What Is Opiate Detox and Withdrawal?

Opiate Detox and Withdrawal | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Opiates, also sometimes referred to as opioids, painkillers, or narcotics, consist of a variety of substances. They include both prescription drugs such as morphine, hydrocodone, and oxycodone, as well as illicit street drugs like heroin. People who use these drugs repeatedly are at risk for developing dependence and addiction. For purposes of this article, the terms opioid and opiate will be used interchangeably.

A person who becomes chemically dependent on opioids will experience a need to continue using the drugs to function normally. If they quit taking the drug abruptly or “cold turkey,” they will encounter a variety of unpleasant and sometimes painful symptoms as the body tries to adapt to life without the substance. Moreover, withdrawal symptoms will onset, and physical effects will persist for several days.

Opiate Withdrawal

The symptoms and severity of withdrawal depend on several factors, including the type of drug being abused, the person’s level of dependence, the duration of the addiction, whether they also abuse other substances, and their mental health and medical history. Most symptoms of withdrawal are flu-like and may include chills, sweating, vomiting, and body aches and pains.

Although withdrawal symptoms are not usually life-threatening, they can still produce great physical and psychological distress for the person suffering. Because of the magnitude of withdrawal symptoms, people who are trying to discontinue their drug use on their own may return to using again to avoid the withdrawal process altogether. However, the endless cycle of stopping and returning to drug use can make it more challenging to quit later on.

Attempting to stop using opiates abruptly can be arduous and risky to do alone. For this reason, persons in this situation are generally advised to seek the help of medical detox professionals and addiction specialists to overcome opioid abuse safely and effectively.

Medical detox programs take place in structured and safe clinical environments designed to help patients through the withdrawal process by treating symptoms and reducing cravings. Doctors can also help patients relieve symptoms by gradually tapering them off the addictive substance(s) until they are no longer chemically dependent on it. In many instances, doctors can prescribe certain medications to reduce the number of symptoms and their intensity and curb cravings.

After an individual completes a detox program, their treatment team will likely encourage them to seek therapy and counseling at a rehab center. This is a critical step toward fostering long-term sobriety and preventing relapse. Many detox programs, such as those offered by Recovery in Tune, are located inside rehab centers so that patients are provided with a smooth transition into more comprehensive addiction treatment.

Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

Opiate Detox and Withdrawal | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

The symptoms of opiate detox can be relatively mild, moderate, or very severe. Symptoms are typically the worst in patients who suffer from intense drug addiction. Consuming excessive amounts of a drug or doing so for a very long period is most likely to result in the severest of symptoms.

As noted, there are many other factors that also play a part in the development of withdrawal symptoms and the length of time they persist. These factors include all aspects of a person’s current health and emotional well-being, any co-occurring mental health disorders, and how they administered the drug (e.g., orally, by smoking, or injecting).

Within about one day after the last dose, a person will usually begin to encounter a combination of the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle spasms, aches or pains
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating or cold chills
  • Stomach cramps and aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Fluctuating blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors

How Long Does Opiate Withdrawal Last?

There are four stages of withdrawal from opioids. They are anticipatoryearly acutefully-developed acute, and post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).

Depending on the various factors aforementioned, acute withdrawal will typically onset within a few hours of a person’s last dose. The acute withdrawal stage involves flu-like symptoms that are associated with opiate withdrawal, also known as being “dope sick.” After acute withdrawal is over, the protracted abstinence period occurs and can last up to six months—during which time people in recovery are most vulnerable to stress and triggers that can compel them to relapse.

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

The anticipatory stage begins within 3-4 hours after the last dose and is hallmarked by increased anxiety or dread related to upcoming symptoms of withdrawal. Cravings and often obsessive drug-seeking behavior also characterize this stage.

The early acute stage begins 8-10 hours after the last dose, and anxiety and restlessness will likely continue to ramp up during this time. An individual may begin to experience flu-like symptoms such as vomiting, sweating, and stomach aches. Unless they receive appropriate medical treatment, cravings and drug-seeking behavior will usually persist.

The fully-developed acute stage will start between 1-3 days after the last dose, and here symptoms will peak. They may include body tremors, diarrhea, muscle spasms, and very intense cravings for more opioids.

The post-acute withdrawal stage (PAWS) can persist for months or years—there is no definite timeline. Acute physical symptoms are no longer present, but the person will still have to endure the emotional fallout from the disease. Without proper treatment, they may have depression, anxiety, mood swings, insomnia, and impaired ability to concentrate. During this stage, as with all stages, there is still the potential for relapse, so ongoing long-term care and support is vital for many to avoid it.

Medications Administered in Opiate Detox

Opiate Detox and Withdrawal | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Doctors frequently prescribe medications during the detox process. These medications help address the long-term problems associated with opiate withdrawal, such as cravings. Over time, a doctor can gradually taper down the dosage of such medications until the patient recovers fully from acute withdrawal symptoms. Medication may continue to be prescribed while the person is undergoing various levels of treatment, and in some cases, indefinitely.

Methadone

Historically, methadone was the go-to answer for withdrawal in clinical environments but has been replaced by buprenorphine and Suboxone. Methadone is itself an opioid, thus it also has the potential for abuse. Still, it is often prescribed to help patients ease off the opioids they originally became dependent upon, such as heroin. And as a long-acting opioid, methadone can be effective as a long-term treatment measure for people who struggle with severe, chronic opiate addiction.

Buprenorphine and Suboxone

Buprenorphine is a commonly used medication that is considered to be a highly effective treatment for opiate withdrawal. As a partial opioid agonist, buprenorphine does not mimic the full, euphoric effects of stronger opiates. It does, however, help to relieve symptoms of withdrawal and cravings, which helps patients stay focused and motivated in treatment. Suboxone is a combination drug that includes buprenorphine and naloxone, the latter being added to decrease the drug’s potential for abuse further.

Get Help for an Opiate Addiction

Detox alone cannot help a person obtain freedom from opiate addiction. After completing an opiate detox program, individuals are urged to undergo further treatment at a treatment center such as Recovery in Tune. We offer outpatient detox services and programs in partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and regular outpatient formats.

Our programs are based on a comprehensive approach and are equipped with the resources, and support clients need to understand the root causes of addiction. Services include cognitive behavioral therapy, group support, individual and family counseling sessions, and activities such as adventure, art, and music therapy. The services that our center offers, combined with consistent and thoroughgoing care, will help you remain focused and motivated during the withdrawal and treatment processes and beyond.

We are available around-the-clock to help you or someone you love to find a treatment program that fulfills your needs. It only takes one call and the desire to get better to start a new, more satisfying life in recovery! If you are ready to reclaim your life, free from the use of drugs or alcohol, contact us today!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Suboxone vs. Methadone

The Dangers of Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl Addiction Dangers | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Fentanyl addiction can occur when a person repeatedly abuses fentanyl, and this can happen after being prescribed by a physician or after having obtained it illicitly on the street. Fentanyl abuse and addiction can lead to severe emotional, physical, and social consequences, and can rapidly result in an overdose.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that works exceptionally well as a painkiller or anesthetic. For medical purposes, it is often administered to patients for severe pain related to an injury or following surgery. Fentanyl works rapidly to eliminate pain, but the effects are not particularly longlasting. For this reason, it also has a very high potential for abuse and addiction. Fentanyl’s effects are similar to those of heroin and other opioids but may be more intense due to the fact that its many times more potent.

Fentanyl users typically experience a state of profound well-being and extreme relaxation or drowsiness and may abuse it in an attempt to experience these feelings repeatedly. There are several methods to administer fentanyl. These include the following by prescription or as a product of drug diversion:

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

Illicitly, fentanyl is usually found as a powder, similar to heroin, and can, therefore, be smoked, snorted, or injected. Fentanyl is sometimes mixed with heroin, meth, or cocaine to amplify its effects. Combining these drugs is extremely dangerous, however, and produces a drug cocktail that is far more unpredictable than either drug is alone.

Because fentanyl is often found in a clinical setting as a tool for general anesthesia, people with easy access to the drug, such as physicians or nurses, may abuse it or sell it to others on the black market. Others may begin using fentanyl as prescribed but soon discover that they have become dependent on it.

Many prescription forms of fentanyl, such as lollipops and transdermal patches, have been designed to release the drug gradually over time for safety purposes. However, like many drugs, users have found creative ways to manipulate and abuse fentanyl to produce its effects more rapidly. Unfortunately, doing so is incredibly dangerous because it circumvents the slow-release mechanism and can lead to a lethal overdose.

Short-Term Symptoms of Fentanyl Abuse or Addiction

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

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

Fentanyl Addiction Dangers | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

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

Effects of Fentanyl Abuse and Addiction

When a person has a chronic fentanyl abuse problem, he or she will likely experience a myriad of adverse effects. There are severe mental, emotional, and physical side effects related to long-term fentanyl use, in addition to the aforementioned acute symptoms. These include the following:

Physical Effects

  • Severe gastrointestinal problems
  • Weakened immune system
  • Difficult or labored breathing
  • Seizures

Mental Effects

  • Paranoia
  • Social withdrawal
  • Lack of motivation
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Personality changes

Overdose

A fentanyl overdose can rapidly lead to death, and many of the side effects mentioned above can be signs of an overdose. If you or someone you know is suffering from the following signs or symptoms, please call 911 immediately:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Weak muscles
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Perilously slow heartbeat
  • Very low blood pressure
  • Slow or stopped breathing
  • Bluish nails and lips (cyanosis)

A fentanyl overdose is a medical emergency, and first responders will most likely administer Narcan (naloxone). This drug is an opioid antidote that rapidly and effectively reverses the life-threatening effects of an overdose, including central nervous system depression.

If you or someone you know is abusing heroin or fentanyl, you should obtain Narcan and have it readily available in case of an overdose. It is now available at most major drugstore chains for around $20 without a prescription.

The effects that an overdose of fentanyl has on a user’s heart rate and respiration present the highest risk of death or severe, long-lasting health complications. Even if a person survives a fentanyl overdose, these effects may leave a profound and enduring impact on his or her body. Severe respiratory depression, for instance, can lead to hypoxia, a condition that results in irreversible brain damage.

Lethal Combinations

When combined with other street drugs that suppress the central nervous system, the risk of encountering the following symptoms increases exponentially:

  • Respiratory distress
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Death

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

Many fatal overdoses attributed to fentanyl have occurred because the person who used it or was exposed to it was not aware that the drug they were coming into contact with contained fentanyl. It is often used as an adulterant of heroin or and other drugs, or substituted for them outright. It’s inexpensive to produce and can be highly profitable for dealers because a tiny amount can have very powerful effects.

Fentanyl Addiction Dangers | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction

Fentanyl abuse and addiction can occur in a number of ways. Individuals who are prescribed fentanyl can become dependent on it and begin abusing it. Others obtain fentanyl on the street or Internet, looking for an even more powerful high than that which can be achieved through heroin use.

Regardless of whether dependence developed related to a prescription or in an Illegally obtained form, fentanyl addiction is extremely dangerous and frequently deadly. Treatment should begin with a medical detox overseen by health professionals who specialize in addiction.

Detox

Due to fentanyl’s high potential for addiction, a person who becomes dependent will encounter multiple withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing its use, which can include the following:

  • Chills
  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea
  • Overall weakness
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Lack of appetite
  • Shakiness and tremors
  • Stomach pain

Due to the severity of possible withdrawal symptoms, it’s imperative that those who are attempting to recover work with a qualified medical professional to minimize withdrawal effects and detox safely. Detoxing under the supervision of a medical professional can significantly reduce the risk that the person will relapse and undermine his or her recovery in an attempt to relieve withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment Options

There is a wide variety of treatment options for individuals seeking recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. These include the following:

  • Inpatient/residential treatment programs that typically last anywhere from 30-90 days, sometimes longer
  • Outpatient and intensive outpatient treatment programs
  • 12-step recovery and support programs, such as Narcotics Anonymous
  • Other recovery programs, such as SMART Recovery (Self-Management and Recovery Training)

Following detox, patients are urged to participate in long-term substance abuse treatment, which includes comprehensive, evidence-based approaches, such as behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support.

Our center employs medical and mental health professionals who specialize in addiction and provide clients with the supports and tools they need to achieve a full recovery and sustain long-lasting sobriety.

Support groups are offered at our center in addition to research-based therapies, and these groups can provide a lifetime of support for addicts who are motivated to maintain sobriety.

You can reclaim your life, free from drugs and alcohol! Contact us today to discover how we can help!

Wet Brain Syndrome

Wet Brain Syndrome | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Wet brain syndrome is characterized by a specific kind of damage to the brain that develops as a result of prolonged, excessive alcohol consumption. Technically known as Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, wet brain is caused by a deficiency of vitamin B1 (thiamine). Vitamin B1 is essential for the body, but unfortunately, it doesn’t occur naturally. Instead, it must be ingested to reach the daily recommended amount. 

Severe alcoholics often experience a lack of appetite as a result of their condition, or they may make poor food choices while they are chronically impaired. Alcohol itself also hinders the absorption of B1 and depletes reserves stored in the liver. What’s more, alcohol also conflicts with an enzyme that activates it.

Vitamin B1 is a coenzyme used by the body to break down food for energy and to promote proper brain, heart, and nerve function. Several enzymes in the brain need vitamin B1 to work efficiently, and some enzymes that require it are vital for the synthesis of brain neurotransmitters, such as acetylcholine (ACh). ACh is employed to transmit messages between neurons in the brain and is, therefore, essential for learning, cognition, and memory.

What Causes Wet Brain Syndrome?

As a person abuses alcohol excessive over an extended period, and thiamine deficiency continues, brain damage can occur. The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) reports that a B1 deficiency is a relatively uncommon occurrence in developed countries, and usually only affects individuals with a severe alcohol use disorder or certain diseases, namely HIV.

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome is characterized by two distinct but commonly co-occurring conditions—Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff’s psychosis. Wernicke’s encephalopathy causes neurological symptoms related to biochemical lesions in areas of the central nervous system (CNS). It most often affects specific regions of the brain, such as the thalamus and hypothalamus, which both play a role in memory.

Korsakoff’s psychosis is a chronic disorder that tends to develop after Wernicke’s encephalopathy. Korsakoff’s psychosis occurs as a result of permanent damage to the areas of the brain responsible for memory.

Symptoms of Wet Brain Syndrome

The signs and symptoms that result from wet brain syndrome vary depending on whether the person is currently experiencing Wernicke’s encephalopathy or Korsakoff’s psychosis.

Wernicke’s encephalopathy can cause the following symptoms:

  • Confusion
  • Memory impairments
  • A loss of mental activity that can result in coma and death
  • Ataxia, or impaired muscle coordination, leading to a slow or unsteady gait
  • Vision changes, such as double vision, droopy eyelids, and back-and-forth eye movements

When Korsakoff’s psychosis occurs, individuals may lose the ability to form new memories, suffer from profound memory loss, and experience both auditory and visual hallucinations.

The primary symptoms of alcoholic Korsakoff syndrome includes the following:

  • Confabulation (fabricated, distorted, or misinterpreted memories)
  • Lack of insight
  • Apathy
  • Anterograde or retrograde amnesia
  • Fixation amnesia (very short-term memory loss)
  • Minimal content in conversation

The NIAAA estimates that about 85% of those who have an addiction to alcohol and Wernicke’s encephalopathy will also develop Korsakoff’s psychosis as a result.

Wet Brain Syndrome | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

How Common Is Wet Brain Syndrome?

According to the NIAAA, up to 80% of those with an alcohol use disorder also have a B1 deficiency. The National Organization for Rare Diseases (NORD) reports that Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome affects 1-2% of the U.S. population. The disorder occurs more among males than females and is equally distributed between ages 30-70.

Currently, it is not known how many people have Wernicke-Korsakoff as a result of alcohol abuse, because many who suffer most severely from the condition are homeless and cannot (or do not) seek medical treatment.

How Is Wet Brain Syndrome Diagnosed?

There is no standard diagnostic test used for all suspected cases of wet brain syndrome. Often, a health provider will identify a vitamin B deficiency based on a patient’s behavior, physical appearance, and gait. If a physician is aware of a patient’s alcoholism, and he or she exhibits symptoms of wet brain syndrome, further testing can be performed.

The patient will need to have a thorough examination of the neurological system. A doctor will also examine the person’s eyes for abnormalities and check his or her reflexes for diminished reactions.

People who experience wet brain syndrome also tend to have decreased muscle mass and weakness because Vitamin B! is also partially responsible for the development of muscle tissue. The disease typically alters a person’s gait, so the doctor will also evaluate a person’s ability to ambulate.

Often, those with the disorder will have an elevated heart rate (tachycardia). Body temperature and blood pressure may be reduced because the condition affects regions of the brain responsible for regulating these vital functions.

The Prognosis

Statistics put forth by Merck Manuals estimate that the mortality rate of individuals who have Wernicke’s encephalopathy is somewhere between 10-20%. Of those who survive, 80% will go on to develop Korsakoff’s psychosis. Without treatment, the condition will continue to worsen and can result in coma or death.

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome isn’t entirely curable, but with treatment, health professionals are often able to slow or halt its progression. Treatment can help with several different aspects of the disease, but certain severe complications, such as memory loss, may be irreversible after the condition has advanced.

As with most diseases, early detection is critical and has the potential to mitigate and even reverse some of the damage that has been done. Therefore, a person who suspects that he or she (or a loved one) is suffering from Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome should seek treatment immediately.

Wet Brain Syndrome | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

How Is Wet Brain Syndrome Treated?

For the treatment of wet brain syndrome, a physician will usually prescribe medications to manage symptoms such as rapid eye movement. The patient will also be shown various ways to increase vitamin B1 in their body and may be prescribed a vitamin supplement to boost these levels, either through oral medication or possibly intravenous injections.

Supplementing Vitamin B1 may improve certain symptoms of wet brain syndrome, including the following:

  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Vision and eye movement
  • Muscle coordination

Of note, Vitamin B1 supplementation will probably not improve memory or intellectual capabilities. Those with wet brain syndrome are urged to seek treatment for their alcohol addiction—if they haven’t already—to halt or delay the disease’s progression.

Complications of Wet Brain Syndrome

In addition to the potential for coma and death, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome results in permanent damage to the brain, which leads to memory impairments and reduced cognitive capabilities. A person may also experience challenges with social and interpersonal interactions, and problems with gait can result in falls and injuries.

Those who have the disease can also develop irreversible alcoholic neuropathy, which affects the CNS. Unfortunately, people who develop Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome are also expected to have a shortened lifespan.

Treatment for Alcoholism

Those who are active alcoholics place themselves at risk for medical complications, such as nutritional deficits and many other dietary or gastrointestinal issues. In some cases, dietary deficiencies can lead to long-term consequences, including wet brain syndrome.

Alcoholism is not curable, but it is undoubtedly treatable. Recovery in Tune offers a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment in outpatient and partial hospitalization settings. Out services include evidence-based therapeutic modalities, such as psychotherapy, group support, counseling, and much more.

Coping with addiction is a life-long process, but, fortunately, you don’t have to do it alone. Contact us as soon as possible to discover how we can help you achieve the fulfilling life you deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Mental Effects of Alcohol

Xarelto and Alcohol

Xarelto and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Xarelto (rivaroxaban) is a prescription blood thinner commonly used to prevent blood clots and heart dysrhythmia. Without treatment, these conditions can lead to strokes, and for these reasons, the use of Xarelto in many may be vital in saving a person from debilitating or life-threatening complications.

According to Consumer Reports, alcohol consumption is dangerous for patients using blood thinners. Despite this, it also revealed that more than 40% of adults taking Xarelto also consumed alcohol in conjunction. Some experts say that moderate use (no more than two drinks per day) may be relatively safe. Unfortunately, many people who drink alcohol have a substance use disorder and may find themselves unable to cut back to this limit. When this occurs, individuals are urged to seek professional treatment.

Side Effects of Combining Xarelto and Alcohol

Bleeding is a potential side effect that likely warrants the most concern regarding the use of Xarelto and alcohol. Blood thinners, as the name implies, work to thin the blood and prevent it from clotting—this effect is especially significant for those at a heightened risk of suffering from a stroke. However, due to the blood being thinned, some individuals are at risk for excessive bleeding.

Common bleeding associated with Xarelto that is not life-threatening includes frequent nosebleeds and prolonged bleeding from superficial or minor cuts or abrasions. Less commonly, bleeding may occur that is life-threatening.

Xarelto and alcohol are not known to have interactions regarding a person’s mental state. However, the chances of physical problems occurring are significantly higher when these two substances are used together. For example, alcohol also acts as a blood thinner, and according to research, even moderate use can have this effect. For this reason, the risk of excessive bleeding may be higher when alcohol is consumed in addition to Xarelto.

Combining Xarelto and alcohol can increase the risk of worrisome bleeding events, including the following:

  • Blood is present in the urine or stool
  • Blood is present in mucus when coughing
  • Bleeding occurs from a cut or other wound that lasts longer than 10 minutes
  • Menstrual bleeding is worsened
  • Abnormal bruising occurs that grows in size
  • Severe headaches

All of these side effects are warning signs that a person may be experiencing uncontrolled bleeding and needs immediate medical help. This is especially true for older individuals and those in a weakened physical state due to other health problems.

Xarelto and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Another danger of combining Xarelto and alcohol includes an increased risk of experiencing a stroke, which is the very event that Xarelto is meant to treat. It’s also important to remember that alcohol is a powerful intoxicant that impairs a person’s motor skill functioning. As such, a person who is drinking may be more likely to fall or sustain another injury, including auto accidents. These events can lead to excessive bruising or bleeding, and if they occur, may be life-threatening.

Another factor to consider is that, although the liver breaks down both Xarelto and alcohol, it does not necessarily do so simultaneously. Experts caution that the liver’s ability to process Xarelto may become impaired as it is also now responsible for breaking down alcohol, which may be a priority. As a result, this can lead to an excessive amount of Xarelto in the bloodstream, which is yet another risk for excessive bleeding.

And finally, chronic alcohol use can lead to altered liver and kidney function. If a person has chronic medical conditions associated with either the liver or kidneys, the metabolism of a blood thinner will be adversely impacted. Once again, this may put a person at risk for life-threatening bleeding events. These may include internal bleeding that may not be obvious, so it’s important to know the warning signs that this very serious problem may be occurring.

If you think about it, the use of alcohol with Xarelto or other medications is counterintuitive. Moreover, the goal of Xarelto is to prolong a person’s life and reduce the risk of severe health problems. Alcohol use essentially does the opposite. A person on blood thinners may be at a heightened risk for injuries and excessive bleeding. Also, regular alcohol use can result in a wealth of other health problems. These include pancreatitis, liver disease, several forms of cancer, and premature death.

Getting Treatment for Alcoholism

If you or someone you know is using Xarelto and is not consuming alcohol responsibly, contact us today to speak to one of our representatives. We offer comprehensive, evidence-based outpatient treatment programs that feature multiple services vital to the recovery process. 

We ensure our clients will receive all the tools and support they need to abstain from alcohol use and sustain long-lasting sobriety. We believe that every person deserves to experience a healthy and fulfilling life, and we can help them achieve this!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Flexeril and Alcohol

Are Suboxone and Xanax Safe to Combine?

Suboxone and Xanax | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Virtually every medication, including Suboxone and Xanax, comes with the potential for side effects that can be compounded when multiple medications are combined. It’s not uncommon for those who have an opioid addiction to also struggle with anxiety, insomnia, or other problems that may warrant a benzodiazepine prescription.

And, unfortunately, some people who are using Suboxone may abuse Xanax without a prescription. They may do so for mostly recreational purposes, or because they are self-medicating other mental health issues.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a prescription medication primarily used to treat opioid addiction. The medication comes in tablet form and contains both buprenorphine and naloxone.

Buprenorphine is a long-acting opioid agonist that binds to the same receptors in the brain that heroin and prescription painkillers do. For this reason, it blocks other opioids from attaching to receptors and is effective for treating opioid addiction. As buprenorphine occupies these receptors, withdrawal symptoms are prevented from occurring when a person stops using their drug of choice, such as heroin.

Suboxone also includes naloxone, a medication that works to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Moreover, if a person attempts to abuse Suboxone in high doses, the naloxone will remove buprenorphine from the opioid receptors and take its place. In doing so, this will cause the person to go into withdrawal, which is highly undesirable.

Moreover, Suboxone will prevent opioid withdrawal symptoms only if used as directed. Despite its effectiveness, as with any drug, Suboxone has the potential for side effects, which include the following:

  • General pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Depression

What Are Benzodiazepines?

Suboxone and Xanax | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Benzodiazepines are a class of drugs that can cause profound depression of the central nervous system (CNS). Benzos are most commonly used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, or insomnia. Xanax is a short-acting benzo that is thought to have a high potential for abuse, despite its relatively low classification as a Schedule IV substance.

A low to moderate dose of Xanax can result in the following side effects:

  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired motor function
  • Depression
  • Impaired vision
  • Vertigo
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Respiratory depression

When used in high doses, Xanax use can lead to slowed reflexes, erratic thinking and behavior, mood alteration, and euphoria. Euphoric effects, which are characterized by feelings of well-being and relaxation, often lead to the abuse of Xanax. Unfortunately, abuse of benzos has become extremely common in the United States.

Long-term effects from the use of benzos may include impaired memory and judgment, physical weakness, and disorientation or confusion.

A chemical dependence on Xanax can develop rapidly, which is why they are typically only intended for short-term use. Once dependence has formed, benzo withdrawal can cause uncomfortable side effects. Similar to alcohol withdrawal, these effects, such as seizures, can be life-threatening. 

As a result, medical detox is always recommended for those undergoing Xanax withdrawal. Often, a supervising doctor or addiction specialist will gradually wean a patient off of Xanax by lowering the dosage over time. This method helps to relieve withdrawal symptoms until the discontinuation of use is safe and comfortable.

Simultaneous Use of Suboxone and Xanax

Simultaneous use of Suboxone and benzos is not uncommon despite the risks and dangers. One study found that two-thirds of people who reported using buprenorphine did so in conjunction with benzos. This number is remarkably high and worrisome, as the two drugs can interact with each other adversely and can present a dangerous situation for the person who uses them together.

Combining opioid medications and benzos can result in coma and death, and they do so frequently. According to recent statistics, more than 11,000 overdose deaths in 2017 involved the use of both opioids and benzos.

Perhaps one reason why these two substances are so often combined is that those who have been prescribed Suboxone have already had trouble with substance abuse. To elaborate, this means that a person using Suboxone is at a higher risk of abusing benzos than those without a history of substance abuse.

Of note, it’s extremely dangerous to operate a motor vehicle or machinery when under the influence of this combination of drugs. Slowed reaction time, drowsiness, and other intoxicating effects significantly increase the chances of an accident.

Suboxone and Xanax | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Abuse of Suboxone and Xanax Is Very Dangerous

Using these two medications as prescribed in conjunction poses some risks. However, abusing either drug in excessive amounts is much more likely to result in severe complications and overdose. The greatest threat to an individual who uses these drugs is respiratory failure, which is more likely to occur when different types of CNS depressants are combined.

Benzos such as Xanax are more commonly abused in this scenario, however, because the overuse of Suboxone can cause adverse effects that can prompt immediate withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine itself is thought to have a relatively low potential for abuse, and with the addition of naloxone, this decreases even further. Xanax, on the other hand, is a prevalent drug of abuse, but if it is abused alone, it is unlikely to result in death.

For this reason, people who use Suboxone and Xanax may not realize that there may be dire consequences of doing so. Overdose notwithstanding, concurrent abuse also places an individual at a higher risk of experiencing adverse effects and complications in both the short- and long-term. 

Combining Suboxone with any benzo can lead to profound sedation, and excessive sleepiness is common. Also, users may be at high risk of experiencing respiratory depression and perilously low heart rate and blood pressure. Overdoses are survivable if addressed using emergency medical intervention early, but if a person has lacked oxygen for a prolonged period, this can result in permanent brain damage.

Concurrent abuse of these two substances has also been found to reduce the likelihood that the person in “recovery” will be able to sustain long-lasting sobriety. Indeed, relapse is more likely when an individual has a history of polysubstance abuse. Also, if a person continues to abuse Xanax when Suboxone has been discontinued, this in and of itself can contribute to a relapse.

In conclusion, combining Suboxone and Xanax should generally be avoided due to the risks involves, unless they are taken as directed by a physician. If a doctor prescribes either to a patient, the patient should notify this physician if he or she is using any other substances. Abuse of either Suboxone or Xanax has been associated with serious risks and should be avoided at all costs.

Getting Help for Addiction

If you’ve been prescribed Suboxone to help prevent the use of more powerful opioids and you are misusing it, we urge you to seek further care in a specialized treatment center. Regardless of whether you are abusing Suboxone, Xanax, other drugs, or alcohol, these behaviors must be addressed before it’s too late. Regardless of the reasons for abuse, it is hazardous and can result in severe health complications, up to and including coma and death.

Recovery in Tune offers both intensive outpatient and regular outpatient programs that include evidence-based treatments that are vital to the process of recovery. 

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, contact us as soon as possible to find out how we can help!

What Is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy | Recovery In Tune

What Is Music Therapy? – Music therapy is a form of creative expression that dates back to the 1970s. It’s often used in addiction programs as an alternative treatment. Music therapy interventions are also employed in different clinical environments to improve the overall functioning and mental health of a patient.

This kind of therapy often elicits positive results among those who have trouble expressing themselves in traditional ways or don’t benefit from other recovery options. Music is a wonderful form of artistic self-expression that allows a person to interact with themselves and others in a nonconventional way. It is a readily accessible intervention, and a background or education in music is not needed to participate.

Music therapy helps patients do the following:

  • Improve positivity
  • Gather self-knowledge
  • Increase concentration
  • Enhance interpersonal skills
  • Empower oneself through success
  • Explore emotions and self-esteem
  • Develop coping skills and problem-solving strategies
  • Improve mindfulness and relaxation techniques

Music Therapy for Teenagers and Young Adults

Adolescents and young adults may be especially receptive to music therapy due to their frequency of listening to music. Research has found that addicted adolescents in hospital environments are able to develop a more positive identity and self-image through music therapy.

Music therapy interventions allow withdrawn teens to express themselves in a healthy manner. Addiction treatment centers with a higher percentage of adolescents are more likely to make use of music therapy. This fact suggests that many recovery programs may offer services that they believe will best benefit their main clientele population.

Music Therapy Activities

Certified music therapists employ techniques that work to foster positive change in people’s lives by addressing their individual needs. Music therapy activities can include all aspects of music, both vocal and instrumental, such as the following:

  • Listening to music
  • Discussing music
  • Actively creating music
  • Playing with others
  • Songwriting
  • Music games
  • Interpreting lyrics
  • Improvising

There are two basic forms of music therapy: active and passive. In active music therapy, clients actively engage in creating music with their voice, instruments, or other objects. Passive music therapy typically consists of people doing a relaxing activity such as coloring while listening to music. Both forms have been proven to lower heart rate and improve mental well-being in those who participate.

Benefits Of Music Therapy In Addiction Treatment

Other benefits of music therapy include the following:

  • Reduced anxiety and stress
  • Reduced depression
  • Increased natural endorphins
  • Brain stimulation
  • Improved self-awareness
  • Heightened self-esteem
  • Better emotional control
  • Mood improvements

What Is Music Therapy? Music therapy is a form of creative expression ...

Music Therapy Helps with Other Disorders

Many people who suffer from addiction have a dual diagnosis condition, such as depression or anxiety. These co-occurring diagnoses are often at least partially responsible for drug addiction problems or a result of the abuse. Regardless of the reason why the other condition exists, treatment programs must address both issues concurrently.

Music therapy has been shown to be beneficial for the treatment of the following:

  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Mental illness
  • Behavioral problems

Types of Music and Benefits

Music is especially personal. For most of us, there are certain songs in particular that have touched our lives and resonate strongly with us. They may bring memories so vivid they might even trigger cravings to the addictive substances from which we are trying to abstain. Music therapy is more than merely listening to music to feel better.

There are specific types and styles of music that can offer benefits, such as the following:

Blues – Blues is a style of music that can help us accept the loss of relationships as a result of our drug use and abuse. What’s more, by stimulating the cerebellum, it can restore motor function that has been adversely affected by addiction.

Songwriting and Lyric Analysis – Writing or studying lyrics composed by others can promote honesty within ourselves by requiring us to confront our individual truths about life, relationships, and emotional dependences.

Drumming – Research has shown that organized drumming, such as drum circles, can induce relaxation and improve brain-wave synchronization. It can also help relieve emotional trauma and promote self-reintegration.

Music Therapy is Fun

A recent study from the University of Queensland revealed that people involved in cognitive-behavioral therapy for substance abuse also really enjoy music therapy. One of the greatest hurdles that rehab faces, according to the study, is identifying ways to engage those seeking treatment that encourages them to keep coming back week after week.

In the study, researchers found a 75% attendance rate, with more than 80% of the participants stating that they would undergo the program again. When evaluating the motivation and overall enjoyment of the program, participants rated their experience as at least a four out of five. And nearly half of the study participants reported that the music aspect made them feel as though they were unquestionably part of the group. This feeling of acceptance can inspire recovering addicts to keep continuing their treatment.

Getting Help for Addiction

Music therapy is an excellent alternative to traditional talk therapy and can increase a person’s desire to remain within a program for the enjoyment that it provides. Recovery in Tune offers music therapy, as well as many other essential treatment services in intensive outpatient and regular outpatient formats.

Contact us today if you or someone you love is ready to leave addiction behind and reclaim the healthy, joyful life you deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Alcohol Treatment

The Dangers of Snorting Valium

snorting valium

If you’re considering snorting Valium (diazepam), keep in mind that there are multiple reasons why you should not. There are many possible adverse complications that you may incur to your brain and body. Also, snorting Valium increases the risk of overdose and encountering severe side effects because of the amount of Valium entering the central nervous system (CNS) all at once.

What Happens When You Snort Valium?

Valium is a popular benzodiazepine (benzo) primarily used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Because Valium inhibits activity in the CNS, it may be used to help with the treatment of seizures and alcohol withdrawal. When abused, some people do so without a prescription or for its euphoric effects.

Snorting Valium results in a faster and more intense onset of effects, which is why it has become an increasingly prevalent form of abuse. But what happens when you snort Valium, exactly? When you change the route by which Valium is meant to be administered, you also alter the concentration and intensity of the effects of the medication.

Snorting Valium takes a shorter time to act on the CNS. Instead of the drug going through the digestive tract to be broken down, it instead travels through the nasal passages and crosses the blood-brain barrier soon after it’s been snorted. It may only take a few minutes to experience the effects of the Valium, and because of its higher concentration in the brain, snorting Valium also increases the likelihood of adverse side effects.

Is Snorting Valium More Effective?

Snorting Valium may still be effective in terms of therapeutic and euphoric effects, but this is not, by any means, the recommended method of administration. Simply put, the risk of side effects, addiction, and overdose is too high. For example, when you snort Valium regularly, the dosage can become toxic, and can result in the following:

  • Permanent nasal damage
  • Liver damage
  • Heart damage
  • Lung problems

The severity of these conditions will be affected by your level of abuse.

Side Effects of Snorting Valium

When you snort Valium, you increase your risk for adverse side effects to occur. Side effects from snorting Valium may include the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Impaired concentration
  • Nausea and diarrhea
  • Overdose
  • Nasal ulceration
  • Seizures
  • Tremors

Snorting Valium is not worth the chance of experiencing side effects you are not meant to encounter. If you want to decrease your risk of these effects, then DO NOT snort Valium.

Overdose

The primary reason why snorting Valium is so dangerous is that you can experience an overdose. A Valium overdose can be a medical emergency, and it can come on suddenly and without warning. If there is no one around to help you, you might not wake up. This tragedy is especially likely if you snort Valium while using other CNS depressants, such as opioids, alcohol, or other benzos.

Valium overdose symptoms include the following:

  • Confusion and dizziness
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Impaired motor control
  • Profoundly depressed breathing
  • Perilously slow pulse
  • Coma
Takeaways About Snorting Valium
While you may snort Valium and experience the effects of the drug more rapidly and with greater intensity, in the end, it’s not worth the risks you face. As with other benzos, unpredictable side effects can occur when misused. If you feel you require a stronger dose to treat your symptoms, you should talk to your healthcare provider.

Do You Need Treatment?

If you have been snorting Valium or are actively considering doing so, you may want to seek professional treatment for substance abuse. Snorting this drug is considered abuse, and it can result in overdose and increase the likelihood of tolerance and dependence.

Tolerance is characterized by the need to ingest increasing amounts of a substance to achieve the same results. Dependence occurs when the brain adapts to the presence of a substance and is unable to function correctly without it. This state results in the onset of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when a person attempts to quit using the drug.

These conditions will dramatically increase the likelihood of developing an addiction. Addiction is also hallmarked by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite suffering adverse consequences as a result.

If you are experiencing any of the above, there is a good chance you would benefit from comprehensive, long-term treatment for drug abuse or addiction. But you are not alone in this—recent studies have revealed that the abuse of benzos has been increasing. For this reason, admission to treatment centers related to the misuse of these drugs has been rising, as well.

We Can Help

Recovery in Tune offers evidence-based programs and services in intensive outpatient and regular outpatient formats. Our programs feature essential therapeutic modalities, such as psychotherapy, counseling, and group support.

If you or someone you love is struggling to stop abusing Valium or other substances, contact us today! We are dedicated to helping those who need it most break free from addiction and foster the fulfilling lives they deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Snorting Percocet

Overcoming Addiction

Overcoming Addiction | A Multi-Faceted Plan | Recovery in Tune

Overcoming addiction may seem like an impossibility, but a countless number of people have been able to break the vicious circle of drug or alcohol abuse. It requires taking the first step, treatment, and long-term diligence, and those who are truly motivated can ultimately find happiness without the use of intoxicating substances.

Understanding Drug Addiction

In order to resolve a problem, you have to understand it. Simply put, substance addiction is a chronic disorder in which the person suffering cannot control their behaviors related to drug or alcohol use. Moreover, the person struggles with a compulsive urge to obtain and use substances despite the incurrence of adverse consequences.

Drug Addiction is a Disease

Drug addiction is classified as a chronic brain disease because it impacts multiple brain functions, including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Self-control
  • Decision making
  • Reward and pleasure
  • Learning
  • Judgment
  • Memory
  • Behavior

The changes in the aforementioned functions may persist for years after quitting drug use, and this is one of the primary reasons why many formerly active addicts have trouble successfully overcoming addiction and continually relapse. This pattern is not much different than the patterns of improvement and regression seen in other diseases, such as hypertension and diabetes. Like many other health conditions, drug addiction is also preventable and treatable, and, if left unaddressed, it can devastate a person’s life.

What Causes Drug Addiction?

People use drugs and abuse alcohol for many reasons. Much drug use is a form of self-medication, but most drug use is justified—prescription drugs such as opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines, when used properly, can vastly improve people’s lives.

In the end, reasons for drug and alcohol abuse come down to a variety of possibilities, such as social pressure, curiosity, or to avoid negative psycho-emotional states such as depression and anxiety. Some seek to experience euphoria or “get high.” Still, others use drugs to enhance productivity or athletic performance.

Your Brain on Drugs

Overcoming Addiction | A Multi-Faceted Plan | Recovery in Tune

Most people who use substances for the first time do so voluntarily. However, after drugs or alcohol have begun to induce changes in a ‘person’s brain, it can become difficult to resist the desire to use more. Many intoxicating substances cause brain chemistry changes at a very fundamental level, and this is what causes physical dependence.

Most illicit drugs interfere with the brain’s reward system. This effect is often related to a massive boost in dopamine, the hormone responsible for feelings of well-being, which motivates us to repeat a particular behavior. If you use substances that manipulate the reward system, you are essentially causing your brain to reward itself in the aftermath of harmful behaviors.

Dependence is characterized by the body’s inability to function “normally” without the presence of a substance. Discontinuation of the use of drugs or alcohol at this point results in unpleasant and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms that manifest as the brain fights to regain chemical stability.

As a person uses a substance for a prolonged period of time, their brain becomes accustomed to the effects of that drug, and this adaptation makes them feel increasingly less satisfied with the results. This condition is known as drug tolerance and means a person will need to use increasing amounts of a substance to achieve the desired effect.

The Circle of Relapse

Because substance addiction rewires the brain, it tends to impair a person’s judgment and self-control. This effect means that many people trying to overcome their addiction will be vulnerable to relapse and may be driven to reengage in drug or alcohol use. Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that requires a complex, multidisciplinary approach to treatment.

Moreover, if you try to overcome your addiction by sheer will alone, the chances of long-term success are poor. Even individuals who have been in recovery for years can still relapse. It is important to realize that relapse does not equate to total failure—it simply means that you may need further treatment and that treatment components will likely need to be adjusted.

Research has shown that people who receive comprehensive care in a specialized addiction program experience better outcomes than those who go it alone or receive inadequate care. That said, people have certainly quit using substances cold turkey without help. One of the main problems with this, however, is that you can remove drugs or alcohol from your life, but that doesn’t address the underlying reasons why you used them and became addicted in the first place.

Steps to Overcome Drug Addiction

If you or someone you love is currently suffering from addiction, you shouldn’t feel helpless. Although addiction is not curable, it can be effectively treated if you are motivated and take certain steps to make it happen.

1. Accept You Have a Problem

Everything starts with acceptance. You will never be able to overcome your addiction if you don’t admit it to yourself and others. You have to confront your problem and start working towards resolving it.

Overcoming Addiction | A Multi-Faceted Plan | Recovery in Tune

2. Decide to Make a Change Immediately

Everyone knows that addiction is a harmful and undesirable condition. However, it is often hard to make a change in the here and now. The nature of addiction causes people to feel uncertain and hesitate when it comes to resolving to change their destructive behaviors.

3. Set Goals

Short-term goals may include several elements, but seeking treatment should be an absolute priority. You may wish to immediately start changing your habits by cutting back on drug or alcohol use while you await entry into a treatment program. You can also avoid social interaction with people who may dissuade you from getting help or drag you deeper into addiction.

Another goal should be coming clean (if you haven’t already) with family and close friends and asking them for support. You shouldn’t have to go through this alone. They can help you find treatment and keep you from escalating your use until you enroll in a program.

The treatment-seeking process often involves calling facilities, discussing treatment options, and finding out what insurance they take, or how much costs will be. Treatment specialists should also be able to help you determine what treatment would be appropriate for you and help you get on track for the best outcome.

You may want to think about some long-term goals, such as where you would like to see yourself in three months, six months, a year, etc. This will help you stay motivated. Remember that achieving a full recovery can take a considerable amount of time, so you should not let yourself be discouraged if you don’t feel immediately assured of yourself—it will all fall into place eventually.

Overcoming Addiction: Finding Treatment

Overcoming addiction is possible. Recovery in Tune can we help you or a loved one begin the journey to a healthier, more fulfilling life free from the use of drugs and alcohol.

We offer comprehensive treatment programs in both intensive inpatient and outpatient formats. Our programs include clinically-proven services essential for the process of recovery, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and medication-assisted treatment.

Our teams of compassionate, skilled addiction specialists are dedicated to providing each client with the care, support, and tools they need to recover from substance addiction, prevent relapse, and enjoy long-lasting sobriety and well-being.

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, please contact Recovery in Tune today to discuss treatment options. Find out how we help people free themselves from the disease of addiction!

Alcohol Treatment

Alcohol Treatment | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Alcohol Treatment – According to recent data, more than 16 million adults have an addiction to alcohol. Alcohol use is the 4th leading preventable cause of death in the U.S. and is responsible for the deaths of around 88,000 people per year. Indeed, more than 40% of all substance abuse treatment admissions in the U.S. are related to alcoholism.

The sad truth, however, is that very few people who need treatment ever receive it, and this problem is not due to a lack of treatment centers or available beds. In fact, alcohol abuse treatment options are more accessible to the general public than ever before. Unlike just a few decades ago, there are now thousands of programs that address a variety of addictions and treatment facilities that cater to many demographics.

The reasons why people do not seek or receive treatment vary, but often include one or more of the following:

1. Affordability – People without insurance, inadequate insurance, or with high deductibles are likely unable to afford care. Furthermore, many alcoholics still hold down jobs and cannot take time off of work.
2. Motivation – Some people are simply not motivated to quit drinking.
3. Stigma – There is still a stigma associated with addiction, and coming forward and admitting that one needs help can result in a backlash from loved ones who contend that alcoholism is a problem of morals or willpower, and not related to mental illness or disease.

One of the most challenging hurdles to overcome is getting a person into a treatment program in the first place, and if treatment is not available at the exact time they decide to seek help, the opportunity for recovery may be lost indefinitely.

Principles for Effective Alcohol Treatment

No two alcohol abuse treatment centers are the same. Although most programs combine some form of therapy and education, and perhaps a detox program, the way in which they are conducted may be very different from one facility to the next.

Specialized treatment for alcohol use disorder can be performed in either an inpatient, partial-hospitalization, or outpatient format. Inpatient treatment lengths vary, but they typically last between one to three months and may have the potential to continue for longer if necessary.

Cost is an important concern with inpatient treatment because the cost of these programs are usually more than outpatient, and this is because they provide 24/7 supervision and a higher level of care. Treatment centers that customized their programs to patient needs and goals have the highest rates of success. Each patient is unique, and an individualized treatment plan should reflect these differences.

Effective alcohol treatment programs address a wide variety of physical, emotional, psychological, and social issues. People that solicit help for alcohol abuse tend to have many underlying problems that also need to be addressed. Without attention to all elements of a person’s life, the chance of long-lasting success diminishes significantly.

Alcohol Treatment | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Alcohol treatment of any length has the potential to help a person achieve a recovery. According to research, however, patients that participate in treatment for more prolonged periods display higher success rates than those who receive shorter periods of treatment. To motivate patients to stay in treatment for an adequate amount of time, program facilitators must employ tools that engage and encourage patients to participate actively in the program.

Alcohol treatment facilities that do not include behavioral therapies and counseling services are unlikely to adequately provide patients with the tools and support they need to address the motivation behind their addiction, implement coping mechanisms, and develop problem-solving skills. These capacities become vitally important after patients complete treatment and wish to reestablish healthy and productive lives without the use of alcohol.

Many specialized addiction treatment centers, such as Recovery in Tune, combine behavioral therapies with other evidence-based services and medication. Pharmacotherapy may be even more essential for those with a drug or alcohol abuse problem and a co-occurring mental health condition. In most cases, the integration of several diverse treatments is needed to facilitate successful outcomes.

As with any chronic condition, the potential for relapse exists, especially during the initial rehab period. Alcohol treatment programs monitor their patients closely, allowing addiction professionals to identify what is or is not working effectively for a patient and adjust treatment if necessary.

Pharmacotherapy for Alcohol Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a therapeutic approach increasingly incorporated into the management of alcoholism as well as other substance use disorders. To reduce cravings or withdrawal symptoms during detox, patients may be administered certain medications and be monitored by a health provider or trained addiction professional. Medications that are indicated for the treatment of alcohol abuse include the following:

  • Acamprosate (Campral)
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
  • Naltrexone (ReVia, Vivitrol)

Getting Alcohol Abuse Treatment

Recovery in Tune is dedicated to helping clients by providing them with the tools and support they need to achieve abstinence and experience long-lasting sobriety and wellness. If you or someone you love has an alcohol use disorder, please contact us today to discuss treatment options and begin the journey to recovery!

Fentanyl Effects

Fentanyl Effects | Abuse, Withdrawal, and Overdose | Recovery in Tune

Fentanyl Effects: Abuse, Withdrawal, and Overdose – Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid up to 100 times more powerful than morphine. Fentanyl was developed in 1960, intended for the treatment of severe pain. It works by obstructing pain receptors in the brain and increasing the production of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine, which makes it highly addictive.

In recent years, drug dealers have increasingly been using fentanyl as a means to increase the potency of their drugs and reduce costs by adding it to other drugs such as heroin. The presence of fentanyl often occurs unbeknownst to the user, and significantly increases the risk of a life-threatening overdose.

How Is Fentanyl Used and Abused?

Fentanyl that is legally prescribed is available as a transdermal patch, nasal spray, lozenge, or in injectable form. It is a fast-acting substance that produces painkilling effects in just minutes, and the effects of a dosage will last for up to two hours. In addition to dramatic pain reduction, it induces deep relaxation and euphoria, effects that have made it popular among recreational drug users.

On the illegal drug market, fentanyl and its analogues are often sold as powders or tablets and can be smoked, snorted, or injected. Fentanyl in its illicit forms is often even more potent than legally-prescribed versions, and it is often combined with heroin, meth, or cocaine to induce more intense effects.

Although misuse/abuse of prescribed fentanyl is a problem, it is most often the illegal forms of the drug that are responsible for drug overdose deaths. When used recreationally or compulsively as a result of dependency, the risk of a fentanyl overdose increases dramatically.

Understanding Fentanyl Effects

Signs and Symptoms

The signs of fentanyl abuse will vary from between individuals, but may include any of the following:

Physical Symptoms

  • Psychomotor retardation
  • Constricted pupils
  • Drowsiness or insomnia
  • Psychomotor agitation

Behavioral Symptoms

  • Slurred speech
  • Social withdrawal and isolation
  • Neglect of daily responsibilities
  • Forging prescriptions
  • Poor performance/frequent absenteeism at work or school
  • Continuing to abuse fentanyl despite adverse consequences
  • Visiting different doctors to receive multiple prescriptions
  • Spending too much time obtaining, using, and recovering from use

Cognitive and Psychosocial Symptoms

  • Euphoria followed by apathy
  • Impaired judgment
  • Impaired memory
  • Cravings
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Attention and concentration difficulties
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation

Fentanyl Withdrawal

The fentanyl withdrawal timeline varies between individuals, but in general, symptoms begin in as little as 12-24 hours after the last dose. Physical withdrawal symptoms will peak at around 48 hours and may persist for up to a week. While physical symptoms usually subside within a week, emotional symptoms, such as depression and anxiety, can last much longer.

What are the physical symptoms of withdrawal?

  • Sweating and chills
  • Aches, pains, and spasms
  • Runny nose and teary eyes
  • Stomach pain, and upset
  • Insomnia
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Hypertension
  • Exhaustion
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Memory or cognition problems
  • Intense drug cravings

Fentanyl Overdose

Fentanyl Effects | Abuse, Withdrawal, and Overdose | Recovery in Tune

When fentanyl is consumed in excess, symptoms may become severe and place the user at risk of serious complications or death. A fentanyl overdose is a life-threatening condition. As soon as the signs and symptoms of a fentanyl overdose are witnessed emergency medical help should be contacted immediately.

The symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include the following:

  • Miosis (pinpoint pupils)
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Choking
  • Muscle weakness
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Bluish lips and fingernails
  • No response to stimuli
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Very low blood pressure
  • Very slow heart rate
  • Slowed or labored breathing
  • Respiratory depression
  • Coma

If multiple symptoms of overdose manifest, or if the individual loses consciousness and remains nonresponsive, an overdose is probable, and 911 should be called immediately.

Lethal overdoses of fentanyl are usually the result of respiratory distress. Nonetheless, the drug’s ability to severely depress central nervous system activity can produce other dangerous or fatal side effects, including brain damage, cardiac arrest, or organ failure.

To counteract an opioid overdose, paramedics or other first responders typically inject a drug called naloxone. This drug can halt and reverse the harmful effects of an overdose by attaching to and blocking the action of fentanyl at opioid receptors.

It may take multiple doses of naloxone to reverse a fentanyl overdose completely, and if the drug is administered after the overdose has advanced beyond a certain point, it may be ineffective.

Treatment for Fentanyl Addiction

Recovery in Tune offers outpatient treatment, which may include the following services:

We employ caring addiction specialists who provide clients with the tools and support they need to recover and experience long-term wellness and sobriety.

If you or your loved one is suffering from an addiction to fentanyl, please contact us as soon as possible!