relapse triggers

10 Relapse Triggers

Like the drip, drip, drip of a leaky pipe before it blows, the onset of a relapse begins with small, nearly undetectable, signs. As anyone in recovery will tell you, the threat of relapse is ever present as the “monster” just lies in wait. As it is often referred to, addiction is a wily foe. It is stealthy and omnipresent, and seeks opportunities should you let your guard down.

While in treatment there is an important emphasis on relapse prevention planning. Clients are encouraged to give this assignment careful attention, and to do a thorough and introspective review of potential triggers. Many triggers are obvious, such as hanging out with people who use or drink or becoming over confident to the point of deluding yourself. But with so many possible triggers that can trip up the newly sober individual it bears reviewing here the most common 10 relapse triggers.

That Are the Most Common 10 Relapse Triggers?

Early recovery requires constant vigilance on behalf of the newly sober individual. The addict brain is cunning and will continue to try to convince you to return to using. Being aware of the traps is intrinsic to overcoming the lure when the wrong path beckons. The 10 relapse triggers that most often befall the recovering addict or alcoholic include the following:

  1. Boredom. Too much down time can allow the mind to conjure up ideas and thoughts about using drugs or alcohol in order to relieve boredom. Just being still and alone with oneself if sometimes very difficult in early recovery, tempting some to return to the substance.
  2. Loneliness. Cutting old friends loose in recovery can result in feelings of loneliness. Loneliness is a very powerful emotion that can quickly lead to romancing the substance again, using it as substitution for a human relationship.
  3. Stress. In many cases, abusing drugs or alcohol was initially used as a coping tool for managing stress, so navigating stress in recovery without the crutch can be challenging. Work and family stress can overpower someone in recovery, leading to a relapse.
  4. Mental health disorder. An untreated or undiagnosed mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, can be very triggering. Many with a mood disorder or anxiety used alcohol or drugs to self-medicate, or mask the difficult symptoms.
  5. Glamorizing addiction. After a certain period of sobriety it is common for those in recovery to begin playing head games with themselves, romancing their time as an addict and pining away for those freewheeling days.
  6. Social connections. Continuing to hang out with friends or acquaintances that party and do not support your recovery will eventually trigger a relapse.
  7. Dating. A.A. recommends that someone in early recovery wait a year before initiating a new relationship. Romantic strife or a breakup can trigger deep emotions that may trigger a relapse.
  8. Overconfidence. Many a recovering addict has fallen victim to overconfidence. After a year or so it may seem entirely reasonable that you can handle having just one drink at an event, resulting in a weeklong bender that ends with a readmit to rehab.
  9. Stop working the program. Recovery is hard work. It requires your constant attention and a lot of self-discipline. Some may grow weary from this and begin to skip meetings or continue nurturing sober friendships and connections, and that can leave the person vulnerable to relapse.
  10. Guilt and shame. In recovery, many may feel the full effect of the damage done and harm caused while in active addiction. The feelings of guilt and low self-esteem around these realizations can lead the person to believe there is no point in remaining sober.

Addiction is a complex disease. The triggers that could send one person careening toward relapse may not affect another at all. Knowing your own particular weaknesses and vulnerabilities and humbly seeking support when it becomes clear that the “pipe is springing leaks” and is about to burst. Call someone. Go to a meeting. Distract yourself with a project. Do not let the wily one win.

Ken Seeley Communities is a Full Service Addiction Program in California

Ken Seeley Communities provides a wide range of addiction treatment services, including intervention services, residential detox, outpatient programming, residential rehab, and sober living housing. Our continuing care services can help the newly sober client confront the 10 relapse triggers mentioned above and reinforce relapse prevention. Ken Seeley has a long career in the field of addiction recovery, and is well known for his appearances on A&E’s Intervention series.

Nestled in a beautiful and serene desert setting in Palm Springs, California, Ken Seeley Communities offers an effective blend of evidence-based psychotherapies, complimentary holistic therapies, and a sense of community that helps foster a new healthy life in recovery. For more information about our spectrum of services, please reach out to Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

medication for alcoholism

Drugs To Treat Alcoholism

Anyone who has attempted to quit drinking unsuccessfully understands the powerful grip of alcohol addiction. Alcoholism is a brain disease, a result of the altered brain chemistry and neural pathways that can make it a very daunting and frustrating condition to rise above. While therapy can and does help the alcoholic learn how to break down the deeply engrained addiction behaviors that hold a person captive, it is sometimes not enough to fend off the relentless cravings for alcohol.

In recent years, drugs to treat alcoholism have become available to add additional mettle to the daily battle the recovering alcoholic faces. While recovery from alcoholism requires a comprehensive treatment approach for best outcomes, the medication-assisted treatment for this relentless disease is a welcome treatment element. These drugs are intended as adjunctive measures to further reinforce recovery, and not to be thought of as standalone treatment measures.

Why Is Alcoholism So Hard to Overcome?

Not only can drinking alcohol become addictive, but once addiction or dependency take root, alcoholism can be very difficult—although not impossible!—to overcome. Recovering from alcoholism is very unique to the individual. Some of the same factors that contributed to the addiction in the first place, such as genetics, growing up in a home where alcohol use was prevalent, a history of emotional or physical trauma or abuse, and individual biology, will be issues in recovery.

This means that for some people, beating alcoholism is very challenging. They may have to battle against a genetic predisposition to alcoholism, or mental health issues that keep them dependent on using alcohol for coping with the unpleasant symptoms. For every recovering alcoholic there are the societal pressures to drink, the television commercials and magazine ads that promote alcohol use, and entrenched habits to overcome.

Drugs To Treat Alcoholism

So far, there are three FDA-approved drugs on the market for assisting in alcohol recovery. These include:

  • Disulfiram (Antabuse). Approved in 1951 as a measure to support sobriety in alcoholics, Antabuse acts as a deterrent to drinking. Once the individual is on Antabuse, if they drink they can experience highly unpleasant and even dangerous effects, such as extreme headache, nausea and vomiting, chest pain, heart palpitations, blurred vision, mental confusion, and respiratory difficulty. Knowing that these effects will occur if they drink, the idea is to deter any consideration to drink.
  • Acamprosate (Campral). Campral also works to reduce alcohol cravings and relapse. Additionally, Campral can help minimize the lingering withdrawal symptoms that can persist for months, such as sleep disturbances, edginess, and depression.

These drugs may be prescribed singularly or in combination based on each individual’s unique recovery needs or issues.

Are Drugs to Treat Alcoholism Safe?

When taken under a physician’s supervision, these drugs are generally safe, however there are some side effects that should be noted. Antabuse can have serious health effects, even including heart attack, respiratory failure, coma, and death. For this reason, Antabuse is not recommended for individuals with a history of repeated relapses. Vivitrol, ReVia, and Campral can have side effects such as headache, nausea, headaches, diarrhea, and fatigue.

What Is Comprehensive Treatment for Alcoholism?

Because of the complexity of alcohol dependency, recovery from alcoholism necessitates a multi-modal approach to treatment. Going about beating alcoholism from several different angles offers the best chances at a successful recovery result. There are three primary phases  of alcoholism recovery, including:

  • Residential Detox. A Residential Detox is the first step in the recovery journey, and can be one of the biggest obstacles to initiating treatment for an alcohol use disorder. This is because of the harsh, even dangerous, withdrawal symptoms that arise during detox. For this reason, individuals are cautioned never to approach detox alone without licensed supervision. During detox the detox specialists will provide the necessary medications to mitigate many of the withdrawal symptoms, and guide the individual safely through the process. In addition, the detox professionals offer important psychological support as well, as anxiety, depression, insomnia, and mental  confusion are common in detox and withdrawal.
  • Addiction Treatment. Treatment for an alcohol use disorder can be provided in either an outpatient or residential setting. Addiction recovery involves making fundamental changes to the learned behaviors that have kept the person dependent on alcohol. By replacing distorted thoughts and self-destructive addictive behaviors with new positive, constructive thought patterns will eventually become new healthy habits. Medication-assisted treatment is provided as one of the treatment elements for individuals in addiction recovery. Other interventions include psychotherapy, group therapy, holistic therapies, acquiring stress-management skills, active planning to prevent relapse, and 12-step meetings.
  • Continuing Care. An important treatment component includes the continuing care services that will support recovery after rehab is completed. Those in early recovery are very vulnerable to relapse, no matter how committed they are to sobriety. By continuing on with regular outpatient counseling and support services, as well as engaging in a recovery community that provides peer support, the individual will have a supportive backstop when issues that threaten recovery arise. Sober living housing is another excellent continuing care option during outpatient rehab and into the first few months of recovery.

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities and Rehab provides a full spectrum of addiction treatment services in the Palm Springs, California area. These services include professional intervention planning, detox, outpatient rehab, residential rehab, and sober living housing. One of the treatment elements offered at Ken Seeley Communities is medication-assisted treatment, including detox medications to treat alcoholism. For more information about the program and addiction treatment services, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

brain to heal from alcohol

How Long Does it Take for Your Brain to Heal from Alcohol?

Recovery is a beautiful thing. It is a fact that even someone with a lengthy history of alcoholism can regain brain health in recovery, reversing years of damage to brain structures, volume, and functioning. Even after only six months, the individual in recovery will experience significant restoration of brain health.

In fact, even two weeks of abstinence will reveal a reversal of brain damage, according to a study out of Stanford University. The focus of the study was on volume loss caused by alcohol abuse, which is associated

Several factors may influence how long it takes for the brain to heal from alcohol addiction. These include the number of prior detoxifications, if the individual is a smoker, or if he or she has a strong family prevalence of alcoholism. These factors can slow down or prevent a complete brain recovery.

For someone considering getting treatment for an alcohol use disorder, it is encouraging to learn that not only will the individual experience improvements across the board in psychological and physical health, but their brain health will recover, too. These kinds of results will only be experienced when the individual complies with continuing care efforts and remains sober, but knowing that it is possible for the brain to heal from alcohol addiction is a powerful motivator.

How Alcoholism Affects Brain Health

Chronic alcohol abuse has deleterious effects on the brain. The brain matter volume literally shrinks as a result of alcoholism. In addiction, there can be an increase of cerebrospinal fluid. Along with the loss of volume in the insula and cingulate cortex, are other neuropsychological effects, also known as alcohol-related cognitive impairment, such as difficulty concentrating, memory loss, and even increased impulsivity.

Individuals with a serious alcohol use disorder experience changes in the frontal lobe, where executive functions like decision-making and self-control are regulated. The cerebellum is also affected by alcohol abuse, which is the region that contributes to controlling and coordinating muscle movements. Additionally, alcohol dependency can slow brain cell development and accelerate dementia.

5 Ways the Brain Heals from Alcohol Addiction

MRI imaging reveals the rapid restoration of brain volume in studies that measure brain scan results from participants of which half are in early alcohol recovery, starting 24-hours after detox, and half who had little exposure to alcohol. The increase in the cerebellum region was nearly completely restored after 14 days of abstinence.

Although the impact of chronic alcohol consumption on the brain is significant, the brain has an amazing ability to regenerate following abstinence from alcohol. This encouraging news is tempered somewhat by the fact that not all brain damage will be immediately restored, and that some effects of alcohol abuse on the brain may have permanent effects. However, the brain has an amazing capacity to heal. Some of the ways the brain heals from alcohol addiction include:

  1. Brain volume is restored. A dramatic increase in brain matter volume occurs within 2 weeks of abstinence from alcohol, as has been shown on brain imaging tests.
  2. New cell growth. While some brain cell destruction is permanent, sustained abstinence results in new brain cell growth in the hippocampus.
  3. Improved motor skills. Executing a motor skill toward a predetermined movement outcome is a brain function that improves with sobriety.
  4. Improved visual-spatial abilities. While visual-spatial abilities will not recover completely there is some improvement with long-term abstinence.
  5. Improved cognitive abilities. As the brain heals, cognitive functions, such as short-term and long-term memory, and most executive functions are improved.

Recovery of such behaviors as sustained attention span and other neurocognitive functions may take longer to rebound.

Other Benefits of Sobriety

Renewed brain health isn’t the only benefit enjoyed in sobriety. Some of the other positive effects associated with early recovery include:

  • Improved mood. Alcoholism often coexists with the symptoms of depression and/or anxiety. The impact of alcohol on the brain creates emotional instability, and the negative life consequences due to alcoholism only enhance feelings of shame, guilt, and anxiety. After a month or two in recovery an improvement in mood along with a renewed sense of purpose are quite common.
  • You just feel better. Alcohol is a toxic substance that can do serious damage to major organs. High daily consumption results in hangovers and nausea, and a general feeling of illness as the disease progresses. By abstaining from alcohol the body eliminates the associated toxins and the brain will stabilize. After a few months of sobriety the individual may feel more energetic and focused as the body begins to function optimally again.
  • Better appearance. Alcohol abuse has a dehydrating effect that can leave us look old and tired, as the body is unable to produce new cells at a normal rate. Inflammation caused by alcohol can cause a reddish skin tone. In sobriety the individual will notice an improvement in the overall appearance of their skin as collagen levels are restored to normal.
  • Better sleep. People may be under the misunderstanding that alcohol will assist with sleep. Alcohol is a sedative and may help someone fall asleep faster, but its effects in the bloodstream will disrupt the third and fourth phases of the sleep cycle, impacting the circadian rhythm and causing sleep disturbance. Sustained sobriety has the positive affect of better sleep quality, a key component of achieving overall wellness.
  • Weight loss. Alcohol is high in sugar content and calories, therefore alcohol abuse is often associated with weight gain and bloating. Individuals with a moderate to severe alcohol use disorder may also begin to adopt an unhealthy diet. This combination of high alcohol intake and poor diet can lead to extra pounds, liver distention, and water retention. When eliminating alcohol consumption from the daily caloric intake, facial features becoming more defined, your belly flattens, and a trimmer overall appearance will result.

Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder

An alcohol use disorder is defined as the excessive consumption of alcohol to the point that it begins to negatively impact health, quality of life, and daily functioning. Sometimes it can take years for an alcohol habit to begin to reveal negative consequence. It is always best to recognize the warning signs of an alcohol use disorder early on so appropriate steps can be taken to proactively obtain professional help.

Some of the signs of an alcohol problem include:

  • Increased tolerance to alcohol, leading to higher alcohol consumption in an effort to experience the initial desirable effects
  • Neglecting daily responsibilities, such as parenting obligations or paying bills
  • Lying to others about how much you drink, hiding alcohol around the house, in the car, or at work
  • Isolating from friends and family so one can drink in private
  • Becoming obsessive about having alcohol available, looking forward to drinking, seeking excuses to drink
  • Experiencing problems at work, declining work performance, termination from job
  • Legal problems, such as DUI or child custody challenges
  • Negatively impacting interpersonal relationships
  • Alcohol cravings
  • Attempting to stop drinking but cannot
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when alcohol is withheld

Getting Help for Alcoholism

The road to restoring brain health and general wellness begins with the completion of a medically supervised detox program and commitment to addiction treatment. Following the detox the individual in recovery will need an extended period of professional treatment to acquire new behaviors and recovery skills designed to help them remain sober. Treatment programs are available in either an outpatient or a residential setting. The level of care that is appropriate is determined by the severity of the alcohol use disorder.

During the treatment phase of recovery the individual will participate in a variety of treatment activities and therapies that approach all aspects of alcoholism recovery. These interventions include:

  • Psychotherapy, which allows the individual to explore underlying emotional issues or past traumas that may be a contributing factor.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy, which guides the individual toward adopting new thought patterns that replace the dysfunction patterns that have fueled the alcohol abuse.
  • Group therapy, which provides opportunities for individuals in recovery to gain mutual peer support and learn new recovery skills.
  • Family-based therapy helps family members to process and heal their frustrations, emotions, and fears while learning new ways to relate.
  • Medication management using naltrexone can help recovering alcoholics manage cravings, which can reduce the risk of relapse.
  • Relapse prevention planning, which encourages the individual to examine their unique triggers and stressors that might disrupt recovery and lead to relapse.
  • 12-step meetings or similar programming, which provide social support and opportunities for leadership and making new sober friends.
  • Holistic therapies that can assist in regulating stress, such as yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, practicing mindfulness, and art therapy can enhance the effects of traditional therapy as promote relaxation.
  • Nutritional counseling and exercise, which can help build a healthy lifestyle and promote physical and emotional healing.

Anyone who desires to take back control of their life and enter into recovery from alcoholism should be encouraged by the improvements in brain health, mood, physical health, and quality of life that result from a commitment to sobriety.

Ken Seeley Communities Trusted Resources for Alcohol Recovery Treatment

Ken Seeley Communities is a leader in the field of addiction recovery. Founder Ken Seeley is a renowned professional interventionist who was featured regularly on the A&E series, Intervention. His recovery center provides all levels of treatment for the recovery continuum, including intervention services, medical detox, outpatient rehab programming, residential rehab programming, and sober living housing. If you are ready to address an alcohol use disorder and allow your brain to heal from alcohol addiction, please reach out to Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

 

long term addiction treatment

Long Term Addiction Treatment Facilities

6 Benefits of a Residential Addiction Treatment Program

We humans have been groomed to expect instant results in every facet of our lives. We seek expediency wherever we can find it, whether it’s the highest speed Internet service, the quickest Prime shipments on Amazon, or a swift weight loss program. We want it all, and we want it now. But there are certain things that cannot be rushed, that is, if you want to enjoy a lasting outcome, and addiction recovery is one of those things. For individuals with a deeply ingrained drug or alcohol addiction, a short-term rehab simply will not produce the lasting recovery one is seeking or needing.

When chemical dependency on a substance of abuse develops, the brain has become accustomed to the daily delivery of the substance and has adjusted its own natural chemistry accordingly. These new neural pathways bypass the brain’s normal production of dopamine, for instance, relying instead on the drug of choice to provide the flood of dopamine as usual. This is one reason why a long-term history of alcohol or drug addiction makes a swift recovery impossible. It takes time to normalize brain chemistry and central nervous system functions after discontinuing drug or alcohol use.

Addictive behavior patterns are another reason why a long-term rehab is needed. While in active addiction, the trigger produces the thought that one will suffer unless they acquire and use the substance of choice, so the destructive behavioral response, to drink or use, is then activated. These reflexive patterns have become so entrenched that it takes an extended period of time to replace them with new, healthy, and productive thought/behavior patterns.

While outpatient rehab services are an excellent option for individuals with an emerging or recent substance use disorder, these programs do not offer the oversight needed for individuals with moderate to severe addiction status. Outpatient programs provide flexibility and freedom that, for someone deeply addicted, offers too many temptations that can trigger relapse.

Why Long Term Addiction Treatment Facilities Are the Best Option

Long term addiction treatment facilities offer a much better environment for individuals with established addiction histories. The length of the stay will be determined during the intake interview and assessment process, and may be anywhere from one month to a year in length depending on the addiction information obtained. Here are 6 reasons why long term addiction treatment facilities are the more appropriate setting for individuals with a lengthy history of addiction, a dual diagnosis, or a poly-drug substance disorder:

  1. Structure. A predictable daily schedule is beneficial for someone in early recovery. Residential rehabs offer a full daily schedule of therapies and activities, in addition to meal times, recreational time, and down time. This creates less stress for the clients, knowing their days are full and they will be busy, which helps them focus on recovery and dwell less on cravings or romanticized addiction activities.
  2. 24-hour supervision. Residential rehabs provide round-the-clock monitoring of clients, reducing the opportunities for the clients to engage in drug-seeking or sneaky behaviors that will sabotage recovery. There are clinicians, psychotherapists, addiction specialists, and personnel to keep clients supervised throughout the day.
  3. Comprehensive programming. An inpatient setting has the time available to offer a multitude of recovery programming. This includes individual therapy, group therapy, addiction education classes, life skills classes, family counseling, 12-step meetings, guest speakers, and holistic therapies.
  4. Peer support. Having people around you that understand your struggles because they have the same ones is comforting to clients in recovery. With a shared experience and with aligned recovery goals, the clients can provide social support for each other. In the inpatient setting, new friendships are often established as a result of this shared experience.
  5. Removed from environment. By leaving one’s home community and staying for an extended period in rehab clients are much more able to focus on the work of recovery. Daily stressors, triggers, and obligations do not invade the rehab environment, allowing clients to concentrate on getting healthy and restoring overall wellness.
  6. Fitness and nutrition. An essential part of the recovery process is restoring health. Active addiction tends to put nutrition and fitness on the back burner, often leaving clients with nutritional deficiencies, health conditions, and unfit bodies. By spending a period of time in a residential program, the client has time to establish new healthy habits and routines that benefit overall wellbeing.

Continuing Care Following Long Term Residential Rehab

An often-neglected component of the recovery process is planning what happens after discharge from a long-term residential program. Clients may be anxious to return to their home community and shirk the recommendations of the therapists to continue on with aftercare services, to their peril. Early recovery is a very vulnerable phase that should be carefully prepared for.

Continuing care services allow the client to shore up sobriety and practice recovery tools while still under the care of addiction recovery professionals. It is a mistake to believe one can go it alone right after rehab. Many clients find themselves overwhelmed by the return to freedom and may expose themselves to triggers or people who are not supportive of their recovery. This can lead to relapse, and in the case of an opioid addiction, this can prove deadly.

Plans should be made to follow up the residential rehab program with the following continuing care services:

  • Sober living housing. Spending a few months in sober living increases the sustainability of recovery during the early months.
  • Ongoing outpatient counseling. By continuing to receive support from an outpatient therapist or group therapy session, clients can work through some of the challenges experienced in early recovery.
  • 12-step recovery group. Participating in a 12-step or non 12-step recovery community offers ongoing social support.

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Long Term Addiction Treatment Facilities

Ken Seeley Communities and Rehab is a leading provider of long-term residential rehab in Palm Springs, California. In addition to offering residential detox and residential programming, Ken Seeley also provides day treatment programs, outpatient treatment, and intervention services. For more information, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

eyes of a heroin addict

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.

 

naltrexone alcohol

Naltrexone Alcohol Addiction Recovery Support

Alcoholism can steal everything good in a person’s life. It can also steal life itself. About 7% of the adult population, or approximately 15 million people struggle with alcohol addiction or dependency, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Those who are included in these statistics have likely suffered numerous negative consequences due to the alcohol problem. Although many may desire to stop drinking, their efforts may have been unsuccessful.

Naltrexone alcoholism treatment has been shown to offer hope to individuals committed to overcoming their alcohol dependence. Naltrexone is included in a collection of drugs referred to as medication-assisted treatment, which provides recovery support through the use of the drug along with adjunctive psychotherapy and medication management. For someone who is motivated to achieve a life of sustained sobriety, naltrexone may be an essential tool in obtaining this goal.

About Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcoholism starts off as alcohol abuse, excessive alcohol consumption that can precede the development of a chemical dependence on alcohol. If heeding the warning signs of a developing alcohol addiction, the individual can proactively take the steps necessary to change their drinking behaviors before addiction and dependence set in.

In fact, someone with an emerging or mild AUD may still have some control over the substance. These motivated individuals may be able to incrementally cut back on alcohol over a period of time until they are fully abstinent. To support this effort, attending 12-step meetings, embracing a sober lifestyle, and receiving outpatient therapy may result in a positive outcome.

When alcohol use becomes problematic, even in the early stages, it is called an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Depending on how many of the diagnostic symptoms are experienced in a one-year period, the AUD is assessed as mild, moderate, or severe. Generally, the longer the alcohol abuse has lasted the greater the chance that brain pathways have been altered and the more difficult the road to recovery.

The 11 criteria for identifying an AUD include the following questions:

  • Have you had occasions where you drank more or longer than intended?
  • Have you attempted to cut back or stop drinking, on more than one occasion, but couldn’t?
  • Do you spend a lot of time drinking or recovering from its aftereffects?
  • Do you experience alcohol cravings?
  • Has your alcohol use caused you to neglect family obligations, or caused problems at work or in school?
  • Have you continued to consume alcohol regardless of these problems?
  • Have you lost interest in, or discontinued, activities or hobbies you once enjoyed?
  • Have you engaged in high risk behaviors due to alcohol consumption?
  • Do you continue to drink even with it causing mental health or medical problems or a blackout?
  • Have you increased your alcohol consumption to achieve the initial effects once experienced?
  • Do you experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms when the effects of the alcohol are wearing off?

Answering yes to 2 or 3 questions indicates a mild AUD, 4 or 5 yes answers indicates a moderate AUD, and 6 or more indicates a severe AUD.

About Naltrexone

Naltrexone was FDA approved in 1994 to help treat alcohol dependency, and in 2010 it was approved for treating opioid dependency. Naltrexone is sold under the brand names Vivitrol and ReVia, and Depade, each with its own delivery method. As an opioid antagonist, naltrexone can block the pleasurable effects of alcohol in the reward center of the brain. As a result, the desire or temptation to use the substance is greatly diminished, reducing the risk of relapse. Naltrexone is available in a daily pill form, as a monthly time-release injection, and as a pellet implant that can last for months.

MAT is a short-term intervention, designed to help the individual during the early stages of recovery avoid relapse, with scheduled tapering off of the naltrexone about three to six months into recovery, although some may continue on naltrexone for longer periods. Over this period the MAT helps manage cravings until there is no real motivation for the individual to drink alcohol. Naltrexone is generally well tolerated with no potential for addiction, as it is not a narcotic.

Naltrexone Clinical Trials Demonstrate Efficacy

When the American Psychiatric Association developed clinical practice guidelines regarding the use of naltrexone for treating AUD their discernment was based on clinical trial data, as well as researching the balance of benefits versus harm. The APA concluded that the drug is a suitable intervention for treating moderate to severe AUD in patients who had been unable to avoid relapse following a period of abstinence.

Clinical evidence of efficacy is available through a large number of randomized controlled trials that studied the effects of naltrexone on study participants. A multisite study called COMBINE enrolled 1,383 participants with AUD and concluded that, when combined with ongoing counseling and good compliance that naltrexone reduced consumption and increased abstinence.

Naltrexone Side Effects

Over the years that naltrexone has been in use it has been studied carefully through clinical trials. In general, naltrexone is considered to be a safe treatment element for moderate to severe AUD with relatively minor side effects. Common side effects include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Chills
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Poor appetite
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Rash
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety

Medical Detox for Alcoholism

A medical detox is the first step in the recovery journey, and can be one of the biggest obstacles to initiating treatment for an alcohol use disorder. This is due to the harsh, sometimes dangerous withdrawal symptoms that can arise during alcohol detox. For this reason, individuals are cautioned never to approach detox without obtaining medical supervision. During detox the detox specialists will provide the necessary medications to minimize many of the withdrawal symptoms, and guide the individual safely through the process. In addition, the detox professionals offer important psychological support to encourage the individual to persevere.

Detox and withdrawal is usually completed within one week, although the severity of symptoms and length of detox duration depends on the length of history of chronic alcohol consumption, levels of consumption, age of the individual, general health status of the individual, and whether there are other substance use disorders present.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms begin to emerge within 6-12 hours after the last drink:

 

  • Stage 1: The first stage of detox lasts about one day and includes such symptoms as shaking, headache, nausea and vomiting, irritability, sweating, and insomnia.

 

  • Stage 2: The second stage of detox lasts about 2 days and includes more acute symptoms, such as hand tremors, anxiety, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, seizures. There is a small risk of the individual developing the delirium tremens (the DTs) on days 3-4, which may necessitate emergency medical intervention.
  • Stage 3: The final stage of detox lasts several days and features subsiding withdrawal symptoms, lingering depression, and fatigue.

Alcoholism Treatment

Professional treatment for alcohol dependence should be a multi-disciplinary program that integrates therapy, 12-step participation, and naltrexone for qualified candidates.  This three-part approach to treating alcoholism, combined with a highly motivated individual, can be very effective in breaking free from the addiction. Here is how the treatment elements work together:

  • Psychotherapy. This mainstay component of alcoholism recovery helps the individual resolve underlying issues including life traumas, a co-occurring mental health condition, or unresolved emotional pain revolving around a failed relationship, death of a loved one, loss of a job, divorce, or any significant negative event. An evidence-based therapy that has been shown to be effective in addiction treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT addresses the kneejerk actions by the client after experiencing a stressful event or trigger, resulting in drinking. CBT helps them to adopt a more positive mindset and new healthy solutions and responses.
  • 12-step program (or similar non 12-step program). Peer recovery communities have been found to be an important resource for clients in recovery from alcoholism. The meetings provide a safe and supportive space for sharing and learning amongst the members. A sponsor can help the client by providing a backstop support resource during times of weakness. Both the sponsor and the peer group increase accountability, where the client feels beholden to work the steps and become stronger.
  • Naltrexone alcohol therapy. Naltrexone alcohol recovery support helps develop new brain pathways that no longer associate alcohol with pleasure. Cravings are reduced or eliminated through ongoing naltrexone therapy, and if the client slips up they will not experience the pleasurable high they had anticipated. Over time, the client will lose the desire to drink, which reduces the risk of relapse.
  • Aftercare. Recovery from alcoholism is an ongoing process therefore aftercare planning is an important aspect of the overall outcome. Aftercare measures can include sober housing for several months following treatment while the new sober lifestyle takes root. Other continuing care efforts should include continued participation in recovery meetings and attending weekly therapy sessions.

Naltrexone can improve the recovery success results for the individual seeking to live a life of sobriety and wellness.

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Naltrexone Alcoholism Recovery Support

Ken Seeley Communities provides a wide range of addiction treatment services, including intervention services, medical detox, outpatient programming, residential rehab, and sober living housing. Nestled in a beautiful and serene desert setting in Palm Springs, California, Ken Seeley Communities offers an effective blend of evidence-based psychotherapies, complementary holistic therapies, and a sense of community that helps foster a new healthy life in recovery. Ken Seeley has a long career in the field of addiction recovery, and is well known for his appearances on A&E’s Intervention series. For more information about our alcohol addiction treatment services, please reach out to us today at (877) 744-0502.

soma addiction withdrawal symptoms

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 health 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.

Skin Abscess from Injecting Heroin

The Dangers of Skin Abscess from Injecting Heroin

The highly addictive, semi-synthetic opioid made from morphine, a substance taken from opium poppy plants that produces intense feelings of euphoria has exploded along with the opioid epidemic in the USA. As prescribed opioids by doctors and prescribers become harder to get, newly formed addicts turn to the street drug known as “heroin” for their latest fix. Mostly in urban centers, drug use has skyrocketed, but also in many major cities and states across the country. Homelessness and abject poverty have created swaths of hardship, disease, and drug laden tent cities where drug use takes center stage. These dens of inequity are breeding grounds for health hazards and complications from intravenous drug use. Along with the increase in drug overdoses and death, another health hazard often develops within user groups, which is a skin abscess from injecting heroin. These skin abscesses themselves can be quite dangerous and lead to further health consequences. That is why it is important to understand what they are and what complications can arise from them.

What is a Skin Abscess?

Usually, a skin abscess is a tender mass surrounded by pink and red flesh, sometimes referred to as a “boil.” This bump is usually bloated with pus or translucent fluid, which is often a sign of an infection. They are usually very painful and warm to the touch and can show up anywhere on your body. An abscess can form when the skin barrier is broken via minor traumas, cuts, or inflammation. Your body’s immune defenses involve an inflammatory response that sends millions of white blood cells to the infected area. The middle of the abscess will then liquefy, containing the dead cells, bacteria, and other scattered waste and remains. Unlike most infections, antibiotics alone will not cure an abscess. These complications may need intervention depending on the severity of the infection and tissue damage. That is why it is important to seek attention as soon as possible.

How Skin Abscess from Injecting Heroin Form

Once a drug user becomes a full blown addict, the fix becomes paramount while all other considerations fall to the wayside. Often times, an addict will find themselves using needles in unsanitary conditions with “dirty” syringes that may be contaminated by other user’s blood, but also by bacterial growth. Each individual, as well as the environment, is covered in microscopic bacterium that may colonize damaged areas of the epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis during intravenous drug use. These colonies may jump from needle to user quite effectively without the proper sanitation that can now be found in fix rooms in some major cities. Contaminated needles deliver the bacteria past the skin barrier into the blood stream and also into these soft tissues. Multiple punctures in the same area may worsen the wound and will, in turn, be more likely to be infected during the heroin injections. Forming a skin abscess from injecting heroin becomes common during the constant urge to get another fix. Multiple boils may form as the addict searches for new injection points that aren’t collecting fluid and swelling with pain, redness, and warmth.

Complications from Skin Abscess from Injecting Heroin

Without treatment, many dangerous complications can arise from these skin abscesses. If the infection spreads, it has the potential to cross the blood-brain barrier. The key structure of the blood-brain barrier is the “endothelial tight junction.” Endothelial cells line the blood vessels interior and form the blood-brain barrier; these cells are wedged very tightly, so much so, that only small molecules, fat-soluble molecules, and some gases can pass through. A bacterial infection, however, has the potential to bind to the endothelial wall, causing the junction to open slightly. This development means toxins and bacteria can enter and attack the brain tissue, which can mean inflammation, brain swelling, and even death.

Another complication can arise, often referred to as “blood poisoning,” which is used to describe bacteremia, septicemia, or sepsis. Sepsis is a serious and potentially fatal blood infection. These infections can occur in your abdomen, lungs, and urinary tract. Septic shock has a 50 percent mortality rate, so these complications would call for quick attention.

Endocarditis is another more specific infection that is possible from abscess complications, as it is the inflammation of the heart’s inner lining, called the endocardium. The condition is uncommon for those with healthy hearts, but a possibility for long time drug users that have abused their bodies. This condition may develop over time and may go undiagnosed as the symptoms are similar to the flu and pneumonia. Fever, chills, muscle and joint pain, nausea, heart murmur, swollen limbs or torso, and a cough are common symptoms of this infection.

Tissue death or gangrene in the area of the abscess is another concern as it usually affects your extremities, which also happen to be injection points. It can start in a hand or leg and spread throughout your entire body and cause you to suffer shock. Shock will be marked by low blood pressure or hypotension. Vital organs such as the brain may we starved of oxygen and nutrients, creating light-headedness, weakness, blurred vision, and fatigue.

Ken Seeley Communities Provides Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Ken Seeley Communities is a recovery program specializing in addiction and dual diagnosis conditions. With an expert team of recovery agents, Ken Seeley Communities guides individuals through the steps necessary to recover from heroin’s dark path, starting with processing, detox, treatment, and aftercare. Ken Seeley is known for being an interventionist that provides quality and professional care for families dealing with addiction and has the communication skills necessary to persuade individuals to enter treatment. Once entered into the treatment process, individuals will be provided evidence-based treatment solutions, as well as nutritious programs and fitness regimen to support the recovery. Sobriety is a multi-stage and multi-faceted undertaking, which is why our treatments are comprehensive and robust. For more information about the program, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.