Physicians prescribe benzodiazepines often in the United States today for a number of anxiety disorders. And, many individuals abuse these drugs resulting in benzodiazepine addiction. One reason that benzodiazepines are so highly addictive is that people develop a tolerance to the drugs so quickly.
What are Benzodiazepines?
It should be noted, individuals who seek help for anxiety or insomnia from physicians usually receive a prescription for some type of benzodiazepine. The benzodiazepines that are most familiar to people are Valium, Xanax, Ativan, and Klonopin. Also, doctors prescribe these drugs for seizures and drug or alcohol withdrawal.
Benzodiazepines, also called benzos, relax the body and promote sleep. They affect the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain causing the activity in the central nervous system and brain to slow promoting relaxation.
How does Benzodiazepine Addiction Happen?
Once a person takes benzodiazepines for a period of time, they develop a tolerance to the drug. Tolerance means that the drug no longer affects the body as it did previously. Therefore, it takes more of the substance to produce the effects as it did before. As a result, individuals start taking higher doses of the drug or taking it more often than prescribed. At this time, they go from use to abuse of the medication.
Abusing benzodiazepines leads to dependence on the drug. Once dependent on a drug, individuals will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the drug all at once. Many times individuals keep taking benzodiazepines even if they have to obtain them illegally to avoid the withdrawal symptoms. Some of these withdrawal symptoms include:
- Anxiety and irritability
- Nausea and vomiting
- Rapid heart rate
- Panic Attacks
In addition to these symptoms, you may also feel as if your skin is crawling or have feelings of unreality, even hallucinations. Clearly, benzodiazepine withdrawal can be dangerous and even life-threatening. There is no set time period to experience these withdrawal symptoms. It is different for different individuals, much depending on how long and how much of the drug you are using.
Struggling with Benzodiazepine Addiction
It is never a good idea to take benzodiazepines on a long-term basis. Individuals who do so start to rely on this substance to function daily. Hence, they are dependent upon it. It is the same with this medication as it is with others. Instead of addressing the problem in other ways, just take a pill to help the symptoms. As a matter of fact, this is the biggest reason for any addiction issues in the United States today.
When a person struggling with benzodiazepine addiction combines this substance with another central nervous system depressant such as alcohol, it increases the chance of an overdose, oftentimes lethal. The heart rate slows so much that it will eventually completely stop. Sadly, many benzodiazepine addicts do mix alcohol with these drugs frequently.
Cognitive function and the effects on the brain make it very hard for individuals to stop abusing benzodiazepines. Typical signs of benzodiazepine addiction might include:
- Needing more of the drug to achieve the desired effect
- “Doctor shopping” (going to different doctors trying to get prescriptions)
- Craving benzodiazepines or showing withdrawal symptoms when not using
- Stealing pills from family members or friends
- Buying benzodiazepines illegally on the streets
- Neglecting responsibilities and obligations at home or work
Importantly, if you have any of these signs of benzodiazepine addiction, seek help from a professional addiction treatment facility.
Contact New Beginnings Recovery
To learn about detoxification and addiction treatment programs that can help you return to a life without benzodiazepine addiction contact New Beginnings Recovery. One of our representatives can answer any questions you may have about the many different treatment programs that we offer. We can design a program that will fit your individual needs and preferences. Contact us today and leave your addiction behind.
webmd.com – Benzodiazepine Abuse
If you’re wondering if it’s time for rehab, the first thing you need to do is ignore the myths or misconceptions you’ve heard. For instance, some people say you need to hit rock bottom before getting treatment, but they are wrong. Experts agree that the sooner you enter rehab, the easier it will be and your recovery will be more lasting.
Also, don’t fool yourself into thinking you have the substance use under control. Sure, you continue working. Maybe you spend time with your family and also keep all the bills paid. But, the fact is, you are what is known as a high-functioning addict. It won’t be long before the drugs or alcohol take control completely.
Why wait until things begin falling apart before you seek help? Do it now so you can prevent that dreadful scenario. If you aren’t sure it’s time for rehab, the following facts should help you make an informed decision.
Is It Time For Rehab? Look for These Warning Signs
If you’ve honestly tried to give up drugs or alcohol and have failed, that is one of the main warning signs that it’s time for rehab. The important thing to remember is that substance abuse is a complex disorder. Many factors are involved such as physical, emotional, environmental, and spiritual issues. Professional treatment programs address all aspects of addiction to ensure that you maintain sobriety for a lifetime.
These are some of the common warning signs that you should know:
- Do you make excuses to justify your substance use?
- Have you lost interest in social activities that you once enjoyed?
- Are you finding creative ways to keep your substance use a secret?
- Do you need more of the substance to get the desired effects?
- Have you experienced withdrawal symptoms when the substance is withheld?
- Are you using drugs or alcohol more frequently?
- Have you lied, stolen, or done anything else to continue your substance use?
- Do you continue using the substance despite negative consequences?
These signs are a warning that you are gradually losing control of your substance use. Ignoring these signs ensures that this behavior will continue to intensify.
Are You Nervous About What Happens in Rehab?
As humans, we fear the unknown. Most of us go about our day despite those fears. But, when it comes to rehab, many addicts admit they are afraid of what happens during detox and treatment. This apprehension leads many to avoid rehab until it’s too late. Their addiction worsens until severe health problems appear or overdose occurs. You can prevent that from happening to you.
Take a few minutes to contact a few rehabs and ask what their daily curriculum involves. In most cases, the basic routine includes some of the following:
- Group and individual counseling sessions
- Healthy meals and nutritional guidance
- Exercise and fitness routines
- Free-time to enjoy games, movies, meditation, etc.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Art or music therapy
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, treatment should last for at least 90 days to be effective.
If you’re concerned about detox and withdrawals, you should know that the entire process is monitored by addiction specialists and medical personnel. Their job is to ensure your comfort and safety at all times. Remember, the sooner you enter treatment, the fewer problems you’ll have during detox.
Worried About What Happens After Rehab?
People who are recovering from addiction need a strong support system in place before leaving rehab. At New Beginnings, we work with our patients to develop an aftercare program that will provide continued guidance when they exit our facility. We don’t want our patients to feel that they are all alone during their transition phase.
For those who don’t have supportive friends or family to help them, an aftercare program is essential to their continued sobriety. Individuals who take advantage of aftercare experience lower relapse rates.
Some of the ways aftercare programs can assist you:
- Continued guidance, advice, and encouragement.
- Keep you focused on recovery to prevent relapse.
- Support groups, group, or individual counseling.
- Family counseling and support.
Aftercare programs can include sober living homes, rehab alumni programs, support groups, and self-help or 12-step programs. Each differs in the services they provide. However, their goal is to help clients face the challenges of reintegrating into society after rehab.
If you think it’s time for rehab, contact us at New Beginnings today. We will be happy to tell you about our program and how we can help you get your life back in order.
drugabuse.gov – How Long Does Drug Addiction Treatment Usually Last?
verywellmind.com – Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
When we think about alcoholism, most of us envision a homeless person on the streets or a surly thug who enjoys causing trouble everywhere he goes. However, research shows that there are five types of alcoholics with surprisingly different characteristics.
Which Type of Alcoholic Are You?
Knowing the different types of alcoholics can help a person find the most effective treatment for their situation. Each classification has specific traits that influence how a person responds to detox and rehab.
Are you curious as to which category your alcohol use belongs in? If so, the following guidelines may prove helpful.
Type #1: Young Adults
This type is the most prevalent, accounting for about 32% of alcoholics in the US. Most of the young adult alcoholics are in their mid-20s. When they drink, it’s usually binge-drinking episodes where they consume more than five beverages in a short time.
These young people rarely seek help because they are in denial about the extent of their drinking problem. A small number of them attend self-help groups rather than enter a long-term treatment program.
Type #2: Functional Alcoholics
This subtype includes individuals who have high levels of education and higher incomes than other alcoholics. Most are married and have children and are in their early 40s. These people tend to drink daily, and many drink more than five drinks in one session. In most cases, these individuals don’t use other drugs other than cigarettes. This group makes up about 19% of America’s alcoholics.
Functional alcoholics are in denial because they spend so much time with others who have the same drinking problem. They mistakenly believe that going to work every day and keeping the bills paid means they don’t need help. For this reason, they fail to seek treatment and the alcoholic abuse continues to worsen.
Type #3: Intermediate Familial Subtype
This group makes up about 19% of alcoholics in the US. These individuals generally have close relatives who also abuse alcohol. Also, they are likely to experience major depression, bipolar disorder, or other mood disorders. As few as 25% of them eventually seek treatment.
Type #4: Young Antisocial Alcoholics
Individuals in this subtype begin drinking in their mid-teens and become addicted by the age of 18. This group accounts for about 21% of America’s alcohol abusers. These young people are also more likely to use cocaine, marijuana, nicotine, or opiates as well.
About 50% of these individuals are struggling with antisocial personality disorders. What this means is that they lie, manipulate, exploit, and mistreat others repeatedly. Treatment for someone in this group should include cognitive behavioral therapy for the best outcome.
Type #5: Chronic Severe Alcoholism
Approximately 9% of alcoholics fall into this classification. They tend to be divorced males who are addicted to other substances as well. They struggle with personality disorders, mood disorders, and other mental health problems. Also, they drink more alcohol than any other type of alcoholic and have no control over how much they drink.
Finding the Right Treatment for Alcohol Abuse
Alcoholism is a disorder that encompasses a range of factors such as biological, behavioral, and environmental issues that create different types of alcoholics. As such, an effective treatment program should evaluate each patient to ensure that all aspects of the disorder are addressed.
Some of the treatment options available for alcoholics include, but are not limited to:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- Motivational Enhancement Therapy
- Group, Individual, and Family Counseling.
- Life Skills Training
- Coping Skills
- Anger Management
- Relapse Prevention
- Nutritional Guidance
- Relationships in Recovery
- Mindfulness Sobriety
If you are ready to put alcohol abuse behind you, contact us at New Beginnings today. One of our representatives can conduct a confidential assessment of your needs and recommend a treatment program that is right for you. No matter which of the types of alcoholics you are, our evidence-based treatment will help you overcome this powerful addiction.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov -Subtypes of Alcohol Dependence in a Nationally Representative Sample
Enduring years of addiction turns a person’s life upside down. If you are new to recovery, you know this. Addiction affects your health, relationships, careers, and your entire life. It is not easy to get clean and sober but through essential addiction treatment, it can be done. Now that you are sober, you have to figure out how to rebuild your life after addiction.
First Steps to Rebuilding Your Life After Addiction
First and foremost, maintaining your sobriety has to be put at the top of your list. If you are not sober, you are not going to be capable of managing anything else in your life. In order to obtain this goal, you will have to end relationships with substance-abusing friends and family members. You cannot continue old relationships and be around places where substances are abused, even if it is not your substance of choice. Your life after addiction cannot include these people as hard as it may be for you.
Next, you need to start repairing relationships with family and other loved ones that were damaged during your addiction. Addiction didn’t happen overnight and the damage you did to your loved ones didn’t happen overnight. Therefore, repairing these relationships will take time, but they can be repaired. You have to show them that you are a different person now in your sobriety. Let them know that you are serious about changing your life after addiction. It will take time, but you can prove to them that you are serious about your sobriety and your new life. Be patient and know that as time progresses, they will learn to trust you again.
Learn to Respect Yourself and Let go of the Past
You cannot go back and undo anything that happened in the past. Let the past stay where it is, in the past. However, you can learn to respect yourself as the person that you are today. Sure, you regret many of the actions you took while addicted. But, you can’t dwell on that. In order to start a new life, you have to forgive yourself for past mistakes.
“Let go of punishing yourself, and commit to doing things differently in the future. In other words, never let past wrongs define your present.”
You are not the person you were during your addiction. Forgive yourself and others will forgive you also as they see the new person you are. Learn to have self-esteem which you haven’t had in a long time and so deserve.
Overcoming the stigma of addiction is not easy, but with time and patience, it can be done.
Continue Aftercare Programs
You did not get here by yourself and you are not alone now. Continue your meetings with support groups. Attending meetings with others who are in recovery will encourage you to remain on your path of recovery. In these meetings, you will make friends who are going through the same trials as you. Some have been in recovery for years and some may be new to recovery just as you. The support and encouragement from others will go a long way in keeping you on the track of recovery.
You will discover new activities and hobbies that you will enjoy without the use of substances of abuse. Taking a long walk or going to lunch with a new friend can bring much enjoyment to your new life after addiction. You will be surprised at the activities that are much more enjoyable without the use of drugs or alcohol.
Seek Help for Addiction
If you are struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, seek help. You can rebuild your life after addiction and become the person you want to be. Contact New Beginnings Recovery to learn more about a treatment program that will fit your individual needs. Contact us today!
verywellmind.com – How to Build Self-Esteem During Recovery from Addiction
Adolescent substance abuse is one of our nation’s leading health problems today. According to researchers, the average age of first-time alcohol abuse is 13 and about 9 out of 10 addictions begin in the teen years. Most teenagers who abuse drugs or alcohol obtain them from school friends. For that reason, prevention strategies for young people must focus on these factors.
To combat the problem, school-based drug abuse prevention programs are an effective strategy, but they don’t always work. So, what more can be done to keep teens from experimenting with addictive substances? Experts recommend helping teens find the natural high or spark that will help them lead successful and happy lives.
Adolescents Should Pursue Their Natural High
Helping teens find activities or hobbies that make them feel good about themselves is vital to preventing substance abuse. Today’s teens spend far too much time on social media and internet activities that often cause low self-esteem or depression. Many of these kids self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.
Researchers agree that getting kids involved in positive activities that inspire, uplift, and motivate them reduces the number of substance abuse rates. In one study, alcohol abuse rates among teens fell from 43% to 6%. These prevention strategies for young people are making a notable difference.
Healthy activities create alterations in brain chemistry that can reawaken a sense of well-being. Hence, the natural high. Having something to feel passionate about keeps teens from needing drugs or alcohol to enjoy life. These kids are more likely to get involved with like-minded individuals. Embracing positive peer influence helps them maintain a drug-free lifestyle.
Helping Teens Believe in Themselves
Teens today are faced with a barrage of negative influences that can damage their self-image and confidence. With the mindset that nothing they do is good enough, they tend to stop trying.
Of course, the important thing for adolescents to learn is that nothing is easy. Success requires commitment, persistence, and effort. If they believe they can truly achieve their goals, they are inspired to work harder. Overall, utilizing prevention strategies for young people will help teens believe in their ability to accomplish their goals.
Learning to Set Goals and Take the Steps to Reach Them
During the adolescent years, the brain is still developing. Specifically the area of the brain that controls judgment or decision-making. For this reason, a youth’s chance of becoming addicted is 7 times more likely if they try drugs before age 21. Without specific goals in mind, an adolescent develops a negative outlook in life. Learning goal-setting strategies is one more way of keeping teens on track and away from substance use.
Goals are critical in any stage of life. However, teens are easily distracted and led astray if they have no idea where their life is headed. They need to set goals, but be realistic about them. If they aim too high, there’s a chance they will feel overwhelmed and give up. Setting too many goals can also have an adverse impact. However, if they set one goal and reach it, they’ll feel motivated to continue the pattern.
Here’s a guideline for teens to use when setting goals:
- Identify the goal and write it down.
- List all tasks or steps required to obtain the goal.
- Begin working on the tasks or steps one at a time.
- Make changes as needed when unexpected things arise.
- Check off each task it is complete.
When a teen looks back at the progress they’ve made, the sense of accomplishment will encourage them to set another goal.
Do Prevention Strategies for Young People Work?
Reducing the risk of drug use in teens is dependent on resolving a variety of factors. Many teens struggle with mental, emotional, and environmental issues that contribute to drug-seeking behavior. Additional factors such as a family history of substance abuse, child abuse or neglect, death of a loved one, and financial problems also play a role in teen substance abuse.
Prevention strategies for young people seek to build self-esteem, instill confidence, and keep teens drug-free. Do the strategies work? Here’s what the National Insitute on Drug Abuse has to say:
“Prevention programs are most effective when they employ interactive techniques, such as peer discussion groups and parent role-playing, that allow for active involvement in learning about drug abuse and reinforcing skills.”
More than 16 million people over the age of 12 took drugs for non-medical reasons last year. About 2 million of those were between the ages of 12 and 17. Clearly, prevention strategies for young people must be a priority in America today.
If you know a teen who is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, contact us at New Beginnings today. We can recommend a program that will get them back on the right track in life.
drugabuse.gov – Preventing Drug Misuse and Addiction: The Best Strategy
drugabuse.gov – Principles of Substance Abuse Prevention for Early Childhood
Now that you are starting your new life after rehab, you will face temptations and triggers, both of which you can learn to control and manage. Addiction treatment facilities have counselors and other professionals who teach you methods of remaining sober after completing your treatment program. While learning to live in recovery from addiction you will need to make some adjustments to your previous lifestyle.
Taking Control of Your Life After Rehab
You went through detoxification and treatment. Now you are sober and ready for your life after rehab. But, before you go back to life, as usual, you have to make some decisions about what your life will now be like. There are some changes that you will need to make. You know that going back to your life as it was before will only lead you back to drug or alcohol abuse.
First, you must realize that you cannot keep in touch with your substance-abusing friends. When you are new to recovery from addiction, you do not need to put yourself in situations that will only make you tempted to use drugs or alcohol again. And, don’t think for one moment that you can handle it. You might think that you can only drink one beer or smoke one joint and not have a problem. You can’t. Doing this will only open you up for failure.
Participate in Group Support Meetings
Leaving an inpatient addiction treatment facility does not mean that you are through with treatment. You have continuing work to do to maintain your sobriety for the remainder of your life. Make new sober friends. Start with this by joining and participating in group support meetings. Find a support group that will welcome you and that encourages your participation in meetings.
Each person in this support group is just the same as you, a recovering addict. They have been through all the same experiences and fears as you. They, like you, are trying to maintain their sobriety and make new sober friends in the process. You can discuss feelings, cravings, temptations, and other issues with this group. You can’t always discuss these feelings with others who cannot relate to what you are going through. Family and friends’ support is important, but they haven’t experienced what you have during your addiction.
Create a Daily Routine to Provide Stability
You may not be returning to work or school immediately after returning to your life after rehab. Therefore, you will want to create a daily routine to provide some stability in your life. Make it a point to wake up at the same time every morning and have a set bedtime each night. Eat healthy, nutritious meals, and exercise every day. Exercising can help you both physically and mentally. You don’t have to do strenuous training. Simply taking a walk every day will increase your energy and improve your mood as well.
Take up a hobby or do volunteer work. Find a way to give back to your community. You will be surprised at the feeling of accomplishment you will have by doing something helpful to others. Take an online educational course and learn something new that is of interest to you. Find ways to keep yourself busy so that you do not get bored and put yourself through the temptation to do drugs.
Live a Happy and Thankful Life
Living a life of drug or alcohol addiction is a life of misery. You were miserable then. You deserve a life of happiness in your recovery from addiction. Be thankful and happy that you have found your way back to a sober and healthy lifestyle. Make every moment count with family and loved ones. We don’t always get another chance to let our loved ones know how much we care about them. Take advantage of this opportunity.
If You Need Help for Addiction
Perhaps you are experiencing difficulties in maintaining your sobriety in your new life after rehab. If you need help after a relapse or if you just feel that you need more treatment before going out on your own in a life of recovery, contact New Beginnings. We can help you design a treatment program that will fit your needs. You may need some outpatient treatment to continue on your path of recovery. One of our representatives can answer any questions you may have about continued treatment for addiction. Contact us today!
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Differences between abstinent and non-abstinent individuals in recovery from alcohol use disorders
Before choosing an addiction treatment program, you need to know what type of detox is available. Two terms you will see during your search may cause some confusion. The terms are similar but are completely different processes: Medically-Assisted Detox and Medication-Assisted Treatment. Knowing the differences between the two can have a significant impact on your recovery.
Understanding Medically Assisted Detox vs. Medication-Assisted Treatment
Detoxification is the first step in overcoming addiction. Of course, the substance of abuse and the duration of the addiction will determine which type of detox is best. However, other factors such as age and physical health must also be considered.
Addiction treatment is the next stage of recovery that consists of a comprehensive program of classes and activities that address the physical, mental, and spiritual aspects of the addiction.
Here are some the ways medically-assisted detox and medication-assisted treatment differ:
Medically assisted detox (MAD), also known as medical detox, happens in the beginning stage of addiction treatment. The process allows the body to eliminate all traces of the substance of abuse. When cravings subside, the individual is ready for rehab. During medical detox, the withdrawal symptoms are monitored by medically trained professionals to ensure the safety and comfort of the client. Medications may be used to help manage withdrawals.
In most cases, individuals struggling with alcohol or opioid addictions benefit from this type of detox. The services are offered in a variety of settings such as hospitals, clinics, and treatment centers. Also, there are levels of intensity in medical detox programs. For instance, the individual may need inpatient, partial hospitalization, or outpatient services. Professional rehabilitation is the next step in treatment.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) differs from medical detox because it occurs during inpatient or outpatient substance abuse treatment. It provides a combined approach of counseling, behavioral therapies, and FDA-approved medications to help individuals manage withdrawal symptoms and overcome psychological cravings. The medication is strictly monitored and in most cases, is intended for short-term use only. However, some individuals continue on a maintenance program of MAT medication after leaving treatment.
This approach to addiction treatment is controversial due to the potentially addictive qualities of the medications used.
Medications That May be Used During Detox and Treatment
The primary similarity between medically-assisted detox and medication-assisted treatment are that they use the same FDA-approved medications.
Examples of FDA-approved medications are:
Buprenorphine – Controls withdrawal symptoms. Suppresses or reduces cravings. Side effects include headache, drowsiness, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, and skin rashes.
Naloxone – Blocks the effects of opioids and reverses the effects of narcotic drugs. Used in emergency treatment for a narcotic overdose. May cause flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, runny nose, muscle weakness.
Naltrexone – Helps prevent relapse in people who have been clean for at least seven days. This drug is slow-acting and can cause appetite loss, aches, pains, irritability, restlessness, nausea, and vomiting.
Methadone – A synthetic opioid used primarily in opioid addiction treatment. The effects are long-lasting. May cause shallow breathing, high blood pressure, cardiac issues, coma, or death. People refer to methadone maintenance as “trading one addiction for another” because sudden discontinuance causes severe withdrawal symptoms.
Suboxone – A combination of buprenorphine and naloxone to treat opioid addiction. May cause headache, dizziness, blurred vision, anxiety, depression, nausea, diarrhea, and shallow breathing.
Benzodiazepine – Helps with alcohol withdrawal by controlling withdrawal systems. This MAT drug can alleviate anxiety and acts as an anticonvulsant and muscle relaxer.
Disulfiram – Used after detox to deter drinking alcohol. May cause unpleasant side effects if the person drinks even a small amount of alcoholic beverages. The side effects include headache, nausea, vomiting, chest pains, and difficulty breathing.
Acamprosate – Stabilizes the chemical balance in the brain of recovering alcoholics to prevent future drinking. May cause headache, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, stomach distress, decreased sexual ability, and muscle or joint pain.
Naltrexone – Blocks the euphoria produced by alcohol or opioid consumption. It helps people reduce drinking and avoid relapse. May cause side effects such as insomnia, headache, dizziness, nausea, anxiety, and fatigue.
Find the Best Addiction Treatment for Your Needs
It is important to note that we are not advocating or promoting the use of medication in detox or addiction treatment. Healthy, drug-free alternatives are available. The above information is simply to help clarify the differences between medically-assisted detox vs. medication-assisted treatment.
If you are in the process of evaluating treatment options, please contact us at New Beginnings. One of our representatives can help you determine which approach is right for your situation.
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov – Pharmacologic Treatments for Opioid Dependence: Detoxification and Maintenance Options
For most people, the word “heroin” conjures images of misery and despair. We imagine thousands of people hopelessly addicted, their lives in shambles. As one of the world’s oldest drugs, heroin has certainly left its devastating mark on the world during the last several decades. However, from 1999 to 2010 the number of fatal heroin overdoses remained fairly steady. Then, in 2011, the numbers skyrocketed and more than tripled in only six years.
What is Heroin and Why is It Making a Comeback?
Heroin is a synthetic drug derived from morphine. It is in the class of drugs known as opioids and is highly addictive. Heroin may be obtained in the form of a white or brown powder, or as a sticky tar-like substance. The drug is ingested by smoking, snorting, or injecting and it provides an intense euphoric experience.
As one of America’s oldest drugs, heroin was first introduced for medical use in 1875. It was used as a numbing agent and pain reliever. Heroin is the English translation of the drug’s original German name “Heroisch”, meaning large or powerful. When heroin patients and physicians began noticing the addictive qualities of the drug, it was eventually made illegal in 1924. But, it didn’t take long for illicit sales and trafficking of heroin to begin. And, now here we are, witnessing thousands of heroin deaths yearly. As the costs of prescription opioids continue to rise, more people are switching to heroin as a replacement because it is cheaper and easier to obtain.
Shocking Statistics: Sudden Increase in Heroin-Related Deaths
To look at it another way, since 2002, the number of fatal heroin overdoses increased by almost 800 percent. Sadly, there doesn’t appear to be any end in sight.
Of course, with these shocking numbers in mind, we have to wonder if there is something we can do to help lower the death rates. Convincing a heroin abuser to seek professional treatment is a good way to begin. But, first, we need to know the warning signs of heroin abuse.
What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Abuse?
Heroin addiction affects a person both physically and mentally. For that reason, the warning signs can be subtle or surprisingly obvious, depending on the individual and their stage of addiction.
Signs or symptoms that are immediately noticeable:
- Poor concentration
- Nodding off
- Changes in behavior
- Hyper alertness
- Shortness of breath
Physical symptoms can include:
- Small pupils
- Flushing of skin
- Heavy feeling in the extremities
- Dry mouth
- Nausea and vomiting
- Poor coordination
- Weight loss
Psychological symptoms can include:
- Heroin is the only thing they care about
- No sense of responsibility
Behavioral symptoms of heroin abuse:
- Social isolation
- Secretive behavior
- Aggression, hostility
- Lying, stealing
- Lack of interest in activities
- Severe itching
- Lack of interest in personal hygiene
- Wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts
Of course, some of these signs and symptoms can be attributed to other issues. However, knowing that heroin is a possible culprit, it’s wise to pay attention. In fact, many fatal heroin overdoses could be prevented with this knowledge.
Signs of Heroin Abuse: Paraphernalia
If you suspect someone that you know or love is using heroin, some of the following paraphernalia may show up eventually:
- Pieces of drinking straws
- Rubber bands or shoelaces
- Small pieces of foil with burn marks
- Plastic tubes
- Spoons with burn marks
- Cigarette lighters
- Small sandwich bags with powdery residue
All in all, the presence of these items is usually a good indication that heroin abuse is occurring.
What Are the Symptoms of Heroin Overdose?
People overdose on heroin for a variety of reasons, most of which are not intentional. If you know someone who uses this drug, learn these warning signs of overdose:
- Slow, shallow breathing
- Small pupils
- Dry mouth
- Weak pulse, low blood pressure
- Bluish-colored lips or nails
- Disorientation, confusion
- Sleepiness, unresponsiveness
- Poor coordination
Experts advise seeking medical help if the above symptoms appear after heroin use. Firstly, do not make the person vomit unless told to do so by a medical person. Also, before calling emergency services, try to obtain information regarding the person’s age, weight, and how much heroin they ingested.
Treatment for Heroin Addiction at New Beginnings Recovery
Of course, the best way to prevent fatal heroin overdoses is abstinence. But, if a person is already addicted, the next recourse is professional treatment. So, if you know someone who needs help overcoming heroin abuse, please contact us at New Beginnings Recovery today.
cdc.gov – Heroin Overdose Data
drugabuse.gov – Overdose Death Rates
medlineplus.gov– Heroin Overdose
Most of you probably don’t realize how common co-occurring disorders are in the United States today. Co-occurring disorders are many times diagnosed when a person seeks treatment for addiction or treatment for a mental health issue. In other words, co-occurring disorders in the US are very common.
What are Co-Occurring Disorders?
A co-occurring disorder is a condition which individuals experience when they have two disorders. It most often is a combination of a mental health issue along with another condition such as substance abuse. Co-occurring disorders can occur when people have a mental health problem along with issues other than substance abuse. However, those involving substance abuse or addiction are the most common. (In previous years, dual-diagnosis or dual disorder was the term used for this same condition.)
When a person has a co-occurring disorder, one issue may take precedence over the other. The psychiatric problem may be worse than the substance abuse issue or vice-versa. And, over time the severity of each problem may change. Physicians and psychologists need to treat these two conditions at the same time other than trying to treat each disorder separately.
What Causes Co-Occurring Disorders in the US?
When a person has a mental health issue that goes untreated, sometimes they tend to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. They do this to try to alleviate their symptoms of depression, bipolar disorder, or whatever mental illness they are struggling with. Individuals who struggle with mental health issues are far more likely to also have substance abuse problems. It has been determined that in many cases of opioid abuse or addiction, the use of the drug can cause mental health issues. Or, the opioid abuse may worsen a pre-existing mental problem.
In many cases, genetics plays a role in mental illness. This is also true in the case of addiction and substance abuse. Of course, a person’s environment can also have a part in both conditions. Living a very stressful or anxious life can contribute to a person’s mental issues as well as substance abuse.
How Many People does this Affect in the United States?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIH), 7.7 million people have co-occurring disorders in the US. It is never easy to determine which disorder came before the other.
A report from 2017 by NIH stated that there were 20.3 million Americans with substance use disorders. Of these 20.3 million, 37.9% also had mental health disorders. In the same year, there were 42.1 million adults with mental illnesses. Of these, 18.2% also had substance abuse issues.
Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders
There is professional treatment available for individuals who are struggling with co-occurring disorders. Specialists advise inpatient addiction treatment for these individuals. They receive one-on-one counseling as well as many other integrated programs. Patients can go through safe detoxification before starting a treatment program that will address both issues.
Contact New Beginnings Recovery to learn about a treatment program that can help you start a life in recovery from co-occurring disorders. You can manage your life and get to a productive and healthy life in recovery from addiction. One of our representatives can answer any questions you may have about treatment programs that will benefit you or a loved one.
Contact us today to start your new life.
Psychologytoday.com – Co-Occurring Disorders
Drugabuse.gov – Comorbidity: Substance Use and Other Mental Disorders
Americans have been in the coronavirus lockdown for a few months and its beginning to take a toll on people’s mental health. The concerns about how the virus has up-ended our everyday lives have morphed into anxiety, depression, loneliness, and insomnia. Studies show that alcohol and drug consumption have increased, and domestic violence is on the rise. Also, suicides have increased as a result of the psychological impact of the lockdowns. For these reasons, many people are turning to anti-anxiety meds during the lockdown.
Research shows that between February 16th and March 15th, the number of anti-depressants, and anti-anxiety or anti-insomnia prescriptions filled increased 21%. The most significant increase was for anti-anxiety medications which rose 34.1% during that time frame. It was also determined that more than 78% of prescriptions for the three drugs were for new prescriptions.
Unfortunately, the increases are reversing a trend. For instance, in the last 5 years, the use of these drugs decreased by 12.1%. However, when the pandemic lockdown began, that downward trend halted and continues to rise.
Reasons for Turning to Anti-Anxiety Meds During the Lockdown
It seems that we woke one day and suddenly everything changed. All aspects of our lives were affected by COVID-19, and we are still adjusting. The sense of isolation, fear of infection, and uncertainties about our future have everyone on edge. Unemployment has skyrocketed and thousands of people have died. The stress and worry generated by these factors cause many people to seek relief from their mental anguish.
The Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a poll in late March and found that 32% of participants experienced an increase in stress and worry during the pandemic. Another poll conducted by the American Psychiatric Association found that 62% of Americans are anxious about a loved once contracting the virus.
Furthermore, these challenges are especially difficult for individuals who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. These individuals may be in danger of overdose if they increase their consumption of those substances due to anxiety. Also, people who combine anti-anxiety meds with alcohol or other substances are putting themselves at increased risk of dangerous consequences.
Overcoming Pandemic Fears and Anxiety Without Meds
It’s understandable to feel anxious during the pandemic. People around the world struggle with problems caused by the monumental impact of the virus pandemic. Many are creative and have found ways to stay busy, feel productive, and control anxiety without medications. Their approach to overcoming stress, boredom, and fear is to find healthy outlets for venting those emotions. The CDC recommends these simple ways to cope with stress:
- Take deep breaths, meditate, stretch.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat nutritious meals.
- Avoid drugs or alcohol.
- Make time to do activities you enjoy.
- Talk with someone you trust about your feelings.
If you are looking for suggestions on finding support, assistance, or how to maintain mental well-being during the lockdowns, the National Institute on Drug Abuse provides a list of resources and answers to questions that should be helpful.
Social Distancing Does not Necessarily Mean Social Isolation
We are fortunate to have modern technologies today that are designed to easily keep us connected with others. During the virus pandemic, thousands of organizations are using various internet platforms to help those who struggle with anxiety, addiction, or mental health problems. These resources are vital to helping a person avoid anti-anxiety meds during the lockdown.
If you were receiving treatment or counseling for mental illness or addiction, you can find virtual groups online to help you get the support you need. For instance, the CDC has the Disaster Distress Helpline if you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions of sadness or stress these days.
Also, you should familiarize yourself with the warning signs and risk factors for emotional distress.
It’s important to remember that you are not alone. Everyone is having trouble adjusting to the extended lockdown. Don’t hesitate to practice self-care. Do something that makes you feel special at least once a day. But, don’t forget to maintain contact with friends or loved ones. They may need some support from you.
Call New Beginnings if You Need Treatment for Addiction
We understand that it’s easy to want anti-anxiety meds during the lockdown. But, will you be able to stop once the pandemic is over? If not, and you end up needing help with addiction as a result, please contact us at New Beginnings to learn about our multi-modality treatment programs.
nytimes.com– How Much Nature is Enough?
ncbi.nlm.nih.gov– Brain, Behavior, and Immunity
psychiatry.org – Help With Anxiety Disorders