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.

 

how long does heroin withdrawal last

How Long Does Heroin Withdrawal Last?

Wrenching yourself free from the grip of a heroin addiction can seem impossible. Having experienced the suffering of withdrawal symptoms on a regular basis, it may seem like going through the detox process would be unbearable. In fact, anticipating the difficult withdrawal phase of recovery actually deters many from ever seeking help, keeping them stuck tight in their addiction. So how long does heroin withdrawal last anyway? In most cases, the heroin detox timeline involves approximately 5-7 days. Although the physical and emotional effects that accompany the heroin withdrawal process are daunting, it must be looked at as a very short-term issue that will soon pass.

Some addiction treatment centers use specific prescriptions to assist with the highly unpleasant side effects associated with heroin withdrawal.  is itself an opioid that can help block the effects of opiates from ever attaching to the brain receptors, so euphoria is not experienced. Over time this helps reduce cravings, and subsequently the desire to use again declines.

There is another option available to help with heroin withdrawal, and that is to go the holistic route.  The holistic approach to heroin detox and withdrawal means that drug-free interventions are made to help assist the recovering addict through the uncomfortable side effects of heroin withdrawal.

It’s totally understandable why someone about to begin a heroin detox might ask, “How long does heroin withdrawal last?” Going through detox and withdrawal from heroin or opioids is a hurdle to clear, versus a welcome event. Detox and withdrawal will vary from one individual to another, based on a number of factors that help determine the timeline. But knowing approximately how long does heroin withdrawal last, and what to expect in a residential detox, can help one prepare mentally for what lies ahead, and to gear up for it.

About Heroin Dependency

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

Heroin is a highly addictive drug that leads to rapidly increased tolerance to the drug, resulting in increased dosage and usage in an effort to relive 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, snorting or smoking heroin.

This powerful drug makes lasting changes in brain cells, 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 (“dope sick”).

The Centers for Disease Control recently released data from 2017 citing alarming statistics regarding heroin and other opioids. According to this report, deaths from heroin increased sevenfold from 1,960 in 1999 to 15,482 in 2017. A sense of urgency exists today regarding the staggering increases of heroin and opioid abuse and addiction, and the related fatalities.

What to Expect During Heroin Detox and Withdrawal

It is natural for someone to wonder how long does heroin withdrawal last.  In general, the heroin detox process follows a fairly predictable pattern. The first withdrawal symptoms appear between 6-12 hours after the last dose of heroin. The length of the detox period, as well as the severity of symptoms, will be dependent on factors such as:

  • The duration of the heroin habit
  • Heroin consumption level
  • If the individual has a co-occurring mental wellness disorder
  • General state of the individual’s health.

All these factors will play a part in the detox experience, as far as how intense the withdrawal symptoms will be and how long withdrawal will last. Generally, symptoms will peak between 24-48 hours and then gradually subside. Most heroin detoxes are completed in 5-7 days, however long-lasting effects can linger, known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome, or PAWS.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Teary eyes
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Restlessness
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

While some may they might die from experiencing heroin withdrawal symptoms, the fact is that, while extremely unpleasant and uncomfortable, it is highly unlikely that heroin detox would be fatal. Detox providers will provide comfort through the use of medications that can significantly reduce the withdrawal symptoms, and will closely monitor the individual throughout the detox process.

Throughout a residential detox the individual will be supported with medications as symptoms emerge. The detox team will access various over-the-counter medications that can alleviate the muscle aches, fever, headache, chills, nausea and vomiting, and diarrhea symptoms. The individual will also receive psychological support to offer encouragement and help guide through the detox process, and then into the treatment program.

Residential Detox for Heroin Withdrawal

Increasingly, heroin and opioid detox and treatment involves medication, such as using certain opioid antagonists and agonists to help control craving and slowly reduce the desire for the drug. Prescriptions for stabilizing the individual in recovery can help reduce the risk of relapse. 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.

What to Expect in Heroin Rehab

It is important to understand that overcoming a heroin addiction is a long-term effort that is undertaken at an inpatient treatment facility. Detox alone is not sufficient to achieve lasting sobriety. Without follow up addiction treatment the individual is bound to relapse right away. This is because the deeply entrenched thought-behavior patterns that define the daily life of an addict do not just go away. These reflexive habits must be identified, addressed, and changed to have any kind of success in recovery.

Heroin addiction treatment is a two-pronged method that typically involves detox and evidence-based behavioral therapies such as contingency management and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). During rehab the individual will be immersed in a variety of therapeutic activities that are designed to be an integrated approach to overcoming addiction. These treatment elements include:

  • Psychotherapy: The role of psychotherapy in treating a heroin addiction is a core treatment element in addiction recovery. The therapist will access a number of evidence-based therapies to effectively guide the person toward embracing new healthy thought patterns and introduce coping skills to assist them in recovery. In addition, the therapist can help the individual explore their emotional state and work through any lingering or unresolved issues.
  • Group therapy: Addiction and depression can leave someone feeling very isolated and alone in their disease. Bringing together small groups of peers who can discuss their points of view and personal experiences with each other can give each participant a feeling of belonging. This shared experience, the recovery journey, can bond the participants and even foster new friendships that will endure after rehab is completed.
  • Non 12-step or 12-step participation: The recovery communities that may be integrated into the overall rehab program provide an excellent introduction into the power of fellowship. Recovery meetings offer opportunities to learn from each other and become inspired by those who have achieved a sustained recovery, and who benefited from the particular program, be it A.A., N.A., Smart Recovery or others.
  • Addiction education: Information can be a powerful tool in recovery. By learning about how chemical dependence develops it can give individuals a new perspective about what a danger drug like heroin does to the brain and the body. Along with learning about how addition happens, clients are also taught methods to help avoid relapsing. They will be coached in developing their own specific relapse prevention plan, and will be equipped with the necessary recovery tools to sustain recovery.
  • Adjunct therapies to promote stress reduction and relaxation: These therapies include yoga, meditation, equine therapy, art therapy, and other holistic practices
  • Aftercare services: The rehab should encourage individuals to develop an aftercare plan for post-rehab recovery. These activities or services can help solidify early recovery while helping to avoid relapse. These actions might include continuing on with outpatient therapy, continued participation in a recovery community, or spending a few months in sober living.

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Heroin Residential Detox and Addiction Recovery Services

Ken Seeley Communities is a California addiction recovery complex that offers the full spectrum of necessary treatment components. These include professional intervention services, residential rehab, various intensities of outpatient programs, and sober living housing that all work together on the recovery continuum. For more information about how long does heroin withdrawal last, and additional details about our recovery resources, please contact our team today at (877) 773-8515.

alcohol poisoning next day

Alcohol Poisoning Symptoms Next Day and Beyond

Alcohol poisoning is a potentially fatal event that occurs when an individual consumes a high level of alcohol over a short period of time. The result of binge drinking on college campuses has been well document, with many tragic deaths occurring as a result of the dangerous drinking behavior. Alcohol poisoning doesn’t have to be related to partying college kids, however. There is the potential for anyone to drink to excess, either intentionally or accidentally, through chronic over drinking, which could result in a devastating outcome.

It is important to recognize alcohol poisoning symptoms next day effects, and long-term alcohol abuse consequences. Alcohol has the potential to upend one’s life, leading to substantial negative health effects and serious ramifications generally. Avoiding the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption requires knowledge of, and a healthy respect for, the risks of drinking.

About Alcohol Poisoning

The human body is only capable of metabolizing a certain amount of alcohol. The liver is able to process about one ounce of liquor per hour, meaning that drinking in excess of that amount will result in the non-metabolized alcohol accumulating in the blood. When the liver, bloodstream, and body tissues become overwhelmed by excessive alcohol consumption, the alcohol causes toxicity.

The guidelines established by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction state that women should drink no more than three drinks in a given day or seven drinks per week. Men should not exceed 4 drinks in a given day or 14 drinks per week. Blood alcohol concentration can reach the legal limit of .08 g/dl after a woman drinks 4 drinks in a two hour period, or a man drinks 5 drinks in that same time span.

When alcohol toxicity occurs the body’s ability to metabolize it has been overridden, leading to very serious potential health risks. The individual will experience the following signs:

  • Low body temperature
  • Irregular breathing
  • Pale, clammy skin
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Incoherent
  • Coma

In the event of alcohol poisoning, it is considered a life- threatening emergency. While waiting for the first responders to arrive, keep the individual in an upright position and attempt to keep them awake. Do not leave the individual alone. Once at the hospital, the individual will be treated based on severity. The individual will likely need intravenous hydration and glucose. They may require a breathing tube until normal breathing is restored. In some instances, the stomach will need to be pumped to quickly eliminate the remaining alcohol contents in the system.

Untreated alcohol poisoning can result in asphyxiation due to the individual vomiting and not being able to expel it. Other serious after affects include possible brain damage, hypothermia, or hypoglycemia. Alcohol poisoning will have impacted the liver, pancreas, and stomach, causing inflammation. The alcohol poisoning symptoms next day may resemble a severe hangover as the body attempts to stabilize.

Symptoms Alcohol Poisoning Next Day and Prevention of Alcohol Use Disorders

Anyone who has experienced binge drinking, even without reaching a state of alcohol poisoning, can see how extreme the after affects are. The obvious short-term affects include nausea, vomiting, headache, fever, stomach distress, increased risk of accidents, DUI, or unsafe sex. In addition, alcohol abuse at a young age is a risk factor for eventually developing an alcohol use disorder later on.

Practicing safe drinking practices from early adulthood is key to avoiding the potential of addiction. Being cognizant of the temptations to party in college and setting self-boundaries for participating in social drinking is important in establishing self-moderation and control with regard to drinking and the affects of alcohol abuse.

If there is a mental wellness issue present, it is important to address it and get some therapy. Anxiety and depression are highly prevalent mental wellness conditions that can drive alcohol abuse. In an attempt to minimize psychological suffering, alcohol can be used as a crutch, which can develop into an alcohol use disorder over time.

The Importance of Getting Help for an Alcohol Use Disorder

Ignoring an alcohol use disorder is never advisable. Alcoholism is a chronic, progressive, relapsing brain disease that is relentless in its trajectory. Ignoring the burgeoning problem will only allow the alcohol issue to continue to worsen, so delaying treatment or counseling is not productive.

The reasons why someone becomes alcoholic is still not fully understood. Science has not yet determined why one heavy drinker becomes addicted or dependent on alcohol and another does not. Genetic predisposition, family history, personality traits, individual biology, and life events can all play a part in the development of an alcohol use disorder. When an individual has experienced enough alcohol poisoning symptoms, next day and beyond, they will hopefully elect to get help. For the best recovery outcomes it is best to seek professional help when an unhealthy pattern of alcohol consumption becomes evident.

Residential Detox

Before entering a rehab for alcoholism it is first necessary to complete a residential detox. Alcohol detox can turn potentially dangerous, necessitating trained detox specialists who are able to quickly respond if withdrawal symptoms become erratic. In most cases, the alcohol detoxification segment of the recovery process will take about a week to complete.

During detox, the brain and central nervous system will respond to the absence of alcohol by becoming destabilized. As the body attempts to normalize the individual will go through withdrawals, the unpleasant symptoms that will vary in severity depending on how long a history the individual has with heavy drinking, the general health and age of the person, and whether there is a coexisting mental wellness disorder.

Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Hand tremors
  • Chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations

To help manage the symptoms, the detox team will provide benzodiazepines and other medications.

Comprehensive Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

To treat an alcohol use disorder there are two types of rehabs available, outpatient and inpatient, or residential. The outpatient option is less intensive, lower cost, and more flexible, but it is only appropriate for mild to moderate alcohol use disorders. The residential option provides an extended stay at a treatment center where a broad schedule of therapeutic activities will consume much of the day. This includes psychotherapy, group therapy, medication management where appropriate, addiction education, and 12-step programming.

Ken Seeley Communities Provides Early Intervention Services and Rehab for Alcoholism in Palm Springs, CA

Ken Seeley Communities wants to make a difference in the prevalence of binge drinking and alcohol abuse by providing services to help individuals get help earlier rather than later. If your loved one is engaging in dangerous binge drinking behaviors, consider contacting Ken Seeley Communities for our expert and renowned intervention services. Ken Seeley was featured on the hit A&E series, Intervention, as well as being interviewed by major networks about his effective intervention techniques.

Ken Seeley Communities provides all aspects of alcohol addiction treatment, covering the spectrum of services including interventions, outpatient rehab, residential rehab, dual diagnosis treatment, sober living housing, and continuing care services. Our focus is on early intervention and comprehensive treatment, all within the context of a compassionate and respectful treatment environment. For more details about our intervention services and recovery 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 Abscess from Shooting Up

Without treatment, many dangerous complications can arise from these heroin 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 heroin 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.

Codeine Recreational

How to Stop Taking Codeine Safely

Who would ever suspect that an innocent bottle of cough syrup could be problematic? But the reality is that contained in that prescription cough medication is an opioid called codeine. Codeine misuse may start through the legitimate clinical use of the cough suppressant, or it could result from recreation use known on the street as Lean, Purple Drank, Sizzurp, and Texas Tea.

Regardless of the origin of the codeine abuse it can lead to increased tolerance, escalation of dosing, and ultimately addiction. Once someone has decided they are ready to stop using codeine there is a knee-jerk impulse to abruptly stop using it. However, just as with all opioid dependency, it is important to understand how to stop taking codeine safely.

About Codeine Addiction

Codeine is derived from the poppy plant and has been used for medical treatment for 200 years. Although codeine is available as a stand-alone prescription analgesic in pill form, it is often combined with other ingredients. These medications may include other pain relievers such as Tylenol or promethazine and is available in pill, capsule, or liquid forms. Codeine-containing medications are used to treat a variety of symptoms, including cough, diarrhea, and low-level pain. Codeine is a Schedule II substance, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse, which could result in addiction or dependence. In combination medications containing 90 milligrams or less of codeine, the classification is Schedule III, designating a slightly lower risk of abuse.

Codeine abuse tends to be most prominent among young, urban males. Rappers have added to the allure of the concoctions created using codeine, only increasing the popularity of codeine abuse. The drug acts by blocking pain signals to the brain, acting much the same way as morphine does. In fact, a portion of the codeine is converted by the body into morphine in approximately 70% of those who use the drug.

Effects of Codeine Abuse

As with other opioids, the body will become more tolerant to the drug’s effects, prompting the individual to begin using heavier doses. Over time, the drug may be combined with other substances, such as benzos or alcohol, to achieve the desired high, and in some cases switching to more potent opioids.

While the initial effect of the drug is relaxation, pain relief, and mild euphoria, prolonged use will begin to cause side effects. These might include:

  • Itching or rash
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Shallow breathing
  • Mental confusion
  • Problems urinating
  • Lowered blood pressure
  • Delirium and hallucination
  • Seizures

When codeine abuse escalates it can depress the central nervous system, dangerously slowing the respiratory rate. Risk of overdose death is increased if the codeine is used with alcohol, which could cause respiratory failure.

Different Forms of Codeine Recreational

Detoxing From Codeine

Knowing how to stop taking codeine in a safe manner is essential when deciding to get clean and sober. There is a risk of experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms if the drug is abruptly stopped, so detoxification should only be accomplished through a residential detox. These residential detox programs will create a tapering schedule that will ease the person off the codeine safely, allowing the body to adjust.

While withdrawal symptoms can be somewhat regulated through tapering, some unpleasant symptoms are unavoidable. These symptoms will be managed through medications and treatments that will help minimize discomfort.

Codeine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Chills
  • Extreme irritability
  • Agitation
  • Abdominal discomfort
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fatigue, malaise

Treatment For Codeine Recreational Abuse

The fact is that, over time, certain addictive behaviors became habit. The mind is a powerful instrument in relaying thoughts that would lead the individual to reach for the codeine. To overcome the codeine addiction or dependency, it is critical to make changes in thought/behavior patterns. Without making these core shifts in thinking and reacting, cravings for the drug, or ingrained addictive thought processes, would simply drive the person right back into using codeine.

After detox is completed, a rehab program will help the person accomplish these fundamental changes using cognitive behavioral therapy as an essential tool. Therapy will be offered in one-on-one settings as well as group settings, and combined with other treatment elements, such as detox treatment, 12-step meetings, and relapse prevention planning.

Ken Seeley Communities Treats Codeine Abuse and Addiction

Ken Seeley Communities offers detox, rehab, and sober living services for treating codeine addiction in California. Because codeine addiction follows the same trajectory as any other opioid addiction, it is helpful to understand how to stop taking codeine recreational through a tapering schedule. This allows the detoxification process to go smoother, increasing the chances of successfully completing detox and then transitioning into treatment. Treatment can be received through either an outpatient or residential program, depending on the severity of the codeine addiction. Ken Seeley Communities offers compassionate support at every juncture of the recovery process. For more details about the program, please reach out to Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.