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How to be Sure If a Drug Rehab is the Right One for You

Making the courageous decision to get sober is a difficult one, but it’s the best choice you’ll ever make in your life. If you’re an addict who has lost control over your drug use, the best way to get sober is by finding a qualified drug rehab center to help. This can seem overwhelming because there is a lot of information out there, and there are many different ways that treatment centers try to help addicts. Fortunately, there are some tools for you to use to help you find the best rehab.

Measuring your Illness

Much like any other chronic illnesses, there are different levels of addiction. Some addicts have lesser forms because they’ve only started abusing substances. Their mind and body aren’t as dependent on substances as someone who has been using for months or years straight. This is why you should speak to an addiction specialist to see what level of care you need to help you get sober.

One of the primary tools that an addiction specialist will use to refer you to a drug rehab center is the ASAM Criteria. The American Association of Addiction Medicine created this tool to help doctors and psychologist gauge how severe a person’s addiction is. The criteria have different evaluations that will look at your readiness to change, relapse history and living environment. Each of these will help the addiction specialist refer you to a treatment center that will provide you with the best care.

Finding the Right Treatment Methods

In every industry, there are good and bad businesses. Some rehab centers have the best intentions and want to help people get sober, but they aren’t using methods that have been proven to help. Some treatment centers use religious elements to help people, or they may have a boot camp method that tries to discipline you into sobriety. While these methods may work for some people, it’s important to find a facility that is using evidence-based treatment.

When you find a facility that uses evidence-based treatment, you can have more confidence that they’ll be using methods that have a proven success rate. Medical professionals, schools as well as medical journals back these methods for the favorable findings and research. One of the most commonly used forms of evidence-based treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps your mind retrain it’s initial reactions to triggers.

Learn About the Center

Before you make your final decision, you should do some research. We live in a time where all types of information are at the touch of your fingertips with different search engines. You can scout the internet for reviews of various treatment centers so you can see what types of experiences people and their families have had. Some of these sites also have testimonials, but you must be careful with those because some sites may put testimonials that they wrote on the site.

A Multifaceted Approach

When you’re doing your research, see what types of therapies they have an which ones are of interest to you. Some of the treatment centers offer group outings and activities that involve going to the movies, sporting events or the beach. Some facilities are in beautiful areas of the country, which may be appealing when you want to get away from your city.

Don’t discount a facility just because it’s in another state because it might be the best thing for you. You can find a treatment center on the beach or one in the mountains to give you a tranquil place to focus on your recovery. Many people have seen that when they leave home to recover, they’ve had a much better experience staying sober during the initial stages of recovery.


Finding the Best Drug Rehabilitation Programs

When your loved one has put your family through a lot as a result of their addiction, and they are now ready to get sober, the information out there about the best drug rehabilitation programs can be overwhelming. There are so many different options out there, but you may not be sure which one to choose. The first step in this process should be to have your loved one evaluated to see what type of treatment program they should go into.

Avoiding Ineffective Treatment Programs

Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad treatment programs that aren’t proven to help addicts recover from their disease. While many treatment centers will claim high success rates or that they have found some type of cure for addiction, it’s important to find a treatment center that has proven success rates. In order to find the best drug rehabilitation programs, you’ll have to do your research to see if they are as good as they say they are. Remember that a high cost for treatment doesn’t always mean effective results.

An established treatment center that has proven results will also keep track of their statistics. They’ll be able to provide you with some numbers that show how many of their clients have gone on to stay sober for 6 months to a year as well as multiple years after attending the treatment program. More importantly, an effective treatment center will use methods that have been proven with some type of scientific evidence. This doesn’t mean that faith-based programs don’t work, but they should have therapeutic methods backed by science.

Having a Consultation

The two most popular types of treatment are inpatient and outpatient programs. Outpatient is meant for those who have lesser forms of addiction, and inpatient is for people with severe forms of addiction and suffers from chronic relapses. It’s important that your loved one enters the right one because sometimes they’ll only have one chance at recovery, so it needs to count.

In order to figure out which type of treatment is best, you should schedule a consultation with an addiction specialist. Qualified specialists will use the ASAM Criteria, which is a way that the specialist can determine whether the person should enter inpatient or outpatient treatment. They do this by looking at a variety of different factors. Some of these include the addict’s readiness to change, withdrawal potential, history with relapse as well as emotional, behavioral and cognitive conditions.

Once the specialist determines the type of treatment your loved one should receive, you’ll be able to narrow down your search for the best drug rehabilitation programs. You must be willing to send your loved one out of state if they need an inpatient program because sometimes the person’s environment is their biggest trigger, so they’ll be able to focus on their recovery more when they move somewhere for treatment. This can be difficult because you want to help them, but you must remember that you don’t have much control over whether they get sober or not.

A Multi-Faceted Approach

The best types of rehab treatment programs tackle the problem from a variety of different angles. This is why faith-based programs should also be an option, but your loved one doesn’t have to attend it if they don’t feel comfortable doing so. A rehab center that takes this approach will use different methods like individual therapy, group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and more to help the person’s mind begin to heal.

No matter what type of methods the best drug rehabilitation programs use, your loved one won’t be cured overnight. Overcoming a drug addiction can sometimes take a lifetime worth of work, but it does get easier over time as long as the person stays sober and uses the tools they were given in treatment.


How Rehab Benefits the Whole Person

Rehabilitation is best known for treating drug and alcohol addiction, but the truth is, it does more than that. The goal of any rehab center is not only to help you stop doing drugs. Rehab helps you figure out why you started using and abusing drugs in the first place. It helps you to figure out the reasons why controlling your addiction is so important. If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol and you decide that rehab might be able to help you, get ready for it to benefit your entire self.

Alternative Behavioral Therapy

A big part of rehab is therapy. During therapy, patients can talk to licensed and experienced therapists and counselors about why they started using and abusing drugs. Getting to the root of addiction is a huge part of gaining control of addiction. Many people think that they can just stop drugs without confronting the past, but this is not the best way to take care of a problem as big as addiction. Professionals at rehab centers help to facilitate quality therapy to get to the heart of patients’ issues.

A Nutritious Diet

The best rehab centers offer a nutritious diet to their patients. Many people think that going to rehab means eating boring, cafeteria food for every meal, but this isn’t true. Most of the best rehab facilities offer meals that are both tasty and nutritious. You will see a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean protein selections and whole grains. For those who do not know a lot about nutrition, nutrition classes are often offered and are taught by licensed and experienced dietitians. Men and women who would like to lose or put on weight can also be put on special diet plans to help them.

Spiritual Guidance and Reflection

Not everyone will want to participate in spiritual reflection at rehab, but it is often encouraged and can benefit the patient’s overall health and wellness. In fact, many behavioral approaches to quitting drugs and alcohol have roots in religion. It is your choice whether or not you would like to go this direction when it comes to kicking drugs, but it is often offered, and it might benefit you.

Physical Fitness

Rehab centers also offer physical fitness to help their patients get healthier. There are many different ways that you can get exercise when you are in rehab. Many facilities offer exercise classes for types of fitness like yoga, Pilates, kickboxing, dance or aerobics. Some rehabs have personal trainers on staff to help you create an exercise program catered to you exactly.

Creative Outlets

Rehab often offers creative outlets for its patients. Art classes in sculpture, painting or drawing may be a part of daily therapy. Music is also encouraged. Patients can learn a musical instrument, listen to music or sing in groups. Journaling is another way that art can benefit patients in rehab centers. Journaling helps patients get out their emotions in a constructive way.

Guidance in Mindfulness and Meditation

Mindfulness and meditation are both ways that all people can make their lives more meaningful. Both of these techniques help people focus on the present moment and stop worrying about the past and future. It may be tempting to think of these techniques as new age nonsense, but don’t write them off. They can be very useful.

Stress and Anxiety Management

Finally, addiction automatically comes with a lot of stress and anxiety for patients from all backgrounds. Some patients started using and abusing drugs because of stress and anxiety. This is why reducing these things is so important for patients. Therapists will offer useful techniques to patients for how to reduce stress and focus on the positives in life. They will be able to use these techniques after they are discharged.


Addiction Treatment Programs: Essential for Lasting Recovery

After the person completes detox, the recovering person must be prepared to navigate the various challenges of life in the real world. Those who are the most prepared are far less likely to relapse when triggered. Alcohol and drug addiction treatment programs are essential in helping people get their lives back on track.

Potential Dangers of Detox with Addiction Treatment Programs

Detox is far more complex than simply cutting down on the drug of choice. The process is serious and could even be potentially fatal depending on the approach and the person’s specific health needs. As a person completes detox, they could experience hallucinations, convulsions or seizures. The brain changes and tries to resume its normal functioning.

  • Alcohol detox:  Seizures, heart failure and delusions are all experiences recovering addicts experience when detoxing. During the addiction treatment programs process, the person can also become nutritionally deficient, which can make it difficult for the person to resume their normal activities.
  • Methamphetamine detox:  Methamphetamine addicts can experience a series of highs and lows that could put a person at risk of using again. Aggression symptoms can be harmful to others, and suicidal thoughts endanger the patients.
  • Heroin and unsupervised detox:  Heroin detox symptoms include vomiting, insomnia and anxiety, which can really be uncomfortable for those who aren’t closely supervised. The nervous system is also compromised as the body must quickly adjust to getting off of the dangerous substance. This puts patients at risk for self-harm.
  • Cocaine detox:  People can expect to encounter restlessness, anxiety and depression as they detox. The depression symptoms are potentially harmful to the recovering patient. Undiagnosed mental health problems may also interfere with the person’s ability to manage their addiction long-term without self-medication.
  • Opiate detox:  Detoxing from opiates is a unique process as well. Tough bouts of abdominal pain and gastrointestinal issues may be harder to manage independently. If the person stops taking opium briefly and cannot get a firm handle on the discomfort and symptoms, she runs the risks of relapsing and overdosing.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse addiction detox:  The person can endanger themselves because the addiction is complete. It is very difficult for the average patient to stop using both alcohol and drugs at the same time with minimal risks. In completing such a complex detox process independently, the individual faces elevated risks.

Clearly, the potential dangers involved in detoxing from certain substances are serious enough to not take this process lightly.

Why Professional Addiction Treatment Programs Are Recommended

The number one advantage of completing addiction treatment programs is safety. The patient is in a carefully controlled environment, which means that the patient’s chances of doing self-harm are minimal. Patients who may exhibit signs of aggression are also far less likely to endanger others. Patients also have access to medical attention as well. Some patients may also have underlying medical conditions that need to be carefully managed as well. Patients benefit from having a supervised medical environment when undergoing the detoxification process.

What is Expected of the Typical Treatment Program?

The typical addiction treatment programs process is considered to be the active phase of treatment. The person is educated on the various triggers that can lead to further abuse, learns the coping skills and methods to help one abstain from drug abuse, and can learn how to build a network to keep them accountable as they continue to grow in sobriety. Education on the importance of 12-step group meetings is also provided in a residential treatment program.

Therapy sessions may involve exploring the various emotional issues that can exacerbate addiction problems. Depending on the patient’s specific needs, a treatment plan may consist of cognitive behavioral therapy, somatic therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy are different types of therapies that may be recommended to the patient. Techniques on how to balance the mental state to counter cravings empowers the patient to maintain their sobriety during stressful life challenges.

Common components of a treatment program include:

  •  Residential and outpatient treatment
  •  Transitional housing support
  •  Individualized counseling
  •  Group therapy sessions
  •  Sobriety maintenance
  •  Nutritional counseling
  •  Support and encouragement
  •  Periodic drug testing

Many programs offer aftercare services and family involvement programs.  These two options are valuable to the recovering addict, especially during their transition back into the real world.

Benefits of Addiction Treatment

There are numerous benefits to residential treatment for people battling substance abuse. Approximately, 700,000 Americans get treatment each year for alcohol and drug addiction. When drug treatment is provided to a patient battling addiction, the success rate is nearly 50 percent. When an individual completes detox alone, they are still at risk of relapse because the coping skills and tools aren’t available. The person may still be forced to contend with a reality where they are surrounded by triggers and a lack of a positive support network that could really improve the person’s chances of achieving long-term sobriety.

Many people aren’t able to cope with their environment without adequate preparation and education. If a person is taught about the addiction and learns how to manage their addiction with the right coping skills, the chances of achieving success long-term are far greater. When people integrate the detoxification process with formal treatment, they are in a position to achieve and maintain their sobriety. Residential addiction treatment programs focus on detox, sobriety maintenance and transitioning.


Misconceptions Concerning Marijuana Use

Marijuana is one of the most used and abused drugs in the world. At least seven million people have admitted to marijuana use weekly or on a regular basis in the United States alone. Estimates go as high as 300 million users, when all users throughout the world are considered.

Marijuana Use Affects Behavior, Memory and Perception

Many people are under a misconception that marijuana is somehow safer than other drugs or alcohol. There is an ongoing debate about whether it is addictive or whether it should be classified as a gateway drug.  As with any other drug, a person’s memory, behavior, and perception are altered during use.  Some of the most common effects of marijuana use include:

  • Short term memory impairment
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Impaired judgement
  • Slower reaction times to danger or to obstacles in the road
  • Peripheral vision is affected adversely
  • Difficulty concentrating on tasks

There are also cardiovascular physical effects of marijuana use that include rapid heartbeat, feelings of panic or phobia like reactions and heightened blood pressure. As far as the neurobiology effects of marijuana, studies have shown that marijuana stimulates the same pleasure centers of the brain that are stimulated by other drugs like alcohol, cocaine and heroin.

Long-Term And Chronic Affects From Marijuana Use

Some studies have concluded that using marijuana use on a daily basis exposes one to a risk of lung cancer equal to that experienced by a person who smokes five times the number of cigarettes. The carcinogenic ingredient of marijuana is the chemical called benzopyrene.

In fact, it’s been determined that one marijuana cigarette has almost 50 percent more benzopyrene than a regular tobacco cigarette. Benzopyrene has the effect on a person’s body of suppressing growth of cells. This genetic effect can cause a person to be more susceptible to the development of and growth of cancer in the body. Damaging these genes the way benzopyrene does is the main thing that leaves a person open to higher cancer risk.

Those who smoke marijuana also experience higher rates of chronic bronchial and lung inflammation, chronic bronchitis and injury to their airways. The effects are very similar to the effects experienced by cigarette smokers. Just like cigarette smokers, marijuana users are also more susceptible to respiratory infections.

Can Also Affect the Immune System and Endocrine Systems

Hormonal effects are also important to consider, since the endocrine system is affected by marijuana use. In males, puberty can happen later than normal when marijuana is used heavily. In young women, constant marijuana use can hinder the body from producing and releasing eggs normally, affecting fertility. Since females are sometimes not included in studies of the adverse effects of marijuana use, knowledge of its full effects on women is more limited than the knowledge of the effects on males.

Dr. Guy Cabral, a Professor from the Medical College of Virginia, spoke at a national (NIDA) conference on marijuana research and prevention of marijuana use. He said in his speech that the immune systems of heavy users of marijuana are compromised and that heavy use of marijuana puts the immune system in a weaker state. This leaves a person more open to harmful infections, viruses, fungi and bacteria. It may also cause a decrease in anti-tumor activity of cells of the body, leaving a person more open to the chances of developing tumors.

Marijuana Is Believed to be Psychologically Addictive

While marijuana does cause some symptoms of physical addiction, the most troubling effects are those of psychological addiction. There are short-term psychological effects from marijuana use that include things like a heightened euphoric feeling, random or a magical type of thinking, a sense of time that becomes distorted and losing some of one’s short-term memory. Normally these effects wear off over time, but in heavy marijuana users the effects can last longer, impairing the user’s ability to handle life’s stresses.

Researchers concerned with the levels of marijuana use have also pondered whether the use of marijuana eventually leads to the use of other drugs. Users who wish to continue their altered state of feeling euphoric may turn to other ways to continue that feeling, including trying other, more highly addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin.

Chemicals in marijuana, especially the main chemical responsible for the euphoric feeling, known as THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), normally is broken down over time by the body. About half of it is out of the body within 24 hours. The rest, however, along with trace metabolites, can be detected through tests for as long as 45 to 60 days. Tests used to find traces of marijuana include blood tests, urine and saliva tests.

Treatment Is Most Effective in an Inpatient Facility

Treatment for marijuana use is best when it takes place in an inpatient treatment center. It is best for users to be out of the surroundings they were accustomed to when they were using marijuana. They need to learn different ways of coping with life’s challenges and need to learn that going back to the use of marijuana is not an option.

There may not be a lot of physical withdrawal symptoms from marijuana, but there are some, including:

  • Feelings of depression
  • Lessened appetite
  • Increased feelings of anxiety
  • An increase in aggressive tendencies

The more harmful and serious effects of withdrawing from marijuana seem to be more psychological than physical. For that reason, stopping the use of marijuana can be very challenging. Professionals trained in helping users to become free from their marijuana addiction, whether the withdrawal symptoms they experience are physical or psychological, can be very helpful to clients who want to become free from the urges to use marijuana.

Long term recovery from an addiction or dependence on marijuana takes time and patience. Professional inpatient treatment has the benefits of teaching clients new ways to cope with struggles in life. Clients can also interact with others who are going through the same challenges to end their dependence on marijuana.


Substance Abuse Treatment for Lasting Results

Substance abuse can be classified as many types pertaining to an overuse and dependence on an addicting substance. Examples can be any kind of methamphetamine, crack, LSD, heroin, ecstasy, PCP, cocaine, marijuana, alcohol, prescription drugs such as vicodin, oxycontin, xanax, valium, ativan, narco, and morphine. The list goes on from here, and is endless. No matter what the addiction is it affects the person, their spouse, plus family and friends and society. Addiction affects children to the point that it can affect their behavior and success throughout life, which may be a beginning sign for the need of substance abuse treatment.

Substance Abuse Treatment Programs Get to the Core of the Problem

Addiction is a complex disorder that affects brain function and behaviors, such as depression, bipolar, and anxiety issues involved. Inpatient programs will allow the addicted person to concentrate on themselves with no outside interference to distract or tempt them. They are also unable to make contact with other users. Inpatient substance abuse treatment programs will address not only the addiction, but, relationships, stressors, health issues such as HIV and job or career.

Inpatient professions will tell the addicted person that withdrawal or detox from substance abuse is not enough to just be rid of the toxins in the body. Entering a substance abuse program will only assure the person for life long success with no set backs. The patient needs to take a closer look at why they are addicted in the first place, and what they think or feel brought them to this point. They can only do this through an unbiased individual professional counselor.

Results-Oriented Substance Abuse Treatment Therapy

Inpatient substance abuse treatment programs do vary. While some offer many of the same elements some are different so to ensure the person’s success they, along with their family must find the right inpatient program that will work for them. All programs for inpatient services have their mental health treatment overseen by an MD on the premises. Many offer, proven success through group therapy sessions, and individual professional counseling as mentioned earlier, but in addition, look for programs that offer other therapies such as art therapy, music therapy, message therapy, family group sessions, faith-based therapy, thi chi, and recreational activities to name a few.

Holistic Treatment for a Natural Healing

There are inpatient programs that treat the addiction without drugs. Some of these techniques have been mentioned earlier such as mediation, and yoga. Exercise programs such as running, and walking will relieve stress and give one the feeling of well-being. Getting outside in the fresh air, whether it is winter or summer will give one’s spirit a lift. Pets often times relieve stress. Pets are very therapeutic in nature. Mediation and yoga are important exercises that will give stress an outlet. A wonderful scented candle and relaxing music is a stress beater. A massage, a warm bath, a cup of coffee or better yet herbal tea is a relaxing technique. If the patient wishes to go a non drug route towards beating their addiction some inpatient programs use these techniques only, and have found success with them. The healthier way to beat substance abuse and addiction is the natural and holistic way.


Understanding Why Drug Rehab Works

It was President Nixon who started the war on drugs back in 1971. He designated $105 million to go for treatment and rehabilitation of drug addicts. Unfortunately much of the debate surrounding drug addiction is whether or not drug rehab works. However, studies have shown that treatment over incarceration actually works and saves money, too. The question of why drug rehabilitation works really depends on the addict. While it is a successful program for many, there are addicts who simply relapse no matter what kind of treatment that they receive. For those who do find success through drug rehab, they usually have benefited from one or more of these treatments while there.

Detox and Stabilization: The Basis of How Drug Rehab Works

Inpatient treatment centers are known for putting their patients through detox as the first step to being taken into a facility. The detox lasts for 24 to 72 hours, and it basically allows the addict to go through withdrawals in a safe environment while also removing all drugs from the system. Without the drugs in the system, it’s still a long road to recovery, but for many, it is also the first stable day. After detox, patients enter the facility, which is detached from triggers, social circles and bad environments that may lead back to addiction. The whole point is to stabilize and treat addicts.

Group Therapy

Others believe that it is the ability to talk about addiction with other addicts and therapists that make the burdens of addiction and recovery easier to bear, but it is also important to understand exactly how drug rehab works. They are able to talk to strangers about their experiences and relate to one another. By talking about the different triggers, effects, people, problems and issues related to addiction, patients are able to see from other point of views while also being able to look at themselves. With guided group therapy, a therapist may also bring in exercises to calm and soothe the mind while also guiding those in recovery how to deal with triggers.

Drug Rehab Works with Supportive Atmospheres

Many addicts try to go through outpatient therapy, which basically allows them to continue to work, go to school and live in the same environment. This is often the problem that causes a relapse. The atmosphere isn’t supportive of a drug-free lifestyle. When addicts into inpatient care, they are enveloped into a place that is built to support those in drug recovery. They provide therapy, activities, cognitive behavioral therapy and education resources in addition to a clean place to sleep.

Activities and Education

Part of rehabilitation is to help addicts learn about addiction and to also recognize what is happening when they feel like they need a certain drug. There are triggers, and there is also familiarity. By going through rehabilitation, the education resources and therapists will help you learn more about what it means to be addicted and re-train the mind to look for positive sources that aren’t drug-related. That leads to activities. Most rehabilitation centers have an activity center that may include arts, crafts, writing, computer lab, horseback riding, hiking, bicycling, swimming or other activities.

Helping Hand

Probably the most beneficial part of treatment is that there are others helping you get through a difficult period in your life. It’s a very supportive environment, and inpatient treatment is voluntary. This means that while you don’t have to stay if you don’t want to, you’re more than welcome to visit with family and friends while there. There are many programs. Some may last two weeks and others three months. It all depends on the type of support that you need and how effective therapy has been for you.

It’s Necessary

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 23.5 million people who are 12 years of age or older needed treatment for drug or alcohol addictions, but only 2.6 million actually received treatment. As more states look to legalize marijuana, it’s clear that there are some lenient policies towards drug offenders these days, but there has been very little movement in some states towards rehabilitation rather than incarceration.

Last year some changes went into effect for first time juvenile offenders whose charges would be dropped if they completed a treatment program monitored by the courts. The overwhelming evidence shows that rehabilitation is the preferred treatment rather than prison time. However there hasn’t been any legislation to change the overall war on drug laws that have filled prisons with almost 100,000 drug offenders for federal jurisdiction and 225,000 for state jurisdiction.

It’s clear that the war on drugs has changed the way that people look at drug addicts in America. Until more legislation designates rehabilitation as the right treatment for drug offenders, it may continue to wage without an end in sight. As more rehabilitation centers pop up across the country, those looking for treatment should stick to reputable inpatient treatment centers with highly reviewed staff and successful ratings.


The Most Commonly Abused Painkillers

There is no doubt about the destruction caused by prescription painkillers. It’s true that painkillers can be used legitimately, but unfortunately, once they start taking them, many individuals become addicted. In America, the use of street drugs is slightly declining; however, the use of prescription painkillers is on the rise.

In 2007 alone, nearly three million Americans abused some type of prescription painkiller. There are more individuals abusing painkillers for the first time than marijuana. Statistics show that painkillers are abused by teenagers almost as much as marijuana.

Many experts wonder why so many individuals are abusing painkillers. Recent surveys show that 50 percent of teens who abuse painkillers think that illegal street drugs are more dangerous to use than painkillers.

However, many adults and teenagers simply don’t realize just how risky it is to abuse painkillers. In many situations, people don’t realize the dangers of painkiller abuse until it’s simply too late. Although there are many types of painkillers, some are abused much more commonly than others.

What Makes Painkillers So Addictive?

Painkillers are designed to produce a euphoric state in order to help a person deal with chronic pain.  The chemicals are responsible for changing the way the brain perceives pain, and these changes can become permanent with prolonged or abusive usage.

Some of the more commonly used drugs in this category include:

Pure Opium

Virtually all painkillers are made from opium, and the opium is extracted from a plant, which is known as the opium poppy. Historically, opium has always been used as a medicinal drug. However, the use of opium as a painkiller started to cause problems.

People started to develop a serious addiction to opium, so a variety of painkillers were created, which were supposed to be less addictive and replace opium. Many modern painkillers are derived directly from opium, but there are also many synthetic opioids, which are basically man-made types of opium.

However, many addicts still abuse straight opium, which is ingested or smoked. Hop, gum, block, black stuff, big O and paregoric are common street names for pure opium.

Morphine

Made from opium, morphine is a powerful painkiller. People who like to abuse morphine might smoke, ingest or inject it. As a narcotic painkiller, morphine is available in the brand names Duramorph and Roxanol. Some street names for morphine are white stuff, monkey, M and miss Emma.

Morphine is classified as a narcotic analgesic. Put simply, morphine alters the brain and changes how the body experiences and responds to pain. It’s common for morphine to be given to patients both before and after surgery.

The regions of the brain that are associated with pleasure are affected by morphine. After morphine enters the body, it usually produces euphoria. The short-term effects of morphine are depressed breathing, constipation and drowsiness.

Many people make the mistake of taking a single, large dose of morphine, which can cause coma severe breathing depression or death. The long-term effects of morphine are dependence, addiction and tolerance.

Codeine

Another commonly-abused painkiller is codeine; it’s a painkiller that is created from opium, and it can be ingested or injected. There are several types of medicine that contain codeine. Many people who abuse codeine use solutions that also contain Tylenol and Robitussin.

Some of codeine’s street names are loads, doors and fours, schoolboy, Cody and Captain Cody. As with any type of opiate, codeine comes with a variety of short-term and long-term side effects. Some short-term side effects of codeine are shallow breathing, agitation, delirium, irregular thoughts, poor night vision, sleepiness and lightheadedness.

Long-term effects of codeine are both physical and psychological and can include insomnia, disorientation, depression and difficulty concentrating. Long-term physical effects caused by codeine are tremors, seizures, chronic constipation and sexual dysfunction.

Hydrocodone

A commonly-abused painkiller is hydrophone, which is a synthetic opioid. In most cases, hydrophone is combined with Tylenol. This painkiller goes by the brand names Lorcet, Lortab and Vicodin. In the US, hydrocodone accounts for 60 percent of drug total drug addictions.

When taken, hydrocodone produces opiate-like effects, which is why it’s so addictive. When abused, hydrocodone can cause severe long-term effects. The main reason why so many individuals are addicted to hydrocodone is because it has a high potential for abuse.

Fentanyl

Like hydrocodone, fentanyl is an opioid that is synthetic, and it’s commonly sold under brand names like Duragesic and Actiq. When abused, fentanyl can be snorted, smoked or injected. TNT, jackpot, dance fever, china white, chine girl and apache are some common street names for fentanyl.

One of the reasons why so many individuals die from fentanyl abuse is because it can be up to 50 times stronger than heroin. As with most opiates, the long-term effects of fentanyl are dependence, tolerance and addiction.

Oxycodone

Another commonly-abused painkiller is oxycodone, which is a synthetic opioid. It’s very common for drug users to crush and snort oxycodone. The brand names for oxycodone are Percocet, Percodan, OxyContin and Tylox.

Common street names for oxycodone are percs, hillbilly heroin, oxycet and oxycotton. As with virtually all other opiates, the long-term effects of abusing oxycodone are very dangerous.

Inpatient Treatment for Painkillers

Anyone who is addicted to painkillers should seek inpatient treatment. When compared with other forms of treatment, inpatient treatment offers several advantages.

Inpatient treatment is preferred because it offers constant support, structure, positive influences, supervision, great therapy and tools needed for recovery. Many other forms of treatment fail because they lack these benefits.


A Deadly New Trend: Fentanyl-Laced Heroin

Opiate use is on the rise throughout the United States, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. In May 2014, the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control learned that between 26 and 36 million people abuse opioids, including heroin, fentanyl-laced heroin and prescription painkillers throughout the world. In addition, statistics show that deaths from opiate overdose has quadrupled since 1999. One alarming trend among heroin abusers is the use of heroin laced with fentanyl or fentanyl sold as heroin. This has led to a number of deaths in several states as well as many fentanyl-induced seizures in the United States and Canada.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opiate that is similar to morphine, but considerably more powerful. It is used to treat patients in severe pain or to manage pain after they have undergone surgery. When prescribed by a physician, fentanyl is administered by a transdermal patch, lozenge or injection. However, the fentanyl that caused recent overdoses is not a pure form of the drug, having been created in illegal laboratories. When mixed with street-sold heroin or cocaine, fentanyl amplifies their potency as well as the dangers of taking the drugs. The effects include:

  • Euphoria
  • Drowsiness
  • Respiratory depression
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Sedation
  • Unconsciousness

The drug can lead to respiratory arrest, coma, tolerance to the drug and addiction.

Deadly Combination: Fentanyl-Laced Heroin

The combination of fentanyl and heroin is a deadly one. Hundreds of people have died of heroin overdoses over the past year throughout the country and statistics indicate that many of these deaths were due to the presence of fentanyl. Because fentanyl is so powerful, it can prove deadly to heroin users who have used the drug for years. Many investigators are calling the combination of heroin and fentanyl a time bomb, stating that the first time someone uses fentanyl-laced heroin could be their last.

Dangers of Fentanyl-Laced Heroin

The dangers of fentanyl-laced heroin go beyond the fact that fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine. The biggest issue is that the drug is being made in unregulated laboratories, many of them in Mexico. There is no way of knowing how powerful the fentanyl is and, when it is cut into heroin, there is no regard for dosage. Officials say that because heroin users are unaware of the dangers of fentanyl, many times addicts are drawn to what dealers call a “new, more potent” form of the drug as they have built a tolerance to normal levels. Because they are unaware the heroin is potent due to the fentanyl addition, the addict then uses the drug and stops breathing because they are unaware of how strong the mixture is. The fentanyl-laced heroin is stronger, cheaper and has more demand on the street because addicts hear that there is a new, super strong heroin available.

Overdose Treatment

When a patient is brought into the emergency room as a suspected overdose, emergency room doctors often order Narcan (naloxone hydrochloride) an anti-overdose medication that blocks opioid receptors in the brain. This ends the euphoric feeling, sending the patient into an immediate and severe withdrawal. If a patient is revived using Narcan, emergency room personnel know that their drug of choice was an opiate, but there is no way to test whether it was simply heroin or fentanyl-laced heroin, since both are part of the opiate family. Since many addicts are unaware that they used fentanyl-laced heroin, this makes it more difficult to track how many people are overdosing on the product. Routine toxicology tests will not detect fentanyl.

Withdrawal

Withdrawal from heroin alone is difficult as the drug not only causes a mental addiction, but a physical addiction as well. The symptoms of withdrawal are very severe, including:

  • Craving of the drug
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Cold and hot flashes
  • Kicking movements
  • Night sweats
  • Chills
  • Rapid breathing
  • Confusion and altered reality
  • Irritability

Withdrawal symptoms begin between 6 and 36 hours after stopping the drug although the use of Narcan will cause symptoms of withdrawal to begin much more quickly. There are many medical complications that can develop during withdrawal from heroin and fentanyl, which is why no one should withdraw from the drug unless they are under medical supervision. Symptoms begin to subside after the first one or two days after discontinuing the drugs.

Inpatient Treatment

Anyone who is addicted to heroin or fentanyl should enter an inpatient rehabilitation program in order to break free of their addiction. Trained counselors and medical staff are available to assist the addict with the discomfort of withdrawal which can be severe. An inpatient treatment center will provide the addict with the tools necessary to get clean and stay clean even after they return home.

If you or a loved one are suffering from a heroin addiction, it is important to know that the new fentanyl-laced heroin trend is deadly. Hundreds of people have died over the past few years after using the combined drug, some the first time they ever used it and others who had used heroin many times before.


What if I Think My Loved One is Crossing the Line From Casual Drinking to Alcoholism?

Many people can drink alcohol casually and not develop alcoholism. However, casual drinkers sometimes become alcoholics. If you think that your loved one has crossed the line from casual drinking to becoming an alcoholic, then there are several things that you can do to help. Below are some helpful tips:

Educate Yourself About Alcoholism

Before you talk to your loved one about alcoholism, you should consider taking some time to educate yourself about it. There is a lot of information about alcoholism, but you will need to get the information from a reputable source. Additionally, you can join a support group for people who have a family member or friend with alcoholism.

Rehearse What You Are Going To Say

It is a good idea to spend some time rehearsing what you are going to stay before you attempt to talk to someone who has an alcohol problem. You want to be positive and supportive. If you come across as being judgmental, then your loved one likely will not listen to anything that you have to say.

You also do not want to make accusatory statements. You should let your friend or family member know that you are concerned and you love him or her. You should also tell your loved one that the alcoholism is affecting you in a negative way. Many people are unaware of the fact that their loved ones are being hurt by an alcohol problem.

It is important to note that your loved one’s response may not be positive. They may get very angry. This is why you should mentally prepare yourself for negative responses.

Pick The Right Time And Place To Talk

Timing is everything when it comes to talking to a loved one about an alcohol problem. You should discuss alcoholism with your loved one when he or she is sober. You will also need to talk to a person about the alcohol problem when you are not upset or preoccupied with other issues.

Talk to the person in a place where you know that you can have some privacy and quiet time. You do not want to shame your loved one. You also do not want anyone to come in and interrupt.

Get Other People To Help

You may not be able to convince your loved one that he or she needs to get help. However, if many other people express their concerns to your loved one, then he or she may feel compelled to change. That is why you should ask other people for help.

Encourage Inpatient Rehab

Once your loved one commits to change, you should encourage him or her to attend inpatient rehab. Inpatient rehab takes a person away from negative influences and people. It also makes it easier for a person to focus on recovering.


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