Skin Abscess from Injecting Heroin

The Dangers of Skin Abscess from Injecting Heroin

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

What is a Skin Abscess?

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

How Skin Abscess from Injecting Heroin Form

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

Complications from Skin Abscess from Injecting Heroin

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

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

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

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

Ken Seeley Communities Provides Treatment for Heroin Addiction

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

Prescription Opioid to Heroin Use

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.

drugs to treat alcoholism

Drugs To Treat Alcoholism

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

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

Why Is Alcoholism So Hard to Overcome?

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

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

Drugs To Treat Alcoholism

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

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

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

Are Drugs to Treat Alcoholism Safe?

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

What Is Comprehensive Treatment for Alcoholism?

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

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

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Alcohol Addiction Treatment in Palm Springs

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

long term addiction treatment facilities

Long Term Addiction Treatment Facilities

6 Benefits of a Residential Addiction Treatment Program

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

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

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

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

Why Long Term Addiction Treatment Facilities Are the Best Option

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

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

Continuing Care Following Long Term Residential Rehab

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

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

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

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

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Long Term Addiction Treatment Facilities

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