Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Symptoms of oxycodone withdrawal can last for up to one week following the last dose and may include the following:

  • Goosebumps
  • Chills
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive yawning
  • Headaches
  • Body aches and pains
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat

Out of all prescription drugs, opioids are among the most regularly abused—especially oxycodone. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) about 75% of those who misuse opioids choose either hydrocodone or oxycodone, and nearly 45% of that group prefers oxycodone.

What Is Oxycodone Dependence?

Oxycodone is the active ingredient in OxyContin and Percocet, both of which are brand name prescription opioids. Oxycodone acts on the brain by binding to and activating opioid receptors, which in turn dramatically increases levels of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates feelings of pleasure and reward, and at high concentrations, it can modify pain perception and induce euphoria.

As the brain becomes used to the continuous presence of oxycodone, it also becomes increasingly less able to function correctly without it. When a dependent person stops using oxycodone or sharply reduces the dosage, the brain temporarily struggles to rebalance and renormalize itself, and withdrawal symptoms manifest as a result.

Abrupt cessation of oxycodone interrupts the whole system, causing a cascade of physical and psychological withdrawal effects. For this reason, it is not advised to stop using oxycodone “cold turkey,” without the help of a qualified addiction specialist.

Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms

Physically, withdrawals from opioids such as oxycodone are comparable to flu symptoms, as mentioned above. High blood pressure, irregular heart rate, and trouble breathing are more severe side effects that may also manifest in cases where someone has become profoundly dependent on oxycodone and suddenly stops using it. Still, side effects of withdrawal are not typically life-threatening, but serious complications can occur, so opioid withdrawal should be supervised closely.

Furthermore, an individual undergoing an oxycodone withdrawal will also experience psychological withdrawal symptoms, which are known to be quite unpleasant.  These psychological effects manifest because the chemicals absent from the brain during withdrawal are the same ones involved in producing positive emotions and motivation, and they will take time to be restored to previous levels.

Emotional and psychological effects of oxycodone withdrawal may include the following:

  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Anxiety
  • Impaired concentration
  • Mental fog
  • General malaise

A person experiencing oxycodone withdrawal may also encounter strong drug cravings and the desire to resort back to drug use as a means to alleviate the side effects of withdrawal.

Oxycodone Withdrawal Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Detox and Oxycodone Withdrawal Duration

It is important to note that withdrawal syndrome and detox are not identical. Withdrawal is characterized by a collection of side effects that manifest when a person who is dependent on a drug stops using it abruptly. Detox, on the other hand, refers only to the process of clearing the substance from the system.

Withdrawal from oxycodone usually begins within 8-12 hours of the last use, and peaks in the first 72 hours. Symptoms usually subside in about one week, although some of the psychological effects and drug cravings may be more persistent. Overall, the time frame associated with oxycodone withdrawal symptoms is mostly determined by the average dose of oxycodone used and the typical method of administration.

Compared to everyday oral administration of a pill, injecting, snorting, or smoking oxycodone transports it more rapidly into the bloodstream. These illicit methods of administration result in a faster onset of effects but also cause the drug to be active in the body for a shorter period. Moreover, immediate-release formulations of oxycodone have a half-life of 3-4 hours, while extended-release has a much longer half-life of about 12 hours.

Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction

Medications used during medication-assisted therapy, such as Suboxone, are now available to help patients find relief from many of the most problematic oxycodone withdrawal symptoms. That said, most addiction professionals recognize that medications alone do not provide a complete answer for preventing relapse and sustaining long-lasting abstinence. This is because addiction is considered to be a chronic disease that affects many aspects of a person’s physical and emotional health, and an intensive, comprehensive approach is often needed to treat it effectively.

Moreover, evidence-based psychotherapies, counseling sessions, peer support groups, and health and wellness programs should be included in an integrated addiction treatment solution. Midwood Addiction Treatment offers these services, expertly managed by caring addiction professionals. We provide clients with the tools and support they need to cope with everyday stressors, prevent relapse, and experience a sustainable recovery indefinitely.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to oxycodone, other prescription opioids, illicit drugs, or alcohol, please contact us as soon as possible. Discover how we help people liberate themselves from the grip of addiction and reclaim the fulfilling and healthy lives they deserve!

What Is Addiction?

What Is Addiction? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

What Is Addiction? – One of the most commonly accepted definitions of addiction comes from the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

ASAM defines addiction as:

“…a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristic biological, psychological, social, and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathologically pursuing reward and/or relief by substance use and other behaviors.”

Furthermore, ASAM states that addiction “…is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and a dysfunctional emotional response.”

Most experts agree that three overlapping components characterized addiction: a loss of control, continued abuse of a substance or engagement in a particular behavior in spite of adverse consequences, and a high potential for relapse. In general, most people will experience all of these at some point in the addiction development process.

The Three Main Components of Addiction

Loss of Control

When a person has an addiction, using a substance or engaging in certain behaviors are so ingrained that, eventually, he or she tends to lose control of actions. It doesn’t matter how resolutely the person is determined to cut back on drinking, drug use, or behavioral addictions, such as gambling, if someone is an addict, he or she will likely fall back into former bad habits regardless of how earnest he or she is about reducing these destructive behaviors.

This behavioral effect occurs because when a person is addicted, changes in the brain make it inconceivable for someone to exert the same self-control he or she once had. The compulsive seeking of the substance or activity in question is the most obvious signs of addiction, and unfortunately, most people don’t appreciate just how difficult it is for an addict to exert control.

In fact, NIDA notes that brain imaging studies have shown that in people with addictions, certain areas of the brain that regulate behavior control, judgment, and decision-making are structurally different from non-addicts. Experts believe these changes help explain the compulsive and harmful behaviors in which an addicted person will willingly engage.

Impairment

What Is Addiction? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Most people recognize that some behaviors come with serious adverse consequences and know not to participate in that behavior again. The humiliation of getting caught in a lie to friends or family members can help keep people honest.

Regarding addiction, there is a myriad of negative outcomes that should be enough to turn most people against using again. Serious health conditions such as organ damage, cardiac problems, and breathing abnormalities are common with the use of many substances. Legal and financial implications can also result from unchecked addictions.

And, when someone is an addict, his or her social and family life is bound to suffer, as well. But for the addict, all of these negative effects of a substance or behavioral addiction aren’t enough to moderate their actions. Moreover, continuing to engage in these activities in spite of one’s life falling apart is a clear marker of a serious problem.

Relapse

The final trait of an addiction is the fact that it is chronic, and many addicts end up relapsing at one point in their lives. Indeed, research has shown that people with substance use disorders have as much as a 50% chance of resorting back to the use of drugs or alcohol sometime in the future, perhaps long after they achieved sobriety.

This statistic may seem troublesome, but the fact is that these numbers aren’t much different than those related to other chronic diseases. According to NIDA, for example, type 1 diabetes has a relapse rate of around 30-50%. Hypertension (high blood pressure) has a relapse rate of around 50-70%, similar to those who are living with asthma.

Like other chronic diseases, there is no single, tried and true cure for addiction. Instead, an emphasis is placed on continuous, long-term treatment and management. Beyond that, relapse doesn’t automatically mean that the person, or their treatment, has failed, but that the approach used needs to be modified and reinstated.

Brain Changes Due to Addiction

As noted, research has shown that the brain of an addict is physically different than those of non-addicts. Many psychoactive substances influence the brain’s reward center by flooding it with dopamine, a chemical neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of well-being and pleasure. Activities such as eating food, engaging in a hobby, exercising, and spending quality time with friends and family may impact that reward circuit.

But eating a delicious meal or spending time with loved ones generally provides people with a controlled dose of dopamine, whereas using drugs or alcohol results in a flood. In fact, NIDA states that some substances can release up to ten times the amount of dopamine that is triggered naturally. This overstimulation of the reward system produces the intensely pleasurable “high” that compels many people to use the substance again and again.

As a person continues their drug or alcohol use, the brain gradually becomes accustomed to the excess dopamine. Over time, it starts producing less of it and reduces the body’s ability to respond to it – this effect is usually referred to as tolerance. Just like anything else, your body knows when it has been exposed to too much of something, and it immediately begins attempting to reestablish a balance.

Sometimes the brain increases the potency of certain chemicals to counteract the influence of the drug, as is the case with alcohol and benzodiazepines. Other times it deactivates specific receptors that enable the euphoric high, such as with opioids. And finally, the brain may render adrenaline less effective, as with certain behavioral addictions.

What Is Addiction? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

How Brain Changes Impact Those Affected

Regardless of the specific changes taking place, it’s the brain’s attempt to ensure that the drugs or behaviors that a person is addicted begin to have a less intense effect. When this occurs, the person will require more of the substance or desired activity to achieve the same high (tolerance).

Another effect of these changes is a reduction in pleasure once experienced from activities the person used to enjoy. Addicts often become less interested in social activities, food, and hobbies. These activities no longer stimulate the brain’s reward system because the excess dopamine produced by drug use has made the person less sensitive to enjoyment from routine activities and the corresponding “normal” amounts of dopamine associated with them.

Moreover, this is why a loss of interest in a variety of things once considered enjoyable is one of the most common indicators that a person has a serious addiction problem.

Finally, as addiction progresses and becomes increasingly intense, the structural changes in the brain become more pronounced. And when and if a person does attempt to quit or even cut back, these immense changes can induce some highly unpleasant physical and psychological symptoms known as withdrawals. The onset of withdrawal symptoms is a hallmark sign of the development of chemical dependence.

Treatment for Addiction

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers comprehensive, evidence-based programs that address and treat both the causes and effects of drug and alcohol addiction. Our compassionate and highly-skilled staff provide clients with the tools and support they need to achieve a full recovery. We render services vital to the recovery process, such as psychotherapy, counseling, and long-term aftercare planning.

If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation.

Signs of Liver Disease

Signs of Liver Disease | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Signs of Liver Disease – The liver is the largest organ in the human body, helping it to digest food, store energy, and remove toxins.

There are several types of liver disease:

  • Diseases induced by viruses, such as hepatitis A, B, C
  • Diseases produced by drugs, poisons, or excessive alcohol consumption, such as fatty liver and cirrhosis.
  • Liver cancer
  • Hereditary diseases, such as Wilson’s disease and hemochromatosis

Symptoms of liver disease vary but often include swelling of the abdomen and legs, bruising easily, changes in the color of urine and stool, and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes). Sometimes the liver disease is asymptomatic. Imaging and liver function tests can check for liver damage and help to diagnose liver diseases.

Alcoholic Liver Disease

Alcoholic liver disease is the medical consequence of repeated damage to the liver caused by excessive alcohol consumption, especially for prolonged periods. Many people have heard of the common signs of liver disease related to alcohol use, such as jaundice, fatigue and digestive problems.

Less commonly known signs of alcoholic liver disease include the following:

  • Skin problems, such as itchiness, eczema, and psoriasis
  • Adverse reactions to medications such as pain relievers or antibiotics
  • Persistent heartburn and acid reflux

Also, alcohol abusers might notice a significant decrease in alcohol tolerance and will become intoxicated more rapidly than usual. Alcohol abusers might also experience more severe hangovers than usual as liver disease progresses.

Stages and Early Symptoms of Liver Disease in Alcoholics

There are four generally recognized stages of alcoholic liver disease, the signs and symptoms of which may overlap:

Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease is characterized by the accumulation of fat in the liver, resulting in swelling and impaired liver function. Alcoholic fatty liver disease can occur after just a brief period of excessive drinking. Outward symptoms are not usually present in this stage, although some may feel fatigued or notice discomfort in the upper right portion of the abdomen.

With the discontinuation of alcohol use, liver disease can usually be reversed at this stage. If drinking continues, however, damage to the liver will not recede and may lead to permanent disease.

Alcoholic Hepatitis

Alcoholic hepatitis can develop after a prolonged period of drinking. This stage involves inflammation and scarring, which prevents blood flow into the organ and slows its vital functions. Although alcoholic hepatitis might be diagnosed by a medical professional as “mild,” it is still a formidable condition that requires immediate abstinence from alcohol. Severe alcoholic hepatitis can even be life-threatening.

The mildest forms of alcoholic hepatitis may be asymptomatic. As the disease advances, however, signs and symptoms may include the following:

  • Jaundice
  • Fatigue
  • Low-grade fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tenderness in the upper right abdomen

In identifying hepatitis, liver function tests will reveal elevated liver enzymes. Severe alcoholic hepatitis may cause fluid buildup in the abdomen, cognitive and behavioral changes, and liver or kidney failure. It is imperative that people with alcoholic hepatitis seek medical advice and intervention at this stage.

Alcoholic Fibrosis

The third stage of liver disease is fibrosis, which is characterized by an accumulation of proteins in the liver. Instead of filtering toxins and metabolizing proteins, they accumulate in the liver and result in fibrosis. There are multiple stages of fibrosis, ranging from mild to severe.

Alcoholic Cirrhosis

Signs of Liver Disease | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Cirrhosis of the liver is not reversible, though refraining from alcohol use may limit further damage and improve some symptoms. In this type of liver disease, significant scarring in the liver is present. Individuals who have alcoholic cirrhosis will most likely be entirely dependent on alcohol and require specialized addiction treatment and tremendous support.

Unfortunately, a person with alcohol-related cirrhosis who does not abstain from drinking has less than a 50% chance of living for five more years.

Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition caused by an excess of fat accumulating in the liver, despite the absence of alcohol abuse.

Damage caused by NAFLD, however, presents with signs and symptoms comparable to alcoholic liver disease. NAFLD is an umbrella term, and causes may include obesity, diabetes, cancer, malnutrition, injury or infection, drug overdose, genetic disorders, high amounts of fat in the blood, and more. Fatty liver is most often asymptomatic and is reversible with lifestyle changes.

A more advanced stage of NAFLD is a condition known as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). This disease is hallmarked by fat growth associated with liver cell inflammation and varying degrees of scarring. NASH is considered to be a serious condition and may lead to significant scarring of the liver as well as cirrhosis.

Other Warning Signs and Symptoms

Recent research has found new molecules that may advance treatments for liver disease. Experiments, tests, and procedures are continuously being explored. Still, early detection remains the best treatment.

Some of the signs of early liver damage include the following:

  • Irregular sleep patterns
  • Low or varying levels of energy
  • Stronger impact of caffeine
  • Skin flushing in the upper body
  • Skin and eyes developing a yellowish tint (jaundice)
  • Skin conditions appear, such as eczema, psoriasis, and itching
  • Small amounts of alcohol cause rapid intoxication and intense hangovers
  • Encountering severe reactions and side effects to common medications

Signs of Liver Disease | Midwood Addiction Treatment

When early liver damage begins to develop, it can no longer protect the body optimally against harmful chemicals. The body becomes less able to efficiently digest food, remove toxins, and send nutrients where they need to go.

An impaired liver may also present with the following signs:

  • Bruising or bleeding easily
  • Stomach discomfort after eating, such as bloating, gas, or nausea
  • Persistent headaches, heartburn, and acid reflux
  • Difficulty losing weight or unexplainable weight gain
  • Common household chemicals, such as bleach, perfume, gasoline, paint, or cleaning products, cause a severe reaction

In addition to the symptoms of NAFLD, those with liver damage due to alcohol often experience tremors.

Why Abstinence is Key

Advanced medical tests and research have put together a picture of what abstaining from alcohol can do for preventing, halting, or reversing liver damage. Indeed, alcohol abuse is one of the primary causes of liver damage, and alcohol-induced liver disease is the main contributor to chronic liver disease in the West.

Once a person is diagnosed with alcoholic liver disease, abstaining from alcohol is the only chance of recovery. Moreover, anything that imperils the astounding regenerative ability of the liver puts a person’s life in danger. The further a liver disease advances, the more serious it becomes.

According to the American Liver Foundation (ALF), up to 20% of heavy drinkers will develop alcoholic liver cirrhosis from repeated, excessive alcohol consumption. Liver cirrhosis is irreversible and incurable, but treatable.

Getting Help for Signs of Liver Disease

The recommended daily limits for alcohol use are no more than one drink each day for women and two for men. If you or someone you are close to frequently exceeds these recommended daily limits or is exhibiting early signs of liver disease, it is vital to intervene as soon as possible.

Seeking comprehensive medical and mental health treatment for addiction is important. Quitting alcohol can be an incredible challenge and detoxing from alcohol at home can be life-threatening.

Midwood Addiction Treatment specializes in the treatment of alcoholism. We employ an integrated, evidence-based approach that includes services, such as psychotherapy, counseling, and group support, essential to the recovery process.

If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to alcohol, contact us as soon as possible and find out how we can help you achieve abstinence, prevent relapse, and reclaim the healthy and fulfilling life you deserve!

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms – While cocaine withdrawal may not be as severe as withdrawal from other drugs or alcohol, it does come with unique challenges. Withdrawal from some substances, such as benzodiazepines and alcohol, can cause intense or even life-threatening physical symptoms. Cocaine withdrawal, however, manifests mostly psychological symptoms.

List of Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

Symptoms of cocaine withdrawal may include the following:

  • Concentration difficulties
  • Slowed thinking
  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Restlessness and tremors
  • Chills and muscle aches
  • Diminished libido
  • Anhedonia (inability to feel pleasure)
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Vivid dreams and nightmares
  • Increased appetite
  • Cravings for cocaine

When Is a Clinical Detox Necessary?

Although a cocaine detox may be performed on an outpatient basis, medical detox may be advised in some cases. If an individual has encountered a relapse during a previous detox attempt, the 24-hour supervision offered by a medical detox can be beneficial.

Also, if the person using experiences any co-occurring mental health conditions, medical detox should be followed by comprehensive addiction treatment that can effectively address both withdrawal symptoms and mental health concerns.

Among the more worrisome effects associated with acute stimulant withdrawal are depression and an increased risk of suicide. Individuals who attempt to discontinue cocaine use after addiction has developed can experience severe depression and pronounced mood swings, including suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Through regular cocaine abuse, the brain grows accustomed to consistently elevated dopamine activity caused by the drug. Over time, the brain’s reward and pleasure centers are disrupted and become less vulnerable to the excess dopamine.

At this point, the user often requires increasing amounts of cocaine to feel the desired effect. Without it, they may feel profounded depressed and dissatisfied with life. Moreover, if someone has a history of depression or suicidal ideations, a clinical detox is usually advised to ensure that the person is safe and emotionally supported during the withdrawal process.

Withdrawal Timeline

Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Short-term cocaine withdrawal symptoms tend to resolve in about 7-10 days. However, as with many substances, cravings may persist for a prolonged period and could manifest suddenly, even years after a person has achieved abstinence.

Cocaine has a very short half-life and among those with dependence, withdrawal symptoms can onset as soon as 90 minutes following the last dose. The timeline and duration of withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the individual.

The following are factors that may influence the timeline for cocaine withdrawal symptoms:

Duration of Use and Average Amount Administered

Those who use cocaine for a brief period may experience withdrawal symptoms that are also short in duration. Conversely, those who have used cocaine for years may encounter lingering withdrawal symptoms for weeks, in part due to an accumulation of the drug in their systems.

Also, people who have used excessive amounts of cocaine may endure more intense withdrawal symptoms than someone who has historically administered lower doses.

Polysubstance Abuse and Dependence

A person who has formed a dependence on two or more drugs may experience withdrawal symptoms associated with both, possibly complicating the timeline of withdrawal and making the experience worse for the person who is detoxing.

Environment

If cocaine was consumed as a means of escaping from a stressful environment, new stress might trigger the urge to use again. Moreover, environmental factors that cause stress, such as relationship problems or work difficulties may produce strong cravings for cocaine. This added stress can impede the psychological process of detox and withdrawal.

Co-occurring Medical Conditions or Mental Health Disorders

If a person experiences co-occurring medical conditions, such as heart disease, or mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression, the withdrawal process from cocaine is likely to be more severe and complicated.

Treatment for Cocaine Withdrawal

Unfortunately, unlike narcotics, other central nervous system depressants, or alcohol, there is no prescription drug currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of cocaine withdrawal. However, some medications may help people by mitigating both acute and long-term withdrawal symptoms.

For example, pharmaceuticals indicated to treat depression and anxiety may be helpful for those undergoing cocaine withdrawal, as they work well to stabilize the patient’s mood and improve outcomes. Such medications tend to be particularly beneficial for people whose withdrawal symptoms persist longer than a week.

Following detox, patients are strongly advised to undergo intensive addiction treatment in either a partial hospitalization or outpatient program. While there, patients can take advantage of integrated, evidence-based treatments, such as behavioral therapy, counseling, peer group support, and psychoeducation.

Studies have shown that programs that meet these conditions result in better outcomes for those seeking to defeat addiction. Recovery By The Sea offers these services, which are managed by medical and mental health professionals who specialize in addiction.

You can restore harmony and wellness to your life, free of drugs and alcohol! Call us today and learn how we can help!

Heroin Side Effects and Signs of Use

Heroin Side Effects and Signs of Use | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Heroin (diamorphine) is an opioid drug synthesized from the opium poppy, a flower native to Asia and South America. As a Schedule I narcotic in the U.S., heroin has no approved medical purpose but remains a popular recreational drug due to the euphoric effects it induces.

Relatively pure heroin comes in the form of a fine white powder, although it is also frequently found as a dark brown powder or a black sticky substance (black tar heroin).

How Heroin Works

Heroin and other opioids are effective painkillers and central nervous system (CNS) depressants. When an injury occurs, nerve cells around the site of the injury send a warning signal to the brain. In response, the brain enters survival mode and begins to regulate concentrations of painkilling hormones (beta-endorphins) at opioid receptors throughout the body.

Heroin and other opioids/opiates also activate beta-endorphins as a means to relieve pain. Subsequently, heroin dramatically increases dopamine concentrations in the CNS and promotes feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

The region of the brain with the most dopamine activity is referred to as ‘the reward center.’ These neural circuits are the catalysts for the pleasure people experience during rewarding activities, such as eating, sex, business or social successes, or nearly anything that furthers our biological survival.

Short-Term Heroin Side Effects

The feeling of euphoria caused by a heroin injection is incredibly intense and overpowering. Some heroin users report experiencing a deep sense of calm and warmth that eliminates stress and negative thoughts and feelings.

A powerful high that can last up to five hours will follow the initial rush. In many cases, a user will be considered to be “on the nod” as if fluctuating between a warm, drowsy but relatively alert state and sleeping.

In addition to the rush of euphoria, there are several short-term heroin side effects, including the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Flushed skin
  • Heaviness in extremities
  • Clouded thinking and impaired judgment

Heroin Addiction

Unlike the constant, balanced ebb and flow of reward chemicals that motivate behavior during daily life, the brain’s reaction to heroin exposure is profound. Heroin produces a surge of dopamine that is excessive relative to the user’s circumstances. Indeed, some studies have suggested that heroin use can increase neuronal dopamine concentrations as much as tenfold.

This oversaturation interrupts and alters otherwise healthy patterns of chemical neurotransmission, and prolonged use adversely reconfigures the entire brain. In addition to this drug-induced physiological change comes a corresponding disruption in behavior.

Heroin use causes sensations of false reward so intense that the mind becomes destructively one-tracked and hell-bent on sustaining the high. The self-sabotaging nature of this obsession with the drug is what makes heroin so addictive and so remarkably tragic.

A heroin addict may often contemplate and rationalize reasons why they need to quit as a matter of moral responsibility to themselves and others. And yet, the physical experience of heroin cravings is much more real and urgent and is thus prioritized accordingly.

Heroin Side Effects and Signs of Use | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Long-Term Heroin Side Effects

Heroin use has profound long-term effects that compromise the brain’s ability to carry out essential bodily functions, including the following:

  • Respiration
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart rhythm
  • Consciousness

Other long-term physical effects may include the following:

  • Pneumonia
  • Collapsed veins
  • Liver and kidney disease
  • Track marks from injecting and infected abscesses
  • Infection of the heart valves and lining
  • Severe constipation

What’s more, because heroin is frequently adulterated with other substances, there is a myriad of potentially serious complications that can arise. For example, heroin abuse has been associated with a degeneration of white matter in the brain, which is partly responsible for decision-making abilities, behavioral control, and stress management.

Intravenous heroin use comes with an increased risk of contracting diseases such as hepatitis and HIV, and sharing unsterile needles increases this risk significantly. If left unaddressed, hepatitis B and C can impair liver function or result in liver failure, and HIV can progress to AIDS.

Heroin Overdose

As a CNS depressant, heroin impacts the brain’s ability to regulate breathing. Due to this fact, oxygen deprivation in the brain (hypoxia) can occur and lead to irreversible brain damage or coma.

Signs of a heroin overdose typically include the following:

  • Slow, labored, or shallow breathing
  • Unresponsiveness and unconsciousness
  • Bluing of the lips, fingers, or other extremities (cyanosis)
  • Gurgling sounds (death rattle)

If you suspect someone you know has been using heroin and displays any of these signs, seek emergency medical immediately. Medical personnel can administer Narcan (naloxone) to reverse the effects of opioids at the opioid receptors, which could save a life.

Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction treatment usually begins with a clinically-supervised detox in which the patient is monitored and may be administered medication to relieve withdrawal symptoms. After detox, patients are urged to enter an intensive substance abuse treatment program.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers an integrated, research-based and customized approach to addiction treatment that includes psychotherapy, individual and group counseling, peer group support, and aftercare planning services.

Recovery is a lifelong effort, but you don’t have to do it alone. We can provide you with the tools and support you need to reclaim your life!

What Is Binge Drinking?

What Is Binge Drinking? | Midwood Addiciton Treatment

What Is Binge Drinking? – Binge drinking is a dangerous practice that involves the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a relatively short amount of time. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that binge drinking causes a person’s BAC (blood alcohol concentration) to rise to 0.08% or higher, and is described as an occasion when a person has at least 4-5 drinks during a two-hour period.

In the United States, binge drinking is most common among persons age 26 and older—it is estimated that this group accounts for about 70% of all incidents of binge drinking. For some, particularly those using prescription medications or illicit drugs, it may take less alcohol consumption to achieve a BAC that would be considered to qualify as binge drinking.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIDA) defines one “drink” as the consumption of any of the following:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 oz. of distilled spirits (liquor)

A single episode of binge drinking does not necessarily imply the person has an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Repeated incidents of binge drinking do, however, markedly increase the likelihood that the person who is engaging in this practice will develop an AUD. The transformation from occasional binge drinking to full-blown alcohol addiction can happen rapidly, and significant health effects and other serious consequences are likely to follow.

The majority of people (an estimated 80%) who admit to binge drinking on surveys are not chemically dependent on alcohol. Nevertheless, instances of binge drinking account for the highest percentage of fatalities related to alcohol use. Because alcoholism is such an insidious disease, binge drinking, if left untreated and unmanaged, threatens to take over a person’s life, and could eventually lead to severe complications and death.

Reasons for Binge Drinking

In the U.S., binge drinking has become more and more common despite accumulating research that reveals just how serious it can be. Unfortunately, alcohol use is not only socially acceptable but sometimes applauded in many cultures, including America. The dangers of alcohol are generally overshadowed by problems with other illicit substances such as opioids, cocaine, and meth.

Common reasons for binge drinking behavior include the following:

Problem Avoidance

Probably the most popular reason that people say they participate in binge drinking is to relax and forget about problems for a little while—this fact may be more or less related to the “self-medication” effects that alcohol provides for some people. After a couple of drinks, the person starts to feel better as everything is alright, so they continue drinking to sustain that feeling.

Fun and to Lower Inhibitions

One of the main results of binge drinking is that people find it enjoyable. A large number of social occasions that people regularly attend—parties, weddings, holiday gatherings—involve alcohol use to some extent. Binge drinking at every single occasion can quickly lead to alcohol dependence, however.

Bars, clubs, and restaurants are also places where people can usually be found drinking. Many people say they enjoy the social aspect of it, and others who are normally shy or awkward say that it lowers inhibitions and reduces anxiety. The problem is that although drinking alcohol with friends can be highly sociable, the long-term effects of alcoholism are anything but, and can result in people being withdrawn and isolated, drinking in secret rather than to be social.

Tolerance Tests and Competitions

Drinking games are commonly found at parties and social events, especially those involving young people. During such games, binge drinking turns into a social sport or spectacle of sorts, as people seek to determine who has the highest tolerance. Unfortunately, this kind of binge drinking can actually be the most dangerous, as it puts people in imminent danger of life-threatening alcohol poisoning.

Side Effects of Binge Drinking

What Is Binge Drinking? | Midwood Addiciton Treatment

Binge drinking has been associated with a wide variety of health and behavioral problems. While many side effects are relatively mild and acute, others can result in permanent damage.

Acute side effects of binge drinking may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Impaired coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Memory loss (blackouts)
  • Impulsivity
  • Slurred speech
  • Shakiness
  • Impaired cognition
  • Headaches
  • Dehydration and hangovers

Drinking too much alcohol within a short period of time puts one at risk for a range of health problems and trauma. For example, alcohol is notorious for reducing a driver’s reaction time, which can put him or her and other drivers and passengers in danger.

Also, excessive alcohol consumption impairs decision-making abilities and increases impulsiveness, putting one at risk for unintentional injuries, including those involving dangerous stunts, sexual assault, domestic violence, and acute alcohol poisoning.

Repeated episodes of binge drinking over a prolonged period can result in a multitude of long-term complications, and would likely be considered for a diagnosis of alcohol use disorder. These may include brain damage, liver disease, heart problems, and an increased risk of stroke and some cancers.

Treatment for Binge Drinking

It is worthwhile to restress the fact that although binge drinking is not equivalent to full-blown alcoholism, it can be just as dangerous. Consuming mass amounts of alcohol in a brief period can severely compromise a person’s physical and emotional well-being. What’s more, excessive alcohol use not only affects the drinker but is also likely to intrude on the lives of family and other loved ones and produce a ripple of adverse effects that is neverending.

Those who regularly participate in binge drinking behaviors are urged to seek treatment for alcohol abuse. Our Midwood Addiction Treatment center offers a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that features essential therapeutic services such as behavioral therapy, individual and family counseling, group support, and aftercare planning.

Please don’t let alcohol abuse lead you down a trail of self-destruction. Our skilled team of addiction specialists can provide you with the resources and tools you need to recover and begin to experience the long-lasting wellness and sobriety you deserve! Call us today to find out how we can help!

Does Alcohol Cause Cancer?

Does Alcohol Cause Cancer? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Does Alcohol Cause Cancer? – Researchers have known for some time that the consumption of alcohol increases a person’s risk of at least seven types of cancer. These types include cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, esophagus, breast, liver, and bowel.

How Does Alcohol Cause Cancer?

Although this link has been well-established, precisely how alcohol serves to cause cancer is not entirely clear, and most experts believe that several mechanisms may play a role. Most previous research has only studied cells in the lab, analyzing changes in them that occur following alcohol exposure.

Recently, however, researchers from the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, sought to attain a better understanding of the alcohol-cancer connection in animals.

Blood Stem Cells and Acetaldehyde

As alcohol is metabolized in the gut, bacteria transform it into acetaldehyde, which is a toxic chemical that has been clinically shown to cause cancer in lab animals. For the study, researchers fed diluted ethanol (alcohol) to mice and then employed chromosome analysis and DNA sequencing, two processes that help to determine the damage produced by acetaldehyde.

Blood stem cells, located in bone marrow and the blood, are young blood cells that can mature into any form of blood cell, including white and red blood cells and platelets. It is vital to understand how alcohol use harms these cells, as damaged stem cells have been shown to cause cancer.

Following an investigation, researchers revealed that acetaldehyde could indeed damage DNA within blood stem cells. Chromosomes were rearranged, and the DNA sequence was irreversibly altered in stem cells.

Defense Mechanisms

In addition to new findings into the destruction that ethanol wreaks on stem cells, the scientists discovered further insight into the protection mechanisms used by our bodies in reaction to alcohol exposure. Enzymes known as aldehyde dehydrogenases (ALDHs) constitute the body’s first line of defense against damage related to alcohol use. ALDHs break down alcohol into acetate, which our cells can then use as an energy source.

Millions of people have low levels of ALDH or defective copies of these enzymes. For these individuals, toxic acetaldehyde builds up in the body, and they will experience flushing and feel unwell. When researchers examined mice without ALDH, they discovered that alcohol exposure caused four times as much harm to DNA compared to mice that produced ALDH.

The body has a variety of other mechanisms that can help to fix DNA damage, but these mechanisms don’t always work, and some people have mutations that make them less effective. Moreover, if a person is not able to process alcohol efficiently, this can result in an even greater risk of DNA damage and, consequently, the development of some types of cancers.

Does Alcohol Cause Cancer? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Cancers Caused By Alcohol Use

Liver, throat, and esophageal cancer have the most significant association with chronic or excessive alcohol use, but other cancers have been identified in studies as well. What’s more, tobacco use in conjunction with alcohol significantly increases the risk of some cancers, especially those that affect the upper digestive tract.

Overall it’s believed that alcohol is the cause of about 3.5% of cancers in the U.S. Considering that half of all men and 1 in 3 women are expected to develop cancer in their lifetime, that’s not an insignificant statistic.

Liver Cancer

The link between liver cancer and alcohol use is exceedingly well-established. Chronic, excessive drinking is a principal risk factor for cirrhosis, a condition characterized by liver scarring and inflammation. Over time, drinking causes healthy tissue to be gradually replaced by scar tissue, impairing the liver’s ability to function correctly. Having cirrhosis significantly increases a person’s risk of developing liver cancer.

Breast Cancer

Women may be surprised to learn that even a few drinks a week may increase their risk of developing breast cancer because alcohol influences estrogen levels by altering the way the body breaks it down. Estrogen levels are unquestionably linked to breast cancer, and the risk increases with the amount of alcohol that is consumed. Women who drink moderately to excessively on a routine basis face the highest risk.

Oral Cancer

Those who drink alcohol are several times more likely to develop oral cancer than those who do not. Research finds that more than 75% of people suffering from oral cancer are drinkers. Also, those who drink and smoke face an even higher risk.

Between 80-95 percent of alcoholics smoke cigarettes, a rate three times higher than among the general population. In fact, research suggests that approximately 70% of alcoholics are also heavy smokers (smoking more than one pack of cigarettes per day), compared with just 10% of the general population.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction, research supports that common belief that “smokers drink and drinkers smoke” and that the heaviest alcohol users are also the biggest consumers of tobacco.

Throat Cancer

Throat cancer develops in the pharynx and other nearby tissue. Research reveals that the long-term use of alcohol is linked to throat cancer development, but when used in conjunction with tobacco, the risk of developing this disease increases dramatically.

Laryngeal Cancer

Laryngeal cancer affects the larynx (voice box) which is an organ that plays a crucial role in breathing and communication. It includes the vocal cords, which produce the sound we need to speak. Although tobacco use is the main risk factor for the development of laryngeal cancer, alcohol, in combination with tobacco, significantly increases the risk.

Esophageal Cancer

Esophageal cancer develops in the long tube that connects the mouth to the stomach – the esophagus. It is believed that about 75% of esophageal cancer cases are linked to chronic alcohol use. The type of cancer most people who drink heavily develop in this organ is usually squamous cell carcinoma, in contrast to adenocarcinoma, which more often occurs in response to chronic acid reflux.

Colon and Rectal Cancer

Several studies have found a relationship between colon cancer and excessive, chronic alcohol use. According to the American Cancer Society, men who drink generally have a higher risk than women, but both sexes are at an increased risk when compared to non-drinkers.

Alcoholism, Weight Gain, and Immunity

Other unfortunate side effects of heavy drinking may include weight gain, reduced physical activity, and a poor diet. Excessive alcohol consumption may decrease the body’s ability to process and absorb nutrients, including Vitamins A, C, D, and E, as well as folate and carotenoids. All of these factors may contribute to a person’s risk of developing any number of cancers throughout the body.

Finally, excess alcohol consumption may lead to immune deficiency, causing an increased susceptibility to disease in general.

Treatment for Alcoholism

Does Alcohol Cause Cancer? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

If you are an excessive drinker, you can significantly reduce your risk of developing certain types of cancer by avoiding alcohol or reducing consumption. If you have tried to quit drinking or cut back more than once and failed or relapsed, it is probably time to seek professional help.

Midwood Addiction Treatment employs a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment that includes evidence-based services vital to the recovery process. Treatments such as psychotherapy, counseling, and group support are provided to patients by caring, highly-skilled addiction specialists.

If you are suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, please call us as soon as possible. Discover how we can help you reclaim your life and experience long-lasting wellness and sobriety!

China White Heroin

China White Heroin | Midwood Addiction Treatment

China White heroin is the common street name given to a heroin substitute made from the synthetic opioid fentanyl, a fast-acting, and incredibly potent pain medication and anesthetic. Dealers sometimes lace China White into heroin to increase the drug’s strength, though this can result in imminent death for the credulous user. The powder may be snorted, or diluted with water and injected into a vein.

China White Heroin’s Effect on the Brain

Psychoactive substances, such as opioids like heroin and China White, activate the reward centers of our brains to an unnatural level and affecting the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is responsible for feelings of reward and pleasure. This effect, over time, can make users vulnerable to cravings for the substance, so much so that the person begins to obsess over its acquisition and use.

When this addictive behavior occurs, the person may begin to find less pleasure in other activities, including those necessary for life such as eating. The drug essentially hijacks the brain’s reward center so that nothing else will compete with the feelings of euphoria it provides.

Drugs like heroin act on the reward center of the brain, much like a delicious meal, except the response is far greater than any dopamine response that would otherwise occur naturally. The neurochemical action of China White is very similar to that of heroin, yet fentanyl is roughly 50 times more potent than heroin itself. As such, China White is extraordinarily addictive and produces nearly irresistible cravings and severe withdrawal symptoms, among other significant health problems.

Unfortunately, over time altering the dopamine reward system means that the body begins relying on the drug to activate dopamine release, and tolerance starts to develop. Drug tolerance is a condition in which the user needs ever-increasing amounts of the drug in order to achieve the desired effect. Regarding many substances, tolerance is a product of the body’s propensity toward “repeated exposure = reduced response.”

Moreover, someone who has been using China White may discover that heroin no longer induces the effect they seek, thereby compelling continued abuse of the more powerful and lethal alternative. Along with tolerance, dependence can develop.

When someone becomes physiologically dependent on a substance, his or her body can no longer adequately function if they try to quit or cut back. As such, discontinuation of the drug results in an array of highly unpleasant symptoms known as withdrawal. These symptoms often drive the person to return to use in an effort to avoid them.

Adverse Effects of China White

The impact of China White on the body is almost immediate, and even in small doses, it can depress breathing to potentially lethal levels. As a substance with properties that depress the central nervous system (CNS), it can rapidly prove deadly if used in conjunction with any other CNS depressant, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, or even medications as seemingly benign as antidepressants.

In addition to respiratory depression, China White can also cause gastrointestinal problems, changes in heart rate, fainting, and prolonged fatigue or sedation. It increases a person’s risk of experiencing mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, paranoia, confusion, and personality changes. It has also been known to impair the immune system and produce hallucinations.

China White has also been associated with overdoses that are frequently life-threatening, with thousands of deaths having been reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the last few years alone. Some of these fatalities were linked to heroin that had been cut with fentanyl unbeknownst to the user. A dose of pure China White any higher than 2 mg can be fatal, and combining it with other psychoactive substances, particularly depressants, compounds this danger.

China White Heroin | Midwood Addiction Treatment

China White Withdrawal

The symptoms of withdrawal from China White are more intense than that of heroin and may include the following:

  • Severe drug cravings
  • Chills and muscle aches
  • Profuse sweating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Accelerated breathing
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Due to the severity of cravings and symptoms, a medically-managed detox is advised to help someone get through the physical and psychological changes safely while also preventing relapse. This detox process typically lasts anywhere from three days to a week.

Detox programs usually address these issues with pharmaceuticals such as other synthetic opioid drugs (e.g., buprenorphine), nutritional support, the treatment of any co-occurring mental disorders, and continuous emotional support. These are vital components of any comprehensive treatment program for China White addiction.

Getting Treatment

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers professional support and comprehensive, evidence-based treatment options to meet the unique needs of patients seeking help for an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Our team of addiction specialists is committed to providing each patient with the tools and support they need to achieve long-lasting sobriety and wellness. Contact us today and discover how we can help you begin your recovery journey and guide you every step of the way!

What Is Percocet Abuse and Addiction?

What Is Percocet Abuse and Addiction? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Percocet is a pharmaceutical drug that consists of a combination of the pain reliever acetaminophen and the painkiller oxycodone. While millions of prescriptions for this medication are written each year, it’s highly addictive, and more than 64,000 people are admitted each year to emergency departments due to the adverse effects of oxycodone.

As an opioid, Percocet is chemically comparable to heroin. While the opioid in Percocet is the element that gets some users addicted, many people don’t realize that the acetaminophen can also pose a danger to their lives.

Although oxycodone is potentially deadly, it is much easier to overdose on acetaminophen, which in large doses is toxic to the liver. In fact, many people who die as a result of Percocet overdose are killed by the acetaminophen and not the oxycodone.

For this reason, medical providers recommend limiting the use of acetaminophen to no more than 4000mg in a 24-hour period. This number may be easily ignored, however, when a person is taking multiple pills for their painkilling or euphoric effects in excess of prescribed doses.

Signs and Symptoms of Percocet Abuse and Addiction

If you suspect that someone you know may be abusing Percocet, some common signs to look for include:

  • Changes in mood, personality, behavior, goals, or priorities
  • Secretive or deceptive behavior
  • An increase in problems related to either physical or mental health
  • Changes in friendships or social groups
  • The neglect of important responsibilities

The hallmark sign of Percocet addiction – and addiction in general – is continuing to abuse the substance despite adverse consequences, such as loss of a job or recurring health problems. Percocet addiction also results in physiological dependence. If an individual experiences withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit, it’s a telling sign that the person has become dependent.

Effects of Percocet Abuse

Some of the most common side effects of Percocet abuse include the following:

  • Decline in mental health
  • Brain damage
  • Nightmares and insomnia
  • Excessive sleepiness
  • Lack of motivation
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Profound weight loss or gain
  • Frequent infections
  • Accidental overdose
  • Use of other opioids
  • Seizures
  • Organ failure, especially the liver

Mixing Percocet with Other Substances

Percocet abuse is dangerous on its own, but if combined with other CNS depressant drugs or alcohol, abuse can prove fatal. When used in conjunction with alcohol, Percocet can stop the heart and dangerously depress respiration, depriving the brain of oxygen.

What Is Percocet Abuse and Addiction? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Who Is at Risk for Percocet Addiction?

Risk factors for Percocet addiction include the following:

  • A history of trauma or abuse, especially in childhood
  • Chronic stress
  • Physical or mental health challenging
  • A family or personal history of drug or alcohol abuse
  • Prolonged use of Percocet, even with a prescription

The presence of these risk factors alone does not necessarily indicate that someone will become an addict. Anyone using Percocet can potentially become dependent, and recreational users face a higher risk.

Percocet Treatment Options

Addiction is a disease, and there is no shame in seeking help when you feel you need it. Doing so can prevent more misery and damage to your life – or even save it.

It’s easy to fall into hopelessness when you experience addiction, but this a reflection of the nature of the disease, not reality. Addiction treatment can be successful, and those suffering have a wide variety of treatment options from which to choose.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment allows patients to continue residing at home while receiving regular recovery services. Schedules are flexible, and people can often adjust the intensity and frequency of treatment sessions to meet their needs. Because patients are not required to remain at a facility 24/7, they can attend to important responsibilities outside of treatment such as those related to family, work, or school.

Partial Hospitalization Programs

When compared to outpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs require a significant time commitment. Treatment is rendered during the day, and patients often remain at the facility for all or most of that time, returning home only during the evenings.

Individual and Group Therapy

Psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy allow people to explore the factors that led to their addiction. Psychotherapy helps clients develop improved, healthier coping methods that don’t compromise emotional or physical well-being.

Medical Detox

Detoxing from Percocet can be highly unpleasant, but undergoing a medical detox can make the process safer and more comfortable. Some programs are outpatient, and some require an inpatient stay of several days.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Persons struggling with an opioid addiction can receive medication-assisted treatment, or pharmaceuticals medically-approved to reduce cravings for opioids and relieve symptoms of withdrawal. These include medications such as Suboxone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

Seeking Help

Percocet abuse or addiction can be devasting to a person’s physical health and mental well-being. Opioid addiction is a very serious health condition that often produces many adverse consequences, including strained relationships, legal and financial difficulties, and premature death.

Midwood Addiction Treatment specializes in the treatment of opioid abuse and addiction and employs integrated, evidence-based services that are essential to overcoming substance abuse and facilitating recovery.

If you are struggling with an addiction to Percocet, other drugs, or alcohol, please contact us today to discuss treatment options!

The Dangers of Mixing Percocet and Alcohol

Percocet and Alcohol | Midwood Addiction Treatment

The Dangers of Mixing Percocet and Alcohol – Combining alcohol with any other intoxicating substances is very dangerous. However, mixing Percocet, a prescription painkiller, with alcohol can produce some unique problems. Percocet includes a combination of oxycodone, an opioid and acetaminophen, an over-the-counter pain reliever.

Mixing Percocet and Alcohol

When used as directed this combination of pain relievers is effective at treating moderate-severe pain after an injury, surgery, or illness. Percocet is intended for short-term treatment, and due to its potential for addiction, this drug is not indicated to treat chronic pain.

Because Percocet enters the bloodstream rapidly and the effects subside within four to six hours, this drug often triggers abuse, dependence, and addiction. People who struggle with Percocet addiction may also consume alcohol to intensify the effects of the opioid. Importantly, however, mixing opioids and alcohol can result in a life-threatening overdose, and combining alcohol and acetaminophen can quickly cause liver damage.

Increased Risks

Both oxycodone and alcohol can induce feelings of relaxation and pleasure. Alcohol increases the sedative effects of oxycodone, and this can be very dangerous. The person could pass out, producing physical injury from a fall. They could also vomit while unconscious, which could cause the person to choke.

The primary cause of complications when using oxycodone in conjunction alcohol is respiratory depression. If the occurs, the person’s breathing will slow down, become very shallow, irregular, or even stop. This causes oxygen deprivation, and without prompt medical treatment, organs begin to fail, eventually leading to death.

Signs and Symptoms of Percocet and Alcohol

The combined effects of alcohol and Percocet are no different than mixing alcohol with any other opioid. Both drugs slow breathing and impair coordination. People who use alcohol and Percocet simultaneously have impaired judgment and may be a danger to themselves and others.

The presence of painkillers also decreases alcohol tolerance. Someone combining Percocet and alcohol may seem as if they are just extremely drunk, but the two substances compound the effects of one another and are actually much more dangerous.

Effects of concurrent alcohol and Percocet use include the following:

  • Depressed respiratory system
  • Constipation
  • Inability to focus thoughts
  • Low blood pressure
  • Liver failure
  • Heart attack
  • Coma
  • Death

Treating an Opioid Overdose

Naloxone is a medication that has become essential for treating opioid overdoses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 115 people die of opioid overdoses in the United States each day. As a result, first responders and caregivers are increasingly carrying naloxone with them, in the event they need to reverse an opioid overdose temporarily.

Naloxone is a very effective opioid overdose-reversal drug but is less effective when other substances are in a person’s system. Moreover, mixing alcohol with Percocet will make reversing an overdose on Percocet more difficult.

Since 2009, medical providers have expressed concern over acetaminophen overdoses. While it is not easy to unintentionally overdose on acetaminophen on its own, it found in a number of over-the-counter pharmaceuticals, including cold and flu medications, headache treatments, allergy medications, and even medicines used for sleep.

Percocet and Alcohol | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Few over-the-counter pharmaceuticals contain more than 325 mg of acetaminophen per dose, and the doses are spaced (as directed) to avoid an overdose. When people combine medications such as cold and flu drugs with over-the-counter painkillers, they are more likely to use more than the recommended dose of 4,000 mg per day without realizing it.

Unfortunately, accidental acetaminophen poisoning can cause liver damage and failure. Alcohol can also cause liver damage, so combining large amounts of acetaminophen with alcohol increases the risk and speed of damage occurring to the liver.

Liver damage caused by consuming alcohol and taking a single dose of acetaminophen is quite unlikely, but chronic misuse of powerful drugs such as Percocet in conjunction with excessive drinking will eventually cause liver damage. Even people who take Percocet as directed and also drink heavily can cause some damage to their livers.

Also, mixing acetaminophen and alcohol can cause damage to the lining of the stomach, which increases the risk of ulcers. If left untreated, ulcers can open and become infected, possibly resulting in life-threatening bleeding and infection.

Treatment for Percocet and Alcohol Abuse

When a person is addicted to or is abusing/misusing two or more substances, this is referred to as polysubstance abuse. Conditions related to both drugs of abuse must be treated in conjunction to achieve the best outcome for the person who is suffering.

Polysubstance abuse is most effectively treated using a comprehensive approach to addiction, including evidence-based services essential for long-term recovery. These include behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support.

Midwood Addiction Treatment employs caring addiction specialists who deliver these services to clients with compassion and expertise. If you or someone that you know is abusing Percocet and alcohol or any other substance, contact us today to discuss treatment options and find out how we can help reclaim your life from addiction!