how long does opiate withdrawal last

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 wellness 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 wellness 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.

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.

naltrexone alcohol

Naltrexone Alcohol Addiction Recovery Support

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

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

About Alcohol Use Disorder

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Naltrexone

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

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

Naltrexone Clinical Trials Demonstrate Efficacy

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

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

Naltrexone Side Effects

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

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

Medical Detox for Alcoholism

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

Alcoholism Treatment

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

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

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

Ken Seeley Communities Offers Naltrexone Alcoholism Recovery Support

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

Barbituate Overdose Treatment

Barbiturate Overdose Treatment and Recovery

Barbiturates are prescription sedatives that have taken a back seat to benzodiazepines for treating anxiety and insomnia. Even though these drugs are not prescribed frequently, they are still available and therefore represent a potential drug of abuse. When someone either accidentally or intentionally overdoses on barbiturates, it constitutes a medical emergency that requires immediate intervention.

Barbiturate overdose treatment involves multiple actions to attempt to minimize the drug’s effect on body systems. Medical personnel will administer various emergency measures to prevent potentially deadly barbiturate poisoning. Once barbiturate overdose treatment is successfully completed, the individual will transition to an addiction recovery program.

Someone who has developed a chemical dependency on barbiturates will need to undergo a supervised medical detox and withdrawal program prior to beginning addiction treatment. It is never advisable to attempt to stop taking the drug suddenly, as serious withdrawal symptoms can suddenly emerge. A medical detox team will gradually reduce the dosing of the drug until the individual has safely completed detoxification.

Treatment for the barbiturate addiction or dependency will involve multiple therapeutic interventions that are designed to help the individual establish new healthy thought patterns and lifestyle habits, resulting in a sustained recovery.

What Are Barbiturates?

Barbiturates, including phenobarbital, Seconal, Amytal, and butalbital, are a class of sedative-hypnotic drugs intended for the treatment of seizure disorder, preoperative anxiety, and insomnia. Because of the mild euphoric effects, as well as the relaxation properties of these drugs, barbiturates are illicitly abused recreationally. In fact, the 2018 SAMSHA survey reported that more than 32,000 Americans over the age of 12 had admitted misusing barbiturates.

Barbiturates, a chemical derivative of barbituric acid, work by acting on the central nervous system as a depressant, causing a sedated effect. Because of the drugs addictive properties and toxicity in the event of an overdose, most physicians now prescribe benzodiazepines for treating individuals struggling with anxiety or insomnia. However, barbiturates are still commonly prescribed for epilepsy, general anesthesia, acute migraines, and other purposes. These drugs are not recommended for use by a pregnant woman or in individuals over the age of 65. In addition, individuals with severe respiratory disease or kidney disease should avoid barbiturates.

How Are Barbiturates Misused?

As with any drug that is capable of altering brain chemistry through the central nervous system, barbiturates are highly addictive. When used on a regular basis, the body will become more tolerant to its effects, leading the individual to need higher or more frequent dosing to achieve the desired effect.

The short-acting barbiturates are the most recreationally abused form of the drug, as these provide the desired sense of euphoria and relaxation. These drugs include Amytal, Nembutal, Seconal, and Tuinal. Barbiturates are often consumed with alcohol, which only amplifies the dangerous sedative effects that can result in toxic poisoning. Barbiturates may also be combines with the use of heroin and prescription opioids.

What Are the Signs of a Barbiturate Overdose?

Even someone who was prescribed a barbiturate for a legitimate medical condition is vulnerable to toxicity building up in the system. When someone has ingested more of the drug than the body can safely metabolize, it results in overdose. Initially, the individual may appear to be intoxicated due to alcohol, as those are the initial symptoms of a barbiturate overdose. Signs and symptoms of a barbiturate overdose include:

  • Shallow breathing, or even breathing that has stopped
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Altered level of consciousness
  • Cognitive disruption
  • Appearing uncoordinated
  • Staggering
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slurred speech
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Skin rash
  • Blisters
  • Faint pulse
  • Possible kidney failure
  • Heart failure
  • Coma

If an overdose is suspected it is imperative that 911 be called immediately.

Emergency Barbiturate Overdose Treatment

Obtaining timely emergency medical interventions for barbiturate overdose treatment is paramount, as one in ten individuals will die from the overdose. The medical personnel will conduct the following actions:

  • Determine that the individual’s airway is not blocked
  • Order blood and urine tests
  • Conduct a chest x-ray
  • Conduct an electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Introduce respiratory support, such as intubation or oxygen treatment
  • Begin intravenous fluids
  • Provide activated charcoal through the mouth or nose to the stomach
  • Stomach washing

A dose of 1gram of barbiturates can cause toxic poisoning, and dosage of 2-10 grams can cause death.

When the Overdose is a Suicide Attempt

Barbiturates are powerful sedatives, making them desirable for individuals seeking to end their life. In fact, barbiturates are used for euthanasia and death penalty convictions to induce death. If a loved one has developed the symptoms of depression and has barbiturates in their possession it is essential that the drugs be taken from them. Be aware of the symptoms of depression and the red flags that can indicate suicide risk.

Warning signs of suicide might include:

  • Seeming despondent, hopeless, despairing
  • Change in eating habits
  • Losing interest in activities usually enjoyed
  • Appearing anxious or agitated
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Increased substance abuse
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Expressing feelings of being overwhelmed
  • Expressing guilt or shame, feeling humiliated
  • Seeking information or items for suicide plan
  • Increased risk-taking behavior
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Says he or she is a burden to others
  • Makes a will, puts affairs in order
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Saying goodbye to loved ones
  • Talk of death or suicide

Someone who has attempted suicide will benefit from psychiatric intervention after the barbiturate overdose treatment has been completed.

Comprehensive Addiction Treatment for Barbiturate Use Disorder

Treatment for the barbiturate addiction or dependence will involve a full spectrum of therapeutic interventions that work together as an integrated approach to recovery. Treatment can be obtained at either an outpatient or inpatient program, with pros and cons for each.

  • Outpatient rehab allows the individual to remain at home while undergoing treatment. There are different levels of outpatient intensity, with the intensive outpatient program being the most often requested. An IOP involves 9 hours a week of recovery programming and lasts for an average of three months. Outpatient rehab offers more flexibility and is available at a lower cost when compared to residential treatment. However, outpatient treatment is best reserved for those individuals with a mild to moderate substance use disorder.
  • Residential rehab is the higher standard of care for addiction treatment. The programs involve the client residing at the treatment center for an extended stay of 1-6 months where they will receive intensive treatment and 24-hour support. Inpatient programs provide treatment for individuals with moderate to severe barbiturate addiction or dependence, as well as dual diagnosis treatment.

Treatment elements for barbiturate recovery include:

Medically supervised detox and withdrawal: Barbiturate detox and withdrawal is potentially dangerous, with risks surpassing those involved with alcohol or benzodiazepine detox. Therefore, a barbiturate detox effort should always be medically supervised, as potentially serious withdrawal symptoms can suddenly emerge. Detoxification is conducted under the supervision of a doctor who will prepare a detox plan for the individual. The first phase is to switch the individual to a benzodiazepine, and then followed by a scheduled tapering process to wean the individual off of the benzo. Withdrawal symptoms are carefully monitored, and medical interventions are provided to help minimize discomfort.

Individual psychotherapy: Therapy is an essential core element for treating the barbiturate addiction and any co-occurring mental wellness conditions, such as depression. The therapist will guide the individual to examine any potential underlying psychological issues and then help them resolve them. Some of the evidence-based psychotherapies used in addiction treatment include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Contingency management
  • Motivational enhancement therapy

All of these psychotherapies target behavioral changes, as well as shifting thought patterns away from negative, irrational thoughts to more affirming, productive thoughts.

Group counseling. Group therapy supports peer interaction through opportunities to share personal trials and experiences. Meeting with others who can relate to addiction or chemical dependence can provide a source for sharing and mutual accountability.

Medication management. To date there is no medication available that targets barbiturate addiction. However, if the individual is struggling with a co-occurring mental wellness disorder, the doctor can prescribe medications for help manage the symptoms.

Relapse Prevention: Individuals create a detailed relapse prevention strategy by identifying specific triggers or situations that could lead to barbiturate relapse, and then create an actionable response plan for when cravings or other triggers threaten sobriety.

Complementary activities: Addiction treatment now includes such adjunctive measures as recreational therapy, nutritional counseling, and holistic methods for promoting relaxations, such as yoga class, art therapy, massage, and meditation.

Continuing care services: Following completion of the treatment program, continuing care activities that help reinforce recovery are strongly advised. These might include staying for a few months in sober living housing, joining a 12-step community, and continuing outpatient therapy.

Individuals who have experienced a barbiturate overdose can reform their lives through comprehensive addiction treatment interventions.

Ken Seeley Communities Provides Barbiturate Addiction Treatment

Ken Seeley Communities is a comprehensive addiction and dual diagnosis treatment center in Palm Springs, California. Ken Seeley was an intervention specialist who was featured on the hit A&E series, Intervention, as well as an invited guest on several networks to talk about his effective intervention techniques. Ken Seeley founded Ken Seeley Communities with the intention of serving individuals seeking effective treatment for addiction recovery.

Ken Seeley Communities provides all aspects of barbiturate addiction treatment, 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 barbiturate recovery programs, please contact Ken Seeley Communities today at (877) 744-0502.