Understanding Codependency and its Role in Addiction

Codependency and addiction

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

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

Codependency Early in Life

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

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

Symptoms of Codependency

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

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


When Codependency Takes Over

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


Codependency and its Relationship to Addiction

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


Breaking the Cycle

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

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

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

Cameron Dallas Shares His Addiction Story

Cameron Dallas talks Alcohol and Sex Addiction

Actor and internet personality Cameron Dallas recently opened up about his struggle with addiction and his commitment to long-term recovery and sobriety. Initially famous for his Youtube and Vine videos, Cameron recently starred in his own Netflix reality show, “Chasing Cameron”. He has gone on to act in some Hollywood films and launch a music career. 

Last year, the 25 year-old star talked about his journey with addiction in an emotional video on his Instagram. Cameron shared that he was not only addicted to alcohol and sex but that he had issues with drugs like ecstasy and cocaine. He finally realized he had a problem when multiple friends reached out and expressed their concerns for his well being. He said he’d tried so hard to hide it but knew he had a problem. 


Cameron first sought treatment at 21 years-old, but claims he left the addiction treatment center too early and fell back into his old habits. In December 2018, he hit his low point when he got into an altercation and was charged with felony assault. He knew he had to change his life and was faced with a choice. Continue using alcohol and lose his career, end up in jail, or die. Or achieve sobriety and live a long and happy life. 

Later that year, he sought comprehensive treatment. As is common with addiction, Cameron suffers from mental health challenges. Depression, a common Co-occurring Disorder, meant he often used alcohol to self-medicate. With Co-occurring Disorders it is so important to find treatment which can address all aspects of addiction, including mental health, in order to achieve the best recovery outcome. 


Cameron Dallas spent several months in addiction treatment, working on his recovery before sharing his story in August 2019. In his video, he says progress is not perfection and expresses his commitment to this journey. He expresses gratitude to those who stood by him throughout his treatment experience. And apologizes to those he has hurt in the past while in active addiction. 

He hopes that in sharing his story, he can inspire others to make this change too and be an advocate for the recovery community. 

Are You Struggling with Addiction or Substance Use?

Addiction is a disease that can affect anyone. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please don’t wait to ask for help. Our specialist team of caring advisors can discuss treatment options with you and get you on the best path to a happy life. Contact us today.

Addiction and Substance Abuse Rates in North Carolina

North Carolina Addiction and Substance Abuse Rates

Like many other US states, North Carolina is battling growing substance abuse and addiction rates. A study released in 2017 placed North Carolina in the 20th spot in their list of States with the Biggest Drug Problems. The study used data from the U.S. Census, CDC, SAHMSA, and the FBI and used metrics such as arrest rates, overdose rates, meth-lab seizures, and opioid prescriptions per capita. Currently the two substances of greatest concern are opioids and methamphetamine. 


Opioid Crisis in North Carolina

Each day, 128 Americans die of an opioid overdose, which includes both prescription and illicit opioids. In 2018 alone, 67,367 people died of an opioid overdose. North Carolina is no stranger to the opioid crisis, having seen numbers grow dramatically since 2014, as depicted in the graph below. 

Part of this problem comes from prescription opioids of which in 2018, North Carolina doctors wrote 61.5 prescriptions per 100 people compared to the national rate of 51.4. 

Prescription opioids are so addictive that they further drive illicit opioid use, as when their prescription runs out or they are no longer eligible for prescription opioids, users turn to the streets to get their fix. However, street prices of prescription opioids are very high, making other sources such as heroin much more affordable options by comparison. With heroin addiction, IV drug use becomes more common. This leads to growing infection rates of HIV and Hepatitis in areas of high heroin usage which is currently the case in NC hotspots. 


Related Articles: How Prescription Opioids Lead to Heroin Addiction and Health Effects of Heroin Addiction


Methamphetamine Use in North Carolina

Meth use is rising across the United States. According to the CDC, deaths from stimulants – primarily Meth– increased 250% from 2005 to 2015. Law enforcement in North Carolina warn that meth is an ongoing, increasing problem. The drug has largely replaced crack cocaine in the state’s western communities. This is likely because meth is increasingly available, less expensive, and has longer-lasting results. 

Authorities in North Carolina have busted over 1130 clandestine meth labs in the state. They have found labs in places such as office buildings, private residences, apartments, hotels, and even out in fields and forests. However, compared to some states which bust up to 2000 labs per year, North Carolina is not considered a major producer. Authorities state that the majority of the meth distributed in the state is coming from Atlanta. Meth use is linked to various public health concerns including STDs and MRSA. 


Alcohol Abuse in North Carolina

As Opioid and Methamphetamine rates grow, they garner the majority of attention when discussing substance abuse rates today. However, issues like alcohol dependency and marijuana abuse are still problems that are wreaking havoc on thousands of lives each year. 

Estimates suggest nearly half a million people in North Carolina have an alcohol addiction or alcohol abuse problem. Excessive alcohol use is the third leading cause of preventable death in the state. And, in 2017, 26% of traffic fatalities were alcohol-related. 


Getting Help 

Whatever substance you may be struggling with, whether listed here or not, help is available. Harmony Recovery Group operate two supportive, welcoming facilities in the Charlotte, North Carolina area. If you or a loved one are looking for advice or would like to explore treatment options, call us today. We’re here to help. 





National Safety Month: What is Safety Planning in Recovery?

Safety Planning for Addiction Recovery

June is National Safety Month so we’re taking this time to talk about safety planning in recovery. Safety planning is all about preparing for a sober lifestyle. As with anything, the recovery journey is full of ups and downs but it is the most worthwhile journey we will ever take. It’s important to prepare ourselves for the inevitable temptations, cravings, and challenges that will come our way in our new sober lives. 

Safety planning in recovery prepares us for difficult times and reminds us of the rewards we reap by remaining sober. 


Crisis Information

First, it’s important to assess what we will do if we find ourselves in a high risk situation, have slipped and used a substance, or are in crisis and considering using. 

Write or print this information out and keep it with you (including phone numbers).


Who can I call to support my recovery if I am struggling or in crisis? List them. 





Where is a safe space I can go if I am struggling or in crisis? List them. 





My treatment center care number is: 



Preventing What’s Avoidable

Remember your “why”

Remind yourself of why you are sober. Your sobriety and your reasons for it are your guiding force. Check back to this list often to make sure you don’t lose sight of your goals. 


Preventing unnecessary stress

Removing the risk of unnecessary stressors in our lives can reduce triggers that may tempt us to use. Stress isn’t always one big event but several small ones that can build up over a day, week or month and cause us to lose our heads. Preventing unnecessary stressors like lost house keys or having to pay late fees because you didn’t re-register your car in time can go a long way in protecting our mental health and therefore sobriety. 

Examples for organizing your life to prevent unnecessary stressors can include: 

  • Always put your keys in the same place.
  • Keep a spare key with a trustworthy friend or family member in case you get locked out. 
  • Keep a file folder of important documents and information so it’s all in one place when needed. 
  • Set reminders in your phone of important dates like your car registration, lease agreement, driver’s license expiration etc. 
  • Try to build some savings to fall back on when unforeseen expenses arise (if possible, of course)


Identify high risk people in your life

This is one of the hardest parts of recovering, realizing that there are people in your life, who you may even consider close friends, who can put your sobriety at risk. It might be someone you used to use with, or it could be someone who is emotionally abusive or triggering. Whatever the reason, making a list of high risk people and setting boundaries to protect your sobriety is an important part of safety planning. 


Keep a list of tools and actions that support your sobriety

Often we may struggle because we aren’t taking care of ourselves. Having a list of ways you can support your sobriety is helpful. Use them when you realize you are not putting yourself first. This list can be acts of self-care that you find helpful, activities you do to keep your head clear, or people you can see or talk to who make you feel safe and supported. Sometimes we forget all the different tools we have, keeping a list can be a good reminder for when you find yourself in need of support. 


Preparing for the Unavoidable

Identify triggers

Writing down and identifying triggers and early warning signs such as certain behaviors or changes in your attitude towards recovery are important so you can catch yourself early. Remember HALT: Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. If you’ve relapsed in the past, include the triggers that led to that path in this list. 


What to do when cravings happen

What are some coping strategies I can use when cravings come up? List them. Examples could be going for a run, calling a friend or sponsor for support, or engaging in a hobby to keep your hands occupied. These should be actions that can be taken specifically to distract yourself from cravings rather than self-care acts. 


Things I can say if someone offers me a drink or drugs

It’s good to have some go-to lines tucked away for instances like this. Whether you want to explain that you are in recovery or opt not to give an excuse and simply say no, being prepared with your answers ahead of time will help when the moment comes. 


What If I Relapse? 

The purpose of safety planning is to support your recovery and prevent relapse. When committing to sobriety, the goal is maintain this new lifestyle long-term, but relapses do happen to some people. Having a plan in place can mean the difference between relapse as a slip and a full-blown reactivation. 

Create a plan for who you will call, where you will go, and who will take care of your children or pets (if applicable). Remember this does not give you immunity from relapsing, it is a worst case scenario plan. Be aware that if you are tempted to pick up, do not use the same dosage as you did before as your sobriety has lowered your tolerance. 

Lastly, if you do relapse, know that treatment can help get you back on the right track. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, addiction, or relapse contact us today. At Harmony Recovery Group we are here to help.

World No Tobacco Day: Understanding Tobacco Addiction

World No Tobacco Day: Tobacco Addiction Awareness

We all know that smoking is bad, but that hasn’t stopped millions from taking up the habit and millions more from continuing to smoke. World No Tobacco Day, this Sunday May 31st, raises awareness around the risk of tobacco use and addiction in all forms. The World Health Organization emphasizes World No Tobacco Day in order to protect the youth from manipulation by the tobacco industry and preventing them from using tobacco. 


History of Tobacco

Early Use and Trade

The Tobacco plant is native to the Americas and part of the Nightshade family, of which some are edible (i.e. potatoes, peppers) and some are extremely poisonous (i.e. Deadly Nightshade). As early as 1 B.C., Native Americans began using tobacco for religious and medicinal purposes. When explorers from Europe encountered the Americas in the late 1400’s, they were given dried tobacco leaves as gifts by the natives, which were then brought back by sailors and traded. Over the next two centuries the popularity of tobacco among Europeans and settlers in the Americas would grow significantly. People believed Tobacco to be a cure-all with magic healing properties, which of course, we know today to be wildly inaccurate. 

American Tobacco Companies Cash In

In 1760, America’s first Tobacco company, P. Lorillard, was established in New York City to process cigars and snuff. Today it is the oldest tobacco company in the U.S. Even in these times, scientists were learning about the chemicals in tobacco and the ill effects it can have on health. In 1826 the pure form of nicotine was found and scientists soon learned that it is a dangerous poison. 

Fast forward to the 1900’s where dozens of brands are fighting for market share with misleading and manipulative advertising methods. Claims about the health benefits of smoking are rampant in advertisements despite numerous scientific studies on the adverse effects. 

Health Effects Become Public Knowledge

It isn’t until 1964 that the U.S. Surgeon General reports on the dangers of smoking and triggers a cascade effect of regulation on how Tobacco companies can advertise their products. By the 1980’s smoking is considered “politically incorrect” and bans on smoking in public places begin to roll out. In 1987, the World Health Organization created World No Tobacco Day to raise awareness of the dangers of smoking, particularly for the youth. 

Today, growing evidence shows that Tobacco companies have known about the ill effects of smoking all along. It is believed they knew very well how addictive nicotine was and chose to exploit it for monetary gain. 


Facts About Tobacco Use and Addiction

  • Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death with more than 7 million deaths per year worldwide.
  • Smoking kills 480,000 people per year in the United States, 41,000 of which are from secondhand smoke.
  • On average, a smoker’s life expectancy is 10 years less than that of a non-smoker
  • Every day in the US, 2000 children and teens under the age of 18 smoke their first cigarette. And every day 300 people under 18 years become daily smokers. 

Health Effects of Tobacco Use

The detrimental health effects of tobacco use are far reaching and vary depending on the method of consumption: 


Years of research on smoking-related diseases shows a myriad of harmful effects that can come from regular smoking. Currently, more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. Smoking causes cancer, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) including emphysema and chronic bronchitis. It also increases the risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and immune system problems like rheumatoid arthritis. 


More nicotine is absorbed through chewing tobacco than smoking. Users of chewing tobacco are at a higher risk of oral cancers as well as cancer of the esophagus, pancreas, and stomach. It also leads to gum disease and gum recession (gums pulling away from the teeth). It also wears down and stains tooth enamel, causing tooth decay, tooth loss and yellow staining. Some studies have also found a link between increased cardiovascular disease like heart attacks and stroke, and chewing tobacco usage. 


While vaping is a relatively new form of tobacco use, research is showing that is not necessarily safer. Vaping uses tobacco-derived Nicotine and is just as addictive as cigarettes. Besides that, e-cigarette cartridges contain harmful ingredients that are being inhaled into the lungs. Early research has found flavorings such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease, as well as volatile organic compounds and heavy metals such as nickel, tin, and lead. These ultrafine particles are inhaled deep into the lungs. 

The diacetyl found in e-cigarettes causes brochiolitis obliterans – also known as “popcorn lung” – which results in scarring of the air sacs in the lungs. This results in a thickening and narrowing of the airways, making it difficult to breathe and causing coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. It is similar to the symptoms of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Further, while many diseases from tobacco use progress slowly, it appears popcorn lung can happen much more quickly with regular e-cig usage. 


Tobacco Usage in Addiction Recovery

Taking up tobacco use or increasing tobacco consumption is common among patients in treatment. Often someone who never smoked before will take up smoking in the recovery process. This is called Addiction Replacement, essentially swapping one addiction for another. It’s important to note that addiction replacement is occurring because a patient is chasing an emotional high. It is important to address any unconscious emotions a patient may be grappling with and working through them with a therapist in order to avoid projecting them on another substance or activity. 


Methods for Quitting Tobacco

There are numerous tools and techniques out there to help your finally quit smoking for good:

Identify your reasons for quitting

Do you want to take back control of your life? Worried about the health effects? Quitting for your kids? Identify your reasons and keep them in a list on your phone or up on your fridge. Remind yourself why you are doing this. 

Make a Quitting Plan

Choose a quit date and stick to it. Make sure it is not a stressful or busy period or date. 

Seek Free Resources

There are a number of resources available to help you quit tobacco. These include government websites like Smokefree.gov and apps like quitSTART. 

Use a Craving Cessation Tool

Products such as Nicotine patches, gums, or lozenges can help reduce cravings by providing the nicotine without the other substances. 

Use Placeholders

Keep your mouth busy with chewing gum, use a fidget spinner to keep your hands busy. Find ways to keep yourself active and avoid the usual triggers. 

Celebrate the Wins

Maybe you made it through a tough day and didn’t cave, or you hit the 3 day mark or the one week mark. Every milestone, big or small, deserves a celebration. 


We hope this helped you learn more about Tobacco Addiction this World No Tobacco Day. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction replacement or currently suffering from substance abuse disorder, contact us today at Harmony Recovery Group. We are here to help.






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

Making Amends to Mom 12 Step Program

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


Take Time to Evaluate What Went Wrong 

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



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


Listen Actively 

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


Avoid Being Reactive

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


Communicate Openly

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


Talk About How To Move Forward 

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


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!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: How to Get Clean and Sober

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


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.


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!