first using it. This is because the person has developed a tolerance for the drug, which means they will keep needing more and more of it in order to feel its original effects.

What makes opiates so addictive is that they produce artificial endorphins in the brain.

These artificial endorphins can make a person feel really good. When someone is on opiates, they often feel a sense of euphoria. However, when the tolerance builds up, this sense of euphoria can start to wear off. Therefore, the person may want more in order to bring that original feeling back.

3. Types of Opiates

We’ve already gone over a few of the different types of opiates, but let’s dive in a little deeper so you can get a better understanding of each one.

Here are the most common opiates that people get addicted to:

Codeine

Codeine, believe it or not, is actually an over the counter medication. And, one can also easily get their hands on it through a prescription.

It is one of the milder forms of opiates, however, it is still dangerous. Typically, you can find codeine in pain relievers for coughing.

This is an opiate that is most commonly abused by young adults, and it is often mixed with a sugary drink. Street names for this are “sizzurp” or “purple drank.”

Fentanyl

This is a synthetic painkiller, with its potency being 100 times that of morphine.

Doctors prescribe Fentanyl only to those who are in severe amounts of pain.

Oftentimes, addicts will use Fentanyl in conjunction with other drugs, such as heroin. This can commonly lead to overdose and death.

Demerol

Doctors prescribe demerol to treat pain that ranges from moderate to severe.

It has an extremely high potential for addiction, therefore, it is prescribed less frequently these days.

Darvon

Due to the fact that it once caused thousands of deaths and hospitalizations, Darvon is now banned by the FDA. However, there is still a black market for this drug.

Methadone

Doctors prescribe methadone to treat moderate to severe pain. And, interestingly enough, it is actually used to help treat other addictions.

However, it can still be dangerous itself.

Oxycodone

Oxycodone is perhaps one of the most widely prescribed painkillers out there. Its potential for abuse is also extremely high.

Morphine

Patients who are in severe amounts of pain often rely on morphine in order to subdue some of the pain and get by.

Unfortunately, this can and does often turn into an addiction. In fact, it is one of the leading causes of unintentional deaths related to drugs.

Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone is often one of the main ingredients in other powerful painkillers.

One well-known drug that it is found in is Vicodin. Pure hydrocodone is also available for prescription, which has an extremely high potential for addiction.

4. Signs of an Opiate Addiction

If you or someone you know has been taking any of these prescriptions to deal with pain, then you need to know if it is leading to an addiction.

There are common signs that occur when someone is abusing opiates. These include:

  • Numbness
  • Shallow breathing
  • Itching
  • Small pupils
  • Flushed skin
  • Rashes on skin
  • Constipation
  • Slurred speech

These are the common physical symptoms of opiate addiction. However, sometimes the most tell-tale signs are the mental and emotional symptoms. These include:

  • Confusion
  • Poor judgment
  • Anxiety
  • Indecisiveness
  • Memory issues
  • Concentration issues

These are usually the short-term signs you will see when someone has an addiction to opiates. However, there are also things that can happen long-term, some of which are irreparable.

These include:

  • Inflammation of the heart: An inflamed heart is an extremely serious issue. This can lead to increased risk of a stroke or a heart attack.
  • HIV/AIDS: While opiates cannot directly cause HIV or AIDS, those who take opiates are often more susceptible to contracting it. This is because once someone has an addiction to opiates, they will seek out different ways to ingest the substance, one of which is through needles. All it takes is one infected needle to contract the disease.
  • Mood Disorders: It is very common for long-term opiate addicts to develop mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety.
  • Hormonal Imbalances: Opiate can cause hormones to go completely out of whack. For example, someone may see a major decrease in sex drive over time.

And of course, the most dangerous long-term effect is the increased risk of overdose.

Let’s look in the next section at the risk factors that make someone more susceptible to a long-term addiction or an overdose.

5. Risk Factors For Addiction

When people use opiates as a short-term solution to treat pain, that is, for no more than a few days, they can actually be quite effective and helpful for a person dealing with pain.

However, the risk factors for addiction can quickly cause the tides to turn.

Risk factors for addiction increase when someone starts taking them in a different manner from what they get prescribed.

For example, someone may crush them up and snort them or they may start injecting them through needles. The effect of ingesting them in these manners will produce a much stronger effect, which will leave the person wanting more and more.

Also, as we just said, opiates can be extremely helpful when used only for a few days. It is only after five days- that’s right, five short days- that the chance of someone being on opiates a year from now increase dramatically.

There are also psychological, genetic, and environmental factors which put people at a greater risk for developing an addiction. These include:

  • A family history of addiction
  • Unemployment
  • Poverty
  • Young age
  • History of criminal activity
  • History of other substance abuse
  • Being in stressful circumstances
  • Heavy use of tobacco products
  • History of anxiety or depression
  • Major problems with friends, family members, or employers

In addition to these risk factors, it is important to note that women are especially susceptible to opiate addiction. 

This is because women are more likely to deal with chronic pain then men are. Therefore, they are also more likely to receive a prescription for opiates. And, interestingly, doctors are more likely to prescribe them higher doses of opiates overtime.

There is also some scientific evidence out there that supports the fact that women, just biologically, are much more likely to become dependent on prescription painkillers.

6. Withdrawal

Withdrawal is another major sign that someone has an addiction to opiates. And, because withdrawal can be extremely uncomfortable, it is also one of the leading reasons people have trouble quitting.

The good news about opiate withdrawal, however, is that it is not life-threatening if one is only withdrawing from opiates. (If one is withdrawing from other drugs as well, then it may be life-threatening).

Some common symptoms of withdrawal include:

  • A runny nose
  • Teary eyes
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Cramping in the abdominals
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hot and cold sweats
  • Low energy
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

Usually, the symptoms of opiate addiction last anywhere from a week to a month.

The first phase of withdrawal will take place around 12 hours after your last use. The withdrawal symptoms will be at their peak on days 3-5, and then the following days and weeks symptoms will persist but improve.

7. Preventing Opiate Addiction

So, what can you do to prevent opiate addiction from happening in the first place?

As we said earlier, most people who become addicted to opiates have no intention of abusing them. They simply want something that will alleviate their pain.

Normally, a doctor will prescribe a patient opiates as a short-term solution for pain relief. When the effects start to wear off or the prescription expires, the person will often go back to the doctor and ask for more.

Doctors now know the dangers of long-term opiate use, so more often then not, they won’t prescribe another dose. This will lead people to turn to illegal means of obtaining the substances.

So, how do we break this cycle?

If you or someone you know is dealing with chronic pain, it’s important to know that there are many other treatments available for pain relief. Therefore, it’s important to talk to your doctor about switching to pain medications that are less addictive.

And, if you are someone who possesses high-risk factors for developing an addiction, it may be best to avoid opiates altogether. Talk to your doctor about your risk factors and discuss with them alternative methods for dealing with your pain.

8. Seeking Help

If you spot the signs of dependency in you or a loved one, it’s important to know that effective treatment for opiate addiction exists.

The first step is to stop taking the drug and start the withdrawal process.

If, however, you feel like this is something you’ll need help with, you should seek out treatment. This may come in the form of inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab, or counseling.

Addicted to Painkillers?: What to Do Next

This article should have given you a good idea of what opiate addiction is all about.

The most important takeaway from this article should be that anyone can become addicted to opiates. While there are risk factors that make someone more susceptible, people from all walks of life have become addicted to the drug.

The other very important thing to remember is that treatment exists for those who have an addiction to painkillers.

To learn more about the different treatment options available, contact us today.

drug rehab facilities

The Top 10 Life-Changing Benefits of Drug Rehab

In America today, more than 23 million men and women report being addicted to drugs or alcohol. Of these 23 million, only a handful choose to take the next step and commit to a specialized treatment program.

For those who feel their addiction may be taking charge of their life, it’s certainly in your best interest to consider entering a drug rehab facility. While it takes courage and motivation to commit to such a decision, it has the power to save and transform your entire life.

While the main priority of a drug rehab facility is to overcome addiction, there is an abundance of other benefits that stem from the program. Alongside conquering one’s addiction, those in drug rehab facilities also learn the tools necessary for building a productive, healthy, and happy lifestyle.

If you’ve been considering attending a drug rehab facility, you’re going to want to read this. We’re outlining the top ten most life-changing benefits of attending a drug rehab facility.

While overcoming addiction is never easy, the long-term benefits are always worth the fight.

1. Establishing Healthy Routines

First and foremost, a drug rehab facility is the best way for an addict to establish a new, healthy routine.

Because drugs are so damaging to both the body and the mind, it’s crucial to make efforts to correct as much of this damage as possible.

Unfortunately, some of the effects caused by even casual drug use are long-term and have proven to be irreversible.

However, with a healthy new routine fixated on balanced meals and exercise, certain components of the mind and body are capable of healing. For example, some studies have noted that certain areas of the brain can return to their original state. For some, this may be in terms of both volume as well as functionality.

In a rehab facility, meals as well as exercise are pre-determined and balanced. Those participating in such a program can rest assured that their meals are following a strict guideline and their body will be properly exercised.

This helps former addicts navigate a positive relationship with healthy eating and exercise routines. Once established, they can practice these routines when returning to their usual environment.

2. Erasing Temptation

It won’t come as a surprise that all rehab facilities are drug and alcohol-free.

In order to free the mind of temptation, it’s vital to be in an environment in which drugs and alcohol are simply not an option.

When attempting to eliminate drugs or alcohol outside of a rehab facility, this is not the case. In the outside world, an addict is still engulfed in an environment where it is possible to get ahold of their substance.

Without an environment that is entirely drug and alcohol-free, it can be difficult for the addict to find long-term success.

3. Learning How to Set Goals

Rehab introduces individuals to set goals that are realistic while also providing the best tools possible for achieving them.

While addicts may have set goals throughout their addiction, many of these goals fail to be met. This is often because the mind is so often altered and controlled by their substance of choice. Even with sincere intentions, these goals fail to be taken seriously and are eventually abandoned.

A drug rehab facility helps to break the cycle of abandoned goals. Once an individual enters rehab, their mind will be more capable of setting goals. From here, that individual is taught the tools necessary for the best way to achieve these goals in the near future.

Not only are these goals the pathway to creating a healthy and happy life, but they are also beneficial to recovery.

4. Learning About Addiction

Understanding addiction is never a simple nor straightforward task.

After all, addiction can be different for each and every person as well as the different factors leading to one’s addiction. In order to overcome one’s addiction long-term, it’s essential to understand what may have sparked the addiction in the first place.

In learning about addiction, the individual becomes better able to identify things, people, places, or events that trigger the mind into craving drugs.

This can also help addicts to shift some of the blame they hold against themselves for their addiction. This creates a healthier mind for that addict and allows them to feel less anger and resentment toward themselves.

Individuals will also learn about the realities of addiction and the damaging effects that it has on one’s health. This comes in terms of both short-term effects and long-term effects such as the potential for certain diseases. For example, those who use methamphetamine have a higher risk of developing HIV and hepatitis.

5. Understanding Underlying Issues

Each and every rehab program provides addicts the opportunity to delve deeply into the psychology of their addiction.

In doing so, individuals are able to understand the factors that may have led to their addiction. This could be anything from genetics and family history to their mental state and current living conditions.

Through understanding the underlying issues of one’s addiction, it’s easier to shift the entirety of the blame from one’s self and begin to forgive. This is important as it reminds former addicts that their addiction did not stem from a lack of morality or an innermost desire to act wrongly.

Addicts also learn about the personality traits or characteristics that are common amongst addicts. In fact, a recent study found that 53 percent of the patients in one rehab facility were diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder.

Once an addict understands the factors that may have contributed to their addiction, it’s easier to prevents these factors from emerging once again. This is especially made possible with the help of a psychologist that can help provide tools for fighting these factors and overcoming them.

6. Establishing Lifelong Relationships

One of the most important factors in remaining sober long-term comes in terms of support and relationships.

One reality in getting clean is that former addicts tend to withdraw themselves from past friendships. This is often because those relationships were centered on substance abuse and a mutual addiction. Without the drug, the friendship slowly deteriorates and ceases to exist.

Fortunately, a drug rehab facility presents the perfect opportunity to discover like-minded friendships. These friends all share a common goal and can provide eternal support and friendship to one another. These are the types of friendships that have the ability to be long-term relationships.

Let’s face it, humans are naturally social beings. The desire to engage with others and establish a connection is a natural human tendency. The more healthy and fulfilling an addict’s relationships are, the more likely that person will have the power to resist their addiction.

Without these human relationships, it is only natural for humans to experience feelings of loneliness or depression. As we know, these emotions can be triggers and are always best avoided.

7. Building New Habits and Practices

For those battling drug addiction, self-care and healthy habits typically fall to the back burner.

Instead of focusing on one’s health, the mind of a drug addict narrows their focus to their substance of choice. As a result, abiding by a positive and healthy lifestyle is not prioritized nor practiced.

Throughout one’s stay at a drug rehab facility, addicts will learn new habits and practices that are centered upon a healthy lifestyle. This may be anything from proper nutrition and exercise to proper self-care and discipline.

Learning these habits and practices in rehab give individuals the tools necessary to transition these practices into their new life. Because that individual is now capable of seeing the positive effects these practices have on the body and mind, they are more likely to continue these habits.

These healthy habits are also more likely to keep the individual on the road to sobriety and focus on their health and well-being.

8. Determining Your Triggers

One of the most important factors in overcoming an addiction is to gain a solid understanding of one’s personal triggers.

While each addict has different triggers that speak to them, a list of common triggers are as follows:

  • People
  • Places
  • Dates
  • Holidays
  • Emotional States
  • Medication
  • Events

Throughout one’s program, the individual will continue to learn about the triggers of their addiction. To minimize these triggers, it’s vital to understand what exactly these triggers are and where they stem from.

Many addicts will find that one of their most prominent triggers comes in the form of negative emotions or mental states. For example, stress or depression has proven to be a major trigger for many addicts.

At a rehab facility, the individual will be able to learn how to handle the triggers that result in an unwell mental state. Doctors and psychologists will be able to provide that individual with the tools necessary for resisting these triggers in the future.

These are lifelong lessons that former addicts will use and practice throughout their entire life.

9. Overcoming Obstacles

Throughout an addict’s journey, there are bound to be numerous moments of uncertainty and doubt.

During these times, it’s only natural to feel that one’s addiction will always come out on top. However, as the program continues and the individual learns more about their addiction, these feelings typically begin to lessen.

In eventually completing the journey and fighting against their addiction, that individual is overcome with an incredible sense of pride and confidence.

Successfully completing rehab is something that likely felt impossible at one point in time. To imagine living freely against their drug of choice may have seemed a distant dream for the majority of addicts.

Completing a rehab program gives them all the confidence necessary for overcoming obstacles in the future. After all, the battle against drugs or alcohol is surely one of the most challenging occasions in life for many addicts.

10. Establishing a Life-Long Mentor

One of the most important aspects of a drug rehab is finding a sponsor or mentor for the addict. Having an established mentor in combination with attending addiction meetings is the best way to resist temptation when the program comes to an end.

A mentor is someone who has battled with addiction themselves and has worked hard to overcome this addiction. With their strength and experience, they are able to provide valuable information as well as support to those in the recovery process.

They also help addicts in the beginning stage of their recovery to share that a life without addiction is possible. This person is acting as proof that an addict can change and that addiction does not have to be forever. Seeing this firsthand helps to provide a strong sense of hope that recovery is realistic.

In doing so, the hope is to create a successful mentor and mentee relationship that continues outside of the program. For many addicts, this becomes a long-term relationship that continues to persist for many years to come.

The Long-Term Benefits of Drug Rehab Facilities

While 22 million Americans report feeling the need for rehab, only 2.5 million Americans attend a rehab center.

For those battling drug addiction, a rehab facility just might be the difference between life and death.

Here, addicts are in a controlled environment where they learn how to cope with cravings and how to manage their desires. It is here that addicts are in the best environment possible to break their cycle of addiction.

Not only does a rehab facility help to fight this addiction, it also provides addicts with the tools necessary to get their life back on track. These lifelong skills developed in drug rehab facilities are designed to provide a number of lifelong benefits for the sake of the future.

These benefits will help recovering addicts formulate a future that is free from substance abuse so that they can be healthy and happy.

To expand your learning on addictions and how to better manage substance abuse, be sure to stay updated with our blog!

5 Myths About Addiction

5 Myths About Addiction That Need To Go Away

5 Myths About AddictionThere are still unfortunately many stigmas when it comes to addiction. These stigmas not only make it more difficult for individuals to admit when they have a problem with drugs or alcohol, but they can also hinder them from getting the help they need. Because addiction is something that strikes both men and women of all ages and across all demographics, it’s vital to put to rest some of the myths or fallacies that lead to the stigmas of addiction.

Five Myths About Addiction

The following are five myths about addiction that need to be properly understood and then put to rest.

Myth #1 – Individuals With Addiction Are Bad And Don’t Deserve Help

It’s perhaps the most common myth out there that those who are suffering from addiction are inherently bad people and that they deserve to suffer. Unfortunately, many addicts themselves believe this very negative idea. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. Addiction can happen to anyone, anywhere and it affects each of us in some way, whether we’re aware of it or not.

Myth #2 – Addiction Is A Choice

No one wakes up one day and decides they want to struggle from the devastating physical, emotional, mental and financial impact of addiction. While an individual does choose to try drugs or alcohol, these addictive substances quickly alter brain chemistry, making it very difficult to stop. Addiction is not a bad decision, it’s a brain disorder that has contributing factors such as environment, hardships and co-occurring mental illness.

Myth #3 – It’s Not As Bad To Be Hooked On Prescription Medication

There is certainly less of a social stigma when it comes to those who become addicted to prescription drugs. However, even if a doctor prescribed a medication, it can still be just as addictive and dangerous as street drugs. Drugs like Codeine and Xanax have the same addictive properties as illegal drugs.

Myth #4 – Addicts Usually Have Only One Drug Of Choice

It’s very common for individuals to mix drugs to create a more intense high, or to use one drug to come down from another. Some simply choose to use whatever drug is available to them. When there are multiple addictions, treatment becomes more complex.

Myth #5 – Shame-Based Treatment Methods Are Effective

It’s a common misconception that shame must be incorporated into treatment to get someone to make a positive change. However, it’s this idea that actually prevents many people from getting the help they need. Fortunately, there is growing realization that individuals with substance use disorders need to be given the same level of treatment and care as those with other chronic conditions. In other words, treatment centers that take a more caring, personalized approach are inherently more effective.

Deciding On A Treatment Center Can Be Difficult – Let Us Help!

There are many treatment centers out there, and it can be challenging to determine which one is right for you or your loved one. There are many factors to consider. Yet, it starts with making a call to learn more. Call Addiction Treatment Services now to get started.