Suffering from Drug Addiction or Alcoholism – Treatment is the Answer

Suffering from Drug Addiction or Alcoholism – Treatment is the Answer

Drug abuse is a serious problem. It is something that puzzles the medical community since it often evolves from deeply rooted issues. It is an illness that may try to convince the person that there is nothing wrong with them. Drug abuse, especially opiates, is taking lives.

Further confusing the problem is the question of why some people abuse drugs, such as opiates, and others do not. Then there are those who, despite their most determined efforts, cannot stay clean and sober no matter how hard they try.

Drug abuse is cunning and baffling that way. Sometimes, it takes devastating life consequences to happen before a person even accepts the notion that there might be a problem. However, at the point when life seems to hit a rock bottom, there is hope.

This hope is available through rehab facilities and treatment programs that offer a solution to alcohol and drug addiction. Here are some tips on how someone with alcoholism or a drug problem can find the help they need to begin a new life.

 

Symptoms of a Drug Abuse Problem

There are stories abound about different ways people have come to the ultimate realization that they suffer from an addictive personality. For instance, with alcoholism, it is important to distinguish between a problem drinker and someone that is an alcoholic.

With drugs such as opiates, rarely is there such a gray area. They key difference is a tremendous sense of craving that they have to use. Many times there are physical triggers, especially with opiates, but an even bigger battle is the mental obsession.

Most discover to their dismay, many they’re using again and headed for another intoxicated debacle. This happens despite good intentions to not use. Then there is the problem with the person who insists they can stay stopped for important events or for a predetermined length of time.

Invariably, they either miss the mark by a long shot or eventually tear off on another bender. These relapses frequently result in serious life-comprising consequences. Often, it is after one of these life-altering consequences that a disparaging addict mutters the ill-fated words, “never again”.

When someone has a drug problem, soon the never again dissolves, and they find themselves once again baffled and bewildered. These are two of the key signs that someone suffers from an addictive personality.

First, the drug addict often cannot stop once they start, or they want to quit and eventually use again. There are self-help questionnaires, evaluations that target various, very typical behaviors displayed by someone who has a drug problem.

Here are some common questions that someone who has experienced these previous two types of difficulties with drugs can ask themselves.

  • Does all or most of their social life revolve around using drugs or partying?
  • Do they end up doing drugs, especially when they made a concerted promise not to use?
  • What is the motivation behind their drug use? Are the drugs used to alleviate a painful medical issue, or is it to escape the realities of life?
  • Does the person frequently use so much, or so frequently, they totally forget large chunks of time or forego responsibilities?
  • Have friends or family members made comments about their drug us?
  • Is the person untruthful about how much, how often they use, or that they are using drugs at all?
  • Has the person started to forego normal activities because they’re high, or so they can get more drugs or use?
  • Is there a deterioration of family, life or work responsibilities as a result of drug use?

These are just a few common questions that someone can ask to determine if there might be a problem. Someone who senses there could be a problem can also find online quizzes that can help distinguish between a few bad decisions and a serious problem.

These are not a pass or fail test. However, if any of these situations are present, the person is advised to pursue the issue. Most of the time, it simply involves asking for help. Here is what types of help there are for those who have a drug problem.

 

Help for a Drug Problem

It can be a lonely place once someone is faced with the stark reality that drugs have become a problem. The first thought is that people will look unfavorably upon them or that someone they are abnormal.

Someone suffering from a drug problem is not a bad person. An addict is a sick person who needs to get well. There are ways to get help and to get well. It is a process that begins with what might seem like a truly simple step. However, sometimes it is the hardest step of all.

That first step is to admit there is a problem and that they need help to overcome the problem. Remember, drug abuse is a baffling sickness that continually tries to convince the person that there isn’t a problem at all, or the problem is with everyone else.

Once the addict overcomes the stigma of asking for help, the journey in recovery can begin. It is just that, a journey not a destination. Some people can overcome drug abuse problems on their own, but the likelihood is extremely small. The consequences of failure can be life threatening.

There is especially a problem when drug use has reached a severe level. Withdrawal symptoms can be very dangerous. When someone is determined to have a drug abuse problem and is seeking help, it is strongly suggested that they begin with a detox period.

These withdrawal symptoms, especially from opiates, can be so dangerous that rehab facilities commonly offer medically supervised detox. Once a person is past the precarious point of withdrawal, the most successful way to address a drug problem is through a treatment program.

These facilities are staffed by kind, caring and knowledgeable professionals. Many offer their experience to help provide hope at a time that can seem hopeless. There are facilities that provide residential programs, plus programs that are referred to as outpatient.

Inpatient rehab facilities provide housing for a predetermined time. Outpatient services allow the person to remain living at home and carry on their day-to-day activities. Frequently, the degree of danger for a relapse is determined during assessment.

Remember, one relapse can have profound consequences. When the immediate environment presents a high risk of relapse, it is best to consider strongly the inpatient option.

The key here is to seek help. While it may seem like a hard thing to do, once someone with a drug problem asks for help, they are often amazed at the outpouring of compassion.

One nice aspect of a good treatment program is that it will be equipped to treat multiple types of addiction and the symptoms that compel someone to abuse drugs or alcohol. An alcoholic or an addict just needs to take that first step to seek help. Help is out there.

They will soon appreciate what is meant by the belief that alcoholism and drug abuse are but symptoms of other problems. With help, the problems that compel drug abuse and alcoholism will gradually lose their power. Getting help for any addiction starts with this same simple request, please help.

Everyone has the right to decide for themselves if they have a drug problem. Unfortunately, many never find out until it’s too late. The problem is that an alcoholic or drug addict may go years telling him or herself that they are not.

The first hurdle is to accept that there might be a problem and seek help. Don’t want until tomorrow to make a choice that could change your life forever. Reach out for help today, because tomorrow could be too late.

Help for Your Recovery Journey, Learn About A Treatment Option‎ Suboxone

Help for Your Recovery Journey, Learn About A Treatment Option Suboxone

With opioid addiction on the rise in the US, Americans can no longer afford to ignore learning about the disease of opiate addiction. It’s getting to the point when rare is the person who doesn’t know someone who is suffering from this horrible disease.

While the war on drugs has largely been a bust, it’s time to spend more time focusing on teaching people about the treatment process. By removing the fear of the unknown, it increases the likelihood people will be willing to step forward and ask for help.

When someone enters rehab with an addiction to heroin, prescription painkillers or fentanyl, they go in with a big mountain to climb. At the low end of the treatment spectrum, they can expect to spend at least 30 days in treatment. At the high end, treatment could last for as long as 6 months. More on that below.

 

The Opioid Addiction Treatment Process

When a client enters rehab, the first person they will encounter is an intake administrator. The job of the intake administrator is to gather information from clients about their addictions. The necessary information includes detail about the individual’s circumstances and the addictions themselves.

On the seriousness scale, opioid addiction would rank at the top of the list for substance abuse addictions. In almost all cases of opioid addiction, the rehab staff will recommend clients go through a medically monitored detox program. After detoxing off their substances of choice, clients can then move on to therapy where they will work as individuals and in groups to dig away as the causes of their addictions. The detox process makes it possible to concentrate on treatment without interruption from residual cravings. Let’s discuss treatment further.

 

Medically Monitored Detox Programs

When someone decides to suddenly stop using an opioid substance, it’s a good bet they will encounter some troubling withdrawal symptoms. At the worst end of the spectrum, some of these symptoms could be life-threatening. As a point of reference, you need to take a look at this partial list of opioid withdrawal symptoms:

  • Moderate to severe respiratory problems
  • Drastic increase in heart rate and blood pressure
  • Severe cramping in the stomach region
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Loss of the ability to control thoughts and motor function
  • Convulsions and body tremors
  • psychological problems
  • Hallucinations and nightmares that interrupt sleep

 

Clearly, the list is filled with scary symptoms. It’s for that reason that rehab facilities like ours want to make sure clients have access to medically monitored detox programs. If a rehab facility doesn’t have an inhouse program, they can usually provide referrals.

Addiction treatment professionals have developed detox programs as a way of giving clients a safe and secure environment in which they can detox. If any client starts to show signs of discomfort, there will be a medical staffer standing by to prescribe relief medications for pain and sleeping issues. Once clients clear the detox process, they can move on for counseling.

 

Longterm Detox Programs

Generally, clients can expect to spend 5 to 7 days going through detox. That’s applicable unless a client enters rehab with a severe addiction to a substance like heroin. In such cases, the client can expect to spend several weeks to several months detoxing. No matter what it takes, the client’s safety is always the number one concern.

When addressing longterm opioid detox programs, the subject of suboxone always comes up. This is an opiate-based substance that addiction treatment specialists use to help slowly wean clients off of opiates. This is typically necessary when going through detox because doing so without a tapering substance is too dangerous.

Suboxone acts as a substitute for the client’s opiate of choice. While this drug also has addictive properties, it’s metabolized in the body differently, making it less addictive. Doctors will place clients in a suboxone program to closely regulate how fast clients go through detox. By keeping tight controls on the process, doctors can protect clients from the worst of all detox issues, permanent health issues, and death.

While most longterm detox programs usually require inhouse monitoring, a client can go through a longterm detox program at home. Doctors will only prescribe this type of treatment option if they believe a particular client is responsible enough to properly manage the process.

 

Therapy/Counseling

After getting through the detox process, clients move on to face the truth about their addictions. They will try to accomplish this by working with a licensed therapist whose job it is to take clients on a journey of self-discovery. A big part of the counseling process requires the therapist to choose the right treatment options. That’s not always an easy thing to do given the range of treatment options available and the uniqueness of each’s client’s addiction.

In this modern age of addiction treatment, therapists like to use evidence-based therapies and holistic treatment options. These types of therapies provide therapists with a lot of flexibility. This flexibility allows them to customize treatment programs for each client.

With evidence-based therapies like Cognitive Behavioral and Dialectical Behavioral Therapies, therapists will ask their clients to closely look at the way their negative thoughts or feelings are driving their need to take drugs or drink alcohol. It’s this level of self-realization that serves to make clients aware of how closely their harmful behaviors come from the bad stuff they carry inside. It’s this level of awareness that forms the basis for a client to develop ways to turn their negative thoughts or feelings into positive thoughts or feelings. Once the positive replaces the negative, the client’s need to self-medicate should decrease, as will other harmful behaviors.

As far as holistic therapies, therapists like to mix these in with other options to help address a client’s overall wellbeing. With options like yoga, meditation, massage, acupuncture, art and music, and recreational therapy, clients are taught how to calm themselves and better control their thought processes and behaviors.

 

The Goal of Treatment

Ultimately, the entire treatment process attempts to do two things. First, treatment has to provide clients with a path towards a lasting recovery. Second, it has to leave clients with the coping and life skills they will need to avoid relapses. These coping and life skills should target the client’s triggers and any temptations that might come along. The good news is a successful treatment program is easy to measure. As long as the client can live their life without hiding in a syringe or bottle of booze, the recovery journey is a success.

If you are suffering from an addiction to any kind of opiate substance, you must know your addiction will eventually overwhelm you. The good news is we can keep that from happening with one simple call. If you are willing to reach out for help, you have every reason to believe you can arrest your addiction and get back to living a normal life. We would be happy to discuss treatment with you.

Opioid Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA the number of people in the United States who have died from opioid overdose increased 500 percent between 1999 and 2016. In 2017, opioid abuse killed 47,000 Americans which is more than people killed in car crashes or by firearms. The reasons for this are various and include the overprescription of these pain-killing drugs for chronic or post-operative pain. The problem with this is that opioids are uniquely designed to lead to chemical dependency. The human central nervous system actually contain sites called mu receptors into which opioids fit like keys into the locks made specifically for them.

 

Opioids or Opiates?

Both opioids and opiates are derived from the opium poppy. Opiates are natural drugs such as morphine while opioids can be both synthetic and natural. Heroin, for example, is an opioid because it is synthetic. It was created in England in the late 19th century and is derived from morphine. Made popular by Germany’s Bayer company, for a while heroin could be bought over the counter at the pharmacy. It was given its name because it made the user feel heroic. It is now a Schedule I drug in the United States, which means it is not only illegal and addictive but has no medicinal use. Yet, according to NIDA, most patients who use heroin used prescription opioids as their first drug of abuse.

Other opioids do have medicinal uses but can only be prescribed by a physician. They include fentanyl, an opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than heroin and used to ease the pain of terminally ill cancer patients. Yet, one of the reasons that death from opioid overdose is so high in many places in the country is that other drugs are “cut” with fentanyl, unknown to the user. Because it is so powerful, death can come before the person can be treated for overdose.

Carfentanil is an opioid that is even more powerful than fentanyl. It is used as an elephant tranquilizer and to ease the pain of end-stage cancer. It is so potent that there are apocryphal stories of people experiencing overdose symptoms simply from handling it.

Hydrocodone and oxycodone are opioids that are taken to ease severe pain. Sometimes they are added to aspirin. Codeine, another opiate, is used in cough syrups.

Morphine, which gets its name from Morpheus, the Greek god of sleep, is a natural derivative of the opioid poppy.

There is a class of opioids that is used to help patients withdraw from other opioids. Called opioid antagonists, these drugs are Naloxone, buprenorphine and methadone. They block the other opioids from locking into the opioid receptors in the person’s central nervous system. This both dulls the worst symptoms of withdrawal and stops the cravings that can lead patients to relapse.

These opioids are taken orally, either as a pill, as a film placed under the tongue, or via injection. The first two are sold under the names Suboxone and Subutex, and the third is sold under the name Vivitrol. The oral medications are taken daily while Vivitrol is injected once a month. Naloxone is now available as an overdose reversal drug and has contributed to a drop in overdose deaths in places where it is carried either by first responders or by patients.

 

How Are They Taken?

Opioids can be taken in several ways. They can be injected, smoked, or ingested as tablets or capsules. They come as powders, in liquid form, as syrups, skin patches or suppositories. Opioids in the form of lollipops are sometimes given to children to ease pain.

Opioids are subject to abuse because many bring euphoria as well as pain relief. Other effects of opioid use include drowsiness and apathy. Because opioids depress the central nervous system, patients can also experience a slower heart rate and breathing as well as other side effects such as constipation, pinpoint pupils, nausea and vomiting. Overdose happens when the person takes so much of the drug that their breathing and heart rate become dangerously slow or stop altogether. Other signs of overdose are cold and clammy skin, convulsions, confusion and stupor. The cold and clammy skin gives unmedicated opioid withdrawal the name “cold turkey,” for the skin resembles the flesh of a raw turkey.

Some people continue to take opioids long after their original problem has been resolved because of the way it makes them feel psychologically. Eventually, the person develops a tolerance to the drug that forces them to take more of it to get the same feeling. Physical dependency occurs when they must take the drug to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

 

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms begin about 24 hours after the last dosage of opioid. The intensity of the symptoms depend on the type of drug, how much the patient used, how long the patient had been abusing the drug, how much time usually passed between dosages and the health of the user.

Early symptoms of withdrawal are incessant yawning, sweating, a runny nose and watery eyes. If the person doesn’t take another dose of the drug, they experience irritability, nausea and vomiting, abdominal cramps, insomnia, tremors, chills that alternate with flushing and sweating and a deep depression. Their heart rate and blood pressure also increase. These symptoms can last for a few days.

Unpleasant as it is, opioid withdrawal is not life threatening. Still, more and more drug rehab facilities are treating patients with MAT, or medication-assisted treatment as they go through withdrawal to lessen their discomfort. The medications given to the patient traditionally include methadone and have started to include buprenorphine.

MAT helps patients withdraw under some kind of supervision by a health specialist. Depending on the patient’s needs, they can take the medication home with them during their withdrawal period or withdraw as an inpatient. Some patients opt for what’s called rapid detox, even though this is controversial. During rapid detox the patient is placed under general anesthesia while the drugs of abuse are purged from their body. This spares them the pain of withdrawal, but it does expose them to the risks of general anesthesia.

 

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

One piece of good news about the opioid epidemic is that availability of drug rehab centers around the country. Every state can be said to have at least one of these facilities, and several states have many. Most offer help in the form of programs such as outpatient, intensive outpatient, inpatient and partial hospitalization.

In outpatient programs, patients attend meetings and counseling sessions a few days a week for a period of time to help them recover from their addiction. With intensive outpatient programs, the patients come to the center more often. With inpatient, the patient actually lives at the center. Stays of 30, 60 or 90 days are common. With partial hospitalization, the patient spends all day at the center, then goes home or to a sober living facility at night.

While in these programs, patients are helped with therapies that can range from cognitive behavioral therapy to relapse prevention to art or music therapy and even equine therapy. Equine and other animal or outdoor therapies are especially popular in more rural areas.

Get in Touch With Our Counselors for Help

If you or our loved one are struggling with an opioid addiction, don’t hesitate to call our counselors at Om to Home by Central FL Recovery Centers in Apopka, Florida. Call for a consultation at (407) 370-5357.