What Is Heroin?

What Is Heroin | Midwood Addiction Treatment

What Is Heroin? – Heroin is an illegal semi-synthetic opiate derived from morphine that acts as both a powerful pain reliever and central nervous system (CNS) depressant. People use heroin primarily as a recreational drug for its desired effects, which include intense euphoria and relaxation.

Heroin, however, has a high potential for addiction and overdose and is responsible for thousands of deaths each year in the United States alone.

Is Heroin a Narcotic?

A narcotic is a substance that affects the mood or behavior of the person who consumes it and is bought/sold/obtained illicitly, often for nonmedical purposes.

Currently, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) classifies heroin as a Schedule I substance, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and is not considered to have any legitimate medical use.

How Heroin Impacts the Brain and Body

How Heroin Impacts the Brain and BodyHeroin acts on multiple neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for feelings of reward, well-being, and pain relief, and include chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin. As a CNS depressant, heroin reduces activity in the central nervous system (CNS) and can result in heavy sedation and profound CNS suppression, characterized in part by potentially life-threatening respiratory distress.

Forms of Heroin and Methods of Delivery

Heroin is usually found in a whitish to brown powder and can be administered intranasally, intravenously (injection), or by inhalation (freebase.) Black tar heroin is a dark, sticky form of heroin that is made using crude processing methods that do not remove impurities.

Heroin is also frequently combined with other illicit drugs, including fentanyl, methamphetamine, and cocaine.

Side Effects of Heroin

In addition to the extreme high caused by heroin use, individuals can experience a myriad of adverse side effects.

These include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Brain fog
  • Lethargy
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Itching
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Slowed breathing
  • Slowed heart rate

Side effects can vary in duration and intensity based on individual factors such as weight, overall physical health, and tolerance, as well as the amount used and potency of the drug.

Also, using heroin in combination with other drugs or alcohol can enhance or conflict with the effects of all substances involved, and lead to unpredictable complications.

Heroin Overdose

A heroin overdose is a life-threatening medical emergency that can leave the user in an unresponsive, vegetative state. During this state, many problems can occur that could result in death, including suffocation and respiratory arrest.

In the event of an overdose, emergency medical services are needed immediately to perform lifesaving procedures, including the administration of naloxone (Narcan), a drug that reverses the depressant effects of heroin that can lead to respiratory arrest and death.

Heroin Tolerance and Dependence

Heroin tolerance occurs when increasing amounts of the drug are necessary to achieve the user’s desired results. While most psychoactive substances have a potential for tolerance, the use of heroin and other opioids especially can result in rapid tolerance to analgesic (painkilling) effects.

Heroin dependence when the user’s body is no longer able to function normally without the drug’s presence in their system. If a user tries to quit or cut back, highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms occur as the body attempts to regain normality upon the drug’s absence.

Heroin Withdrawal Effects

Withdrawal effects of heroin may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sweating
  • Shaking and nervousness
  • Agitation
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Muscle spasms
  • Intense drug cravings

Detox and Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Detox and Treatment for Heroin AddictionHeroin withdrawal syndrome is rarely life-threatening. Symptoms can be intense, uncomfortable, and painful, however, and are among the primary causes of relapse. Occasionally, symptoms such as severe depression or anxiety can lead to suicidal thoughts which pose yet another health risk.

Detox can occur in a hospital or addiction treatment facility. Effects of heroin withdrawal can begin within a few hours of the last dose and tend to peak around 2-3 days after use. Acute withdrawal effects usually subside with a week.

Treatment for heroin addiction after detox is highly encouraged. Individuals usually have the choice of either inpatient or intensive outpatient treatment.

Both program structures should offer evidence-based practices such as behavioral therapy, individual and group therapies, holistic practices, counseling, and aftercare options.

Inpatient programs participants reside at a specialized facility 24 hours a day for an extended period, often 30 days or longer. Outpatients attend sessions a few times per week but live at an independent residence and attend to personal responsibilities such as work and family.

Getting More Information
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians.

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.

888-MAT-1110

Related: Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that affects the human body much like heroin. It is up to 50 times more potent, however, and is frequently found laced into heroin or substituted outright for it in the form of counterfeit pills such as Xanax or Vicodin.

Fentanyl is easy and inexpensive to make and is popular with dealers seeking to maximize profits. While some drug users seek out fentanyl specifically, many are the victim of unintentional overdoses due to fentanyl’s unknown presence in the drug(s) they consumed, often believed to be heroin.

Xanax and Alcohol

Xanax and Alcohol | Midwood Addiction Treatment

A Deadly Combination

Both Xanax and alcohol are central nervous system (CNS) depressants, meaning that they decrease neurological activity in the body and brain. This depressant effect can result in life-threatening complications such as coma, respiratory failure, and death.

Alcoholism (or alcohol use disorder) is a condition characterized by excessive alcohol consumption despite the presence of adverse effects on one’s life and relationships. Similarly, Xanax use disorder is an addiction in which the user becomes dependent upon the anti-anxiety benzodiazepine (benzo) alprazolam.

Using alcohol in addition to Xanax dramatically increases these risks and is far more dangerous than the overuse of either substance alone. Many overdoses related to benzodiazepines also involve other drugs or alcohol and continue to be one of the leading causes of accidental death in the United States.

Long-Term Effects of Xanax and Alcohol Abuse

Those who abuse Xanax and alcohol concurrently for an extended period of time increase their risk of serious adverse effects, such as the following:

  • Mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Aggression
  • Interpersonal problems
  • Poor school or work performance
  • Legal problems such as drinking and driving events
  • Memory loss
  • Shallow breathing
  • Anoxic brain injury due to repeated episodes of respiratory arrest
  • Chronically low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Liver cancer and/or cirrhosis
  • Alcoholic hepatitis
  • Cardiomyopathy (heart disease)
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heart rate)
  • Stroke
  • Cancers of the mouth, throat, and breast
  • Pancreatitis

Xanax Dependency

 

Xanax is indicated to treat health conditions such as anxiety, panic disorder, and insomnia. Due to its high potential for addiction, however, it is frequently abused. In fact, the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported that in 2011, nearly 1 in 10 of all emergency department visits involving pharmaceutical abuse included the use of Xanax.

Xanax can be very dangerous when taken in large/frequent doses or in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs. When combined with alcohol, even a small dose can be life-threatening. Persons who become dependent on Xanax and other benzodiazepines exhibit symptoms which may include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Light-headedness and vertigo
  • Sleeping for extended periods of time
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Sluggishness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Delirium
  • Slurred speech
  • Seizures
  • Impaired motor skills
    Profound weakness
Tolerance and Dependency
The development of tolerance and dependency also characterizes Xanax dependency. Tolerance occurs when the user is forced to use increasing amounts of the drug in order to achieve the desired effects.

Dependency occurs when the brain becomes accustomed to the drug’s presence and can no longer function normally without it. At this stage, withdrawal symptoms manifest when the user tries to quit or cut back.

Xanax withdrawal symptoms can develop within a few hours of the last dose, and tend to peak in severity within 1-4 days. Symptoms of Xanax withdrawal include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Tremors and nervousness
  • Diarrhea
  • Numbness
  • Sensitivity to light and sound
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Heart palpitations and rapid heartbeat
  • Excessive sweating
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures
Xanax Addiction
Those who do not seek treatment for Xanax addiction risk serious injury and illness due to drug-related causes. Xanax use can result in heavy sedation that can result in fainting spells and is especially dangerous when operating a motor vehicle or machinery.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014, Xanax or alprazolam was the fourth most-commonly involved drug among fatal overdoses, found in the systems of more than 4,200 descendants.

Signs/symptoms of severe CNS depression and overdose include the following:

  • Memory problems
  • Shallow, labored breathing
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Faint heartbeat
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Impaired coordination
  • Loss of consciousness/responsiveness
  • Coma
  • Respiratory arrest

Getting the Right Treatment

Treatment for Xanax addiction may involve a taper down method as directed by a physician to reduce cravings and symptoms of withdrawal.

Severe addictions often require a medical detox and extended participation in inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment as well as long-term aftercare. Treatment, at a minimum, should consist of several weeks of behavioral therapy, individual and group therapy, and individual and family counseling.

Signs and Symptoms Throughout the Stages of Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism is a lifelong, complex condition and those who do not receive treatment continue to suffer consequences that tend to worsen over time. Chronic alcohol abusers increase their risk of serious illness and death due to alcohol-related causes.

According to the CDC, excessive alcohol use resulted in approximately 88,000 fatalities and 2.5 million years of potential life lost every year between 2006–2010 in the United States, shortening the lives of those affected by an average of 30 years.

Alcoholism results in many of the same mental/physical side effects and withdrawal and overdose symptoms as Xanax addiction. And as noted, combining the two substances can lead to effects that are both compounded and unpredictable.

The Early Stage

The early stage of alcoholism begins with experimentation. Most people first try alcohol in their teens or early adult years. In fact, according to the
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIDA), nearly two-thirds (60%) of teens have consumed alcohol by age 18.

Experimentation often tends to be sporadic, with drinking occasionally occurring at parties, sporting events, or concerts. Some young people, however, move quickly from initial use into regular consumption that can result in negative consequences. Others may never leave this phase, and either continue to drink infrequently or not at all.

The Middle Stage

The middle stage occurs when alcohol use progresses into binge drinking (more than five drinks in one sitting) or daily drinking. Problems begin to happen on a regular basis and may involve legal issues such as drinking and driving or work/school obligations missed due to being intoxicated or hungover. Interpersonal relationships with family and friends may also begin to suffer.

The middle phase is sometimes referring to as high-functioning alcoholism. Moreover, the person is drinking excessively but still manages to function reasonably well in daily life despite some problems that manifest.

But during this phase, however, tolerance can start to develop and drinking patterns may continue to escalate. At this point, some people will attempt to quit or cut back. Some succeed, but those who do not become at risk for long-term mental/physical health issues and other adversities related to alcoholism.

The Late Stage

The late stage of alcoholism occurs when dependency develops, and withdrawal symptoms manifest when the user stops drinking abruptly. He or she has now developed a high tolerance, and increasing amounts of alcohol are needed to achieve a “buzz.” The brain has, at this point, essentially been hijacked by alcohol and can’t function properly without it.

Alcoholics at this stage almost always require intense, professional intervention to recover and maintain long-term sobriety. Those who do choose to seek treatment have the opportunity to undergo a medical detox and engage in either inpatient or outpatient therapy, counseling, and other activities that promote healthy behaviors and decision-making.

Engaging in the combined use of alcohol and Xanax use greatly increases both the short- and long-term risks associated with either substance, as well as the possibility of serious injury, illness, or death.

 

Getting More Information
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians; our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.

888-MAT-1110

Substance Abuse Facts

Substance Abuse Facts 2018 | Midwood Addiction Treatment

A substance use disorder (SUD) is a complex condition that occurs when regular drug or alcohol use results in “clinically and functionally significant impairment” that includes physical and mental health problems and failure to attend to major responsibilities regarding work, school, home, or relationships.

SUD is a broad term that also refers to conditions such as substance abuse and drug or alcohol addiction (alcoholism.) Traditionally, these disorders have been widely viewed as moral failings, under the presumption that those dependent upon psychoactive substances lack willpower or moral fortitude.

Today, most researchers, scientists, physicians and addiction specialists view substance use disorder as a disease – or at least believe that it should be addressed as one. Moreover, it is a chronic, incurable condition that can, however, be effectively treated using various evidence-based therapies and counseling.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is considered to be a lifelong disease characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior that persists despite adverse consequences. Initial use is almost always voluntary, but repeated use leads to changes in the brain that impair self-control when it comes to substance use.

These changes are persistent and sometimes permanent, which is why people with addictions are at a very high risk of relapse and returning to substance abuse, sometimes after years of sobriety.

How Substance Abuse Affects the Brain

Substance Abuse Facts | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Substance abuse impacts the reward center of the brain by acting on neurotransmitters releasing mass amounts of “feel good” chemical messengers such as dopamine and serotonin.

This system manages the body’s ability to feel pleasure and increases motivation to repeat behaviors that lead to pleasurable feelings, such as eating or having sex.

However, overstimulation of the brain’s reward center results in a “high” -euphoric feelings that hijack the brain and compel people to continue using substances.

Over time, the brain becomes desensitized to the presence of drugs or alcohol by adjusting itself to the excess dopamine and reducing the corresponding response. This effect is known as tolerance, and when it occurs, the individual is forced to use increasing amounts of the substance in order to achieve the desired effect. Pleasure obtained from otherwise enjoyable activities such as socializing can be adversely affected, as well.

Chronic substance abuse also results in changes to other brain systems and can affect critical functions, including learning, judgment, decision-making, problem-solving memory, stress level, and behavior.

Factors That Contribute to Addiction

Addiction, like most diseases, does not develop in a vacuum. Moreover, there are multiple factors that may contribute to one’s risk of becoming addicted to a psychoactive substance. These include biological, developmental, and environmental determinants.

Biological factors include genetic predispositions that may account for as much as half of a person’s risk for addiction. Also, ethnicity, gender, and co-occurring mental health conditions may also increase one’s risk of drug abuse.

Environmental factors include external influences such as family dynamics, socioeconomic status, early exposure to drugs or alcohol in the home, and the existence of traumatic childhood experiences such as physical or sexual abuse.

Environmental and biological determinants, when combined with developmental stages also affect a person’s risk of substance abuse. Moreover, the earlier the drug or alcohol use is initiating, the greater the chance that it may lead to addiction.

Addiction is Incurable but Treatable

SUDs are not curable, and most recovering substance abusers will be at risk of a relapse for the rest of their lives. However, addiction disorders can be effectively treated and successfully managed long-term.

Research has shown that patients being treated with a combination of behavioral therapy, counseling, group support, and medication-assisted therapy have the best chance of achieving long-term sobriety.

Treatment approaches customized to each patient’s individual factors such as mental health conditions, family and developmental history, and drug use patterns can result in improved outcomes and contribute to a successful, ongoing recovery.

Addiction is Preventable

Critically, substance abuse and addiction are not inevitable, and programs aimed at prevention that involve families, communities, schools, and the media are helpful for reducing drug abuse and addiction.

Although individual and environmental factors tend to affect drug abuse trends, research has shown that drug use is more often avoided when perceived as harmful or unacceptable by society. Indeed, education is crucial to helping people understand the risk of drug abuse. – especially those persons at a heightened risk of addiction, teens and young adults.

Getting More Information
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians; our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.

888-MAT-1110

High-Functioning Alcoholic

High-Functioning-Alcoholic

What is a High-Functioning Alcoholic? – A high-functioning alcoholic is someone who can attend to many societal obligations and maintain a livelihood despite the regular overuse of alcohol. This behavior may sound like a conflict of interests, but the truth is, many alcoholics can be considered “functional” in one way or another.

In fact, one of the many stigmas surrounding alcohol addiction is steeped in how well the alcoholic can manage responsibilities in his or her life. For example, compare the “gutter” alcoholic to an upper-middle-class family man in the suburbs – they appear very different on the outside, despite having one very defining characteristic in common.

Another common difference between the functional alcoholic and other sufferers is the level of acceptance. At some point, many severe alcohol abusers who have suffered great loss acknowledge the fact that they have a problem – and mainly because they have no choice. Moreover, they are forced to sit by and watch, seemingly hopeless, as their lives and relationships crumble around them.

High-functioning alcoholics, however, may be the last ones to know. As long as the bills are getting paid and the user feels as if he/she is in relative control of things, it’s easy to remain in denial. If you ever hear someone use the phrase “I work hard and play hard” consider that an indicator that the person may be a high-functioning alcoholic or drug abuser.

Who is an Alcoholic?

According to experts, alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction (commonly known as alcoholism) now both fall under the classification of “alcohol use disorder.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, alcohol use disorder (AUD) “…is a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your 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.”

Unhealthy alcohol use is further defined as such that “includes any alcohol use that puts your health or safety at risk or causes other alcohol-related problems.”

This also includes binge drinking, which is “a pattern of drinking where a male consumes five or more drinks within two hours or a female downs at least four drinks within two hours.”

Functional Alcoholism – Signs and Symptoms

High Functioning AlcoholicA functional alcoholic is someone who…

…regularly engages in life-sustaining employment or ongoing education.
…typically affords food, shelter, and the necessities of living.
…may financially support a family, at least in part.
…may be well-educated and a high-achiever.
…may hold a position of power or authority.

And yet…

…drinks to excess on a regular basis and often can’t control their drinking once started.
…minimizes and/or conceals the severity of his or her problem, and reassures others that’s everything is okay.
…may be quick to point out others whom he/she deems to be a more severe and less-functional alcoholic.
…occasionally fails to meet critical responsibilities as a result of drinking.
…may have encountered legal problems or family conflict as a result of drinking.
…may have been hospitalized for excessive alcohol use and/or is experiencing health-related conditions such as liver disease.
…others have recognized there is a problem but are afraid to address it.

The Case of Stephen

Example: Stephen, 35, is an assistant manager at a high-tech firm and has a bachelor’s degree in computer networking. He shares a suburban home with his wife and toddler son.

Stephen has been drinking excessively since college, including both daily and binge-style alcohol consumption. He rarely misses work due to his drinking patterns, however, despite regular late-night binges after his son has been put to bed.

High-Functioning AlcoholicStephen’s wife knows that he is an alcoholic, but rarely confronts him.

She has talked to his family, who continue to insist that his heavy alcohol use can’t be a problem and that she should appreciate the long hours he works and the things he can provide.

Still, Stephen had a DUI five years ago, but he still regularly engages in drinking and driving, however, and occasionally comes home from after-work gatherings completely intoxicated. Stephen has no plans on quitting drinking or seeking help for his problem despite escalating issues with his wife and ongoing risky behavior.

All Alcoholics Need Help

High-functioning alcoholics, despite an outward appearance of relative normality, still face the same risks as anyone who engages in alcohol abuse, such as damage to relationships, loss of employment, and threats to security.

Also, they continually endanger themselves and others when intoxicated,  possibly just one DUI away from long-term incarceration due to vehicular homicide.

Finally, they incur the same increased risks for liver cirrhosis, pancreatitis, and cancers of the throat, esophagus, liver, colon, and breast.

Moreover, high-functioning alcoholics are by no means immune to the effects of alcoholism, and should immediately seek help in the form of detox and long-term inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment.

Getting More Information
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians; our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.

888-MAT-1110

Snorting Vicodin

Snorting Vicodin | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Vicodin is a prescription painkiller used to treat moderate pain that also acts as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Tablets contain a combination of acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol) and hydrocodone, a synthetic opioid that is the main contributor to Vicodin’s analgesic effects.

Vicodin is prescribed as a tablet for oral use, but when used for nonmedical purposes, it can be crushed into a powder form, and the product is then snorted via the nasal passage.

Tolerance, Dependency, and Addiction

Vicodin, like all opioids, has a high potential for misuse, dependency, and overdose. It’s psychoactive properties impact a number of neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine that produce euphoria and feelings of reward. For Vicodin users, nasal delivery offers the additional benefit of a more intense, rapid transit and absorption into the brain, where this action essentially becomes the catalyst for the drug’s potential for dependency.

Signs and symptoms of Vicodin addiction include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Continued drug use despite undesirable physical and psychological effects.
  • Loss of interest or enjoyment in activities and interests once considered important.
  • The use of Vicodin in dangerous or improper situations.
  • Negative changes or problems in other areas of life such as work, school, relationships, and financial status.
  • General malaise, lethargy, or sedation.

When Vicodin is misused regularly, dependency and tolerance begin to develop. As tolerance increases, the user feels compelled to use higher, more frequent quantities of the drug in an effort to achieve the “high” they are used to experiencing.

Over time, the user’s nervous system becomes increasingly comprised and unable to function appropriately without the drug. Then, user efforts to reduce drug use or to quit altogether produce highly unpleasant mental and physical side effects known as withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms can persist for several days, their severity dependent upon factors related to the person’s level of addiction and frequency/duration of use.

Symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Confusion
  • Appetite changes
  • Tremors
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating/chills and shivering
  • Diarrhea
  • Rapid breathing
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Cold-like symptoms include runny/stuffy nose and fever

Because of the rapid delivery of an intranasal dose and its absorption into the mucous membrane, the risk of addiction and overdose may be significantly higher.

In addition to dependency and an increased risk of overdose, snorting Vicodin can result in serious infections and damage to the nasal septum and associated tissues.

Other possible side effects and dangers of snorting Vicodin include: 

  • Drowsiness/heavy sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Changes in appetite
  • Constipation
  • Skin rash

Snorting Vicodin and Overdose

Snorting Vicodin, especially in combination with other drugs or alcohol can lead to life-threatening central nervous depression, overdose, and death.

Symptoms of a Vicodin overdose include:  

  • Vomiting
  • Lightheadedness/dizziness
  • Restricted pupils
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Pale skin, blue color to lips and nails
  • Limp body and cold, clammy skin
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Extremely slow, labored respiration or breathing stopped altogether
  • Seizures
  • Extremely slow heart rate
  • Coma
  • Death

Getting Help – From Detox to Addiction Treatment and Beyond

Although Vicodin misuse can lead to a variety of adverse effects, many who abuse prescription drugs such as Vicodin minimize the seriousness of their disease. Refusing help can be life-threatening and seeking treatment in any phase of dependency is essential to long-term recovery.

Detox

Professional treatment for Vicodin use disorder begins with our detox program, a medically-supervised process in which the patient is monitored around-the-clock and withdrawal symptoms are addressed through the use of medication-assisted therapy (MAT).

MAT uses pharmaceutical drugs indicated for the treatment of opioid use disorders, such as methadone and suboxone. These medications can significantly reduce cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms throughout the detox and withdrawal process.

Upon discharge, patients are compelled to accept admission to one of our structured addiction treatment programs, which include residential (inpatient) stay and intensive outpatient therapy (IOP).

Treatment for Vicodin Addiction

Individuals who opt for an inpatient stay reside in our residential center 24/7 for a recommended minimum of 30 days. Those who need more flexibility due to work, school, or family responsibilities can choose outpatient treatment. IOP requires the attendance of several sessions per week, but the patient is allowed to live independently in a sober living environment or personal household.

Getting More Information
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians; our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.

888-MAT-1110

Snorting Ativan

Snorting Ativan | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Ativan, as prescribed by a physician, comes in tablet form and oral administration is the most common method of abuse. However, Ativan can also be crushed into a powder that a user can ingest nasally, an action that results in expedited transit to the brain and nervous system.

Ativan (lorazepam) is a prescription benzodiazepine (benzo) drug that is indicated for the treatment of anxiety, panic disorder, and insomnia. Like all benzos, Ativan has a strong potential for misuse and addiction.

After Ativan has been inhaled, rapid absorption of the drug produces a rush of GABA that initiates the user’s desired euphoric “high” and activates its addictive potential.

Dependency, Tolerance, and Addiction

Ativan is addictive because it impacts the center of the brain responsible for reward, specifically the neurotransmitter GABA, a chemical that is involved with feelings of relaxation and well-being.

Signs and symptoms of Ativan addiction include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Continued use of the drug despite negative physical and psychological effects.
  • Loss of interest in activities and interests once considered important or enjoyable.
  • The use of Ativan in dangerous or inappropriate situations.
  • Adverse changes or problems in other areas of life such as work, school, relationships, and finances.
  • General malaise, lethargy, or sedation.

Regular intranasal use of Ativan can lead to tolerance and dependency. When dependency manifests, the user experiences highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when he or she attempts to quit using or cut back.

Ativan Withdrawal

The onset of withdrawal effects is a tell-tale sign that the user’s system has become comprised and less capable of functionally properly without the drug’s presence. These mental and physical symptoms often persist for several days after the user’s last dose.

Symptoms of Ativan withdrawal may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Insomnia/sleep disturbances
  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

In addition to dependency, long-term Ativan abuse will lead to tolerance – a condition in which the chemicals in the brain become desensitized to the drug and increasing amounts are required to achieve the euphoric high.

Unfortunately, this cycle of accelerated use and reduced response can result in a rapid worsening of the addiction and ultimately, life-threatening complications.

However, dependency and tolerance are not the only critical health conditions that can manifest from this means of delivery—snorting Ativan can also produce nasal infections and cause irreversible damage to the septum and surrounding tissue.

Other possible side effects and dangers of snorting Ativan include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Heavy sedation
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Low blood pressure
  • Muscle fatigue
  • Heartburn
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Changes in appetite
  • Constipation
  • Skin rash

Snorting Ativan and Overdose

Snorting Ativan | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Snorting Ativan, especially in combination with other drugs or alcohol can lead to life-threatening central nervous depression, overdose, and death.

Symptoms of an Ativan overdose include:

  • Pale, bluish skin or lips
  • Shallow or labored breathing
  • Oversedation
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Respiratory depression

From Detox to Addiction Treatment and Beyond

Ativan abuse is a dangerous habit that can result in a myriad of adverse effects, yet many people who are dependent on prescription drugs such as Ativan negate the seriousness of their condition. Refusal to seek help can be life-threatening, and seeking treatment in any phase of dependence is crucial to recovery.

Detox

Medical treatment for Ativan dependency begins with our detox program, a clinical process in which the patient is closely supervised around-the-clock and withdrawal symptoms are addressed to minimize pain and discomfort.

To minimize withdrawal symptoms, weaning is advised for most Ativan users in which a physician gradually lowers the dose of Ativan over a period of time, until the drug can be stopped without compromising the patient’s health or wellness.

Following detox, patients are urged to undergo admission to one of our evidence-based addiction treatment programs. Formats include both residential stay (inpatient) and intensive outpatient therapy.

Treatment for Ativan Addiction

Ativan dependency is grave and potentially life-threatening disease that requires long-term treatment and support. While there are no cures for substance use disorders, they can be treated. Those who seek help and enter recovery can regain their lives and ultimately experience long-term sobriety and well-being.

Getting More Information
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians; our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible. Call us now to learn about our treatment options!

888-MAT-1110

Snorting Oxycodone

Snorting Oxycodone | Midwood Addition Treatment

Snorting Oxycodone – Oxycodone is a synthetic prescription opioid that is approved to treat moderate to severe pain and also acts as a nervous system depressant. Oxycodone is best known by the trade name OxyContin, and like all opioids, oxycodone has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Oxycodone is addictive because it works on the brain’s reward center via specific neurotransmitters—chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin that contribute to powerful feelings of well-being. Oxycodone is prescribed in the form of a tablet, and oral delivery is the most common means of abuse. It can be crushed into a powder, however, and the resulting product can be inhaled into the nasal passage—an action that results in faster transit to the brain.

Snorting Oxycodone Effects

When oxycodone is snorted, rapid absorption of the drug produces a substantial release of dopamine, which then initiates a euphoric “high” and activates the drug’s potential for addiction. Over time, dependency and tolerance can develop from regular oxycodone use. When a user becomes dependent on oxycodone, highly unpleasant withdrawal effects will manifest if he or she attempts to cut back or quit abruptly.

The onset of withdrawal symptoms is an interpretive sign that the user’s body has become incapable of functioning normally without drug use. These symptoms are both mental and physical and can continue for several days after the last dose has been administered.

Along with dependency, tolerance is likely to occur. As the user’s system becomes less sensitive to oxycodone use, he or she is forced to consume more and more of the drug to reach the desired “high.” This pattern of “increased exposure = reduced response” can quickly lead to a worsening of the addiction, and ultimately, an overdose.

Tolerance and dependency, however, are not the only dangerous health problems that can result from snorting oxycodone – this method of delivery can produce infections and cause significant damage to the nasal septum and neighboring tissues.

Other possible side effects and dangers of snorting oxycodone include:

  • Severe headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stuffy nose
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Loss of motor coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Chest tightness
  • Respiratory infections
  • Seizures
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Respiratory depression
  • Death

Snorting Oxycodone and Overdose

Snorting oxycodone, especially in combination with other drugs or alcohol can result in life-threatening central nervous depression, overdose, and death Symptoms of an oxycodone overdose include:

  • Vomiting
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Low blood pressure
  • Pale skin
  • Bluish lips and nails
  • Limp body
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Slow or stopped breathing
  • Seizures
  • Extremely slow heart rate

If you or someone you know is exhibiting signs of an oxycodone overdose, please call 911 immediately.

Getting Help – From Detox to Addiction Treatment and Beyond

Oxycodone use, regardless of the method of delivery, is a very dangerous and potentially deadly habit. Many people who are addicted to prescription painkillers such as oxycodone deny the severity of their problem, however, and are reluctant to seek help. And yet, seeking treatment and support is critical to recovery from any psychoactive substance, as well as all phases of severity and dependence.

Detox

Formal treatment for oxycodone addiction usually begins with our detox program, a clinical process that supervises the patient’s progress throughout drug withdrawals.

During detox, the patient is continually monitored, and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is administered as appropriate. MAT includes the use of drugs approved for the treatment of opioid addiction such as methadone and buprenorphine.

After detox, patients are strongly encouraged to seek admission to our reputable, evidence-based treatment program. Our program options include both inpatient (residential) and intensive outpatient therapy formats.

Treatment for Oxycodone Addiction

Persons receiving inpatient treatment stay in our addiction treatment center around-the-clock, usually for a month or more. IOP patients participate in our treatment program several times per week, but have the flexibility of living independently, either at a personal residence or a sober living facility.

Both programs can be equally effective and include behavioral therapy, individual and group therapy, counseling, 12-step programs, and holistic practice options such as art/music therapy, meditation, and yoga.

Oxycodone dependency is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that requires immediate, long-term treatment. Although oxycodone addiction cannot be cured, it can be treated, and those in recovery can regain their lives and enjoy long-term sobriety and wellness.

Our center offers a safe, structured environment and professional staff who are trained to identify and address the unique needs of each patient using an in-depth, custom approach to addiction treatment.

Getting More Information
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians; our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.

888-MAT-1110

Delerium Tremens

Delirium Tremens | Midwood Addiction Treatment

DTs, or delirium tremens, is a rapid attack of disturbing, possibly life-threatening symptoms brought about by abrupt cessation of alcohol. It is sometimes referred to as Alcohol Withdrawal Delerium (AWD.)

The typical onset of symptoms is about 72 hours after the last drink and persists for another 2-3 days.

About 50% of alcoholics will experience withdrawal symptoms upon cessation. Of these, up to 5% will develop DTs or have seizures. Long-term alcoholics are at the greatest risk for DTs, especially if they are suddenly unable to drink without immediate access to medical care.

Effects may include the following:
  • Shaking and shivering
  • Sweating
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Hallucinations
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Seizures

Occasionally, experiencing an elevated body temperature or seizures can be fatal. Alcohol is one of the few substances that may produce life-threatening withdrawal effects. Benzodiazepine and barbiturate withdrawals can produce similar symptoms, however.

DTs usually occur only in those who have consumed alcohol heavily for over 30 days. Symptoms are often worse at night.

Signs and Symptoms of Delerium Tremens (DTs)?

The primary symptoms of DTs include the following:

  • Nightmares and disturbed sleep
  • Agitation
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Hallucinations and environmental illusions (visual, auditory)
  • Formication (tactile hallucinations “crawling skin”)
  • Fever
  • Hypertension
  • Excessive sweating
  • Increased heart rate

Moreover, DTs is the most severe sign of alcohol withdrawal syndrome. DTs often include intense feelings of fear, anxiety, paranoia, approaching doom, and imminent death.

DTs can also produce uncontrollable tremors in the extremities, panic attacks, and confusion. The latter is frequently noticed by others as those suffering from DTs often have difficulty constructing simple sentences and performing basic calculations.

The usual cause of death during an episode of DTs is cardiac collapse.

What Causes Delerium Tremens?

Delirium Tremens | Midwood Addiction TreatmentThe exact cause of DTs is up for debate but is widely thought to be related to the neurotransmitter GABA, a chemical responsible for inducing relaxation and peace.

Moreover, drinking extreme amounts of alcohol, especially over a long period, impacts the body’s ability to regulate GABA.

To elaborate, when a person drinks excessively, experts believe that the body begins to mistake alcohol for GABA, and as a result, reduces production. So when a chronic alcohol abuser stops drinking abruptly, alcohol levels decline, and the body interprets this not having enough GABA to properly function.

This condition then leads to DTs. Christopher Pelic, MD and Hugh Myrick, MD stated the following in the journal Current Psychiatry (2003).

” The implication is that withdrawing alcohol triggers an “excitatory state” until the brain can readjust the fine balance between excitation and inhibition, a process that takes weeks to months. Some changes may never reverse because of the neurotoxic effects of alcohol and alcohol withdrawal.”

Is DTs the Same as Alcoholic Hallucinosis?

Delirium tremens is different from alcoholic hallucinosis (AH) as the latter manifests in around 20 percent of alcoholics admitted to a hospital and is not often fatal. DTs, on the other hand, is rarer and occurs in up to 10% of alcoholics, yet is fatal 15-40% of the time, depending on whether or not the individual receives treatment.

Finally, DTs are often characterized by “altered sensorium” or a full hallucinogenic experience without real-world perception. AH is rarer, and is usually limited to intense, acoustic, auditory hallucinations.

Treatment for DTs

Delirium Tremens | Midwood Addiction TreatmentAlcohol-induced DTs often require aggressive treatment and high doses of benzodiazepines (benzos) may be needed to avoid death.

Through the worse phase of DTs, the person typically remains sedated with benzos such as diazepam (Valium) or lorazepam (Ativan.)

Other pharmaceutical treatments include Haloperidol, an antipsychotic, intravenous thiamine, and Acamprosate.

Treatment should ideally be administered in intensive care unit. As noted, the death rate without treatment is about 15%-40%, but medically supervised patients die in approximately 1%-4% of cases.

Delerium Tremens: A Case Study

The following story (with minor edits) originated from Reddit and details a individuals’ personal experience with DTs.

“When I stopped drinking I was fantastically anxious. My ears were ringing, and it felt like I was surrounded by static. In fact, I felt like the world was closing in on me.

I went to lunch at a regular place, and I was sweating. I could not hear my lunch companion, but I could see her lips moving and her eating. …the guy across the restaurant, five tables away, I imagined I could hear his conversation as clear as a bell.

I returned to my office, and I had a panic attack believing irrationally that if I continued standing or walking around, I would be sucked out of my office window and that I would fall to my death. I laid down on my carpet and sunk my fingers into the pile of the carpet for safety. My heart was racing.

Everything I looked at was washed out…or looked as if it had been burned out. I had intrusive thoughts, and I could not sleep. The panic, the sweats, the crazy thoughts, the audio hallucinations, and the panic and racing thoughts continued for a few days, but never as bad as this meltdown moment around the first day or two.”

 

Getting More Information
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians.

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.

888-MAT-1110

What are Benzos?

What Are Benzos | Midwood Addiction Treatment

What Are Benzos Prescribed for and How Do They Work? Benzodiazepines, or benzos for short, are anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) drugs that are commonly used to treat anxiety disorder, panic disorder, insomnia, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal. Their sedative properties place them in a class of substances referred to as central nervous system (CNS) depressants.

How Benzos Work, Benzodiazepines boost the action of gamma-aminobutyric (GABA), a brain chemical that cells use to transmit information to each other to reduce brain activity and anxiety.

Common side effects include:
  • Drowsiness/sedation
  • Confusion
  • Dependence and withdrawal symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea/Constipation
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Headache
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Weight gain
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision

Popular benzodiazepines include:

  • alprazolam (Xanax, Xanax XR)
  • clobazam (Onfi)
  • clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • clorazepate (Tranxene)
  • chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • diazepam (Valium, Diastat Acudial, Diastat)
  • estazolam (Prosom is a discontinued brand in the US)
  • lorazepam (Ativan)
  • oxazepam (Serax is a discontinued brand in the US)
  • temazepam (Restoril)
  • triazolam (Halcion)
In addition to tablets, benzos are also available in the following forms:

Alprazolam (Xanax) and clorazepate (Tranxene) as extended-release tablets.

Alprazolam, clobazam, diazepam, and lorazepam in oral liquid form.

Alprazolam and clonazepam (Onfi) in orally dissolving tablets.

Chlordiazepoxide (Librium), oxazepam (Serax), and temazepam (Restoril) in capsule form.

Diazepam (Valium) is as a rectal gel.

Some benzodiazepines are also available for injection.

The Dangers of Benzos Use

Benzos are commonly abused drugs, among the most popular being Alprazolam (trade name Xanax.) In addition to the usual oral ingestion, tablets and capsules can also be crushed and snorted, smoked, or injected. This often results in a stronger, faster-onset high and the corresponding dangers that abuse in this manner can invoke.

A benzodiazepine overdose can occur when the drug is ingested in a quantity greater than indicated. While benzos on their own are not usually fatal, symptoms such as CNS depression, impaired balance, ataxia (loss of coordination), and slurred speech may occur.

Mixing high doses of benzos with other CNS depressants, however, can be quite risky. These drugs include but are not limited to antidepressants, alcohol, barbiturates, and opioids. Combining any of these substances with benzos can result in serious complications such as coma and death.

Statistics compiled by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention find that multiple drug intoxication involving benzodiazepines accounts for a large share of opioid-related overdoses and deaths, as well.

Getting More Information
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians.

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.

888-MAT-1110

Related: What is Benzo Addiction

Progress Not Perfection

Outpatient Detox

Moving Forward in Recovery Without Dwelling on Mistakes

Recovery from any serious illness, whether physical or mental/emotional, involves a tremendous amount of patience. The addiction recovery process is no different. Patience requires the acceptance of mistakes and acknowledging that they are a normal part of personal growth.

Hence, the term “Progress Not Perfection” is often used in addiction treatment and 12-step programs to remind those in recovery that while perfection is not attainable, improvement ALWAYS is.

Healing doesn’t happen overnight.

Progress Not Perfection

Addiction is a disease, and while there is no “cure,” sustainable recovery IS possible with a lifelong commitment. Due to chemical and functional changes in the brain, sobriety requires long-term personal and lifestyle changes. Moreover, healing takes time – usually, a great deal of time.

Both a person’s mental/emotional and physical well-being are predicated upon personal development and insight. Embracing sobriety is the first step, but the act of being sober does not change the past nor does it immediately wipe out brain changes or the triggers associated with substance use.

Therefore, recovery is often a case of “two steps forward, one step back.” And that’s okay. Forward momentum is needed to avoid or minimize relapses, and in reality, that’s all anyone needs to continue improving their life and reparation of relationships.

“Changes and progress very rarely are gifts from above. They come out of struggles from below.” ~ Noam Chomsky

“Start out slow if you must. Once you’ve begun, you are already ahead of most people.” ~ G. Edward McDaniel

 

You aren’t the same as before the addiction, but you aren’t the same as when you were in the throes of addiction, either.

When you engage in sobriety, a wealth of emotions, both bad and good, come spiraling up to the surface of your conscience. Because some of these feelings are difficult to deal with, the temptation to use again can become quite powerful.

But every minute, every day, every week you abstain from using is a victory. If you achieve 30 days and relapse, it doesn’t have to be the end of the line. It’s a learning experience, and how you, as a sentient being, interpret it.

Moreover, you can view a relapse event as a failure, under the presumption that you are weak and can’t handle it – or, you can perceive it as a normal, learnable mistake that can be used to help you avoid the feelings and triggers that led to the relapse in the first place.

According to psychologists, the five stages of change are precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance. What’s remarkable is this…if you are in recovery, you are already engaging in stage four – action. You are literally 80% of the way to a complete transformation. – remember this.

“If you’re walking down the right path and you’re willing to keep walking, eventually you’ll make progress.” ~ Barack Obama

“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

Recovery requires a mental transformation.

Progress Not Perfection | Midwood Addiction Treatment

By now, you are probably starting to understand how these three components of progress vs. perfection intertwine. Time + changes = transformation. But no transformation occurs without experiencing some setbacks.

Moreover, you have to let go of the idea that recovery is a do-or-die situation, predicated upon how perfectly you can rearrange your life and cope with the emotional aspects that contributed to the addiction. Mental transformation occurs because effort and patience are the basis for that metamorphosis, and people in recovery can lose sight of this fact and quickly become frustrated when setbacks occur.

But acknowledging and celebrating progress helps to remind us that we have made difficult strides and have come a long way from where we once were. You can’t change the past, but you can change the future, and if you falter, all you need to do is learn from those challenges and how to triumph over them in the end.

“Out of perfection nothing can be made. Every process involves breaking something up.” ~ Joseph Campbell

“Instead of waiting for perfection, run with what you do, and fix it along the way… ” ~ Paul Arden

We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians.

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.