Ritalin Withdrawal

Relieving Ritalin Withdrawal

Ritalin is a prescription medication used to treat people diagnosed with ADHD or narcolepsy. While it can be highly effective in helping individuals manage the symptoms of these disorders, the drug also has a high potential for abuse. Ritalin, like its cousin Adderall, is a stimulant, and both of these drugs have been significantly misused over the past decade or so.

Ritalin abuse often impacts the college age demographic. The prescription stimulants have become popularized as “study drugs” for their capacity to keep students alert and productive well into the wee hours. Unfortunately, attempting to stop taking Ritalin after an extended period of abusing the drug will result in Ritalin withdrawal symptoms. Ritalin withdrawal is highly uncomfortable, as the rebound effects—the very symptoms the student was hoping to avoid—begin to emerge.

It is possible to safely manage Ritalin detox and withdrawal in a medically supervised environment. Detox experts will slowly taper the individual off of the drug, which allows for a safer detox process. After the detox and withdrawal phase is completed, the individual can transition, if needed, to an addiction recovery program. Rehabs for Ritalin addiction are available in either an outpatient or residential setting, and will equip individuals with the new coping skills needed to break free from the drug.

What is Ritalin?

Ritalin is the brand name of methylphenidate, a prescription central nervous system stimulant produced by Novartis. It works by affecting the areas of the brain and central nervous system that regulate impulsivity and hyperactivity. Other brand names for the drug include Concerta, Metadate, and Methylin.

Ritalin is a Schedule II controlled substance, as the drug has been identified as having a high potential for abuse. It is important to note that both cocaine and methamphetamine also hold a Schedule II classification. Ritalin can be diverted and sold through illicit channels for recreational use or for weight loss purposes. Ritalin comes in instant release, sustained release, and long-acting release formulations.

While Ritalin and Adderall are prescribed for the same medical conditions, Ritalin is more commonly issued to children ages 6-17. Approximately 6.1 million children in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD according to the CDC.

Ritalin Addiction and Abuse

Even though it is a stimulant, for individuals diagnosed with ADHD Ritalin works to help slow down their hyperactivity and impulsive behaviors. However, in those with no such condition, Ritalin has a true stimulant effect that causes it to be a popular drug of abuse. Some of the reasons why Ritalin is misused include:

  • Sharpens cognitive abilities
  • Increases concentration
  • Reduces the need for sleep
  • Decreases appetite that results in weight loss
  • Improves ability to take on heavy workload
  • Has stimulant effects that produce a high
  • Is used recreationally along with alcohol

Ritalin can be taken orally in tablet form, or it can be crushed and liquefied for injection. Slang terms for Ritalin include vitamin R, R-ball, rids, kiddie cocaine, diet coke, and skittles.

People who somehow gain access to the drug without a legitimate prescription and begin to abuse the Ritalin will quickly develop a drug tolerance. This means that it takes more of the drug to experience the desired effects. With extended Ritalin abuse the brain becomes dependent on the substance. Ritalin has the potential to cause both a physical and psychological addiction.

What are the Signs of Ritalin Addiction?

As with other stimulant use disorders, the signs of addiction to Ritalin involve behavioral, psychological, and physical symptoms:

Behavioral symptoms of Ritalin addiction include:

  • Unable to curtail Ritalin use even when desired to cut back
  • Doctor shopping to find new sources for the drug
  • Purchasing the Ritalin online or on the street
  • Continuing to use Ritalin even with increasing negative consequences
  • No longer spending time with friends and family
  • Moodiness
  • Decline in school or work performance
  • Neglect responsibilities

Psychological symptoms of Ritalin addiction include:

  • Agitation
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Irritability, agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Incomplete thoughts
  • Ritalin cravings
  • Paranoia
  • Depression

Physical symptoms of Ritalin addiction include:

  • Weight loss
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Exhaustion
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms

Adverse Ritalin Effects Caused by Addiction

When someone continues to abuse Ritalin they will be more susceptible to more serious health effects from the drug. These are indicative of a significant drug addiction:

  • Anxiety
  • Mania
  • Blurred vision
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Rapid pulse (tachycardia)
  • Stroke
  • Mental confusion
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Overdose

What to Expect During Ritalin Withdrawal

Treatment for Ritalin addiction is likely to start with the detox and withdrawal process. Ritalin withdrawal symptoms will begin to surface when the individual stops taking the drug. The ideal method of detoxing from Ritalin is within a medically monitored environment where there is careful observation of withdrawal symptoms. A supervised detox can help prevent a possible relapse when the withdrawal symptoms peak, as the appropriate medical interventions will be provided to help minimize discomfort.

The severity of withdrawal symptoms and length of the detox will depend on the severity of the stimulant use disorder. The timeline ranges from a few days to several weeks, and withdrawal symptoms range from mild to severe. In some cases, a gradual tapering schedule will be assigned to individuals with a more serious Ritalin dependency to help modulate the withdrawal symptoms.

Ritalin withdrawal symptoms usually emerge mildly within 12 hours of the last dose. The symptoms intensify on days 2-4, and then begin to wane over the next days and weeks.

Withdrawal symptoms might include:

  • Intense drug cravings
  • Panic attacks
  • Increased appetite
  • Restlessness
  • Angry outbursts
  • Cravings
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Extreme fatigue or exhaustion
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mental confusion
  • Nightmares
  • Suicidal thoughts

During the medical detox the goal is to safely guide the individual through the withdrawal symptoms to completion of the detox process. Key to this success is providing the medical and psychological support that will help reduce physical and emotional discomfort. In some cases, antidepressants are prescribed to assist with some of the symptoms. Also, modafinil and benzodiazepines may offer some relief as well.

Because individuals who complete the detox may continue to experience cravings and psychological symptoms, such as depression or anxiety, it is always recommended that he or she follow up the detox with an outpatient or residential rehab program.

Getting Help for Ritalin Addiction

Following a successful Ritalin withdrawal, the individual will begin the process of recovery. This step involves a multifold approach to overcome the ingrained addictive behaviors. Therapy helps individuals learn to change the disordered thoughts and behavior patterns that lead to stimulant abuse, and an assortment of other treatment elements further support these new recovery strategies.

Treatment for Ritalin addiction or dependence includes:

  • Individual therapy. These one-on-one psychotherapy sessions allow the individual to explore the underlying reasons for succumbing to Ritalin addiction with a licensed therapist. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a popular type of psychotherapy used for addiction recovery. Using CBT the therapist guides the person toward identifying thought distortions that had resulted in Ritalin misuse, such as “No way can I keep up with all this work without the Ritalin.” The therapist helps the individual foster more positive self-talk and constructive actions.
  • Group sessions. These small group therapy sessions include participants and a therapist who will lead the group in discussion. Group therapy offers a safe space where people can connect with each other and offer support. The sessions allow participants to share their struggles with Ritalin while encouraging each other along in recovery.
  • 12-step groups. A.A.’s 12-step programming is a staple at many rehabs. The recovery meetings provide a supportive setting where individuals in recovery can enjoy fellowship. A structured, incremental program of the 12 steps guides this program. Some rehabs offer alternative recovery programs to A.A., so it just comes down to personal preference as to which type of program resonates.
  • Recovery tools. The main goal of a rehab program is to equip the person with the tools they will need to sustain their recovery. This can include learning how to better manage emotions, time management skills, and how to manage stress more effectively through the use of relaxation techniques. These techniques, such as practicing mindfulness, taking yoga classes, learning deep breathing techniques, or using guided meditation apps, can be extremely useful in recovery.
  • Relapse prevention plan. The reality of addiction recovery is that certain triggers can lead to a relapse back into Ritalin misuse. Making a detailed list of the potential triggers, and then identifying proactive steps to take when encountering triggers, can improve recovery success.
  • Follow up. Many rehabs offer alumni services where former clients can stay in touch with each other in recovery through alumni events and forums. Outpatient therapy is another helpful continuing care strategy for reinforcing sobriety from Ritalin, as these sessions with the therapist can help individuals maneuver obstacles that might threaten recovery.

While going through the discomfort of Ritalin withdrawal is certainly nothing to look forward to, it is the first important step toward reclaiming your freedom from the grip of addiction…and so worth it.

Ken Seeley Communities Can Help You with Ritalin Withdrawal

Ken Seeley Communities is a recovery complex located in Palm Springs, CA. Both Ritalin and Adderall addiction is widespread, and the team of addiction recovery experts at Ken Seeley Communities is trained to help individuals who have developed a problem with prescription stimulants. Ken Seeley Communities offers all levels of the treatment on the recovery continuum, including medical detox, outpatient and residential treatment, and sober living housing. Reach out to us today if you or a loved one is concerned about Ritalin withdrawal so the team can answer your questions. Call (877) 744-0502.

 

where do i get help for alcohol abuse

Where Do I Get Help for Alcohol Abuse

Problem drinking can creep up slowly. In fact, what might have started off as a timely intervention for managing stress, say with a cocktail after work, can surprise you when you suddenly realize that your single cocktail has slowly multiplied into several. This can happen as the body becomes more tolerant of the presence of alcohol, which causes a reduction in the initial relaxing effects of the substance. To keep those effects going, you may find yourself increasing consumption.

At some point along the way, it has become clear that you are in need of some help. This realization may appear due to experiencing severe hangovers or even blackouts. As you face the reality that you have developed an alcohol problem, you find yourself wondering, “Where do I get help for alcohol abuse?” This question might have even greater merit during the pandemic when it is unclear which recovery support services are even available now.

Fortunately, many treatment centers have continued to operate during the Covid-19 health event, as addiction treatment is considered an essential service. While outpatient programs have largely shifted online to telehealth therapeutic support, residential rehabs have revamped their facilities to create safe living environments that adhere to CDC guidelines.

With the added stress of the coronavirus pandemic adding additional triggers that lead to alcohol abuse, individuals now more than ever are encouraged to seek professional guidance. Through the interventions of a comprehensive treatment program, alcohol abuse can be thwarted before an alcohol use disorder becomes entrenched into a more serious alcohol dependency. If you are asking yourself, “Where do I get help for alcohol abuse” it is a sign that you recognize the problem and know that you are losing control over the drinking. Listen to your gut.

How Does an Alcohol Use Disorder Happen Anyway?

It is still a mystery as to why some individuals seem to be able to abuse alcohol regularly and never develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD), while others may acquire the disorder in short order. This is a scientific quandary that has not yet been answered through research.

There are, however, some recognized factors that might contribute to the risk of developing an AUD. Understanding these risk factors is helpful in proactively avoiding the possibility of alcoholism from occurring. Again, these are only risk factors, not causes, which only provide some guidance in decision-making regarding alcohol use:

  • Beginning to consume alcohol at a young age, as in under age 15
  • Family history of alcoholism
  • Genetics, specific biology differences that effect how alcohol is processed
  • Culture and ethnicity, with AUD more prevalent in Europe and the US
  • Personality traits, such as being prone to impulsive and high-risk behaviors
  • Having a mental health disorder increases the chances of self-medicating

Alcoholism can affect each person differently, so without any way to test someone in order to predict their chances of developing the disease all we have to go one currently is acknowledging known risk factors and moderating alcohol intake accordingly.

What Are the Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder?

Someone who has a drinking problem could begin to fall into certain behavior patterns, as well as display the telltale signs of an AUD. These might include the following:

  • Attempts to limit or quit alcohol consumption fail
  • Drinking more alcohol over a longer period than intended
  • Needing to consumer ever-higher amounts of alcohol to experience the initial positive effects or ward off withdrawal symptoms
  • Spending a great deal of time drinking or recovering from effects of drinking
  • Neglecting family or work obligations
  • Increasingly relying on alcohol for perceived needs, such as getting to sleep or prior to a stressful situation
  • Bloating of the face and/or gut
  • Hand tremors
  • Glassy eyes

The adverse effects caused by alcohol abuse are many. According to an article published in the Alcohol Research and Health journal, alcohol abuse causes a litany of serious medical and psychiatric conditions including:

  • Certain cancers
  • Liver disease
  • Infectious disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Pancreas disease
  • Unintentional and intentional injury, such as accidents, homicides, and suicides
  • Unsafe sexual practices resulting in STDs, unplanned pregnancy

An interesting finding in the study is that among those who abuse alcohol, women are at a higher risk of being impacted by chronic disease compared to men.

I am Afraid of Detox So What Can I Expect?

If you are a bit nervous about the detox and withdrawal process you are in good company. The alcohol detox phase of recovery is a necessary step that is just not a pleasant experience. Regardless, by keeping the eye on the prize—sobriety—it is possible to safely navigate this phase of your recovery with the help of a trained medical detox team.

During a supervised medical detox, vital signs are monitored continually and the detox professional will provide medical interventions to help manage the withdrawal symptoms as they emerge. A trained detox staff can guide the individual through the process from start to finish, as they help them segue into a treatment program.

Depending on the length of time and severity of the AUD, plus other factors such as coexisting health or mental health conditions and age, the alcohol detox withdrawal symptoms may include:

Mild Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting
  • Hand tremors
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sweating
  • Agitation, irritability

Moderate Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Disorientation
  • Elevated heart rate and blood pressure
  • Mood swings
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Fatigue
  • Shaking or trembling
  • Mild seizures
  • Mental confusion

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms

On average, alcohol detox and withdrawal lasts anywhere from 5-7 days, depending on the severity of the alcohol addiction.

What Types of Alcohol Addiction Treatment Are Available Now?

When seeking treatment for an AUD it is common to wonder, “Where do I get help for alcohol abuse?” It is important to recognize the different types of rehabs available that offer varying levels of care. Generally, an outpatient program is appropriate for a mild or recent AUD, but for a moderate to severe alcohol addiction it is best to seek help through a residential treatment setting. Where the individual is free to remain at home throughout the outpatient program, a residential program requires they reside in provided housing. There are pros and cons of each to consider, so it helps to do some research before deciding on which treatment format is the best fit for you.

During the pandemic, it is essential to locate a treatment provider who is set up for telehealth therapy sessions and support. These platforms have proven invaluable during the aftermath of the coronavirus epidemic here in the US. Outpatient services, including basic outpatient therapy, intensive outpatient, or partial hospitalization programs are provided through the telehealth video conferencing systems.

Treating alcohol dependency or addiction relies on a multidisciplinary approach that addresses all aspects of the disease. Once the individual has completed detox they will begin engaging in various therapeutic treatment elements at the rehab. Participating in psychotherapy is key to achieving a sustained recovery.

Behavioral treatments aim to help the individual make lasting changes in their formerly dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns. CBT is a short-term evidence-based therapy that helps people recognize how their irrational thoughts are triggering addictive and self-destructive behaviors. Through CBT the individual learns to replace those disordered patterns with new, healthy, constructive responses.

Other treatment interventions include:

  • Dialectical behavior therapy. DBT provides life skills that help the individual focus on four specific areas that are particularly helpful in addiction recovery. These include mindfulness, interpersonal effectiveness, distress tolerance, and emotion regulation
  • Group therapy.  Group sessions are led by a clinician that encourages participation discussing various recovery-related topics
  • Family therapy. Family-centered group sessions provides a safe space for family members to participate in their loved one’s recovery efforts
  • Education and relapse prevention planning. Psychosocial education equips the individual with the new coping tools and recovery skills to help navigate their world following rehab
  • Complementary activities. These activities include such things as art therapy, recreational activities, yoga, mindfulness, massage, nutritional counseling, and DBT skills practice

After Treatment, Then What?

Recovery does not end with the discharge papers from the rehab program, however. On the contrary, the real work of recovery begins the day you complete the program and need to navigate the real world once again. For this reason, aftercare is an essential component in alcoholism care planning.

Following a 30, 60, or 90-day residential treatment program, the individual should have a plan in place to continue to reinforce the newly acquired coping tools and sober lifestyle.

Aftercare, or continuing care, is simply the means by which sobriety is maintained outside of rehab. Three important aspects of aftercare include:

  1. Sober living housing. Planning for a few months residing in sober living provides an excellent opportunity to slowly transition back to normal daily life while still learning recovery techniques.  Sober living offers a great opportunity to reestablish healthy living habits through keeping a regular schedule, adhering to the house rules and responsibilities, and being accountable to the other housemates.
  2. Outpatient therapy sessions. Ongoing outpatient counseling is also an essential part of aftercare, especially helpful in relapse prevention.
  3. Recovery meetings. Participation in a 12-step or similar recovery community provides peer support and is a good resource for acquiring new sober friendships while receiving ongoing support in recovery.

Careful planning for beginning your recovery from an alcohol addiction will yield the most successful long-term results.

Ken Seeley Communities Addiction Treatment Serves Coachella Valley

Ken Seeley Communities offers the complete spectrum of alcohol abuse and addiction treatment, a rare entry in the industry. From providing professional intervention services to telehealth-based outpatient programs (an adjustment made during the pandemic) to residential rehabilitation to sober living house and continuing care services, Ken Seeley Communities covers all aspects of treatment and healing in beautiful Palm Springs, CA. If you are wondering ‘where do I get help for alcohol abuse,’ please contact the team today at (877) 744-0502.

soma withdrawal

Soma Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

It’s the same old story. Soma is yet another prescription medication that was said to be safe and non-habit forming…until it was discovered that it is indeed prone to abuse and addiction. Soma is a popular muscle relaxant that is prescribed for relieving pain associated with muscle injuries, such as sprains or strains, and is, unfortunately, often misused.

The problem with Soma is, as with other pharmaceuticals, that tolerance to its effects increases with time and more of the drug is needed to produce the positive effects. As dosage escalates the individual can become addicted. Soma abuse has similar effects to benzodiazepine abuse, including the very unpleasant soma addiction withdrawal symptoms. As with detoxing from benzos, Soma detox must be done according to a tapering plan to ease the individual through the detox process, and to avoid any serious withdrawal effects.

A medical detox program is the best setting for detoxing from Soma. Soma addiction withdrawal symptoms can include psychosis and other worrisome effects, which can be best monitored in a supervised setting.

About Soma 

Soma, the brand name for carisoprodol, is a popular muscle relaxant often prescribed in tandem with Xanax (to reduce anxiety) and Vicodin (to reduce pain). This trio of prescription drugs produces just the right effect that the patient may be resistant to giving them up, even after their skeletal muscle injury has healed. These three drugs together are commonly abused recreationally, as each drug enhances the effects of the others.

The normal daily dosage of Soma is 750-1050 milligrams, and the drug is available in tablet form. Because of its high propensity for misuse, Soma is typically prescribed for a short term, such as 2-3 weeks.

Soma acts on the central nervous system, acting as a muscle relaxant and sedative. Because of its effects alongside other prescription drugs, those who use Soma recreationally may develop an addiction.

Soma Short Term and Long Term Effects

In addition to the pain relief that Soma can provide, there are other effects of this drug that should be noted. Common side effects include:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Lack of coordination
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Changes in vision
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Lightheadedness, fainting
  • Extreme weakness
  • Giddiness, euphoria
  • Numbness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Depression

Long-term Soma abuse can lead to health risks as well. These include damage to the lungs, heart, kidneys, liver, and brain. One very serious condition is called transient quadriplegia, which involves a temporary weakness of arms and legs.

An unintentional overdose of Soma can result in permanent brain damage or death. A Soma overdose is a medical emergency requiring immediate intervention. The signs of Soma overdose include:

  • Vomiting
  • Heart palpitations
  • Respiratory distress
  • Stupor
  • Extreme sedation
  • Fever, chills
  • Shock
  • Coma

Soma Addiction

There is a good reason for the guidance to only prescribe Soma for a short period of time. Soma is very habit forming, as the giddy, euphoric effects are attractive for some who may want to continue experiencing this sensation. Other people simply procure this drug on the street, known as Da, Dance, and Las Vegas Cocktail (when used with Vicodin). Individuals with an opiate addiction may use Soma as an alternative drug. Soma impacts the GABA receptors in the brain, which triggers a flood of dopamine and a reward response in the brain.

Because tolerance to this drug escalates rapidly, the need to use increasing amounts of it can quickly evolve into addiction. Signs of Soma addiction include:

  • Obsessed with obtaining and using Soma
  • Mood swings
  • Doctor shopping
  • Obtaining the drug illicitly
  • Continue to abuse Soma regardless of the consequences
  • Lie to others about how much Soma is being taken
  • Declining performance at work
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Low energy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Attempts to stop taking Soma fail
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • When unavailable Soma addiction withdrawal symptoms emerge

Becoming addicted to Soma, or multiple drugs including Soma, will cause a steady decline in quality of life. If an addiction has developed, it is necessary to get help from an addiction recovery professional. The first step in recovery is the detox and withdrawal phase.

Soma Detox and Withdrawal

When someone has decided they are ready to tackle a Soma addiction and break free from its grip, they will have to first undergo the detox and withdrawal phase before beginning treatment. Soma detox is similar to benzodiazepine detox, meaning that it is necessary to slowly taper off of the drug rather than stop Soma cold turkey.

A medically supervised detox is the safest setting for detoxing from Soma. These detox programs offer personnel who are specifically trained to assist individuals through the withdrawal symptoms by providing medical and psychological support. Additionally, these detox specialists are prepared in the event of a medical emergency. With regard to Soma addiction withdrawal symptoms, serious reactions to absence of the drug might involve seizures or heart distress.

The first withdrawal symptoms emerge after 12-24 hours from the last dose of Soma. Severity of the symptoms will be dependent on the length of Soma abuse history, the amount of consumption, whether there is polydrug abuse, the age of the person, and their general health status.

Soma addiction withdrawal symptoms might include:

  • Muscle twitching
  • Ataxia
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Seizures

Throughout the detox process the medical detox team will continue to monitor vital signs and offer medications to help relief discomfort and pain. Emotional counseling is provided as needed to help the individual successfully endure the detox and transition into treatment.

Soma Addiction Treatment

Even though the detox process will rid the body of the drug that is simply not enough. The engrained addiction behaviors that keep the individual reaching for the Soma must be conquered and changed for there to be lasting recovery. Addiction treatment is the program that guides individuals through the process of making fundamental changes in the way they think and behave, which can then alter their need or desire for drugs.

For an addiction treatment program to be successful it must contain various treatment elements that are designed to work in tandem. Some individuals will respond better to group therapy, some will benefit from holistic therapies, and others may find that addiction education helps them finally understand. Because each person is wired differently, a quality treatment program will include a menu of different interventions that will hopefully resonate with various individuals in recovery.

A comprehensive Soma addiction treatment program includes:

  • Evidence-based psychotherapy. An evidence-based approach to therapy means that the methods have been clinically studied and research has indicated that they are indeed effective for treating a particular disorder, such as addiction. For Soma addiction, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the most effective of these proven methods. CBT works well for substance use disorders because it guides the individual toward replacing dysfunctional thought and behavior patterns with healthy ones, becoming an effective coping tool in recovery.
  • Group therapy. Some individuals are more comfortable opening up in a small group of peers than in a one-on-one therapy session. A clinician who provides topics related to sobriety and overcoming addictive behaviors, guides the group sessions. These meetings enable participants to bond, providing the peer support so important in treatment.
  • Family therapy. Many times, a Soma addiction has impacted not only the individual but the whole family. In family-focused groups, loved ones are guided toward better communication skills, setting healthy boundaries, and having realistic expectations for their loved one in recovery.
  • Dual diagnosis. Addiction often is accompanied by a mental wellness disorder, which is referred to as a dual diagnosis. If so, the individual will need a program that is proficient in treating both disorders simultaneously for optimal recovery outcomes.
  • 12-step programming. Recovery communities, such as AA or NA, can provide an extra layer of social support, as well as accountability. Attending these meetings has been shown to contribute to higher rates of sustained sobriety.
  • Nutrition and exercise. Addiction can take a toll on the body and the mind, so engaging in restorative activities is key in recovery. A quality rehab will place importance on clients getting regular exercise, as well as consuming a nutritious diet.
  • Holistic elements. To help bridge the mind-body connection in recovery, holistic activities have been shown to be useful. These activities help individuals learn how to quiet the mind and decompress, which can help reduce the risk of relapse. Holistic activities might include yoga, massage, and meditation.
  • Aftercare services. One sign of a high quality rehab program is the attention they pay to aftercare. The first several months following completion of a program is critical to long-term success, so accessing these services is key. These include alumni meetings, outpatient group therapy, individual therapy when needed, participation in ongoing recovery community meetings, and even sober living housing.

With commitment and patience, a Soma addiction can be overcome and one’s quality of life restored.

Ken Seeley Communities Treats Soma Addiction in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities provides top-level addiction recovery services including medical detox for Soma addiction withdrawal symptoms. Ken Seeley became known through his appearances on A&E’s Intervention series as a professional interventionist. He then founded Ken Seeley Communities, which is an addiction treatment complex located in beautiful Palm Springs, California.

Ken Seeley Communities offers all aspects of addiction recovery, including professional intervention services, medical detox, outpatient rehab, residential treatment, and sober living housing. Ken Seeley Communities sees addiction recovery on a continuum, with each phase of the process leading organically to the next. Alumni are provided with excellent continuing care options to help reinforce recovery for a sustained and successful outcome. For more information about the various programs, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

laced heroin

Effects of Fentanyl-Laced Heroin

Heroin use began to surge about a decade ago, creeping into just about every nook and cranny of society. Then around 2014 there was a sudden surge in overdose deaths, initially attributed to heroin. Eventually, it became known that this spike in overdoses was due to the effects of fentanyl-laced heroin. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine, and which is usually used by physicians to help manage pain in terminal cancer patients. Fentanyl and its analogs, or clones, are being manufactured illicitly in China and Mexico, then widely distributed on the streets of our country in the form of as fentanyl-laced heroin.

In 2016 alone, more than 19,000 opioid-related deaths were attributed primarily to fentanyl, according to statistics provided by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, showing a six-fold increase since 2010. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reported that overdose deaths caused by fentanyl doubled in a six-month period between the end of 2016 and the summer of 2017. According to the CDC, “The number of deaths involving heroin in combination with synthetic narcotics has been increasing steadily since 2014 and shows that the increase in deaths involving heroin is driven by the use of fentanyl.”

The CDC had issued a health advisory in 2015 regarding the dangers of fentanyl, but this was upgraded to an alert in early 2018 as deaths continued to mount. The alert included information that the powerful drug was showing up in heroin, methamphetamine, ketamine, benzodiazepines, cocaine, and counterfeit opioid pills on the street, and encouraged wide availability of the opioid antidote, naloxone, to help reverse the effects of the drug in individuals still alive. While a heroin overdose can be overturned with 1 mg of naloxone, for the individual who has overdosed on fentanyl laced heroin, a dosage of 8-10 mg of naloxone is needed, although most individuals will not survive.

Why is Fentanyl So Deadly?

Fentanyl is a powerful narcotic analgesic manufactured under such brand names as Duragesic, Abstral, Fentora, Actiq, and Subsys, and is used by physicians to control pain in patients with serious or terminal illness. The fentanyl compound is easy to be replicated and reproduced in a lab, being widely distributed as street drugs or through online websites.

The drug is so potent that it is measured in micrograms, not milligrams. Law enforcement and first responders fear having any contact with the substance, as just a few granules can produce fatal respiratory effects. Many of the overdose deaths occurring in recent years occurred in individuals who were unaware that they were ingesting fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that was first introduced in the 1960s for use as an anesthesia during surgeries. Later, fentanyl was approved for its analgesic properties for use as a prescription pain medication. Although fentanyl is in the news in recent years, it is not new. News reports from 1991 were informing the public of a spate of fentanyl laced heroin overdose deaths in Pennsylvania. Later, in 2005-2006, this deadly mixture was at the center of another outbreak of overdose deaths in various regions.

Deaths occur because the fentanyl, an opioid agonist, impacts the opioid receptors in the brain associated with controlling the respiratory system. A high dose of fentanyl can reduce the breathing rate dramatically, possibly causing breathing to stop altogether, leading to death.

The Danger of Heroin and Fentanyl Together

In many cases, it is the opioid epidemic of this past decade that has led to a significant increase in heroin addiction. This happens when the opioids become increasingly difficult to obtain, or if the cost of the prescription opioids becomes prohibitive. To avoid withdrawals, some will switch to heroin as a cheap, easily procured substitute for the opioid.

Since most heroin addicts obtain the drug from dealers on the street, they may be unaware that the heroin they purchased is cut with fentanyl—or may even be pure fentanyl. In most cases it is impossible to detect the presence of fentanyl, especially when it is cut into counterfeit opioids or cocaine, as these are also white substances. However, because heroin has a yellowish tint, if a large amount of fentanyl has been cut into the heroin it might be detected. Understanding the dangers of heroin and fentanyl can help raise awareness through the education of our youth from as early as adolescence.

Symptoms of Fentanyl Overdose

Because fentanyl impacts the central nervous system like any other opiate, the respiratory system is significantly affected. The drug is so potent that a tiny amount carries the risk of a drug overdose. The effects of fentanyl-laced heroin can lead to an overdose, which is a serious medical emergency that allows very little time for successful intervention. Signs of fentanyl overdose include:

  • Extreme grogginess, sleepiness, or fatigue
  • Difficulty breathing, slowed respiratory function
  • Contracted pupils
  • Inability to walk, loss of coordination
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Coma

A fentanyl-related overdose is a medical emergency. Death can occur rapidly, so if these symptoms are present it is necessary to obtain immediate medical help. Most first responders now carry naloxone to help reverse the effects of opiate overdoses.

Getting Help For Heroin Addiction

Individuals who are addicted to heroin or opioids must seek professional help to be able to get off these highly addictive drugs so they can avoid the accidental effects of fentanyl-laced heroin. Overcoming an opiate addiction requires specialized treatment. Without a formal addiction treatment program, the individual will not succeed long-term.

Opioid addiction recovery is possible but it is dependent on the individual completing a treatment program that uses evidence-based, or proven, treatment methods, medication-assisted treatment (MAT), as well as complementary therapies and aftercare services.

Those who decide to get treatment for a heroin addiction will progress through four steps in recovery:

  1. Intake. When the individual approaches treatment they will first be involved in an assessment and intake process. After the clinician has considered all the information, including the length of history of heroin abuse, the daily dosing, the general health status of the individual, and whether there is a coexisting mental wellness disorder present, they will design an individualized treatment plan. This tailored approach is important, as each person will have unique recovery needs.
  2. Detox and Withdrawal. Detoxification is the first necessary step in getting free of a heroin or opioid addiction. Without clearing the body of the drug and stabilizing, the individual would be unable to fully participate in treatment with a clear mind. The detox and withdrawal process is difficult and highly unpleasant, and not to be undertaken on one’s own. People who attempt to go it alone are not able to endure the withdrawals and will swiftly relapse back to drug use.

A medically monitored detox will provide continuous oversight while providing medical interventions that help ease the withdrawal symptoms. Psychological support is also provided, helping the client emotionally throughout the detoxification process. Medications, such as buprenorphine, methadone, or naltrexone, can be initiated once the drug has been eliminated from the system, and can help reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and also reduce cravings. This medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help the individual become stable in recovery by reducing the risk of relapse. MAT requires the individual to continue engaging in outpatient therapy following rehab, and the medications are strictly monitored to help prevent abuse.

  1. Active Treatment. Active treatment begins immediately following detox and involves a variety of treatment elements. Rehabs programs include individual psychotherapy, group therapy, recovery group meetings, family therapy, addiction education, relapse prevention planning, and medication management. Together these interventions can help the individual change habitual addiction-associated patterns and behaviors, while also addressing underlying factors that may be contributing to the drug abuse. In addition, the individual is coached to establish healthy lifestyle habits, such as diet and exercise, and taught relaxation techniques to help manage stress.
  2. Aftercare Therapy. Once the treatment program has been completed, it is essential to continue to participate regular outpatient counseling, both individual therapy and support groups. Attending a weekly or twice weekly therapy session can help clients over the rough spots during the first year of recovery when they are the most vulnerable to relapse. Sober living is another good aftercare option, providing a living environment that is drug and alcohol-free and where the client can learn healthy new daily routines and habits, and practice recovery skills before heading back to their regular life. Additionally, engaging in a 12-step or similar recovery group can provide an additional layer of peer support and accountability.

Although overcoming heroin dependence requires time, patience, and perseverance, it is something that can be done. A heroin addiction cannot be wished away, it must be muscled away through sheer will and a steely commitment to embrace a clean and sober lifestyle.

Ken Seeley Communities Provides Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Ken Seeley Communities is an integrated addiction recovery program in beautiful Palm Springs, California. Through an immersive approach to recovery, the expert team at Ken Seeley Communities will guide individuals through each step of the process—intake, medical detox, treatment, and aftercare. Ken Seeley is a renowned interventionist who provides these professional services for families to help persuade someone to enter treatment. In addition to the evidence-based treatment approach, the emphasis on nutrition and fitness helps reinforce recovery efforts. Embrace sobriety with the support of this comprehensive and highly effective program. For more information about the program, or about the effects of fentanyl-laced heroin, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

is alcohol a depressant

Is Alcohol a Depressant?

Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. When alcohol is consumed it has a sedating effect on the body, causing a sense of calm and relaxation. Some of the initial effects of minimal alcohol ingestion are quite pleasant, such as feeling less inhibited or stressed in a social situation. However, as alcohol consumption increases, the sedating effects intensify, leading to slurred speech, cognitive disturbance, unsteady movements, and slowed response time.

Some might ask, “Is alcohol a depressant?” because they are confused about the use of the term depressant, thinking it refers to a mental state of depression. In other words, they mistakenly apply the word depressant incorrectly when referring to alcohol. Alcohol has depressant properties affecting neural activity and brain function, but drinking a glass of wine will not make you feel sad.

That said, someone who develops an alcohol dependency or addiction may indeed become psychologically depressed due to the negative consequences the disease of alcoholism has on his or her life. In fact, alcoholism and depression are very common comorbidities. However, it isn’t the alcohol itself that made the individual feel sad or hopeless, instead it is the effects of the disease that can lead to depression.

Is Alcohol a Depressant?

Is alcohol a depressant? Absolutely. Ethyl alcohol has a powerful effect on the central nervous system and the brain. Alcohol binds to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors, which induces the feelings of sedation, and also inhibits glutamate, a neurotransmitter that stimulates the central nervous system. Alcohol also causes the neurotransmitter dopamine to be released, producing that well-known “feel good” response that then becomes established in the brain’s reward system as a positive memory.

Alcohol can also cause stimulatory effects. Upon consuming alcohol, some individuals may become euphoric. Some may experience increased heart rate, while others may exhibit aggressive behaviors. It is believed that individuals who have a high tolerance to the sedating effects of alcohol will likely consume higher quantities to achieve sedation, and are therefore at a higher risk for developing an alcohol use disorder.

Effects of Alcohol Intoxication

So why do people drink? What is the allure of the substance? While the majority of people only indulge in drinking alcohol occasionally, usually while participating at a social event or on a special occasion, some individuals misuse alcohol. Some examples of why people abuse alcohol might include:

  • They begin to rely on the sedating effects to relieve stress
  • They self-medicate the symptoms of a mood disorder, such as depression, bipolar disorder, or an anxiety disorder
  • The use alcohol to increase their feelings of confidence

The effects of drinking alcohol may include the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Sleepiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Uninhibited behavior
  • Impaired motor skills, clumsiness
  • Depressed breathing
  • Mental confusion, fuzzy thinking
  • Impaired judgment, poor decision making
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Euphoria
  • Cognitive and memory impairment

The Danger of Alcohol Poisoning

When wondering “Is alcohol a depressant?” look no further than alcohol toxicity for the answer. The depressant effects of alcohol can become lethal if the individual consumes more than the body can process. Excessive consumption causes depress the central nervous system to the point of respiratory failure can cause death. Alcohol poisoning occurs when an individual has ingested five or more drinks in a time span of two hours or less, overwhelming the body’s ability to process it. The higher the blood alcohol concentration is, the more impaired the individual becomes.

Signs of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Clammy or pale skin
  • Low body temperature
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures

It is imperative to call for emergency medical intervention in the event of alcohol poisoning.

What Constitutes an Alcohol Use Disorder?

When an alcohol problem becomes evident, usually after experiencing repeated episodes of inebriation, blackouts, severe hangovers, and withdrawal symptoms, it is likely the individual has acquired an alcohol use disorder. Alcohol misuse over a protracted period of time leads to increased tolerance and higher consumption. All the while, the brain’s chemical structure and neural pathways are continually adapting to the presence of alcohol, which eventually leads to alcohol dependency. In fact, the American Medical Association defines substance dependence as a chronic brain disease.

Signs of an alcohol use disorder include:

  • Cannot stop drinking even though you want to
  • Drinking becomes the center of life, with much attention devoted to buying alcohol, drinking, and recovering
  • Experiencing cravings
  • Try to cut back on alcohol consumption but are unable to
  • Avoiding social situations and giving up usual pastimes in favor of drinking
  • Neglecting responsibilities at home and work
  • Engaging in high-risk behaviors, such as driving under the influence
  • Experience increased tolerance and subsequently increased consumption
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is withheld

An alcohol use disorder is classified as mild, moderate, or severe based on the number of diagnostic criteria that are present. In addition to the diagnostic criteria, the medical or mental health professional will also order a physical exam and blood tests to help determine the level of severity as it can reveal any number of related health conditions.

How is Alcoholism Treated?

The level of care required to treat alcoholism will be determined by the severity of the disorder. There are distinct differences between alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, and alcohol addiction, each with a treatment route designed to help the individual restore health and functioning.

Detox. If indicated by the length of history and level of alcohol misuse, the individual may need to first complete the medical detox process. Detox and withdrawal refers to the phase of treatment when the individual abstains from alcohol and allows the body to stabilize over a period of days. The withdrawal symptoms begin to emerge 6-12 hours following the last drink, and will peak on days 2 or 3. Symptoms might include:

  • Sweating
  • Shaking
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Hand tremors
  • Headache
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures

During the detox process, the addiction specialists will prescribe medical interventions to help ease symptoms as much as possible. In the majority of cases, alcohol detox lasts 5-7 days.

Rehabilitation. Treatment for alcohol use disorder revolves around learning ways to remain abstinent. Rehab programs are available in outpatient or residential formats, with outpatient treatment best suited for mild to moderate alcohol use disorders. Residential rehab programs provide a much higher level of care and monitoring for individuals with moderate to severe disease. A comprehensive approach to treatment will combine the following:

  • Psychotherapy. Psychotherapy is a central theme in alcohol recovery, allowing the individual to process underlying emotional issues or past traumas that may be contributory. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) provides a blueprint for making fundamental changes in thoughts and action patterns that have kept the individual trapped in the addiction cycle.
  • Group therapy. Meeting with peers in recovery, or engaging in family-focused sessions, provides an opportunity to discuss topics related to recovery with others. New communication skills and conflict resolution techniques are taught in the group setting.
  • Education. Learning about the impact of alcohol on brain chemistry and structure can act as a deterrent to relapse. In addition, the classes guide individuals to form relapse prevention strategies.
  • Naltrexone. Some individuals with more severe AUD may benefit from medication-assisted treatment. Naltrexone is a non-narcotic medication that can assist in reducing alcohol cravings and relapse, helping to sustain sobriety.
  • 12-step or similar programming. Recovery meetings provide important social support and the opportunity to establish new sober friendships.
  • Adjunctive activities. Rounding out rehabilitation are several activities that augment the evidence-based therapies, including learning how to practice mindfulness, yoga class, art therapy, and outdoor recreational therapy.

Dual diagnosis treatment. A large percentage of individuals with alcohol addiction also struggle with a mood disorder. A recent study noted that individuals with an alcohol use disorder are at increased risk for developing major depressive disorder, anxiety disorder, antisocial and borderline personality disorders. Data supports utilizing an integrated treatment approach for dual diagnosis to ensure that both the alcohol use disorder and the mental health disorder are both treated at the same time.

How to Sustain Sobriety

A prime focus of rehab is to provide individuals with the tools they will need to access in recovery that will help them overcome cravings and other triggers, therefore avoiding relapse. An effective treatment program will equip the individual with new coping skills, teach them relaxation techniques, encourage new healthy lifestyle habits, and guide them in creating their own individualized relapse prevention plan.

In recovery, actions to help avoid a relapse include:

  • Have a confidante. This can be a sponsor, a close friend, a sibling, or a spouse, someone you maintain honest, open communication with in recovery
  • Continue doing the work of recovery. Go to meetings, work the steps, be of service
  • Establish a regular sleep routine and get at least 7 hours of quality sleep nightly
  • Avoid people or situations where drinking or heavy partying is happening
  • Leave destructive friendships behind and begin making friends in the sober community
  • Begin seeking enjoyable sober activities and shift completely to a sober lifestyle
  • Keep stress under control with yoga, prayer, meditation, deep breathing work, or massage
  • Continue outpatient psychotherapy

Ken Seeley Communities Addiction Recovery Complex in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities is a leading addiction recovery treatment center serving the Coachella Valley. Founder Ken Seeley is a renowned professional interventionist who was a staple on the A&E series, Intervention. His recovery complex serves individuals in need of addiction treatment, including providing intervention services, medical detox, outpatient rehab programming, residential rehab programming, and sober living housing. If you wonder if alcohol is a depressant or have any other questions about alcohol use disorder, please reach out to our team today at (877) 744-0502.

 

coming off alcohol

Managing the Effects of Coming Off Alcohol with Residential Detox

If only there was a way to magically bypass the detox and withdrawal phase of recovery. But until some brilliant inventor creates a magic pill that can allow a person to leapfrog over the suffering of detox, there is the detox, an absolute necessity when alcohol is the substance involved.

It is widely understood that people with an alcohol dependency who want to enter recovery should undergo a supervised detox. There is good reason for this guidance, as the effects of coming off alcohol can produce highly unpredictable, even dangerous, symptoms. Trained detox specialists are prepared to intervene should such symptoms arise and result in an emergency.

About Alcoholism

Alcoholism continues to lead the rehab admissions in America. While the opioid crisis has captured the national headlines, in reality alcohol addiction represents 80% of the individuals suffering from a substance use disorder, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Wellness Services Alliance.

There is a strong genetic component to the disease, with over 50% of Americans having a family history of alcoholism. In addition to genetics, neuroscience research is beginning to identify the chemical effects of alcohol on the brain structures. Using MRI and PET imaging, scientists are able to literally see the impact of alcoholism on the human brain.  According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, a method called event-related potentials (ERP) has allowed researchers to identify markers that appear in the brains of alcoholics and their children, becoming a useful tool for identifying individuals at risk for alcoholism.

Other potential risk factors for developing an alcohol use disorder include alcohol being introduced at an early age, psychological factors, such as a co-occurring mental wellness disorder, poorly formed coping skills or a lack of resilience, or stressful life events.

Importance of a Residential Detox

All too often, someone wrestling with an alcohol dependency may hit a low point and impulsively decide to stop drinking on his or her own. Attempting to undergo alcohol detox alone is a serious mistake, as sudden, unpredictable acute withdrawal symptoms can emerge, requiring immediate assessment. Detox specialists possess the training to quickly intervene should severe withdrawal symptoms suddenly occur.

During a residential detox, a specially trained detox team will have the client’s intake data available that can prepare them for any potential problem. This information helps to alert the detox team if there is a health condition or a history of acute withdrawal syndrome. Throughout the detox process the team will monitor the client’s vital signs so they can identify any serious symptoms.

The delirium tremens (DTs) is a very serious development that constitutes a emergency. While the DTs only affect a small percentage of individuals going through alcohol detox, the mortality rate for those who do is about 5%-15%, the need for attention should it emerge is essential. Symptoms of the DTs include severe mental confusion, tremors, fever, high blood pressure, hallucinations, and seizures.

During the detox process, specialists will administer medications as needed to dramatically reduce many of the common alcohol withdrawal symptoms, as well as provide emotional support. The goal of a residential detox is to use interventions to guide the client safely through the withdrawals with the least amount of discomfort, while preparing the individual to transition into the treatment phase of recovery.

Factors that Influence Withdrawal Severity

Certain factors can determine the level of severity of the withdrawal symptoms, which can range from mild alcohol withdrawal symptoms to severe. These factors include:

  • Length of history of the alcohol use disorder
  • The level of alcohol consumed daily
  • Having a history of alcohol withdrawal syndrome (AWS)
  • Age of individual
  • A coexisting mental wellness disorder
  • General health status of individual

Withdrawal Symptoms and Detox Timeline

Alcohol detox needs to be viewed as a necessary step in achieving freedom from alcohol addiction. It is the gatekeeper to recovery, so it must be endured before one can proceed into addiction treatment. Detox is the most unpleasant part of recovery, where the body attempts to adjust to the sudden absence of alcohol, something that results in unpleasant physical withdrawal symptoms that begin within 6-12 hours. Again, alcohol detox should only be attempted under the care and supervision by a detox team.

In most cases, withdrawal symptoms will be unpleasant, but not life threatening. However, for someone with a long history of excessive alcohol consumption or other risk factors, serious complications can arise. Withdrawal symptoms generally fall into one of two categories based on the severity of the alcohol addiction or dependency.

Common Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Sweating
  • Tremors of the hands
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Depression
  • Insomnia

Severe Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Fever
  • Body shakes
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Hallucinations
  • Severe mental confusion
  • Seizures
  • Death

Alcohol detox occurs in three stages—the emergent stage, the peak stage, and the subsiding stage—and is typically completed within 7 days.

Managing the Effects of Coming Off Alcohol

While the unavoidable effects of coming off alcohol is an unpleasant one, here are some methods that can help to minimize the discomfort:

  • Hydrate. While the body is detoxing electrolyte levels can benefit from drinking fluids, which helps combat nausea and dehydration.
  • Distract. Depending on the severity of the withdrawal symptoms, it may help if you can take a walk, take a brisk shower, listen to music or a podcast, or watch TV.
  • Eat healthy. Increase the intake of fresh fruits and vegetables to help balance blood sugar levels.
  • Holistic. Try deep breathing techniques, aromatherapy using oils that reduce cravings and help with detoxification, a YouTube yoga class, or a meditation app.

Riding out the detox process is just that, so brace yourself for waves of cravings that will soon dissipate, remind yourself of the reasons you seek sobriety, and know that the detox process is a very short-lived inconvenience.

Treatment for Alcoholism

After detox is completed, a structured addiction treatment program will guide individuals through the process of changing disordered addiction-related behaviors and habits. Recovering from alcoholism requires an extended period of treatment to replace those self-destructive patterns and acquire new behaviors and recovery skills that help support sobriety. Rehab is available in an outpatient format, which is appropriate for mild to moderate alcohol use disorder, or a residential format, which is appropriate for moderate to severe alcoholism.

While in treatment the individual will participate in a variety of treatment activities and therapies that approach all angles of recovery, including:

  • Psychotherapy. Individual therapy, using various evidence-based psychotherapies, helps the individual work through any underlying emotional issues or past traumas that may be a factor in the alcoholism.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy. CBT guides individuals toward adopting new thought and behavior patterns that replace the disordered patterns that have culminated in alcohol abuse through addict behaviors.
  • Group therapy. Group sessions offer peers in recovery opportunities to share about their personal experiences and challenges, fostering an essential source of mutual peer support.
  • Family-based therapy. Family-focused therapy helps family members process their frustrations, mend hurt feelings, and discuss the fears around the disease of alcoholism and how it has impacted the family.
  • Relapse prevention planning. Each individual will examine his or her unique triggers or stressors that could potentially disrupt recovery and lead to a relapse.
  • Meetings. 12-step meetings, or some form of alternative programming, can provide additional social support, as well as opportunities for establishing new sober friendships.
  • Holistic therapies. There are complementary therapies, such as yoga classes, massage therapy, acupuncture, mindfulness training, and art therapy that can help the individual in recovery regulate stress.
  • Nutritional counseling and exercise.  Establishing new lifestyle habits that are focused on wellness are incorporated into the program to help promote physical and psychological healing.

Life in Recovery

Taking that first step is momentous, putting you on the path to reclaiming your life and fulfilling the dreams that had been lost in the fog of addiction. Life will begin to improve in a multitude of ways, especially following that first year of recovery. But even in that first year of adjusting to a sober lifestyle, improvements in sleep quality, your physical appearance, energy, cognitive and memory functions, and overall mood will spur you to stick tight to the plan. Stay in outpatient therapy, participate in a recovery community, and try sober living if the home environment is not supportive to your recovery goals. Do whatever it takes because life is so worth the effort.

Ken Seeley Communities Alcohol Recovery Program in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities is a leader in the field of addiction recovery. Founder Ken Seeley is a renowned professional interventionist who was a staple on the A&E series, Intervention. His recovery complex includes all facets of the recovery continuum, including intervention services, detox, outpatient rehab programming, residential rehab programming, and sober living housing. If you are ready to tackle the effects of coming off alcohol in a safe, supportive environment, please reach out to our team at (877) 744-0502.

 

Withdrawal Symptoms of Suboxone

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Buprenorphine?

Buprenorphine can be a lifesaver for individuals recovering from an opioid addiction or dependency. This medication helps to block the effects of opioids, allowing for a gradual reduction in cravings to return to the drug. Meanwhile, the individual has more time to adjust to a life of sobriety and solidify recovery.

Some detox medications can work very well as a short, or sometimes long-term, medication to prevent opioid or opiate relapse.  For some, however, certain detox medications can be and prone to abuse and addiction itself.

Because Buprenorphine is itself a mild opioid, the dangers of dependency can emerge with long-term use. These long-term effects were not foreseen back in 2002 when the FDA approved. Because of a long 37-hour half-life, Buprenorphine is subject to building up in the system, contributing to the risk of potential chemical dependency.

Not all Buprenorphine addiction develop as a result of being prescribed the medication for recovery assistance. Some individuals access the drug illicitly and use it as a substance of abuse. Whether the Buprenorphine was legitimately provided or used as a recreational drug, the result of addiction or dependency will require a detox and treatment to overcome. This prompts the important question, “What are the withdrawal symptoms of Buprenorphine as someone anticipates the detox and withdrawal process.

How Buprenorphine Addiction or Dependency Develops

As with any other mind-altering substance, Buprenorphine can be abused. Indeed, addiction behaviors do die hard. When someone is being treated for an opioid dependency with Buprenorphine they may become tempted to begin abusing this medication. Some may choose to inject the drug, or snort it, in an effort to experience a high. Over time, the compulsive abuse of Buprenorphine can develop into a new addiction. When the individual uses Buprenorphine for an extended period of time, their brain adapts to the regular influx of the drug to the point where it is unable to function normally without Buprenorphine.

Symptoms of Buprenorphine Addiction

When someone is struggling with an addiction to Buprenorphine they will begin to exhibit the classic signs of drug addiction. Buprenorphine is an opioid, so there are the telltale sights of opioid abuse such as:

  • Escalating tolerance to the drug’s effects, leading to higher consumption of the drug
  • Doctor shopping to obtain additional prescriptions
  • Purchasing the Buprenorphine off the street or the Internet
  • Paraphernalia related to injecting the drug, such as needles, syringes, a white powdery substance, ropes or tubing to constrict blood flow
  • Loss of interest in recovery efforts once made. Not attending meetings as much or at all, hanging out with old pre-rehab friends, keeping odd hours
  • Neglect of personal hygiene
  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies once enjoyed
  • Financial struggles due to missing work, spending excessive amounts of money on the drug, legal problems. They may steal money from their loved ones or ask friends for money
  • Loss of weight. Buprenorphine addiction can lead to loss of appetite, neglecting nutrition, skipping meals and subsequent weight loss

There are also physical signs of Buprenorphine abuse. These include nausea and vomiting, dilated pupils, tearing of the eyes, impaired speech, fainting, sweating, muscle aches, sleep problems, and drowsiness.

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms of Buprenorphine?

Once chemically dependent, if the individual attempts to cease taking the drug, they will experience withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means that trying to stop it will trigger the same types of withdrawal symptoms of most other opiates.  The withdrawal symptoms will vary from mild to severe based on the length of history using Buprenorphine the level of dosing, and the mode used to administer the drug.

Buprenorphine detox and withdrawal is said to last longer than other opioids because it is chemically designed to block cravings for an extended period of time, meaning that it remains in bodily tissues longer. So, what are the withdrawal symptoms of Buprenorphine?

Withdrawal symptoms begin approximately 6-12 hours after the last Buprenorphine dose and include:

  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Cravings
  • Mood swings

Many of these withdrawal symptoms, such as the gastrointestinal distress, fever, headache, and muscle ache, can be managed using simple over-the-counter medications by the detox team.

Why a Detox is Important for Buprenorphine

Monitoring is important during a Buprenorphine. No one should attempt to just quit the Buprenorphine. Instead, professional oversight where a doctor can prescribe a tapering program can help minimize withdrawal severity and successfully complete the detox. This, however, means that a Buprenorphine detox may last up to a month for the most severe addictions. Patience is required in order to safely progress through the detox phase to completion. Individuals who attempt to stop cold turkey are likely to quickly relapse back to Buprenorphine use as the highly unpleasant symptoms would be difficult to endure.

Depression and cravings may persist for a month or more, which makes the individual at risk for relapse and suicidal ideation. The  detox team will provide relief for the physical symptoms, as well as offer psychological aid to help manage feelings of depression and anxiety.

Holistic Therapies that Aid Buprenorphine Detox and Withdrawal

Natural therapies can aid in restoring health while promoting stress reduction during a Buprenorphine detox. There is much evidence that experiential and holistic therapies can help reduce the discomforts of withdrawing from opioids, and are very useful in ongoing aftercare and relapse prevention following treatment. Some of the holistic therapies used for a Buprenorphine detox acupuncture, yoga, and meditation. These activities can enhance recovery by regulating stress, as well as provide avenues to self-discovery that might be useful in subsequent addiction recovery.

Addiction Recovery Treatment for Buprenorphine Dependency

After the Buprenorphine detox and withdrawal process is completed, the individual will segue into an addiction treatment program. This is an integral component needed for moving beyond addictive behaviors and into healthy, productive ones that will help sustain recovery from opioids.

Treatment for a Buprenorphine addiction may be provided in an outpatient setting or a residential setting. The outpatient programs will offer several levels of intensity. In most cases of opioid addiction if outpatient treatment is desired the most intensive level is appropriate. This is the partial hospitalization program (PHP), also referred to as a day program, which requires daily participation in various therapeutic sessions throughout the week. The PHP involves 25-30 hours per week of participation in the therapy and education elements, but provides the flexibility to reside at home during the program. This allows someone who is not able to take an extended leave from family obligations to still obtain the treatment they need following detox.

The residential program involves a long-term commitment of 1-9 months. During the residential program, the individual will reside at the treatment center and participate in a wide variety of treatment elements daily. These programs provide structure and constant support, while allowing the individual to remove themselves from their usual home environment to be able to focus completely on recovery.

What to Expect in Buprenorphine Recovery Treatment

Most addiction recovery programs, whether it is an outpatient or residential format, will provide fundamental treatment elements to aid the individual in overcoming a Buprenorphine addiction. These treatment elements include:

  • Psychotherapy sessions. These therapy sessions are conducted one-on-one with a licensed psychotherapist who will assist the individual in identifying key addictive behaviors and patterns. Once these are noted, the therapist will use evidence-based therapies to guide the individual toward adopting more positive and productive thought and behavior patterns in recovery.
  • Peer group sessions. Group therapy involves a small collection of peers who can discuss openly topics related to overcoming addiction. The therapist will provide the topics and facilitate discussions so they are productive and supportive.
  • Education. Addiction education is key to the overall success of the treatment program. In these classes, individuals learn about how opioid addiction develops, and then are taught recovery tools that can help them avoid relapse.
  • Other activities. In a residential program there will be a focus on nutrition and fitness, both important to restoring health and wellness in recovery.
  • Continuing care. Once the treatment program is completed, continuing care services should be accessed for the best chance at obtaining a lasting recovery. These include outpatient counseling, sober living housing, and attending recovery meetings.

Ken Seeley Communities Provides Buprenorphine Detox Services

Ken Seeley Communities is a integrated addiction recovery program located in California. At Ken Seeley Communities, our philosophy for recovery from addiction or chemical dependency to Buprenorphine is centered on a transformational spectrum of treatment elements. This involves the initial residential detoxification process, participation in addiction recovery therapies, and continuing care services such as sober living and outpatient programming to help reinforce sobriety. When wondering what are the withdrawal symptoms of Buprenorphine, please contact our team for a thorough explanation of the detox and withdrawal process at (877) 744-0502.

heroin eyes

Eyes of a Heroin Addict

Drug addiction can often be spotted just by the appearance of the individual’s eyes. Of course there are several other physical changes that can give away the fact that someone is struggling with addiction, but the eyes may offer the most revealing evidence. The eyes of a heroin addict are particularly unique.

Someone with a heroin addiction will present with constricted, even pinpoint pupils. In addition to the unique small pupil size, the eyes will also be bloodshot and even droopy. The eyes of a heroin addict can be haunting even, seeming unfocused and lifeless, although the color of the iris, the colored section of the eye, will be intensified. About 8 hours after heroin use the eyes will become teary or watery, then become dull and hollow in appearance, and they may develop dark circles under them.

Other drugs of abuse can also affect the eyes, but heroin and opioids are unique in causing the constriction of the pupils. In fact, most other substances will cause the pupils to dilate, or enlarge. The pupil constriction in heroin users happens when the heroin attaches to the opioid receptors in the brain and alters the central nervous system. When the pupils constrict, called miosis, it means that the heroin has affected the parasympathetic functions of the autonomic nervous system.

A strong sense of urgency about treating heroin addiction has been fueled by a recent spike in overdose deaths attributed to fentanyl-laced heroin. The synthetic opioid, fentanyl, is manufactured in China, is extremely potent and deadly, and is responsible for the recent rash of overdose deaths in the U.S. A heroin addict can unwittingly purchase fentanyl-laced heroin, which may produce a fatal outcome.

About Heroin

Heroin is derived from morphine, a natural byproduct of particular poppy plants in regions like Afghanistan, Colombia, and Burma. Opium is produced through the fluid that seeps out of the poppy seedpod and is then dried into a resin product.

Heroin is a highly addictive substance that leads to rapidly increased tolerance to the drug, resulting in increased usage in an effort to continue to experience the initial euphoric high. Heroin use causes a powerful reaction in the brain’s chemistry, attaching to opioid receptors in the pain and pleasure centers. A flood of dopamine leads to the “rush” that is felt upon injecting heroin, snorting or smoking heroin.

Heroin will significantly alter the brain chemistry, causing the brain to eventually cease producing its own dopamine. Without the drug, the user will become unable to experience pleasure at all, only leading to higher dosing. When chemical dependence takes hold, any attempt to stop taking heroin results in highly uncomfortable flu-like withdrawal symptoms. At this point the addict needs to take the drug to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms and feeling very sick, referred to as “dope sick”.

The Centers for Disease Control has published data from 2017, the most recent data available, citing alarming statistics regarding heroin. According to this report, deaths from heroin increased sevenfold from 1,960 in 1999 to 15,482 in 2017. Now with fentanyl embedded in the heroin supply, overdose deaths continue to rise.

Signs of Heroin Addiction

When it comes to recognizing the visible signs of heroin addiction, in addition to the eyes of a heroin addict there are plenty of other obvious signs. While heroin addicts are secretive and will go to great lengths to hide their drug addiction from others, this will become more difficult as the addiction deepens.

The effects of heroin use are virtually instantaneous, with an immediate surge, or rush, of euphoria and sense of pleasure.  Common short-term effects include:

  • Warm flushing of the skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Itchy skin
  • Eyes of heroin addict with pinpoint pupils
  • Fatigue
  • Limbs feel heavy
  • Clouded thinking
  • Incoherent speech
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Being in a state between conscious and semiconscious, or nodding out

Some other signs that a person might be engaging in heroin use include:

  • Paraphernalia. Syringes, burnt spoons or tin foil, small baggies, pipes, balloons, straws, rubber tubing, and hollowed out pens are all items associated with heroin use.
  • Needle marks on forearms, legs, and feet
  • Bruising, scabs, unhealed track marks
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Runny nose
  • Constipation
  • Grayish skin pallor
  • Money missing
  • Mood swings
  • Neglecting personal hygiene
  • Apathetic and lethargic
  • Social withdrawal
  • Secretive behavior
  • Exhibit withdrawal symptoms

What are the Long-term Effects of Heroin Addiction?

Heroin abuse is very damaging to the body. As the addiction progresses, the individual’s health will decline, often resulting in serious medical issues. These long-term health effects include:

  • Bacterial skin infections, or cellulitis
  • Sexual dysfunction in men
  • Heart problems, including heart valve infection
  • Chronic pulmonary diseases, including pneumonia
  • Mood disorders
  • Liver disease
  • Arthritis
  • Blood clots from injection, skin tissue death, collapsed veins
  • Contracting an infectious disease, such as Hepatitis B or C, HIV
  • Seizures
  • Coma

What is Medication-Assisted Treatment?

Heroin addiction treatment now usually involves medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which utilizes certain opioid antagonists and agonists to help control cravings and slowly reduce the desire for the drug. These medications are prescribed for the purpose of stabilizing the individual in recovery while reducing the risk of relapse, allowing them a better shot at moving forward successfully in recovery. In most cases, the drugs are prescribed for a limited time, such as 3-12 months, before beginning a tapering schedule. However, in some cases long-term use of these drugs is warranted.

MAT is always closely monitored, as these drugs themselves are prone to abuse. Some individuals may use them illicitly, often crushing the drug and snorting it or liquefying the drug and injecting it. These drugs are always prescribed as one part of an aftercare strategy that includes outpatient services, like psychotherapy and support groups. MAT medications include:

Methadone: Methadone is the most strictly controlled drug of the MAT medications. It replaces heroin, tricking the brain into thinking it is getting the heroin. Methadone must be obtained through a methadone distribution station.

Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist that produces similar effects as heroin but to a much lesser degree. This replacement drug will eventually cause cravings to be reduced, lowering the risk of relapse.

Naltrexone: Naltrexone is a non-narcotic drug that blocks the euphoric and sedative effects of heroin, so the euphoric response is not experienced. Over time, the individual will no longer crave heroin.

Heroin Detox and Withdrawal

It is important to understand is the need to enroll in a medically supervised detox program, versus attempting to detox alone at home. Without medical oversight and emotional support, the withdrawal symptoms, which resemble intense flu-like symptoms, will not be adequately controlled and the individual will quickly relapse to using again just to end the pain of withdrawal.

A supervised detox provides medical assistance, including continual monitoring of vital signs and managing the discomforts of withdrawal symptoms and cravings with medication. The detox professionals also offer emotional support to help the individual navigate the discomforts of detox and successfully complete the process. Heroin detox and withdrawal takes about one week to complete.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Fever and chills
  • Shaking
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle spasms
  • Joint and bone pain
  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Intense cravings

Getting Help for a Heroin Addiction

When an individual is ready to be treated for a heroin addiction it is important that they are personally committed to the often-challenging recovery process. States Ashley Anderson, a recovery specialist in New York City, “It’s much more effective to come into therapy of your own volition. Even though others may benefit from you having treatment, therapy is a personal choice because it’s right your you and you alone.”

When it is right, a long-term residential program is the most effective level of support for treating heroin addiction. While outpatient services are available, it is recommended that someone in need of treatment for heroin dependency enroll in a 90-day residential program for best results.

Comprehensive treatment for heroin addiction includes the following elements:

Psychotherapy. Therapy plays a central role in the treatment of addiction. A number of psychotherapies are available that have been clinically studied and determined to be effective. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectal behavior therapy, motivation enhancement therapy, and contingency management.

Groups. People tend to bond in recovery groups where they will share about their own personal struggle with addiction and gain useful insights from peers and the addiction counselor who leads the support groups. Family therapy groups are also a key element in recovery programming.

Meetings. Many rehab programs integrate recovery meetings into the weekly schedule. These include twelve-step groups or alternatives like SMART Recovery.

Psychosocial. An important aspect of recovery is learning how to remain sober over the long term. Individuals in recovery will acquire new skills and coping techniques that will become useful post-rehab when they attempt to navigate their lives. Relapse prevention planning is a key goal for individuals preparing for recovery.

Ken Seeley Palm Springs Addiction Recovery Services

Ken Seeley Communities provides professional addiction recovery services including comprehensive treatment for heroin addiction. Ken Seeley is widely respected in the recovery field, and is well known through his appearances on A&E’s Intervention series as a professional interventionist. Ken Seeley Communities the full range of addiction recovery services, including professional interventions, medical detox, outpatient rehab, residential treatment, and transitional housing. Ken Seeley Communities approaches addiction recovery as on a continuum, with each phase of the process leading organically to the next. Alumni are provided with excellent continuing care options to help reinforce recovery for a sustained and successful outcome. For more information about the various programs, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.