Understanding Codependency and its Role in Addiction

Codependency and addiction

Codependency is a type of dysfunctional, one-sided relationship. In a codependent relationship, one person relies on another to have their mental, physical, and emotional needs met. It is very common among addicts, who need the relationship to continue to function while continuing their addiction behaviors. 

Whether you find yourself expending all of your energy in meeting another’s needs– a partner, a parent, a child– or you are the one demanding things of others, it is important to know more about this destructive pattern. Read on to learn more and see how you can take steps to minimize its effect on your life and relationships.

Codependency Early in Life

Codependency is a term that has been around for decades. It was originally a label for spouses of people who struggle with alcohol and drug addiction. However, the definition often applies to relationships which do not operate in this partnership dynamic.

Studies suggest that if you were raised in a dysfunctional family or had an ill or addicted parent, you likely have codependent tendencies in relationships. Here are some symptoms to help you decide if you are at risk:

Symptoms of Codependency

A person does not need to have all of these symptoms in order to display codependent tendencies. However, any of these symptoms is an indicator that you need to more closely examine your relationships. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Low self esteem– you frequently base your feelings about yourself based on what you can do for others
  • A need to please others– saying no to others causes you to feel guilty and anxious
  • An inability to set boundaries– you frequently have an issue defining which problems are yours and which belong to others
  • A tendency to become reactive or argumentative– feeling angry and resentful about what you “have to do” for others, so you overreact to words and situations
  • A need to take care of others– feeling a need to shield others from pain and adverse circumstances, often taking them on yourself
  • A need to control situations and people in your life
  • Difficulty with communication– you have an inability to express your true thoughts and feelings
  • A tendency to obsess over people, problems, or circumstances
  • Denial– you may be not even aware that there is a problem with the way you relate to others around you
  • Problems with intimacy– you experience a push pull when it comes to spending enough time being authentic with others

 

When Codependency Takes Over

Once conditions in your life have become unbearable, or if you realize that these patterns present in any relationship are holding you back from being your most authentic self, it’s time for some pattern-breaking interventions. Depending on the length of time that you’ve spent living in these relationships, you may require the help of a therapist to provide an outside perspective on your situation. Often, an outside perspective is what it takes to begin the process of looking at your relationship patterns objectively and beginning to implement new, healthier ways of living, being and relating.

 

Codependency and its Relationship to Addiction

Codependency is the perfect breeding ground for addiction to flourish. Enabling behaviors such as covering up for another person, making excuses for their behavior, or giving money to them will keep both people locked in a cycle of addiction. In some cases, a relationship addiction can develop in which both the abuser and the observer are so accustomed to their current status quo that they refuse to look outside for help.

 

Breaking the Cycle

Realizing that codependent and enabling behaviors exist is the first step to changing those patterns. Once you’re aware of the problem, you can being working towards solutions. Mainly, stopping the enabling behaviors and getting to the root of the codependent dynamic. 

The enabler needs to realize that the problems in the relationship are not solely theirs to fix. While the addicted individual needs to take responsibility for their actions. Typically addicts will require professional treatment in order to break the cycle of addiction. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with codependency and addiction issues, there is hope. The first step is seeking treatment for the addicted individual. This process will also mean re-establishing healthier ways of relating to each other and creating boundaries for both parties. At Harmony Recovery Group we treat addiction in both the individual and family through family and relationship therapy. Find out how we can help, call us today

What is Benzodiazepine Abuse and Addiction?

Benzodiazepine Abuse and Addiction

Benzodiazepines are a family of medications often referred to as tranquilizers. Well known names include Xanax and Valium. Doctors prescribe them for numerous conditions including anxiety, insomnia, seizure control, muscle relaxation, and to relax patients before procedures. However, the relaxing effects of the drugs make them a popular target for people without prescriptions who seek to use the drug recreationally. Benzodiazepine abuse is common and carries a high risk of dependence. 

 

How do Benzodiazepines work? 

Benzodiazepines work by depressing the Central Nervous System, slowing activity in the brain, relaxing muscles, and easing anxiety. They increase the effect of the brain chemical GABA (gamma amino butyric acid). GABA reduces brain activity which manages rational thought, memory, emotions, and essential functions such as breathing. Therefore, this slowing process creates a sedative effect in the brain and body which can down-regulate panic attacks or induce restfulness to combat insomnia. 

 

Benzodiazepine Tolerance and Dependence

Benzodiazepine medications create tolerance if taken continuously. While great in the short-term for acute situations like panic attacks or stressful periods, if taken for more than a few months your brain becomes used to their effect. For this reason, Benzodiazepines carry a high risk of dependence. 

 

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Stomach upset or Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle cramps
  • Rapid breathing
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations

 

Signs of Benzodiazepine Overdose

When taken at normal, prescribed doses Benzodiazepines are relatively safe. However, when taken at high doses, as is common recreationally, more dangerous side effects can occur. High doses of benzodiazepines can lead to overdose and even comas. From 2004 to 2010, emergency department visits in the US for Benzodiazepine abuse and misuse increased 139%. 

Furthermore, when Benzodiazepines are combined with other depressants such as alcohol or narcotics, the risk of complications increases significantly. 

Signs of an overdose may look different from person to person but can include: 

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Fingernails and lips turning blue
  • Extreme dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Tremors
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of coordination
  • Stupor
  • Coma

If someone you know is showing any of the above signs of Benzodiazepine overdose, seek medical attention immediately. Hospitals can help through either stomach pump, administering activated charcoal, or in severe cases, injecting flumazenil (Romazicon). 

 

Benzodiazepine Addiction

Although it is a competent of addiction, physical dependence is not the same as addiction. Someone who is addicted to Benzodiazepines will not only be physically dependent but also engage in drug-seeking behaviors. Addicts prioritize their drug use above everything else, despite the negative consequences of their actions. 

Signs of Benzodiazepine Addiction include: 
  • Drug-seeking behaviors such as seeking the drug from multiple doctors or acquiring it illegally
  • Cravings
  • Withdrawal when not using the drug
  • Obsession with obtaining the drug
  • Abusing the drugs for pleasure or intoxication
  • Inability to function without it or inability to carry on regular life functions because of it
  • Inability to stop using despite multiple attempts

Furthermore, long-term abuse and addiction to Benzodiazepines carries health concerns, including placing users at a higher risk of developing Dementia. 

 

Getting Help 

Recreational abuse and addiction to Benzodiazepines can have dangerous results. Detoxing from Benzodiazepines in a clinical setting can offer the safest and most manageable way to come off them. Likewise, a treatment setting can help get to the root cause of addiction and offer the best chance for long-term recovery.

If you or a loved one are struggling with Benzodiazepines, contact us today. We’re here to help and can advise you regarding your specific treatment needs. 

 

Sources

https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/DAWN096/DAWN096/SR096EDHighlights2010.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4657308/

Marijuana Use Disorder and Addiction

Marijuana Use Disorder and Addiction

Marijuana use is legal both recreationally and medically in many states. But, just because something is legal doesn’t mean it can’t be problematic for some people’s physical and mental health and wellbeing. Alcohol and gambling are both legal but they still carry risk of abuse and addiction. While marijuana is approved in many states for medical purposes, this does not make it medicinal for everyone. Its use can greatly help people in severe pain or experiencing nausea from cancer treatment or autoimmune conditions like Multiple Sclerosis. But, for less severe conditions, the research is less convincing.  

Furthermore, studies now show that marijuana is in fact habit forming and does carry significant risk of dependency. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association (SAMHSA) states that approximately 1 in 10 people who use marijuana will become addicted. 

 

Marijuana Dependency 

Although marijuana isn’t thought to be addictive in the traditional sense of physical dependence and dangerous withdrawal symptoms when not used, it does carry risks of psychological dependence. During the past ten years, marijuana use disorders have increased among all age groups in the United States. Marijuana is much stronger today than in the past and contributes to the development of marijuana use disorders.

Signs of marijuana use disorder includes an inability to stop use of the drug even when it interferes with everyday life. Further signs are withdrawals like irritability, mood and sleep difficulties, and restlessness when quitting the drug. 

 

Marijuana Use in Youth

People who use marijuana before the age of 18 are between 4 and 7 times more likely to develop marijuana use disorder than adults. 

Because the brain is still developing until a person is 21 years-old, alcohol and drug use in youth can have more damaging effects. In the case of marijuana, use in adolescence is linked to lower IQ (as many as 8 points can be permanently lost) and impairments in memory and cognitive performance. 

Marijuana use in youth has also been linked with mental health disorders, further explained below. A recent study followed 2000 teenagers into adulthood and found that the young people who smoked marijuana were twice as likely to have developed psychosis over the next ten years as those who did not smoke. 

Lastly, a “gateway drug,” marijuana often precedes use of other illicit substances and addiction to them.

 

Marijuana and Psychological Disorders

Marijuana is known to exacerbate symptoms of people with psychological disorders. In those with a genetic predisposition to Psychosis, including disorders such as Schizophrenia, the use of marijuana can bring forward diagnosis by an average of 2.7 years. The risk of developing Schizophrenia increases with the duration and dose of marijuana use, with regular users having double the risk of non-users. In the case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, of which medical marijuana is sometimes prescribed to treat, marijuana can actually worsen symptoms. 

 

Adverse Effects of Marijuana Use

Acute Negative Effects
  • Impaired short-term memory
  • Coughing
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Increased Heart Rate 
  • Impaired motor skills such as coordination and balance
  • Sleep problems
  • In rare cases, psychosis
Long-term Potential Effects
  • Marijuana addiction
  • IQ loss in people under 18
  • Impairments in learning and memory
  • Respiratory issues, including increased risk of chronic cough or bronchitis
  • Increased risk of other drug and alcohol use disorders
  • Increased risk of schizophrenia in people with genetic vulnerability. 

Marijuana also carries significant risks for pregnant and nursing mothers.  This is because marijuana use can cause developmental risks to a fetus or nursing baby. 

 

Getting Help 

If you or a loved one are struggling with marijuana addiction or any substance use disorder help is available. Contact us today to see how we can support you through your or your loved one’s addiction.

 

Sources

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2797098/=

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/211301

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s40429-014-0018-7

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21363868/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18978312/

Making Amends With Your Mother For Step 9 of the 12 Step Program 

Making Amends to Mom 12 Step Program

Each May we are reminded of our relationship with our Mother when Mother’s Day comes around. For many, it’s a wonderful day to celebrate. Then others, it is a challenging time– those whose mothers are no longer around, mothers who have lost children, and those with strained mother-child relationships. Step 9 of the 12 Step Program calls for making amends. If your mother is on your list of amends, here’s how to start. 

 

Take Time to Evaluate What Went Wrong 

Reflect on the past and the circumstances that led you here. How did you wrong her? What role did you play in what went wrong? Look at things from her point of view and try to empathize with how she might feel. 

 

Apologize 

Take responsibility for your actions and apologize for hurting her. Address the mistakes you made and tell her that you understand why she is upset. It is a good idea to plan this ahead of time. 

 

Listen Actively 

One of the most magical parts of practicing a 12 step program that may come in handy with making amends is learning to listen. Practice active listening without thinking about what you’re going to say next. Just listen to what she has to say and answer thoughtfully. 

 

Avoid Being Reactive

Conversations about wrongdoing can be triggering for a lot of us. It is hard to keep from getting emotional and upset. Try your best to remain calm and take time to consider your words before you say them, 

 

Communicate Openly

If it feels right, have a real heart-to-heart. Access your feelings and respond honestly to your mother’s words. Share a memory of her from when you were young. Thank her for bringing you into this world. Tell her that you love her. 

 

Talk About How To Move Forward 

Suggest ways in which you can repair and rebuild the relationship. This isn’t always an overnight process and may require hard work and patience. Maybe you can arrange a regular time to meet or talk on the phone. What are the ways in which you can continue to show up for her? 

 

What We Can Learn about Addiction and Depression from Kurt Cobain’s Suicide

What We Can Learn about Addiction and Depression from Kurt Cobain’s Substance Abuse and Suicide

On April 5th, 1994, one of the most talented artists of a generation, Kurt Cobain, took his own life. He was at the height of his fame and had reached levels of success most could never dream of, so why did he end it all? The answer has roots in both addiction and depression. 

Suicide, depression, and addiction have a closely connected relationship.

Over 90% of people who complete suicide suffer from depression, have a substance abuse disorder, or both. The two create a vicious cycle that can lead to suicide. Kurt Cobain’s final days are a saddening insight into the mental health issues that surround addiction.

People suffering from severe depression, caused by ailments such as Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder (which Cobain was diagnosed with), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Dissociative Identity Disorder, and other conditions, often turn to substance abuse to numb their pain. 

For Cobain, his depression started young, he claimed his parent’s divorce when he was nine had a strong effect on him.

He spent his teenage years taking drugs and living out acts of teenage rebellion. In his youth his personal phrase, “I hate myself and want to die” was written in his journals and carried into his music career where he said it to journalists and even planned to use it as an album title. Later, in his adult years, his depression would become diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder.

Cobain’s depression and chronic pain from an undiagnosed stomach condition led him to start using prescription pills and ultimately pick up heroin in 1986, from which he struggled with addiction for years before finally getting help in 1992. Unfortunately, his sobriety did not last long and he relapsed just a few months after leaving rehab. The following year he survived a heroin overdose that nearly took his life. 

On March 3rd, 1994, he overdosed again.

This time from taking large amounts of Rohypnol. He was in Rome and was rushed to the hospital, where he spent five days in a coma. Friends believed it was a failed suicide attempt but his management insisted it was an accident. 

Later that month, his wife along with Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic, and several friends staged an intervention at his home in Seattle. Cobain agreed to go to rehab and checked into a center in Los Angeles five days later. But he only spent two days there before he told staff members he was stepping outside to smoke a cigarette, scaled a six foot high brick wall and disappeared. 

He was not seen again until his body was found on April 8th, 1994 at his home in Seattle, having committed suicide three days earlier. The coroner found large amounts of heroin and valium in his system. 

Remembering Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain’s tragic death shows us how addiction, depression, and suicide can affect anyone. It does not discriminate by class, race, or creed and no amount of success, fame, acclaim, or wealth can make these challenges disappear. For Cobain, the addiction/depression cycle became too much to bear. 

Stopping that vicious cycle can start with breaking out of active addiction. Getting the help you need can stop the common feelings of shame, guilt, sadness, and frustration that typically come with active addiction and help you on the path to healing.

If you or a loved one are struggling with active addiction, please do not hesitate to contact one of our representatives at Harmony Recovery Center. Our kind and supportive staff are here to help. Call us at (704) 970-4106

Sources

 Kessler RC, Borges G, Walters EE. Prevalence of and risk factors for lifetime suicide attempts in the National Comorbidity Survey. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1999;56:617-626.

Harris EC, Barraclough B. Suicide as an outcome for mental disorders. A meta-analysis. Br J Psychiatry. 1997;170:205-228.

Cavanagh JT, Carson AJ, Sharpe M, Lawrie SM. Psychological autopsy studies of suicide: a systematic review [published correction appears in Psychol Med. 2003;33:947]. Psychol Med. 2003;33:395-405.

Addictive Disorders & Their Treatment: June 2019 – Volume 18 – Issue 2 – p 99-104 doi: 10.1097/ADT.0000000000000155 

What Happens When You Overdose?

What Happens When You Overdose? | Harmony Recovery Center

 

An overdose on drugs or alcohol can result in life-threatening effects. These effects can vary somewhat depending on the substances used. Still, in general, an overdose will cause confusion and disorientation, profoundly slowed breathing and heart rate, and can result in heart arrhythmia, heart attack, or respiratory arrest that leads to brain damage or death.

There is an unknowable number of substances that can cause an overdose, but we do know that different types of substances have different effects. While hallucinogens and stimulants can contribute to an overdose, the vast majority are not fatal. Currently, most overdoses in the U.S., particularly those that are life-threatening, are related to opioids and other sedatives. Furthermore, many of these overdoses happen when a person combines multiple drugs or alcohol.

Anyone can overdose, and it’s not always easy to tell who is at a higher risk than others. However, there are several sets of circumstances that seem to be thematic when it comes to an overdose. For one, people who have detoxed and returned to drug use may mistakenly believe they can tolerate the same amount they did before. Secondly, people who abuse multiple substances in conjunction are a higher risk of interactions and an amplification of effects. And finally, people who either knowingly or unwitting use incredibly powerful substances, such as fentanyl.

Warning Signs of Overdose

A person who is on the verge of an overdose on depressants may not realize the severity of what is happening despite the many warning signs, which include the following:

  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Slipping in and out of consciousness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Slowed or labored breathing
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • A bluish tint to hands and feet
  • Slow and/or weak pulse

What Happens When You Overdose? | Harmony Recovery Center

When a substance is consumed orally, such as a pill or alcohol, it is first filtered through the liver and stomach before it travels through the bloodstream and into the brain. This method of use slows down the process of intoxication, but with repeated use of substances, an overdose can still occur.

When a substance is snorted, smoked, or injected, it travels to the brain much faster and in a higher amount. These methods of administration cause more intense effects and are also more dangerous and likely to lead to overdose. But, as noted, many other factors affect this process.

Eventually, the blood that contains drugs and/or alcohol pumps the substances through the body, where they land on receptors that are responsible for feelings of reward and well-being, such as dopamine, serotonin, adrenaline, or GABA. These neurotransmitters, which occur naturally in normal levels, are given a boost by these substances and produce euphoria, in addition to several other effects.

When the high subsides or as more substances are used, the person affected can start to get very drowsy, and experience altering states of wakefulness and alertness. If a person has combined the used of stimulants and depressants, known as a speedball, this process may take longer. But ultimately, excessive depressants in a person’s system are going to win the battle and can cause confusion, paranoia, heart arrhythmia and heart attack, profound central nervous depression, or death.

A Word on Depressants

When a person uses a high amount of depressants, their breathing and heart rate will begin to slow. At the base of the human brain is a respiratory control center that controls breathing, and reacts to the level of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your blood to encourage you to breathe. During an overdose, however, the slowed breathing that occurs with opioid, sedative, or alcohol ingestion becomes perilously slow and can lead to a complete stop.

As a person’s heart rate slows, oxygen levels may fall low enough that the heart starts having abnormal rhythms and is not functioning properly. At this point, some overdose victims experience a sudden cardiac arrest.

Those who do not continue to suffer from problems related to having an overwhelming amount of drugs in the brain and the body will stop receiving the correct signals that tell it to breathe. Lungs and heart may be barely working. At this point, the brain damage can occur from a lack of oxygen. Irreversible brain damage can occur after four minutes of oxygen deprivation. If a person receives CPR during this period, brain damage can be limited or reduced.

Then, the victim may foam at the mouth or choke caused by fluid leading into the lungs’ airspaces. This effect can result in aspiration as the body’s natural gag response is suppressed by CNS depression. As the person continues to lose consciousness, natural secretions in the throat pool and cause asphyxiation. Persons who throw up can also choke on their vomit and die.

An overdose that gets to this point can cause seizures due to a lack of oxygen to the brain, causing further damage. Occasionally, people who have suffered an overdose like this can end up paralyzed and unable to speak.

Medications to Stop Depressant Overdose

If administered promptly, a drug known as naloxone (Narcan) can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. This drug is widely available and typically carried by first responders. Most major pharmacy chains sell it without a prescription for about $20.  However, it is important to note that sometimes overdose sufferers require multiple treatments of Narcan, depending on the amount of opioids in their system.

Narcan use should always be attempted if the patient is still alive, and can be administered intranasally or given through an IV. Narcan removes opioids from receptors in the central nervous system and replaces the opioids without activating the receptor. In second to minutes, a life can be saved.

A Word on Stimulants

What Happens When You Overdose? | Harmony Recovery Center

As noted, stimulants, such as Adderall, cocaine, or meth, are less likely to cause an overdose, but it can occur. When a stimulant is mixed with a potent depressant, conflicting effects on a person’s body can lead to severe complications and heart attack.

When too much of a stimulant or multiple stimulants are used, a person may experience extreme effects that are basically the opposite of an overdose on depressants, which may include the following:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation and irritability
  • Hyperthermia
  • Increased respiratory rate
  • Rapid pulse
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Dehydration
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Compulsive or repetitive behaviors
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Trembling and shakiness

If a person overdoses on a stimulant, the most significant risks to their health are dehydration, hyperthermia, stroke, seizures, and heart attack. Even if the person does not die, they can suffer from long-term problems related to these adverse health outcomes. Like all overdoses, when this occurs, it is a medical emergency. Call 911 immediately.

A Word on Alcohol Poisoning

Compared to other substances, alcohol poisoning unrelated to other drugs is relatively rare. Of the 77,000 overdose deaths identified in 2017, only 2,200 were associated with alcohol use alone. It’s not easy to die from alcohol use, but it does indeed happen. The symptoms of an alcohol overdose are similar to those of other depressants. If a drunk individual is exhibiting them, this is a medical emergency, and professional help should be sought immediately.

Getting Treatment for Substance Abuse

An addiction to opioids or potent sedatives is a very dangerous condition that can cause a myriad of severe health complications, up to and including brain damage and death. We urge those who are suffering to come forward and ask for help before it’s too late.

Harmony Recovery Center offers comprehensive programs and a full spectrum of care, including detox, partial hospitalization, outpatient services, medication-assisted treatment, aftercare planning, and more.

If you are ready to take the first step on the road to recovery, contact us today! We have specialists waiting who can design an effective treatment plan that is right for you!

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Risks of Snorting Adderall XR

Snorting Adderall XR Risks| Harmony Recovery Center

Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) is a prescription-only stimulant. As such, it works to increase activity in the central nervous system (CNS). It is commonly used to treat the symptoms of ADD/ADHD and narcolepsy. Using Adderall or Adderall XR in any way other than directed by a doctor is considered abuse, is risky, and is more likely to result in adverse effects, including dependence and addiction.

What Is Adderall XR?

Adderall XR is prescribed as a tablet intended for oral consumption, but when abused, it can be crushed into a powder, and the residual product is then snorted into the nasal passage. This method will deliver the drug rapidly and intensely into a person’s system and causes a massive release of the “feel-good” chemical dopamine that leads to exorbitant energy and euphoria. It is this action that becomes the catalyst for the drug’s psychoactive and addictive potential.

Snorting immediate-release Adderall is risky in and of itself, but snorting Adderall XR may further increase the drug’s dangers and adverse effects. Abusing medication that has an extended-release format, such as Adderall XR, circumvents the manner in which the pill is intended to be released over time, gradually. Instead, it sends the entire dose of the drug into the bloodstream all at once.

When this occurs, the brain will be inundated by the amount of Adderall in its system and may not be able to metabolize it effectively. Seizures, accelerated heart rate, high blood pressure, fever, confusion, and psychosis may be the effects of Adderall overdose. These problems can also result in stroke, heart attack, and death without immediate medical intervention. Combining Adderall with other substances, such as alcohol, can serve to intensify these risks.

Snorting Adderall XR: Addiction

Adderall and Adderall XR both have a high potential for dependence and addiction. Signs of Adderall addiction include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Continued drug use despite the incurrence of adverse effects
  • Lack of interest in activities once considered important or enjoyable
  • The use of Adderall in risky or inappropriate situations
  • Adverse changes in other areas of life such as work, school, relationships, and financial or legal status
  • General malaise or lethargy when not using Adderall

When a person abuses Adderall on a recurrent basis, tolerance and dependence will inevitably begin to develop. Tolerance builds as the user’s brain becomes less sensitive to the drug’s presence, and effects are diminished as a result. This development will require the person to use increasingly higher amounts of the substance to achieve the desired effects to which he or she has grown accustomed.

Snorting Adderall XR: Withdrawal

Over time, the person’s brain and CNS are more or less “hijacked” by Adderall, and become much less able to function correctly without the drug’s presence. Subsequently, attempts to decrease drug use or to stop altogether result in very unpleasant and sometimes painful physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can persist for several days after the person’s last dose, and their severity is influenced by factors related to frequency and duration of use.

Symptoms of withdrawal associated with Adderall use may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Insomnia and hypersomnia
  • Intense and vivid dreams
  • Hunger
  • Memory impairments
  • Drug cravings

Side Effects of Snorting Adderall XR

Snorting Adderall XR Risks| Harmony Recovery Center

Due to the rapid delivery and absorption of an intranasal dose, the risk of addiction and overdose may be substantially higher among people who regularly snort Adderall. Snorting Adderall can also result in frequent infections and injury to the septum and surrounding nasal tissues.

Other possible adverse effects and dangers of snorting Adderall include the following:

  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and upset stomach
  • Digestive problems
  • Reduced appetite
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Rapid and irregular heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Profound fatigue
  • Decreased libido

Adderall Overdose

Snorting Adderall XR, particularly when used in conjunction with other drugs or alcohol, is very risky and can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of an overdose on Adderall may include:

  • Aggression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Blurred vision
  • Disorientation
  • Hallucinations
  • Rapid breathing
  • Uncontrollable shaking or tremors
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Fever
  • Upset stomach and diarrhea
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle aches, pains, and weakness
  • Seizures
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Death

Why Seek Our Help?

People who abuse prescription amphetamines often erroneously believe they are less dangerous than illicit drugs, such as meth, and underestimate the severity of their addiction. Unfortunately, refusal to seek help can have a long-lasting adverse effect on one’s life, and receiving professional treatment as soon as possible is vital to long-term sobriety.

Harmony Recovery Center offers patients a secure, structured environment and professional staff trained to identify and address each person’s unique needs. Using an in-depth, custom approach to drug addiction and recovery, we provide patients with all the tools and support they need to be successful at long-term sobriety.

If you or someone you love is abusing Adderall, please seek treatment as soon as possible. Call us today to learn about our treatment options and find out how we can help!

Signs of an Opioid Overdose

Signs of an Opioid Overdose | Harmony Recovery Center

Opioid abuse and addiction has been rising steadily since the early 2000s, and as a result, the overdose rate in the United States has also been increasing to epic proportions. For this reason, It’s vital to be able to recognize the signs of an opioid overdose to save a loved one who is using heroin or abusing prescription painkillers from irreversible brain damage or death.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that more than 69,000 people globally die from opioid-related overdoses each year. However, through prevention, education, and effective treatment, we may begin to reverse this trend. Being able to recognize an overdose in progress may help prevent those who abuse these drugs from succumbing to the severest of fates.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a category of drugs that include illicit substances, such as heroin and fentanyl, as well as painkillers available legally only by prescription, such as codeine, morphine, oxycodone hydrocodone, and many others.

Due to a high potential for addiction, it’s relatively easy to become dependent on these drugs, especially when an individual is not taking them as directed under medical supervision. Regarding heroin and other illegal opioids, this is never the case. When prescribed, these drugs are given to those who have suffered a severe injury, undergone surgery, or, in some instances, experience chronic pain related to cancer or palliative care.

How Do Opioids Impact the Brain?

Opioids bind to certain receptors in the brain that help block pain signals and produce feelings of relaxation and well-being. Opioids have become a staple of modern medicine and are often indispensable for managing acute pain or help people who suffer from severe conditions to be more comfortable.

Problems can occur, however, when a person uses a drug too much, too often, or for too long. In the very worst-case scenario, a person may begin to use the drug recreationally or for non-medical purposes.

Opioids have depressant properties, and these are what cause an overdose to occur. Opioids can dramatically slow down heart rate and respiration and cause blood pressure and body temperature to drop to a perilously low level.

Signs of an Opioid Overdose | Harmony Recovery Center

Understanding Opioid Abuse and Addiction

The abuse of opioids is not needed for addiction to develop, but it is one major risk factor. A person can become dependent on opioids after using them for a prolonged period, and this can occur even when prescribed correctly by a doctor.

Dependence is chemical condition caused by the repeated use of a substance such that the person’s body begins to rely on the presence of a substance to function normally. Dependence does not equal addiction, but addiction always includes dependence.

Addiction is also characterized by tolerance, a condition in which the body responds to repeated use of a substance by diminishing it’s effect. This results in the person needing increasing amounts of the substance to achieve the desired results, be it pain relief or to induce a high.

Addiction is also further hallmarked by the compulsive need to seek and use drugs or alcohol to the detriment of oneself or others. A person who has become dependent on opioids will likely stop at nothing to obtain them, and this may include stealing from others or even prostituting themselves in order to get their next fix.

Finally, opioid addiction results in withdrawal symptoms when the person tries to quit or can no longer obtain their drug of choice. These symptoms are often severe and painful and flu-like, causing nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and body aches and pains.

Although not generally life-threatening, these effects are often enough to compel the person to start using again, and for this reason, it is highly advisable that a person attempting to quit undergo a medical detox. During this process, the patient can be administered medications to minimize symptoms and reduce cravings, and be monitored for complications, should any arise.

How to Identify an Opioid Overdose

There are several hallmark signs that a person is having an opioid overdose, including the following:

  • Slowed, difficult, or stopped breathing
  • Bluish fingernails or lips (cyanosis)
  • Vomiting
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Very slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Uncharacteristic paleness
  • Confusion or drunken-like behavior

If you witness a person experiencing these symptoms, call 911 immediately or visit the nearest emergency room because this person’s life is in imminent danger. An opioid overdose can rapidly result in death and every second counts.

How to Help a Person Who Is Having an Overdose

Signs of an Opioid Overdose | Harmony Recovery Center

After calling 911, there are several steps you can take to help the person stay safe until emergency services arrive. If the individual is unconscious and cannot be wakened, roll him or her on to one side. By doing this, you can prevent the person from inhaling and choking on their own vomit while he or she is unconscious.

If the person is conscious, try to keep him or her responsive. Because these drugs impair breathing functions, allowing a person who is experiencing an overdose to fall asleep can result in the life-threatening central nervous system (CNS) depression.

Also, never leave the person alone if at all possible. A conscious person having an overdose will be incoherent and likely to place themselves in danger, and an unconscious person may stop breathing altogether. Moreover, if you leave the person alone, you won’t be able to administer rescue breathing if they need it.

Fortunately, there is a medication known as naloxone (Narcan) that can very effectively reverse an opioid overdose. This has been used for years by first responders. Due to the prevalence of overdoses in the United States, this drug has become available over-the-counter without a prescription for about $20 in most major pharmacy chains.

Naloxone can be found in the form of a nasal spray or injectable liquid. It can offer a person an hour’s reprieve from opioid overdose symptoms, which usually buys him or her enough time to be taken to the ER. This action does not entirely stop the overdose permanently, so despite having administered it, it is vital to contact emergency personnel who can apply additional life-saving medical treatment to the person.

In the aftermath of an overdose, the person will likely benefit from professional addiction treatment to help prevent further abuse of heroin or other opioids.

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction is an incredibly destructive disorder that harms a person’s health and mental well-being, and profoundly affects those close to him or her. Fortunately, opioid addiction is very treatable, and long-term, comprehensive approaches are considered to be the most effective according to clinical research.

Harmony Recovery Center offers evidence-based therapy that includes services essential for recovery, such as behavioral therapy, counseling, psychoeducation, and group support. These services are facilitated by caring staff who specialize in drug abuse and addiction and provide clients with all the tools and support they need to remain sober and enjoy long-lasting happiness and wellness.

Let us help you reclaim your life, free from the use of drugs and alcohol, so you can begin to experience the harmony and happiness you deserve! Contact us now to find out how we can help!

How Long Does Suboxone Block Opiates?

How Long Does Suboxone Block Opiates? | Harmony Recovery Center

A single, effective dose of buprenorphine, as found in Suboxone, can last between 24-60 hours, with an average of around three days. Most doctors and addiction specialists direct patients to take the drug once daily. A person’s individual factors, such as weight and metabolism, can prolong or shorten the action of Suboxone. 

Suboxone includes buprenorphine and naloxone, which are both opioid drugs. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, meaning that it attaches to receptors in the brain that opioids do, only it does not activate them to the full extent of say, heroin. Naloxone is a full agonist and is included as an abuse-deterrent measure because it works by actively reversing the effects of other opioids.

Treatment for opioid addiction often includes the use of medications like Suboxone, as it can reduce symptoms of withdrawal and promote abstinence from opioid use. While Suboxone mimics some opioid-like effects, it simultaneously diminishes the brain’s need for a true opioid drug.

About Opioid Abuse and Addiction

Opiates and opioids are medications intended to block pain signals sent to the brain. These drugs include codeine, hydrocodone, morphine, oxycodone, and many other similar substances. While these medications are frequently prescribed for pain, they are sometimes used illicitly as a product of drug diversion. Other opioids that are commonly found in illegal forms are heroin, fentanyl, and U-47700.

In addition to pain relief, opioids can induce drowsiness, impair thinking, and depress the central nervous system (CNS), lowering heart and respiratory rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. Due to their effect on regions of the brain associated with pleasure and reward, they also can produce feelings of euphoria. This effect can encourage people to repeatedly abuse the drugs or use them in ways not prescribed.

Some people will develop dependence or addiction to opioid drugs. Dependent occurs when the body adapts to a drug’s presence and then begins to require it in order to function normally. This condition results in highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when the person quits using or dramatically cuts back on use.

Addiction may include physical dependence and also tolerance. Tolerance builds because our brains have a propensity to reduce the effects of certain substances through repeated use. Addiction is also hallmarked by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the incurrence of adverse consequences.

Abuse of opioids can have detrimental effects on brain structure and function. It can lead to respiratory arrest and cerebral hypoxia, or an inadequate amount of oxygen reaching the brain that may result in brain damage, coma, or death.

Opioid Withdrawal

How Long Does Suboxone Block Opiates? | Harmony Recovery Center

As noted, because opiate use can lead to dependence, when the amount of the drug in the body diminishes, symptoms of withdrawal will start to manifest. The amount of time needed for a person to develop a dependence varies between individuals. When discontinuing or reducing the use of opioids, the body requires time to recover and revert to a state in which it is no longer reliant on the drug’s presence. Because opioid withdrawal tends to be very uncomfortable, medical detox may be vital for many people to prevent relapse.

The following are common withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid dependence:

  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose
  • Teary eyes
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dilated pupils

Although the symptoms of withdrawal can be extremely unpleasant, they are not usually life-threatening. The symptoms will eventually decrease as the body reacclimates and returns to normal functioning without the addictive substance.

How Suboxone Works

As previously noted, Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone helps to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and cravings by inducing a manageable amount of opioid effects in the brain. Although buprenorphine can cause effects such as mild euphoria, the effects are much more limited than those related to full opioid agonists, such as heroin. Buprenorphine has a high affinity for opioid receptors, and, once attached, it prevents other opioids from latching on. 

Suboxone treatment generally occurs in three phases: induction, stabilization, and maintenance

The induction phase starts between 12-24 hours after a person has used their last dose of an opioid. Treatment should begin during this early stage of withdrawal—if it is started during later stages, this can result in a worsening of symptoms.

The stabilization phase starts when the person is experiencing few symptoms or cravings. During this phase, the frequency of use and the dosage of Suboxone use will be adjusted (probably lowered) to meet the person’s individual needs.

The maintenance phase consists of a steady dose of Suboxone over time, eventually tapering off to a very low dose until it is no longer required. 

Common side effects of Suboxone may include the following:

  • Headache
  • Stomach pain and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Blurred vision
  • Itchiness

More severe side effects may occur, including difficulty breathing, hives, swelling of the face or extremities, or profound tiredness. If you experience any of these side effects, contact a doctor or addiction specialist right away.

Effectiveness of Suboxone

How Long Does Suboxone Block Opiates? | Harmony Recovery Center

Buprenorphine, one of the main ingredients in Suboxone, was approved for medical use in 2002 by the Food and Drug Administration. The medication is different than methadone in that it can be prescribed in a doctor’s office, while methadone is only available through specially licensed facilities. For this reason, a greater number of people can receive medication-assisted treatment to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. 

Of note, despite Suboxone’s increased safety and reduced potential for abuse, methadone is still often used for the treatment of particularly severe opioid addictions. A 2004 study by the Taylor and Francis Group found that Suboxone could be administered safely and in unsupervised settings, was well-tolerated by most patients, and was effective at promoting abstinence from opioids. The administration of Suboxone in non-inpatient treatment settings makes this medication highly beneficial because it is one of the few addiction treatment remedies that can be self-administered without much concern.

According to the Journal of Addiction Medicine, in a study that evaluated the effectiveness of Suboxone, compliance with treatment was outstanding. An overwhelming majority of study participants were successful in abstaining from opioid use during treatment. No safety issues or abuse of Suboxone was identified during the course of the study. A variety of benefits over other similar medications have been reported, which has made Suboxone an increasingly attractive choice for treatment centers and healthcare providers. In fact, its use has steadily increased since it was first introduced.

While Suboxone may be more easily obtained and administered than methadone, it is still highly regulated and somewhat challenging to acquire. Because Suboxone mimics some of the effects of opiate drugs, the medication is sometimes sold illicitly as a product of drug diversion. Concerns such as this have led to strict regulations for the attainment and use of the medication.

Getting Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Harmony Recovery Center offers medication-assisted therapy for opioid addiction in the form of Suboxone and naltrexone. Suboxone can begin to be administered in our outpatient detox program and throughout the treatment process, which can include partial-hospitalization and outpatient treatment programs.

If you are suffering from an addiction to opioids, other drugs, or alcohol, call us today! We are ready to help you reclaim your life so you can experience the long-lasting health and well-being you deserve!

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Should I Use Kratom for Opiate Withdrawal?

Should I Use Kratom for Opiate Withdrawal? | Harmony Recovery Center

Kratom (mitragyna speciosa), a tropical plant from Southeast Asia, is becoming well-known as a potential treatment for opioid dependence. In low doses, it acts as a stimulant, and in higher doses, a sedative. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, its effectiveness and safety regarding addiction treatment lacks concrete evidence and has been associated with some serious risks. 

Kratom has been used by people for centuries as a stimulant and pain reliever. The leaves of kratom, which are from the same family as the coffee plant, can be chewed, dried and smoked, or brewed into tea or placed into capsules. Kratom is structurally different than opioids, but it acts on the same receptors, thereby inducing some opioid-like effects. For this reason, it has found useful by some to reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms commonly associated with cessation of heroin use and other opioids.

Can Kratom Assist in Drug Addiction Treatment?

There is anecdotal evidence that kratom can help in the treatment of opioid addiction by relieving withdrawal symptoms. Kratom’s effects include mild euphoria, sedation, reduced anxiety, and pain relief. These effects make it a potentially helpful tool for opioid dependence. Because kratom works on the same brain receptors as opioids, it can alleviate withdrawal symptoms that result from discontinuation of opioid use. 

However, kratom activates a different class of opioid receptors than heroin or prescription painkillers do. Therefore, it does not induce the same high as many of these other drugs do. Although there is significant anecdotal evidence that suggests that kratom may be an effective tool in treating opioid use disorders, research addressing the scientific validity of kratom’s use in opioid addiction treatment is scarce or nonexistent.

Are There Risks?

Despite the many proponents for kratom’s ability to help with opioid withdrawal, there is still some concern regarding its own addictive properties. While some could argue that this is harm reduction par excellence, experts now believe that kratom does, in fact, have the potential for abuse and addiction following a prolonged period of use. What’s more, because kratom is not regulated by the government or administered by medical professionals, people who choose to use kratom for this purpose are more or less left to their own devices (except for anecdotal information) in figuring out how much to use and how long to use it.

Without regulation, the risks of kratom use may also include the consumption of unintended adulterants. Furthermore, there appear to be some serious side effects associated with kratom use, including paranoia, hallucinations, nausea and vomiting, muscle pain, and in some cases, liver damage. 

There is also the risk of legal repercussions of importing or buying kratom. While it’s legal on a federal level and throughout most of the U.S., it is currently illegal in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Washington, D.C., Vermont, and Wisconsin. In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced it was planning on banning kratom but later withdraw this action, saying that more research and time to consider public comments was needed. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved kratom for any legitimate medical use and has warned people to avoid its use.

Should I Use Kratom for Opiate Withdrawal? | Harmony Recovery Center

Is Kratom Overdose Possible?

According to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), kratom was found to be a cause of death in 91 overdoses from July of 2016 to December of 2017. In seven of those deaths, kratom was the only substance identified in a toxicology test, although the CDC stated that they couldn’t emphatically rule out the presence of other substances.

Getting Treatment for Addiction

As the U.S. confronts a devastating opioid epidemic, Harmony Recovery Centers stays current on all of the possibilities that may make opioid addiction treatment a more successful and comfortable experience. Although anecdotal evidence shows some promise for kratom’s ability to be beneficial in opioid addiction treatment, there is little scientific evidence to support up these claims. As such, we do not suggest using kratom for this purpose. Instead, we encourage individuals to undergo long-term, intensive treatment, and different forms of medication-assisted treatment, such as Suboxone and naltrexone therapy.

We offer comprehensive programs in both partial hospitalization and outpatient formats that consist of evidence-based services that are essential for the process of recovery. These services include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Peer group support
  • Health and wellness education
  • Substance abuse education
  • Treatment for co-occurring conditions
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Art and music therapy
  • Adventure therapy
  • Aftercare planning

If you or someone you love is battling an addiction to opioids, we urge you to contact us today! We ensure that our clients receive all the tools and support they need to reclaim their lives once and for all, free from the use of drugs and alcohol!