Effexor and Alcohol

Effexor and Alcohol | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Are Effexor and Alcohol Safe to Combine? – Effexor (venlafaxine) is a prescription drug commonly used to treat depression, anxiety, and panic disorder. It works by increasing chemicals in the brain responsible for feelings of well-being.

By boosting neurotransmitters such as serotonin, the medication can help reduce feelings of depression and anxiety. The exact mechanism that causes this to occur, however, is not entirely clear.

Many people with anxiety and depression consume alcohol in combination with antidepressant drugs. Alcohol is known to interact with a number of drugs, and, sometimes, this pairing can be dangerous.

Effexor and Alcohol Side Effects

Sometimes people drink alcohol in an attempt to relieve symptoms of depression and other mental health problems. But alcohol can ease these symptoms only temporarily, and it may actually worsen chronic mood problems. It is never easy to determine if mental illness has led to alcohol use or the other way around.

Regardless, it is essential to know that using alcohol often exacerbates such problems in the long run. It is also linked to many other health risks, including liver disease, pancreatitis, and several types of cancer.

Using alcohol with Effexor can result in the adverse effects of either substance of being amplified. Although occasional alcohol use may not be hazardous, it is never advised to drink alcohol while using an antidepressant. Since many antidepressants are associated with side effects comparable to those of alcohol, these effects can be compounded while using both substances together.

Side effects of mixing Effexor and alcohol may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nervousness
  • Reduced inhibition
  • Impaired coordination
  • Confusion
  • Blackouts
  • Slowed reaction times
  • Decreased attention span
  • Cognitive impairment

If you combine alcohol and Effexor, you should never drive, operate machinery, or place yourself in any other potentially dangerous situation.

Effexor and Alcohol and Bleeding

Effexor, like other antidepressants, can contribute to bleeding problems by increasing the time it takes platelets to form normal clots. Alcohol also acts as a blood thinner, so using the two in conjunction can lead to an increased risk of the following bleeding conditions:

  • Stomach bleeding
  • Bleeding in the brain

Effexor and Alcohol | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Effects on Mental Health Conditions

Along with the detrimental effects of combining Effexor and alcohol, it is important to understand that alcohol use by itself has been known to worsen the symptoms of mental health problems. Likewise, a person who uses both of these substances may encounter even worse symptoms of mental illness, including the following:

  • Feelings of sadness
  • Hopelessness
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Decreased appetite

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that can hinder the effectiveness of Effexor. It’s not known precisely how much alcohol any given person would need to drink to neutralize the Effexor in their body because many factors are involved. For some, even one or two drinks could be a problem.

Alcohol essentially counteracts Effexor, meaning that it will exacerbate the symptoms of a mental health disorder. For this reason, using alcohol with Effexor is ultimately counterproductive. In other words, drinking alcohol while using this medication defeats the whole purpose of using it.

The best way to avoid worsening psychological problems and side effects is to avoid drinking alcohol while taking Effexor.

Takeaways

The critical takeaways about combining Effexor and alcohol include the following:

1. It is unknown whether it is safe to drink any amount of alcohol while using Effexor.
2. Mild effects of using Effexor with alcohol may include increased side effects of either substance, such as signs of intoxication.
3. This combination increases the likelihood of very severe side effects, such as bleeding problems or blacking out.
4. Combining alcohol with Effexor can make the symptoms of depression worse, and it can also prevent the medication from functioning correctly.

Treatment for Alcoholism

If you are using Effexor and have found yourself unable to quit drinking on your own, we urge you to seek professional help. Alcohol is ultimately not going to improve your mood—it will just make it worse. What’s more, it will probably decrease the effectiveness of any medications that actually help control mood disorders.

Midwood Addiction Treatment is an accredited treatment facility that specializes in substance use disorders. We offer comprehensive programs in both partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats. Our center employs evidence-based services proven to be highly beneficial for the recovery process.

These services include, but are not limited to, the following:

Our team of addiction specialists is dedicated to ensuring that each client receives the tools and resources they need to foster a full recovery! Contact us today and find out how we help those who need it most liberate themselves from the chains of addiction for life!

Effects of Using Ibuprofen and Alcohol

Ibuprofen and Alcohol | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Effects of Using Ibuprofen and Alcohol – Ibuprofen (brand name Advil) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) designed to relieve pain, inflammation, and fever. It’s sold over the counter, meaning that means it doesn’t require a doctor’s prescription. That said, some prescription-only medications may also contain ibuprofen.

Although OTC drugs such as ibuprofen are available without a prescription, they can still be strong medications. They also come with the risk of unwanted side effects, especially if you don’t use them as directed.

Should You Take Ibuprofen and Alcohol Together?

Mixing any medication with alcohol has the potential to be dangerous to your health. Alcohol can render some medications less effective and intensify the effects and side effects of others.

In most cases, drinking a moderate amount of alcohol while taking ibuprofen will not result in harm done. However, using more than the recommended dosage of ibuprofen or consuming an excessive amount of alcohol can significantly increase your risk of complications.

Gastrointestinal Bleeding

In a study of more than 1200 patients, it was revealed that the regular use of ibuprofen increased the risk of stomach and intestinal bleeding in those who consumed alcohol. People who used ibuprofen infrequently and drank alcohol were not found to have an increased risk.

Symptoms of gastric bleeding include the following:

  • Persistent upset stomach
  • Black, tarry stools
  • Blood in vomit
  • Kidney Damage

Chronic use of ibuprofen can harm the kidneys. Alcohol use can harm your kidneys, as well, so using ibuprofen and alcohol in combination can significantly increase a person’s risk of kidney problems.

Symptoms may include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Swelling in hands or feet
  • Shortness of breath
  • Decreased alertness

Ibuprofen works to reduce pain, and it can help a person feel relaxed. Alcohol has a similar relaxing effect, so, when combined, these two substances may raise the risk of not paying attention while driving or operating machinery, delayed reaction times, and falling asleep. And, of course, you should never drink and drive—ever.

Finally, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, some research has found that using alcohol in conjunction with ibuprofen can result in an increased heart rate. A rapid heart rate can lead to side effects such as dizziness and result in medical complications if the person has a pre-existing heart or lung condition.

Ask a Doctor

If you are taking ibuprofen for long-term treatment, ask your doctor if it’s safe to drink. He or she may say yes or no based on your personal risk factors. For example, if you use ibuprofen only occasionally, it may be safe for you to drink moderately.

NOTE: Consuming even one alcoholic drink while using ibuprofen may result in an upset stomach.

Side Effects of Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen and Alcohol | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Ibuprofen can aggravate the stomach lining, and result in a gastric or intestinal perforation, which can prove fatal. If you use ibuprofen, you should consume the lowest dosage you need to relieve symptoms. Also, you should not use the drug for longer than you need. Following these precautions can reduce your risk of side effects.

According to the ibuprofen drug warning label, the risk of stomach bleeding is higher for those who are over 60 years of age, take a high dosage, use the medication long-term, take blood thinning or steroid drugs, or have had a history of stomach bleeding.

As people age, their bodies are unable to metabolize alcohol as effectively. Therefore, smaller amounts of alcohol in older adults can cause more significant interactions with ibuprofen, leading to increased risks and dangers.

Other possible side effects include the following:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Gastritis
  • Fluid retention and swelling
  • Headache and dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Allergic reactions

Also, if you have asthma, ibuprofen can make asthma symptoms worse. High doses or prolonged use of ibuprofen may also lead to a heart attack or stroke.

If you are a breastfeeding mother or use other prescription or over-the-counter medications, ask your doctor if it’s safe to take ibuprofen. Using ibuprofen while pregnant may cause harm to the unborn baby.

Treatment for Alcoholism

If you are using ibuprofen regularly to treat pain or inflammation, you are advised not to consume alcohol to reduce your risk of complications. If you have found yourself unable to quit drinking on your own, you should consider seeking professional help.

Midwood Addiction Treatment is an addiction treatment facility that specializes in drug and alcohol addiction, as well as co-occurring mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression. We offer comprehensive programs that feature services vital to the recovery process, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, health and wellness programs, and more.

If you or someone you know is struggling to quit drinking alcohol or using drugs, call us now! Discover how we help people break the cycle of addiction and begin to experience the healthy and fulfilling lives they deserve!

Lyrica Drug Side Effects

Lyrica Drug | Suicide and Overdose | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Lyrica Drug Associated with Suicidal Behavior and Overdose Among Youths – According to a Swedish study published in the journal BMJ, the use of gabapentinoids was associated with an increased risk of suicidal behavior and accidental overdose. The risk was highest among those who were prescribed Lyrica (pregabalin) versus Neurontin (gabapentin), especially among younger persons.

For the study, researchers sought to examine the links between gabapentinoids and negative outcomes related to coordination disturbances, mental health, and criminal behavior. Subjects included nearly 192,000 people from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register who received prescriptions for gabapentinoids (pregabalin, gabapentin, or both) during the period between 2006-2013.

A total of 120,664 patients received pregabalin, and 85,360 received gabapentin. More than 14,000 had received both drugs. Most people in the study were women (59%) and were aged 45 or older. Primary outcome measures were suicidal behavior, accidental overdoses, head or body injuries, road traffic accidents and offenses, and arrests for violent crime.

Findings include the following:

  • More than 5% of participants were treated for suicidality or died from suicide (10,026)
  • Nearly 9% suffered from an accidental overdose (17,144)
  • More than 6% had a road traffic incident/offense (12,070)
  • Nearly 37% sustained head or body injuries (70,522)
  • More than 4% were arrested for a violent crime (7984)

Overall, gabapentinoid treatment was associated with an increased risk of suicidal behavior and deaths from suicide, accidental overdoses, head or body injuries, and road traffic incidents and offenses. When the drugs were analyzed separately, pregabalin was linked to increased hazards regarding all outcomes, whereas gabapentin was associated with less or no statistically significant dangers. An increased risk of all outcomes was associated with participants 15-24 years of age.

Lyrica Drug: What Are Gabapentanoids?

Gabapentinoids are a class of drugs with anticonvulsant, analgesic, and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties. Lyrica and Neurontin are both currently approved for the treatment of neuropathic pain and epilepsy in Europe and the United States. Lyrica is also approved for treating generalized anxiety disorder in Europe and fibromyalgia in the United States.

Prescriptions for both drugs have risen sharply in recent years, and gabapentinoids are among the top 15 money-making drugs worldwide. However, in recent years, concerns have been expressed about the overprescription of gabapentinoids for pain relief. Likewise, numerous complaints have been lodged regarding the prevalence of adverse side effects, which include dizziness, somnolence, balance problems, coordination difficulties, and cognitive impairments.

Off-Label Use of the Lyrica Drug

Lyrica Drug | Suicide and Overdose | Midwood Addiction Treatment

In a 2012 Canadian study, researchers sought to examine the experiences of doctors who prescribed gabapentin “off label”—the use of a marketed health product outside of indications specified in the approved product labeling.

Interviews were conducted with ten physicians in the Greater Toronto Area. It was determined that the subjects appeared to be relying mainly on anecdotal information garnered from colleagues and meetings, which raises doubts about the accuracy of their knowledge about possible off-label gabapentin uses. They stated that their findings suggested the need for more evidence-based information on off-label drug use “…as an important step toward improving rational prescribing and ultimately toward improving patient safety and health outcomes.”

Off-label prescribing of medications is a common practice in medicine. Importantly, off-label drug use does not necessarily imply improper or illicit use and can provide opportunities for patients to benefit from a drug’s potential effectiveness. However, there are also potential adverse effects of off-label use, which include negative reactions, liability for drug makers and health care practitioners, lack of patient reimbursements from insurance companies, and more.

In a recent article published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers reported there was “limited published evidence to support off-label gabapentinoid uses”. In fact, research has revealed some “clinical cases in which off-label use is problematic.”

The only conditions for which gabapentinoid medications are approved for are pain related to postherpetic neuralgia and diabetic neuropathy, spinal cord injury, and in the case of pregabalin, fibromyalgia. Still, the use of these drugs has tripled over the past 15 years. This increase likely reflects gabapentinoid use for treating other pain conditions off label, in part to avoid prescribing opioids.

Getting Treatment

Although gabapentanoids are believed to be non-addictive, they still have the potential for abuse, especially when used in combination with other drugs or alcohol. Drug abuse and addiction are destructive and potentially life-threatening conditions that are best treated in a specialized facility using evidence-based approaches, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and more.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers these services in both partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats. We are dedicated to ensuring that our clients receive the tools they need to be successful in their recovery and experience long-term wellness and sobriety.

If you or someone you love is suffering from drug abuse or addiction, contact us today. Discover how we help the people who need it most free themselves from the chains of addiction for life!

Is Oxycodone an Opiate?

Is Oxycodone an Opiate? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Oxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid painkiller and is among the most abused prescription drugs in the United States. The terms “opiate” and “opioid” are often used interchangeably, but they do refer to some differences between similar drugs.

The term “opiate” is often used in reference to natural compounds in the opium poppy. Opium can be extracted from the plant and contains the chemical compounds morphine, codeine, and thebaine.

Semi-synthetic opioids are opiates that have been chemically modified and work by binding to the same receptors as their natural counterparts. Fully synthetic opioids are entirely manufactured in a lab and include drugs such as fentanyl and methadone.

Many people have moved away from distinguishing between opiates and opioids and use the term “opioid” to denote both natural or human-made substances. If the term “opiate” is applied, it is usually thought of as the naturally-occurring compounds within the opioid class.

Opioids are also technically classified under the term “narcotic.” But, due to the adverse connotations that the term has when associated with illicit drugs, it has largely fallen out of use in medical environments. It might be helpful to think of opiates as being a subclass of opioids, and opioids being a subclass of narcotics.

Oxycodone Definition

Oxycodone is made by altering thebaine, a chemical compound found in opium. It changes the way in which the body perceives pain and also manipulates neurotransmitters in the brain responsible for feelings of well-being and reward. Under the Controlled Substances Act, oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II drug, indicating that it has a definite medical purpose but still a high potential for abuse.

Oxycodone is the potent main ingredient in many painkillers prescribed to those who are experiencing moderate to severe pain. Pills come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors depending on brand and dose, and oxycodone is also sometimes prescribed as a liquid. It is often found in a combination product with other drugs, including acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Although opioids are prescribed primarily to relieve pain, they can have adverse effects such as drowsiness and can lead to chemical dependence. Because opioids have a relatively high potential for abuse and addiction, the use of prescription opioids is strictly regulated in the U.S.

Not all opioids, however, can be prescribed for treatment. For example, heroin, a derivative of morphine, is a semi-synthetic opioid that is illegal and commonly abused by injection.

Common Oxycodone Brands

Among the most common brand names for oxycodone-based drugs include the following:

OxyContin

OxyContin is a controlled-release formula provides relief for chronic pain for up to 12 hours. Many people circumvent the time-release action by crushing and snorting the drug, or by dissolving the tablets in water and injecting the solution. Other modes of abuse include using more than the prescribed dosage, taking the drug for longer than the prescribed length of time, and chewing or injecting OxyContin.

Is Oxycodone an Opiate? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Percocet

Percocet is a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen and is commonly prescribed for a number of painful conditions that range from mild to severe. Like OxyContin, crushing and snorting Percocet is a common method of abuse.

Percodan

Percodan contains a combination of oxycodone and aspirin and belongs to a class of drugs called salicylates. It works in the body to reduce pain, fever, and inflammation. Although Percodan is not prescribed as often as Percocet, the drug has a high potential for addiction and has contributed to the epidemic of opioid addiction in the U.S.

Roxicodone

Roxicodone is a rapid-release formulation of oxycodone that is used to treat moderate-severe pain. It is often administered to a patient before surgery to sedate him or her and for the management of around-the-clock pain. When abused, such as when a person crushes or melts down the tablets for smoking or injecting, the drug induces a very quick high.

Oxycodone Effects and Abuse

As noted, using more than the prescribed dosage, taking the drug for longer than prescribed by a doctor, or chewing, crushing then snorting, or injecting the pills are all considered abuse of oxycodone. Many people abuse oxycodone for its euphoric effects, which are said to be somewhat comparable to that of heroin.

The effects of oxycodone use include:

  • Intense feelings of well-being
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Confidence
  • Relaxation and calm
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness

Because prescription opioid use is considered acceptable in our society, it can be challenging to identify or address abuse. Especially in the cases of valid prescriptions, it can be hard to distinguish the difference between an acceptable dose and misuse. Ultimately, it comes down to the adverse consequences the drug has on the user’s life and health. A definite red flag of abuse occurs when a person runs out of their medication too early before their next refill is available.

Common Drug Combinations

Alcohol and benzodiazepines are two of the most hazardous substances to mix with oxycodone. Because oxycodone, alcohol, and benzos are all central nervous system depressants, combining them can result in severe health complications, including death. This deadly cocktail can dramatically reduce breathing and cardiac function to the point of failure. Even if this combination doesn’t prove to be fatal, it can result in irreversible damage to the brain and major organs.

People dependent on oxycodone also frequently abuse marijuana and stimulants. These may be taken in conjunction to either intensify or diminish the effects of oxycodone.

Oxycodone has also been known to be a potential gateway drug for heroin use. When a person addicted to oxycodone cannot access their drug of choice, they may resort to using heroin as a less expensive, more accessible drug with similar effects.

Is Oxycodone an Opiate?: Overdose

Is Oxycodone an Opiate? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

When a person consumes a dose of oxycodone that overwhelms the body and impedes life-preserving physiological processes, such as breathing, they can experience an overdose. An oxycodone overdose can be a terrifying experience that includes a number of life-threatening symptoms. The sooner these symptoms are identified and addressed, the better the person’s odds are of surviving.

Oxycodone overdose symptoms include the following:

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

In addition to opioid overdose, as noted, many oxycodone products contain other drugs such as acetaminophen or aspirin, which can come with their own dangers. And, overdose on products containing acetaminophen, for example, can result in life-threatening liver failure.

If you witness any of these symptoms present in a user after consuming oxycodone, call 911, and seek emergency medical help immediately.

Getting Treatment for Addiction

Opioid addiction can be a devastating and potentially life-threatening condition that dramatically and adversely affects the lives of those suffering as well as their loved ones.

Midwood Addiction Treatment specializes in the treatment of opioid addiction and offers both partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats. Our comprehensive programs feature clinically-proven services, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, counseling, psychoeducation, group support, medication-assisted treatment, aftercare planning, and more.

We are dedicated to ensuring that every client receives all the tools, skills, resources, and support they need to foster a new, healthier life for themselves, free from the use of drugs and alcohol. Contact us today to discover how we help people free themselves from the powerful chains of addiction for life!

Street Names for Heroin

Street Names for Heroin | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Heroin is a potent, highly-addictive illegal opiate drug that has powerful effects which can profoundly depress the central nervous system (CNS) to the point of becoming life-threatening.

Some street names for heroin include the following:

  • Smack
  • H
  • Big H
  • Tar
  • Dope
  • Hell dust
  • Horse
  • Junk
  • Chiba
  • Brown sugar
  • Brown crystal
  • Mud
  • Mexican brown
  • Mexican mud
  • China White
  • White
  • White nurse
  • White lady
  • White horse
  • White girl
  • White boy
  • White stuff
  • Boy
  • Snow
  • Snowball
  • Skunk
  • Thunder

There are several different forms of heroin, including white and brown powders and black tar.

Black tar heroin also has several street names, including the following:

  • Black tar
  • Black pearl
  • Chiva
  • Mexican black tar
  • Mexican tar
  • Negra

Street names for heroin use include:

  • Chasing the dragon
  • Daytime and evening
  • Dip and dab
  • Jolly pop
  • Paper boy
  • Channel swimmer

What Does Heroin Look Like?

In the purest form, heroin is a fine white powder, but it can appear in other colors. When additives, such as sugar, are laced in to dilute the heroin, it can take on different shades ranging from brown, gray or even black.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) describes three main types of heroin:

  • White heroin, which is light-colored and powdery.
  • Brown heroin, which is brown or tan, less pure than white heroin, and often used for smoking rather than injecting.
  • Black tar heroin, which, in solid form, looks like black tar and is tacky and gooey, and, in powder form, looks like ashes.

Signs of Heroin Use

Street Names for Heroin | Midwood Addiction Treatment

After someone snorts or injects heroin, they will experience an initial euphoric rush, which may or may not be accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and skin flushing. The euphoria of heroin typically lasts for only a few minutes and is then followed by several hours of drowsiness.

Other noticeable physical signs of heroin use include:

  • Disorientation
  • Impaired coordination
  • Itching
  • Constricted pupils
  • Impaired mental functioning
  • Slurred, slowed or incoherent speech

Because heroin is a CNS depressant, many users enter a hazy, in-and-out of consciousness state known as being “on the nod.” An individual who is on the nod may appear alert one second and then fade out of consciousness. People who are nodding off experience reduced breathing and heart rates. Some heroin users have described being on the nod as a semi-hypnotic state hanging on the edge of consciousness.

Signs of a Heroin Overdose

A heroin overdose is a medical emergency and can rapidly result in coma and death. Being able to recognize the signs of a heroin overdose and respond urgently can a save a life.

Signs of a heroin overdose include very slow, labored, and shallow breathing, stopped breathing, pinpoint pupils and cold, clammy skin. The person may have perilously low blood pressure and a weak pulse and may fall into a coma. Other signs of a heroin overdose include bluish-colored lips and nails, discolored tongue, delirium, drowsiness, and uncontrolled muscle movements.

If you suspect that you or someone you love is experiencing a heroin overdose, call 911 immediately. If you have the anti-overdose drug Narcan (naloxone) available, administer it following the directions provided.

Signs of Long-Term Use

Repeated heroin use may result in many noticeable changes in an individual’s behavior, health, and mental well-being. Heroin addiction can happen rapidly, and as a person becomes increasingly absorbed with their addiction, they may neglect personal grooming and hygiene and begin to look disheveled and unkempt.

Other physical warning signs of chronic heroin use may include the following:

  • Damaged or collapsed veins
  • Bruising or “track marks”
  • Scabs and sores on skin
  • Nausea and stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Wheezing
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Sores on nostrils or lips
  • Sniffling and nose bleeds

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), chronic heroin users can also experience a myriad of serious medical complications, including abscesses and bacterial infections of the heart lining and valves. Heroin users can also develop lung, liver, and kidney disease, as well as arthritis and other musculoskeletal diseases. And because many heroin users administer the drug intravenously, they are also at a heightened risk of contracting bloodborne infections such as hepatitis B and C and HIV/AIDS.

Behavioral Signs of Heroin Use

As with any addiction, heroin use can dramatically alter a person’s behavior.

Behavioral signs of heroin abuse include the following:

  • Social isolation
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Lack of motivation
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Financial and legal problems
  • Lying and stealing
  • Secretive or suspicious behavior
  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Decreased interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Conflicts with friends, family, or co-workers
  • Socializing with new friends of questionable standards
  • Moodiness and poor emotional regulation

Heroin Paraphernalia

Street Names for Heroin | Midwood Addiction Treatment

If someone you know is using heroin, you may find items they use contain or consume the drug. Heroin is often sold in glass or plastic vials or small, tightly wrapped plastic bags or colored balloons. Since many users inject the drug, syringes, or needles are a huge red flag for heroin abuse.

Other items associated with heroin injection include the following:

  • Shoelaces, bandanas, rubber hosing or other items that serve as makeshift tourniquets to help better expose veins for injection
  • Cotton balls, sometimes used as filters to screen out the chunks or impurities in liquid heroin
  • Spoons, sometimes with bent handles or burn marks
  • Lighters, candles and burnt matches used to heat drugs to prepare for injection
  • Black smudges on clothing, carpet, door knobs, light switches, and furniture
  • Small orange caps used to cover a needle tip on syringes
  • Bloody tissues used to clean injection sites

If user smokes heroin, he or she will often have aluminum foil, lighters, candles, and other objects, such as straws or pipes through which they can inhale the smoke.

There may also be small pieces of balled up tinfoil or gum wrappers that have traces of white or brown powder and burn marks. They are used for heating the heroin prior to inhalation. Individuals who snort heroin may have limited drug paraphernalia, such as straws, rolled up dollar bills or paper, a hollowed out ink pen, or other hollow tubes.

Most heroin users will own a container or “tool kit,” in which they keep drug-related paraphernalia. Users have been known to be very creative in hiding their drugs and equipment and may use everyday household items such as cereal boxes or stuffed animals for optimal concealment.

Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction tends to be a chronic, devastating, and potentially life-threatening disease. Fortunately, it is very treatable, and if you or someone you love is abusing heroin, professional help is always available.

Midwood Addiction Treatment is a highly-specialized treatment center that offers evidence-based services and support in partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats. All programs include behavioral therapy, counseling, group support, medication-assisted treatment, aftercare planning, and much more.

Addiction does not have to be a life sentence. We are dedicating to help people break free from this vicious cycle by providing them with the resources, tools, and support they need to empower themselves and experience a long-lasting, complete recovery.

Contact us today to find out how we help people suffering from addictions to drug or alcohol achieve abstinence and foster healthier, more fulfilling lives for themselves!

What Is Xanax Half-Life?

Xanax Half-Life | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Xanax Half-Life

Xanax is an intermediate-acting benzodiazepine. After using Xanax in pill form, peak levels can be found in the blood about 1 to 2 hours later. The average half-life of Xanax in the blood is 11 hours in healthy adults, meaning that half of the drug has been broken down and eliminated through the urine during that period. It takes between five to seven half-lives for 98% of a drug dose to be expelled from the body, so Xanax takes at least four days to be fully eliminated.

The half-life of Xanax tends to be longer for the elderly, individuals who are considered obese, those with alcoholic liver disease, and people of Asian descent. Moreover, for these people, Xanax will likely take more time to metabolize and clear out of their system. Furthermore, the concentration of Xanax in the blood is up to 50% among tobacco smokers.

Xanax Half-Life – Detection Windows

Xanax is detectable in the blood, saliva, urine, and hair, but how long it can be identified depends on a variety of personal factors. Age, weight, body fat percentage, the presence of other medications, dose, length of time Xanax has been used, hydration level, and metabolism all influence how long it takes for the drug to be expelled from a person’s system.

The following are the estimated detection window times for Xanax:

Urine – A urine drug screen, such as those that are conducted for employment purposes, may test positive for Xanax up to one week after a dose. For populations (e.g., the elderly) who metabolize Xanax more slowly, that time may be longer.

Saliva – Xanax can be detected in saliva for up to 36 hours.

Hair – As with all drugs, Xanax can be identified in a hair follicle beginning two to three weeks after the last dose and for up to 90 days.

Blood – Blood samples may be taken for a screening test or in cases of treatment for a suspected or confirmed overdose, but they can only determine that a person has taken Xanax in the last 24 hours.

Risks of Xanax Use

Xanax can cause drowsiness and sedation, so for this reason, those using the medication should not drive, operate machinery, or engage in any other activity or task that requires full concentration and alertness. Xanax can have interactions if combined with other medications, illicit drugs, or alcohol, and can lead to severe, life-threatening breathing problems, sedation, and coma or death. Medications of particular concern are prescription opioids such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, and illegal drugs such as heroin.

Because Xanax can induce feelings of relaxation and well-being, and because tolerance for the drug can build rapidly, it has the potential to be habit-forming. Patients should take Xanax as directed, and are strongly advised not to use it more often or in larger doses, as this can lead to serious health complications, addiction, and overdose.

Do not suddenly stop using Xanax, as this can result in withdrawal symptoms and serious complications. Instead, talk to your doctor about a tapering schedule in which you are gradually weaned off the medication over time.

Symptoms of Xanax overdose can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Depressed respiration
  • Clammy skin
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disorientation
  • Weak pulse
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Coma

Xanax Half-Life | Midwood Addiction Treatment Center

Common Side Effects

Xanax can produce side effects that often subside once the body has become used to the medication. The most common side effects include the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Appetite changes
  • Joint pain
  • Nasal congestion

Serious Side Effects

Serious side effects are rare, and may include the following:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe rash
  • Yellowish eyes or skin
  • Memory problems
  • Speech difficulties
  • Confusion
  • Impaired coordination
  • Depression and mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Overdose

Treatment for Addiction

Xanax is a powerful sedative that has the potential for abuse and dependence. Because withdrawal symptoms associated with Xanax can be severe and even life-threatening, abrupt cessation is never advised, especially without the direct supervision of a medical professional or addiction specialist.

Midwood Addiction Treatment is a specialized treatment facility that employs a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to substance abuse and addiction. We offer multiple services vital to the process of recovery, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, medication-assisted treatment, and much more.

If you or someone you love is abusing Xanax, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today. Discover how we help people break free from the cycle of addiction for life!

What Is Gray Death?

What Is Gray Death? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

“Gray death,” or “grey death,” is the name given to a street drug that began showing up in certain regions in the U.S. near the end of 2016 and early 2017. It contains a blend of opioids, including heroin, fentanyl, and U-47700 (Pink). Mixtures and potencies vary between doses, and the product is often so strong that use can result in rapid death by overdose.

The name of the drug describes both its color, which is cement-like, and incredibly lethal nature. Indeed, this drug’s extremely high potency can result in instant death—even in small doses with minimal contact, such as through the skin while handling it. This new drug has so far been found in several states in the eastern part of the country, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

What Exactly Is In Gray Death?

Gray Death can be found in a variety of textures, and it is either powder or rock-like in appearance. People who have studied the samples of this new drug cannot fully explain it’s strange, defining, gray color. Although there is no standardized recipe used to in the production of gray death, several opioids are likely to be found in any given sample, and may include the following:

Heroin – Most batches of the gray death drug will probably contain at least some heroin, a semi-synthetic opiate derived from morphine that induces a strong and rapid euphoric high. An overdose of heroin can result in severe complications up to and including a life-threatening overdose.

Fentanyl – Fentanyl as a prescription drug is used in hospitals for general anesthesia and at home for severe pain. This legitimate use is usually in the form of a transdermal patch or lozenge, both of which administer the drug into the system in a prolonged and controlled manner.

Fentanyl is roughly 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times more powerful than heroin itself. An amount as minuscule as 0.25 mg can result in death when consumed and left untreated. Some fentanyl is diverted from legal prescriptions, but the vast majority is believed to be obtained through international drug markets from illicit labs in China or Mexico.

U-47700 (Pink) – Pink currently is not approved for human use, though it can be purchased on the Internet as a “research chemical.” The heroin-like effects of this drug make it a target of abuse, and it has caused several overdoses.

Carfentanil – Carfentanil is a synthetic opioid used as a tranquilizer for large animals, such as elephants. It is roughly 100 times more potent than fentanyl and about 10,000 times more powerful than morphine.

Exposure to any amount of carfentanil without the use of protective gear will likely result in death. Fortunately, at the time of this writing, carfentanil’s presence in the U.S. drug market appears to be minimal or non-existent.

Why Is Gray Death Increasing in Popularity?

What Is Gray Death? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Gray death’s prevalence is mostly due to the fact that it is powerful and inexpensive, both for buyers to purchase and manufacturers to produce. It can be purchased on the street for as little as $10, and drug makers can produce it with whatever ingredients they have available at the time.

Another reason for the sudden appearance of synthetic drugs such as gray death is that foreign labs producing drugs abroad and trafficking them to the United States will quickly change their formulations to evade U.S. drug laws. These ever-evolving analogs tend to be increasingly more potent, and with manufacturers constantly changing ingredients, users can never be sure exactly what they’re receiving.

Even with the known risks, some people who are addicted to opioids may be seduced by gray death’s ability to induce a high unlike other drugs out there. Using a drug like this is, in essence, like playing Russian Roulette.

Who Uses Gray Death?

Most users and victims of gray death are those who are addicted to opioids, particularly powerful ones. These individuals may intend to purchase straight heroin but accidentally consume gray death. Heroin use has become increasingly dangerous in the last few years, in large part because so many adulterants are being added to it.

Tragically, it is not only opioid users who can be affected. Those who treat victims of overdoses can become victims themselves. First responders such as emergency medical personnel and law enforcement are at risk if they come into contact with it.

Synthetic opioids can easily be absorbed through the skin or inhaled without the person’s knowledge. There have been reports of police and others experiencing an overdose from having minimal contact with the substance.

Just How Deadly Is It?

The inclusion of fentanyl, carfentanil, and U-47700 places gray death currently among the deadliest drugs on the street. Because a dose that can’t even be seen the naked eye can kill a person, someone trying to take heroin, as usual, can die within minutes. As it is, thousands of Americans are killed each year as a result of overdoses related to heroin, fentanyl, synthetic opioids, and prescription painkillers.

In the last two years or so, overdoses and deaths from gray death have been increasing. Unfortunately, exact numbers are difficult to determine, because toxicology testing and coroner reports do not always identify it as the substance consumed. Moreover, a person who has died after using gray death may have just “drug” (e.g., heroin) reported as the cause of death.

Overdose

What Is Gray Death? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Fortunately, the same methods used to treat a heroin overdose can be used to reverse a gray death overdose, but the process may be more challenging. A person overdosing on gray death might require multiple doses of Narcan (naloxone), and some people may, in fact, need up to ten doses to recover. When this occurs, it can be a major problem because family members and first responders may not have that amount on hand.

If you are concerned that someone you know is getting too high, it is vital that you don’t leave them alone. If the person is still conscious, try to keep them awake and monitor their breathing. If they are lying down, keep them on their side to prevent them from aspirating their own vomit.

The following are signs of an overdose:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Stupor
  • Respiratory depression
  • Choking or gurgling
  • Vomiting
  • Body is limp and pale
  • Bluish nails and lips
  • Pulse is slow or absent

If a person high on opioids is making unfamiliar sounds while at rest, it is worth trying to wake him or her. Many loved ones of opioid addicts think the person is snoring, when in fact they are fatally overdosing.

These situations represent a missed opportunity to intervene as early as possible and save a life. If you suspect someone you know is overdosing on any drug or alcohol, call 911 immediately and stand by for their instructions while you wait for emergency help to arrive.

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Opioid abuse or addiction are devastating and potentially life-threatening disorders that require immediate professional help. Midwood Addiction Treatment center offers comprehensive treatment plans that include clinically-proven services, such as psychotherapy, counseling, group support, medication-assisted therapy, aftercare planning, and more.

Our highly-trained staff provides our clients with the tools and support they need to achieve abstinence, avoid relapse, and end their suffering once and for all. Contact us today to find out how we can help!

What Is a Gateway Drug?

What Is a Gateway Drug? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

A popular theory that is somewhat backed by evidence is that the use of certain habit-forming substances that are considered less harmful than some others can progress into the use of stronger, more potent, and addictive drugs. Substances that are correlated with increasingly more intense drug use are referred to as gateway drugs.

The Gateway Drug Theory

Gateway drugs are substances believed to open the door to the use of extremely dangerous and powerful addictive illegal drugs such as meth, heroin, and cocaine. Prescription painkillers, marijuana, nicotine, and alcohol increase dopamine levels, which results in pleasure and feelings of reward.

This dopamine boost induced by gateway drugs before adulthood while the brain is still developing can result in less dopamine production later in life. This alteration in brain chemistry may compel people to seek more potent drugs that cause much higher releases of dopamine. Gateway drugs are also purported to prepare the brain for a response to other substances, a process referred to as cross-sensitization.

Recent History and Controversy

Since the 1980s, young people have been warned by educators and others about the potential dangers of using gateway drugs. For many years, middle school health educators have made the topic of gateway drugs a focus of their teachings. However, the controversy surrounding this theory has led some to reconsider the use of the term.

Officials at DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) now admit that most people who smoke marijuana do not move on to the use of more powerful drugs. Indeed, some critics believe that marijuana use may actually prevent other drug use, despite the fact there is little reliable evidence that exists to support that assertion.

Critics also contend that the gateway drug theory is flawed because it frequently relies on animal research. Likewise, drug use rates in other countries do not appear to be influenced by the pervasiveness of marijuana.

Support for the Theory

For decades, supporters of this theory have argued that certain substances, such as marijuana, are gateway drugs. Conversely, critics claim that no substantial evidence exists to support the theory. Supporters refer to a copious amount of research that may strengthen the theory.

For example, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (2016) found that teenagers who use gateway drugs are as much as 266 times more likely to develop an addiction to cocaine than those who do not. This same study also revealed that nearly all cocaine users (90%) previously used marijuana, cigarettes, or alcohol before trying cocaine. Indeed, although no evidence solidly confirms the gateway drug theory, many trends suggested by research lend some credence to it.

Backlash

Critics often point out that compulsive drug-using behavior is the product of a variety of factors, including genetic makeup, family history, childhood trauma, mental illness, and home and community environment. Moreover, some critics believe that gateway drugs are but a single factor among many factors that contribute to a person’s risk of experimenting with more dangerous substances.

Some reports have supported this argument. For example, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), most young marijuana users stop consuming the drug upon reaching adulthood.

What Are Common Gateway Drugs?

Alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine have long been commonly referred to as gateway drugs. In recent years, prescription drugs and other common substances have joined the list.

Alcohol

What Is a Gateway Drug? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that impairs brain functioning and motor skills. In 2014, almost 88% of adults reported consuming alcohol at some point in their lives, and nearly 25% reported engaging in binge drinking in the past month. If the gateway drug theory is correct, alcohol is probably a gateway drug, according to the finding of many studies.

For example, a University of Florida study revealed that students who used alcohol were as much as 16 times more likely to use illicit substances, such as certain stimulants, later on in life. Many students began experimentation with socially acceptable substances such as alcohol or tobacco before transitioning to marijuana use. Eventually, they may move on to harder drugs, such as cocaine.

Illicit substances linked to alcohol use include marijuana, cocaine, and opioids, namely heroin. Multiple studies have found that drinking at a young age influences drug use later in life. A study from 2016 published in the Journal of School Health found that 6th-grade students who consumed alcohol went on to try illicit drugs later on in life.

What’s more, a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration SAMHSA) survey found that underage drinkers were more likely to use illegal drugs within two hours of alcohol consumption than legal drinkers. And, a majority of teenage drinkers used illicit drugs, such as marijuana.

Marijuana

Marijuana is a drug that can alter a person’s attention, memory, motivation, and ability to learn. More than 22 million people admitted to using marijuana in the past month in per NIDA (2014), making it the most used illicit drug (at the time) in the United States. Although cannabis is probably the most commonly recognized gateway drug, its contribution to the use of more powerful drugs has often been hotly debated.

Many contend that marijuana use can increase a person’s tolerance for stronger drugs, and some research has suggested this contention may be correct. For example, a study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy revealed that nearly 45% of regular marijuana users also used another illicit drug later on in life, and one of those drugs is heroin.

Studies have found that the majority of heroin users began their relationship with intoxicating substances by drinking alcohol or using marijuana. Indeed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), marijuana users are three times more likely than non-users to abuse heroin.

Of note, according to a report by the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, there is a “moderate relation between early teen marijuana use and young adult abuse of other illicit substances” but that “this association fades from statistical significance with adjustments for stress and life-course variables.” Moreover, researchers found that “any causal influence of teen marijuana use on other illicit substance use is contingent upon employment status and is short-term, subsiding entirely by the age of 21.”

Prescription Drugs

Per NIDA, About 52 million Americans over age 12 have used prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in their lifetime, and opioid painkillers are the most commonly abused. Prescription drugs such as opioids have been strongly linked to heroin use.

Heroin is a synthesized opiate that can be laced with other prescription drugs, such as fentanyl, to achieve a more powerful high. Many prescription drugs have effects similar to heroin, which has led to many opioid abusers to transition to these highly-addictive and often deadly drugs.

According to the CDC, opioid users are forty times more likely to abuse heroin than non-users. In comparison, people suffering from alcohol addiction were just two times more likely to abuse heroin than non-users, and marijuana users are three times more likely to use heroin. Many opioid abusers also switch to heroin because it is a less expensive option, or do so when they are no longer able to obtain their prescription drug of choice, for whatever reason.

What Is a Gateway Drug? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Other Gateway Drugs

Many substances, both legal and illicit, can boost dopamine levels and have the potential to serve as a gateway drug. These include but are not limited to nicotine, inhalants (e.g., paint thinner), ecstasy (MDMA), anabolic steroids, and energy drinks.

Treatment for Drug Addiction

Midwood Addiction Treatment specializes in the treatment of substance and addiction. We offer comprehensive programs that include psychotherapy, counseling, group support, medication-assisted therapy, and much more. Our skilled staff are dedicated to equipping clients with the tools they need to achieve abstinence, prevent relapse, and enjoy long-lasting, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you or your loved one break free from the cycle of addiction for life!

Meth Mites and Meth Sores

Meth Mites and Meth Sores | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Meth Mites and Meth Sores – Methamphetamine use can result in devastating effects on a person’s health and well-being. Much of the damage induced by meth happens internally, but the most obvious harm can be seen on a person’s skin, and much of it is caused by the hallucinatory presence of “meth mites.”

People who use meth are infamous for exhibiting sores, scratches, scabs, and scars. These injuries are often attributed to hallucinations that make them believe they have insects under their skin. Meth users often pick or scratch at their skin to try to remove the nonexistent bugs. However, several other factors can contribute to meth sores, including injection track marks, malnutrition, and poor hygiene.

What Are Meth Mites?

“Meth mites,” “meth bugs,” and “crank bugs” are all street terms for the same type of hallucination. People who use meth tend to stay awake for several days, and sleep deprivation itself can induce hallucinations in otherwise healthy individuals. Researchers have not identified an exact cause of meth hallucinations, but there are many well-founded theories, including the following:

Cause 1: Meth use can cause itchiness, anxiety, and paranoia. After many days without sleep, people who use meth may begin to perceive the itching is caused by something under the skin.

Cause 2: People who use meth may have unhealthy skin because of malnutrition, poor hygiene, or the toxic ingredients used to produce meth. When high on meth, users may compulsively scratch or pick at their already weakened skin, causing irritations and sores.

Cause 3: Sleep deprivation and/or psychotic features of “tweaking” may cause a user to begin hallucinating and erroneously believe that bugs are causing their existing skin problems.

Tweaking is a word used to describe erratic and bizarre behavior caused by stimulant abuse.

Meth Sores

Meth sores and scabs are hallmarks signs of meth abuse or addiction. In general, those who abuse meth more frequently or for longer periods are likely to exhibit more sores than others. In addition to being unappealing to look at, meth sores can cause health problems if they become infected. Some meth sores can be treated with disinfectants, but sores that become infected will likely require medical treatment.

What Do Meth Sores Look Like?

Meth Mites and Meth Sores | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Meth sores can vary in appearance depending on the cause, the presence of infection, and how long they’ve been on a person’s skin. However, meth sores on the skin tend to appear as red dots, rashes, and cuts. On the face, meth sores can appear similar to acne.

Sores can also develop around the lips or on inside the mouths of people who smoke crystal meth. These sores can look like canker sores or cold sores, and they are one of the symptoms of what is referred to as “meth mouth.”

On other parts of the body, meth sores may appear similar to chickenpox blisters that the person has scratched. When a sore gets infected, it may look like a bad blister with a brown or black center. The blister may also be swollen and pus-filled.

Without treatment, the infection can spread. If a user with meth sores treats the sores appropriately and stops abusing meth, the wounds will eventually heal and scar, and some will ultimately fade away.

Health Impact of Meth Sores

Meth sores are associated with health risks similar to those of other types of open wounds. If the sore isn’t properly cleaned and protected, bacteria can enter a person’s body and cause infections, which can be anywhere from minor to severe.

Minor infections can result in pain and discomfort, and if the infection spreads and becomes severe, it can lead to fever, fatigue, and diarrhea. Such infections that go untreated can be life-threatening. Signs of worsening infection include redness and soreness around the afflicted area, as well as swelling and the presence of pus or blood into the wound.

Meth sores that are related to unsterile injections may also indicate the presence of a contagious disease. Meth users often have weak or compromised immune systems, so any wound they sustain may take longer to heal. Likewise, their infections may become more severe and spread more rapidly.

How to Treat Meth Sores

The simplest way to treat meth sores is to live a healthy lifestyle, wait for them to heal on their own, and protect them from infection in the process. Clean the wounds with disinfectants or antiseptics, such as hydrogen peroxide, and then bandage them. Avoid picking, scratching, or in any way interfering with the wound’s healing process.

And, of course, you should stop using meth immediately. Quitting any habit-forming substance is much easier said than done, and people who are addicted to meth should seek professional treatment. Once you’ve quit using crystal meth for good and adopt a healthier lifestyle, your skin and overall health will improve.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers outpatient detox and comprehensive programs in both partial-hospitalization and outpatient formats. These programs employ services clinically-proven to be highly beneficial for the recovery process, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and more.

If you are suffering from an addiction to meth, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today. Discover how we can help you free yourself from the abuse of substances and foster the healthy and satisfying life you deserve!

What Is GHB?

What Is GHB? | Effects and Risks | Midwood Addiction Treatment

GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate, C4H803) is commonly recognized in popular cultures as a “date rape” drug. It is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant most often abused by teenagers and young adults at clubs, concerts, parties, and raves. To incapacitate a potential victim, GHB is sometimes placed in the alcoholic beverage of a drinker who is completely unaware of its presence.

Of note, Xyrem (sodium salt of gamma hydroxybutyrate) is a brand name prescription medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of narcolepsy, a condition in which a person can fall asleep unpredictably in inappropriate situations. It is a tightly controlled drug in the U.S. and mandates patient enrollment in a restricted access program.

Effects of GHB

The chemical gamma-hydroxybutyrate is produced by the body naturally when food is metabolized in the stomach. When abused in drug form, euphoria, increased sexual desire, and relaxation are all reported as positive effects of GHB use. Less desirable effects may include sweating, loss of consciousness, nausea, vomiting, amnesia, hallucinations, and coma.

Many people report that in small doses, GHB induces effects comparable to those of stimulants. But as a CNS depressant, and in high enough doses, it causes a state of relaxation and drowsiness that can also lead to impaired coordination, slurred speech, and unconsciousness. Such effects are amplified when GHB is combined with alcohol and can onset within minutes. For this reason, GHB, in addition to Rohypnol, is popularly used as a date rape drug.

There has been a great deal of debate regarding the safety of recreational GHB use. Many users report that when used in small doses, and not in conjunction with other drugs, it is relatively safe and non-addictive. Nonetheless, recent findings from new research have revealed that it is indeed addictive, and sudden discontinuation can induce unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Dangers and Risks of GHB

Anecdotal evidence from users claims that GHB is relatively safe when used on its own. However, there has been a number of reported cases of users suffering an overdose when the drug is repeatedly consumed in high doses.

Symptoms of an overdose may include the following:

  • Sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Shallow breathing
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Blackouts
  • Unconsciousness

How GHB Is Used as a Date Rape Drug

What Is GHB? | Effects and Risks | Midwood Addiction Treatment

GHB is found as an odorless, colorless substance that can be combined with alcohol and slipped to unsuspecting victims with the intent to engage in a sexual assault. Victims can become quickly incapacitated due to its potent sedative effects and are therefore unable to fight against a would-be attacker. GHB may induce amnesia, and thus cause the victim to remember little to nothing of the experience.

It can be obtained on the streets or the Dark Web in liquid form or as a white powdery substance for illicit use. Most of the GHB found on both streets and the Internet is produced illegally in labs and is thus unlikely to be a product of prescription drug diversion.

GHB Addiction

Despite the claims of many users, research has shown that GHB does have some potential for dependence and addiction. When someone starts using it for non-medical purposes, eventually they can develop a tolerance and require increasingly higher doses to feel the same intensity of effects. Considering how powerful this depressant is, however, even one extra dose of it can lead to a potentially life-threatening overdose.

Because GHB is broken down in the system rapidly, if someone who is dependent skips even one dose, unpleasant withdrawal symptoms can manifest within just a few hours. Sweating, anxiety, panic attacks, elevated heart rate, and high blood pressure are the first indicators that a person is suffering from withdrawal. These initial symptoms will wane after 2-3 days.

If GHB is abused in very high doses for an extended period, another stage of withdrawal characterized by an altered mental state, hallucinations, and sleep disturbances can occur. This condition is similar to delirium tremens—a life-threatening condition associated with chronic alcohol use that includes seizures, tremors, and psychosis. As these symptoms subside, cravings, mood changes, fatigue, and anxiety may persist for a few days longer.

Treatment for GHB Addiction

Although it is unlikely that a person will become addicted to GHB after one or two doses, repeated use can develop into dependence and lead to the onset of withdrawal symptoms upon cessation. For this reason, persons abusing GHB should seek professional treatment as soon as possible.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers integrated, research-based treatment programs for those struggling with substance abuse or addiction. Our programs, which include psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and medication-assisted treatment, are delivered by highly-trained, compassionate professionals with years of experience in the fields of addiction and mental health.

If you or a loved one is abusing GHB, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today. Find out how we help people recover and begin to experience the healthy and fulfilling life they deserve!