Foster Care Awareness Month: Rebuilding Families After Addiction

Foster Care Awareness Month: Rebuilding Families in the Aftermath of Addiction

May is National Foster Care Awareness Month.

One in three children in foster care are there due to parental Addiction. Foster care and substance abuse are intimately linked and can cause long-term problems for afflicted families. Today we’re talking about starting to heal the trauma that addiction can cause in a family with children, and how to re-build. 

First things first, opening the paths of communication is key.

How far the conversation goes depends on the age of the children but be sure to apologize for anything they may have experienced directly (i.e. an outburst) or indirectly (your absence, etc.). This doesn’t need to be an exhaustive list but anything that stands out can be noted. Tell them they are you here for them now and are doing your best to recover from your problem. You children may not have much to say but if they do, put your listening hat on. Hear them out, validate their feelings, tell them that you love them. All strong relationships are built on communication and child-parent relationships are no different. 

Once you’ve cleared the air it’s important to establish a “new normal.”

This is where you will be speaking with actions rather than words, showing up and being there for them. Create routines, spend time with them, and maybe even start a new tradition like Spaghetti Night or a Sunday morning bike ride. Even something as small as watching their favorite movie with them can mean the world. For most kids, your presence is enough. 

The truth is, this process can take time.

Even if you are feeling miles ahead in terms of recovery and rebuilding, they might not be. Or if you are having hard days, be kind to yourself. The recovery process is different for everyone and having the family rebuild process in the mix is additionally challenging. Just remember why you’re doing this, your children need your sobriety as much as you do. They need their parent. You don’t have to be perfect, just keep showing up for them.

 

Every scenario looks different. The ultimate goal is to heal, and let go of resentments and the shame. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and their children have been placed in foster care our case managers might be able to help. Contact us below or click here.

Advice for Staying Sober Over the Holidays

Staying Sober Over the Holidays | Recovery in Tune

In a perfect world, the holidays should be a time of festivity and thankfulness. But for many, it’s a time wrought with triggers time and facing family dysfunction, stress, and pressure to meet particularly high expectations.

These factors can make it challenging for anyone to remain sober over the season, but this may be far more difficult for anyone in recovery or trying to overcome an addiction. The following are several tips that can help people stay clean or sober and on the best path throughout the holidays.

Advice for Holiday Sobriety

Identify and Address Potential Stressors Related to Family Gatherings

At some point during the holiday season, most people must deal with family, and this can cause a significant amount of stress for a few different reasons. Family time may be associated with a traumatic history, bad memories, conflicting opinions, excessive judgments, and less-than-reasonable expectations. Despite the best of intentions, many holiday family gatherings are rife with stress just waiting to happen.

Knowing what to expect in advance and how you plan to address problems can be key to staying strong and avoiding triggering situations. Moreover, just because you are sober doesn’t mean everything is going to be ideal. You may have to deal with many of the same stressors that you always have, and this time, you are going to have to do it sober. Be prepared for this.

On a different note, if the thought of having to maintain sobriety during this time is daunting, remember that it is okay to politely decline family events in place of other activities, such as volunteering or attending group support meetings. Your sobriety needs to be a priority, and if other people don’t understand this, then that is on them.

Be Wary of Attending Work-Related Events

Holiday parties thrown by employers can be riddled with temptations. Employees have to figure out how to mingle with supervisors and coworkers using an appropriate level of friendliness while respecting boundaries and not overdoing it. Combine that with alcohol, which is often served at many of these events, and you may have a recipe for disaster.

While many professionals feel obligated to attend these parties, in many cases, skipping out might not be a big deal. Furthermore, if you are struggling with sobriety, it might be wise to limit your time. Sometimes it’s okay to be open with employers and coworkers, and other times it’s wise to keep an addiction problem under wraps. In any case, you still must put sobriety first. If that means avoiding a situation where alcohol flows freely or at least limit your time there, you are best off finding a way to diplomatically navigate this situation without putting yourself in harm’s way.

Staying Sober Over the Holidays | Recovery in Tune

Prepare to Deal With Financial Issues

The holidays come with a lot of extra expensive. If you’re traveling these can include gas or airfare. And then you have the cost of gifts, gatherings and food. If you are already on a fixed budget, the added costs can worry you and cause you stress.

The answer? Make a budget regarding spending or try to make a little extra (take on some overtime). If money continues to be a problem, find ways to create or obtain relatively inexpensive gifts for people. If you feel comfortable, be honest about your financial situation with others. Chances are, they will understand.

If you are expected to pay for something very expensive, such as airfare, and it is stressing you, reconsider the trip. It might be better to sit this one out and depend on the support of others who are also sober, such as AA sponsors.

Find Solutions By Focusing on Support

Whether you are traveling or staying relatively close to home, it’s important to keep going to support meetings. It’s not even a bad idea to go to multiple meetings, and “bookend” them around family gatherings or other holiday events.

Locating meetings and times beforehand and making a plan to go can be very helpful in structuring your day. Or, it’s certainly possible to go to one on the fly after you’ve found yourself in a compromising position or under stress. If meetings aren’t possible for some reason, keep an AA sponsor or sober friend readily available for a phone call or visit.

Set Boundaries in Advance

If you have dangerous influences at work, with your friends, or in your family, be proactive. Make sure to establish your boundaries ahead of time. Identify those whom you should avoid altogether, or can only handle for a limited amount of time. It might also be useful to come up with dialogue for setting the necessary boundaries with others.

Find Alternative Activities

Identifying other healthy activities may be relevant for both family gatherings and an office or work party. Games, movies, crafts, and cooking are among the many ways you can stay busy during events without imbibing.

Going to a theater or watching marathons at home is an excellent way to have an enjoyable time without temptations. You can bring movies to a family gathering, or invite others throughout the season to watch along with you. And, of course, in the age of the Internet, there are plenty of places to find movies online.

Staying Sober Over the Holidays | Recovery in Tune

Don’t Neglect Self-Care and Mindfulness

Do not neglect important rituals that have to stay busy and avoid triggers and deal with cravings throughout the day. It doesn’t matter if it’s Christmas or New Year’s, engaging in self-care is vital. It ensures that your recovery comes first.

Most people in recovery are well aware of what this entails. For many, it’s a combination of exercise, healthy eating, meditation, and yoga. Plus, reminding yourself each day why you choose sobriety.

It is also critical to keep living in the present moment, which is precisely where sobriety occurs and is sustained. Staying busy and coping with cravings appropriately is key to long-term recovery.

Take it one day or hour at a time. That way you can get through holidays in manageable increments. This is definitely better than feeling fearful of the days and weeks as a whole.

Getting Help for Addiction

There are many ways to make it through the holidays while still keeping sobriety in check. But if you continue to struggle, you shouldn’t feel ashamed—just know that help and support is available for you.

Recovery in Tune offers comprehensive, state-of-the-art programs with a full spectrum of care, including medical detox, partial hospitalization programs, outpatient treatment, medication-assisted therapy, and much, much more.

Addiction is a chronic, challenging, sometimes life-threatening disease, but you don’t have to battle it alone. Contact us today and discover how we help those who need it most. You can break free from the cycle of addiction and begin to experience the healthy and satisfying life you deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: What Is a Dry Alcoholic?

Mirtazapine Withdrawal

Mirtazapine Withdrawal | Recovery In Tune | Treatment Center

Mirtazapine (brand name Remeron), like most antidepressants, has a relatively low potential for abuse and addiction. Still, long-term use can result in dependence and unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when a user attempts to quit or rapidly cut back.

Doctors usually advise patients to follow a tapering schedule to help reduce the intensity and duration of withdrawal symptoms. During this time, the dosage amount will be decreased gradually over time. Although this results in a lengthier withdrawal period, symptoms are much milder, and it is easier for patients to adjust to living with the drug’s presence in their system.

Mirtazapine tends to remain in the body between 4-9 days. Biology, kidney and liver function, age, dosage, and history all effect how rapidly a person’s body processes the drug. When gradually tapering off mirtazapine, the withdrawal period can last several weeks or months. 

Mirtazapine Withdrawal Symptoms

If an individual attempts to stop using Remeron abruptly, he or she can expect to encounter withdrawal symptoms that may persist for several weeks. Those who would rather quit “cold turkey” than undergo a drug taper are strongly advised to undergo a medical detox and consult addiction professionals.

Common mirtazapine withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Headache
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Rebound depression
  • Irrational beliefs
  • Appetite changes
  • Vertigo and dizziness
  • Sweats
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

Mirtazapine withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening but, if intense, may become very unpleasant. However, it is important to realize that those with severe dependencies on mirtazapine who try to quit abruptly may experience profound depression or anxiety, and this could lead to self-harm or suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

You should consult with a doctor or addiction specialist if you are experiencing a worsening of symptoms after a few weeks of discontinuing mirtazapine. While these withdrawal symptoms may be frightening, working with a medical practitioner and having a recovery plan can mitigate the effects.

Mirtazapine Withdrawal Timeline 

Mirtazapine Withdrawal | Recovery In Tune | Treatment Center

Mirtazapine is a tetracyclic antidepressant. It works by preventing the reuptake of feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin. This effect increases serotonin levels in the brain. These neurochemicals are thought to regulate mood and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. If a dependent person wants to stop using mirtazapine, they need time to restore healthy serotonin levels in the brain.

The duration of withdrawal depends on the length of time mirtazapine has been used, as well as the dosage. If the dosage is on the higher end, tapering can take several months if done properly. However, withdrawal symptoms will usually subside within one month after stopping. However, the severity of the symptoms will be relatively mild if a person gradually quits mirtazapine versus stopping abruptly.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms of Mirtazapine

As noted, the most effective way to manage withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing mirtazapine is to reduce the dosage every month gradually. The dosage reduction rate will depend on how the person’s body responds to discontinuing use. Still, it is typically recommended to taper down only about 10% every month. 

If you choose to wean yourself off of mirtazapine gradually, there are medications you should avoid using during this process. These include any other antidepressants, such as MAO inhibitors or SSRIs, and any other medications that cause drowsiness. It is also advised to avoid consuming alcohol or using marijuana while withdrawal from mirtazapine, as these substances can increase the severity of withdrawal effects. 

Getting Treatment for Drug Dependence

Many people successfully wean themselves off of mirtazapine using a tapering schedule devised by a primary care physician and can do so safely at home. However, others, especially those who have dependencies on other substances, may benefit from more intensive treatment for drug or alcohol use.

Moreover, finding the best treatment for mirtazapine dependence is vital to the process of recovery. When discontinuing antidepressants such as mirtazapine, you should seek a center that also specializes in the treatment of co-occurring disorders. By treating any existing emotional issues in addition to withdrawal symptoms, this will help you to better concentrate on your recovery from whatever substances apply.

Comprehensive treatment programs, such as those offered by Recovery in Tune, should feature experiential activities, psychotherapy, counseling, substance abuse education, and an aftercare program to help you achieve long-term recovery goals. 

If you are attempting to discontinue your antidepressants, or stop the abuse of drugs or alcohol, contact us today! Treatment consultants are standing by to answer your questions and help you reclaim the happy and healthy life you deserve.

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Klonopin Withdrawal Symptoms

What Is Suboxone Half-Life?

Suboxone Half-Life | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Suboxone is a semi-synthetic opioid which treats chemical dependence on other, more powerful opioids, such as heroin. It was created to be an alternative to methadone, which is also effective at treating opioid addiction but has a much higher potential for abuse and is, therefore, tightly regulated.

Suboxone contains two active ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone. The latter acts as a very effective anti-overdose and abuse-deterrent agent. Buprenorphine is an opioid itself but doesn’t produce the same intense high as most other opioids. For this reason, this medication can effectively reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings. It does not have a high potential for abuse.

Still, because Suboxone is an opioid and may result in some pleasurable feelings and pain relief, it can be misused by individuals seeking more intense effects. That said, it might not have as much of an impact on individuals who are already dependent on more powerful opioids because they will have probably had already developed a substantial tolerance. 

But those who are first-time users of opioids or have only occasionally may be more vulnerable to becoming addicted to Suboxone, especially if they obtain it on the black market and misuse it without a prescription.

How it Breaks Down in the Body

Suboxone has a specially-designed long elimination half-life when compared to other opioids. It is formulated this way because long-lasting opioids serve as better replacements for those who are dependent on short-acting opioids as the effects last longer.

Buprenorphine’s half life this can take up to 37 hours (about 1.5 days), meaning that it can take more than eight days for it to be completely cleared from a person’s system.

This period will not be the same for everyone, however. Several factors influence how rapidly Suboxone will be eliminated from the system. These include the following:

  • Height
  • Weight
  • Amount of body fat
  • Age
  • Metabolic rate
  • Amount of the last dose taken
  • Duration of time use persisted
  • Liver health and function
  • Overall health
  • Individual biology

 

Suboxone Half-Life | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Suboxone Abuse

Suboxone is an abuse-resistant drug that helps people recover from the addiction to more powerful opioids. However, it does have some potential to be habit-forming. If you have been using Suboxone as medication-assisted treatment for a more severe addiction to other opioids, you have already taken the first step toward sobriety. 

Usually, a person who is on prescription Suboxone will gradually be weaned off it by a doctor or addiction specialist. That said, some who do not feel they are ready, in theory, could continue to use it long-term. Because Suboxone is an excellent pain-reliever, it is important to have pain management in mind when coming off. If a person still requires pain relief, discontinuing Suboxone can increase the desire to use and/or relapse. 

It is critical, however, that people in this situation seek further help for their opioid abuse problem. Consulting a doctor or pain specialist on effective ways to manage their pain without the use of opioid medication. Powerful non-opioid analgesics and anti-inflammatory remedies are available, as well as physical therapy, massage, TENS devices, and more.

Getting Help for Abuse

If you’re struggling to get off Suboxone, please contact us as soon as possible. Suboxone abuse may be a relatively mild problem compared to, say, full-blown heroin addiction. It can be very effectively treated, often using less-intensive forms of treatment.

Recovery in Tune offers customized, state-of-the-art substance abuse treatment programs that feature a variety of therapies, services, and activities that people in recovery can benefit from significantly. 

If you want to take the next step in your sobriety, Recovery in Tune can help! 

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Suboxone vs. Methadone

 

Sources

https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/extended-suboxone-treatment-substantially-improves-outcomes-opioid-addicted-young-adults

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 Opium 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!