The Practice of Radical Acceptance

Radical Acceptance in Recovery | Recovery in Tune

One of the many options a person has to deal with a problem is to practice something known as “radical acceptance.” Radical acceptance, an important aspect of behavioral therapy, requires a person to accept the terms of life and not resist the things that one cannot (or one will not) change. Regarding addiction, this includes accepting the fact that one is an addict, not in control, and all that this entails.

As an analogy, we may compare this concept to not continuing to fruitlessly swim against the current and instead, choosing to move along with the natural flow. It is consciously deciding to accept reality rather than struggle against it. Although it may seem daunting, the practice of radical acceptance allows us to own and accept the circumstances of our lives, even when they aren’t always desirable.

What makes this acceptance “radical”? On a daily basis, we must practice “normal” acceptance, such as being stuck in a traffic jam or having to go to work on a Saturday. These moments, although potentially frustrating, will pass. But there are things about our lives that do not pass or at least do not pass easily. Sometimes these things require us to take a leap of faith and come to an extraordinary acceptance.

Moreover, radical acceptance is diving in headfirst, with one’s mind, body, and spirit, into uncharted territory. It’s a process that can help us come to terms with many events we have experienced, such as trauma or abuse, and also our own character flaws, addictions, and any number of things that we cannot or choose not to change.

In life, we all try to do our best to shift directions in ways we deem beneficial, positive, or desirable. But this doesn’t always work out. Because there is no way to control many aspects of our lives entirely, we must search for ways to embrace it. This can be accomplished by developing a new mindset that includes making acceptance the default response and acknowledging that, although the result may not be what we wanted, we accept it nonetheless.

Benefits of Radical Acceptance

Radical Acceptance Helps Us Let Go and Move On

It’s normal to struggle against unwanted circumstances, but those that cannot be defeated must be let go. Sometimes the fight is too tiring and can negatively affect a person’s life. Sometimes we have just tried everything we can think of to change the situation, and it hasn’t worked. Eventually, it may be in our best interests to admit that external factors heavily influence outcomes that our out of our control and that it’s time to hang up the hat, so to speak.

Radical Acceptance in Recovery | Recovery in Tune

Radical Acceptance Is a Way to Adapt

Many people have witnessed or survived traumatic events, have experienced abuse, or suffer from physical or mental health disorders, including addiction. The practice of radical acceptance can help us to move on from the past, and the negative self-talk associated with it. We have to forgive ourselves and others, even if they do not forgive us. By letting go of thoughts and emotions that hurt us, we allow ourselves to transform our lives and move forward deliberately and thoughtfully.

Radical Acceptance Lets Us Cope With Loss and Grief

Loss and grief have many forms. We may grieve the death of a loved one or a broken relationship, or we may feel a general loss of what life would be if some circumstance had been different. Dealing with loss or grief doesn’t mean we escape pain, and acceptance is necessary because when we resist reality, we prolong this pain. Accepting reality provides us with space to mourn our losses and process our feelings accordingly.

Radical Acceptance Reduces Drama and Improves Relationships

Radical acceptance allows us to move past stressful or hurtful experiences without dwelling on them for too long. We can consciously choose not to wallow in emotional turmoil or act out in a way that will be met with more stress, drama, or pain. It can act as a sort of intervention to prevent further dysfunction in our lives and the lives of those closest to us.

In doing so, we can also improve our interpersonal relationships by accepting others for who they are and their own faults or harmful behaviors. This means accepting our parents, siblings, friends, and loved ones in general and coming to terms with our childhood and abuse we have suffered or any dysfunction we have witnessed. This also means not dwelling on what should have happened, and instead, accepting what did happen and dealing with it.

Radical Acceptance As a New Paradigm

Radical Acceptance in Recovery | Recovery in Tune

Radical acceptance helps to shape a new reality for ourselves. If we are to change anything, we have to accept it first. For example, if a person refuses to accept that he has cancer, he won’t seek treatment. The cancer won’t go away, and the only changes that will occur are the ones that are totally out of his control. Accepting a situation frees up emotional energy and allows us to identify the things we can change, our feelings associated with them, and what actions we need to take.

Ultimately, in doing this, we may indeed find a solution and change the situation for the better in some way. If the man mentioned above accepts he has cancer, he can then move forward to do something about it. It may not be the ideal scenario, but he can receive treatment that may send his cancer into remission and prolong his life.

Radical acceptance also allows us to readjust our expectations, and this may be vital for a person who has just been diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening disease. Moreover, radical acceptance leads to new choices and can allow us to move forward in all areas of life.

What Radical Acceptance Is Not

There are many misconceptions about what radical acceptance actually is. One of the biggest myths is that radical acceptance means approving of the behaviors and events that led up to it. But radical acceptance doesn’t mean you have to be “OK” with the circumstances. A child who was abused doesn’t have to agree that the abuse had some useful purpose, or that it deserves to be excused.

Fortunately, radical acceptance doesn’t necessarily entail approval. It is about the fact that, sometimes, struggling against reality serves little purpose but to intensify our emotional reactions, and we suffer more in the process.

Also, radical acceptance is not denial—it’s the opposite. It is not ignoring emotions or dissociating from problems in any way. It’s never based on the idea that denying the presence of circumstances will make everything all better.

Getting Treatment for Addiction

Accepting the events and results in one’s life is the key to breaking free from addiction. We must come to terms with our past and present, and admit that we are flawed, just as our loved ones are. By accepting that we have an addiction, we can begin to move forward, seek treatment, and eventually enter a state of recovery. On the other hand, denial of an active addiction will never lead to change.

Recovery in Tune offers comprehensive, personalized treatment programs that include partial hospitalization and outpatient formats. Our programs feature evidence-based services, such as behavioral therapy and counseling, that are essential for the recovery process.

If you are ready to seek treatment for addiction, contact us today and find out how we can help you get started on your journey to a healthier, happier life!

Is It Safe to Combine Xanax and Adderall?

Xanax and Adderall | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Xanax and Adderall are very different drugs with competing effects. They both have the potential for abuse and addiction. In some cases, physicians may prescribe them both for an individual, and if used as directed, there are no specific warnings against doing so. However, the abuse of either drug is not considered safe and should not be attempted by anyone regardless of whether they have a prescription or not.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax is a commonly prescribed benzodiazepine, a class of drugs that works by boosting gamma-Aminobutyric acid neurotransmitters (GABA) in the brain. Xanax is most often prescribed for the treatment of anxiety or panic disorder but is sometimes prescribed for sleep difficulties or seizures.

The function of GABA is to transmit electrical signals in the CNS to regulate the activity of nerve cells. In doing so, GABA calms neurons responsible for emotional and physical balance. When a person is faced with a stressful situation, the release of GABA is what helps to manage their response. Moreover, GABA is a natural defense mechanism in the body that controls anxiety or fear. 

GABA also induces relaxation and mild feelings of euphoria. For this reason, people who use Xanax might abuse it for these effects, or to self-medicate in some way. Xanax also has a relatively high potential for dependence, and for this reason, it is not supposed to be used long-term if it can be avoided. If tolerance also occurs, a person may also begin using Xanax above prescribed doses to continue achieving the desired effects.

Xanax is also a popular medication regarding drug diversion. It can be purchased illegally or be obtained or stolen from others with legitimate prescriptions. They may do this for recreational purposes or, as noted, to self-medicate. Many people erroneously believe that Xanax is not as harmful as other drugs, and in some sense, they may be right. But this fact is true only if it is not abused, especially in conjunction with other psychoactive substances.

Xanax, even when used in excessive doses, is not likely to cause death if the person’s system is otherwise drug-free. However, using Xanax with other depressants such as alcohol can result in life-threatening nervous system depression. Xanax has an increased risk of dependence when abused, and also more intense withdrawal symptoms may occur when a person attempts to quit.

What Is Adderall?

Xanax and Adderall | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) is a stimulant commonly prescribed to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. Stimulants have the opposite effect of depressants, and, as a result, increase activity in the CNS rather than depress it. This increase can result in people feeling more energetic, active, focused, and productive.

Adderall works to boost levels of dopamine, another neurotransmitter, like GABA. Dopamine is responsible for inducing feelings of reward and pleasure, so once a person is exposed to Xanax, they are more likely to want to experience its effects in the future. Stimulant drugs can both increase dopamine and prevent it’s absorption, meaning that the person may experience euphoria and other desirable effects for an unnaturally long-time at a very high intensity.

Adderall also simulates the functions of other neurotransmitters, such as adrenaline. Upon consumption, a user may encounter a burst of pleasurable and rewarding feelings, as well as increased focus and alertness. Other neurotransmitters are released when Adderall is used in an attempt to regulate the increased activity, and this, in turn, causes the brain to continue to release dopamine and adrenaline.

This action is what makes Adderall an effective medication for people with ADD/ADHD because its use reduces overstimulation in those who are affected. If a person with one of these conditions abuses Adderall, however, they may experience some of the euphoria and increased energy that others who use it recreationally do.

Risks of Combining Adderall and Xanax: The How and The Why

While using two drugs that essentially have opposite effects may seem counterintuitive, there are plenty of reasons why people would do so. For example, a person with ADD who also experienced bouts of anxiety might be given Xanax to help with acute episodes of panic. People may also use Xanax recreationally to come down from Adderall’s use or to relieve withdrawal symptoms if they occur.

Some people, unfortunately, are simply seeking a more intense high. Those who do may abuse either drug in excessive amounts and use them at the same time. And there is a precedent for this behavior—a form of drug use known as “speedballing.”

Traditionally, a speedball is a combination drug that contains cocaine and heroin. Like Adderall, cocaine is a stimulant, and like Xanax, heroin has CNS depressing qualities. Speedballing is known to be a very dangerous practice that has killed many people who have attempted it, including several well-known celebrities.

Today, a speedball may be used to refer to any combination drug that has opposing depressant and stimulant effects. These may also include cocaine and fentanyl, meth and heroin or Xanax, and many other possible formulations. The idea is that each drug should reduce the side effects of the other, resulting in an overall more euphoric experience. Even if this is true for some, it doesn’t change the fact that doing this has the potential to result in serious health complications, overdose, and death.

Another problem with using this combination is that people are either unaware of how much either drug will affect them or sometimes lose track of how much they are using. They may continue to tweak their doses in an effort to find the balance, so to speak, in terms of effects. In general, stimulants tend to induce stronger effects than benzos, so when they are combined, a person might feel the need to use more Xanax to counteract these effects.

You probably know what might happen next—the person uses more Adderall to shake off drowsiness or reduce other effects of Xanax. In doing so, the cycle continues until an overdose occurs, or they finally decide to get help for the problem. Polysubstance abuse can be far worse suffer with and challenging to recover from, so any person who is engaging in these behaviors should seek professional help immediately.

Risk of Heart problems

Xanax and Adderall | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

The abuse of these drugs together can strain the heart, and excessive Adderall use, especially, will accelerate a person’s heart rate and increase the risk of a heart attack. Furthermore, Xanax will continue to release GABA, which will try to slow the heart down. These conflicting messages can put a person at risk for heart arrhythmia (irregular heart rate) and heart failure.

The bottom line: When used properly in prescription doses, Adderall and Xanax may be used together safely, but it is probably not a good idea to use Xanax long-term due to its risk of dependence and addiction. Abusing either drug in excessive amounts or using them without a prescription is not safe, and persons who do so are in dire need of help before it’s too late.

Getting Help for Addiction

Recovery in Tune offers comprehensive outpatient programs designed to address the underlying causes of substance abuse, including co-occurring disorders, such as ADD/ADHD, depression, or anxiety. Our programs are best for those who have already completed more intensive forms of treatment, such as residential rehab, or have relatively mild addictions. 

If you are struggling with the abuse of Adderall, Xanax, or other substances, we urge you to seek help immediately. If you are interested in enrolling in one of our outpatient programs, contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options.

Is Addiction a Mental Illness?

Is Addiction a Mental Illness? | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), addiction to alcohol or drugs is indeed a mental illness. They state the following:

“Substance use disorder changes normal desires and priorities. It changes normal behaviors and interferes with the ability to work, go to school, and to have good relationships with friends and family.”

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) states that mental illness “is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, or mood. Such conditions may affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day.”

Mental Illness vs. Moral Failure

Today, it’s universally accepted by the leading scientific organizations that addiction is in fact a mental illness. Both the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA) describe addiction as a brain disease. Furthermore, the DSM-V outlines criteria for classifying addiction as a mental health condition referred to as a “substance use disorder.”

But this is a relatively recent development. In the U.S., there’s a lengthy history of reviling people who abuse drugs or alcohol. Just decades ago, addiction wasn’t viewed as a mental illness outside of one’s power, but instead, as a moral failure deeply rooted in the individual’s personality.

In the 1930s, the predominant belief was that addicts did not have the willpower to abstain. And because addiction wasn’t considered to be an illness, it was not treatable using rehab and 12-step programs. Heavy users of drugs and alcohol were viewed as criminals or morally corrupt, and they were treated as such. In fact, addicts were often imprisoned to isolate them from a society that saw them as menaces.

The scientific opinion began to evolve as research and technology demonstrated that repeated use of drugs causes structural and functional changes in the brain. These maladaptions hinder self-control and cause intense cravings for the substance. This discovery flew in the face of the idea that continued drug use is a choice and disproved the contention that addicts could stop using at any time they decided.

How Addiction Changes the Brain

Is Addiction a Mental Illness? | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

The key argument for why addiction is not a mental illness is based on the concept of choice. For instance, some people might state that a person can’t choose to stop having diabetes or cancer. However, he or she can choose to quit using drugs or alcohol if the willpower is there to do so. Unfortunately, they do not consider that this condition alters the brain’s structure and function, which further contributes to the illness.

Drugs act on the brain by stimulating the reward center. In doing this, dopamine, a chemical that causes feelings of pleasure, is released into the brain. As a result, a strong psychological association is formed between substance abuse and feelings of pleasure, fostering the motivation to engage in drug or alcohol use repeatedly.

When a person uses drugs or alcohol, the brain can release up to ten times the amount of dopamine than it does without chemical interference. This influx of feel-good chemicals induces intense euphoria that compels the person to crave the substance’s presence. As he or she continues using the drug, their brain adjusts to this abnormal flooding of dopamine by becoming less sensitive to it.

This effect is called tolerance, which is defined as the need to take increasingly higher doses to achieve the same effect. These functional changes in the brain also inhibit the addict ability to receive pleasure from normal activities that produce only modest amounts of dopamine, such as eating and spending time with friends.

Next, the user becomes chemically dependent on the substance and faces unpleasant or painful withdrawal symptoms, such as fatigue and insomnia, when they try to quit. As a result, they will continue to use the drug to avoid withdrawal. Their body and brain have become addicted to it, and they now need it to function normally and experience any pleasure.

People without addictions usually take for granted the role of normal dopamine levels in one’s ability to make decisions. When this mechanism is disturbed, such as for the addict, it takes more than just willpower, since a person’s regular use of willpower is bound up with dopamine.

A Person’s Risk for Addiction

In spite of evidence that chronic drug abuse results in brain changes, some people continue to claim that addiction is different from other mental disorders because the decision to experiment with drugs or alcohol is a person’s choice. Moreover, if a person exercises the willpower not to use substances in the first place, he or she will never need to be concerned with becoming addicted.

However, this argument overlooks the fact that many risk factors outside of a person’s control increase the likelihood that they will try drugs. These include environmental factors such as being raised by parents who use drugs or have a co-occurring mental health condition such as depression or anxiety.

After a person has started using drugs, factors like biology can increase the rate at which a person becomes dependent. Research suggests that genetic factors account for about half (40-60%) of a person’s susceptibility to addiction.

Getting Help for Addiction

Recovery in Tune offers comprehensive outpatient programs aimed at helping those who need it most recover from addiction and experience long-lasting sobriety.

If you or someone you love is ready to break the cycle of substance abuse, contact us today! We provide our clients with the tools they need to live drug-free lives and foster the health and happiness they deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Overcoming Addiction

What’s Involved in Opiate Addiction Treatment

Opiate Addiction

Updated on August 23, 2019

Because opium is relatively cheap, compared to other drugs, opiate  addiction is a huge problem as it affects about 26.4 million to 36 million people. Tragically, many people who abuse this highly addictive drug suffer from issues such as job loss, family problems, bleeding ulcers and even incarceration. If you suspect that you, or someone close to you, may be addicted to opium, here are some common signs of addiction and what’s involved in opiate addiction treatment.

Symptoms of Opium Addiction

Opiates, which come from the opium of poppy plants, are a set of drugs used to treat pain. They’re also known by other names, such as narcotics and opioids and are closely related to morphine, codeine and heroin.

Many of the signs and symptoms of opiate addiction can be difficult to spot because you can’t see the obvious signs right away. Often, users mask the signs of their addiction in a way that will prevent others from gaining insight into their problem. That’s why it’s important to pay close attention to a person’s behavior. Some of the most common clues that someone may be addicted include:

  • Needle marks on the skin due to intravenous drug use—It’s not unusual for users to wear long sleeves to hide their needle marks.
  • Stealing or consistently asking to borrow money without giving a reason why
  • Appetite loss
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Social isolation
  • Legal and financial problems 

What to Expect During Detox 

The first part of treatment entails going through detox, in which the body must physically overcome addiction signs and opium dependence so that a patient can be prepared to receive therapy and counseling. Although some addicts go through detox at home, it’s better to do it under the supervision of a treatment center for safety reasons.

During this phase of treatment, most people experience several withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, confusion, hallucinations, bone and muscle pain, anxiety and  insomnia.

Medications Used During Withdrawal 

Withdrawing from opiates is extremely uncomfortable, but it’s not fatal. It’s been described as having a severe, long case of the flu. Therefore, treatment programs may use small doses of certain types of medications to take the place of opiate. Drugs that are used in treating opiate addiction are:

  • Agonists—These drugs trigger particular brain receptors to cause a full opium effect. An example is methadone, which helps to prevent withdrawal symptoms, besides reducing drug cravings. To receive it you need to go every day to a methadone clinic as this is the only way it can be administered.
  • Partial agonists—These are binding medications that activate a specific receptor, causing the production of endorphins. Just as their name implies, they only have partial efficiency as compared to full agonists.
  • Antagonists—These are drugs used to bind the mu opioid receptions, but they don’t encourage endorphins to be produced. Their job is to stop other opiates from the stimulation of the mu receptors.

Counseling 

After patients complete detox, their physical dependence on opium is gone, but they’re still likely to relapse if they don’t receive counseling as social and psychological forces can draw them back into addiction. There are several types of counseling, including:

Individual counseling—This type of therapy is especially beneficial for patients who have a dual diagnosis. In other words, besides having an opium addiction, they also suffer from mental issues such as bipolar disorder and depression that need to be treated separately from their addiction.

Group therapy—Although individual counseling is important, group therapy is even better as it includes other patients who are going through the same struggles. Some of the most well-known support groups are 12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Promptly treating an opium addiction is critical, so don’t hesitate to call Recovery in Tune, which is a premium substance abuse treatment facility in the Davie/Fort Lauderdale, Florida area. Our knowledgeable, experienced treatment team knows the struggles of addiction and understands the importance of treating clients with compassion, so they’ll continue to be sober. Please contact us.

How to Tell if Someone Is High

How to Tell if Someone Is High or Abusing Drugs | Recovery in Tune

How to Tell if Someone Is High or Abusing Drugs – Drug addiction is a destructive and potentially life-threatening condition that can dramatically affect the lives of those who suffer from it as well as their loved ones.

It’s vitally important to learn how to tell if someone is high or on drugs as soon as possible so that an intervention can be planned before your loved one’s disease progresses. Moreover, the longer and more heavily someone abuses a substance, the more challenging it is for them to stop due to the intense cravings and the potential for severe withdrawal symptoms.

There are many common signs that may indicate a person is high or abusing drugs, as well as symptoms that are specific to the drug being used. Being able to recognize these signs can allow a person to determine if a loved one is indeed using drugs and at high risk for encountering severe, adverse consequences to their health, academic or professional performance, and social life.

How to Tell if Someone Is High: Signs of Drug Abuse

When an individual is actively abusing any substance, there are several general signs to look out for, including the following:

  • Poor academic performance, a lack of interest in school-related activities, absenteeism, and tardiness
  • Poor work performance, repeatedly being late or calling in sick to work, appearing tired and apathetic about work responsibilities
  • Altered physical appearance, such as wearing dirty, unkempt or inappropriate clothing, and appearing to be unconcerned with personal hygiene or grooming
  • Changes in behavior, such as withdrawing socially and exhibiting an increasing desire for isolation and privacy
  • Significant problems with interpersonal relationships and family
  • A clear lack of energy when engaging in everyday activities
  • Spending more money than previously, requesting to borrow money, or outright stealing money, substances, or other items from friends, family, and others
  • Problems with finances, such as not paying bills when they are due or paying them at all
  • Changes in eating habits, such as reduced appetite and related weight loss or unwanted weight gain
  • Bloodshot eyes, poor skin tone, sores and blemishes, and appearing fatigued
  • Denial and defensiveness when being confronted about possible substance abuse

Signs of Abuse Linked to Specific Drugs

In addition to the common signs of drug abuse, unique symptoms are associated with specific types of drugs.

Stimulants

A person who is abusing stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamine (meth) may experience significant behavior changes, excessive talkativeness, high energy levels, elevated mood, overly-inflated sense of self, and rapid breathing and heart rates. In some cases, users may suffer from paranoia and engage in aggressive or antagonistic behavior. If users snort drugs, common symptoms of abuse also include nasal congestion and nosebleeds.

How to Tell if Someone Is High or Abusing Drugs | Recovery in Tune

Benzodiazepines and Barbiturates

Some central nervous system depressants are prescribed to treat anxiety, panic, seizures, and insomnia. Benzodiazepines (benzos) include common medications such as Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium.

Due to their high potential for abuse and overdose, barbiturates are not prescribed as much as they were in the past, but they are still sometimes used to prevent seizures. Instead, in recent years, benzos have become the preferred treatment for these conditions.

A person who misuses any of these drugs may appear lethargic, dizzy, or depressed. They may complain of blurry vision, have coordination difficulties, and appear confused and disoriented.

Opioids

Opioids include prescription painkillers (e.g., oxycodone) and illicit drugs such as heroin. Warning signs of opioid use include profound sedation, memory impairments, difficulty concentrating, longer reaction times, fatigue, and mood swings. Since opioids also decrease activity in the digestive system, users sometimes also encounter constipation.

How to Tell if Someone Is High: Staging an Intervention

If you believe you are witnessing signs that someone is high or abusing drugs, please seek professional help immediately. You or someone close to this person may have to stage an intervention before he or she accepts there is a problem and that treatment is needed. An intervention is a structured conversation held between loved ones and the person who is abusing substances, often overseen by an interventionist or other addiction professional.

Effective interventions can allow friends and family to express their feelings in a productive manner. Interventions also show addicts how their behavior affects those they love. The main goal is to help the person who is suffering from addiction make the decision to seek treatment right away.

When to Intervene

Addiction can be a very difficult conversation to have with someone who is in its grips. Many times, the loved ones of those who struggle with addiction are uncertain of what to say. Furthermore, almost all addicts will usually deny that they have a problem, at least at first, so open dialogue may be challenging to establish.

How to Stage an Intervention

Contact an Interventionist

To stage an intervention, find a professional who specializes in interventions to assure that conversation between all persons involved is fruitful and not destructive. The presence of an interventionist can be the key to helping the addicted person reevaluate their denials and accept the reality of their disease.

In some instances, trying to help an addict without professional consultation may actually make the situation worse. The addicted person may become defensive and combative, and immediately shut down any legitimate concerns you bring up and instead point the finger back at you and your own problems. Interventions work best under authoritative, professional support that can prevent the addict from impeding this process.

Form an Intervention Group

How to Tell if Someone Is High or Abusing Drugs | Recovery in Tune

After an interventionist has been found, he or she will begin to help the family and friends of the addicted person come up with an intervention strategy. Because each intervention is unique, as is the person who suffers and his or her loved ones, an interventionist will talk with each concerned party to customize the plan to address their specific needs. People who will participate in the intervention may include spouses, parents, siblings, adult children, close friends, and sometimes co-workers or minor children, if appropriate.

Learn and Rehearse

The interventionist will inform the participating group members about addiction and the recovery process, and present the knowledge required for the caring support the addict needs. Group members should rehearse and be prepared for various reactions to ensure that the intervention goes as smoothly as possible.

Usually, the person struggling with addiction is unaware of how their decisions have impacted the people they care about around them. During an intervention, group members should have composed narratives that have been heard and approved by other participants. These narratives should be conducive to triggering a “moment of clarity” for the addicted person, during which they finally begin to understand the extent of the destruction their addiction has been causing themselves and others.

Be Prepared for Any Outcome

It’s impossible to predict an addict’s precise response to a confrontation. However, interventionists have been professionally trained to deescalate combative situations, so they may be essential to maximize the chances for success.

Unfortunately, even in the face of a well-planned intervention, the person may not immediately be willing to seek treatment. Sometimes it takes more than one intervention to convince the person that this is the best and only viable course of action.

Treatment for Drug Addiction

Recovery in Tune offers several evidence-based approaches, such as psychotherapy, counseling, psychoeducation, group support, and aftercare planning. These services are facilitated by compassionate addiction professionals who provide patients with the tools, resources, and support they so direly need to be successful in their recovery.

We help people struggling with an addiction restore sanity to their lives and begin to enjoy the health and wellness they deserve! Contact us as soon as possible to find out how we can help!

Pill Addiction

Pill Addiction | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Pill Addiction – Pill addiction can occur as a person becomes dependent on prescription medication. This condition can happen unexpectedly, over time, due to regular use, or it can occur as a result of misuse. Taking too much of the medication too often or using the medication illegally without a prescription is considered abuse.

Continually using the drug over an extended period or increasing the dosage often leads to the development of tolerance. Tolerance is a physiological condition hallmarked by diminishing effects from the use of a drug, and the user gradually needing larger amounts to achieve the desired high.

In addition to tolerance, drug dependence occurs as the body adapts to a drug’s presence over time and gradually becomes unable to function normally without it. And, when the user tries to quit, highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms onset as a result.

Once a pill addiction has fully developed, abuse becomes compulsive and difficult to overcome. Prescription drug addiction can result in severe long-term consequences, including physical injury and mental health disorders, and it can also affect interpersonal and professional relationships.

What Are Prescription Drugs?

Pill addiction can manifest from the abuse or misuse of any medication that cannot be lawfully sold without a prescription written by a licensed health provider. Because prescription drugs require a physician’s signature to obtain, they can be misused and abused in a few different ways, including the following:

  • Obtaining them from a friend or family member who has a legitimate prescription
  • Purchasing them illegally from a dealer or online
  • Taking higher doses and/or more often than directed
  • Doctor shopping—visiting multiple physicians or pharmacies in an attempt to obtain more drugs

Commonly Abused Prescription Medications

Some prescription drugs are not misused or abused as frequently as others due to the sought-after effects of each drug. Medications that relieve pain or anxiety and/or induce euphoria are more likely to be abused than most others. Psychoactive prescription medications are classified in specific groups based on their properties.

Opioids

Opioids are prescription painkillers that bind to opioid receptors in the body’s central nervous system (CNS) and work to relieve pain.

Opioids are considered to have a high potential for abuse and addiction. For this reason, they require a prescription to use and are never included in over-the-counter products. Also, in response to the opioid epidemic and pressure to restrict opioid prescriptions, prescribers tend to limit many of these drugs and doses to just a few days, if possible.

Some of the most common opioid medications include the following:

  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Diphenoxylate (Lomotil)
  • Hydrocodone (Norco, Vicodin)
  • Morphine (MS Contin)
  • Fentanyl (Duragesic)
  • Codeine (Tylenol 3 and Tylenol 4)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
  • Methadone (Dolphine)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)
  • Propoxyphene (Darvon)

When used as directed by a doctor, opioids can be extremely effective at reducing pain. Their use can improve quality of life for those who experience acute or chronic pain, including following surgery, injuries, and during cancer treatment or palliative care.

However, tolerance and dependence on opioids can emerge rapidly, and pill addiction can form within just a couple of weeks of routine use. If a person increases a dose too much, he or she may encounter severe complications and be at high risk for profound respiratory depression, overdose, coma, and death.

Pill Addiction | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Stimulants

Stimulant medications are usually prescribed to patients who experience attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or obesity. They can boost energy and promote alertness, and also increase blood pressure and suppress appetite.

These stimulants are usually consumed orally in pill form, but some can be consumed orally as a liquid or administered by a transdermal patch. Stimulants vary on the length of time they are effective and include three categories: short-acting, intermediate-acting, and long-acting.

Among the most common short-acting stimulant medications include the following:

  • Adderall
  • Dexedrine
  • Focalin
  • ProCentra
  • Ritalin
  • Zenzedi

Intermediate-acting stimulants are effective for longer than those that are short-acting but still require a regular dosage to work properly. The most common of these include the following:

  • Evekeo
  • Metadate ER
  • Methylin ER
  • Ritalin SR

Long-acting stimulants do not usually require a regular dosage and can stay effective for hours, or even days while increasing alertness and attention. The most common of these include the following:

  • Adzenys XR-ODT
  • Adderall XR
  • Concerta
  • Daytrana
  • Focalin XR
  • Metadate CD
  • Mydayis
  • Quillivant XR
  • Ritalin LA
  • Vyvanse

Central Nervous System Depressants

Central nervous system (CNS) depressants reduce activity in the brain and body and include drugs in categories such as sedatives or tranquilizers. Most depressants work by regulating the release of the brain neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

GABA decreases brain activity, resulting in pleasant feelings of relaxation and drowsiness. Depressants are frequently prescribed to those suffering from anxiety and panic disorders or insomnia.

The most commonly prescribed CNS depressants include the following:

  • Benzodiazepines (benzos)
  • Non-benzodiazepine sleep medications
  • Barbiturates

Some of the most commonly prescribed benzos are diazepam (Valium), clonazepam (Klonopin) and alprazolam (Xanax). These medications are often prescribed to treat extreme anxiety and panic attacks. If used long-term, however, some people will develop dependence, tolerance, and addiction.

Non-benzodiazepine insomnia medications include eszopiclone (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata) and zolpidem (Ambien). These medications act upon the same receptors as benzos but have a lower potential for dependence.

Barbiturates include drugs such as phenobarbital sodium (Luminal) and pentobarbital sodium (Nembutal), among others. These medications are prescribed less frequently than other sedatives due to a higher risk of overdose. They are sometimes still used to prevent seizures or for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal.

Pill Addiction | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Antipsychotics

Antipsychotics are prescription medications that treat psychological disorders, such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or Tourette’s syndrome. Common antipsychotics include haloperidol (Haldol), olanzapine (Zyprexa), quetiapine (Seroquel) and risperidone (Risperdal).

Other Pain Medications

There have been some reports of patients developing addictions to non-opioid pain medications, such as pregabalin (Lyrica) and gabapentin (Neurontin). These drugs are usually prescribed to treat painful conditions, such as neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and epilepsy.

Pill Addiction: Prescription Drug Abuse

Most pill addiction is the result of the use, misuse, or abuse of opioids, benzos, or stimulants. Some are more likely than others to develop an addiction, and this is related to several factors, including the following:

  • Height, weight, and other personal characteristics
  • Having a family history of substance abuse
  • The drug they are currently using or abusing
  • If he or she is treating a psychiatric condition or acute or chronic pain
  • Past or current addictions to other substances
  • Receiving peer pressure or living in an environment where drug use is accepted and/or lauded
  • Having easy access to medications, such as having prescription drugs in the home
  • Method of administration—crushing pills and snorting the remainder can accelerate addiction

Regardless of individual risk factors, anyone can become addicted to a prescription drug over time if they misuse the drug for a prolonged period. And, although there has been plenty of examples of people who have developed an addiction even when using the drug as prescribed by a doctor, this is much less common than as a result of some type of abuse.

Getting Treatment for Pill Addiction

Pill addiction can be detrimental to a person’s health and well-being to the point of becoming life-threatening. Those who suffer are strongly urged to seek treatment as soon as possible on an inpatient or intensive outpatient basis.

Recovery in Tune offers a comprehensive, research-based approach to addiction, comprised of vital therapeutic services, such as psychotherapy, counseling, psychoeducation, group support, and medication-assisted treatment. We provide clients with the tools, resources, and support they need to achieve abstinence and experience long-term sobriety and wellness.

If you are suffering from a pill addiction, contact us today. Discover how we can help you reclaim your life so you can begin to enjoy the happiness and harmony you deserve!

Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol

Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol – Muscle relaxers and alcohol can be a dangerous combination that can induce profound sedation, impaired cognition and motor function, dependence, and accidental death. A person who uses these two substances faces an increased risk of respiratory depression and overdose, fall and injuries, car accidents, and seizures.

Both muscle relaxers and alcohol depress or slow down activity in the body’s central nervous system (CNS). This action can result in numerous complications and risks, and it is never recommended that the two be combined.

What Are Muscle Relaxers?

Muscle relaxers (spasmolytics) are prescription drugs that affect muscle function and decrease muscle tone. They may be used to alleviate symptoms such as muscle spasms, pain, and hyperreflexia, and to reduce spasticity in a variety of neurological disorders. They can aid a person in having greater mobility, and, for some, provide relief from insomnia that results from these ailments.

Muscle relaxers can provide relief from sprains, strains, and other muscle injuries. The effects of muscle relaxers are induced by depression of the CNS and thereby relaxing and reducing activity in the muscles.

Muscle relaxers are not typically prescribed as a first-line defense for chronic concerns, such as low-back pain, due to their potential for abuse, dependence, and side effects. Rather, they are most effective when used for short-term acute injuries and the like.

One of the most frequently abused muscle relaxers is carisoprodol (Soma). However, many others are also misused and include cyclobenzaprine (Amrix), dantrolene (Dantrium), metaxalone (Skelaxin), methocarbamol (Robaxin), and tizanidine (Zanaflex).

Side Effects

The side effects of muscle relaxer will vary somewhat between medications and from person-to-person, but in general, they include the following:

  • Depression
  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Fatigue and weakness
  • Impaired thinking
  • Hypotension
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Vision problems
  • Rash

Muscle relaxers can also make it hard for a person to remain alert and think coherently, causing impairments to thought processes and decision-making abilities.

When used correctly as directed by a doctor, muscle relaxers are generally considered to be safe. However, when taken in conjunction with alcohol or other drugs, they can have dangerous and sometimes life-threatening effects.

Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Alcohol Abuse

Although alcohol use might initially make people feel more talkative and energetic as the result of an increase of dopamine in the brain, this effect is only temporary. When consumed in excess, alcohol can significantly slow down activity in a person’s brain and body and impair their ability to function properly.

Alcohol abuse can result in the following:

  • Stomach pain
  • Impaired vision
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired cognition
  • Impaired motor skill
  • Poor coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Impulsivity
  • Poor decision-making
  • Impaired memory
  • Sedation

Many of these effects are comparable to those related to muscle relaxer use, which is the primary reason it is so risky to combine these drugs, as central nervous system depression is amplified.

Why Do People Mix Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol?

Muscle relaxers can induce feelings of relaxation and mild euphoria, effects which have led some to misuse their own prescription or someone else’s. Some people may also use these drugs as a means to self-medicate, to induce sleep, or to relieve unpleasant symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal. The risks associated with this use may occur unknowingly, as a person consumes one substance in close time-proximity to the other.

These effects may happen when a person is using a muscle relaxer as prescribed and drinks alcohol with it, without realizing the potential adverse interactions. It can also occur if a person has a drink a short time later before the medication has cleared from their system. The effects of most muscle relaxers last around 4-6 hours, so even if a person begins drinking a few hours after they take their medication, it will still be in their system.

Muscle relaxers can be extremely potent, and having just one drink in succession can cause uncomfortable and dangerous side effects. Any combination of these substances can be dangerous. Still, people may face more severe risks when they intentionally misuse both drugs together to create a more intense pleasurable effect.

When deliberately setting out to abuse a drug, a person is far more likely to use a medication in large dosages. This means that they may take doses in excess of those prescribed or recommended or take them more often. These behaviors increase the risk of overdose, dependence, and other adverse health consequences.

The Risks of Mixing Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol

The CNS depression and sedation induced by muscle relaxers can become dangerous when amplified by the effects of other intoxicating substances, alcohol included.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that using alcohol with muscle relaxers may cause the following adverse reactions:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Slow or labored breathing
  • Increased risk of seizures
  • Increased risk of overdose
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Impaired motor control
  • Unusual behavior
  • Memory impairments

One of the biggest risks of this combination is profound motor impairment and loss of coordination and equilibrium. Together, the combined use of muscle relaxers and alcohol can make it challenging for a person to walk and balance. This effect can cause a person to fall, especially if compounded by dizziness and impaired vision.

Injuries that result from this effect can be very serious and even life-threatening. Motor impairment also makes it very hazardous to operate heavy machinery or a motor vehicle. Even when they are used separately, these substances impair a person’s reaction time, judgment, decision-making ability, and cognition.

Muscle Relaxers and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

When muscle relaxers and alcohol are used in conjunction, though, these effects may become even more pronounced and intense. This consequence can jeopardize the well-being of a person operating a vehicle or heavy machinery, as well as that of those around him or her. The profound sedation and respiratory depression that results from the use of these two drugs puts an individual at a heightened risk of overdose, a circumstance that requires emergency medical assistance.

The Drug Abuse Warning Network’s (DAWN) findings reported that nearly one in five emergency room visits related to the abuse of muscle relaxers also involved the use of alcohol. Overdose from alcohol and muscle relaxers can result in death, and if you suspect that you or a loved one is overdosing, please call 911 immediately.

Muscle relaxants have the potential for addiction, as does alcohol. Abusing either of these substances places an individual at risk of addiction, but abusing them together increases this risk even further.

When a person abuses one substance, their ability to reason and think properly is compromised, which makes it more likely that they will abuse another drug and use it in higher quantities. Again, these are behaviors that increase the risk of developing an addiction.

Treatment for Alcohol or Drug Abuse

If a person is dependent on one or both of these drugs, treatment in a specialized rehab program should be sought to reduce the aforementioned risks. Seeking treatment for the abuse of muscle relaxers and alcohol is vital to prevent further health complications and avoid life-threatening situations. Recovery in Tune offers evidence-based services essential to the recovery process, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, medication-assisted treatment, and more.

We are dedicated to helping people reclaim their lives and free themselves from the grip of addiction for good! Contact us today to discuss treatment options!

Risks of Using Suboxone and Alcohol

Suboxone and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Risks of Using Suboxone and Alcohol – Suboxone is a medication most commonly used for the treatment of opioid use disorders, especially those that involve heroin. Warning labels on opiate drugs such as Suboxone strongly advise patients who use these drugs not to do so in conjunction with alcohol. Even so, many in recovery from opioids do consume alcohol at the expense of their health and recovery potential.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone contains the active ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, meaning that it attaches to the same receptors in the brain as other opioids, but it does not induce the full effects of these drugs. People who have opioid use disorders will not receive the same “high” from buprenorphine that they are used to feeling on their drug of choice.

Those who use buprenorphine will also not experience the severe withdrawal effects associated with opioid use cessation. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies buprenorphine as a Schedule III controlled substance, meaning that it has medical value but also has some potential for abuse and dependence.

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist, meaning that it also attaches to opioid receptors in the brain, but does not activate them. This drug also does not allow any other drugs to bind to these receptors, and, in fact, removes any that are already there. Once this effect of the drug is progress, people will immediately go through opioid withdrawal syndrome.

The naloxone is included in Suboxone as an extra a safeguard intended to keep people from abusing Suboxone, and only becomes active if the drug is crushed and abused in some way. Naloxone is also commonly used as a standalone medication to reverse life-threatening effects, such as profound respiratory depression, in those individuals who have overdosed on opioids.

Suboxone is designed to be an opioid replacement drug to help those who have opioid use disorders endure the withdrawal process with minimal discomfort. Because Suboxone contains an opioid, it can also be used to control pain. Buprenorphine controls opioid withdrawal symptoms and can be effective in relieving mild to moderate pain.

Buprenorphine does induce some mild euphoric effects but also has a ceiling effect in place. This means that any attempt to use other opioids while taking buprenorphine or taking excessive amounts of buprenorphine to increase feelings of euphoria will not result in a significant high. Because Suboxone is a long-acting medication, it only needs to be taken once per day in most cases.

Suboxone Abuse

Suboxone and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Despite these safeguards, buprenorphine can be misused. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), from 2006-2011 there was a significant increase in emergency room hospital visits (4,440 to 21,483) as a result of the nonmedical use of buprenorphine. These visits involved mostly younger people, with the 18-25 age group having the highest number of admissions, followed by those aged 26-34 and 35-54.

Still, the misuse of buprenorphine is not nearly as prevalent as abuse of other prescription and illicit opioids, including oxycodone, hydrocodone, and heroin. And in fact, a great deal of prescription drug abuse occurs among those who have friends with prescriptions for the drug. According to SAMHSA, More than half of prescription pain medication abuse is the result of people who obtain the medication from a friend or relative.

Alcohol Abuse

Unsurprisingly, alcohol abuse is the most common form of substance abuse in the United States, according to SAMHSA. Both alcohol and Suboxone are central nervous system (CNS) depressants, meaning that their action results in a decrease in activity in the brain and spinal cord. Combining alcohol with any opioid, including Suboxone, can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening.

Mixing Alcohol with Suboxone

As noted, warning labels on opioid medication strongly advise patients who use these drugs not to take them in combination with alcohol. Also, doctors are required to instruct patients to abstain from drinking while they are using these drugs. Although buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, the same precautions and effects that are associated with other opioids apply to buprenorphine.

Because alcohol and buprenorphine are both CNS depressants, using them together can lead to an intensification of their overall effects. Side effects that can occur with buprenorphine use can be significantly increased in number and severity when the medication is used in combination with alcohol.

These side effects include the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting spells
  • Increased sweating
  • Heart palpitations
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Impaired motor coordination
  • Prolonged reflexes
  • Impaired cognition and judgment

Severe Effects

Because CNS depressants such as alcohol and buprenorphine reduce the activity in the brain and spinal cord, these drugs can contribute to a variety of potentially critical conditions when used together for a prolonged period. These conditions may include the following:

  • Lung infections and organ and tissue damage as a result of decreased blood flow as well as a lack of nutrients and oxygen being delivered to organs and other tissues
  • Hypoxic brain damage incurred as a result of chronic complications from respiratory depression
  • Altered thinking processes that increase the potential for being involved in accidents and engaging in risky behaviors, such as intentional self-harm, when low mood and depression are present
  • Comatose states that occur due to the suppression of the neurons in the brain that regulate automatic functions such as respiration and heart rate

These conditions can be life-threatening or result in severe damage to the brain and other organs in the body.

Suboxone and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

The long-term use of Suboxone and alcohol in combination can also result in other adverse health consequences, including the following:

  • Increased risk for several forms of cancer, including cancer of the liver, kidneys, breast, and gastrointestinal system
  • Increased risk for cirrhosis of the liver, ulcers, and brain damage due to stroke
  • Increased risk for cardiovascular disease
  • Increased risk of contracting a number of diseases as a result of a weakened immune system or engaging in unsafe or risk-taking behaviors
  • Development of physiological or psychological dependence on one or both substances

Treatment for Drug and Alcohol Abuse

There are many potential dangers and risks associated with using Suboxone and alcohol for a prolonged period—or even just using them in conjunction occasionally. People who are prescribed Suboxone as an opioid replacement and drink alcohol while taking it may sabotage their recovery and incur many severe long-term consequences.

Recovery in Tune offers intensive outpatient treatment for those struggling with substance use disorders. We employ highly-trained, compassionate addiction specialists who are dedicated to providing our clients with the knowledge, tools, and support they need to achieve a full recovery, avoid relapse and foster long-term wellness and sobriety.

We offer therapeutic services clinically-proven to be vital to the recovery process, including psychotherapy, counseling, and group support. These services are delivered by our professional staff with care and expertise.

If you or someone you love is abusing Suboxone either alone or with alcohol or other drugs, please contact us as soon as possible. Although addiction is not necessarily curable, it is certainly treatable. Therefore, we can help anyone who is motivated to free themselves from its grips and begin to enjoy the healthy and satisfying life they deserve!

Suboxone vs. Methadone

Suboxone vs. Methadone | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Suboxone vs. Methadone – Methadone is a synthetic, full opioid agonist and prescription drug that was introduced in 1947, and since that time it has been commonly used for opioid replacement therapy among those addicted to more powerful opioids, such as heroin. Despite having success in addiction treatment, over the years, a darker side of methadone use has come to light. An increasing number of people have found themselves addicted to the same drug originally intended to help them manage their substance abuse problem.

Following this response to the growing danger of methadone abuse, in 2002, the British drug company Reckitt Benckiser released a drug known as Suboxone. This prescription medication includes a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone and was initially marketed as a potential replacement for methadone.

As a partial opioid agonist, many experts contended that Suboxone could offer individuals the same benefits as methadone but without the high potential for misuse and addiction. The idea was compelling, and now after more than a decade of research, scientists have been able to examine and compare the benefits and drawbacks of both Suboxone and methadone.

Benefits of Methadone

For decades, methadone maintenance therapy has been a common practice in addiction treatment facilities in the U.S. and abroad. Methadone is very effective at providing relief to people struggling with the severe withdrawal symptoms related to addiction to heroin and other narcotics.

The effects of methadone are progressive and mild, which makes the drug a safer substitution for opioids of abuse during addiction treatment. Frankly, the results speak for themselves. Because methadone attaches to opioid receptor sites in the brain, users don’t experience cravings for other opioids, such as heroin or prescription painkillers. Also, the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms associated with detox, such as nausea, vomiting, and other flu-like symptoms, are minimized.

And because withdrawal is managed, people in recovery are much better able to focus on the therapeutic aspects of addiction treatment and begin to address the underlying issues that led to their abuse of opioids. Over time, supervising doctors slowly taper methadone dosages, gradually weaning patients with the ultimate goal of total abstinence from all substances. That said, some patients remain on methadone for an indefinite period.

Methadone Side Effects

As with any drug, there are side effects associated with the use of methadone. These can range from mild, such as dry mouth and lightheadedness, to more severe, such as impaired respiratory function.

Side effects may include the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Sexual problems
  • Seizures
  • Gastrointestinal distress
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Depressed respiratory function

There are also several risks associated with the long-term use of methadone. Research has found that prolonged methadone use can result in cholestatic pattern liver injury and reduced attention span. Additional evidence suggests that long-term use could escalate into abuse, possibly leading users back into the same downward spiral of addiction they were initially trying to escape.

Suboxone vs. Methadone | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Potential for Abuse

Methadone is a full opioid agonist, meaning that the drug attaches to opioid receptors throughout the central nervous system and activates them, producing a chemical reaction that can contribute to dependence. Indeed, methadone is classified as a Schedule II substance in the U.S., indicating that it has a medically accepted purpose but also a high potential for abuse.

The ugly side of methadone has gained much attention in the 21st century. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a 22% average increase in methadone-related fatalities each year between 2002-2006, and that number only fell an average of 6% per year from 2006-2014.

Recent estimates state that methadone abuse and overdose account for as many as 5,000 deaths each year. Although methadone may have saved the lives of many people, it appears to be tremendously dangerous for many others.

Benefits of Suboxone

Like methadone, Suboxone is also a synthetic opioid. Unlike its predecessor, however, this drug is made with 80% buprenorphine, a partial opioid agonist, and 20% naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids. When someone takes Suboxone, buprenorphine attaches to receptors in the brain and activates them only slightly, providing relief from withdrawal symptoms while naloxone blocks the opioid’s effect, preventing the person from experiencing a high.

Research has suggested that Suboxone has had a very positive effect on the lives of people in addiction recovery. The Journal of Community Hospital Internal Medicine Perspectives published a study revealing that Suboxone treatment was associated with 45% fewer emergency department visits among test subjects. It is believed that the Suboxone was fundamental in preventing these persons in engaging in opioid abuse.

Suboxone Side Effects

Neither buprenorphine nor naloxone is entirely free from side effects, but the effects associated with Suboxone tend to be relatively mild and primarily physical.

Common side effects of taking Suboxone include the following:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Numbness, especially around the mouth
  • Trouble concentrating

In rare cases, Suboxone can produce a more severe response. A 2008 article published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine detailed a case in which a dose of Suboxone resulted in the onset of serotonin syndrome—a potentially life-threatening condition that is characterized by high body temperature, agitation, tremors, increased reflexes, sweating, dilated pupils, and diarrhea.

Suboxone vs. Methadone | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Potential for Abuse

Addiction develops when the reward center in a person’s brain begins to connect the feel-good effects of the surge of dopamine with the particular behavior or substance that produced it. The brain then begins to crave dopamine and feelings of euphoria, thus compelling the person to seek out or perform the associated substance or behavior, respectively.

Suboxone has minimal potential for producing a surge of dopamine because buprenorphine has a relatively weak effect on the brain, and naloxone further decreases the chance of experiencing euphoric feelings. For this reason, many health providers today consider Suboxone to be a safer, less risky option for treating opioid addiction. Suboxone is classified as Schedule III substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration, indicating that it has a moderate to low potential for dependence.

As methadone addiction rates continue to increase, doctors and addiction specialists who are tasked with helping people need reevaluate the efficacy and safety of the drugs they prescribe. While methadone has helped many patients over a few decades, Suboxone offers the potential for a smoother, safer addiction treatment medication. Still, it may be true that patients with very severe addictions may be better served by a full agonist such as methadone, while those with less severe addictions can benefit from a safer, milder alternative like Suboxone.

Treatment for Addiction

Recovery in Tune offers medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to patients addicted to opioids in the form of Suboxone and naltrexone. While pharmacotherapy can serve as a vital alternative to the abuse of dangerous substances, it is only one aspect of recovery.

In addition to MAT, we offer comprehensive addiction treatment in outpatient formats that include evidence-based services vital to the recovery process, such as behavioral therapy, counseling, and aftercare planning. We employ highly-skilled addiction professionals who facilitate these services and provide our clients with the tools, resources, and support they need to achieve sobriety, prevent relapse, and enjoy long-lasting happiness and wellness, free from the use of drugs and alcohol.

If you or someone you love is suffering from an addiction to opioids, other drugs, or alcohol, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. Discover how we help people begin to experience the healthy, fulfilling lives they deserve!

Drug Counseling

Drug Counseling: Purpose and Benefits | Recovery in Tune

In rehab, individual drug counseling seeks to address the symptoms of drug abuse or addiction and the areas of life that this behavior has affected. In doing so, it assists people in progressing in an ongoing recovery program.

Drug counseling is the core of an effective addiction treatment program. A counselor is a guide in the recovery process, helping the person to reveal the sources of addiction and identify healthier, more constructive ways to manage the pressures of daily life.

From the time a person enters a rehab program until long after completion, drug counselors can provide support, encouragement, and motivation throughout the recovery process.

Drug counseling can be provided in several different forms, including the following:

  • Individual, one-on-one sessions with a counselor
  • Family counseling sessions with spouses, partners, or children
  • Group counseling sessions with peers who are also struggling with addiction
  • Crisis intervention counseling to persuade a person to seek treatment

Drug Counseling in Integrated Treatment

Merely treating physical symptoms of addiction is usually not effective on its own. Individual counseling is a vital feature of any comprehensive drug and alcohol rehab program because it also addresses the mental and emotional aspects of addiction. In addition, discussion between a patient and a counselor encourages the uncovering of deeply buried issues, experiences, or feelings that influence addiction.

As a result, patients gain an improved sense of self-awareness that they can learn to use as a mechanism to prevent relapse. Through individual drug counseling, patients are working to achieve short-term life and behavioral goals directly related to an addiction, and are learning how to restructure their lives in a healthier way that does not involve reliance on drugs or alcohol.

Building a Foundation for a Sobriety

Individual drug counseling sessions serve as a cornerstone for recovery and provide many benefits that will help patients restructure their lives, relationships, and attitudes. During individual counseling, patients learn how to achieve the following:

Accept that one has a disease – A critical component of substance abuse treatment is accepting the fact that there is a problem. Acceptance isn’t always easy, but it is an unavoidable step to recovery.

Address the root causes of addiction – Substance abuse is often a form of self-medication or a way to cope with difficult situations or traumatic events one has experienced. By addressing these issues individually, a counselor can help a patient learn to identify ongoing life situations in which drug or alcohol use has been a failed means of dealing with problems.

Practice more effective life skills – Individual counseling offers patients the opportunity to learn and practice healthier decision-making and problem-solving strategies to abstain from drugs and alcohol and avoid relapse.

Heal damaged or strained relationships – Substance abuse tends to contribute to a number of damaged relationships in a person’s life. Making amends with loved ones is a critical component of recovery. A counselor encourages and helps patients navigate this sensitive process.

Learn how to establish healthy relationships – Individual drug counseling also renders useful tools for building new, healthy relationships that will help a person in their ongoing recovery, rather than hinder it.

Maintain abstinence – The self-awareness and confidence gained from individual counseling sessions work together with the tools and techniques learned in group counseling to help those in recovery live a fulfilling and sober life.

Drug Counseling: Purpose and Benefits | Recovery in Tune

What to Expect at Drug Counseling

Throughout the duration of a drug and alcohol rehab program, patients meet with a recovery specialist and clinical counselor regularly. Recovery specialists may also contact family or friends to provide an update on the client’s progress throughout the recovery program.

One-on-one sessions with a specialist will focus on recovery tools, behavior modification, and strategies that allow patients to put their past lives and addictive behaviors behind them. Because of this, the client can focus on achieving and living a new, sober, and enjoyable lifestyle.

During individual counseling sessions, a therapist or counselor will facilitate fruitful discussion that focuses on the underlying experiences or trauma that have led to addiction. The therapist will guide patients through an honest investigation of their addictive thoughts and behaviors.

Individual drug counseling is a collaborative process between the patient and a counselor, so it always requires honesty and a willingness to engage actively in one’s recovery. Patients should feel comfortable sharing thoughts in a private, judgment-free environment.

Qualifications of Our Counselors

At Recovery in Tune, we employ fully licensed and experienced therapists and drug addiction counselors. They strive to uphold the highest standards of integrity in all aspects of counseling and treatment and deliver these services to clients with care and expertise.

We are staffed compassionate experts in the field of addiction recovery to provide clients with the skills and support they so direly need to achieve abstinence and maintain long-term wellness and sobriety indefinitely.

You can recover from drug or alcohol addiction and experience the fulfilling life you deserve! Call us as soon as possible to learn how we can help you on your journey to recovery!