Health Risks of Combining Ritalin and Alcohol

Ritalin and Alcohol | Health Risks | Recovery in Tune

Health Risks of Combining Ritalin and Alcohol – Like most potentially intoxicating substances, Ritalin and alcohol both have risks associated with their use. When Ritalin is used as directed by a physician, the chances of severe side effects are slim—the same can be said for moderate drinking. When these substances are combined, however, the chances of encountering adverse effects increase exponentially.

What Is Ritalin?

Ritalin is a prescription stimulant drug that contains the active ingredient methylphenidate used to treat symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). ADHD is characterized by difficulty with focus and sometimes problems with impulsivity. While mild versions of these symptoms are common among children, those with ADHD experience more severe symptoms, tend to be hyperactive, and, if left untreated, often do not grow out of this behavior as they get older.

Ritalin Abuse

Ritalin is commonly abused for its stimulant effects, which include increased focus and alertness, decreased appetite, and intense feelings of well-being. When Ritalin is abused, it is often not obtained through lawful means.

Relatively few people who have ADHD and have legitimate prescriptions for it engage in misuse. In fact, the effects of Ritalin on people who have ADHD are different than those who do not have the disorder.

Instead, those who abuse Ritalin often obtain the substance from friends or family members with prescriptions buy buying them or stealing them. In some cases, people may visit doctors and falsify symptoms of ADHD to obtain prescriptions. Ritalin can also be purchased on the black market.

Ritalin abuse is most often seen among teens and young adults, and ADHD drugs, such as Ritalin, Adderall, and Modafinil, are commonly referred to as “smart drugs.” Students believe that the drug can increase attention and focus, thus allowing them to stay up all night cramming for a test or to finish a paper. Despite this popular belief, statistics suggest that those who abuse Ritalin and other prescription stimulants, for this reason, tend to perform less well academically than those who don’t use them.

Ritalin is not considered addictive when taken in the prescribed amount as directed. However, when a user increases the dosage or uses other forms of administration (e.g., crushing and snorting), the potential for addiction increases. Also, the addictive potential rises if a person who doesn’t have a legitimate medical need uses the drug for recreational purposes.

Alcohol Abuse

Ritalin and Alcohol | Health Risks | Recovery in Tune

Although alcohol is legal for purchase and use among people 21 and older in the U.S., it can have harmful effects on the brain. Effects include the following: changes in mood and behavior, reduced inhibitions, confusion, and motor function impairments.

Long-term, excessive abuse of alcohol can have severe effects on the body and result in a variety of health conditions, including the following:

  • Stroke
  • Liver disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased risk of several forms of cancer

An alcohol use disorder (AUD) is described as any type of problematic drinking, or when drinking affects a person’s life in adverse ways. This problem can range from binge drinking to full-blown alcoholism and physical dependence. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), at least 15 million adults suffer from an AUD, and more than 80,000 people die each year from alcohol-related causes.

Combining Ritalin and Alcohol

It is not safe to mix Ritalin and alcohol under any circumstances. Despite this, it is not uncommon for recreational users to combine the two because Ritalin is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant. Users may do so as a means to counteract the unwanted effects of either substance. For example, a person may use Ritalin to offset the depressant or sedative effects of alcohol, and this may allow him or her to party for longer and drink more.

Combining these two substances can lead to unpredictable effects, such as an increase in heart rate to dangerous levels and high blood pressure. Problems with irregular sleeping patterns and mood swings can develop from mixing Ritalin and alcohol as well. Some users of both substances also experience an increase in anxiety, which can drive further self-medication and perpetuate an increasingly dangerous and burdensome cycle of drug abuse.

Because Ritalin’s stimulant properties can counteract some of the effects of alcohol, this can lead to overdrinking to perilous levels and result in alcohol poisoning. Acute alcohol poisoning is life-threatening and can also cause other severe health complications. In addition, drinking alcohol can cause more Ritalin to be released into the bloodstream, and this higher concentration can quickly lead to dependence as the body adapts to the presence of higher amounts of the stimulant.

Once physical dependence develops, withdrawal symptoms will occur when the person tries to quit using the substance. The same level of physical dependence can also quickly develop with long-term alcohol abuse. In cases of dependence on more than one substance, withdrawal is more complicated, and medical supervision is always required.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), health providers should be cautious about prescribing Ritalin to any person who also has a history of substance abuse, including alcohol. Substance abuse tendencies can lead to overuse of drugs, such as Ritalin, as well as an increased tolerance for it.

Long-Term Effects of Ritalin and Alcohol

Ritalin and Alcohol | Health Risks | Recovery in Tune

While the short-term effects of combining Ritalin and alcohol are certainly significant, there are also chronic problems that can manifest as a result of co-occurring abuse. Nutritional deficits are common, as Ritalin often suppresses appetite and alcoholics often have deficiencies in key nutrients, such as thiamine. Liver disease can also occur mostly due to the consumption of alcohol and its damaging effects.

A loss of energy is also common for those abusing these substances, which can encourage a person to increase their consumption of Ritalin or other stimulants in an effort to combat fatigue and lethargy. Agitation, irritability, and erratic sleep patterns can also be encountered by those who mix Ritalin and alcohol.

Depression is another potential long-term effect of using both Ritalin and alcohol. Depression is a remarkably common and troublesome symptom of addiction, and it can contribute to further substance abuse. The link between depression and substance abuse has been well-documented, and this particular drug combination is not immune to it.

Treatment for Polysubstance Abuse

Ritalin and alcohol are both common substances of abuse and can be very dangerous even when abused alone. However, mixing these two substances places an individual at higher risk for dangerous complications, both in the short- and long-term.

Ritalin’s pervasiveness among young adults makes this combination particularly dangerous, as underage persons and binge-drinkers are among those at highest risk for alcohol poisoning. Ritalin’s capacity to mask the immediate effects of alcohol can also lead to the consumption of a dangerous amount, thus contributing to an overdose of either or both substances.

The abuse of Ritalin, alcohol, or multiple substances should be treated seriously. Professional treatment that includes evidence-based services, such as psychotherapy and drug counseling, is needed to address polysubstance abuse and co-occurring conditions, such as anxiety or depression.

Recovery in Tune offers comprehensive addiction treatment programs that can help those who are suffering from addiction begin their journey to recovery. If you or someone you love is abusing Ritalin, alcohol, or other substances, call us today to discuss treatment options!

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Signs of Cocaine Addiction | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Signs of Cocaine Addiction – It can require diligence to identify a cocaine abuse problem in a loved one, and knowing what signs and symptoms to look for is critical. These signs will gradually become more severe and apparent to others over time as the person descends further and further into addiction. Eventually, they will become impossible to ignore.

Cocaine is a central nervous system stimulant that produces a surge in dopamine, a feel-good chemical in the brain. This action results in a brief boost of energy, increased alertness, hyperactivity, and an elevated mood. These effects make cocaine extremely addictive, and persons who repeatedly use cocaine are at a high risk of becoming dependent.

Signs of Cocaine Use

Initial signs of cocaine use can be subtle when compared to full-blown addiction. Indeed, the physical and mental signs of cocaine use become more increasingly evident in proportion to the behavioral effects of addiction.

Several signs imply the presence of a substance use disorder involving cocaine, including the following:

  • Strange or abnormal behavior
  • Secretiveness and providing suspicious answers to questions
  • Social withdrawal or neglect of old friends in favor of new ones
  • Neglect of important responsibilities involving school, work, or family
  • Impulsivity
  • Manic, hyperactive behavior
  • New or worsening financial troubles
  • Legal problems
  • White powdery smudges on skin, clothing, or other belongings, particularly around the nose and face

Compared to many drugs, cocaine is relatively expensive. Therefore, a regular cocaine habit may require the person to engage in risky behaviors to afford it, including the following:

  • Taking side jobs
  • Taking out loans
  • Selling drugs
  • Repeatedly asking to borrow money
  • Stealing money or personal possessions from friends and family
  • Withdrawing funds from savings accounts, 401K, or retirement

Cocaine Addiction

A cocaine habit often hijacks the user’s brain and compels him or her to engage in compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the incurrence of negative consequences. These outcomes are huge red flags, and may include the following:

  • Being suspended from or dropping out of school
  • Quitting or getting fired from a job
  • Extreme debt or bankruptcy
  • Strained or failed relationships
  • Ongoing legal trouble or incarceration

Cocaine abuse and cocaine addiction are two disorders on the same spectrum but are not the same thing. Addiction is characterized by dependence, tolerance, and drug-seeking behavior. Tolerance and dependence develop over time as the person continues to use cocaine and the brain changes and adapts to the substance’s persistent presence.

Cocaine tolerance begins to develop during the early stages of use and grows over time. Tolerance means that users will need increasingly higher doses to achieve the desired effect. Both cocaine abuse and full-blown addiction can cause physiological and emotional distress that may require emergency room visits, hospital stays, or psychological intervention to address.

Symptoms of Cocaine Use

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Common symptoms related to cocaine use include the following:

  • Insomnia
  • Hypersomnia
  • Increased anxiety
  • Social isolation
  • Reduced attention span
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Severe mood swings
  • Hyperstimulation
  • Hyperactivity
  • Elevated mood
  • Hypervigilance
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations

Due to the chemical instabilities induced by cocaine, erratic and explosive mood swings are common among users. When a loved one is struggling with a cocaine problem, they may act cold and distant, and become nearly unrecognizable from the person they once were. When this occurs, loved ones may be pushed away, sometimes too far to recognize the changes in the person’s behavior as they manifest. Unfortunately, the more these changes intensify, the more urgent the situation becomes.

Physical Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Physical symptoms caused by cocaine abuse and addiction can vary from mild to severe. Because every person’s body is different, cocaine doesn’t affect everyone in the same way. Regardless of whether these symptoms are mild or severe, however, the problem remains a serious one that has the potential to be life-threatening.

Common physical symptoms related to cocaine use include the following:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive sniffling
  • Runny or bloody nose
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Hoarseness
  • Twitching or shaking
  • Dark undereye circles
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Stomach aches
  • Nausea
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Accelerated heart rate

Once a person has developed a physiological dependence on cocaine, withdrawal symptoms manifest if the drug is abruptly discontinued.

Symptoms associated with cocaine withdrawal may include the following:

  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Seizures
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Excessive sleeping

Cocaine is a very powerful substance that has side effects that may vary depending on how much of the drug was used, the person’s natural body chemistry, and other substances present in the person’s system. Cocaine may also be mixed with harmful adulterants or other drugs that can contribute to overdose or sudden death.

Long-Term Effects of Cocaine Use

The longer cocaine addiction continues, the higher the risk of damage to the brain’s ability to function. Sometimes, in addition to physicians, other specialists and therapists are needed to treat long-term cocaine users effectively. And, unfortunately, some of the adverse consequences induced by cocaine use are irreversible.

Long-term health consequences may include the following:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Lung damage
  • Chronic nosebleeds
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Seizures and convulsions
  • Nasal tissue damage
  • Reduced sense of smell
  • Profound weight loss
  • Malnourishment
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Impotence
  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Bowel deterioration
  • Reproductive complications
  • Movement disorders

In general, the more a cocaine addiction becomes entangled into a person’s psychology, the riskier his or her lifestyle will become. As such, cocaine abuse may result in additional health risks, such as the following:

  • Unplanned pregnancy
  • Fetal cocaine exposure
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) from unprotected sex
  • Diseases from unsterile needles, such as HIV and hepatitis

Long-term cocaine use is also associated with deep psychological distress, such as paranoia and hallucinations. Some research has found that cognitive functions such as memory and motor control may be impaired by long-term abuse. Furthermore, cocaine abuse is closely linked to heart failure and premature death.

Signs of Cocaine Addiction | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Signs of a Cocaine Overdose

Although cocaine use can be dangerous at any dose, the drug’s hazardous potential significantly increases when it is consumed at very high amounts. The addictive properties of cocaine make it easy to overlook the excessive amounts one is using to maintain a high, which is very short in duration.

If a person has developed a tolerance, this in of itself can contribute to life-threatening effects as they continue to increase their dose, chasing a high that has become more and more difficult to achieve. An overdose of cocaine is considered a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment.

Signs and symptoms of a cocaine overdose can include the following:

  • Panic
  • Delirium
  • Delusions
  • Hyperthermia
  • Convulsions and seizures
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Heart failure
  • Cerebral hemorrhage
  • Shock
  • Kidney failure
  • Stroke
  • Coma

If an overdose is not treated immediately, the risk of heart failure and death significantly increase. Statistics have also revealed a strong correlation between cocaine overdoses and toxic interactions of cocaine with other substances.

For example, in 2015, more than half of known overdoses involving cocaine in the U.S. also included opioids. In fact, more than one-third (37%) of these deaths involved heroin—combining cocaine and heroin produces a very powerful and deadly mixture known as a speedball.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction is most effectively treated using a comprehensive approach to addiction. Recovery in Tune offers customized, evidence-based treatment that includes services vital to recovery, such as psychotherapy, drug counseling, group support, health and wellness programs, and aftercare planning.

Recovery from addiction is a lifelong process, but you don’t have to do it alone. We can help you break free from the chains of addiction and reclaim the fulfilling life you deserve!

Identifying the Signs & Symptoms of Addiction

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Identifying the Signs & Symptoms of Addiction – Many people begin experimenting with drugs or alcohol in response to peer influences, out of curiosity, or in a misguided attempt to cope with daily stress, mental illness, or a history of trauma. Others develop abusive patterns related to the use of prescription drugs, such as opioids and benzodiazepines, that have a potential for dependence and addiction, despite their legitimate therapeutic value.

Fortunately, not everyone who abuses drugs or alcohol will go on to develop a substance use disorder. Unfortunately, though, there is no way to predict if a person’s substance use habits will develop into an addiction. There are specific factors, however, that have been recognized as contributing forces in a person’s predilection toward addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Addiction

Risk Factors

Investigators have revealed several risk factors that can make a person more susceptible to developing a substance use disorder. Of note, the existence of one or more of these factors does not necessarily imply that addiction will develop, but their presence does increase the likelihood that it may occur.

Among the most common risk factors that indicate a person may develop an addiction include the following:

  • Having a close relative(s) who was diagnosed with a substance use disorder, especially if they are a first-degree relative (e.g., parent or sibling)
  • Being diagnosed with a mental health condition such as anxiety, major depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, etc.
  • A history of childhood trauma, such as poverty, neglect, and physical or psychological abuse
  • Early age initiation—the earlier a person begins using alcohol or drugs, the greater the potential that addiction will develop
  • A history of childhood aggressiveness, violence, or having poor social skills
  • A history of inadequate parental supervision in childhood
  • General availability of intoxicating substances
  • The type of drug used and the most common method of administration (e.g., a person who injects heroin is significantly more likely to develop a severe addiction versus a person who only smokes marijuana)

Physical and Behavioral Effects

Substance use disorders are hallmarked by a person’s patterns of drug or alcohol use, the effects this use induces, and an inability to control use despite the incurrence of a number of adverse effects.

Common physical signs and symptoms of addiction include the following:

  • Changes in one’s behavior, such as becoming unreliable and irresponsible, becoming less involved with or withdrawing from friends or family, and failing to fulfill important obligations
  • Physical changes, such as notable and unexplained weight loss or gain, skin sores, dental hygiene problems, nosebleeds, or an overall unkempt appearance
  • Neglect of appearance and personal hygiene
  • Red, bloodshot, or glassy eyes or chronic congestion
  • Basic lifestyle patterns that appear negatively altered, such as sleeping too much or not enough
  • Sudden and repeated complaints of feeling ill or experiencing flu-like symptoms (physical signs of withdrawal)
  • Requiring more of a substance to achieve the same effect that was once induced at lower doses (tolerance)

Emotional and Social Effects

Substance use disorders are characterized by a combination of both physical and psychological problems associated with the excessive use of drugs or alcohol.

Some of the psychological and emotional signs and symptoms of addiction include the following:

  • Mood swings, depression, irritability, agitation, and aggression
  • Intense cravings for drugs or alcohol
  • Resorting to substance abuse as a means to cope with stress or unwanted thoughts and feelings
  • Continuing to believe that one’s substance use is “normal” or not problematic despite the incurrence of multiple adverse consequences, such as financial or legal issues, tense relationships, poor academic performance, or loss of employment
  • Becoming defensive when confronted about substance abuse
  • Experiencing alternating episodes of unusual hyperactivity and overexcitement with depression and irritability
  • Experiencing periods of fatigue and exhibiting a lack of motivation
  • Having unexplainable episodes of high anxiety, intense fear, or paranoia
  • Experiencing feelings of severe depression, anxiety, and intense cravings that manifest after attempting to quit using a substance, and may be followed shortly by relapse (psychological signs of withdrawal)

Symptoms of Addiction | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Other Warning Signs

Several clear warning signs may suggest that a loved one has developed a substance use disorder. While only a licensed health provider can formally diagnose a substance use disorder, concerned family members or friends can reference these signs and symptoms of addiction and urge their loved one to undergo a substance abuse evaluation and seek professional treatment if needed.

In addition to the previously mentioned physical and emotional signs, other red flags that loved ones can look out for include the following:

  • Abrupt and radical changes in mood or personality in combination with known drug or alcohol use
  • Unusual deception and secretiveness
  • Association with a new and possibly sketchy social circle that appears to glorify and engage in substance abuse
  • Frequent examples of significant problems involving family, friends, coworkers, and peers that didn’t usually occur before
Diagnosing a Substance Use Disorder

Formal diagnostic criteria that indicate the presence of a substance use disorder include the following:

  • Continuing to use a substance despite the incurrence of significant damaging effects related to work, relationships, health, education, and other areas of life
  • Frequently using more of the substance or for a longer period than was initially intended
  • Spending a significant amount of time obtaining drugs or alcohol and recovering from use
  • Experiencing persistent cravings for the drug of choice
  • The neglect of important obligations in favor of substance use
  • Using a substance in situations where it may be hazardous, such as driving while impaired, using the substance at work or school, and combining it with other intoxicating substances
  • Being unable to reduce or discontinue the use of a substance despite communicating a desire to do so
  • Developing a tolerance to a substance and encountering withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation of use

Finding Treatment

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Among the most enduring and harmful myths surrounding addiction is that a person should hit “rock bottom” before seeking help and entering a rehab program. In truth, however, the only thing required to begin an addiction treatment program is the motivation to take the first step. In general, the earlier one receives help, the easier it is to kick the addiction.

Despite what some might suggest, substance use disorders are considered to be very treatable conditions. Many people who receive appropriate treatment go on to enjoy sober, healthy, and fulfilling lives.

Approaches to addiction treatment vary depending on the person’s unique profile and the type of substance used. Effective professional treatment, however, typically consists of the following:

  • A comprehensive physical and psychological assessment employed to identify all problem areas, including mental health conditions and a history of trauma
  • Detox and withdrawal management that can be performed on an inpatient or outpatient basis
  • Targeted addiction therapy that helps identify the specific factors that contribute to substance abuse
  • Training to facilitate the development of coping and relapse prevention skills
  • Diagnosis and treatment for comorbid psychological or physical conditions in conjunction with substance use disorder treatment
  • Administration of medications, if prudent, to mitigate cravings and withdrawal symptoms, or manage the symptoms of a mental health disorder
  • Strong social support from loved ones through family therapy, friends, and peers who are also in recovery
  • Informed long-term aftercare planning that is designed to promote a lifestyle consistent with recovery

Harmony Recovery is dedicated to helping all clients we serve by providing them with the education, tools, resources, and support they need to achieve abstinence and experience long-lasting sobriety. Contact us today to discuss treatment options and discover how we can help you begin your journey to recovery!

Neurontin Abuse

Neurontin Abuse | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Neurontin Abuse – Neurontin is the most commonly known brand name for gabapentin, a prescription drug approved for the treatment of neuropathic pain and epilepsy. As a relatively new drug, gabapentin’s precise mechanism of action and potential adverse side effects are still being researched.

Experts believe that gabapentin works by releasing a neurotransmitter in the brain called GABA, which functions as a minor tranquilizer that can produce a mild high in some users. It also promotes feelings of calmness, relaxation, and increased sociability, and may be misused by those who use multiple substances to compound the effects of other drugs or alcohol.

Side effects of Neurontin use may include the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of memory
  • Impaired coordination
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Viral infections
  • Tremors
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Fever
  • Erratic eye movements
  • Jerky body movements
  • Depression

Is Neurontin Addictive?

Neurontin can be habit forming but not typically in the same way as many other drugs of abuse. This difference is because, besides GABA, Neurontin does not appear to influence other neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine, unlike many other substances that affect the central nervous system (CNS), including opioids or alcohol.

For this reason, gabapentin is thought to have a lower potential for abuse and addiction, so it is not included in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of controlled substances in the United States. Despite a low potential for addiction, Neurontin does have some properties similar to other drugs of abuse and can induce mild psychoactive effects and result in withdrawal symptoms if a user tries to quit abruptly. Withdrawal symptoms are a telltale sign of dependence, a condition that occurs over time as a product of chronic, repeated drug or alcohol use.

Common gabapentin withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Teariness
  • Suicidal ideations
  • Irritability
  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Restlessness
  • Itching
  • Muscle pain or spasms
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating
  • Seizures

Neurontin Abuse | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

When using Neurontin as directed by a doctor, side effects such as those listed above are not necessarily a sign of addiction. Symptoms related to Neurontin abuse may be more obvious and include addictive behaviors, such as the following:

  • Lying about symptoms or exaggerating their intensity to physicians in an attempt to get more Neurontin
  • Visiting multiple doctors or pharmacies (doctor shopping) trying to get more Neurontin
  • Switching doctors when the original physician denies the patient access to Neurontin
  • Adverse changes in friends, social behavior, or personal hygiene
  • Preoccupation with obtaining and using Neurontin
  • Refusal to quit despite negative social, financial, or legal implications
  • Multiple failed attempts to quit (relapse)
  • Development of tolerance (an increasing amount of the drug is needed to achieve the desired effect)

Who Misuses or Abuses Neurontin?

In a study conducted using data collected by six addiction treatment facilities, clinical researchers found that 22% of survey respondents reported abusing gabapentin and pregabalin (both gabapentinoids) in conjunction with methadone.

Another study revealed that rates of Neurontin misuse tend to vary depending on the population in question. For example, the incidence of Neurontin misuse among the general population is only about 1%. However, among those who abuse opioids, this rate is as high as 22%, and among people with Neurontin prescriptions, as much as 40-65%.

Neurontin Overdose

The likelihood of death from an overdose on Neurontin by itself is extremely low. However, as a CNS depressant, gabapentin can adversely and unpredictably interact with other drugs, such as opioids, and enhance their effects. These effects may be severe and result in harm to oneself or others, so you should never use Neurontin in conjunction with another substance unless directed by a doctor.

Symptoms of a drug overdose may include the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach cramps and diarrhea
  • Dizziness and loss of balance
  • Seizures
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Shallow or labored breathing
  • Stopped breathing
  • Visual disturbances
  • Congested snoring
  • Cyanosis
  • Unconsciousness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Coma
  • Death

Treatment for Neurontin Abuse

Neurontin abuse is a potentially serious condition that should be addressed by medical or addiction professionals. People who misuse or abuse gabapentin often abuse other substances, including benzodiazepines, sedatives, opioids, or alcohol.

Also, many people who engage in prescription drug abuse suffer from co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety. These disorders should always be addressed and treated in conjunction with substance abuse.

Treatment for Neurontin abuse involves specialized care, including comprehensive, evidence-based approaches that make use of psychotherapy, individual and family counseling, group support, health and wellness programs, and aftercare planning.

Our goal is to provide each client with the tools and support they need to achieve a full recovery, prevent relapse, and enjoy long-lasting wellness and sobriety. We employ highly-trained addiction professionals who deliver evidence-based, therapeutic services to our clients with care and expertise.

If you or someone you know is abusing prescription medications, illicit drugs, or alcohol, please contact us as soon as possible for a free consultation and to discuss treatment options. We are dedicated to helping people free themselves from the grips of substance abuse and addiction and reclaim the fulfilling and healthy lives they deserve!

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Drug and Alcohol Abuse | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

Drug and Alcohol Abuse – Alcohol use disorder is a chronic disease that when present, may also increase the likelihood of a person developing co-occurring substance abuse problems such as addictions to prescription medications or illicit drugs. Combining alcohol and other drugs, however, can result in serious health and behavioral complications. Not only can excessive drinking and drug use compound the effects of each substance, but it can also lead to unpredictable and dangerous interactions.

What Is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse is constituted by the chronic and problematic use of alcohol and/or drugs. A person who abuses alcohol has a higher risk of using at least one other substance, such as marijuana, heroin, or cocaine. Prolonged consumption of drugs and alcohol increases tolerance, therefore requiring increasing amounts of the substance to achieve the same effects.

A co-occurring alcohol and drug abuse problem can begin as mild to moderate use then gradually develop into a more severe condition. For example, a person may initially combine small amounts of alcohol with some other drug that has a relatively low potential for abuse or addiction. Over time, however, their body may develop physical dependence and begin craving more of one or the other substance, or both.

Once a person has built a tolerance to both substances, he or she may be forced to increase the amount(s) consumed in order to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms. As a result, some individuals may resort to using more addictive substances, such as heroin, cocaine or meth, to experience the euphoric effects they are seeking.

Being able to identify the warning signs of alcoholism and substance abuse is key to recognizing the need for professional help as early as possible. If left unaddressed for a long period of time, problems with drinking and drugs can intensify and become life-threatening.

Recognizing a Drug and Alcohol Abuse Problem

While some signs of alcohol and drug abuse are prominent and may be caught early on, others may not be as obvious. Warning signs are sometimes overlooked when a person conceals their drinking habits and drug use problem.

Due to the shame and negative implications associated with drug and alcohol abuse, many people deny they have a problem, at least initially. In these instances, it can be challenging for close friends and family members to arrange an intervention and attempt to get their loved one the help they so desperately need.

Identifying Substance Abuse

Here are several questions to ask that may help you to identify whether you or a loved one may be suffering from a drug and alcohol abuse problem:

1. Have you felt annoyed by the concern or criticism of your substance use by those around you, such as family, friends, or co-workers?
2. Have you ever thought that you should reduce your alcohol or drug consumption?
3. Have you felt guilt regarding your drug and alcohol consumption?
4. Do you ever find yourself craving alcohol or other substances regularly throughout the day?
5. In the last year, have you neglected any obligations due to drinking and/or drug use?
6. Have you or someone else been physically or emotionally harmed as a result of your substance abuse?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of these questions, you should seek help from a medical professional, mental health provider, or addiction specialist. Positive answers to these questions are not meant to serve as an official diagnosis. However, they may indicate that there is a substance abuse issue at hand and motivate you to get help.

The Dangers of Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Depending on the volume of alcohol and type drug(s) consumed, a person can encounter a host of adverse side effects. Since alcohol is a depressant, combining it with another psychoactive substance can be dangerous and lead to unpredictable and even-threatening side effects.

Some of the most common drug and alcohol combinations include the following:

Cocaine and Alcohol

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Cocaine and alcohol used together is one of the most popular combinations among drug users because of the intense high that both substances induce. Cocaine is a stimulant that increases blood pressure, heart rate and alertness, and also helps alcohol reach the brain quicker. Mixing cocaine and alcohol produces a chemical called cocaethylene, which contributes to intense feelings of pleasure. Severe risk factors of combining alcohol and cocaine include heart attack, overdose or death.

Methamphetamine (Meth) and Alcohol

Like cocaine, meth is a powerful stimulant that is most often used recreationally. The effects of cocaine, however, wear off quickly, whereas meth remains in the body for much longer. If someone drinks excessive while on meth, they will not initially feel the effects of alcohol poisoning, and in their euphoric state, they may consume much more than their body can handle. If meth begins to wear off before the alcohol, the person can die from acute alcohol intoxication.

Heroin and Alcohol

Both heroin and alcohol are central nervous system depressants that can cause comparable side effects. One of the most dangerous risks of using depressants is dramatically depressed breathing. When a person uses heroin with alcohol, breathing problems can become even more serious and life-threatening. The combined use of heroin and alcohol can result in an extremely slow heart rate and profound respiratory depression.

Ecstasy and Alcohol

Ecstasy is a stimulant and hallucinogen that can cause severe reactions when used with other substances, including alcohol. The intense high experienced while taking ecstasy can influence a person to drink large amounts of alcohol in a brief period of time. This can cause extreme dehydration, among other side effects, such as excessive sweating, heat stroke, nausea, and vomiting.

Prescription Painkillers and Alcohol

Prescription painkillers, such as Vicodin, Xanax, and OxyContin, are commonly prescribed in the U.S. to treat moderate to severe pain. When used in conjunction with alcohol, these substances can produce dangerous health conditions. When used separately, both painkillers and alcohol can cause liver damage. However, when the two are combined, it significantly increases the risk of liver problems and liver disease.

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Side Effects of Substance Use

The consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol and drugs over the course of weeks or years can take a serious toll on the body. Some effects may be temporary and mild or moderate. Other effects may last much longer and be responsible for irreversible damage.

Several short-term alcohol and drug use side effects include the following:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Respiratory problems
  • Markedly accelerated or decreased heart rate
  • Muscle control and motor skill impairments
  • Reduced inhibitions leading to risky behavior
  • Intensified emotions and mood swings

In addition to the temporary side effects of alcohol and drug abuse, there are also complications that can be chronic. Some of these conditions can put one at a higher risk of developing further health issues later on.

Long-term effects of alcohol and drug abuse may include:

  • Damage to internal organs
  • Muscle and bone damage
  • Loss of coordination
  • Increased risk of disease
  • Long-term memory impairments
  • Malnutrition and marked weight loss or gain
  • Nasal damage from snorting drugs such as cocaine or meth
  • Skin damage, sores, and infection related to injecting drugs such as heroin

Treating Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Excessive alcohol and drug abuse can destroy relationships with family and friends, professional and academic prospects, and health. While many in the grips of substance abuse feel as though there’s no end in sight, help is available. Alcohol and drug abuse are treatable conditions that can be defeated with the help of addiction specialists and medical care and support.

Recovery in Tune offers comprehensive, evidence-based treatment programs that include services vital to the recovery process, such as behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and more.

If you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism, drug abuse, or both, please call us today to discuss treatment options and discover how we can help!

Cocaine vs. Meth: Effects of Abuse and Addiction

Cocaine vs. Meth | Effects of Abuse and Addiction | Recovery in Tune

Cocaine vs. Meth: Effects of Abuse and Addiction – Cocaine and methamphetamine (meth) are both stimulants and impact the body by increasing alertness and talkativeness, as well as inducing intense feelings of happiness and euphoria.

The myriad of harmful side effects that accompany the use of either drug is also comparable, and extended use can quickly and adversely impact the user’s body and mind. However, when compared to cocaine, the effects of meth are believed to be more neurologically destructive and permanent.

Understanding how meth and cocaine work, as well as the hazards and long-term effects of each, can help prevent overdose deaths, and possibly stop addiction before it starts.

Fundamental Differences and Similarities

Both meth and cocaine and meth do have some limited medical purpose. Cocaine is the only known drug that has the properties of both a stimulant and anesthetic and is used as local anesthesia in some surgical procedures. Medical use of meth for the treatment of ADHD, narcolepsy, and obesity is tightly controlled to prevent drug diversion on the black market.

The primary difference between cocaine and meth is that cocaine is plant-based, derived from the coca plant native to South America. Meth, on the other hand, is an entirely human-made synthetic drug, and illicit production often occurs in small, clandestine labs as well as in larger scale cartel operations.

Meth can contain many different toxic ingredients, including the following:

  • Pseudoephedrine
  • Acetone
  • Ammonia
  • Battery acid
  • Drain cleaner
  • Gasoline
  • Hydrochloric acid
  • Lithium
  • Lye
  • Red phosphorus
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Antifreeze

Cocaine often has the association of wealth attached to it, and indeed, cocaine is rather expensive and short-acting, meaning that those who abuse it tend to do so in a binge-like pattern. Meth, conversely, has been oft referred to as “the poor man’s cocaine,” and is frequently portrayed as a drug of choice for economically depressed rural areas.

Of note, crack cocaine is a bit different. Less refined than powdered cocaine, crack is much cheaper and also associated with people of a lower economic status. To manufacture crack, cocaine is combined with other ingredients that may include rat poison and baking soda, making it an even more dangerous form of cocaine to use.

Cocaine vs. Meth | Effects of Abuse and Addiction | Recovery in Tune

Cocaine vs. Meth: How They Work

Because they are both stimulants, meth and cocaine induce similar effects by increasing the user’s levels of dopamine, a chemical neurotransmitter that regulates the brain’s pleasure centers, albeit they achieve this in slightly different ways. Cocaine lengthens dopamine actions, which means that it prevents the brain from reabsorbing dopamine, allowing it to accumulate in the synapse to induce an elevated mood and an increased sense of energy.

Methamphetamine use blocks the reuptake of dopamine, but it also increases the release of the neurotransmitter, essentially producing a surge to the synapse. To comprehend just how much dopamine meth releases and what makes it so rapidly and dangerously addictive, consider how other substances, including cocaine, compare:

  • Both nicotine and alcohol cause dopamine levels to spike from around 100 to 200 units.
  • Cocaine causes a comparably higher release of dopamine, increasing levels from 100 to about 350 units.
  • Meth use boosts dopamine a baseline of 100 units to roughly 1,250 units, over 12 times that of alcohol or nicotine.

The high from meth also lasts substantially longer than cocaine. While it takes around an hour for 50% of cocaine to be eliminated from the system, it takes 12 hours for 50% of meth to leave the body. In other words, like the dopamine boost, the half-life of meth is about 12 times greater than that of cocaine.

Cocaine vs. Meth Effects

Some of the side effects that can occur while using cocaine or meth overlap and include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness

Withdrawal symptoms are also comparable and typically manifest as the following:

  • Depression
  • Anhedonia
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy
  • Aches and pains
  • Impaired concentration
  • Chills
  • Shaking/tremors

These withdrawal symptoms are a large part of what makes detox from cocaine a profoundly uncomfortable and painful process – this is especially true for meth. Still, the harmful and potentially irreversible effects of extended use of either substance far exceed the discomfort of undergoing detox.

Cocaine vs. Meth | Effects of Abuse and Addiction | Recovery in Tune

Irreversible Damage

Long-term cocaine use can lead to lengthy episodes of confusion and paranoia, along with seizures and suicidal thoughts. Long-term use can also wreak havoc on the respiratory, cardiovascular, and central nervous systems, which can result in chest pains and heart palpitations. Chronic cocaine use has also been associated with the development of Parkinson’s disease.

Other associated health risks of cocaine use can be magnified depending on how it typically enters the body. A persistent inflamed and runny nose is among the mildest effects of snorting cocaine regularly.

If snorted intranasally for a prolonged period, it can lead to hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, nosebleeds, loss of sense of smell, and may even carve out a hole in the septum that will cause the nasal cavities to collapse. Likewise, injecting cocaine causes puncture marks or “track marks” and increases the risk of abscesses, infection, and contracting HIV or Hepatitis C.

The long-term effects of meth abuse are even more disturbing. Chronic use induces prolonged feelings of anxiety, insomnia, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, aggression, and violent behavior. Also, there are physical effects which include skin sores, weight loss, and serious dental problems, otherwise known as “meth mouth.” Several factors related to meth use contribute to meth mouth, such as poor nutrition, poor dental hygiene, chronic dry mouth, and teeth-grinding.

Nonetheless, the most severe damage that prolonged abuse of meth can produce is to the brain, and, sadly, it is often permanent. Meth alters the brain in critical ways, decreasing the number of neurons in the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is extremely limited in its capacity to generate new replacement neurons, which is what makes damage to the brain sometimes permanent.

Brain damage caused by meth abuse may affect essential cognitive functions, such as the following:

  • Aspects of attention and movement
  • The capacity to visualize objects in space and generate nonverbal memories
  • The ability to remember and also learn new information
  • Problem-solving
  • The self-control and inhibition of potentially damaging behaviors

Moreover, when the brain has become so completely damaged from the effects of meth, in many cases, there is no going back to “normal.”

Getting Treatment for Cocaine or Meth Addiction

As both are powerful and potentially addictive stimulants, cocaine and meth share many of the same characteristics, but the most important is the harmful and possibly deadly effects they have on one’s health, brain, and life. An addiction to one or both these stimulants can feel impossible to overcome, but there is always hope.

Although there are no medications indicated for the treatment of cocaine or meth addiction, these conditions can be addressed using psychotherapy, psychoeducation, individual and group counseling, and group support. By using a comprehensive approach to addiction, persons can learn how to effectively manage their disorders and reclaim the fulfilling life they deserve, free from substance abuse.

Please contact us today if you or a loved one have an addiction to cocaine or meth. Recovery in Tune provides the expert care and support you need to achieve sobriety, prevent relapse, and sustain long-lasting wellness!

Cocaine and Xanax: A Dangerous Combination

Cocaine and Xanax: A Dangerous Combination | Recovery in Tune

Cocaine and Xanax are two common drugs of abuse that can be even more dangerous when used in combination with one another. Despite this fact, the practice of combining “uppers” such as cocaine with “downers” such as Xanax is not unusual among people with substance use disorders.

The purpose of this article is to describe the health risks linked to using cocaine and Xanax to counteract the other’s adverse side effects.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful, highly addictive stimulant derived from the coca leaf that belongs to a plant native to South America.

Cocaine is available in both powdered or freebase (crack) varieties and often combined with cheaper, easily accessible substances such as flour and talcum powder to maximize profits. It can also be mixed with other deadly, unpredictable drugs such as opioids (e.g., fentanyl) or amphetamines, which compound its addictive potential and significantly increases the risk of overdose.

Side Effects of Cocaine Use

Artificially elevated dopamine levels induce the brief but intense high associated with cocaine use in the brain. The feeling of euphoria this surge of dopamine produces is initially regarded as highly desirable and manipulates the brain’s reward center. This effect, however, comes with the cost of incidentally rewiring brain chemistry and triggering a series of permanent changes.

The following side effects commonly accompany cocaine use:

  • Increased body temperature
  • Drug cravings
  • Insomnia
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Lowered inhibitions
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Hypersensitivity to light and sound
  • Excessive energy/mania

What Is Xanax?

Xanax (alprazolam) is a fast-acting benzodiazepine (benzo) that is an anti-anxiety and anticonvulsant medication commonly indicated to treat seizures, insomnia and panic attacks. The drug is a highly addictive sedative, however, and is associated with a range of adverse physiological and psychological effects.

For this reason, Xanax is usually prescribed for short-term use only, with approved treatment lasting less than six weeks in most cases. Recreationally abused and common on the black market, Xanax is considered a premium drug of choice by people who suffer from severe anxiety and is particularly popular among college students.

Side Effects of Xanax Use

Although Xanax is initially effective in reducing anxiety and producing a powerful sedative effect, excessive or prolonged Xanax use alters brain chemistry. Xanax is able to quell nervousness and anxiety by boosting the production of the neurotransmitter GABA, a brain chemical that decreases the activity of nerve impulses that lead to emotionally charged states.

Side effects of Xanax use may include the following:

  • Dry mouth
  • Stomach pains
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Dizziness
  • Memory problems
  • Impaired coordination
  • Muscle weakness
  • Slurred speech
  • Blurry vision
  • Increased sweating
  • Poor concentration
  • Irritability

Benzos can also lower inhibitions and produce dangerous impulsivity in excessive users. This effect can lead to reckless driving, aggressive or violent altercations with strangers or loved ones, unsafe sexual activities, depression, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Cocaine and Xanax: A Dangerous Combination | Recovery in Tune

Cumulative Side Effects of Mixing Cocaine and Xanax

Combining a powerful stimulant with a potent sedative is not wise, and is irresponsible with regard to one’s health. In addition to perpetuating a greater inclination toward polysubstance abuse, mixing cocaine with Xanax can also induce compounded effects, accelerating and intensifying brain damage.

Once neurochemistry in the brain has been altered due to frequent or chronic abuse, severe and debilitating social, medical, and professional consequences are likely to follow. Long-term users may find themselves escalating the use of one or both drugs until it is too late to return to healthy, autonomous functioning.

Normal brain function is predicated upon striking a balance between major neurotransmitters in connection with the central nervous system. The brain requires efficiently operating neural pathways and a consistent, regular stock of nutrient-supplied energy to function. Inevitably, long-term cocaine and Xanax use exhausts both, interrupting the entire neurochemical system in the process.

The manipulation of dopamine levels and GABA are just two of many features that characterize cocaine and Xanax abuse. Brain structures such as the prefrontal cortex may also be damaged as a result, and many former users fail to recover fully and regain their previous mental functioning capacities.

Although other regions of the brain may be negatively affected, this injury to the prefrontal cortex is especially damaging because it controls rational thinking and impulse control, a cognitive capacity known as executive functioning. Users then experience a diminished quality of life due to their inability to make informed, mature decisions or behave responsibly.

Treatment for Cocaine and Xanax Abuse

The consequences of cocaine and Xanax abuse can be severe and long-lasting, and delaying treatment is never advised. Recovery in Tune offers comprehensive outpatient programs that include therapeutic approaches to addiction treatment, such as psychotherapy, counseling, and group support. Our caring medical staff specialize in addiction and provide clients with the tools and support they so direly need to achieve abstinence and sustain long-term sobriety and wellness.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or an addiction to cocaine and Xanax, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options and find out how we can facilitate your recovery!

What Are Designer Drugs?

Designer Drugs | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

What Are Designer Drugs? – Some psychoactive substances are natural, meaning that the plants from which they are derived can be found in nature and do not need human intervention to induce their pleasurable, sought-after effects. These include opium poppies (thebaine, morphine, codeine), coca leaves, psilocybin mushrooms, and marijuana.

Other drugs are synthetic, however, which means they are developed using human-made chemicals, and not entirely derived from ingredients found in nature. For example, K2 (Spice), MDMA (Ecstasy or Molly), and bath salts (cathinones) are all types of synthetic drugs, also commonly known as “designer” drugs.

Since synthetic drugs are often created in illicit labs to circumvent regulations prohibiting controlled substances, their potency, composition, and ingredients are often unknown to the user. These can be extremely dangerous and can lead to abuse, addiction, severe health issues, and death.

Synthetic Drugs

The term “designer drugs” refers to substances designed in a laboratory to replicate the pharmacological effects of a controlled drug. Manufacturers may develop these drugs with slightly altered molecular structures to avoid having them classified as illegal. The term can apply to almost every synthetic drug, but it is most often used in reference to recreational drugs.

New designer drugs frequently enter the drug market. In fact, between 2009-2014, more than 200 new designer drugs were identified, and many of these were manufactured in China. Many designer drugs can be bought and sold over the Internet on the Dark Web, and they are often marketed as herbal smoking blends, plant food, or bath salts.

Types of Designer Drugs

The following list is not necessarily complete but intended to include the most popularly used substances considered to be ‘designer’ drugs.

Synthetic Marijuana

Like many designer drugs, synthetic marijuana can be found in different forms and by many names – K2, Spice, fake pot, legal weed, potpourri, etc. Active ingredients are sprayed onto dried plant material and diced herbs. Unlike marijuana, which contains THC, synthetic marijuana primarily consists of synthetic cannabinoids to mimic the effects of cannabis.

There more than 120 known chemical forms of synthetic cannabinoids, and the drug can change significantly from batch to batch. Also, because synthetic marijuana is often erroneously advertised as “safe” and “natural,” many users wrongly believe that it is no more dangerous than natural marijuana, which could not be further from the truth.

Designer Stimulants

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Designer stimulants aim to simulate the effects of cocaine and hallucinogenic drugs. Two typical examples are bath salts (cathinones) and MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), also known as Molly and Ecstasy.

These psychoactive drugs can produce many adverse effects, including addiction, paranoia, accelerated heartbeat, hallucinations, panic attacks, and even death.

MDMA

3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, commonly known as Ecstasy or Molly, is a psychoactive substance primarily used as a recreational “club drug“. Use is most prevalent among teenagers and young adults in party, club, and social environments.

Since the late 1980s, however, the name “Ecstasy” has become a marketing term that may refer to drugs that may, in fact, contain little or no MDMA. MDMA may produce adverse effects in its own right, but substances sold as “Ecstasy” today may contain any number of psychoactive substances (e.g., amphetamine or LSD) and adulterants such as rat poison.

Despite the cute and colorful logos dealers place on the pills, a user never really knows what he or she is taking. The dangers are increased when users increase the dose or mix it with other substances such as alcohol, unaware not knowing they may have consumed an entirely different combination of drugs.

Cathinones

Cathinone is an intoxicant found in the khat plant that is native to Yemen, Ethiopia, Somalia, and some other African countries. It is a mild but addictive stimulant that is released into the body when the leaves of the plant are chewed. Trafficking of this plant is limited, however, because the psychoactive ingredients lose many of their stimulating qualities shortly after harvesting.

Synthetic cathinones are a bit different – these are potent and dangerous stimulants created in a lab. Chemically, they closely resemble the intoxicant in the khat plant, but unlike natural cathinone, they have had fatal effects on many people.

Drugs in this class include mephedrone, methylone, and MDPV (3,4-methylenedioxypyrovalerone.) These are the primary ingredients found drugs commonly marketed as “bath salts.” Bath salts are supposed to be used for bathing, and instead, are only labeled this way to evade certain laws.

LSD

LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), first discovered in 1938, is a potent hallucinogen. It is synthetically created from lysergic acid found in ergot, a fungus that grows on rye and other grains. It is so powerful that people usually only consumed doses in the microgram range.

The effects of LSD, which are often referred to as a “trip,” can be stimulating, pleasurable, mind-altering, and invoke hallucinations. However, use can also lead to an unpleasant, sometimes terrifying experience, also known as a “bad trip.”

LSD is produced in a crystalline form and then combined with other inactive ingredients, or diluted as a liquid for production in consumable forms such as soaked onto sheets of “blotter paper” or as thin squares of gelatin (window panes).

Designer Drugs | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

GHB or “Liquid Ecstasy”

GHB and its analogs are commonly used as “club” and “date rape” drugs. The designer analogs of GHB have a different chemical structure than GHB but convert into GHB as they are metabolized in the body.

Because it is a depressant, GHB can produce euphoria, drowsiness, and loss of consciousness. Because it is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, the drug can be easily added to drinks (particularly alcohol) to sedate and incapacitate would-be victims.

Ketamine or “Special K”

The effects of ketamine can be listed under many classes, including a date rape drug, a depressant, analgesic, and a hallucinogen. It is a derivative of another designer drug, PCP (angel dust), which is no longer often found as a drug of abuse. Ketamine’s effects are of a milder intensity than PCP and shorter in duration.

However, ketamine is best known for its dissociative properties, or out-of-body experiences, and “euphoric disconnectedness.” These feelings of memory loss and sensory distortion also make it a popular date rape drug.

Methoxetamine, a dissociative drug belonging to the same class as phencyclidine and ketamine, has recently been found on the black market being sold as ketamine.

Fentanyl Analogs

Acetyl fentanyl is an opioid analgesic that is an analog of fentanyl. Acetyl fentanyl is much more potent than morphine, has never been approved for medical use and since its inception has only been sold as a designer drug. Acetyl fentanyl was discovered at the same time as fentanyl itself and until recent years had only rarely been found on the illicit drug market.

Common side effects of fentanyl analogs are comparable to those of fentanyl, which include itching, nausea, and potentially life-threatening respiratory depression. In recent years, fentanyl analogs have killed thousands of people in the U.S. alone.

Treatment for Drug Addiction

Treatment for CPTSD and Drug Abuse

 

If you are currently abusing designer drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicating substances, you are urged to seek treatment as soon as possible. Our center employs an integrated approach to addiction treatment that includes essential therapeutic services such as psychotherapy, psychoeducation, counseling, group support, and more.

Recovery in Tune is staffed with compassionate addiction professionals who administer these services to clients with care and expertise. Our staff provides clients with the skills, knowledge, and support they need to achieve abstinence and experience long-lasting wellness and sobriety.

You can reclaim the rewarding life you deserve free from addiction! Call us today to find out how we can help!

Adderall and Alcohol Use: What are the Risks?

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Adderall and Alcohol – Adderall (amphetamine and dextroamphetamine) is a prescription medication that is indicated for the treatment of ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder). Because Adderall contains potent stimulants that are effective for medical purposes at prescribed doses but can be harmful when abused, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies Adderall as a Schedule II controlled substance.

Stimulant medications work by increasing the availability of excitatory neurotransmitters (norepinephrine and dopamine) in regions of the brain that, when activated, improve focus and alertness.

Alcohol, on the other hand, works to inhibit the function of the neurotransmitter N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) while simultaneously improving the function of the inhibitory neurotransmitters gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and glycine. Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that, when abused, produces symptoms such as dizziness, euphoria, loss of inhibitions, and fatigue.

Combining these two substances is considered by some sources to be among the most dangerous combinations of intoxicants, but unfortunately, it is also one of the most common. Some people who consume this mixture of stimulants and alcohol do so unintentionally, while others do so to get high.

People who consume these two together with the purpose of getting high may falsely believe that Adderall and alcohol offset each other since they are two different classes of intoxicants. While a stimulant can mask a few of the symptoms of alcohol intoxication, such as fatigue, it does not prevent the body from being influenced by alcohol or from experiencing its effects.

The Dangers of Combining Adderall and Alcohol

When a person combines Adderall and alcohol, they may experience the following symptoms:

  • Increased body temperature, possibly up to hyperthermic levels
  • Rapid or irregular heart rate (arrhythmia)
  • Changes in blood pressure, especially elevated
  • Psychosis or paranoia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle twitching
  • Headaches
  • Impaired coordination that can lead to dangerous falls or injuries
  • Loss of inhibition and impulsivity leading to poor decision-making

Stimulants like Adderall can somewhat camouflage the depressant effects of alcohol. This means that using these two substances together can prevent a person from recognizing how much alcohol has been drunk because the stimulant masks the slowed down, tired sensations of being intoxicated. Because the individual cannot feel how intoxicated they truly are, taking both substances at once can easily lead to alcohol poisoning.

Symptoms of alcohol poisoning include:

  • Extreme confusion or forgetfulness
  • Blacking out (loss of memory)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Depressed or irregular breathing
  • Blue-tinged, cold, or clammy skin
  • Changes in body temperature
  • Stupor – being awake but unresponsive
  • Being unrousable after falling asleep

Adderall can also cause the body to process alcohol more rapidly, increasing how fast a person becomes intoxicated. This effect can more easily lead to alcohol poisoning.

Very severe, dangerous side effects of combining alcohol and Adderall include:

  • Cardiovascular problems, including cardiac arrest, stroke, and damage to blood vessels from hypertension
  • Amnesia and other memory impairments due to extreme intoxication
  • Head trauma, bruises, or broken bones from serious falls due to impaired coordination
  • Psychosis, paranoia, and hallucinations that can result in extreme aggression or erratic behavior

Who is More Likely to Combine Alcohol and Adderall?

Adderall and Alcohol | Recovery in Tune Addiction Treatment

College students may be more likely to mix Adderall and alcohol than anyone. Many students use Adderall illicitly to maintain a sense of focus during all-night study sessions. Although research suggests that Adderall does not increase focusing capabilities or learning in those who do not have ADHD, it is a commonly held assumption that taking stimulants such as Adderall will help a person to stay awake while cramming for a class or exam.

College students are also more likely to consume large quantities of alcohol at parties, bars, or social events, even when they are underage. If a student has used Adderall to study, then attends a party and drinks, they could seriously injure themselves, suffer from alcohol poisoning, or die.

Drinking alcohol is a common component of polydrug abuse, and polydrug users may mix alcohol and another drug of abuse, such as Adderall. Polydrug users may also combine other substances, including cigarettes, marijuana, and more.

This form of substance abuse is prevalent among amphetamine abusers, including people who take Adderall. This abuse can be used as a method of enhancing the high from Adderall, or to temper the effects of other substances so that the amphetamines are less likely to cause paranoia or aggression.

Treatment for Drug or Alcohol Addiction

If you are currently abusing Adderall and alcohol, you are urged to seek treatment as soon as possible. Our center offers an integrated approach to addiction treatment that includes essential therapeutic services such as psychotherapy, psychoeducation, individual and family counseling, group support, and more.

We employ compassionate addiction professionals who deliver these services to clients with care and expertise. Our staff provides clients with the knowledge and resources they need to achieve abstinence and enjoy long-lasting sobriety and wellness.

You can reclaim the fulfilling life you deserve free of substance abuse! Call us today to find out how we can help!

Related: List of Stimulants and Their Effects

Short-Term Effects of Heroin

Short-Term Effects of Heroin

Short-Term Effects of Heroin – Heroin, a derivative of morphine, is a powerful illicit opioid drug that can destroy both physical and mental health and is also likely to cause a number of adverse legal and social consequences.

Heroin is available on the black market in several different forms, ranging from white powder to a less pure brownish or yellowish color. Black tar heroin, as the name suggests, presents as a black, sticky, tar-like substance. Heroin can be smoked, snorted, or injected.

Short-Term Effects of Heroin Use

Heroin use is very dangerous and can be life-threatening. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, overdose deaths from heroin nearly quintupled from 2001 to 2013. Rates of overdose increased from 2010 to 2013. In 2017 alone, heroin was involved in the deaths of around 16,000 Americans.

Heroin is considered by experts to be the most addictive substance currently available. Heroin’s addictive nature is largely based on its ability to induce an intense euphoria. The drug accomplishes this by attaching to opioid receptors in the body and instigating the release of a surge of dopamine, a neurochemical involved with feelings of pleasure and reward.

It is these feelings that can initiate and later reinforce a burgeoning addiction, as the person continues using heroin to achieve the desired high.

Short-term effects of heroin use may vary based on the method of delivery, but the most common immediate analgesic (painkilling) and central nervous system depressant effects include the following:

  • Reduced sensation of pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Sedation and lethargy
  • A “rush,” or a strong increase in euphoric feelings
  • Feelings of being warm and flushed
  • Heavy sensation in the extremities

The pleasant feelings related to the “rush” will only be experienced for a few minutes, with longer-lasting feelings of sedation continuing for a few hours afterward. The duration of such short-term effects of heroin will be dependent upon the purity, dose, and route of administration (snorted, smoked, or injected).

Throughout the heroin high, the user may alternate between periods of wakefulness and sleepiness (commonly known as “being on the nod”).

The short-term effects of heroin will diminish with repeated use, as the person grows increasingly tolerant of the drug. The onset of tolerance frequently compels the user to consume higher and higher amounts, which can easily lead to an overdose.

Side Effects

As people use heroin, over time, the pleasant short-term effects of heroin are overcome by many unwanted side effects. This occurs because the body becomes accustomed to heroin’s continual presence and takes action to counter its impact.

The side effects of heroin use include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Grogginess
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Itchy skin
  • Light sensitivity
  • Low body temperature
  • Slowed respiration
  • Decreased heart rate

The risk of overdose is significant for people using heroin in either the short- or long-term because heroin is unregulated, and dosing is impossible to measure due to differences in purity among batches. This risk is magnified when using other substances alongside heroin, especially other drugs that depress the central nervous system such as alcohol or sedatives.

Combined effects can result in perilously slow breathing, a lack of oxygen to the brain, heart problems, coma, and death.

Also, heroin obtained from the black market is often tainted with other substances, such as fentanyl. Fentanyl is an opioid similar in effect to heroin, but up to 50 times more powerful. It’s commonly found laced into heroin or as an outright substitution, because it’s less expensive, easier to make, and a little goes a long way.

Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Overdose

Short-Term Effects of Heroin

Overdosing on heroin is potentially fatal and requires immediate medical attention. Warning signs include the following:

  • Bluish nails or lips (cyanosis)
  • Severely depressed breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Disorientation or delirium
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Repeated loss of consciousness
  • Coma

What to Do in Case of Heroin Overdose

A heroin overdose can result in death if not addressed immediately. If you believe that a loved one is abusing heroin, you should be prepared to deal with a potential overdose. The first step in responding to a possible overdose is to call 911.

Check for breathing. If breathing has stopped or the person is producing a “death rattle,” administer rescue breathing if you are trained to do so or directed by a 911 operator.

Administer naloxone if you have it available and have been trained to do so. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist that reverses the depressant effects of opioids in the system.

Continue administering supportive breathing if the victim cannot breathe on his or her own or is exhibiting signs of severely labored breathing. If the victim starts to breathe on their own, stay close by and continue monitoring them until emergency help arrives.

Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use

Besides the laundry list of unpleasant short-term effects of heroin, there is also a broad range of effects that can occur after prolonged use. People who use continue to use heroin chronically, over time may experience:

  • Deteriorating dental health
  • Abraded skin from scratching
  • Severe constipation
  • Weakened immune system
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Sedation
  • Poor appetite and malnutrition
  • Sleeping problems
  • Decreased libido

Among the most significant risks of long-term heroin use is the potential for irreversible damage to the liver or kidneys. The brain can also be adversely impacted due to a lack of oxygen.

People who use heroin frequently often face problems with abscesses, bacterial infections, and infections of the heart valves. Women who are pregnant and use heroin are at a heightened risk of miscarriage and put their children at risk of being dependent on the drug at birth.

Also, someone addicted to heroin will probably experience a number of personal consequences, such as financial problems, relationship strain, poor performance at school or employment, and legal penalties.

Heroin Dependence

Dependence is primarily considered to be a chemical condition. When someone is in the throes of a heroin dependency, they will feel uncomfortable and sick without the substance’s presence in their system. These effects occur because the body has grown accustomed to heroin and becomes less able to function correctly without it.

Dependence on heroin s further characterized by the manifestation of withdrawal symptoms that can begin a within a few hours following the last dose. Withdrawal symptoms of heroin can be severe and very unpleasant to experience as they mimic many harrowing flu symptoms.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms may include the following:

  • Restlessness and discomfort
  • Pounding or racing heartbeat
  • Anxiety
  • Shaking and shivering
  • Sweating
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia

The symptoms can peak within one or two days but may persist for up to a week or longer.

Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Treatment for Heroin Addiction | Recovery In Tune

Because withdrawal from heroin can be extremely unpleasant and can compel the person in recovery to relapse, professional treatment is highly recommended. Often, a detox period is needed at the onset of treatment to control symptoms and maintain comfort while the body rids itself of the substance.

During a medical detox, a team of addiction professionals administers medications to persons on an around-the-clock inpatient basis to relieve some of the worst symptoms of withdrawal and prevent complications. Following the detox process, the person in recovery can be referred to treatment options such as residential rehab or intensive outpatient programs.

Effective recovery programs, regardless of format, should be based on a comprehensive approach that employs several treatment modalities, including psychotherapy, psychoeducation, individual and family counseling, and group support.

Our center offers these services, which are delivered by caring medical professionals who specialize in addiction. Moreover, we provide patients with the tools and support they need to achieve abstinence and enjoy long-lasting sobriety and wellness.

We can help you reclaim your life – call us today to find out how!