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.

how to stop taking codeine

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 Recreational Codeine

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 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 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.

How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last?

Recovery from an opiate addiction or dependency is a multi-phased process that begins with an individual agreeing to get professional help. Whether they arrived at this realization after hitting their bottom, or by being encouraged by loved ones in an intervention doesn’t matter. All that really matters is beginning the recovery journey that will save someone’s life.

In anticipation of the dreaded detox from opiates, one may ask, “How long does opiate withdrawal last?” This is an expected question, as anyone with an opiate addiction knows full well what “dope sick” feels like. Just knowing they will have to endure days of discomfort is something that can cause anxiety and even second thoughts about going into treatment.

But knowledge is power. Being somewhat prepared for not only how long does the opiate withdrawal last, but also what to expect in rehab and beyond, can help to form a mental picture of the recovery process. Envisioning the steps that one will be moving through can help to muster courage and feel a little more in control.

What Is Involved in the Recovery Process?

Addiction recovery is a lifelong process that begins with the moment someone agrees to get needed help. Once that important decision has been made, it is time to seek out a treatment program that will align with the individual’s personal preferences, specific addiction features, resources, and mental health needs. There are different types of rehabs, as well as different levels of care, accommodations, and types of services.

Once a program has been selected, there will be an extensive intake process conducted. During the intake evaluation, the individual will participate in an interview with a clinician. This interview will allow the individual to relay the specific details about their opiate addiction history, any co-occurring mental health disorder, and any physical conditions. Clinicians may use assessment tools to help them further determine the new client’s recovery needs.

The rehab program will commence starting with detoxification, followed by an extensive addiction treatment program with intensive therapy, group therapy, and related activities. Once the rehab program is completed, the client should access continuing care services that include outpatient therapy and 12-step meetings at minimum.

Residential Detox for Opiate Addiction

Many clients are curious and ask, “How long does opiate withdrawal last?” They may be apprehensive about going through detox and need some reassurance prior to beginning the process. The detox and withdrawal process lasts about one to two weeks in most cases.

During a residential detox individuals will be well attended to. The withdrawal symptoms, which are similar to a bad flu with the added features of psychological symptoms, begin to emerge within 12 hours of the last opiate dosing, peak on days 2-4, and then begin to incrementally subside. During the detox and withdrawal phase of treatment, the detox team will provide medications and other remedies to help ease the discomfort and pain caused by the withdrawal symptoms. So, as worried as a client might be when they inquire, “How long does opiate withdrawal last?” they may be surprised to find that it is over before they know it.

Rehab for Opiate Addiction

Treatment for the opiate addiction includes multiple treatment interventions. These include:

  • One-on-one psychotherapy sessions based primarily on CBT
  • Group therapy
  • Family-based counseling
  • 12-step programming
  • Addiction education
  • Relapse prevention strategizing
  • Motivational guest speakers
  • Adjunctive services, such as yoga classes, mindfulness meditation training, art therapy, or other holistic therapies
  • Medication management

Rehab is available in various outpatient formats or residential, determined largely by the severity of the addiction, whether a client can leave work for an extended period, and the client’s resources.

Outpatient Treatment and Continuing Care

Continuing care refers to the post-rehab services or activities that can help bolster recovery, especially during the first six months of recovery when clients are most vulnerable. Continuing care might include sober living housing for a few months, continuing on with weekly outpatient therapy, and attending 12-step meetings. All of these activities will help to reinforce early recovery while providing key sources of support.

Ken Seeley Communities Offers All Opiate Addiction Treatment Services

Ken Seeley Communities is a comprehensive addiction treatment program located in California. Ken Seeley is a renowned professional interventionist, featured on the A&E show, Intervention. Ken Seeley Communities offers the full spectrum of addiction treatment services, including intervention services, residential detoxification, addiction treatment (outpatient and residential), sober living housing, and continuing care services. Contact us with any questions regarding treatment for an opiate addiction, including, “How long does opiate withdrawal last?” Our caring and knowledgeable team is happy to answer all questions. Reach out to us at (877) 744-0502.