Signs of Alcoholism

Signs of Alcoholism | Midwood Addiction Treatment

The terms “alcoholic” and “alcoholism” are still commonly used in modern society, but this is a layperson’s description with little clinical use. Moreover, researchers, physicians, therapists, and other health professionals require accord on the different levels of alcohol consumption.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) provides professionals in the mental health industry with a diagnostic tool that helps them to recognize various mental health conditions, including alcohol use disorder. For the purposes of this article, the terms “alcoholism” and “alcohol use disorder” can be used interchangeably.

What Is Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?

According to the Mayo Clinic, alcohol use disorder is “a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling one’s drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.”

Although the intensity of an alcohol use disorder varies between individuals, the DSM-5 provides health providers with a set of 11 factors that can help them in the diagnosis of an alcohol use disorder and its severity. These criteria may also be considered to be signs of alcoholism, depending on their number and intensity.

DSM-5 Criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder

To determine whether you or loved one may have AUD and signs of alcoholism, here are some questions to ask that are based on the DSM’s 11 key factors. In the past year, have you or someone you know…

…encountered times when you ended up drinking more or for longer than you originally intended?

…wanted to cut down or stop drinking more than once, or tried to, but failed to do so?

…spent a considerable amount of time drinking or recovering from the after-effects?

…experienced cravings, or a strong need, or urge, to drink, perhaps so much so that you couldn’t think of anything else?

…found that drinking or being ill from drinking often interfered with home or family responsibilities, or caused problems on the job or at school?

…continued to drink despite the fact that it was causing trouble with family or friends?

…given up or neglected activities that were once considered important or interesting to you, or gave you enjoyment, in favor of drinking?

…more than once were involved in situations while or after drinking that increased your risk of getting hurt (such as driving, using machinery, swimming or having unsafe sex)?

…continued to drink although it was making you feel depressed or anxious or contributing to another health problem, or after having had a blackout (memory lapse)?

…had to drink more than you once did to get the effect you desire or found that your customary number of drinks had less effect than before?

…discovered that when the effects of alcohol were subsiding, you experienced withdrawal symptoms, such as insomnia, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea, vomiting, or sweating?

Signs of Alcoholism | Midwood Addiction Treatment

If a person has encountered at least two of the 11 factors in the past year, then the person is diagnosable as having an alcohol use disorder. The existence of two or three factors is considered mild alcohol use disorder, four to five symptoms are considered to be moderate, and six or more is acknowledged as severe.

The 11 factors are intended to address both the physical and psychological components of alcohol use disorder. It is important to note that physical dependence is one component of addiction, but it is not addiction in and of itself. Moreover, a person can be physically/chemically dependent on alcohol or another substance without being psychologically dependent upon it.

Two hallmark signs of alcoholism are the development of tolerance and dependence followed by withdrawal symptoms. As tolerance increases, a person who drinks alcohol will require a higher amount in order to experience the desired effects. Withdrawal symptoms are caused by the body’s adaption to the continued presence of alcohol (dependence) and manifest as a response to its abrupt absence.

Common withdrawal symptoms may include anxiety, confusion, tremors, racing heart, headache, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue.

Mild Alcohol Use Disorder

Regarding DSM-5 criteria, new alcohol users might exhibit 0-2 of the 11 symptoms discussed, and in the long run, these may not prove to be persistent signs of alcoholism. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to know for sure if social or occasional drinking will lead to the development of an alcohol use disorder.

Most often, individuals at this stage are either high school students or young adults, such as college students or young professionals. Drinking is still largely considered to be a social event, and binge drinking as a way of partying is often a hallmark pattern of abuse. Moreover, these individuals may not be regular drinkers, but binge drinking alone still places them at an increased risk of developing an alcohol use disorder.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), binge drinking occurs when a person achieves a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher within two hours. For women, this may only require about four drinks, and in men, five drinks are standard.

Some binge drinkers will not progress beyond this phase to drink frequently. Those who do continue to drink regularly, however, may be environmentally or genetically predisposed to do so, based on a family history of alcoholism, childhood trauma, mental illness, and any number of other factors.

Moderate Alcohol Use Disorder

Moderate alcohol use disorder is correlated to both with the frequency of consumption as well as one’s primary purpose for drinking. Generally, this level of problematic drinking is associated with a lack of control over one’s alcohol use and signs that it is interfering with one’s normal life activities and responsibilities. At this stage, a person may not be chemically dependent on alcohol.

If alcohol dependence does develop, however, it will likely be more difficult to stop drinking due to the onset of withdrawal symptoms and possibly cravings or urges to drink.

Severe Alcohol Use Disorder

Experiencing at least six of the DSM’s criteria indicates the immediate need for an intervention to seek treatment to address the addiction. The development of adverse health conditions and diseases is a huge concern surrounding alcohol abuse.

The following health conditions, which can range in severity, may manifest as a result of chronic, heavy alcohol abuse, and they indicate that a severe alcohol use disorder is present:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Anemia
  • Dementia
  • Nerve damage
  • Several forms of cancer
  • Seizures
  • Depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Pancreatitis
  • Gout
  • Infectious diseases
  • Liver cirrhosis

Signs of Alcoholism | Midwood Addiction Treatment

End-Stage Alcohol Use Disorder

During end-stage alcohol use disorder, the person has completely lost control over alcohol use and becomes controlled by it. The end stage can be thought of as the most severe manifestation of all the possible problems that can be caused by alcohol use disorder. After a long enough period of excessive chronic alcohol use, withdrawal symptoms may be so painful (and possibly life-threatening) that the person is motivated to continue drinking as a means to prevent them.

At this point, individuals may develop severe disease, such as cirrhosis of the liver, which can emerge after years of liver damage. As a person continually consumes alcohol, their liver produces scar tissue instead of new healthy tissue.

Over time, scar tissue in the liver prevents the necessary flow of blood and also impairs the body’s ability to eliminate toxins from the blood, control infections, process nutrients, and absorb cholesterol and certain vitamins. In addition to chronic health conditions, persons in the end stage of alcohol abuse may be at an increased risk of falls, injuries, and other accidents due to balance and coordination impairments.

Treatment for Signs of Alcoholism

Alcohol use disorder can have harrowing and dangerous side effects at every stage, but fortunately, each stage is treatable. Even if some chronic conditions cannot be reversed, abstinence can help to manage them better. Achieving sobriety is always beneficial for one’s health and well-being whether treatment is sought in the early, middle, or end stages.

Alcohol abuse is almost never exclusively about the alcohol itself. For this reason, a full spectrum of treatment services that begins with a medical detox and continues to treat the emotional motivations for abuse is needed. Midwood Addiction Treatment offers these services in partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats, as well as psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and more.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol abuse, contact us today to discuss treatment options!

Doctor Shopping for Prescription Drugs

Doctor Shopping for Prescription Drugs | Midwood Addiction Treatment

“Doctor shopping” is a term that refers to the behavior of a person who visits multiple physicians in an attempt to obtain prescriptions for controlled substances, such as opioids. The person may then abuse, sell, or distribute these drugs unlawfully. This practice is illegal, and those who engage in it face significant risks, including legal penalties, addiction, and overdose.

People who doctor shop attempt to deceive physicians into believing they need medication for legitimate purposes and do not disclose that they are also filling prescriptions from other doctors. Also, some physicians may be aware that a patient is doctor shopping but, despite this fact, write the requested prescriptions for profit.

Of all pharmaceutical drugs, opioids are the #1 target for doctor shoppers. In 2008, one in 143 patients in the U.S. received an opioid prescription from more than one physician, a pattern that is highly suggestive of doctor shopping behavior. And, while doctor shoppers made up only 0.7% of all American patients who received an opioid prescription that year, they purchased 2% of all opioid prescriptions and 4% of the total amount of pharmaceutical opioids as measured by weight.

A recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) examined unintentional prescription-drug overdose deaths and revealed that 21.4% of the deceased had engaged in doctor shopping prior to their death. Doctor shopping is almost always evidence of illicit distribution or prescription drug abuse, especially where opioids are concerned. It remains one of the major factors driving the opioid and heroin addiction crisis in the U.S. today.

This practice is illegal in all 50 states and Washington D.C., and many state laws enforce severe criminal penalties that can result in lifelong consequences for offenders. Additionally, almost every state has implemented a prescription drug monitoring program as a means to track patients who receive opioid prescriptions.

Who Engages in Doctor Shopping?

People who are seeking opioids are the most common among doctor shoppers. A 2013 study examined opioid prescription histories to identify doctor shoppers by their purchasing patterns. After analyzing a dataset of over 146 million opioid prescriptions dispensed by 76% of pharmacies in the U.S., researchers identified what they referred to as an “extreme group” of around 135,000 suspected doctor shoppers.

On average, this group filled 32 prescriptions for opioids from 10 different physicians over a 10-month period, and most of these likely doctor shoppers were between 26-35 years of age. Overall, this extreme group received 11.1 million grams of opioids over the 10-month period—that is equivalent to 109 milligrams of morphine per patient day for an entire year.

Of note, the risk of overdose is high for people who use 100 milligrams of morphine per day. In a national sample of Veterans Health Administration patients with chronic pain who received opioids from 2004–2009, patients who had died of opioid overdose were prescribed an average of 98 MME (morphine milligram equivalents) per day, while other patients were prescribed an average of just 48 MME per day.

A 2014 study by the University of North Carolina and Georgia Southern University sought to shed light on physician deception by examining its prevalence, motivations, and risk factors. In a random sample of more than 2,300 young adults, 4% reported they had attempted to deceive a physician in order to obtain a pharmaceutical drug.

About 50% of those who admitted to deceiving a doctor said their motivation was to sell some of the prescription medication. Although, most of these individuals also reported that their own propensity toward substance abuse at least partly drove their behavior.

There are actually several reasons why patients could engage in doctor shopping. Some reason may be related to mental health disorders (e.g., substance abuse and addiction), while others may be linked to the persistence of symptoms or dissatisfaction with the first doctor or his/her medical opinion. While the nature of these psychological disorders is varied, the majority of doctor shopping incidents appears to be directly related to substance abuse.

Drugs That Doctor Shoppers Target

Doctor Shopping for Prescription Drugs | Midwood Addiction Treatment

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has identified five drug classes that are common targets for doctor shopping and other types of drug diversion: opioids, benzodiazepines, stimulants, anabolic steroids, and weight-loss drugs.

A study from 2010 published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence examined the most extensive electronic prescription drug monitoring program in the U.S. and found that opioids were the most commonly sought after among doctor-shopping patients. Indeed, opioids accounted for nearly 13% of all prescriptions involved in multiple provider events. Benzodiazepines were next at 4.2%, followed by stimulants at 1.4% and weight-loss medications at 0.9%.

Doctor Shopping Prevention Methods

While it can be challenging for health care professionals to identify instances of doctor shopping, there are a few steps that can be taken to minimize or prevent it. State drug monitoring programs that track prescriptions help doctors and pharmacists recognize possible cases of doctor shopping and other types of drug diversion.

And, as noted, all 50 states and Washington D.C. have enacted laws that outlaw doctor shopping in some fashion. Each state has a fraud statute that makes it illegal to obtain (or even attempt to obtain) a narcotic by fraud or misrepresentation.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

Prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) require physicians and pharmacists to record each prescription medication filled in a government database. This allows health care providers to identify people who may be engaging in doctor-shopping behaviors.

As of the time of this writing, every state except Missouri has an operational PDMP in place. Several credible studies have found that PDMPs are an effective means for discouraging doctor-shopping behavior and reducing the prevalence of doctor shopping.

Pharmacists

Pharmacists hold a significant amount of responsibility in preventing doctor shoppers from obtaining controlled substances. By watching for fraudulent or altered prescriptions and patients with multiple prescriptions from more than one physician, pharmacists are uniquely positioned and qualified to identify individuals who may be doctor shopping. Also, many pharmacies have hotlines to notify other pharmacies in the area when a falsified prescription has been detected.

Doctor Shopping for Prescription Drugs | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Getting Treatment for Addiction

Doctor shopping behavior is frequently an indication of a substance use disorder. People who engage in these practices may be physically addicted to prescription drugs, and professional substance abuse treatment may be the only way to help those who are suffering.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers a comprehensive approach to substance abuse treatment and includes both partial-hospitalization and intensive outpatient formats. We employ evidence-based services essential to the process of recovery, including the following:

  • Individual psychotherapy
  • Group therapy
  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Family counseling
  • Peer support groups
  • Psychoeducation
  • Health and wellness programs
  • Aftercare planning services

Our professional addiction specialists facilitate these services to clients with care and expertise. We are dedicated to providing each patient with the resources, tools, and support they so desperately need to achieve abstinence and enjoy long-term wellness and sobriety.

If you or someone you know has been defrauding health care providers in an effort to obtain a controlled substance, please seek treatment as soon as possible.

Call us today to discuss treatment options. Discover how we help people free themselves from the grips of addiction so they can experience the happy and fulfilling lives they deserve!

Drug Addiction Causes and Treatment

Drug Addiction Causes and Treatment | Midwood Addiction Treatment

What Causes Drug Addiction?

Many factors can contribute to addiction. They may be related to genetics, family history, childhood trauma, social influences, or environment. For example, having an immediate family member who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, or being raised in an environment where substance abuse is generally accepted, can increase a person’s chances of developing drug dependence and addiction. Also, having a co-occurring mental health disorder can make a person more vulnerable to addiction.

Even in the 21st century, many people still believe that drug addiction is the result of a lack of willpower or a weak or immoral character. But, the medical community now widely recognizes that addiction is a chronic brain disease and not a character flaw.

The repeated use of drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, meth, or prescription opioids, causes significant changes in the structure and function of the brain. These substances alter with the way the brain processes neurotransmitters, which are chemicals in the central nervous that control vital functions including emotion, energy levels, pain response, sleep patterns, and metabolism.

The more a person uses intoxicating substances, the more his or her brain and nerves come to rely on these substances to induce feelings of pleasure, excitement, and relaxation. Drug addiction occurs when the repeated use of a drug alters the brain in such a way that the person can no longer function normally without it.

How Long Does it Take to Develop Dependence or Addiction?

There is no precise timeline on how long it will take for a person to become dependent on drugs or develop an addiction. The length of time largely depends on the type of drug being used, the amount that is regularly consumed, and the physical and psychological health of the individual.

Some substances, such as alcohol, cocaine, meth, heroin, some prescription opioids, and benzodiazepines, are known to lead to dependence rapidly. For some, the signs of drug tolerance and physical dependence can manifest after only a few uses, while in others addiction takes much longer to develop.

Drug Addiction Causes and Treatment | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Drug Addiction Recovery Rates

With the help of professional addiction treatment program, a large number of people have learned how to live meaningful lives, free from the use of drugs and alcohol. While relapse rates among recovering opioid addicts may be as high as 90%, addicts who complete an inpatient treatment program are more likely to avoid relapse and remain drug-free long-term.

Indeed, addiction is a chronic disease, and relapse is one of its hallmark effects. It’s important for a person in recovery to realize that relapse is the rule and not the exception. That’s not to say that relapse is “okay”—it isn’t. Rather, relapse doesn’t have to be the end of the road and a cause for shame and self-loathing. Relapse prevention therapy can teach addicts how to prevent relapses, and how to minimize the severity of a relapse if it does occur.

Recovery rates are also higher for patients who have access to aftercare planning and support after they are discharged from treatment. Aftercare services include case management, alumni activities, community referrals, counseling services, sober living housing, medication-assisted treatment, and more. These services offer a source of security and support for recovering addicts during the vulnerable period transitioning from drug treatment back to the community in which triggers and environmental stressors still exist.

What to Do if a Loved One Has an Addiction

If you’ve recognized the signs and symptoms of drug addiction in someone close to you, you should attempt to intervene as soon as possible. Many people are hesitant to talk to a loved one about addiction because they don’t like confrontations, they are afraid that the loved one will jump to conclusions, or they don’t want to make the problem even worse.

Although it’s never comfortable to bring up the subject of addiction, reaching out to someone who is struggling could stop the progression of a potentially lethal disease. The following are steps you can take to express your concerns while protecting yourself and your loved ones from possible repercussions.

Initiate a One-on-One Discussion

If you don’t introduce the topic of drug addiction, it’s unlikely that your loved one will bring up the discussion of their own accord. Denial is a hallmark effect of addiction that doesn’t just affect the addict—it’s easy and comfortable for spouses, family, and friends to disregard the problem along with the addict. The best way to approach the situation is to have an honest, heart-to-heart talk with your loved one about how their behavior is impacting you and other people in their lives.

Drug Addiction Causes and Treatment | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Consult an Interventionist

If your loved one is in total denial about the problem, he or she will probably decline to get treatment or refuse to listen to you. An addiction counselor or therapist who specializes in intervention can help you organize a formal meeting to confront your loved one with the adverse consequences of his or her behavior and recommend a treatment plan.

How to Tell Loved Ones That You Have an Addiction

The best way to tell loved ones that you are suffering from addiction is to be honest and open. However, be prepared for the possibility that they will not understand your condition. Many people still don’t realize that addiction is a chronic disease just like cancer, diabetes, or hypertension.

Your loved ones may criticize you or be in denial themselves and try to convince you that you don’t have a problem. If this happens, it is critical to stand firm in your new self-awareness and stay on track with your plan for treatment, regardless of whether you initially receive their full support or not.

Seek Support From Others and Research Treatment Options

Addiction treatment centers, counselors, therapists, and peer support groups can be invaluable sources of advice when you’re trying to help a loved one with an addiction (or you are trying to get help for yourself). A therapist can give you pointers on how to interact effectively with someone who’s in denial of their (or your) addiction. Twelve-step groups like Al-Anon, or Narcotics or Alcoholics Anonymous can offer support as well.

It’s never too early to begin exploring drug treatment options for you or your loved one.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers a comprehensive approach to addiction that includes evidence-based services essential for recovery, such as psychotherapy, counseling, peer group support, health and wellness programs, and aftercare planning. We also offer detox and treatment options in partial-hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and outpatient formats.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, contact us today to discuss treatment options. We are dedicated to helping people free themselves from the chains of addiction and restore the happy and fulfilling lives they deserve!

Is Percocet an Opioid?

Is Percocet an Opioid? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

The short answer is yes. Percocet is a potent prescription painkiller that consists of the synthetic opioid oxycodone and acetaminophen (Tylenol). Opioids, sometimes referred to as narcotics, are drugs prescribed by doctors to treat persistent or severe pain.

Opioids are often derived from naturally-occurring alkaloids in the opium poppy (e.g., codeine, morphine, and thebaine) but sometimes are fully synthetic, human made compounds (e.g., fentanyl) that act on the brain in the same way. Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from thebaine.

Opioids work by binding to proteins known as opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the body. When this occurs, the opioids block pain messages transmitted from the body through the spinal cord to the brain.

While opioids they can effectively reduce pain, they carry some risks, and many have a high potential for addiction. The risk of addiction is particularly high when opioids are used to treat chronic pain over an extended period.

Opioid Tolerance and Dependence

When Percocet is ingested, it releases a massive amount of dopamine—a chemical messenger in the body that produces intense feelings of well-being (euphoria). When used regularly, both tolerance and dependence can form, which are hallmark indications of opioid addiction.

Tolerance develops due to repeated exposure to drugs or alcohol. After a prolonged period of regular use, the user’s body will eventually become accustomed and develop a reduced response to the drug. Consequently, they will need ever-increasing amounts of the substance to experience the desired effects.

Dependence also develops over time as neurons in the brain grow accustomed to repeated exposure to intoxicating substances, and can no longer function normally without them. When someone has become dependent on a substance, they will encounter highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit using. These effects are often the main reason why people relapse.

While dependence and tolerance are two key factors in the development of addiction, they are not addiction in and of itself. Addiction is also characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior and an obsession with obtaining and using a substance despite the incurrence of adverse effects in many areas of one’s life.

Symptoms of Percocet Addiction

Percocet addiction can lead to several side effects, including the following:

  • Constipation
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slowed breathing rate
  • Sweating
  • Impaired coordination

Other Life Complications

Percocet abuse can cause severe social problems in addition to physical and mental conditions. Users may engage in risky, impulsive, or generally detrimental behavior, such as driving while intoxicated, becoming involved in illegal activity, and failing to fulfill important work, school, and family obligations.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Is Percocet an Opioid? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

As noted, the development of dependence is followed by the onset of withdrawal symptoms when the person is not using. Percocet withdrawal symptoms may include the following:

  • Yawning
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle aches and pains

Signs of Overdose

A person who is dependent on Percocet may be more likely to use other drugs such as alcohol or heroin. Although an overdose of Percocet on its own can be lethal, death is much more likely to occur if Percocet is used in combination with other central nervous system (CNS) depressants.

A person in the thralls of a Percocet overdose may exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Limpness of extremities
  • Respiratory distress
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Stupor
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Gurgling sounds
  • Seizures
  • Body spasms
  • Bluing of lips and nails
  • Fainting spells
  • Coma
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Death

Ingesting high doses of Percocet can also lead to acute acetaminophen poisoning, which is life-threatening. Symptoms include the following:

  • Jaundice
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Profuse sweating
  • Clammy skin
  • Irritability
  • Confusion

Other complications of a Percocet overdose may include liver damage, kidney or liver failure, urinary tract infection, chronic constipation, and a compromised immune system.

Treatment for Percocet Addiction

Treatment for Percocet addiction usually begins with a medical detox and is closely followed by comprehensive care that includes:

  • Peer support group
  • Psychoeducation
  • Aftercare planning
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Individual, group, and family counseling
  • Health and wellness programs

By promoting participation in multiple therapeutic activities using an integrated approach, we aim to foster long-term abstinence and reduce the likelihood that clients will relapse after discharge.

Midwood Addiction Treatment is dedicated to helping people reclaim their lives and free themselves from the chains of addiction. We employ highly-skilled addiction specialists who provide clients with the tools, resources, and support they so desperately need to achieve abstinence and maintain long-lasting sobriety and wellness.

If you or your loved one is struggling with an addiction to opioids, other drugs, or alcohol, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options and discover how we can help!

What Are Barbiturates?

What Are Barbiturates? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Barbiturates are synthetic central nervous system (CNS) depressants used as sedatives and to treat anxiety and seizures. They range in action from inducing mild sedation to general anesthesia and may result in coma.

Barbiturates are pharmaceutical drugs that can be short-acting, intermediate-acting, or long-acting. Common barbiturates include phenobarbital (Luminal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), secobarbital (Seconal), and amobarbital (Amytal).

Although they are most commonly prescribed for sleep difficulties, these drugs are also regularly misused. In fact, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reported that as many as 330,000 people were currently using a sedative drug recreationally in the month before a 2014 survey.

Barbiturates can be misused by taking pills without a prescription or medical need or by tampering with the form of the medication, such as crushing it and diluting it in water for injection. These depressants are sometimes called “downers” and are often misused for recreational purposes to induce pleasant sensations of relaxation and feelings of euphoria, not unlike alcohol intoxication. They are also used to offset “uppers”—stimulant drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine.

Barbiturates can remain in a person’s system for 4-16 hours, depending on the length of action of the drug used. They are very easy to overdose on and are also considered to be highly addictive, as a person can rapidly develop tolerance and become physiologically dependent on them. As such, barbiturate misuse is quite risky, both in the short-term and long run.

Risks of Barbiturate Abuse

Barbiturate Overdose

The use of barbiturates can prove fatal even in small doses. Due to the long-acting properties of some barbiturates, these drugs can stay in a person’s system for an extended period, and if a person takes more during this time, it may then lead to a toxic accumulation.

Also, the more barbiturates the person uses, the more tolerant of their mind-altering effects he or she becomes. The same is not true of an individual’s tolerance to the drugs’ life-threatening effects, however, and frequent, repeated use of these drugs skyrockets the risk for a lethal overdose.

The Global Information Network About Drugs (GINAD) reports that an estimated 3,000 people die from an overdose related to barbiturates in the U.S. each year. Furthermore, approximately 60% of those overdoses are accidental, while the other 40% are reported as attempted suicides.

Signs of a barbiturate overdose include the following:

  • Clammy skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Weak pulse
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma

Since barbiturates are CNS depressants, just like alcohol, they can reduce a person’s inhibitions, promote sociability and increase the risk of engaging in potentially impulsive and dangerous behavior.

What Are Barbiturates? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Barbiturate Side Effects

Other side effects of barbiturate intoxication include the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired coordination
  • Slow or unsteady movement
  • Mental fogginess
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor judgment
  • Headache
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Aggressive behavior

Mixing these drugs with other substances, especially other CNS depressants such as alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines, increases all risk factors. Doing so can diminish respiration and cardiovascular functions to perilously low levels, which can be life-threatening.

Those who abuse barbiturates via injection may also be at an increased risk of contracting infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis, as the result of sharing unclean needles. The risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease due to impaired judgment and unsafe sexual behavior is also increased by excessive barbiturate use.

Effects of Long-Term Barbiturate Use

According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), in 2011, nearly 20,000 people in the U.S. received care in an emergency room for an adverse reaction to barbiturate abuse. Using these drugs regularly can result in breathing problems and lead to bronchitis and pneumonia.

Other effects caused by the long-term use of barbiturates include the following:

  • Memory impairments
  • Reduced attention span
  • Impaired reflexes
  • Bone aches and pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle weakness
  • Liver damage
  • Cardiovascular damage
  • Jaundice

The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that the long-term abuse of these drugs can result in barbiturate-induced residual psychotic disorder, a form of dementia characterized by memory, learning, language, judgment, calculation, and comprehension problems. Also, other higher cortical and cognitive functional deficits may become persistent and irreversible.

Barbiturate Addiction and Dependence

Among the most pronounced side effects from regular and continued abuse of barbiturates is the development of tolerance and physiological dependence. Tolerance occurs as the body grows accustomed to exposure to these drugs, and the person will then be forced to use higher or more frequent doses to keep experiencing the desired effects.

Furthermore, the fact that tolerance to depressant effects does not grow at the same rate as psychoactive effects can be particularly concerning because people may consume higher doses in an attempt to feel better and accidentally overdose as a result.

When a person takes a barbiturate drug, the action of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain is increased. GABA works to relieve anxiety by diminishing physical and emotional reactions to stress. Physiological dependence occurs when the body adapts to the presence of barbiturates such that it can no longer function normally without them.

Barbiturate Withdrawal

What Are Barbiturates? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Unpleasant withdrawal symptoms accompany dependence on barbiturates as the drug is eliminated from the body. Because barbiturates hinder functions of the CNS and interfere with brain chemistry, when these drugs are abruptly absent after dependence has developed, the body can experience a rebound. These resulting effects referred to as withdrawal symptoms.

Complications of barbiturate withdrawal can be life-threatening, and for this reason, these drugs should never be stopped suddenly or “cold turkey.”

Barbiturate withdrawal symptoms may include the following:

  • Seizures
  • Extreme confusion
  • Fever
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Drug cravings

Hallucinations and delusions are also a possible result of barbiturate withdrawal. This withdrawal syndrome is comparable to that of alcohol-induced delirium tremens (DTs) and can onset as long as a week after discontinuing use and result in death. Barbiturate withdrawal should be closely supervised and treated by highly trained medical or addiction professionals in a clinical detox facility.

Barbiturate Addiction

Drug dependence and withdrawal symptoms are not synonymous with addiction, although a person who is addicted is almost always dependent. A person who is dependent on barbiturates does not necessarily suffer from addiction, however.

Drug dependence is a physiological manifestation, while addiction also includes a set of compulsive drug-seeking behaviors and uncontrollable drug-taking despite the incurrence of adverse consequences. People battling addiction may spend a considerable amount of time using drugs, figuring out how to obtain them, and then recovering from their use.

Treatment for Barbiturate Addiction

Addiction is now commonly accepted as a chronic brain disease that can result in many physical, emotional, behavioral, interpersonal, social, financial, and legal consequences. Barbiturate addiction can be effectively managed, however, through participation in an integrated treatment program at a specialized facility, such as Midwood Addiction Treatment.

Our center offers evidence-based services facilitated by highly-skilled, compassionate addiction professionals who deliver therapies to clients with care and expertise. We provide clients with the tools and support they need to achieve sobriety and enjoy long-lasting happiness and wellness.

No matter what you have done or suffered through, you deserve so much better. Contact us today to find out how we can help you begin your recovery journey. We are dedicated to helping people pull themselves free from the grips of addiction so they can reclaim healthy, productive, and satisfying lives!

Xanax Bars Addiction

Xanax Bars Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Xanax (alprazolam) is among the most popular anti-anxiety medications prescribed in the U.S. The drug has several legitimate medical uses, but many people misuse Xanax to feel relaxed or euphoric. Repeated and prolonged abuse can lead to dependence and addiction that requires professional treatment. Discontinuing use of Xanax abruptly or “cold-turkey” can induce seizures and other dangerous complications.

Doctors primarily prescribe Xanax to treat anxiety and panic disorders, but it is sometimes also used for insomnia or seizures. Xanax is a benzodiazepine (benzo) and central nervous system depressant that reduces brain activity, causing feelings of relaxation and drowsiness. These effects are why many people abuse Xanax—seeking relief from anxiety and feelings of intoxication, not unlike alcohol.

But, like excessive alcohol consumption, Xanax abuse can be dangerous. It can hinder a person’s ability to make rational decisions and impair motor skills and response time required for safe driving, among other things.

Xanax Bars and What the Colors Mean

A Xanax bar contains 2-4 times the dose of medication typically required to treat anxiety. Bars allow users to save money as they are less expensive than purchasing multiple pills at a lower dose. Authentic Xanax bars have a characteristic scored appearance. Users who wish to take a smaller dose can easily break the bar into the desired portions. Individuals who want to take a full 2 mg dose can consume the entire bar.
Alprazolam is available in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. By prescription, the medication is available in the following forms.

  • Green three-sided pill – 3mg
  • White rectangle – 2 mg
  • Blue round – 2 mg
  • Blue oval – 1 mg
  • Yellow four-sided pill – 1 mg
  • Orange oval – 0.5 mg
  • White five-sided pill – 0.5 mg
  • Peach round  – 0.5 mg
  • White oval – 0.25 mg

Is Xanax Addictive?

Xanax is one of the most addictive benzos when not used appropriately. People who misuse this drug can become addicted and experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they discontinue use. They can experience rebound anxiety, difficulty sleeping, and dysphoria—effects that make quitting difficult.

Withdrawal from the prolonged abuse of Xanax can be life-threatening. To recover from Xanax dependence, people should taper off the prescription drug by administering lower doses over the course of several weeks. Physicians or addiction professionals should supervise this weaning process to ensure safety.

How Xanax Is Used as Directed

Doctors may prescribe Xanax bars because the drug has a relatively short half-life, meaning its effects subside more rapidly than longer-acting benzos such as Valium (diazepam). People who use Xanax usually begin to feel effects within 10-15 minutes. Peak effects onset after about 30 minutes, and the overall effects typically abate after six hours.

When Xanax is taken as directed, common side effects may include the following:

  • Memory problems
  • Clumsiness
  • Reduced appetite
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Poor concentrating
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Drowsiness and lethargy
  • Slurred speech

Xanax is considered safe for most adults to use. Benzos rarely result in life-threatening overdoses when taken alone, but can cause dangerous side effects when used with other CNS depressants, such as alcohol or opioids. Using Xanax without a prescription can be hazardous.

Those who take it recreationally often combine it with alcohol, marijuana, or other intoxicants. Mixing alcohol or drugs such as opioids and Xanax is dangerous because these substances can interact unpredictably and compound the effects of one another. When combined, these substances can make people pass out and breathe at a perilously slow rate.

How Xanax Causes Dependency and Addiction

Xanax Bars Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Doctors usually initiate patients who are not experienced with benzos with low doses of Xanax, such as 0.25-0.5 mg. Of note, everyone who uses this drug regularly will develop a tolerance, meaning that over time, they will require higher doses to achieve the same therapeutic effects. Patients who have developed a high tolerance to Xanax may require doses higher than 4mg per day, thus increasing their risk of dependence.

Dependence occurs after the prolonged use of a substance results in the body’s adaptation to its presence. When the drug is absent, the body can no longer function normally, and the person experiences unpleasant withdrawal symptoms as a result of this imbalance.

Xanax withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Increased anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Uncontrollable shakiness
  • High blood pressure

Being dependent on Xanax is not always dangerous—people who need medication to control anxiety or panic disorders may become dependent on Xanax and experience few or no adverse effects. Physical dependency is one aspect of addiction, but not addiction itself. Addiction has an intense psychological component that results in compulsive drug-seeking behavior and uncontrolled use despite the incurrence of negative consequences.

Moreover, in many cases, people who are truly addicted to Xanax begin to assume they need it to relieve anxiety. However, the anxiety that they are encountering when they discontinue using the drug is actually a symptom of withdrawal referred to as rebound anxiety.

Dependence becomes problematic when people use Xanax bars for nonmedical reasons or when they misuse the medication and don’t communicate with their doctor. People with a valid prescription may, in some cases, develop an addiction to Xanax because they use the drug more frequently or in higher doses than directed. As tolerance increases and dependence develops, they become more desperate and are clueless as to how they can curb this behavior.

Excessive doses or misuse of Xanax can result in dangerous side effects, including the following:

  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Delirium
  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia

What Is the Timeline for Xanax Bars Addiction?

Some people become addicted to Xanax bars faster than others. Those who routinely take excessive doses of Xanax are more likely to develop a substance use disorder than those who take low doses of the drug less frequently.

Using a benzo such as Xanax for longer than 3-4 weeks can result in physiological dependence, a condition that, as noted, turns into addiction when a person begins obsessing over drug use and keeps using the drug despite the incurrence of negative consequences. For this reason, many doctors have opted to limit alprazolam prescriptions to a one or two week supply to prevent patients from developing dependence.

People addicted to Xanax will compulsively seek the drug, and may visit multiple doctors or pharmacies to obtain prescriptions or buy it illicitly on the street. They may also resort to the abuse of alcohol or other depressants when Xanax isn’t available.

Detoxing From Xanax

Xanax Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Alprazolam has a half-life of about 12 hours, which means it takes this length of time for half of the dose to be cleared from the bloodstream. Withdrawal symptoms can be experienced within six hours of the last dose, and peak after about 12 hours. Intense withdrawal symptoms persist for about four days, and withdrawal from a prolonged Xanax addiction can last for up to two weeks, with improvement seen after the first few days.

As mentioned, tapering off Xanax without medical direction can be dangerous. Detox facilities and treatment centers have medication and other resources that can help ease withdrawal symptoms and make the process safer and more comfortable.

While supervising clients, treatment centers can slowly wean them off Xanax by gradually reducing daily dosages. Xanax may be replaced by long-acting benzos, such as Klonopin or Librium, during tapering. Also, Buspirone and Flumazenil can be used to treat symptoms of withdrawal.

Treatment for Xanax Bars Addiction

Detox or a tapering process is followed by evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, group support, and aftercare planning. Therapy can also help people develop healthier ways of relieving anxiety and lessen a person’s need for anti-anxiety medications.

Midwood Addiction Treatment is a specialized addiction treatment facility that offers therapeutic services facilitated by addiction professionals. Our staff is dedicated to ensuring every client receives the tools and support they need to achieve abstinence and sustain long-lasting wellness and sobriety.

If you or someone you know is addicted to Xanax, other benzos, opioids, or illicit drugs or alcohol, please contact us today. Discover how we help people free themselves from the powerful grip of addiction and begin to experience the healthy and satisfying lives they deserve!

Benzo Withdrawal

Benzo Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Benzodiazepines (benzos) are central nervous system (CNS) depressants commonly prescribed to treat conditions such as anxiety, panic disorders, seizures, insomnia, muscle spasms, and alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

Benzos are prescribed under several brand names, including Ativan (lorazepam), Klonopin (clonazepam), Valium (diazepam), and Xanax (alprazolam). Although these drugs are considered to be relatively safe when used as prescribed, they have the potential for addiction and can be dangerous when misused. Benzos can pose significant risks to those who abuse them, and discontinuing use early on can mitigate some of the short- and long-term dangers associated with the use of these drugs.

What Is Benzo Withdrawal?

Extended benzodiazepine use or abuse often results in physical dependence—a state in which a person’s body becomes accustomed to the presence of a drug such that it can no longer function normally without it. When a person is dependent on benzos, and use is reduced or discontinued, the body will encounter a range of unpleasant effects known as withdrawal.

Symptoms of benzo withdrawal vary from mildly unpleasant to life-threatening. The severity of withdrawal is often related to the average dose of the benzo previously used and how rapidly use is halted. Users who suddenly quit benzos after a prolonged period of use are at higher risk of intense withdrawal symptoms than those patients who are weaned off gradually.

Is Benzo Withdrawal Hazardous?

Benzo withdrawal can be dangerous or even fatal, particularly for those with a severe dependence and/or co-occurring mental health conditions. Serious symptoms induced by benzo withdrawal may include both psychosis and seizures. If left untreated, seizures may be progressive, increasingly difficult to control, and potentially fatal.

Owing to this danger, it is critical that those attempting to quit benzos receive help from a physician, addiction specialist, or substance abuse treatment program that can safely guide them through the recovery process.

Suddenly discontinuing benzo use can also result in rebound effects, in which symptoms previously managed by the drug return with greater intensity. Users may suffer from symptoms such as rebound anxiety and insomnia at a level of severity comparable to or greater than those experienced before the user began using the benzo to treat such symptoms.

Benzo users who encounter rebound symptoms may be compelled to immediately relapse in an attempt to relieve the unpleasant and disturbing effects of withdrawal. Although many of the symptoms of benzodiazepine withdrawal are uncomfortable, treatment options are available to manage many of them, thus making the process safer and more tolerable for those entering recovery.

Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms

Benzo Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Symptoms of benzo withdrawal may include any or all the following:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle pain
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Poor concentration
  • Sensory distortions
  • Tremors

In instances of severe withdrawal, dangerous complications can develop, such as seizures and psychosis. Users who previously experienced seizures and/or have combined benzos with other prescription drugs or alcohol may be at an increased risk for developing seizures during withdrawal.

Some benzo users may encounter what is known as a protracted withdrawal, or post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). This condition can persist for several months or longer and include chronic anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances.

Withdrawal from benzos can range in severity and duration between individuals. The intensity of the withdrawal depends on several factors, including the person’s health, the dose typically used, and the speed at which the medication is decreased when using the taper down method.

Medications for Withdrawal

Medications may be employed in the treatment of benzo withdrawal to help wean users from the drug, treat withdrawal symptoms, and relieve discomfort. A doctor may gradually taper a patient off benzos over a period of weeks or months, rather than suddenly discontinuing use.

For example, if a patient is currently taking a benzo with a relatively short half-life such as Ativan (lorazepam), the physician or addiction specialist may first prescribe one with a longer half-life, such as Klonopin (clonazepam). This change can help relieve symptoms during detox and better facilitate the weaning process.

Other medications that may be used to manage benzo withdrawal include the following:

  • Phenobarbital
  • Anticonvulsants, such as carbamazepine and valproate
  • Sedative antidepressants, such as trazodone
  • Anti-hypertensive drugs, such as clonidine or propranolol, for those who experience severe autonomic consequences as part of benzo withdrawal (e.g., hypertension and accelerated heart rate)

Of note, the administration of these medications does not completely neutralize the risk of dangerous withdrawal symptoms, such as seizures. To reduce the risk of complications, patients should be closely supervised during detox by medical providers or addiction professionals to ensure safety.

While medications may be beneficial and even vital during the withdrawal process, it is important to understand that addiction treatment requires more than the administration of medication. Instead, medication is just one essential therapeutic component that should be employed in conjunction with psychological treatments, such as behavioral therapy and counseling.

Benzo Withdrawal and Addiction Treatment

Benzo Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Detox is the process of clearing toxic substances from the body. Because benzo withdrawal is associated with both distressing and potentially severe symptoms, medical monitoring is typically the safest course of action. Many people dependent on benzos also abuse other drugs or alcohol, which can increase the risk of dangerous complications during withdrawal.

Benzo detox can be conducted in a hospital environment or an addiction treatment facility. Medical providers who specialize in addiction in a detox facility begin by evaluating the severity of the patient’s condition and deciding on the best treatment plan for the individual. Medical providers may also:

  • Monitor heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature.
  • Gradually taper down the dose.
  • Prescribe medications to relieve discomfort.
  • Prescribe medications to reduce the risk of seizures.
  • Encourage enrollment and participation in further treatment.

Although a safe detox is an essential step in the treatment process, long-term recovery necessitates learning coping skills to deal with a life free from drug use.

Programs offered by Midwood Addiction Treatment after detox completion and/or residential treatment include the following:

Partial-Hospitalization Programs (PHP) are an option for those who have either completed residential treatment or require an outpatient setting. Our PHP offers intense and comprehensive treatment comparable to a residential program, but is set in a comfortable clinical environment during the day, and includes the option of a relaxing, safe, and supervised home-like residence in the evenings.

Outpatient Treatment Programs offer weekly individual and group therapy and counseling with flexible time outside of treatment to attend to work, school, family, and adjust to living in the real world without drugs or alcohol.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy can be provided by an addiction counselor, therapist, or psychologist. Patients will attend individual therapy sessions at least once per week. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), for example, is a common and effective strategy used to address benzo addiction.

The theoretical basis for CBT is the notion that there is a connection between a person’s feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. CBT was developed to help people identify and understand the thoughts and beliefs that factor into negative emotions such as anger, worry, and depression. CBT also helps people understand how these emotions contribute to negative and unhealthy behaviors, such as drug and alcohol abuse, in order to foster positive lifestyle changes.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers comprehensive, evidence-based treatment programs that promote sobriety and provide people with the tools and support they need to begin experiencing the fulfilling lives they deserve, free from drugs and alcohol. Contact us today to find out how we can help!

Adderall Side Effects

Adderall Side Effects | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Adderall Side Effects and Abuse Warning Signs – Those who misuse Adderall often display unusual behavior such as over-excitability and excessive talkativeness. They also face health risks that range from arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) to overdose.

Signs of Adderall Abuse

Adderall is a powerful stimulant, and it can be difficult to identify signs that someone is abusing the drug. People commonly abuse Adderall to enhance alertness and productivity or lose weight. Adderall abusers are often students, young professionals, and other motivated people who work in high-stress jobs with long hours, such as truck drivers and nurses.

Even though an individual does not appear to be a drug abuser, they are still a potential addict. What’s more, Adderall can provide a temporary boost to performance for some, so abuse can initially resemble a positive change. Nonetheless, Adderall is a stimulant that taxes the body and central nervous system of those who abuse it, leading to complications.

Telltale signs of Adderall abuse may include:

  • Excessive talkativeness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Unusual excitability
  • Social withdrawal
  • Financial troubles
  • Aggression
  • Sleep problems
  • Secretive behavior
  • Fatigue
  • Memory loss
  • Incomplete thoughts
  • Relationship problems
  • Poor hygiene
  • Frequently taking pills
  • Financial problems
  • Overworking
  • Overconcentrating
  • Running out of pills
  • Disorientation/confusion
  • Mania and impulsivity

Dangers and Side Effects of Adderall

Many people who use Adderall erroneously assume that the drug is safe because it is prescribed by a physician. Adderall is indicated to treat people, including children, with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). As a result, some people may believe the drug is safe to take because it is used on children.

Truthfully, however, Adderall is a potent stimulant that can lead to severe and potentially life-threatening side effects. Indeed, an Adderall overdose can precipitate a stroke, heart attack, or liver failure. Combining Adderall with other substances, such as alcohol or other stimulants increases the risk of overdose.

Adderall use can also induce physical alterations in the neurocircuitry of the brain. These alterations can then lead to an adverse change in behavior and the development of mental health conditions such as depression. Some Adderall addicts have suicidal thoughts after taking the drug for an extended period.

Adderall Side Effects | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Some users have even injected Adderall to experience more intense effects by administering the drug straight into the bloodstream. Injecting Adderall may provide a more euphoric high, but it is also a very effective means to induce an overdose.

Athletes who have used Adderall have died because of increased blood pressure that led to heat stroke and cardiac arrest. For this reason, since 1968, amphetamines, including Adderall, have been banned by the International Olympic Committee primarily due to the hazards of these drugs. And in 2005, the Canadian government banned the sale of Adderall XR (the extended-release version) due to 20 deaths related to the use of this drug.

Side effects of Adderall abuse may include the following:

  • Paranoia
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Hallucinations
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Dry mouth
  • Lack or loss of strength
  • Constipation
  • Frequent urination
  • Dizziness and headache
  • Skin-picking
  • Lower back or side pain
  • Twitching
  • Seizures and convulsions

Identifying an Adderall Addiction

Adderall prescriptions increased by nearly fivefold between 2002-2012, making it the drug more accessible to potential abusers through friends or family members. Compared to other drugs, the use of Adderall is less stigmatized, and as such, many don’t recognize when a loved one has a serious problem. People dependent on Adderall may feign symptoms of ADHD to receive their own prescription.

Not everyone who misuses Adderall will develop an addiction. While it is a slippery slope, taking an Adderall occasionally to stay awake or increase productivity is not the same as requiring the drug to function. The key to identifying an Adderall addiction is being able to recognize certain problematic behaviors.

For example, those who are addicted to Adderall prioritize drug attainment and use over everything else in their lives because they can’t function without it. Also, those who are addicted are often unable to control how much Adderall they use and may start neglecting important obligations.

Getting Treatment for Adderall Addiction

The withdrawal symptoms of Adderall can make it extremely difficult for users to quit without medical support. If someone dependent on Adderall attempts to quit “cold turkey,” they will experience highly unpleasant effects that are essentially the inverse of the drug’s desirable effects. These withdrawal symptoms can include fatigue, loss of alertness and concentration, dysphoria, and an unusually slow heartbeat.

There are many forms of treatment available for people addicted to Adderall. Midwood Addiction Treatment offers an integrated approach to drug abuse that includes services essential to the recovery process, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), counseling, group support, health and wellness programs, and aftercare planning.

If you suspect that you or someone you love is addicted to Adderall, please contact us today. Discover how we help people free themselves from the chains of addiction and begin to experience the healthy and satisfying lives they deserve!

Meth Detox and Withdrawal

Meth Detox and Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Methamphetamine (meth, crystal meth, or ice) is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant that has become increasingly popular among drug users in recent decades. Meth is typically found in the form of a crystalline powder or as small, blue or white rocks. It is customarily snorted or smoked, but can also be combined with water and injected.

This drug is often manufactured in small clandestine home labs with simple ingredients that can be obtained at pharmacies and stores that sell common household chemicals, such as paint thinner and ammonia. It has also become increasingly available through large drug cartels, especially from Mexico.

Meth Comedown

When meth is administered, the drug enters the brain where it initiates the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. These chemicals increase energy, alertness, and sociability. Meth’s effects may persist for up to eight hours, but when the drug begins to wear off, the comedown effects can cause the person to feel very ill.

The process of comedown is somewhat different from withdrawal, but there are a few features and effects that are similar. Meth comedown symptoms include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Depression and moodiness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Decreased appetite
  • Fatigue/lethargy
  • Loss of motivation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Erratic sleep patterns
  • Headache
  • Jaw clenching
  • Muscle pain

The symptoms of comedown may continue for several days after heavy use, especially mental health changes that may have occurred, such as depression or anxiety. If the person refrains from further meth abuse, these symptoms will resolve on their own, no treatment needed. Of note, similar to cocaine, a comedown will likely occur even in non-frequent meth users as an inevitable product of meth use itself.

Withdrawal from Meth

There is a substantial amount of research that has documented withdrawal effects in chronic meth users. The timeline for meth withdrawal is predictable and offers insight into what medical personnel and those in recovery can expect during the process.

Meth withdrawal symptoms are primarily emotional in nature with various related physical effects. Withdrawal from meth is typically less severe than withdrawal from other intoxicating substances, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, or opioids. Any related symptoms are unlikely to be physically damaging unless the person attempts to detox alone and becomes emotionally volatile, a situation which can lead to self-harm and suicidal ideations and behavior.

Meth has a half-life of around 10 hours and is a fast-acting drug. According to research, the timeline for meth withdrawal is reasonably consistent among users:

  • Withdrawal symptoms begin within the first 24 hours of abstinence.
  • Symptoms peak within the first 7-10 days following discontinuation of drug use, and there is a consistent decline in the intensity of symptoms following this peak.
  • Extended emotional symptoms have an average duration of about two to three weeks, but they most commonly abate after about 14 days.

Meth Detox and Withdrawal | Midwood Addiction Treatment

According to research, the primary symptoms during the withdrawal period usually include the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Jitteriness
  • Feelings of fatigue and excessive sleepiness
  • Increased appetite

Also, a number of people report feeling depression or apathy, which tends to subside gradually throughout the withdrawal timeline. These depressive symptoms can be severe, however, and may be connected to thoughts of suicide. Intense cravings for meth can also occur during the withdrawal period but also tend to decline over time.

Psychotic symptoms, including delusions, hallucinations, and paranoia, have also occurred for many people. These symptoms require treatment in a medical environment. Research has shown that these psychotic symptoms tend to be the most dangerous symptoms, along with severe depression.

Also, research has suggested that people who engage in meth use for an extended period may exhibit some cognitive deficits in mental processing speed, attention, and memory that may not be fully recovered within six months of abstinence.

Withdrawal Medications

Currently, the FDA has not approved any pharmaceutical treatments for use during meth detox. However, there are a number of medications that can help manage some of the symptoms encountered during the process of withdrawal. These medications include the following:

Wellbutrin (bupropion)An antidepressant that may be useful in reducing some of the symptoms of meth withdrawal, such as drug cravings.

Provigil (modafinil)A prescription stimulant medication that is commonly used for the treatment of ADHD and narcolepsy. The mild stimulant properties of this drug may reduce disruptive sleep patterns, as well as help those in detox temporarily experience bouts of energy and improved concentration, which may be vital components to moving forward in recovery.

Paxil (paroxetine)A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), which is an antidepressant that has been found in some research to reduce cravings in abstinent former meth users undergoing withdrawal.

Remeron (mirtazapine)An atypical antidepressant that may help prevent relapse during the withdrawal process.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

If a person stops using meth abruptly and encounters intense withdrawal symptoms, this is a hallmark sign of chemical dependence, a significant component of addiction. People who undergo detox in a clinical environment (strongly recommended) or at home are encouraged to enter a comprehensive treatment program at a specialized facility such as Midwood Addiction Treatment.

We employ a highly-skilled team of health professionals and addiction specialists who collaborate to evaluate each client and develop individualized programs. Our evidence-based services include psychotherapy, counseling, peer group support, health and wellness programs, aftercare planning, and more.

If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to meth, please contact us as soon as possible. Discover how we help clients free themselves from the grip of addiction and reclaim the healthy and fulfilling lives they deserve!

Xanax Effects, Side Effects, and Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax Effects and Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Xanax (alprazolam) is a potent benzodiazepine (benzo) that is found in tablet form or as an extended-release capsule. Xanax is among the most prescribed and most often abused benzo drugs in the United States.

When used as directed, it is very effective at relieving various forms of anxiety, preventing seizures, and treating insomnia. All benzos share similar properties, the main differences being the rate of onset and the duration of the effects. Xanax is a prescription depressant that acts rapidly in the central nervous system (CNS), and most of the desired effects occur within an hour.

Short-Term Xanax Effects

When taken as prescribed, short-term Xanax effects can be beneficial to many people. It has the potential to ease physical tension, restlessness, fear, and feelings of unease that are commonly found with anxiety and panic disorders.

As with any medication, adverse side effects may occur. If Xanax is being abused, these effects may be dramatic and include impaired concentration and memory, confusion, and fatigue.

Some of the most common side effects of Xanax include the following:

  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Impaired concentration
  • Changes in libido
  • Increased salivation
  • Incontinence
  • Weight changes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Joint pain
  • Seizures
  • Shortness of breath
  • Impaired memory
  • Depression
  • Erratic mood changes

Overdose

Overdose can occur when a person uses more than the recommended dose, takes the prescribed dose too frequently, or combines the drug with other CNS depressants, such as opioids or alcohol. Signs of an overdose related to Xanax may include the following:

  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Impaired coordination
  • Impaired reflexes
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma

Also, the chronic use or abuse of sedatives such as Xanax has been associated with cognitive deficits, psychomotor impairment, tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

The combined effects of multiple depressants compound each other and significantly increase the risk of adverse effects and overdose. For this reason, concurrent use of alcohol or other psychoactive drugs (unless directed by a doctor) is never recommended.

Xanax Tolerance and Dependence

People who use or abuse Xanax for a prolonged period may develop a tolerance to the substance. When this occurs, the body requires a higher dose or an increased frequency of use to achieve the effects once experienced when the drug was first introduced.

Continually using Xanax, especially in large amounts, can contribute to physiological dependence. When this occurs, the body becomes less able to function properly without it. Abusing Xanax increases the risk of dependence, but Xanax has this potential even when used as directed.

Users who are dependent will experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to discontinue use. In fact, some users may continue using Xanax primarily to avoid the onset of these unpleasant, potentially life-threatening symptoms. Due to the dangers of Xanax withdrawal, a tapering schedule or a medical detox is required to facilitate abstinence.

Xanax Effects and Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Xanax withdrawal symptoms may include the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Sweating
  • Muscle cramps
  • Digestive problems
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Seizures

Physical dependence and tolerance are hallmark signs of addiction, but they do not fully reflect addiction in and of themselves. Addiction is characterized by an overpowering desire to obtain and consume a substance despite the adverse consequences associated with doing so. Like most benzos, Xanax has a significant potential for tolerance, dependence, and addiction when used or abused for an extended period.

Despite its many benefits, long-term Xanax use and misuse can be risky and also result in a myriad of physical, emotional, mental, and social problems. And unfortunately, people who misuse Xanax are at a heightened risk of abusing other prescription drugs and/or alcohol. Polysubstance abuse is far more dangerous than the abuse of one substance alone, and can rapidly result in unpredictable and life-threatening complications.

Treatment for Xanax Addiction

Discontinuing the use of Xanax abruptly or “cold turkey” is not recommended because this can result in life-threatening seizures and a condition similar to that experienced by alcoholics (delirium tremens) who attempt to do the same.

For this reason, most people who are dependent on Xanax undergo a tapering schedule directed by a physician or a medical detox. During a medical detox, a patient is supervised by health or addiction professionals around-the-clock for several days to ensure that life-threatening complications are prevented from occurring.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers comprehensive treatment programs in both partial hospitalization and outpatient formats. We employ a modern, evidence-based approach to addiction treatment that includes services vital to the recovery process, such as psychotherapy, counseling, group support, health and wellness programs, and aftercare planning.

If you or someone you love is addicted to Xanax, other prescription medications, illicit drugs, or alcohol, please contact us today. Discover how we help people free themselves from the crushing jaws of addiction and begin to experience the healthy and fulfilling lives they deserve!