Does Kratom Show Up on a Drug Test?

Does Kratom Show Up on a Drug Test? | Harmony Recovery Center

Does Kratom Show Up on a Drug Test? – Although the presence of kratom (mitragyna speciosa) isn’t detectable on many standard drug tests like the 5-panel, some kratom alkaloids can be identified on certain drug tests, such as those involving urine or blood. There is a specific kratom drug test known as the kratom 10-panel drug test that can be administered as well. In other words, yes, it may be detected on a drug test, but it’s less likely than more dangerous and addictive drugs.

It’s also important to remember that kratom is legal on a federal level and in most states. For this reason, if it is not illegal in your area, it is probably not going to be something for which employers or authorities routinely test. Even advanced testing methods used for high-priority positions may not look for the presence of kratom or its metabolites because it is not a significant or particularly popular drug of abuse.

What Is Kratom?

Kratom is a tree that grows in Asia and is related to the plants that produce coffee. People in the region have consumed the leaves of the tree as a mild stimulant. Historically, the leaves were often brewed into a tea, and people would consume the tea to increase their energy and physical output. Other people use the leaves for medicinal purposes, or to relieve pain.

Today, kratom has become popularized in the U.S. and can be purchased online in a variety of forms, including in capsules. While scant research has been conducted, many anecdotal reports assert that kratom can be used to help people trying to recover from opioid abuse. Because kratom acts on the same receptors as opioids and induces similar, albeit milder effects, it is thought to reduce cravings and ease certain withdrawal symptoms that people face.

More specifically, when consumed in low doses, the kratom has stimulant-like properties. In contrast, at higher doses, the substance’s effects simulate the actions of opiates, particularly their sedating and pain-relieving properties. It may also induce some unwanted side effects, such as sweating, overheating, frequent urination, reduced appetite, diarrhea, nausea, and weight loss.

Although the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) does not classify kratom as a controlled substance, it is considered to be a substance of concern. At one point, the agency reported that it was planning on controlling it, but that move was met with harsh criticism from the public and was at least temporarily quashed.

A few case studies have suggested that prolonged use of kratom may result in some level of physical dependence, meaning that if the drug is discontinued, unpleasant withdrawal effects and drug cravings may occur.

How Long Does Kratom Stay in the Body?

The effects of mitragynine are dose-dependent. Using higher amounts of the substance will lead to effects that can last for several hours. But because it not regulated as a prescription drug or approved by the FDA, there are no specific guidelines for its use.

It is believed, however, that the half-life of kratom is probably around 24 hours for most users. The half-life of the drug refers to the amount of time it takes a person’s system to eliminate half of the amount of a substance. 

To completely clear a drug from the body under most conditions, it will take between 5–6 half-lives, but the precise elimination time of any drug in any individual depends on several factors. But for kratom, this window would be around 5–6 days to ensure that kratom was wholly eliminated from the system. 

Testing for Kratom

Does Kratom Show Up on a Drug Test? | Harmony Recovery Center

As noted, few tests are likely to detect kratom, but its metabolites might be identified in specific tests such as 10-panel drug screens. Through the use of one of these tests, the substance could be found in urine for up to seven days. Even if it is identified, this may or may not be a problem because kratom is legal in most areas and would be similar to finding alcohol in a person’s system that they consumed two days prior to the test.

Currently, saliva tests, blood tests, and hair follicle tests are not commonly used to detect kratom or its metabolites. For people taking the specialized 10-panel drug screen, several variables can influence the length of time the drug can be detected in the system, including the following:

  • Bodyweight and fat percentage
  • Amount of kratom recently used
  • Age and metabolic rate
  • Presence of other substances, such as alcohol
  • Liver function
  • Existence of co-occurring health problems

Getting Help for Drug Abuse

Many people use kratom to wean themselves off of opioids or for purely recreational purposes. While this may be viewed as harm reduction, it is possible to abuse kratom, and due to the unfortunate lack of research, not much is known about its potential long-term risks.

Harmony Recovery Center offers comprehensive treatment and support for all manners of drug and alcohol addiction, as well as mental health. Our approach features a variety of therapies and services beneficial for the process of recovery, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and much, much more.

If you or someone you love is struggling to overcome a dependence on kratom, other drugs, or alcohol, contact us today and find out how we can help!

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The Dangers of Fentanyl Abuse

Fentanyl Abuse Dangers | Harmony Recovery Center

Fentanyl abuse occurs when a person misuses fentanyl—this can happen after being prescribed by a doctor or obtained illicitly on the black market. Fentanyl abuse can result in severe mental, physical, and social consequences, and can rapidly lead to an overdose.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid and painkiller. For medical use, it can be prescribed to patients for severe pain related to an injury or after surgery, or sometimes for pain management among those who were previously prescribed other opioids that failed to provide sufficient relief.

Fentanyl works quickly to eliminate pain in the body, and the effects are not particularly long-lasting. For this reason, it also has a high potential for addiction. Fentanyl’s effects are similar to those of heroin but may be more intense due to the fact that it’s up to 50 times more potent.

Fentanyl users often experience a state of euphoria and extreme relaxation and may misuse it in an attempt to experience these feelings regularly. There are several methods of fentanyl administration. These include the following by prescription or medical drug diversion:

  • Patches
  • Pills that dissolve in the cheek
  • Lollipops and dissolvable tongue film

Illicitly, fentanyl is typically found in powder form, similar to heroin, and is therefore usually smoked, snorted, or injected. Fentanyl is sometimes combined with heroin, cocaine, or meth to intensify their effects. Mixing these drugs is extremely dangerous, and results in a drug cocktail far more unpredictable—both mentally and physically—than either drug is alone.

Because fentanyl is commonly found in a hospital setting used for general anesthesia, people with access to the drug, such as doctors or nurses, may illegally abuse or sell it to others on the black market. As noted, others may start using fentanyl as prescribed, but soon find themselves dependent upon it.

Many prescription formulations of fentanyl, such as lollipops and transdermal patches, are designed to release the drug over time for safety reasons. However, like many drugs, users find ways to manipulate and abuse fentanyl to release the effects more quickly. Doing so is incredibly dangerous because it undermines the slow-release mechanism and can result in a fatal overdose.

Signs and Symptoms

Fentanyl Abuse Dangers | Harmony Recovery Center

There are many common signs and symptoms that someone is abusing fentanyl. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Confusion and/or slurred speech
  • Depression
  • Weakness and difficulty walking
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Slowed/altered heart rate
  • Labored breathing
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting
  • Shaking
  • Sleepiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Itching and scratching

Due to its potency, fentanyl abuse can also easily result in unconsciousness, coma, or death.

Effects of Fentanyl Abuse

When a person has a chronic problem abusing fentanyl, that person will undoubtedly experience multiple adverse effects. There are severe mental and physical side effects of long-term fentanyl abuse, in addition to the aforementioned short-term symptoms. These include the following:

Physical Effects

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Compromised immune system
  • Difficult, slowed or labored breathing
  • Seizures

Mental Effects

  • Paranoia
  • Social withdrawal
  • Loss of motivation
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Adverse personality changes

Overdose

Fentanyl overdoses can rapidly result in death, and many of the side effects mentioned above can be indicators of an overdose. If you or someone you know is experiencing the following signs/symptoms, call 911 immediately:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Weak muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Profoundly slowed heartbeat
  • Very low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Slowed, labored, or stopped breathing
  • A bluish tint to nails and lips (cyanosis)

A fentanyl overdose is life-threatening and considered to be a medical emergency. First responders will most likely administer naloxone, an opioid antidote drug that quickly and effectively reverses the life-threatening effects of an overdose. 

If you or someone you know is abusing heroin fentanyl, you should obtain and have Narcan easily accessible in the event of an overdose. It is now available at most major pharmacy chains for under $20 without a prescription.

The effects that a fentanyl overdose induces to the user’s heart rate and breathing present the highest risk of death or permanent damage. Even when someone survives a fentanyl overdose, these side effects may leave a lasting impact on the user’s body. Severe respiratory depression, for example, can lead to hypoxia, a condition that results in permanent brain damage.

Fentanyl Abuse Dangers | Harmony Recovery Center

Lethal Combinations

When mixed with other street drugs such as heroin that suppress the central nervous system, the risk of the following symptoms increase exponentially:

  • Respiratory distress
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Death

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of overdose fatalities involving synthetic opioids, which include drugs such as fentanyl, increased steadily between 1999-2017 from 0.3-9.0 per 100,000. The rate increased on average by 8% per year from 1999 through 2013 and by 71% per year from 2013 through 2017.

Many deaths attributed to fentanyl have occurred because a user was not aware that the drug they were taking contained fentanyl. It is often combined with heroin or substituted for it and other drugs outright. It’s cheap to make and highly profitable for dealers because just a tiny amount can induce very intense effects.

Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl misuse and addiction can occur through a number of avenues. People who are prescribed fentanyl can become dependent and begin abusing it. Others obtain fentanyl on the black market, looking for an even more intense high than that which can be achieved by heroin use. 

Finally, street fentanyl is frequently found laced with heroin, often unknown to the user. As such, it’s possible to become dependent on fentanyl in addition to heroin without knowing the full nature of the addiction.

Regardless of whether dependence developed due to a prescription or illicitly obtained, fentanyl addiction is extremely dangerous and oftentimes deadly. Treatment should ideally begin with a supervised medical detox managed by health professionals who specialize in addiction treatment.

Detox

Because of fentanyl’s high potential for both physical and psychological addiction, someone who is dependent will experience multiple withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing use of the drug, which can include:

  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Joint pr muscle pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Shaking and tremors
  • Stomach pain

Due to the intensity of possible withdrawal symptoms, it’s essential that those attempting to recover work closely with a qualified medical professional to mitigate withdrawal effects and detox safely. Detoxing under the supervision of an addiction specialist significantly reduces the risk that the user will relapse and sabotage his or her recovery in an attempt to alleviate withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment Options

There are a variety of treatment options for people seeking recovery from drug or alcohol abuse. These include:

  • Inpatient (residential) rehab programs that usually last anywhere from 30 to 90 days, sometimes longer
  • Outpatient rehab programs
  • 12-step recovery programs, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
  • Other recovery programs, including SMART Recovery

Following detox, patients are encouraged to undergo long-term substance abuse treatment that includes integrated, evidence-based approaches, such as behavioral therapy, individual and family counseling, and group support.

Our center employs health professionals with expertise in addiction who provide clients with the know-how and tools they need to recover fully and maintain long-lasting sobriety.

Support groups are offered at Harmony Recovery and Wellness in addition to evidence-based therapies, and such groups can offer lifetime support for people in recovery who are wishing to maintain sobriety.

You can regain your life and find wellness, happiness, and HARMONY! Please contact us as soon as possible—we can help!

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Lyrica Withdrawal and Detox

Lyrical Withdrawal | Harmony Recovery Center

Lyrica (pregabalin) is a medication indicated for the treatment of nerve pain that results from shingles, diabetes, fibromyalgia, or other injuries and infection. Lyrica can also be used to treat certain types of seizures. A person who has become dependent on Lyrica may experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to quit or cut back.

While Lyrica is thought to have a relatively low potential for abuse and misuse, addiction to this drug is a growing concern among medical professionals and addiction specialists. Some people who are prescribed Lyrica misuse it by taking it in excessive amounts or too frequently, or abuse it in conjunction with other substances, such as painkillers and alcohol. This is sometimes done to relieve pain, but also may be used as a means to produce feelings of relaxation, pleasure, and euphoria.

Common Lyrica Withdrawal Symptoms

As noted, if a person has become addicted to Lyrica and suddenly discontinues or dramatically lowers their dose, this can result in a number of withdrawal symptoms. These effects are the result of dependence, a condition in which a person’s body has adapted to a substance and is unable to function “normally” without it. 

Of note, even a person who does not misuse Lyrica can develop a chemical dependence on the medication. This is different than full-blown addiction, a condition that is also characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior and abuse. Still, even without addiction, withdrawal symptoms can occur.

Because Lyrica has depressant properties, withdrawal symptoms associated with Lyrica are not unlike those experienced with alcohol or benzodiazepines. The severity and number of the symptoms a person encounters will vary based on several factors, including the following:

  • Duration of time in which the medication was used
  • The average dose that was taken
  • Misuse of other drugs or alcohol
  • Individual factors such as genetics and health

Signs and symptoms of Lyrica withdrawal may include the following: 

  • Behavioral changes
  • Headaches
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Sleep disturbances

Lyrica Withdrawal and Detox | Harmony Recovery Center

In some instances, withdrawal symptoms related to Lyrica can lead to life-threatening complications, including the following:

  • Dehydration
  • Heart problems
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Lyrica Withdrawal Timeline 

Most of the acute, short-term withdrawal symptoms associated with a dependence on Lyrica will last for about 24-48 hours days if the drug is stopped abruptly. In some cases, especially those involving other symptoms, these symptoms may persist for several days beyond. Residual symptoms, which are primarily emotional in nature, may last for several weeks.

It is often beneficial for patients to be put on a tapering plan in which they gradually reduce their dose. This can help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and also mitigate cravings. The symptoms mentioned above may be extended or pronounced in those who have been taking Lyrica in large amounts or over a prolonged period.

Managing Lyrica Withdrawal Symptoms 

In addition to a tapering schedule, there are several methods that can be used to manage withdrawal associated with discontinuing the use of Lyrica. These include many of the same treatments used for those who are withdrawing from other depressants, such as opioids or alcohol.

Lyrica Medications and Detox

For those experiencing Lyrica addiction, a medical detox program can be very beneficial. This method of undergoing withdrawal can offer a safe and comfortable detox period to kick off the recovery process. During this process, patients are monitored on either an inpatient or outpatient basis and are given medication and support to help them stabilize and prepare for further recovery treatment.

Moreover, individuals who detox from Lyrica or other substances are urged to enroll in a professional addiction treatment program. These programs can be very effective and help to increase the likelihood that the person will be able to avoid relapse and sustain long-term sobriety.

Medications that can be prescribed for mitigating Lyrica withdrawal symptoms include clonidine and dexmedetomidine, both of which have mild sedative effects. Antidepressants, such as Zoloft or Celexa, may be useful to reduce emotional symptoms, such as depression and anxiety. 

Getting Help for Addiction

The decision to seek treatment for addiction and begin the journey to long-term recovery is one that can save your life or the life of a loved one, and time is of the essence. Learning what treatment options are available and choosing an appropriate program is the first step in this process.

Long-term, comprehensive, and individualized treatment programs, such as those offered by Harmony Recovery Center, typically provide the best chance for success. Our programs feature therapeutic services and activities clinically-proven to be highly beneficial for the recovery process. These services include psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and much, much more.

We believe that a healthy, happy life is possible for everyone, even those who have struggled with substance abuse. This life is waiting for you or your loved one, and all you have to do is contact us today!

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Vicodin Withdrawal and Treatment

Vicodin Withrawal and Treatment | Harmony Recovery Center

Like with most prescription painkillers, abruptly stopping the use of Vicodin can induce unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that vary in intensity from mild to severe. Some individuals may experience many of them, while others experience only a few. And while there is a general timeline for these symptoms, their duration can also vary somewhat from one person to the next. Vicodin withdrawal symptoms that can occur when hydrocodone use is abruptly discontinued may include the following:

  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Runny nose
  • Teary eyes
  • Chills or sweating
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Headaches
  • Moodiness
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Impaired ability to concentrate
  • Drug cravings
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Hypertension
  • Suicidal ideations

These uncomfortable symptoms may last up to 7 days, and emotional symptoms, such as anxiety or depression, may persist for much, much longer. For this reason and others, an addiction to Vicodin is most effectively treated using a medical detox followed by a long-rehab program.

What Is Vicodin?

Hydrocodone is a principal active component of Vicodin, as well as several painkillers currently available. To further alleviate pain, Vicodin also includes acetaminophen (e.g., Tylenol), which is an over-the-counter pain reliever. Hydrocodone products are among the most commonly prescribed medications in the U.S., despite the fact that hydrocodone is has a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Hydrocodone works by increasing levels of dopamine in the brain, and binding to opioid receptors throughout the CNS. This action induces a depressant effect that can reduce breathing and heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature. 

When used as directed for acute injuries on a short-term basis, hydrocodone is believed to be relatively safe. When misused, however, dependence can develop rapidly, and excessive amounts can result in profound central nervous system (CNS) depression and death. Using Vicodin with other depressants, such as alcohol, can also be very dangerous. Long-term use can lead to increased tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

Tolerance and Dependence

Vicodin Withrawal and Treatment | Harmony Recovery Center

When a person uses Vicodin regularly for an extended period, the brain builds a tolerance to the amounts being used. This causes the effects of the drug to be diminished, and increasing amounts will be needed to achieve the desired outcome. Unfortunately, using increasingly large doses of hydrocodone can accelerate the development of dependence, and ultimately full-blown addiction.

When a person has become chemically dependent on an opioid, abrupt cessation of use is shortly followed by highly unpleasant Vicodin withdrawal symptoms. These are the result of the brain and body actively working to reestablish balance. During this time, respiration, blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature may all increase significantly. For this reason, it is never recommended to discontinue a hydrocodone product “cold turkey” or without seeking medical intervention.

Timeline for Withdrawal

Hydrocodone withdrawal generally begins between 6-12 hours after the last dose. Opioid withdrawal symptoms usually peak in about three days, and physical symptoms can last as long as a week. As noted, psychological symptoms and cravings may persist for much longer. 

The intensity of a person’s Vicodin abuse problems and its duration are factors that can affect a person’s process of withdrawal. This process can include varying withdrawal symptoms, their severity, and the length of time they persist. Moreover, the longer and more excessively a drug is used, the higher the chance that a significant chemical dependence has developed. Certain underlying mental or physical problems may also affect the withdrawal process in a potentially adverse way.

Detox for Hydrocodone Addiction and Treatment

Medical detox is a method that health providers use to help clear a person’s system of toxins after they have stopped using a substance. Detox can occur on either an outpatient or inpatient basis. The important thing is that a trained medical professional is closely monitoring the patient and addressing symptoms and complications if they arise.

Medical detox can be very effective at minimizing hydrocodone withdrawal and ensuring a patient is safe and comfortable throughout the process. Detox programs also help to prevent relapse and serve as an excellent beginning to the recovery process. The time frame for a medical detox may vary, but on average, they will continue to treat a person for 5-7 days.

Throughout Vicodin withdrawal and beyond, patients may be prescribed medication approved to treat opioid dependence. Such treatments often include Suboxone, which partially consists of buprenorphine, a medication commonly referred to as a partial opioid agonist. Unlike full opioid agonists, buprenorphine attaches to opioid receptors in the brain but does not activate them to the point of euphoria. Buprenorphine, when used correctly, can ease withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings.

Getting Treatment After Vicodin Withdrawal

Detox is just the beginning, but much more work is needed to sustain sobriety on a long-term basis. After detox, other evidence-based treatment should follow, including behavioral therapy, individual and family counseling, group support, and medication-assisted treatment. Harmony Recovery Center offers tools such as these, which work to ease both physical and emotional discomfort and also dramatically reduce the risk of relapse.

If you are suffering from an addiction to Vicodin, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. We can help you achieve abstinence and reclaim the life you deserve!

Heroin Addiction Treatment

Heroin Addiction Treatment | Harmony Recovery Center

Heroin addiction is a severe and debilitating condition. Treatment usually includes various therapies, counseling, medication, and group support. These services are available i Heroin addiction is a severe and debilitating condition. Treatment usually includes various therapies, counseling, medication, and group support. These services are av n many program formats, such as inpatient and partial hospitalization. Certified professional addiction treatment centers typically offer the chances that a person will recovery successfully.

Treatment programs usually place a strong emphasis on psychotherapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy. This approach addresses the underlying factors that have led to a person’s need to engage in substance abuse, and can also treat co-occurring mental illness.

Options for Heroin Addiction Treatment

Harmony Recovery Center offers the following treatment programs:

Outpatient Detox

Detox is an essential first step in overcoming heroin addiction. Heroin withdrawal is highly unpleasant and often painful, and emotional symptoms can persist for weeks or even months. During a clinical detox, however, health providers can administer medications to mitigate discomfort, and staff can provide emotional support during this challenging process.

Partial Hospitalization

Throughout partial hospitalization programs (PHP), clients are given a structured daily routine that includes therapy, support groups, and other activities. The main difference between this type of program and inpatient treatment is that those in PHP are allowed to go home to their private residences in the evening, rather than being required to stay in the center overnight.

This schedule allows them to see their families and attend to certain responsibilities but also requires some degree of accountability. PHP often works well for those who have already undergone inpatient treatment, or do not have the most severe types of addiction.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)

Intensive outpatient treatment is designed for patients that are ready to move on to a consistent daily routine and productive lifestyle. This is balanced with a high level of professional and medical support.

Patients may choose to reside in a sober living environment but will eventually be transitioned back into a routine that includes school, work, and family responsibilities. In the morning or evening, patients attend treatment in a safe, supportive environment of therapy and counseling, which is vital for maintaining an independent and drug-free life.

Outpatient Treatment (OP)

Outpatient programs are typically designed for patients who have completed higher levels of care. They may also be beneficial for those who have relatively mild substance use problems. OP is important, however, because previous treatment formats can be quite different from the reality of daily life and its temptations. 

This kind of ongoing support is important for patients in their new clean life. Patients continue to attend a minimal amount of weekly treatment sessions to help them deal with daily stresses and temptations. These sessions reinforce the patient’s resolve as they transition back to an active and productive lifestyle.

Heroin Addiction Medications

Heroin Addiction Treatment | Harmony Recovery Center

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a fruitful and often essential approach that helps individuals wean themselves off of heroin. MAT accomplishes this through the administration of certain medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings and prevent future use. 

Medications commonly prescribed to treat heroin addiction include the following:

Buprenorphine and Suboxone

Buprenorphine is a medication known as a partial opioid agonist. It works to stimulate the same receptors in the brain that are affected by heroin. Buprenorphine can significantly reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings, and it may also be helpful for those who experience chronic pain. 

Of note, the use of buprenorphine can be hazardous for a person who is at risk for relapse. If he or she were to use buprenorphine and follow this up with heroin, they would likely experience acute withdrawal symptoms that could be particularly severe. The person may also overdose due to engaging in a higher level of opioid abuse than their body can now handle.

Buprenorphine can be used long-term if necessary. While it is has a relatively low risk of abuse, it can be habit-forming, and therefore should be used only as prescribed by a physician.

Suboxone is a medication that includes a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Naloxone is an extremely effective remedy for an opioid overdose that reverses life-threating central nervous system (CNS) depression. As a component of Suboxone, naloxone acts as an abuse-deterrent and overdose prevention measure.

So, yes, naloxone should generally protect a person against an opioid overdose. However, very high levels of heroin or more potent opioids, such as fentanyl, may require more naloxone than is in a person’s system. In extreme cases, an overdose is possible.

Naltrexone

Naltrexone (Revia, Vivitrol) belongs to a class of drugs known as full opioid antagonists. It works in the brain by binding tightly to opioid receptors. In doing so, it prevents heroin from attaching and inducing euphoric-like effects and decreases the person’s desire to use opioids. Naltrexone is a very safe medication that can be used long-term to help a person avoid relapse.

Continuing Treatment and Relapse Prevention

After a person completes an outpatient program, ongoing treatment is crucial to maintaining long-term recovery. Regular visits to therapists and counselors can help many former heroin users remain sober. Therapists work to help individuals continue to identify and overcome triggers and deal with daily stressors. They can also teach patients better coping mechanisms and help them gain further insight into the nature of their addiction.

Finally, peer support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, provide support and accountability in a safe, welcoming setting. These groups can be found as a part of comprehensive treatment programs as well as in a variety of stand-alone locations, such as churches, local meeting halls, and sometimes schools.

Heroin Addiction Treatment | Harmony Recovery Center

Suggestions to Prevent Relapse

Use Medication As Directed

It’s crucial for people in recovery to consistently use their medication at the proper dose and for as long as directed. People who are prescribed medications during treatment should continue using them until a health provider says that it’s safe to discontinue use. Stopping these medications can result in more withdrawal symptoms and cravings, which all too often lead to relapse and even overdose.

Attend Therapy, Counseling, and Support Meetings

Addiction is a chronic, lifelong disease that has lasting effects that persist long after detox and recovery. Even people who have abstained from heroin for months or years can be vulnerable to relapse, especially when confronted with grief or a particularly stressful situation.

Heroin has lasting effects on the brain reward system long after the drug is out of the body. While a stressful circumstance can tempt a person in recovery to use, support from a therapist, counselor, or a group meeting can reduce the temptation to use and nip a potential relapse in the bud.

Consider the Use of Prescription Narcotics Carefully

Some people end up relapsing because they were prescribed opioid-based painkillers, such as hydrocodone. Former heroin users that have undergone surgery or suffered an injury should inform their prescribing health provider about their addiction. There are non-narcotic pain relievers available that may be just as effective at treating pain without contributing to a potential relapse.

Find or Re-Engage in Enjoyable Hobbies and Activities

People who enter recovery tend to have a lot more time on their hands and may experience some amount of boredom as a result. The best way to fill up some time that used to be spent using substances is to find or renew interest in hobbies or activities.

The possibilities for hobbies are nearly endless. They may include forms of creative expression (drawing, painting, creating music, etc.) or projects such as working on cars, repairing old furniture, or building a deck. Whatever it is, it just needs to occupy some extra time, keep the person engaged, and provide some interest or enjoyment.

Activities that involve other people—especially if they are also in recovery—can further help with support and social networking and be thoroughly enjoyable. These activities may include playing sports, going to the beach, going for long walks or hikes, or anything that involves healthy interaction with others.

Get Help for Addiction Today

If you are struggling with an addiction to heroin, other drugs, or alcohol, help is available! Harmony Recovery Center offers comprehensive programs that include therapies and services clinically proven to be vital for the recovery process. We also treat co-occurring mental health conditions, such as PTSD, anxiety, and depression.

If you are suffering, contact us today. Let us help you get on the path to long-lasting sobriety and wellness, one step at a time!

Crack Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline

Crack Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline | Harmony Recovery Center

Crack cocaine is more concentrated and potent than powder cocaine, and due to increased potency, withdrawal is often more intense. Crack use results in changes in the brain and the central nervous system (CNS). When a person who is chemically dependent on crack abruptly stops using, his or her body will undergo a readjustment period before it can function normally without the presence of crack in their system.

During this period, physical and psychological side effects will occur, and they may vary in severity and type depending on individual factors. These factors include the user’s level of tolerance, metabolism rate, duration and severity of the addiction, and the existence of co-occurring mental illness or the abuse of other substances.

Crack Withdrawal Symptoms

Crack cocaine is both chemically and psychologically addictive. Because crack addiction can be so challenging to overcome, those who desire to quit using are advised to undergo a supervised detox in a clinical setting.

There are two main phases of withdrawal. First is the acute withdrawal, which refers to the immediate and usually most severe symptoms. Next is post-acute withdrawal (PAWS), which refers to more chronic psychoemotional symptoms that can last several weeks or months after use has stopped.

Common acute withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Sleepiness
  • Disturbing dreams
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Mood swings
  • Dysphoria

Protracted withdrawal symptoms may include the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Drug cravings
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Lack of motivation
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Anger
  • Emotional outbursts

Duration of Withdrawal

The length of time required for withdrawal from crack varies for each individual and is based on several different factors. Crack withdrawal symptoms can begin to manifest between anywhere from 30 minutes to 72 hours after the last use. Physical symptoms of withdrawal often subside within a few days but may persist for up to three months. 

Withdrawal symptoms that last more than three weeks are considered to be PAWS. Psychological symptoms associated with crack withdrawal, such as intense cravings, dreams about using, and obsessive thoughts related to using, often persist for a long time. There have been cases of some psychological symptoms lasting for six months or longer.

After the first week of crack withdrawal, the user will have mostly recovered from the worth of the physical effects and may feel as if they have already beat the disease. For this reason, many people inadvertently let down their guard, becoming more prone to relapse during this time. 

Crack Withdrawal Symptoms and Timeline | Harmony Recovery Center

Crack Cocaine Withdrawal Timeline

24-72 hours

During the first three days of withdrawal, users may experience symptoms such as paranoia and body aches, and, rarely, hallucinations. Anxiety, insomnia, fatigue, irritability, and cravings may also manifest during the first 24 hours. After this initial period, any feelings of paranoia usually subside.

Week 1    

During the first week of withdrawal, other symptoms commonly occur, including extreme irritability, severe fatigue, sleep disturbances, and a general loss of motivation.

Week 2   

During week two, drug cravings may intensify, and depression may onset. During this time, the brain is still reacting to the process of withdrawal and usually will not produce enough dopamine to induce strong positive emotions. Anxiety may persist or return during this period.

Weeks 3-4    

During weeks three and four, the body is still adapting to the absence of crack, and mood changes may be frequent. Although the physical cravings for crack usually subside by this time, psychological cravings may persist throughout the first month. Feelings of depression and anxiety may linger as well.

Medications for Crack Detox

Health providers at drug treatment centers typically design detox strategies based on the patient’s individual needs. Unlike with other substances, patients usually don’t use a tapering method for crack detox. Instead, they quit abruptly under direct medical supervision, and, in most cases, medications will be administered to mitigate uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.

Drugs that may be prescribed for crack withdrawal include, but are not limited to, the following:

Clonidine – for the treatment of high blood pressure and anxiety

Gabapentin – to prevent seizures, restless leg syndrome, anxiety, and insomnia

Propranolol – to reduce anxiety

Vistaril – to reduce anxiety

Trazodone – to improve sleep quality

Seroquel – to improve sleep and reduce anxiety

Getting Help for Cocaine Withdrawal and Addiction

Individuals seeking to recover from crack addiction are strongly advised to undergo detox in a clinical environment, such as an addiction treatment center. In doing so, the patient also has access to a support system to help with the challenges of withdrawal and cravings. After detox, individuals are highly encouraged to seek professional help for addiction, such as intensive, evidence-based therapies, counseling, and group support.

Harmony Recovery Center offers comprehensive treatment programs that address crack addiction, and it’s underlying causes, such as mental health conditions and experiences of trauma. Our dedicated staff delivers evidence-based therapies essential for the treatment of addiction with care and expertise. 

If you or someone you love are suffering from crack addiction or the abuse of other drugs or alcohol, please contact us today! We help people achieve long-term sobriety and reclaim the healthy and enjoyable lives they deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Opiate Withdrawal

10 Natural Adderall Alternatives

Adderall Alternatives | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Updated on August 23,2019

10 Natural Adderall Alternatives – Adderall is a prescription intended for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, in recent years, it’s also become increasingly abused as a study aid and to keep people alert and motivated for long periods.

When prescribed by a doctor and used as directed, Adderall and similar medications can be very effective at reducing the symptoms of ADHD. However, these drugs have also been associated with significant health risks. Adderall contains amphetamines, which have the potential to cause addiction. It may also be harmful to the nervous system when used long-term.

How Adderall Works

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that boosts several neurotransmitters in the brain to abnormally high concentrations. The affected neurotransmitters include dopamine, epinephrine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. The sudden rush of these rewarding chemicals can increase alertness, energy, and motivation.

Unfortunately, this constant flood of good feelings often results in a person seeking more. Tolerance can develop, and the person then needs to use more of the drug to experience the same effects. Dependence and addiction may be next. Excessive Adderall use can be harmful to the central nervous system and cause impairments and permanent damage, so some Adderall alternatives may be a better option.

Natural Adderall Alternatives

ADHD can be challenging to manage. Those who suffer may experience impulsivity, inattentiveness, and a general sense of inefficiency. They may also have problems learning and socializing with others. Fortunately, for those who do not want to face the risks associated with prescription drugs, there are several safe, over-the-counter (OTC) Adderall alternatives that can help to manage symptoms.

10 Best Adderall Alternatives

1. Alpha GPC

One of the best Adderall alternatives is known as alpha GPC (choline alfoscerate), a choline supplement. Alpha GPC acts on the brain by increasing levels of available acetylcholine. This neurotransmitter is essential for attention and learning. A 2011 study found that children with ADHD had 50% less of this protein.

For this reason, Alpha GPC could be used as a safe and effective Adderall alternative for improving focus and concentration.

2. Bacopa monnieri

Bacopa monnieri has traditionally been used as a medicinal herb and has been shown to be a good natural substitute for Adderall. Like its prescription cousins, Bacopa interacts well with serotonin and dopamine in the body. This positive interaction on vital neurotransmitters helps to improve alertness and energy levels.

Bacopa monnieri works by enhancing neuron communication through the growth and support of nerve endings in the brain. For this reason, Bacopa supplements can enhance memory formation and cognition. Research has shown that it can regulate mood and improve attention span in users.

3. Caffeine

Studies have revealed that caffeine can improve focus and concentration. Therefore, it may also serve as a natural Adderall alternative. Caffeine is a stimulant that boosts the production of dopamine in the brain. It is also a vasoconstrictor, meaning that it constricts blood vessels in hyperactive areas of the brain, similar to Adderall. This effect fosters stable communication throughout the brain.

Of note, because of caffeine’s stimulating properties, it should not be consumed within six hours of bedtime to reduce the risk of insomnia.

4. Ginkgo biloba

Adderall Alternatives | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Ginkgo biloba is among the most widely used herbs for brain health. It has also shown promise as a natural treatment for ADHD in children. Ginkgo works by protecting the balance of vital neurotransmitters in the brain. Most important, this herb will maintain acetylcholine, norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin levels. This effect improves attention span and helps subdue impulsiveness.

A randomized study linked Ginkgo supplementation to a notable reduction in ADHD-related symptoms. The results of the study reveal that Ginkgo biloba is an effective natural Adderall alternative.

5. Huperzine A

Huperzine A is an herbal supplement used in Chinese medicine to improve cognitive function in both children and adults. Similarly to Alpha GPC, Huperzine A helps the brain by indirectly increasing levels of acetylcholine.

This herbal Adderall alternative is safe to use for the treatment of ADHD. Also, it has a synergistic effect and is even more effective for boosting cognitive function when used with Alpha GPC.

6. L-Theanine

L-Theanine is a non-essential amino acid with many health benefits. This safe and natural Adderall alternative can relieve stress and anxiety by increasing levels of GABA and glycine. GABA and glycine are inhibitory neurotransmitters that work to reduce activity in the brain. This effect induces feelings of relaxation and calmness in a user. By helping the brain achieve balance, L-Theanine can effectively reduce ADHD-related symptoms.

Studies have supported the use of L-Theanine as one of the best over the counter replacements for Adderall. In those diagnosed with ADHD, researchers found a notable reduction in mild cognitive impairment while supplementing with L-Theanine.

7. L-Tyrosine

L-Tyrosine is an amino acid used in the production of dopamine and noradrenaline. This supplement is known for its ability to improve mental cognition during acute stress. Research has shown that Tyrosine may also improve memory and relieve feelings of anxiety. This mood-stabilizing effect makes L-Tyrosine a potentially useful natural remedy for ADHD.

One study linked the supplementation of L-Tyrosine and 5-HTP to significant reductions in ADHD-related symptoms in children. Of note, L-Tyrosine is less effective for ADHD and improving cognitive function in non-stress situations.

8. Phosphatidylserine

Phosphatidylserine improves brain health by providing support to cell membranes. This supplement is a vital phospholipid in the body, helping to form and recall memories. There is abundant evidence that demonstrates the effects of phosphatidylserine on cognitive functioning. In fact, it helps to prevent mood disorders and reduces feelings of anxiety and depression.

Not only is this remedy beneficial for overall brain health, but it’s also a safe and effective Adderall alternative. A study in children with ADHD supplemented with phosphatidylserine revealed significant improvements in impulsivity and auditory memory. More studies have linked phosphatidylserine supplementation to improvements in mental processing and accuracy.

9. Rhodiola rosea

Adderall Alternatives | Harmony Recovery Center | North Carolina

Rhodiola rosea is an herb native to Arctic regions with stimulatory properties comparable to Adderall. Fortunately, this herb does not have the side effects of amphetamine-based ADHD medications. Rhodiola rosea is used in traditional medicine as a treatment for fatigue and cognitive impairment.

Research has revealed a connection between Rhodiola rosea and improvements in memory and mood. This improvement occurs because this herb assists with the regulation of serotonin and dopamine. An increase in energy levels, mental processing, and cognitive function are also among its reported health benefits.

10. 5-HTP

5-HTP is a chemical the body uses to create the “feel-good” neurotransmitter, serotonin. Much like prescription ADHD medications, 5-HTP positively affects serotonin in the brain. This action then results in an anti-depressant effect and improvement in mood. When levels of serotonin increase, the person experiences feelings of happiness and a sense of well-being. Thus, increasing 5-HTP strengthens focus and concentration and enhances creativity.

Some have suggested taking L-Tryptophan as a treatment for ADHD instead of 5-HTP. L-Tryptophan is a chemical the body uses to create to 5-HTP.
However, because L-Tryptophan can be converted into niacin or redirected for use in protein development, 5-HTP is likely the better choice for treating symptoms related to ADHD.

Treatment for Adderall Addiction

If you are struggling with an addiction to Adderall or other drugs, you are urged to seek professional treatment as soon as possible. Harmony Recovery Center offers comprehensive programs that include behavioral therapy, counseling, group support, and more.

We are committed to providing clients with the tools and support they need to recover and enjoy long-term sobriety and wellness! Contact us today—we can help!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: What Are Nootropics?

8 Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol

Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol

Updated On Aug 16, 2019

1. Feeling Better

Alcohol isn’t a healthy substance—it’s a toxin. When a person drinks excessively, the body is forced to work harder to process the substance. The liver can be pushed to its limits trying to metabolize it. The brain fights to re-establish equilibrium, and the heart pumps at an irregular rate.

Conversely, people who don’t drink tend to be much healthier. They aren’t vulnerable to alcohol’s impact on the body. And because the system is free from toxic chemicals, it can focus its energy elsewhere. As a result, the mind and body can begin to function optimally.

Drinking isn’t good for mental health, either. In excess, it often causes people to make choices they later regret. Therefore, alcohol abuse is often associated with feelings of shame, guilt, and remorse. Over time, this can harm a person’s emotional health. One of the most significant benefits of not drinking alcohol is the cessation of guilt.

2. Looking Younger

Alcohol use tends to make people appear older than they are. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it dehydrates the body, resulting in drier skin that becomes less elastic.

It also causes body tissue inflammation, and this is why some people get flushed in the face when they drink. That flushed redness is their skin becoming inflamed. Initially, the redness usually goes away once alcohol leaves their system, but over time, constant inflammation will damage their skin and may become more permanent.

In most people, alcohol reduces collagen, which is a protein that connects the skin cells and strengthens the tissue. When it breaks down, the skin starts to become more loose and saggy.

3. Saving Money

The advantages of quitting drinking aren’t just physical—it has financial benefits, as well. As anyone who drinks regularly knows, the cost of alcoholism can add up. When purchased once in a while, the price of a couple of beers or a bottle of wine is only a few dollars. But, when someone drinks every day, the costs add up over time.

Also, poor decisions often accompany drinking. If any legal issues, such as being charged with drinking and driving occur, the cost can be tremendous. Former alcoholics are usually happy to discover that their wallets are much fuller once they quit.

4. Losing Weight

Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol | Harmony Recovery Center

Alcohol is very high in calories, and these calories are empty. The body processes and retains alcohol as sugar, which eventually turns to fat. People who drink excessively often weigh more than those who abstain. In fact, research shows that excessive alcohol use is associated with obesity. The more alcohol a person drinks, the more likely it is that they’ll carry extra weight.

Of course, some people have faster metabolisms than others and may be more or less active. Thus, there is not necessarily a direct correlation between someone’s weight and the amount of alcohol they drink. But, if a person is looking to shed some weight, they should start abstaining from alcohol.

5. New Activities and Hobbies

Alcohol dependence itself takes up considerable time, and when you add the time it takes to recover from drinking, you might find you have a lot more time on your hands when you quit.

Therefore, finding a new hobby or activity is essential for maintaining sobriety. Some former alcoholics turn to exercise, for example, and some prefer to read, paint, or garden. It’s not terribly important what the hobby is, as long as it gives the addict something to do to occupy their mind and the time they used to spend drinking.

6. Healthy Liver Function

Drinking alcohol is notoriously bad for the liver. When a person consumes an excessive amount, the liver must exhaust itself to process it. In severe cases, alcoholics can develop liver disorders such as fatty liver, hepatitis, or cirrhosis. These conditions can result in both internal and external damage to the body, and liver cirrhosis is irreversible.

Fortunately, the liver is a continually regenerating organ, and can often repair itself when it’s given an appropriate amount of time to do so. It creates new cells with the intention to fix any problems that may arise. Alcohol impairs the regenerative system, however, and when used excessively, the liver has a difficult time regenerating.

Over time, the liver may deteriorate and become fatty, inflamed, and even scarred. To prevent damage from worsening, heavy drinkers should stop drinking and give their liver some time to recover.

When a person quits drinking, their liver begins to flush out the leftover byproducts that were produced over time. This process usually takes several weeks, but in extreme cases, may take a few years. After the byproducts have been cleared, the liver can return to normal functioning.

Unfortunately, some liver damage, such as cirrhosis, is irreparable. In most cases, though, people who decide to abstain will experience the benefits of not drinking alcohol within a few months.

7. Making Amends and Righting Wrongs

Benefits of Not Drinking Alcohol | Harmony Recovery Center

Most people have done things that they regret. But heavy drinkers tend to do more regrettable things—one of the greatest benefits of quitting is having the opportunity to apologize and to make amends for those things. Sobriety gives people the chance to right their wrongs and start over.

Alcoholics often behave in ways that cause their family or friends to distance themselves. But when the person quits drinking, they offer concrete proof that they are taking steps toward becoming a better person. As long as they remain sober, at least some of the people around them will impart forgiveness.

8. Improved Sleep

According to the National Sleep Foundation, despite the fact that alcohol is a depressant and can induce sleep, it can ultimately interfere with quality sleep in several ways.

Drinking alcohol before bedtime is associated with more slow-wave sleep patterns called delta activity that allows for memory formation and learning. Consecutively, however, another type of brain pattern known as alpha activity is also initiated. Alpha activity doesn’t usually occur during sleep, but instead while a person is relaxing quietly.

Together, the alpha and delta activity in the brain that ensues after drinking may inhibit restorative sleep and can interrupt circadian rhythms. Experts believe it does this by interfering with the normal production of chemicals in the body that cause drowsiness after being awake for some time, and wane when sleep is sufficient.

After drinking alcohol, production of adenosine, a chemical that induces sleep, is increased. This action allows for a fast onset of sleep but also subsides almost as quickly as it came, making one more likely to wake up before being truly rested.

According to sleep experts, alcohol also inhibits REM sleep, can aggravate breathing problems and can lead to an increased need to urinate and frequent trips to the bathroom. The benefits of not drinking alcohol, therefore, include a much better night’s sleep and feelings of restfulness the following day.

For many people, quitting alcohol may feel like an impossible task. It’s especially challenging for those who are addicted—often, alcoholics feel as if, for them, there can be no life without it. Despite all of the adverse effects it has on their well-being, they continue to drink.

Fortunately, however, achieving abstinence is possible, and the benefits of not drinking alcohol are astounding. Through long-term abstinence, people have been able to improve their lives—sometimes immediately—in unlimited ways.

Ready to stop drinking?

Many people have difficulty quitting drinking on their own. Most addiction professionals recommend that individuals dependent upon alcohol undergo a medical detox following by a long-term inpatient or outpatient program. The most effective approaches to treatment are comprehensive and focus on evidence-based services, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, counseling, and group support.

Our center employs knowledgeable staff who specialize in addiction and deliver these services to each client with care and expertise. We provide clients with the tools and support they need to achieve sobriety and enjoy long-lasting wellness and harmony.

Please contact us today to find out how we can help you get started on your journey to recovery!

What Is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)?

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome | Harmony Recovery Center

What Is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)? – Drug or alcohol withdrawal syndrome is hallmarked by effects that occur when a person dependent on a substance suddenly discontinues use. Both illicit and prescription drugs can produce withdrawal symptoms, and they may persist anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.

Physicians usually work with their patients to control withdrawal symptoms from prescription drugs, such as benzodiazepines. However, those who are suffering from addiction are likely to experience intense withdrawal effects if they try to quit using the drug “cold turkey” or are forced into cessation due to the drug becoming inaccessible to them.

Post-Acute-Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Although withdrawal symptoms can be highly unpleasant, most usually subside by about two weeks, especially when overseen by medical staff during the detox process. However, some substance abuse can cause prolonged withdrawal effects that persist for months. People who use an excessive amount of a psychoactive substance for an extended period are more likely to encounter this condition, also referred to as post-acute withdrawal syndrome or PAWS.

PAWS is a term that describes a combination of ongoing withdrawal symptoms, which are primarily psychological, emotional, and mood-related. These effects can continue long after acute (short-term) withdrawal symptoms have abated.

Although post-acute withdrawal syndrome rarely includes aches and pains, nausea, cramping, headaches, or other physical symptoms typical of withdrawal, it can be just as severe as short-term withdrawal. It may ultimately leave a person at an increased risk of relapse, as they may return to substance use as an attempt to relieve their discomfort.

About PAWS

People who suffer from PAWS can feel like they are experiencing a rollercoaster of symptoms that wax and wane without warning. Each episode of PAWS can persist for several days and continue to reoccur cyclically for up a year. These symptoms can onset after the extended use of any intoxicant, although PAWS most often occurs among those who discontinue use of the following substances:

Alcohol

PAWS symptoms were first identified for alcohol use disorder in the 1990s. Suddenly stopping alcohol use can be dangerous and even life-threatening, because it can cause a serious condition known as delirium tremens that includes seizures and psychosis. Furthermore, it can also increase the likelihood of PAWS occurring.

Antidepressants

Although very few people use these medications recreationally since they do not induce an intense or rapid high, stopping them abruptly can significantly alter levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain. Since people who experience depression are those who are usually prescribed antidepressants, acute withdrawal will feel like severe depression and/or anxiety that unfortunately, could persist for several months.

Antipsychotics

Antipsychotics bind to dopamine receptors in the brain to reduce hallucinations, delirium, and other psychiatric symptoms. When they are suspended or terminated without a tapering schedule, the person could suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as major mood swings for months.

Benzodiazepines (Benzos)

Benzos are medications that benefit many people with anxiety and panic disorders, but they also have a high potential for chemical dependence and abuse. Most prescriptions for benzos do not offer coverage for more than two weeks of regular use because addiction can develop. Withdrawal symptoms tend to resemble anxiety and panic disorders, making it much more challenging to discontinue use. PAWS symptoms, such as insomnia, fatigue, and strong cravings, can last for months after chemical dependence has receded.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome | Harmony Recovery Center

Marijuana

Many people come to depend on marijuana use to relax and feel normal – moreover, if they stop using it, they can feel depressed, stressed out, and anxious. Among the most common withdrawal symptoms with marijuana cessation are insomnia, and without medical guidance, could last long-term and progress into PAWS.

Opioids

Whether opioids are misused/abused by prescription or illicitly as in the case of heroin, the long-term exposure to these drugs can advance into PAWS if they are not weaned off properly. Moreover, individuals who experience the full severity of acute withdrawal are more likely to encounter PAWS, which includes intense cravings, exhaustion, and cognitive impairments that may not improve for a prolonged period.

Stimulants

Prescription stimulants such as Adderall and illicit drugs such as cocaine can contribute to PAWS if withdrawal is not managed appropriately. A person using stimulants may experience acute adverse side effects, including paranoia, twitching, tremors, and aggressiveness. However, other symptoms, such as extreme fatigue, severe depression, and physical weakness, can be more challenging to manage.

PAWS Symptoms

Symptoms of PAWS may vary somewhat according to each drug and individual, but common symptoms may include the following:

  • Hostility and aggression
  • Anxiety, panic, and fear
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Exhaustion and fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Loss of libido
  • Anhedonia
  • Memory impairments
  • Hypersensitivity to stress

Causes of PAWS: Theories

PAWS is a complex syndrome with no single, precise cause. Psychologists and doctors do not completely agree on the exact reasons for the syndrome, but some suggest that stress response and changes to specific regions of the brain during addiction may contribute to the development of PAWS. Stress response, however, can be influenced by any number of reasons.

Theories about the causes of PAWS include the following:

Homeostatic Regulation

A person’s physical dependence on a substance leads to brain chemistry modifications over time, and when the system is “deprived” of the substance’s presence that triggers neurochemicals to release, it can no longer reach a balance on its own. It can take an extended period for the brain to reach equilibrium fully, and this delay can result in moodiness, fatigue, cravings, and other psychological symptoms.

Physiological Adaption

Other areas in the body may be accustomed to the drugs to manage functions such as digestion or hormones, and withdrawal effects tend to reflect this. For example, nausea, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea are typical opioid withdrawal symptoms, but for some these effects can take two weeks or more to return to normal.

Stress

It can be psychologically taxing to quit using an intoxicating substance, especially for those who attempt to do it cold turkey or without medical supervision. This stress can contribute to relapse, or otherwise result in the continued presence of withdrawal effects as the individual tries to reestablish a life balance without the use of drugs or alcohol.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome | Harmony Recovery Center

Habit

One of the main purposes of rehab is to help people change their behaviors and responses regarding drugs or alcohol. Recovering heroin addicts, for example, may have fond memories of the ritual of cooking and injecting drugs, while others who overcome alcohol use disorder bemoan the loss of certain enjoyable social situations. Returning to a habit associated with substance use frequently results in relapse, but the loss of that habit or tradition can also enhance stressful psychological symptoms such as depression, cravings, or anxiety, eventually leading to PAWS.

Treatment for PAWS

Because the effects of PAWS symptoms are mostly emotional and psychological, constant support from therapists and counselors early in recovery is vital to reducing the intensity of this experience.

Here are some steps medical and addiction health professionals may take to help patients overcome long-term withdrawal symptoms:

  • Offer education about the withdrawal process and what to expect during recovery
  • Encourage celebration with every completed step in the process
  • Encourage patience
  • Find natural methods to help with sleep disturbances, such as melatonin
  • Prescribe exercise and a healthy diet
  • Evaluate potential co-occurring disorders, which may emerge or re-emerge during recovery
  • Encourage participation in peer support groups
  • Help to manage impulse control
  • Take self-reported symptoms seriously

Also, some medications may help with withdrawal from certain drugs. For example, naltrexone is a prescription medication that is approved to reduce the cravings associated with recovery from opioid or alcohol dependence. Antidepressants may help some people to stabilize their mood in those trying to overcome addiction to stimulants or psychoactive drugs.

The risk of experiencing PAWS can also be lessened by undergoing a professional detox, enrolling in an intensive addiction rehab program, and receiving continual support well after initial addiction treatment has been fully completed.

If you or someone you love is addicted to drug or alcohol, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. Discover how we help people achieve abstinence, avoid relapse, and begin to experience the healthy and fulfilling lives they deserve!

What is Meth Psychosis?

Meth Psychosis

What is Meth Psychosis? – Methamphetamine, also known as meth, crystal meth, ice, or speed, is a dangerous, addictive, and sometimes deadly drug usually found on the street after being produced in clandestine labs in the U.S. or abroad.

Meth is derived from ingredients extracted from cough and cold medication (pseudoephedrine) and is created when this substance is combined with chemicals and highly explosive materials.

Meth is a central nervous system stimulant, which means that effects include increased heart rate and energy levels, in conjunction with a euphoric high as dopamine, a neurochemical responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward, floods the brain.

One possible and potentially disastrous outcome of meth use is drug-induced psychosis.

What is Meth Psychosis?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, psychosis can be defined as a period when a person is experiencing both delusions and hallucinations. A hallucination is usually visual or auditory, and basically refers to something that is seen, heard, or otherwise sensed that cannot be perceived by others. Occasionally people experience hallucinations that are gustatory (tasting something that isn’t really there) or tactile (something touching you that isn’t.) These perceptions can occur as a result of drug use or mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, dementia, or schizophrenia.

Delusions are also an essential part of psychosis and involve the person having beliefs that don’t appear to be true to others. These could involve paranoia or the belief that something that has nothing to do with them (such as a song playing on the radio) is directed at them specifically. For example, the person may believe they are being watched by the police or FBI.

During meth psychosis, the person may firmly begin to believe that people are out to get them, and they may think that everyday objects are spying on them, equipped with surveillance equipment. Another symptom of meth psychosis is escalating aggression, which occurs as the person’s brain loses the ability to regulate impulses. When people use meth regularly, they also tend to lose the ability to react rationally to events happening around them, and this can lead to aggression and violence.

When people are prolonged meth users, they may begin to show signs of obsessive-compulsive behavior and repeat actions over and over again, such as cleaning at a frenzied pace or washing hands excessively.

This can also contribute to sores that are often visible on the face and bodies of meth users, occurring as a result of scratching or picking at their skin. When a person suffers from meth psychosis, it may end when they come down from the drug, but in some cases, it can last longer than the high itself – even for several days. Unfortunately, brain damage from meth use can leave some people with chronic or permanent psychosis, continuing to occur long after they have discontinued using the drug.

The Causes of Meth Psychosis

Why does meth bring about a high risk of psychosis when compared to other drugs? To begin, meth affects the brain’s natural chemical balance – when someone uses meth, that person is essentially altering the homeostasis of the chemistry of his or her brain, which may ultimately respond in ways that trigger meth psychosis.

Meth use result results in a huge flood of dopamine into the brain. When natural dopamine reserves are depleted, the body becomes unable to produce more. After continued use, meth overstimulates the temporal lobe of the brain, which is believed to cause psychosis, a condition that is experienced by as many as two-thirds of meth users.

In the brain, the amygdala is also impacted, and when stimulated, it can increase fear and induce a “fight-or-flight” survival mode type response.

People who suffer from meth psychosis experience these symptoms because their brain is unbalanced, and as a result, they feel as if they are in danger and need to escape. For many meth users, paranoid symptoms can manifest within just a few months of drug use.

In addition to stimulating brain areas involved with the regulation of emotions and anxiety, using meth also affects the prefrontal cortex and limbic system, which can lead to impulsivity, aggressive behavior, and violence.

Of note, meth psychosis isn’t uncommon – rather, it’s quite prevalent and most people who engage in meth use will, at some point, experience mild-to-severe psychosis.

Treatment for Meth Addiction

Meth addiction is a devastating disease that can destroy the lives of those who use it as well as their families and loved ones. Ideally, treatment should begin with a supervised medical detox that is immediately followed by long-term inpatient treatment that includes evidence-based approaches such as behavioral therapy and counseling.

Our center employs compassionate medical and mental health professionals who provide patients with the tools and skills they need to achieve sobriety and enjoy long-lasting wellness and HARMONY throughout the rest of their lives.

Please call us as soon as possible and begin your journey now!