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.

alcohol and social anxiety

The Link Between Alcohol and Social Anxiety

When considering what may drive someone to use alcohol as a soothing panacea for managing mental wellness disorders it is helpful to gain a deeper understanding of the connection between social anxiety and alcohol abuse. It isn’t difficult to identify the causal nature of this link, considering the effects of social anxiety on a person. For individuals who suffer from social anxiety, the intense level of discomfort in social situations can lead to an array of physical symptoms. These include a racing heart, spiked cortisol and adrenaline production, palpitations, sweating, shaking, and nausea. Alcohol can behave as a very quick antidote to these symptoms, producing a calming, relaxing effect in moments.

But as with all substances that produce chemical changes in the brain, alcohol can create a whole host of additional problems on top of the social anxiety it is supposed to be helping. The partnership between alcohol and social anxiety becomes symbiotic, that is the effects of one enhance the effects of the other, as a vicious cycle. Alcohol abuse can enhance the anxiety symptoms, as well as contribute to depression and many negative consequences in one’s life.

Why Do Those With Social Anxiety Use Alcohol?

Someone with social anxiety disorder typically has an intense fear of social events and interactions. This can include fearing simple activities like eating a meal in public or something associated with an extreme fear of being judged, such as public speaking. It has been found that 20% of those who suffer from social anxiety disorder also present with a comorbid alcohol use disorder, according to the article by Book and Randall, “Social Anxiety Disorder and Alcohol Use.” Alcohol can help these individuals relax in social settings, reducing the anxiety symptoms associated with the social phobia.

For those who dread the prospect of being scrutinized or criticized publically, turning to alcohol can be the last thing they do before leaving the house. Self-medicating fears away is only going to provide a temporary Band-Aid as more and more of the substance will inevitably be needed to relax.

Signs of Alcohol Dependency

Alcohol dependency comes in stealthily, like a thief in the night attempting to rob one of everything they hold dear. While the alcohol started out as a crutch for managing social anxiety, over time increased tolerance resulted in higher levels of alcohol consumption. There are some specific signs that alcohol abuse has evolved into a disorder. These signs include:

  • Being unable to control the levels of alcohol consumption. No shut-off capability
  • Turn to alcohol first thing in the morning
  • Hiding alcohol in the house or at work, or lying about alcohol use
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Excessive absences from work or classes
  • Decline in work or academic performance
  • Obsess about getting alcohol, having enough on hand, anticipating drinking
  • Try to quit alcohol but cannot stop
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms when try to quit

Treatment for Social Anxiety

Treating social anxiety will involved a combination of targeted psychotherapy and the use of medication. The psychotherapy best suited for treating social anxiety disorder is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). In addition, exposure therapies are also helpful in assisting individuals in overcoming their fear of social situations.

Antidepressants may be effective in managing the symptoms of social anxiety disorder. In addition, other types of antidepressants, such as the SNRI has been shown to be effective for this anxiety disorder. Anti-anxiety medications may also help reduce feelings of anxiety in a stressful situation, however these drugs have a high propensity for abuse and addiction.

Treatment for an Alcohol Use Disorder

When seeking help for an alcohol use disorder the first step in the process of recovery will be the detoxification process. Alcohol detox should always be conducted in the safe and supportive detox environment. Alcohol detox can suddenly introduce serious health risks, such as seizures or the delirium tremens, so detox should never be done without appropriate supervision.

Once the detox is completed, it is time to transition to treatment for the alcohol and social anxiety disorders. Both disorders should be treated simultaneously using psychotherapy, such as CBT and motivational enhancement therapy, medication, 12-step programming, and adjunctive activities that can enhance the conventional treatments. These might include recreational therapy, mindfulness, EMDR therapy, yoga, and hypnotherapy.

Ken Seeley Communities Treats Dual Diagnosis in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities is an integrated alcohol and dual diagnosis treatment center in California. At Ken Seeley Communities, great lengths are taken to match the needs of each individual client based on their particular substance of abuse or co-occurring mental wellness condition. For alcohol and social anxiety, a comprehensive approach to treating the co-occurring disorders would involve evidence-based therapies that are targeted toward social anxiety disorder. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy, and exposure-based therapies. The alcohol use disorder should be treated simultaneously for the best recovery outcome. For more information about our recovery services, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

Alcohol and Depression

Dual Diagnosis Alcohol and Depression

A dual diagnosis occurs when an individual is struggling with both a substance use disorder and a coexisting mental wellness disorder. Dual diagnosis is a complex and prevalent condition that impacts about 25% of those with a drug or alcohol addiction, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Wellness Services Administration. Of those, the most common is the dual diagnosis alcohol and depression combination.

There are two ways the dual diagnosis alcohol and depression can develop. In some cases, the individual is experience a major depressive episode and may turn to alcohol as a means of self-medicating their emotional pain away. Over time, the tolerance to alcohol increases, resulting in more excessive drinking and potentially alcohol addiction. This is a situation where depression was a precursor to alcoholism. In others, the individual develops alcoholism first. As the consequences that result from the alcohol addiction mount, depression can set in, indicating that alcoholism can trigger a depressive disorder. In both scenarios, the dual diagnosis alcohol and depression is the outcome.

This particular dual diagnosis is a particularly dangerous one. Because alcohol is a depressant, and can cause major devastation in all aspects of one’s life, when co-occurring with depression there is a higher risk of suicide. In fact, suicide rates among alcoholics are exorbitantly high. According to a study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, among alcoholics, the lifetime risk of suicide is 10%-15%, and that, in fact, depression and alcoholism were comorbid in 85% of 100 cases of completed suicide.

Treatment for individuals who present with this dual diagnosis of alcohol and depression will need to be provided through a specialized dual diagnosis provider where both disorders will be treated simultaneously for the best recovery outcome. These programs include psychiatric expertise on staff that are trained to respond to the issues that may emerge during detoxification and rehab.

Signs of the Dual Diagnosis Alcohol and Depression Co-Occurrence

The symptoms of both disorders, depressive disorder and alcohol dependency, will be evident in individuals who have developed this dual diagnosis. These symptoms include:

Depression

  • Sadness, despair, hopelessness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of desire to participate in usual activities
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Slowed motor and cognitive functioning
  • Inappropriate feelings of shame or guilt
  • Trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Suicidal thoughts

Alcoholism

  • Tolerance increases causing increased alcohol consumption
  • Experiences blackouts
  • Increasing time spent thinking about, obtaining alcohol, and recovering from drinking
  • Continue to drink despite negative consequences
  • Secretive behavior, hiding alcohol, lying about how much is being consumed
  • Efforts to quit or cut back are ineffective
  • Physical signs include bloating, glassy eyes, ruddy complexion
  • Withdrawal signs commence when alcohol is not available

Characteristics of Alcoholism and Coexisting Depression

The fallout for this dual diagnosis can be exceptional. Struggling with both depression and alcohol dependency can result in a slew of negative consequences. This can be due to the increased impulsivity of the alcoholic, an increase in risk-taking behaviors, and neglecting obligations, among other causes.

Consequences of the dual diagnosis of alcoholism and depression might include:

  • Loss of job
  • Divorce or interpersonal relationship issues
  • Loss of custody
  • Financial consequences due to job loss
  • Legal problems, such as getting a DUI
  • Health problems, such as pancreatitis, liver disease, heart disease, cancer
  • Accidents that result in injury to self or others, or damaged property

Individuals with a dual diagnosis of alcoholism and depression should not ignore the need for professional help. Loved ones who recognize these signs and symptoms are encouraged to seek out treatment for the individual.

Suicide Prevention

One of the more devastating consequences of alcoholism/depression co-occurring disorders is the dramatically increased risk of suicide. Primary care providers are being trained to assess for risk of suicide among patients who are alcohol dependent, hopefully increasing referrals to addiction treatment programs. These patients should be questioned about possible presence of depression symptoms as a way of identifying suicide risk in this group.

Suicide awareness includes recognizing symptoms such as:

  • Prolonged and persistent sadness, signs of hopelessness
  • The individual conveys the opinion that his or her loved ones are better off without them
  • Isolating behaviors
  • Loneliness
  • Successive setbacks that occur, such as relationship problems, loss of employment, financial difficulties
  • Appear to be giving away prized possessions
  • Making end of life arrangements
  • Saying goodbye to loved ones and friends
  • Acquiring the means to commit suicide, such as a firearm, rope, pills

Comprehensive Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

Treatment for the dual diagnosis will involve a full spectrum of therapeutic interventions that work together in an integrated approach to recovery. These treatment elements include:

Residential detox and withdrawal: Alcohol detox should always be supervised, as potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms can suddenly emerge. 

Individual psychotherapy: Therapy is an essential core element for treating both disorders. The therapist will guide the individual to examine sources of emotional pain and help them resolve these. In addition, cognitive behavioral therapy helps shift addiction responses toward positive, productive behavioral responses, as well as teaching coping skills.

Group counseling. Group therapy supports peer interaction and is a source for sharing and accountability.

Relapse Prevention: Individuals create a detailed relapse prevention strategy by identifying specific triggers or situations that could lead to relapse, and response strategies as well.

Continuing care services: Following completion of the program, sober living housing, 12-step group participation, and outpatient counseling are strongly encouraged.

Ken Seeley Communities Provides Expert Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Ken Seeley Communities is a Palm Springs-based addiction and dual diagnosis recovery program. The expert dual diagnosis clinical staff is trained to treat both disorders, alcoholism and depression, concurrently, providing detox, rehab, and sober living transitional housing. Ken Seeley Communities features a unique approach to guiding individuals into recovery, including intervention services and a subsequent continuum of care throughout the recovery process. For more detail about the program, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.

Prescription Opioid

Prescription Opioid to Heroin Use

Over-prescribing prescription opioid has led to a national drug epidemic resulting in millions of people developing an addiction to these drugs. While doctors were initially misinformed about the drugs’ potential for addiction by the manufacturers, financial compensation lured them into unscrupulous prescribing practices that have had devastating consequences.

A pattern emerged about a decade ago, when it was noticed that heroin use had dramatically increased. This was strange because for decades heroin had been relegated to the fringe among recreational drug users. Suddenly, heroin addiction was on the rise in segments of the population where it had not formerly been common, such as in upscale suburban communities. Eventually, a connection between prescription opioid to heroin use was revealed, explaining the spike in heroin addiction.

Why People Shift From Prescription Opioid to Heroin Use

Prescription opioids are extremely addicting, even in as little as two weeks of prescribed use a patient can become addicted. When the prescription runs out, the individual will begin to feel sick, therefore asking for a refill. When the doctor finally refuses to refill the prescription, the now addicted patient becomes desperate. They may search for the opioids on the Internet or purchase the pills on the street. They may begin doctor shopping, hoping to score a new prescription. But when all avenues eventually dry up, the individual may shift from prescription opioid to heroin use.

Heroin is also an opioid, created from morphine, which is derived from the opium poppy plant. Prescription opioids have a similar effect to heroin, so gravitating to heroin when the synthetic opioids are no longer available or affordable is a natural step for the addict to take. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 80% of heroin users report first misusing prescription opioids. Heroin offers these individuals a more potent high at a fraction of the cost.

Overcoming a Heroin Addiction

It is a very difficult decision to seek out treatment for a heroin addiction no matter what devastation it has done to one’s life. The prospect of being “dope sick,” and then going through the painful process of detox and withdrawal can be a significant barrier to treatment. While this fear is understandable, it is important for loved ones to help the heroin addict to focus on the longer view. In some cases, accessing the services of a professional interventionist is the most effective and expedient way to get a loved one to the point of accepting help.

Once the individual has agreed to enter treatment, they will embark on an extended stay at a residential rehab where they will be guided through the early phases of the recovery journey. These phases include:

  • Residential detox. The individual will undergo detox and withdrawal under the supervision of a detox team that will provide interventions to ease withdrawal symptoms.
  • Therapy. Psychotherapy will be scheduled throughout the week, alternating between individual therapy sessions with a licensed psychotherapist, group sessions that are led by a therapist or clinician, and family-focused sessions where family members are invited to participate.
  • Classes. Addiction education helps individuals gain a better understanding of the effects of opioids on the brain and how the drug alters brain chemistry and function. The classes also focus on planning relapse prevention strategies, and equip the individual with essential recovery skills.
  • Holistic activities. Learning how to manage emotions, stress, and difficult life events in recovery is an essential asset. Utilizing activities that promote relaxation and reduce stress will help the individual stay on track. These include deep breathing exercises, yoga, meditation, massage therapy, and mindfulness.

Continuing Care After Rehab

Once the rehab program has been successfully completed, the individual will need to access continuing care services to reinforce their newfound freedom from drug addiction. These include ongoing weekly outpatient therapy and classes, sober living housing, and active participation in a recovery community such as A.A.’s 12-step meetings or SMART Recovery meetings. Heroin addiction is treatable. Why not break free from the grip of addiction and begin your journey back to happiness today.

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Opioid Addiction Treatment in Palm Springs

Ken Seeley Communities is a comprehensive addiction recovery program offering intervention, residential detox, rehabilitation, sober living, and aftercare services. At Ken Seeley Communities, the expert clinical staff is highly experienced in treating individuals who have segued from prescription opioid to heroin use. Providing the latest in proven, evidence-based addiction treatment protocols, Ken Seeley Communities will guide each client through the phases of opioid recovery with respect and compassion. For more information about Ken Seeley Communities, please contact us at (877) 744-0502.

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 wellness disorder. An untreated or undiagnosed mental wellness 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 wellness 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.