Is Tramadol an Opioid?

Is Tramadol an Opioid?

Is Tramadol an Opioid? – Tramadol is an analgesic pain medication that is indicated to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. Tramadol is indeed an opioid and a narcotic, though its exact mechanism of action is slightly different than other opioids. In short, it acts on the brain to change how the body feels and responds to pain.

In addition to attaching to opioid pain receptors, tramadol also inhibits the uptake of two neurotransmitters, serotonin norepinephrine, which may add to its pain-relieving effects, although the exact mechanism in which it does this isn’t entirely clear.

Tramadol is a controlled substance in all 50 states. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) placed into schedule IV of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) effective August 2014.

Tramadol Side Effects

Many people tolerate tramadol very well when used for pain, but it can also cause some common and serious side effects.

Common side effects may include the following:

  • Headache
  • Itching
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heartburn
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Nervousness, anxiety, and agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Stomach pain

Serious side effects, many of which are rare, may include:

  • Addiction, abuse, and misuse
  • Respiratory depression
  • Interaction with other CNS depressants
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Seizures
  • Adrenal insufficiency
  • Severe hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Gastrointestinal adverse reactions
  • Androgen deficiency
  • Arrhythmia
  • Severe allergic reactions

Breathing changes, such as slowed or stopped breathing, can occur at any time with tramadol use, but the risk is highest when treatment is first started (within the first 72 hours) or when there is an adjustment in dose.

Patients taking recommended doses have suffered seizures, but these are more likely at the higher doses associated with abuse of tramadol.

Drug Interactions

The use of tramadol with benzodiazepines, barbiturates, muscle relaxants, anesthetics, antipsychotics, alcohol or other narcotic medications (including illegal drugs such as heroin) can lead to profound sedation, respiratory arrest, coma, and death.

Anyone using Tramadol should avoid driving, operating machinery, or other activities that require mental vigilance until one knows all of the drug’s effects and is sure that he or she can safely function.

Tramadol Can Be Habit Forming

Tramadol is structurally similar to other opioids, such as codeine and morphine, and can lead to dependence, tolerance, addiction, and withdrawal. People with a history of substance abuse and drug-seeking behavior may be at a heightened risk of addiction, but people without prior substance abuse issues may resort to doctor-shopping or other illicit means to obtain tramadol.

Persons who regularly use tramadol should not abruptly stop taking tramadol, as withdrawal symptoms can occur. If you have a prescription, consult with your doctor before discontinuing tramadol treatment and do not discontinue treatment on your own.

Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Traditional opioids such as hydrocodone and oxycodone increase feelings of pleasure and can induce a “high” when used in larger doses than prescribed.

As noted, tramadol works a little differently than other traditional opioids because, in addition to attaching to opioid receptors, it also blocks neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine from being reabsorbed back into the system. Therefore, tramadol withdrawal can take two different forms – typical opioid withdrawal syndrome and atypical opioid withdrawal syndrome. Some people may suffer from both forms.

Opioid withdrawal generally has two main phases – early and late withdrawal. Early withdrawal onsets as the drug exits the bloodstream and late withdrawal transpires afterward as the body battles the chemical changes. Symptoms of opioid withdrawal vary according to which stage the individual is in and may include the following:

Early Opioid Withdrawal

  • Runny nose and tearing
  • Sweating
  • Muscle and body aches
  • Trouble sleeping or insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Racing heart rate
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Rapid breathing

Late Opioid Withdrawal

  • Chills and goosebumps
  • Stomach pain and cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Drug cravings
  • Depression
  • Depersonalization

Tramadol has a relatively short half-life. Immediate-release forms of tramadol are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream, with their effectiveness peaking in about 1-4 hours. The effects of extended-release tramadol may persist a little longer, peaking at around 4-6 hours.

In general, opioid withdrawal symptoms typically onset within about 12 hours of the last dose. The DEA reports that 90% of those people experiencing tramadol withdrawal suffer from typical opioid withdrawal symptoms. The other 10% may experience atypical withdrawal symptoms, which may include the following:

  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Hallucinations
  • Tingling or numbness in their extremities.

Treatment for Tramadol Addiction

Addiction is a chronic disease that impacts many aspects of a person’s mental and physical health, and an integrated approach is needed to treat it adequately.

Moreover, evidence-based psychotherapies, individual and group counseling sessions, and support groups should be included in a comprehensive treatment program to ensure the best chance of success. Our center offers these services, expertly managed by addiction professionals who provide clients with the resources they so urgently need to recover.

You don’t have to wait another day to begin reclaiming your life and forging a path to long-lasting sobriety and well-being. Call us as soon as possible to find out how we can help!

Xanax and Hydrocodone: A Dangerous Combination

Xanax and Hydrocodone

When taking medications, understanding any possible drug interactions is a critical but often overlooked component to one’s health. Before taking medication, one should know its associated side effects and any adverse reactions it could have with other substances.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax (alprazolam) is a commonly prescribed and abused prescription drug. It’s classified as a benzodiazepine, and as such, it is most often prescribed to treat anxiety or panic disorders. Chronic anxiety is among the most prevalent psychological disorders, which is the main reasons why Xanax is so frequently prescribed.

When a person uses Xanax, the active ingredient attaches itself to the brain’s GABA receptors, which reduces neural activity and relieves symptoms of anxiety. Less commonly, Xanax is prescribed for conditions that involve seizures, insomnia or detox from alcohol. Common side effects of Xanax include drowsiness, dizziness or lightheadedness, concentration difficulties, and digestive problems.

Among the most serious risks related to Xanax are abuse, dependence, and addiction. There is also the potential for Xanax to be habit-forming, which is why doctors are encouraged to only prescribe it for short-term use. Moreover, it’s possible to become addicted or physically dependent after just a few weeks of use, and Xanax can interact with other substances including alcohol and narcotic pain relievers such as hydrocodone.

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is an opioid painkiller that is commonly found in brand name pharmaceutical drugs such as Vicodin and Norco and is indicated for the treatment of moderate-severe pain. As is the case with the aforementioned medications, hydrocodone is frequently found in formulations that also include the pain reliever acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol.)

Hydrocodone is a controlled substance as it has a relatively high potential for addiction. The non-medical use of this drug and other prescription opioids have risen dramatically in recent years.

Hydrocodone works by binding to specific receptors in the user’s brain that depress central nervous system (CNS) activity as pain sensations are relieved. Unfortunately, it’s relatively easy to become addicted to hydrocodone and other opioids.

Among the most common symptoms of hydrocodone use include drowsiness and euphoria, nausea and vomiting, lightheadedness and headaches. Other adverse symptoms include confusion, anxiety, fear, mood swings, lethargy, and mental impairment.

Can I Take Xanax and Hydrocodone Together?

Unless carefully prescribed by a physician, you should never take Xanax and hydrocodone at the same time. There can be severe, even fatal consequences that can result from combining Xanax and hydrocodone. Xanax and hydrocodone both reduce CNS activity, a system that is responsible for the essential functions that keep the body alive, including breathing and heart function.

If someone uses more than one substance that affects the central nervous system in this manner, it can depress respiration to the point of oversedation. A user may also slip into a coma or ultimately die from multidrug intoxication. Many emergency department visits related to overdoses are the result of someone combining benzos and opioids.

These overdoses often occur because someone is using Xanax and hydrocodone recreationally, and they use too much in an attempt to get high. There is a significant risk of overdose or death when using Xanax in combination with hydrocodone, but there is also a dramatic increase in the chance of becoming dependent or addicted to one or both of these drugs.

What is CNS Depression?

The central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord. It is responsible for the regulation of most bodily functions by transmitting messages between the brain and other nerves by way of the spinal cord.

CNS depressants are drugs and other substances that reduce activity in the CNS. Many CNS depressants, including Xanax, work by increasing the activity of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical that suppresses the delivery of messages between cells.

Symptoms

Mild symptoms of CNS depression include:

  • lack of coordination and muscle weakness
  • lethargy
  • dizziness and disorientation
  • slurred speech or stuttering
  • slight shortness of breath or shallow breathing
  • slightly reduced heart rate
  • constipation
  • restlessness and agitation
  • euphoria
  • blurred, altered, or double vision

Symptoms of severe CNS depression include:

  • reduced heart rate
  • low breathing rate – less than 10 breaths per minute
  • extreme confusion or memory loss
  • nausea and vomiting
  • poor judgment
  • blue lips or fingertips (cyanosis)
  • irritability and aggression
  • clammy or cold skin
  • sudden and intense mood swings
  • slow reflexes

If a person is experiencing these symptoms, medical care should be sought immediately. Ultimately, severe symptoms can lead to an overdose, which can result in unresponsiveness, coma, and death.

Treatment for Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is a chronic, destructive disease that impairs the ability of the person suffering to function mentally, emotionally, professionally, academically, and socially. Drug addiction is most effectively treated through the use of a supervised medical detox followed immediately by long-term therapy and counseling.

Our medical and mental health providers present our clients with the opportunity to obtain the knowledge and skills that they need to fully recover from drug addiction, regain their lives, and experience the happiness and HARMONY they deserve.

Effects of Crystal Meth

ects of Crystal Meth | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Effects of Crystal Meth – Methamphetamine hydrochloride (also known as meth or crystal meth) is a psychostimulant with a high potential for addiction that affects the brain, spinal cord, and central nervous system (CNS). Depending on its form, meth can either be smoked using a pipe (as in crystal form), dissolved in water and injected, snorted as a powder, swallowed in tablet form (Desoxyn), or administered through the urethra or rectum.

Like cocaine, meth changes the way the brain produces the neurotransmitter dopamine by radically elevating levels. Dopamine is a chemical responsible for feelings of motivation, reward, and pleasure. Furthermore, meth also has significant effects on the way the brain manages serotonin, another neurotransmitter that is responsible for mood and personality regulation, among other functions.

What meth looks like depends on the form in which it is produced. Meth is available in the following forms:

Powder—This form, also widely known as speed or crank, is a coarse or fine powder and is usually off-white to yellowish. Pharmaceutical grade powder meth can also be found as a tablet of the prescription drug Desoxyn, a medication that is indicated to treat stubborn attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and obesity. Meth is usually least potent when found in this form.

Base—This form, also known as base, point, or wax, is a damp, chunky, and gritty paste-like substance, and is off-white, pink, yellow, or brown. This form is usually more pure and potent than powder.

Crystal—This form, also known as crystal meth, is manufactured illicitly using a combination of over-the-counter medications and poisonous substances in clandestine labs, both in the U.S. and elsewhere (Mexico, for example) for recreational purposes. Crystal meth, which is sometimes also called ice, blue ice, or glass, presents as a white or bluish-white, quartzlike glass shard or rock. Meth is typically the purest and most potent when found in this form.

Effects of Crystal Meth

As a stimulant, meth induces an intense “rush” of feelings of well-being as heart rate, blood pressure and libido all increase. A meth rush is shortly followed by a powerful extended high. Despite this high, crystal meth is an exceptionally dangerous drug.

Crystal meth is known to cause a myriad of acute psychological side effects, such as the following:

  • Nervousness and fidgeting
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Aggression and violent behavior
  • Hypervigilance and paranoia
  • Enhanced concentration and focus
  • Racing thoughts and speech
  • Hyperactivity
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Increased energy and libido
  • Increased sociability
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Elevated confidence
  • Delusions of grandeur
  • A sense of power or invincibility
  • Hallucinations
  • Psychomotor agitation
  • Compulsive or repetitive behaviors

Crystal meth also causes a laundry list of acute physical effects, including the following:

  • Dilated pupils and blurred vision
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Bruxism (teeth clenching)
  • Acne or dry, itchy skin
  • Flushing
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tachycardia (rapid heart rate)
  • Tachypnea (rapid respiration)
  • Headaches
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Numbness
  • Pallor
  • Excessive sweating
  • Restlessness
  • Twitching or tremors

The high produced by cocaine (coke) usually only lasts between 15-30 minutes, and for crack cocaine, only 5-10 minutes. In comparison, just the rush experienced by meth use can last over a half an hour, and the subsequent high can persist for between 8-24 hours. Meth is also usually cheaper than coke, so a person seeking a high that is longer-lasting and probably less expensive than other stimulants such as coke may very well opt for meth in some form.

Unfortunately, being under the influence of a substance for this length of time also means that the person’s body must also endure any physiological stress it produces. Moreover, the human body did not evolve to handle being high on powerful stimulants very well, especially over an extended period. Therefore, significant internal and physical damage is inevitable for many chronic users of meth.

ects of Crystal Meth | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Meth Mouth

Meth is famous for causing severe dental deterioration and decay, commonly referred to as “meth mouth.” This condition occurs because meth users often have dry mouth that lacks the saliva necessary to protect teeth from the acidic elements used in meth production, including battery acid, hydrochloric acid, and drain cleaner, among others. Also, meth users are prone to repeatedly clench and grind their teeth, crave sugary drinks, and neglect oral hygiene in favor of abusing or binging meth.

Tweaking

Prolonged periods of continuous meth use, also known as a binge, can result in a state of profound drug intoxication referred to as “tweaking,” which is often considered one of the most dangerous outcomes of meth use. Tweaking occurs when a user binges for several days without sleep and begins to become paranoid and unstable. Tweaking is marked by compulsive, uncontrollable scratching, tremors, mood swings, paranoia, and tactile hallucinations that feel like bugs crawling under the skin.

Recreational Effects

Crystal meth has achieved popularity among people who use it to heighten pleasure while going to clubs, raves, and parties. Some use it because as an appetite suppressant, it tends to cause rapid weight loss, although this weight frequently returns upon cessation of drug use. And because the user will build an increasing tolerance of meth, this weight loss effect tends to lessen over time.

Some also use it as a means to self-medicate depression, owing to its prolonged mood-enhancing and euphoric effects. Others consume it primarily as an aphrodisiac because it increases libido and can enhance sexual pleasure.

Brain Damage

Concerning regions in the brain associated with dopamine production and processing, neural imaging studies have revealed that chronic meth users exhibit structural transformations severe enough to compromise their motor skills and verbal learning abilities. Likewise, meth can disrupt brain regions involved with memory and emotion. For these reasons, long-term meth abusers commonly develop cognitive impairments and dysregulated emotions.

And unfortunately, some of these neurological alterations may continue long after meth use has been discontinued. Many of the adverse changes associated with the transmission and processing of chemicals will gradually reverse, but this process may demand more than a year of abstinence. Moreover, some instances of devastating neurochemical trauma precipitated by excessive meth use lead to irreversible brain damage.

ects of Crystal Meth | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Physical effects induced by long-term meth use include the following:

  • Increased tolerance
  • Chemical dependence
  • Meth mouth
  • Burn sores
  • Sores from itching skin
  • Bacterial skin infections
  • Premature skin aging
  • Frequent nosebleeds if snorted
  • Rapid weight loss or anorexia
  • Malnutrition
  • Brain cell destruction
  • Kidney and liver damage
  • Lung damage
  • Congenital impairments
  • Seizures

What’s more, long-term crystal meth use dramatically increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Psychological effects caused by chronic meth abuse include the following:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Paranoia
  • Meth psychosis
  • Insomnia
  • Psychosomatic disorders
  • Addiction and compulsive drug-seeking behaviors

Meth users also encounter many other risks associated with drug use, such as contracting HIV or hepatitis B and C, and overdose. The reduced inhibitions caused by meth may prompt some users to inject the drug using dirty needles, as well as participate in unprotected sex. Likewise, the physiological strain of meth in the body can hasten the progression of HIV and AIDS.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Meth addiction is a particularly devastating condition that negatively affects the health and emotional wellness of those suffering, as well as the lives of those around them.

Fortunately, meth addiction is very treatable using a comprehensive approach to substance abuse. Former meth users seeking recovery can achieve abstinence and restore emotional and physical wellness to their lives. Harmony Recovery Centers offers professional addiction treatment that includes clinically-proven, evidence-based services vital to the recovery process.

If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to meth, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. We can help you recover from your addiction and reclaim the happy, healthy, and fulfilling life you deserve!

Signs of Heroin Use

Signs of Heroin Use | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Signs of Heroin Use – Heroin is a semi-synthetic opioid commonly abused for it’s euphoric and sedative effects. Because of this fact, users face an extremely high potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction. Heroin is usually found on the black market as a white powder or dark tacky substance known as black tar, and can be taken orally in a pill, snorted, smoked, or injected.

Heroin abuse is strongly associated with the development of tolerance and dependence. Tolerance is characterized by the brain’s tendency to reduce its response to a psychoactive substance after repeated use, a state that is marked by the user’s need for increasing amounts of the drug to produce the desired effect. Dependence occurs as the brain acclimates to the continued presence of heroin and becomes unable to function normally without it.

Withdrawal symptoms that develop after cessation of heroin use are definite indicators of chemical dependence. Moreover, when a person terminates heroin use or significantly reduces the amount used, he or she will experience highly uncomfortable and sometimes painful symptoms as a consequence. These unpleasant effects are among the primary catalysts for relapse.

Symptoms and Signs of Heroin Use

There are a number of different physical, psychological, and behavioral indicators of heroin use, including common side effects, withdrawal, and symptoms of overdose.

Side Effects of Heroin Use

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the following symptoms are among the most common side effects that can onset as a result of heroin use:

  • An initial rush of euphoria
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe itching
  • Flushed skin
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Long-term drowsiness
  • Heavy feelings in limbs
  • Foggy thinking

Behavioral Signs of Heroin Use

When heroin use develops into a priority, the person’s entire life begins to transform, and this drug becomes the user’s primary focus. Due to this fact, there are likely to be noticeable changes in a person’s appearance and behavior. Most often, a person who is in the throes of addiction will continue to prioritize drug use over responsibilities and relationships despite the multitude of problems it can cause.

The following are common behavioral signs and symptoms associated with heroin use that can serve as warnings for concerned loved ones that there is an imminent need for professional treatment:

  • Presence of drug paraphernalia
  • Adverse changes in behavior
  • Track marks/sores on extremities
  • Legal and/or financial problems
  • Lying and secretiveness
  • Troubling changes in social group
  • Unkempt appearance/poor hygiene
  • Friends or family missing money or valuables
  • Use of street slang related to heroin (e.g., smack or dope)
  • Disregard of important obligations, such as family, work, and school
  • Adamant denial of a problem despite convincing evidence to the contrary
  • Wearing pants or sleeves, even in warm weather, to conceal injection sites

Signs of Heroin Use | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Overdose Symptoms

A heroin overdose requires urgent medical care. Heroin’s potential for toxicity may be associated with its purity and the presence of more potent adulterants, such as fentanyl or other synthetic or designer substances.

The following are typical signs of an overdose of heroin:

  • Bluish lips or nails
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Labored or stopped breathing
  • Delirium
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weak pulse
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Coma

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms onset as a result of physiological dependence in frequent heroin users or after a “binge”—an extended episode of excessive drug use. Heroin withdrawal symptoms usually begin 6-12 hours after the last dose, peak within 48 hours, and recede over the course of 5-7 days.

In some cases, the loved ones of those abusing heroin may not be aware they have been using or the extent of use. However, if they learn to identify the symptoms of withdrawal, they may increase their awareness of the scope of the problem.

Common withdrawal symptoms related to heroin abuse include the following:

  • Dysphoria
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Body aches and pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dehydration

Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Heroin abuse is a destructive and potentially life-threatening condition that causes an enormous amount of suffering for both the person using and their loved ones. Fortunately, heroin addiction is treatable through the use of an integrated, evidence-based approach that includes therapeutic services vital to recovery, such as psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and aftercare planning.

Treatment frequently begins with detox—a medically-supervised process in which an individual is monitored for several days while his or her body clears itself of toxic substances. Following detox, patients are urged to undergo inpatient treatment or partial-hospitalization, followed by intensive outpatient therapy.

Harmony Recovery Center employs professional addiction specialists who provide patients with the tools and knowledge they so desperately need to achieve abstinence, prevent relapse, and experience long-lasting wellness and sobriety. Contact us today and discover how we can help you or a loved one through the process of recovery and begin to enjoy a fulfilling and healthy life once again!

Luke Perry – No Evidence of Drug Abuse?

Luke Perry Drug Abuse | Harmony Recovery Center North Carolina

Luke Perry and Drug Abuse – Actor Luke Perry, the teen idol who was best known for his portrayal of Dylan McKay in the popular television series Beverly Hills, 90210, died last week at age 52. According to reports, he suffered from a “massive stroke” and was hospitalized in the days before he died.

Only 25% of stroke victims are under age 65, and many survive them (10-20% are fatal). Many risk factors cannot be controlled, such as being male or having a family history of strokes. However, many risk factors are very preventable such as being overweight, physically inactive, smoking, excessive drinking, and drug abuse (particularly illicit stimulants).

In fact, according to Health Day, cocaine, meth, and other stimulants can cause a stroke to occur in two ways. For one, stimulant drugs increase blood pressure, and these drugs also have a direct effect on blood vessel walls. Ultimately, increased pressure can cause them to burst and leak blood into the brain. This is referred to as a hemorrhagic stroke.

Secondly, stimulant street drugs cause blood vessels to narrow. This can prevent blood flow to parts of the brain and destroy brain tissue, resulting in what is known as an ischemic stroke.

Luke Perry Drug Abuse - Harmony Recovery NC
90210 Co-Stars Luke Perry and Jason Priestly

So far, there hasn’t been much talk regarding past or present drug use or alcohol having been somehow involved in Perry’s passing. Earlier this week, however, for reasons unknown talk show host Wendy Williams compared herself to him and said that she wondered if he had substance abuse problems as she herself once did.

Until now, no one seems to have heard anything about Perry doing illicit drugs or drinking excessively. Unless Williams knows something others do not, her associations don’t really make much sense and are potentially hurtful to the family.

To be fair, other than being male Perry definitely didn’t fit the profile of someone who was at high risk for a stroke, let alone not surviving one. In lieu of a post-mortem toxicology report that indicates substance abuse of some sort, however, it’s not a speculation that should be given much credibility.

Unfortunately, his untimely death isn’t the only tragedy to befall the original cast. Rather, they have experienced more than their fair share of suffering and trauma.

Luke Perry: Health Problems and Tragic Early Death

Luke, who is the father of two, has been divorced from his first wife whom he married in 1993. He spent much of the ’90s played Dylan on 90210 and moved onto to other projects in the 2000s, including being cast as a reverend on HBO’s Oz.

Luke began campaigning in 2015 for colon cancer testing after he lost a friend to the disease. Later that year, he underwent a colonoscopy exam that identified pre-cancerous growths, which he promptly had removed.

Most recently, Perry was featured in the Netflix drama Riverdale. He also played a role in Quentin Tarantino’s latest film Once Upon A Time In Hollywood—a hugely-anticipated movie with a star-studded cast, including the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsh, and Dakota Fanning, among others.

Shannen Doherty: Alcohol Abuse and Breast Cancer

On the TV series 90210, Doherty played Brenda Walsh, a girl who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. She was let go in 1994 after cast members broke up a physical altercation between her and then co-star Jennie Garth.

A short engagement to Dean Jay Factor (Max Factor heir) ended in reciprocal claims of abuse and Factor filing a restraining order in 1993. He said she tried to run over him with a car, and she claimed he threw her into a pool.

Doherty was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996 and then again in 2015, but is now reported to be in remission.

In 1996, she was forced to undergo anger counseling after smashing a beer bottle on a car. In 2001, she received three years’ probation for drunk driving. In 1998, Shannen joined the TV series Charmed but then left in 2001, reportedly over disputes with a co-star.

In 2001, she received three years’ probation for drunk driving. In 2011, she married her third husband Kurt Iswarienko, a photographer.

Jason Priestley: Alcohol Abuse and a Near Fatal Car Accident

According to his memoirs, Canadian-born actor Jason Priestley, who played sweetheart Brandon Walsh, was frequently mobbed by hoards of screaming girls but struggled with fame and admittedly would “smoke and get drunk during every press interview.”

Priestly partied hard apparently “to prove he was nothing like sanctimonious Brandon.” But, in 1998, he was caught drinking and driving after crashing his Porsche into a pole, had his license suspended for a year and was ordered to take alcohol management classes.

After trying to start a career as a race car driver, in 2002 he experienced a 180 mph crash that nearly cost him his life. According to the actor, as a result of this accident, he was left with two broken feet, a broken back, and had his nose ripped from his face.

He has been married since 2005 to make-up artist Naomi Lowde and has two children.

Luke Perry Drug Abuse | Harmony Recovery North Carolina
Luke Perry, Naomi Lowde, and Jason Priestley

Gabrielle Carteris: Partial Paralyzation

Carteris played the nerdy Andrea Zuckerman on the series from 1990-1995. After leaving 90210, she had her own talk show, but it lasted only one season.

She married stockbroker Charles Isaacs in 1992, and they have two children together. She has since been cast in several TV movies, and during the filming of one in 2006, she was reportedly injured while doing a stunt.

As a result, her face was partially paralyzed, and she suffered from painful spasms—a condition that she now controls with acupuncture. Carteris claims the stunt was not properly rehearsed and that she complained during several hours of filming that the actor who played an intruder was putting excessive pressure on her neck:

“A couple of days later, my face started to become paralyzed. I knew something had happened since I had lost feeling in my hands right away. But when I became paralyzed, I knew everything was connected…I started to spasm.”

Tori Spelling: Rich Father Yet Financial Troubles

Donna Martin was Tori’s first significant role, thanks in large part to her dad Aaron being 90210’s producer. Despite the fact that her father was worth around $600 million at the time of his death in 2006, the younger Spelling has had some financial trouble.

Tori was married to actor Charlie Shanian when she was caught cheating in 2004 with co-star Dean McDermott. A month after her divorce from Shanian was finalized, Tori married Dean, and they went on to have five kids together.

Rumors have it that she wasn’t given a bigger inheritance due to her crazy spending sprees. Tori, now 45, said in 2013: “Just because I’m on TV doesn’t mean that I don’t make bad financial choices.” She reportedly owed $282,655 in taxes in 2015.

Ian Ziering and others seem to have had fewer problems, although Ian’s ex-wife, former Playboy Playmate and actress might disagree.

Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Addiction

If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol, we urge you to contact Harmony Recovery Center as soon as possible. Our addiction treatment programs are tailored to the individual and include essential, evidence-based approaches such as psychotherapy, individual and group counseling, education, group support, and aftercare planning.

These therapeutic services are delivered to clients by our compassionate, highly-trained addiction specialists who provide patients with the tools and support they need to sustain long-term sobriety and kick drug or alcohol addiction once and for all.

We can help you restore sanity to your life and begin to experience the happiness and wellness you deserve! Call us now to find out how!

See also: Trauma Recovery

 

The Pink Drug or U-47700

Pink Drug or U-47700 | Harmony Recovery North Carolina

The Pink Drug, otherwise known as U-47700 or “Pinky,” is a synthetic opioid “designer” drug estimated to be about 7.5 times more powerful than morphine. In the last few years, reports of multiple deaths have surfaced due to the increasing use of U-47700 in the U.S., which is believed to be exported from labs in China.

U-47700 has been found on the black market in powder form and also as tablets. It typically appears as a white or light pinkish, chalky powder, and is sold in glassine bags marked with logos imitating heroin, inside envelopes, and in knotted corners of plastic bags. The name “Pink” is derived from the most common method of administration, which is snorting it using the pinky finger.

Even small doses of U-47700 can be poisonous and potentially lethal. Labels on products may have statements such as “not for human consumption” or “for research purposes only” in an effort to evade legal detection. Fatalities related to U-47700 in the U.S. join the increasing pervasiveness of drug overdose deaths as a result of prescription and illicit opioids and other synthetic designer drugs.

Pink Drug Effects and Toxicity

Pink is commonly abused for its euphoric and pain-killing effects. The drug can be snorted, injected or swallowed. Users report effects that are tantamount to those of other opioids, which include the following:

  • Euphoria
  • Sedation and relaxation
  • Analgesia and numbness
  • Profound respiratory depression
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Drug dependence and addiction
  • Tachycardia (increased heart rate)
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis
  • Coma and death

Pink Drug Use and Health Risks

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reported at least 46 deaths related to the use of U-47700 by December 2018. According to the DEA, no cases of U-47700 abuse in the U.S. were reported prior to 2015.

People who use U-47700 do so for similar reasons as those who use heroin, prescription painkillers, and other narcotics. Also, use of this substance may occur unknowingly, as it may be found in combination with other drugs of abuse, including heroin or fentanyl. Some U-47700 products have been sold in packaging that mimics that of heroin or other prescription opioids.

These illicit substances originate from abroad, and the purity and potency of any one product purchased on the black market or Internet is largely unknown. Moreover, a potential user may be under the impression that the product contains one substance, but in reality, it could consist of any number of other dangerous chemicals.

Similar to those who abuse any narcotic drugs, those who use U-47700 are at high risk for substance abuse disorders, overdose, and death. In Utah, two 13-year old boys each suffered a fatal overdose in September 2016 due to abuse of U-47700 purchased off the Internet.

Many Pink Drug users become sedated to the point of respiratory arrest. If the overdose does not immediately prove fatal and someone is available to call for emergency help, first responders will administer naloxone, an opioid antidote, in an effort to save a life.

Pharmacology of the Pink Drug

Pink Drug or U-47700 | Harmony Recovery North Carolina

U-47700 is a synthetic opioid agonist that works on the mu-opioid receptor in the brain. It was originally developed by scientists in the 1970’s at Upjohn Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of pain associated with surgery, cancer, or injuries.

U-47700 has a comparable chemical structure as morphine and other opioid receptor agonists. However, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), Pink is 7-8 times more powerful than morphine.

Legal Status of U-47700 in the United States

In November 2016, the Drug Enforcement Agency classified U-47700 as a Schedule I controlled substance due to its immediate danger to public safety and health. Substances placed in Schedule I are considered to have a high potential for abuse and no approved medical use.

Temporary emergency scheduling of hazardous drugs is one tool the DEA uses to help regulate new and potentially lethal street drugs. Scheduling lasts at least two years, with a possible 12-month extension if the DEA requires additional time to determine if the chemical should permanently remain as a Schedule I substance.

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction is a potentially fatal disease that directly affects the well-being and health of those who suffer, as well as those close to them. Individuals who suffer from opioid addiction are urged to seek long-term, comprehensive treatment focused on recovery.

Our center offers an integrated approach that is hallmarked by evidence-based services including psychotherapy, psychoeducation, individual and family counseling, and peer group support. We are staffed with caring professionals who specialize in the treatment of addiction and deliver these therapeutic services with compassion and expertise.

We are dedicated to providing clients with the education, tools, and support they need to achieve long-lasting sobriety. If you or someone you love is addicted to opioids, we can help you restore harmony and wellness to your life – contact us today to find out how!

How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System? | Harmony Recovery NC

How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System? – Percocet is a prescription medication that consists of a combination of the opioid oxycodone with the analgesic acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol. It’s indicated to treat moderate to severe pain in the short-term and is dispensed in the form of a tablet.

The average half-life of Percocet is about 3.5 hours, which means this is the amount of time needed for half a dose of Percocet to be eliminated from a person’s system. It will, therefore, take an average of around 19 hours to clear Percocet completely from the system.

This period can be longer, however, for those people who are chronic, heavy users, as opioids will have been absorbed by the body’s fatty tissues if there is more Percocet in the body than the liver can process. It takes longer for traces of Percocet in these tissues to be cleared from the body than that which mainly stays in the bodily fluids.

Importantly, many drug tests can also identify agents that are produced when the liver breaks down opioids. These metabolites remain in a person’s body longer than the drug does itself.

In urine tests, traces of Percocet can be detected for 48 hours, beginning two hours after the first dose. It can be detected in the blood for only about 24 hours. Hair analysis is the long-term test, which can identify oxycodone built up in the follicles for up to a month.

The abuse of prescription drugs has been steadily increasing due to greater availability and the erroneous belief that they are safer to abuse than illegal substances. Prescription opioids such as Percocet, however, can be just as addictive as illicit drugs and most definitely have the potential for overdose.

This rise in abuse and fatalities has compelled governments to restrict prescriptions of Percocet. Tests have been developed to identify the presence of the drug in saliva, urine, and hair follicles. These may be used in addiction treatment centers to recognize a relapse in progress or by employers.

The Dangers of Percocet Abuse

The inclusion of oxycodone in Percocet rapidly produces tolerance, and this is one reason why Percocet is not really indicated for long-term use. Persons regularly using Percocet will need increasingly higher doses to produce the same effect. This pattern of use can quickly lead to addiction and other adverse health complications.

Opioid abuse can result in long-term damage to the body, and the development of drug tolerance puts users at a heightened risk of overdose and other complications. Also, when used excessively, the acetaminophen in Percocet is harmful to the liver and can lead to inflammation, hepatitis, scarring, and irreversible damage. To reduce any associated health risks, persons suffering from addiction should seek out professional treatment services as soon as the problem is suspected.

Percocet Addiction

When Percocet is used, it releases an excessive amount of the neurotransmitter dopamine – a chemical that produces feelings of well-being or euphoria. When used regularly, both tolerance and dependence can form.

Dependence develops over time as neurons in the brain grow accustomed to the repeated presence of certain substances, and can no longer function correctly. When a person becomes dependent on drugs or alcohol, they will experience very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they try to discontinue use or cut back. Often, this is a key reason why many people relapse.

Tolerance also develops due to repeated exposure. With regular use, the brain and body reduce the effect of the substance, and as this occurs, the person begins to experience ar reduced response from the drug. The end result is that the person needs increasing amounts of the substance in order to feel the desired effects – another effect of abuse that contributes to the potential for overdose.

Symptoms of Percocet Addiction

Percocet addiction can result in a number of side effects, including:

  • Constipation
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lowered breathing rate
  • Sweating
  • Impaired coordination

Percocet Withdrawal

How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System? | Harmony Recovery NC

Those persons addicted to Percocet or other opioids should consult a medical provider before attempting to discontinue use, as withdrawal symptoms can be highly unpleasant, and the cravings can be intense. Addiction treatment centers may administer an opioid substitute medication to mitigate these effects.

Percocet withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Excessive yawning
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Tremors
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • High blood pressure
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Muscle aches

Treatment for Percocet Addiction

Persons who abuse or misuse Percocet, especially in combination with other drugs or alcohol, face a high risk of developing significant health problems or experiencing a life-threatening overdose. For this reason, these individuals are urged to seek professional medical and mental health treatment to help them detox from Percocet and maintain long-term sobriety.

Harmony Recovery offers a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that features therapies and treatments scientifically proven to be effective, if not absolutely vital to the recovery process. Contact us today and discover how we can help you restore your health and well-being and reclaim the fulfilling and happy life you deserve!

Drinking on Adderall: Understanding the Risks

Drinking on Adderall | Understanding the Risks | Harmony Recovery NC

Drinking on Adderall: Understanding the Risks – Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) is a prescription stimulant indicated for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall contains powerful central nervous system (CNS) stimulants that are effective for medical use at prescribed doses but can be harmful when abused. For this reason, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) places Adderall on the controlled substance list as a Schedule II drug.

Stimulant drugs act on the CNS by boosting the availability of excitatory neurotransmitters norepinephrine and dopamine in areas of the brain responsible for alertness and the ability to focus. Alcohol, on the other hand, inhibits the function of the neurotransmitter N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA), while also affecting the function of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Alcohol is a CNS depressant that, when abused, can induce symptoms such as euphoria, loss of inhibitions, dizziness, impaired cognition and motor functions, and fatigue.

Using these two substances in combination is considered by some to be among the most dangerous mixtures of intoxicants, but unfortunately, it is also one of the most popular. Some people who use this mixture of stimulants and alcohol do so without knowing the potential consequences. Many do so to achieve a more intense high than either substance could provide alone.

People who use Adderall and alcohol together with the purpose of getting high may erroneously believe that the effects of these two substances directly counteract each other because they are two different classes of intoxicants. A stimulant can temporarily offset a few of the symptoms associated with alcohol intoxication, such as fatigue. Nevertheless, it does not stop the body from being influenced by alcohol or from experiencing most of its psychoactive effects.

The Dangers of Drinking on Adderall

When a person mixes Adderall and alcohol, they may encounter the following symptoms:

  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle twitching
  • Increased body temperature, possibly to the point of hyperthermia
  • Accelerated or irregular heart rate (arrhythmia)
  • Impaired coordination that can result in falls or injuries
  • Reduced inhibition and impulsivity leading to poor decision-making

Stimulants such as Adderall do, in some ways, camouflage some of the depressant effects of alcohol. Because of this, using these two substances in combination can prevent a person from realizing how much alcohol has been consumed.

This effect can occur because the stimulant masks the slowed down, tired sensations of being intoxicated. Moreover, because the person cannot feel how intoxicated they really are, using both substances simultaneously can increase the risk of alcohol poisoning and overdose.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning may include the following:

  • Extreme confusion
  • Impaired memory
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Changes in body temperature
  • Blacking out (complete loss of memory)
  • Depressed, labored, or irregular breathing
  • Blue-tinged, cold, or clammy skin (cyanosis)
  • Being awake but unresponsive (stupor)
  • Being unrousable after falling asleep

Drinking on Adderall | Understanding the Risks | Harmony Recovery NC

Adderall can also prompt the body to process alcohol more rapidly, increasing how fast a person becomes drunk – another effect that can increase the risk of alcohol poisoning.

Severe and dangerous side effects of combining alcohol and Adderall include the following:

  • Memory loss or impairments due to extreme intoxication
  • Head trauma, broken bones, or bruises as a result of serious falls due to a loss of coordination
  • Psychosis, paranoia, or hallucinations that can lead to aggression, violence, or erratic behavior
  • Cardiovascular problems, such as heart attack, stroke, and damage to blood vessels related to high blood pressure

Who Is Mostly Commonly Drinking on Adderall?

College-age students may be more likely to combine Adderall and alcohol than others. Students have reported abusing Adderall to sustain a sense of focus during all-night cram/study sessions.

Research suggests, however, that Adderall does not actually increase the ability to focus or learn in those who do not have ADHD. Nonetheless, it is a widely held belief that using stimulants such as Adderall will aid a person in staying awake while writing a last-minute paper or studying for an exam.

College students may also be more likely to binge drink or consume large amounts of alcohol at parties, bars, or social events, even if they are underage. If a student has abused Adderall in order to study, then attends a party and drinks excessively, they could seriously injure themselves, engage in exceptionally risky behavior, experience alcohol poisoning, or die.

Alcohol is a popular component of polydrug use, and polydrug users often combine alcohol and another drug of abuse, such as Adderall or other stimulants. Polydrug users may also consume several other substances simultaneously, including cigarettes, marijuana, opioids, and more.

This complex form of substance abuse is common among amphetamine users, including those who take Adderall. This abuse can be implemented as a means to intensify the high from Adderall, or to moderate the effects of other substances so that use of amphetamine may be less likely to produce anxiety, paranoia or aggression.

Treatment for Drug or Alcohol Addiction

If you are currently drinking on Adderall, we encourage you to seek treatment as soon as possible. Harmony Recovery offers a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment that includes therapeutic services vital to recovery, such as psychotherapy, psychoeducation, counseling, holistic therapies, group support, and more.

We employ caring addiction professionals who render these services to clients with compassion and expertise. Our staff provides clients with the knowledge, tools, and support they need to achieve sobriety and experience long-lasting happiness and wellness.

You can reclaim the satisfying life you deserve free from substance abuse! Call us today to find out how we can help you begin your journey to recovery!

How to Identify the Warning Signs of Addiction

Signs of Addiction | Harmony Recovery North Carolina

Many people begin to use drugs or alcohol as a response to peer influences, out of curiosity, or in a misguided attempt to deal with everyday stress or a history of trauma. Self-medication is often listed by those suffering from addiction as a major motivation for ongoing use.

Others develop addictive behaviors related to prescription medications that have a potential for abuse, such as opioids and benzodiazepines. Also, a small percentage of those who have used drugs for legitimate medical purposes may go on to misuse them for their pleasurable effects or to bury negative feelings and memories and cope with stress.

Fortunately, not everyone who uses drugs or alcohol will develop a substance use disorder. Unfortunately, there are no certain means to predict if any one person’s substance use patterns will evolve into a dependency. There are certain factors, however, that have been identified that may increase a person’s predisposition to addiction.

Signs of Addiction: Risk Factors

Researchers have uncovered several specific risk factors that can make a person more prone to developing a substance use disorder. Of note, the presence of one or more of these factors does not conclusively result in the development of an addiction, but their presence does increase the probability that it may occur.

Among the most common risk factors that may indicate a higher risk of addiction include the following:

  • Having a close relative(s) diagnosed with a substance use disorder, particularly if they are a first-degree relative, such as a parent or sibling
  • Being diagnosed with a psychiatric condition such as anxiety, major depression, or a personality disorder (risk of addiction may increase significantly if he or she suffers from any other form of mental illness)
  • A history of childhood trauma, including poverty, neglect, and sexual or physical abuse
  • Early age – the earlier a person begins using drugs or alcohol, the higher the potential of developing an addiction
  • A history of childhood aggressiveness or having poor social skills
  • History of inadequate parental supervision as a child
  • General availability of drugs and alcohol
  • The type of drug used and the method of administration (e.g., a person who injects heroin is much more likely to become addicted versus a person who smokes marijuana)

Physical/Behavioral Effects

Substance use disorders are defined by a person’s patterns of drug and alcohol use, the effects this use produces, and an inability to control that use despite experiencing a number of adverse effects as a result.

Some of the most common physical signs of addiction include:

  • Changes in one’s behavior, such as suddenly becoming unreliable, becoming less involved with or isolating oneself from friends or family, and failure to fulfill important personal obligations
  • Physical changes, such as noticeable weight loss or gain, skin sores, dental problems, nosebleeds, or an overall unkempt appearance
  • Neglect of appearance or personal hygiene
  • Red, bloodshot, or glassy eyes and/or chronic congestion
  • Basic lifestyle patterns that are negatively altered, such as sleeping and eating
  • Sudden but recurrent complaints of feeling ill or experiencing flu-like symptoms
  • Requiring more of a substance to experience the same effect that was once achieved at lower doses (tolerance)
  • Experiencing feelings of depression, anxiety, or intense cravings that manifest after attempting to quit using a substance, followed by relapse

Emotional and Social Effects

Signs of Addiction | Harmony Recovery North Carolina

Substance use disorders reflect a combination of both physical and psychological issues that are associated with the abuse of drugs or alcohol.

Some of the psychological and emotional signs related to substance use disorders include:

  • Mood swings including depression, irritability, and aggression
  • Intense cravings for the drug of choice
  • Resorting to substance use as a coping mechanism for stress or unpleasant thoughts and feelings
  • Continuing to think that one’s substance use is “normal” or not problematic despite incurring a number of negative consequences, such as financial or legal issues, strained relationships, poor academic performance, or loss of employment
  • Becoming defensive and agitated when another confronts a person about his or her substance abuse
  • Exhibiting alternating episodes of uncharacteristic hyperactivity and overexcitement or irritability and depression
  • Experiencing periods of lethargy and having a lack of motivation
  • Having unexplainable periods of anxiousness, fear, or paranoia

Other Red Flags

There are several obvious warning signs that may indicate a loved one has a substance use disorder. While only a licensed and trained mental health professional can formally diagnose a substance use disorder, concerned family members or friends can refer to these signs and encourage their loved one to undergo a screening/evaluation and enter formal treatment if needed.

In addition to the aforementioned physical and emotional signs, other red flags that loved ones can look for include the following:

  • Apparent sudden and radical changes in mood or personality in combination with known drugs or alcohol consumption
  • Uncharacteristic deception or secretiveness
  • Association with new and possibly sketchy friends who appear to engage in heavy substance abuse
  • Frequent instances of significant problems with coworkers and peers that didn’t typically occur before

Signs of Addiction | Harmony Recovery North Carolina

Formal diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder include the following:

  • Continuing to use a substance despite experiencing significant detrimental effects in work, relationships, health, education, or other areas of life
  • Frequently using more of the drug or for a longer period than was originally intended
  • Spending significant amounts of time obtaining drugs or alcohol and recovering from substance use
  • Experiencing frequent cravings for the drug of choice
  • Failing to address important obligations as a result of substance use
  • Continuing to use a substance in circumstances where it may be hazardous, such as driving while intoxicated, using the substance at work, and combining it with alcohol or other drugs
  • Being unable to cut back or discontinue using a substance despite expressing a desire to do so
  • Developing a tolerance and encountering withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use

Among the most persistent myths surrounding addiction is that a person must, in essence, hit “rock bottom” before seeking help and entering a recovery program. Truthfully, however, the only thing required to begin a recovery program is the motivation and willingness to take the first step.

Finding Treatment

Despite what others might say, substance use disorders are most often very treatable conditions. Many people who receive the appropriate treatment go on to experience clean, sober, and productive lives.

Addiction treatment approaches vary depending on the individual’s unique profile and the type of substance(s) used. Effective professional treatment, however, should typically consist of the following:

  • A thorough physical and psychological evaluation to identify all problem areas, including mental health conditions
  • Initial withdrawal management (detox) that can be conducted on an inpatient or outpatient basis
  • Targeted addiction therapy to help identify the specific factors that drive substance abuse
  • Facilitation in the development of coping skills and relapse prevention skills
  • Diagnosis of and treatment for other comorbid psychological or physical conditions simultaneously with substance use disorder treatment
  • Administration of medications, if appropriate, to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, or manage the symptoms of mental illness
  • Strong social support from family members via family therapy, friends, and peers who are also recovery
  • Thoughtful and informed planning for a long-term aftercare program that is conducive to a lifestyle consistent with recovery

Harmony Recovery is dedicated to helping all clients we serve by providing them with the education, tools, and support they need to achieve abstinence and enjoy long-lasting sobriety and wellness! Contact us today to discuss treatment options and discover how we can help you begin your journey to recovery!

Top 4 Most Dangerous Drugs

Most Dangerous Drugs: Top 4 | Harmony Recovery NC

Top 4 Most Dangerous Drugs – Although no psychoactive substance is considered to be completely safe, under medical direction, most drugs are helpful for people with certain physical or mental health problems. Nearly every drug, however, carries some potential for abuse. The purpose of this article is to investigate the most dangerous drugs in the U.S. and the risks involved with using them.

Identifying the Most Dangerous Drugs

Two fundamental factors help us determine which drugs are particularly dangerous:

1. The amount of harm the drug can cause to the brain and body.
2. It’s potential for abuse and addiction.

The following drugs are considered to be extremely dangerous for several reasons, including their ability to wreak havoc on a person’s life and well-being, as well as their propensity to result in addiction when abused.

The Top 4 Most Dangerous Drugs

#1 Heroin

Unbelievably there was a time not that long ago when heroin was routinely prescribed as a treatment for chronic pain. But because so many people could not regulate their use, the drug became illegal and is now classified as a schedule I controlled substance. Since its inception in 1874, it’s been one of the most commonly abused illicit drugs due to its intense euphoric effects and high potential for addiction.

When heroin enters the system, it converts back to morphine, the opium alkaloid from which it is derived. The brain responds by producing a surge of neurotransmitters responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward. This action provides pain relief and induces a sense of euphoria, which becomes the basis of a person’s addiction.

Conversely, when someone stops using heroin, their brain and body produce opposite effects, including depression and dysphoria, usually accompanied by very uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

#2 Cocaine and Crack Cocaine

Since crack is a form of cocaine with adulterants such as baking soda, the additional chemicals can make it a more dangerous drug than powder cocaine itself. Sometimes dealers combine crack with toxic ingredients. However, both forms of cocaine can have both short- and long-term hazardous effects.

The following may be the long-term effects of crack and cocaine use:

  • Brain damage
  • Infectious diseases
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Increased heart rate
  • Kidney or liver damage
  • Gastrointestinal damage
  • Permanently elevated blood pressure
  • Respiratory problems and pulmonary damage
  • Damage to the nose and mouth caused by snorting or smoking
  • Myocardial infarction, due to a lack of oxygen resulting from reduced blood flow
  • Angina, or chest pain due to constricting vessels and reduced blood flow to the heart
  • Blood clots leading to heart attack, deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, or stroke

Also, because cocaine is a stimulant, the heart pumps faster during use, and this can cause a sudden heart attack or other overdose complications which have the potential to cause death. Cocaine and crack are very dangerous, and people can rapidly develop an addiction to them due to the intensity of the high and expedient onset of euphoric effects.

#3 Crystal Meth

Most Dangerous Drugs: Top 4 | Harmony Recovery NC

Crystal meth is one of the most devastating drugs in the world. Short-term effects include anxiety and insomnia, while long-term effects include brain damage and damage to blood vessels. Since meth’s high can begin almost immediately and possibly persist for several hours, people tend to dose in binges to perpetuate the high for as long as possible.

This kind of behavior is extremely dangerous, considering how consistently drugs are being put into the system, causing a great deal of physiological stress. Meth addiction can result in a variety of physical and psychological reactions.

The following are common symptoms of meth addiction:

  • Sudden or severe weight loss
  • Extreme sweating
  • Irregular breathing patterns
  • Nosebleeds
  • Sores that are slow to heal
  • Injection “track marks”
  • Severe dental decay (meth mouth)
  • Bad breath
  • Premature aging of the skin
  • Paranoia
  • Delusional beliefs
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety and nervousness
  • Agitation and fidgeting
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • The sensation of bugs crawling on skin
  • Sores caused by picking at skin

#4 Bath Salts

“Bath Salts” is a term coined for a drug derived from cathinones, active ingredients in the khat plant. There hasn’t been much research conducted on bath salts so we do not fully understand the effects it can have on the body for either short- or long-term use. However, some of the consequences of taking bath salts include the following:

  • Agitation
  • Chest pains
  • Delusions
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate

Also, there’s been an alarming rate of ER visits due to the use of bath salts. This drug is clearly dangerous in of itself, partially because there’s so little known about it and those who use it are facing risks that may be unknown.

Most Dangerous Drugs: Top 4 | Harmony Recovery NC

Bonus: Krokodil

Krokodil hasn’t been found widely in the United States yet but is spreading rapidly through Russia, and has affected more than a million people. Reports indicate, however, that krokodil has also been found in Utah, Arizona, and Illinois, and that its use may be increasing.

Krokodil is one of the most addictive drugs and has become more prevalent due to its low price – about a third the cost of heroin. Among the many dangers associated with Krokodil is that it’s often homemade, similar to meth, and can include a variety of highly-toxic ingredients, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Gasoline
  • Lighter fluid
  • Industrial cleaning agents
  • Iodine
  • Paint thinners
  • Painkillers/codeine

Many people who use krokodil administer the drug through infection. This method of use has caused some of the following severe reactions to occur very soon after people becoming addicted to the drug:

  • Gangrene
  • Phlebitis, injury to the veins
  • Severe tissue damage
  • Spread of HIV

Medical help is often received too late, if at all, and addicts can end up suffering from a wide array of painful and deforming effects, including the following:

  • Bone infections
  • Tissue mutilation
  • Decayed facial bones and jaw structure
  • Skull and forehead ulcers
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Decaying lips, noses, and ears

Basics of Addiction Treatment

Persons suffering from addiction to any of the aforementioned drugs are urged to seek professional treatment as soon as possible. Upon entering a treatment center, patients can expect to be provided with the following services:

1. A medical evaluation in which the individual will be drug-tested and asked a large assortment of questions related to the person’s psychosocial history and patterns of substance abuse. The purpose of this is to collect information about all aspects of the patient’s current condition as a means to identify the most effective treatment options.

2. Medical detox, a clinical process in which the body rids itself of the drug while the person receives around-the-clock care from health and addiction professionals. Medical supervision is critical during this time as there are many risks associated with withdrawal from certain drugs.

3. Psychotherapies can help identify and treat underlying issues that contribute to or are brought upon by drug use. These therapies are designed to teach patients how to handle common emotions and life stresses without drug use, and to help patients manage and improve their response to cravings.

4. Pharmacotherapy (medication) can relieve the symptoms of withdrawal and reduce cravings.

5. Psychoeducational sessions can inform patients of the dangers associated with drug use and how to prevent relapse.

6. Aftercare services can provide additional support to help maintain long-lasting sobriety.

Harmony Recovery provides clients with the tools and support they need to achieve abstinence, prevent relapse, and experience the healthy and fulfilling life they deserve. Call us today to find out how we can help you begin your path to recovery!