Author Archives: Sky Smith

Drug Induced Psychosis

Drug induced psychosis–also known as substance induced psychotic disorder–refers to an episode of hallucinations and/or delusions experienced as a result of a substance.

This condition can result from the use, misuse, or stop-use of a certain drug. People most often experience drug induced psychosis due to:

  • having too much of a substance
  • an adverse reaction to combined substances
  • during withdrawal from a drug, or 
  • when underlying mental health issues collide with substance use or abuse

Whether it is brought on by prescription medication, illegal drugs, or mental illness, psychosis is a state where the person has “lost touch” with reality.

When the use, misuse, or stop-use of a substance causes psychosis in an individual, the state can generally be described as 'drug induced psychosis"

Drug Induced Psychosis from Meth and Cocaine

Methamphetamine and cocaine are two of the most dangerous illicit stimulants to be discovered. People may seek them out to experience the euphoric “high” effect they give, but use of either can result in an instance of drug-induced psychosis. 

What Is Methamphetamine Induced Psychosis?

In a study examining the potential psychotic effects of methamphetamine use, scientists found that around 40% of people who used meth experience some kind of psychosis. 

Many individuals experienced drug-induced psychosis symptoms consisting of agitation, violence, or delusions. Of the patients who experienced these acute symptoms, some had permanent psychological impacts to the degree that they required continuous psychiatric treatment.  

Other patients experienced even more severe psychotic symptoms including hallucinations, paranoia, and schizophrenic behavior. In short, this study revealed that repeated meth-induced psychosis is capable of causing long-term psychological damage.

What Is Cocaine Induced Psychosis Like? 

In another study, a greater number of cocaine users were recorded as experiencing psychotic symptoms as compared to the earlier meth study. Cocaine saw drug-induced psychosis symptoms in as many as 84% of the individuals who used it. 

Cocaine’s effects have been studied extensively. Research suggests that an overabundance of dopamine in the brain is to blame for cocaine-related symptoms of psychosis. Under normal circumstances, the brain carefully regulates the amount of dopamine that is produced. However, the presence of cocaine causes an overabundance of this neurotransmitter, which results in the “high” that cocaine users seek, closely followed by psychosis. 

In every way that meth psychosis is extremely dangerous, cocaine induced psychosis appears to be even more-so. Cocaine drug induced effects are similar to those of methamphetamines, but also include more violent versions of each manifestation, including:

  • Agitation
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Suicidal and Homicidal Thinking

What Are Long-Term Drug Induced Psychosis Effects?

When someone develops a substance use disorder (SUD) with long-term use, the drug begins to fundamentally alter the brain. This can have a devastating impact on a person’s ability to function normally.

Drug users may feel that meth or cocaine helps them cope with or diminish symptoms of a pre-existing mental illness. However, abuse or even “regular” use of illicit stimulants have been proven to worsen psychological conditions. 

Psychiatric Symptoms of Cocaine Use: Agitation Paranoia Hallucinations Delusions Suicidal and Homicidal Thinking

Is There Such Thing As Alcohol Induced Psychosis?

As a depressant, alcohol may not appear as an obvious threat for causing psychosis, but intoxication or alcohol abuse can lead to psychotic symptoms. 

Often, other symptoms associated with too much alcohol consumption manifest before psychosis has a chance to emerge. Reckless decision-making, slurred speech, lack of coordination, and poor vision are some of the more easily observed warning signs of drunkenness. A person may be too occupied with addressing these other signs to even be aware of whether or not they are experiencing alcohol induced psychosis. 

One study estimated that individuals who have an alcohol dependence only have a four percent chance of experiencing alcohol induced psychosis. Additionally, external factors that can increase the odds of psychotic symptoms occurring include living alone, being unemployed, or having an early-life dependence on alcohol. 

The symptoms of alcohol induced psychosis are similar to those of cocaine and meth, but usually at a lesser level. While not as immediately life-threatening as drunk driving or blood poisoning, an alcohol induced psychosis episode can have lasting impact on a person’s mental health

A psychotic episode can lead to subtle but long-term impacts on the individuals and close loved ones.

The exact reason for why this type of psychosis occurs is unknown. Some have hypothesized that an interference with dopamine or serotonin is to blame. Others guess that the hallucinations are the result of poor circulation in the brain. However it happens, alcohol induced psychosis is not something to be taken lightly.

Recovery from Long Term Drug Induced Psychosis

No matter the affecting substance, drug or alcohol induced psychosis is a serious condition that can lead to life-altering effects. 

If you or someone you know has experienced psychosis after using drugs or alcohol, reach out to us today. Our holistic approach to dual diagnosis therapy can help you get your life back drug-addiction and drug induced psychosis-free. 

Adderall Overdose

Adderall is a prescription drug doctors often use to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and severe sleep disorders (such as narcolepsy).

In its prescriptive form, Adderall can help those suffering from ADHD to minimize the severity of their symptoms. However, Adderall has a potential for addiction, and misuse either of a prescription or by buying Adderall from illicit (“street”) sources can lead to dependence, withdrawal, overdose, and even death.

How Adderall Works

Adderall is a brand-name for the chemical combination of amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. Their shared interaction in the brain creates a stimulant effect.

Adderall is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant, meaning it increases the activity of this processing center in the body. Research reveals that individuals who suffer from ADHD show a deficiency in dopamine, impairing their ability to focus. Adderall remedies this by prompting and prolonging the release of dopamine and norepinephrine.

When Adderall interacts with dopamine in the brain, it causes more dopamine to be released in the brain and also causes it to act for longer periods of time.

Adderall for Sleep Disorders

The other primary condition doctors prescribe Adderall for is narcolepsy. This condition can manifest in several ways, but the most common (and most debilitating) symptom is extreme daytime sleepiness that makes even everyday tasks difficult. Chemical stimulation from Adderall can effectively counteract this intense tiredness.

Adderall Misuse, Dependence, and Withdrawal

Adderall dependence most often forms when an individual abuses the substance, but it can also form if it is taken for a long period of time, even at the prescribed dosage. For this reason, doctors tend to avoid prescribing Adderall beyond a few prescription cycles.

When an individual develops a dependence upon Adderall, their brain begins to ‘expect’ its presence during normal daily function. If Adderall is suddenly removed, then the processes of the brain that have adapted to function with the drug prompt the body to crave it, resulting in withdrawals.

Often, the withdrawal symptoms for a given prescription drug are the inverse of the original effects of the substance. Since Adderall is a stimulant, the effects of its presence in the body increase CNS activity.

When someone experiences Adderall withdrawal symptoms, they usually manifest as depressive-like effects including:

  • Agitation
  • Wild or unpleasant dreams
  • Drowsiness
  • Lower energy
  • Increased appetite
  • Loss of interest
  • Lethargic motions

Mixing Adderall and Alcohol

Adderall’s increase in dopamine production makes it a life-changing treatment option for patients with ADHD. The effects of this dopamine surge, however, make Adderall a common target for misuse and abuse. Whether they have had a prescription or not, people may buy Adderall to take purely for its stimulating effects.

One common misconception is that mixing Adderall and alcohol–with one being stimulant and the other a depressant–will result in a net effect of them simply “canceling each other out.” This is not true, however, and taking alcohol and Adderall can have some dangerous consequences.

While the two substances do not “cancel each other out,” they do each influence the experienced efficacy of the other. So, if someone who has been drinking takes Adderall expecting the usual dopamine release, the alcohol may severely reduce the drug’s felt effects–prompting the user to take more Adderall.

Adderall withdrawal symptoms: Agitation Wild or unpleasant dreams Drowsiness Lower energy Increased appetite Loss of interest Lethargic motions

The same is true in reverse: someone drinking who has Adderall in their system may not “feel” the effects of the alcohol as early as they would perceive them because Adderall dulls the symptoms of feeling drunk. Thus, they end up drinking more than they should.

Additionally, continuous alcohol intake depletes dopamine. Thus, while it can seem to lessen ADHD symptoms in the short-term, anyone taking Adderall for ADHD should avoid consuming alcohol as it may worsen ADHD symptoms over time.

Adderall Tolerance and Addiction

One worrisome effect that prolonged Adderall use can lead to is tolerance. If someone develops a tolerance to a substance, over time, they require a larger and larger dose in order to achieve the same effects that a smaller amount used to produce. The increasing need to fill this craving and the desperate measures people take to get it form the basis for an Adderall addiction.

The longer a person continues to use Adderall after developing a tolerance to it, the greater their risk of experiencing an overdose.

Adderall Overdose

Usually, Adderall overdose symptoms indirectly cause other life-threatening conditions, such as extreme dehydration

Adderall overdose is life-threatening. If you think someone is experiencing an overdose, call emergency services immediately. The symptoms for Adderall overdose usually include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Overheating
  • Fast or Irregular heartbeat
  • Increased breathing rate
  • Pupil dilation
  • Seizures or shaking
  • Changed mental state

In addition to the immediate effects, Adderall overdose can lead to other life-threatening conditions, such as extreme dehydration.

Seek Help to Avoid Adderall Overdose Today

It is extremely risky to take Adderall from a non-medical source or buy Adderall from someone selling it illicitly. If you find you need a prescription for Adderall, follow a dosage regimen prescribed by a doctor to have the best chance of avoiding Adderall overdose or withdrawal.

If you or someone you know has developed a dependence upon Adderall, it is crucial to take action immediately. Reach out to us today to discover how our holistic approach to substance abuse counseling can help you thrive addiction-free.

Substance Abuse Counseling

Recovery from drug and alcohol abuse involves far more than just breaking the body’s chemical dependence upon a substance. The psychological, emotional, and relational factors that lead to addiction must also be addressed. This is what makes substance abuse counseling so important on the road to recovery.

What Is Substance Abuse Counseling?

Substance abuse counseling is a form of therapy used in drug rehab and alcoholism treatment programs that helps clients overcome a substance abuse disorder (SUD).

The purpose of substance abuse counseling is to address a SUD at the mental, emotional, and behavioral levels. This form of treatment often takes place within rehab centers as part of a holistic recovery program.

What does a drug and alcohol counselor do?

If an individual is currently struggling with substance abuse, they will usually be recommended to a drug and alcohol counselor after first completing a chemical detox program.

Also known as an “addiction counselor,” this professional guides the client through various forms of therapies that address mental health, behavior patterns, and environmental factors that contribute to addiction.

While prescribing medication is not part of this type of counselor’s scope, they can advise patients about healthy coping mechanisms for sobriety. Rehab centers employ addiction counselors to help clients make goals for the long-term such as:

  • Recovery: independent living, stable employment plans and career goals, etc.
  • Relationships: family dynamics, social needs, friendships, etc.
  • Relapse prevention plan: addressing underlying behavioral disorders, avoiding triggering people or situations, etc.

Most drug and alcohol counselor positions at rehab centers require a bachelor of science in some form of psychology. Increasingly, those entering in the substance abuse counseling field are acquiring advanced degrees, such as a master’s or above.

An addiction counselor is a professional who guides the client through various forms of therapies that address mental health, behaviour patterns, and environmental factors that contribute to addiction.

Some states require ongoing education for licensing such as continuing education courses and/or annual state exams. An individual who wishes to be a licensed counselor must have 2,000-4,000 supervised clinical experience hours.

Who Should Consider Drug Rehab or an Alcoholism Treatment Program?

While individuals or families will usually wait to seek out a drug rehab or alcoholism treatment program after a SUD has developed, it’s important to seek help at the earliest suspected stage of addiction.

These signs can be difficult to recognize. This is why so many addiction counselors are more than willing to also see patients who are at risk for–or afraid of–becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol.

A person may seek substance abuse counseling of their own accord for any number of reasons. Perhaps they recognize the fact that:

  • Substance use disorders (SUDs) run in their family
  • They may live in an environment that encourages addiction
  • The presence of an addictive personality in themselves

Regardless of whether an addiction has already formed, rehab centers and related treatment programs can be invaluable resources to help address the psychological and emotional issues that lead to substance abuse.

How Can Rehab Centers Help?

It is incredibly rare for a person to successfully recover from an addiction without external intervention. The further an addiction has progressed, the more professional support becomes paramount to successful detox and recovery.

In addition to substance abuse counseling, rehab centers provide clients with two important things: 1) a safe, empathic environment to detox in and 2) a variety of unique and effective recovery resources.

A person may seek substance abuse counseling because...Substance use disorders (SUDs) run in their family They may live in an environment that encourages addiction The presence of an addictive personality in themselves

Alcohol and drug rehab centers can offer clients access to services and therapies that would otherwise be out of reach. Examples include:

  • Family counseling
  • Adventure therapy
  • Employment assistance
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy

While not a guarantee to success, receiving substance abuse counseling through a reputable treatment center greatly increases the chances of SUD recovery. This is because studies show that recovering individuals tend to be more successful when they have access to a supportive community and accountability.

Perhaps most importantly, a rehab center can help you establish a relapse prevention plan.

Why Is a Relapse Prevention Plan Necessary?

A relapse prevention plan is an integral part of a long-term approach to recovery. Having a plan in place may greatly reduce the chances of relapse–which are, unfortunately, similar to other chronic diseases such as asthma, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes.

Be encouraged, though, by the stories of thousands of people who have found long-term recovery even after some short-term setbacks by relapse.

Establishing a relapse prevention plan as part of alcohol or drug rehab treatment can help a recovered individual navigate the life situations that would otherwise encourage renewed substance abuse.

A counseling professional will tailor each plan specifically to the individual. It will provide helpful tools, practices, and coping strategies to aid in long-term recovery.

How Can I Speak to a Drug and Alcohol Counselor?

rehab centers provide clients with two important things: 1) a safe, empathic environment to detox in and 2) a variety of unique and effective recovery resources.

The journey to recovery is difficult, but no one needs to go it alone. If you or a loved one suffers from habitual substance abuse, there is hope.

Contact us today to find out more about the empathetic community at Mountain View Recovery. We provide substance abuse counseling and a relapse prevention plan to support your life-long recovery journey.

Oxycodone vs Percocet

Oxycodone and Percocet are two of the most common prescription opioid painkillers on the market. While they are not necessarily synonymous, they are closely related. 

Oxycodone is a generic name for an opioid drug that appears under various brand names (e.g. OxyContin). Percocet is a brand name for a drug made up of a combination of oxycodone and acetaminophen. Acetaminophen is most often recognized by the brand name Tylenol. 

Both drugs have legal and medical application as pain relievers. However, easy access and cheap (illegal) production combined with their high addictive potential make both Percocet and oxycodone a common culprit in substance abuse cases. 

Oxycodone and Percocet – or “percs,” as the pills are sometimes called – overlap in some areas, but the chemical make-up and symptoms of each make their applications slightly different.  

Chemical Overview of Oxycodone vs Percocet

Both Percocet and oxycodone bind to opioid receptors in the brain. This attachment affects the central nervous system (CNS), essentially blocking pain. 

You may have heard the terms “opiate” and “opioid” used interchangeably. The distinction isn’t always important, but it’s worth noting that “opiates” refer to natural opioids such as heroin, morphine and codeine, while “opioids” refer to all natural, semisynthetic, and synthetic opioids.

Opioids cause certain receptors to activate artificially, leading to the pain-numbing effect that opioids are recognized and used for.

Chemistry In the Brain

The end result of almost any opioid is the same: pain suppression.

One specific kind of receptor in the brain, when activated, produces the effects that opioids are known for: the mu opioid peptide receptor (MOP), in its natural state, functions to manage the body’s response to pain.  

Opioids cause the MOP receptors to activate artificially in order to achieve the pain-numbing effect that opioids are prescribed for.

Half Life of Oxycodone vs Percocet

The half life of an opioid refers to the amount of time it takes for an average patient’s body to eliminate half of a dose. If the dose size is 20mg and the half life of the opioid is 5 hours, then there will be around 10mg of the substance in the patient’s system after 5 hours. 

The half life of opioids varies largely from one drug to the next. Length of time for an opioid half-life can be anywhere from 40 minutes to two and a half days. 

Oxycodone can take effect as quickly as one hour after dosage, and reduces by half in about 4 hours. During this time, it binds to MOP receptors and numbs the sensation of pain by reducing communication between cells.

Whether a pain relieving drug is “short-acting” vs “long-acting” and how it is administered are two of the main factors that determine how long opioids remain in a person’s system. 

Abuse Potential

In addition to pain relief, users often describe experiencing a sense of “euphoria” as a side effect of taking opioids. 

This “numbing” or “carefree” feeling often motivates individuals to take oxycodone long after the pain that warranted the prescription is gone

Compared to other euphoria-producing substances, oxycodone and Percocet are both less expensive and relatively easy to obtain. Since the body can build a tolerance to opioids quickly, people also may want to continue taking them to avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. 

If a person is experiencing withdrawals, this is a sign that the body has begun to form chemical dependence upon opioids. Dependence forms even more quickly in individuals who abuse opioids, increasing the severity of withdrawals, and the likelihood they will slip into a full-blown addiction. 

Oxycodone vs Percocet Applications 

Doctors prescribe oxycodone most frequently in cases of ongoing moderate-to-severe pain, such as pain associated with cancer.

Percocet can also address this type of pain, but has the added benefit of treating conditions associated with fever. It can also be used to treat intense, flaring pain from a chronic condition when a long-acting pain drug doesn’t provide enough relief.

Oxycodone is not particularly strong when compared to the general scale of opioid strength, but is still a potent painkiller.

Oxycodone vs Percocet Side Effects

Dizziness and feelings of euphoria are more closely associated with oxycodone than with Percocet. Both drugs, however, share most of their side effects in common, such as:

  • feeling relaxed and calm
  • unusual drowsiness or sleepiness
  • constipation
  • nausea
  • loss of appetite
  • dizziness
  • headache
  • motor skill impairment

Serious, but less common side effects include:

  • painful urination
  • vomiting blood
  • skin rash
  • itching
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Chills

Because of the presence of acetaminophen, Percocet can cause side effects such as upper abdominal pain, black or tarry stools, and yellowing of the skin and eyes. Additionally, long-term use of Percocet is not recommended both due to the possibility of opioid addiction as well as liver damage from the acetaminophen. 

Breaking Oxycodone and Percocet Addiction

Unfortunately, even prescriptions like oxycodone and Percocet come with a risk of abuse. If you find you require the use of opioids to treat pain, it is important to communicate with your doctor about how to properly take it to avoid addiction. 

If you find you or a loved one already exhibits signs of a chemical dependency, there is still hope. Addiction doesn’t have to take over their life. Contact us today to find out how we can help you re-learn to live life free from substance abuse.

How to Stop Feeling Disconnected

Mental illness can impact anyone, and sometimes it can be difficult to know when or if help is necessary.

Depression, grief, and tragedy can be pervasive in everyday life, and suffering from any kind of mental illness can eventually worsen into a severe problem.

What Does “Feeling Disconnected” Mean?

being disconnected from life can seem to suck the joy out of everything, and it can make it seem impossible to feel happy again.

“Feeling disconnected” might apply to many different people in different ways. In general, though, a sense of disconnectedness results in overall negativity, and feeling tired of life.

Whether brought on by depression, some other mental illness, a tragedy, or something else, being disconnected from life can seem to suck the joy out of everything, and it can make it seem impossible to feel happy again.

What Causes Someone to Feel Disconnected?

Mental illness and traumatic events are two of the most common conditions that lead to feelings of disconnect, loneliness, or numbness. Additionally, if substance abuse enters the picture, it can deepen these feelings.

Some causes of feeling disconnected from life: Depression, bipolar disorders, anxiety disorders, social anxiety, tragedy

Depression

Depression can manifest in a number of ways. Medically, it is known as major depressive disorder, or simply clinical depression. Suffering from depression often causes feelings of emptiness, and an unshakeable hopelessness.

Individuals who suffer from depression often do not have the ability to simply ‘feel happy’. The illness interferes with the normal functioning of the brain, and it leads to the symptoms of depression, which often include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, or pessimism
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue

These are just a few of the many symptoms, but depression is a serious mental illness. Gone untreated, it can become a real problem, sometimes causing the suffering individual to consider or attempt suicide.

Other Mental Illnesses

There are many other mental illnesses that may cause the suffering individual to feel disconnected from life. Bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, and social anxiety can all
cause feelings of apprehension or unhappiness with life.

Bipolar disorder manifests as a sudden ‘up’ or ‘down’ in emotions. These periods can last for several days, or longer. Individuals who suffer from this disorder can have trouble feeling connected, and the unpredictability of the disorder may make any routine difficult to maintain.

Anxiety disorders, like social anxiety or generalized anxiety disorder, can also give the suffering individual an exceptionally difficult time enjoying life.

Anxiety causes the individual to suffer from excessive worry – sometimes over seemingly unimportant things. This may drive them to second-guess everything they do, and the ever-present distress can make enjoying life an impossibility.

Tragedy

The loss of a loved one, or a sudden change in one’s situation can shock a person. Dealing with a crisis can make everything else seem unimportant, including one’s own enjoyment of life. Tragedy often brings feelings of disorientation, dissatisfaction, sorrow, and disconnectedness with life. To an individual suffering from intense loss, the world might seem to move on, while they are stuck in one spot.

Dealing With Negativity

Individuals who suffer from a feeling of disconnectedness may wish to ‘get back on track’, and start searching for ways to feel happy or satisfied again. While many promising options exist, there are also routes that aren’t healthy, and can worsen an individual’s condition.

There are many ways that people can overcome a feeling of disconnectedness. The effectiveness of a given method may vary from person to person, but there are many options for individuals to explore, and finding the best option can be just as important as overcoming the problem itself.

Support Options For Those Who Feel Disconnected

Regularly meeting with a therapist, either alone or in a group, can be a fantastic way for individuals to begin feeling connected again.

The first step to overcoming a problem is to identify it. This might look different based on the individual, and coming to terms with a problem may be difficult. Getting support is a crucial step in the process.

Dealing with a mental illness or a tragedy alone might feel impossible, but interacting with trained professionals or communicating with other suffering individuals can provide some much-needed support.

Therapy

Committing to a therapist might seem futile and difficult to a suffering individual, but the help of a trained professional can make all the difference.

Psychotherapy has been studied to be effective in many different kinds of people. Regularly meeting with a therapist, either alone or in a group, can be a fantastic way for individuals to begin feeling connected again.

Support Groups

Alternatively, having a trusted group of individuals to rely on can be helpful in overcoming a mental illness or a tragedy. One study found that support groups reduced the symptoms of depression.

This is a hopeful example of the effectiveness of a support group. The reliability of a support group can help suffering individuals to communicate easier, and start loving life again.

Holistic Support

These aren’t the only two methods of support, however. There are many proven methods of support, and some that are more experimental.

Some might work for a certain kind of individual, and not so much for another. Either way, the list of other options is extensive. These are just a few methods that might be included in a holistic therapy program:

  • Meditation
  • Adventure Therapy
  • Recovery Centers

Reaching Out For Help

It is important to monitor a mental illness carefully. Though it might seem fine to simply ‘live with it’, overcoming an illness is often possible, or at least treatable. Mental illnesses may also be caused by a substance abuse disorder, and they may also lead to a substance abuse disorder.

It is crucial to reach out for help if a substance abuse disorder develops with a mental illness. If you think you or a loved one is suffering from a substance abuse disorder, contact us today. You can also read more about substance abuse disorders on our blog.

Precipitated Withdrawal

Withdrawal usually refers to the sensations and symptoms someone experiences when they stop using an addictive substance. Precipitated withdrawal, however, refers to withdrawal caused by a medication.

Substances like Suboxone and Naloxone can be helpful resources for medically-assisted recovery from opioid addiction. Without careful application and monitoring, however, they have the potential to trigger precipitated withdrawal, which can be as life-threatening as withdrawal from illicit drugs.

Precipitated withdrawal most commonly occurs in individuals dealing with opioid dependence.

Unlike typical withdrawals, precipitated withdrawal refers to withdrawal caused by a medication.

Causes of Opioid Withdrawal

People most often experience withdrawal symptoms when they eliminate or significantly decrease the amount of an addictive substance they’ve been taking for a while.

This may occur as a result of an addiction to opioids purchased on the street, or even a developed dependence upon prescription drugs.

During the development of a dependence, an individual’s body becomes accustomed to functioning with the substance present. Thus, taking illegal or prescription drugs over a long period of time conditions the body to expect those effects regularly.

When the substance is removed suddenly, the body goes into a sort of panic mode without the substance it has adapted to. This reaction manifests as uncomfortable physical and mental symptoms that can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal

Medically-approved opioids are most often prescribed to relieve pain in some capacity. Their side effects usually produce feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

The “desirable” effects of a drug are often precisely opposite in nature to the symptoms of its withdrawal.

It’s interesting to note that the “desirable” effects of a drug are often precisely opposite in nature to the symptoms of its withdrawal. For example, as the following list of opioid withdrawal symptoms shows, many symptoms have to do with hyperactivity in the body – the opposite of calm and relaxation:

  • Muscle aches
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Light sensitivity
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid breathing
  • Overactive reflexes
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Overheating
  • High blood pressure

Dealing With and Avoiding Precipitated Withdrawal

Precipitated withdrawal most often occurs as a result of prematurely applied medications that combat opioid withdrawal, such as Suboxone or buprenorphine.

Precipitated Withdrawal Causes

Because buprenorphine has a higher binding strength than opioids to the opioid receptor, it “kicks off” the opioid and replaces it. However, buprenorphine activates the receptor to a lesser degree than the opioid, causing the patient to experience withdrawal symptoms due to a net loss of opioid effects.

This substitution can be helpful as part of a steady transition away from opioid addiction. For patients who are dealing with opioid withdrawal, buprenorphine can act as a “stepping stone” between opioid dependence and sobriety.

Buprenorphine administered too early in the detoxification process, however, means a large amount of these opioid receptors are getting “kicked off” at the same time, resulting in rapid onset precipitated withdrawal.

Precipitated Withdrawal Symptoms

Precipitated withdrawal symptoms are not unique or different from those associated with opioid withdrawal. Due to their severity, however, in addition to those listed above, precipitated withdrawal symptoms, may include:

  • Fever
  • Cramping
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Since buprenorphine is an opioid in itself, the danger of precipitated withdrawal comes not from the symptoms themselves, but from the severity of these symptoms, which can quickly become life-threatening.

Precipitated withdrawal symptoms:   Fever  Cramping Insomnia Depression Suicidal thoughts

Avoiding Precipitated Withdrawal

To avoid painful withdrawal symptoms, patients should not be given their first dose of buprenorphine until after they are already in mild to moderate withdrawal – and definitely not while they’re still high on opioids.

The type of opioid a person has been using also plays an important role in determining how much time passes before they can take buprenorphine. Opioids come in both long-acting and short-acting forms. Long-acting opioids such as Oxycontin and methadone will require a longer period of abstinence than short-acting ones that include heroin, crushed Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, oxycodone, and others.

Medical supervision can also be pivotal to help avoid developing an addiction to Suboxone – the very medication meant to help opioid dependence. As an opioid itself, Suboxone has a high potential to trigger its own withdrawals if not taken correctly.

The appropriate withdrawal stage for Suboxone administration should be determined by a trained professional who assesses appropriate timing based on the patient’s last use of all opioids, objective and subjective symptoms, and a COWS (Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale) score calculation.

Safe Opioid Addiction Recovery

Avoiding severe precipitated withdrawal requires a delicate balance of timing and understanding of the body. This is why it should never be attempted at home.

Additionally, experiencing the pain of precipitated withdrawal may motivate some not to seek out treatment for their opioid addiction, further deepening their addiction. While clinically monitored withdrawal is still painful, it is the safest way to go through the necessary detoxification process on the road to recovery.

If you think a loved one is suffering from an opioid addiction, contact us today. Our caring professionals are ready and willing to help walk addiction sufferers through the detox process and on to a life of sobriety.

Buspirone vs Xanax

Though they share similar medical applications, in a side-by-side comparison of buspirone vs Xanax, each has a clear advantage over the other for particular patients.

Ease of access makes some medications dangerous for patients who struggle with substance abuse. Additionally, the “desirable” side effects of benzos often lead people to abuse prescription drugs like Xanax.

Doctors sometimes turn to alternatives like buspirone to address the symptoms Xanax does in people who have struggled with substance abuse in the past.

What Is Xanax Mostly Prescribed For?

Xanax – also known by its generic chemical name, alprazolam – is primarily prescribed to address anxiety.

The class of drugs that Xanax belongs to – benzodiazepines or “benzos” – produce calming effects by binding with the brain receptors responsible for relaxation and magnifying their effect. This bind produces a sedative effect that makes Xanax a useful medication for treating anxiety as well as other conditions.

While doctors most often prescribe Xanax as an anti-anxiety medication, it can also assist patients with panic attack disorders. Additionally, Xanax has shown some promise in helping with both alcohol withdrawal symptoms and trouble falling asleep. Prescribing it for this purpose, however, is not officially recognized across the medical community.

Is Xanax Addictive?

The relaxing effects of Xanax can be habit-forming. People who abuse the drug put themselves at significant risk for developing a dependence. Several factors contribute to its potential for abuse, but the most significant is the fact that it releases dopamine.

Dopamine is a naturally-occurring chemical that activates the “reward centers” in the brain. When Xanax triggers an artificial release of dopamine, this causes the brain to associate the drug with the resulting pleasurable effects. The brain may begin to crave this “Xanax high.” Continued use can lead to a chemical dependence on Xanax just to function normally, leading to addiction.

Xanax finds most of its use as an anti-anxiety medication. Doctors have also found it capable of treating panic attack disorders.

Individuals who take prescription drugs for extended periods of time, their body will build a tolerance for it, meaning they need more of the drug to feel the same level of effect. This tolerance builds especially quickly in individuals who have a history with substance abuse, meaning those who have already dealt with dependence or addictions are at significant risk.

What Does Buspirone Do To The Body?

Buspiron (BuSpar), on the other hand, has a similar effect on anxious individuals as Xanax, but with a significantly lower potential for abuse.

How Does Buspirone Work?

While Xanax is a benzodiazepine, buspirone belongs to a classification known as azapirones. Azapirones have both antidepressant and anti-anxiety properties, but affect the brain differently than benzos.

Whereas Xanax interacts with receptors responsible for relaxation and sedation and associates strongly with dopamine, buspirone interacts with one of dopamine’s counterparts: serotonin.

The drawback to buspirone is that the sedative effects are milder than Xanax and take longer to work. Buspirone “kicks in” about a week after initial dose, and may not reach full clinical effect until about the six week mark.

Is Buspirone (BuSpar) addictive?

There is a sharp difference in the degree of understanding about how buspirone vs Xanax act upon the brain. The exact way that buspirone works has yet to be understood, but some suggest that it affects the way the brain processes fear and anxiety. Nonetheless, buspirone demonstrates an extremely low potential for addiction and is considered a valuable alternative to benzodiazepine anxiety treatments.

Xanax associates strongly with dopamine, while buspirone interacts with one of dopamine's counterparts: serotonin.

What Else Can Buspirone Be Prescribed For?

Though treating anxiety is buspirone’s only official medical use, studies have suggested that it may be a valuable medication for individuals dealing with withdrawal from opioids or alcohol.

In those studies, administration of buspirone appeared to reduce cravings for a dependent substance. Though these studies will not be enough evidence to make this a verified application of buspirone, further investigation may find that buspirone can effectively reduce cravings for opioids and alcohol during withdrawal.

Buspirone vs Xanax: How Do I Know Which Is Right For Me?

While Xanax dominates the prescription field when it comes to anti-anxiety medications, buspirone’s lack of abuse potential may make it the perfect alternative in patients at-risk for substance abuse.

If you struggle with anxiety, talk to your doctor about your prescription medication history to see whether buspirone could be a helpful alternative to Xanax. If you find the need to switch, this will also need medical supervision to avoid benzo withdrawal symptoms.

Finally, if you suspect that you or someone you love already suffers from prescription drug dependence or addiction, contact us today to see our range of options to help you get your life back drug-free.

Dangers of Mixing Valium and Alcohol

Valium can be an invaluable aid for individuals suffering from anxiety attacks or panic disorders.

Alcohol is one of the most easily available and regularly consumed substances in the world. Unfortunately, people commonly mix alcohol and Valium on accident–or even on purpose.

Understanding potential interactions between the two may help avoid intentional or accidental mixing. By discussing the physical effects of each substance, we can better understand why Valium and alcohol do not mix well.

Valium for Pain: How Does Valium Work?

Valium is the brand name for the drug diazepam, which scientists have classified as a benzodiazepine. This category of drugs is sometimes referred to as “benzos.”

Diazepam diminishes the reactiveness of neurons by essentially making communication between them more difficult. Not all benzos function in this exact method, but the neurons affected by benzos are usually the same.

For individuals suffering from anxiety, this effect can produce a calming sensation, and typically eliminates symptoms of anxiety.

Though its relaxing effects would appear to make it a good painkiller, taking Valium for pain is likely ineffective. It does not affect the neurons in the brain responsible for pain reception, and the risk of dependence makes it a poor option for pain treatment.

For individuals suffering from anxiety, this effect can produce a calming sensation, and typically eliminates symptoms of anxiety.

What Are Valium’s Medical Applications?

Valium is prescribed to help relieve symptoms of anxiety, seizures, and alcohol withdrawal, diazepam can also help relax muscles. Additionally, Valium has been found to have some off-label use as a sleep aid, and sedation for patients receiving intensive care.

Medical professionals strongly recommended against taking Valium for sleep at home, as it is all too easy for someone to develop a dependence on the drug. Under proper medical supervision for patient sedation in the ICU is unlikely to be risky, however, since doses are limited in quantity and repetition.

Does Valium Have Side Effects?

Like many prescription medications, Valium may have a number of side effects when taken.

While Valium side effects are typically described as simply ‘uncomfortable’, there are a few rare adverse effects that might arise. The following are some of the common side effects of diazepam use:

  • Sedation
  • Fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Tremor
  • Nausea

Valium has also been known to be a leading cause of seizures, trouble breathing, or suicidal ideation, but these cases are rare.

Additionally, the formation of a substance use disorder (SUD) in relation to Valium is a possibility. As a result, doctors will need to carefully monitor and pace Valium use, to minimize risk of abuse.

Does Valium Have Risk for Abuse?

Valium is manufactured as oral tablets in dose sizes of two, five, and ten milligrams. The generic chemical name, diazepam, is also manufactured as a liquid to be taken intravenously. Valium carries the potential for abuse in any and all of these forms.

Individuals who use benzos without a prescription or who take more than the prescribed dose increase their risk for developing a dependence upon them. People who self-diagnose or simply want something to help them “feel good” may seek illicit forms of Valium for its calming effects.

No matter the initial reason, abuse of Valium can cause an addiction to form. When an individual suffers from an addiction to diazepam, they are also likely to experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop suddenly.

Individuals who use benzos without a prescription or who take more than the prescribed dose increase their risk for developing a dependence upon them.

How Long Does Valium Last?

Valium stays in the body for a significant amount of time, especially when compared to similar substances. Valium’s half life of 46 hours makes it an exceptionally long-remaining drug.

This means it takes the average human body nearly two full days to get rid of half of the diazepam they ingest. In two day more, another half would be eliminated.

After enough time, all of the substance will be entirely eliminated. Since the half-life of Valium is so long, it can take as many as 12 days for it to completely exit the body, depending on the dose size.

Though the substance remains in the body for a long time, Valium’s intended effects last only about 12 hours.

Valium And Alcohol Interaction

Alcohol is a substance known as a “depressant” that can result in a plethora of side effects as well as health complications with long-term use.

The most notable side-effects of alcohol consumption include drowsiness, headaches, and breathing difficulty.

Side Effects of Mixing Valium and Alcohol

Since both Valium and alcohol can both cause individuals to feel drowsy, experience headaches, or have trouble breathing, combining the two can be risky.

Since Valium remains in the system for such a long period of time, there is a higher chance of accidentally having Valium and alcohol in your system at the same time.

For example, someone may take their dose of Valium in the morning, then later in the evening go out for drinks. If they have forgotten about the dose, or are unaware of the dangers of mixing Valium and alcohol, they risk experiencing life-threatening side effects.

The compound effect of both alcohol and benzos depressing the central nervous system (CNS) can cause dangerously slowed breathing. A person who has mixed them often appears to be asleep. Whether accidental or not, frequently mixing Valium and alcohol can result in overdose and even death.

The most notable side-effects of alcohol consumption include drowsiness, headaches, and breathing difficulty.

Treatment for Valium and Alcohol Addiction

A SUD is a life-threatening problem. Even if Valium’s effects may seem relatively harmless, a dependence on the drug can worsen over time, developing into addiction or even lead to death. This is why it is important to seek help if you think a loved one suffers from a SUD. If you suspect that a loved one is addicted to Valium–or any other substance–contact us today.

Signs of Meth Use

Methamphetamine–commonly referred to as just “meth”–is one of the most harmful substances a person can take.

Psychological and physical effects of snorting, injecting, swallowing, or smoking meth wreak havoc both in an individual’s body and brain as well as their relationships. Those who interact regularly with someone suffering from a meth addiction are often secondary victims of the addiction.

Treating a SUD starts with identifying the problem. Becoming familiar with the symptoms of addiction and signs of meth use can help loved ones know how to help a SUD victim and prevent meth overdose.

Medical Application for Methamphetamine

While there are few medical applications for methamphetamine as a treatment for conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and–more rarely–weight loss, meth is primarily created, sold and consumed in an illegal capacity.

Methamphetamine has a high potential for abuse. However, since it does carry a few medical applications, The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has put meth under a Schedule II classification.

Methamphetamine has a high potential for abuse, but also has a few medical applications.

According to the DEA Drug Scheduling system, “Schedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous.”

Schedule II drugs are controlled substances and illegal to obtain without a prescription.

How Meth Addiction Forms

Meth is a stimulant that “super-charges” specific areas of the brain by increasing the release of dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.

This sudden increase of these chemicals in the brain leads to feelings of wakefulness, increased energy, euphoria, and suppression of appetite.

Dopamine, specifically, is a strong driver in the development of an addiction.

This neurotransmitter is one of the primary chemicals responsible for “rewarding” the brain. Thus, an artificial release of dopamine encourages continued use of whatever caused the release in the first place.

The intense high that results from a surge in dopamine is what compels many to seek any means to take it again.

Even if a person begins to develop meth symptoms–like “meth face” or meth sores–the brain so strongly desires that dopamine rush that it prioritizes getting it more than health or hygiene.

Meth Symptoms

Once an addiction to meth has set in, users start to develop certain physical features that progress in intensity over time. Some common physical meth symptoms include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Skin sores
  • Rapid eye movement
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tooth decay
  • Itchy skin or rashes

The immune system takes a blow from the use of meth, and its weakened state means diseases are more likely to develop, especially those that affect the skin.

In addition to the symptoms above, there are some traits that are unique signs of meth use for those who are long-term users:

Meth Sores and Meth Face

The combination of tooth decay, facial sores, and skin damage is often labelled as “meth face.” The overall effect of dental deterioration and open wounds on the face also appears to advance aging to an unnatural degree.

Additionally, meth is water-soluble, so it can sweat out of a person’s pores, causing severe skin irritation. Meth sores often develop due to a combination of this skin irritation, lack of blood flow to the dermis to encourage healing, and poor hygiene leading to infection.

Meth weakens the immune system and makes disease more likely to develop, especially those that affect the skin.

Meth Mites

Meth mites are not a true living species of mite. They are, in fact, one of the signs of meth use that are both physical and psychological. Meth users often form continual hallucinations that bugs are crawling under their skin. This leads them to scratch the skin on the face and other parts of the body, forming open meth sores.

Short- and Long-Term Psychological Consequences of Smoking Meth

Though a meth high is extremely potent and considered desirable by consumers, the drug’s toll on the body before and after meth withdrawal is intense.

The use of meth can interfere with the brain’s regular process enough to cause permanent changes. Long-term meth use can lead to psychological trauma, which might include any or all of the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Violent actions
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions

The impact of meth use lingers long after discontinued use.
Studies performed on individuals previously addicted to meth revealed that consuming this drug changes the way the brain’s pathways function.

Long-term meth use can lead to psychological trauma like anxiety, confusion, and mood swings.

The brain develops a chemical dependency on meth, which encourages an–not just continued, but–increasing appetite for more of the substance, often leading to meth overdose.

Meth Overdose

Injecting, inhaling, or smoking meth on a regular basis greatly increases the chances of an overdose.

Meth overdose can look similar to a meth high, but often has more intense symptoms and a rapid or irregular heartbeat. Other overdose symptoms may include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Paranoia
  • Seizures
  • Intense stomach pain
  • High body temperature
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Signs of a heart attack or stroke

How to Find Help If You See Signs of Meth Use In a Loved One

The psychological toll of smoking meth leads to a deterioration in relationships. If an individual is suffering from multiple psychotic symptoms at the same time, they are likely to become progressively more difficult to be around–let alone get help for.

The earlier signs of meth use can be detected, the better chance someone has to prevent further damage, overdose, or even death.

Meth abuse can have permanent consequences–but it doesn’t have to. If you think a loved one is suffering from a meth addiction or misusing methamphetamine, contact us today.

Naloxone Vs Naltrexone

Naloxone (Narcan) and naltrexone share similar medical applications, but play different roles in the process of opioid overdose recovery.

Naloxone provides life-saving aid to someone experiencing an opioid overdose, while naltrexone helps individuals overcome opioid dependence through long-term use.

What Is The Difference Between Naloxone And Naltrexone?

Placed side by side, the most distinctive difference between naltrexone vs naloxone is timing.

Naloxone (Narcan) takes effect immediately and wears off quickly, while naltrexone affects the body at a slower rate with a longer-lasting action upon the body.

Naloxone (Narcan)

Naloxone is a vital substance to treat individuals suffering from opioid overdose

The symptoms associated with opioid overdose are always serious, and often fatal. Fortunately, naloxone is one substance with the unique ability to reverse the symptoms of opioid overdose.

There are three main types of receptors in the brain that opioids activate. An overdose occurs when these brain receptors become overloaded with too much of a substance.

When administered, naloxone (Narcan) acts on the same three kinds of receptors that opioids do. Narcan both prevents opioids from binding to their corresponding receptors and “knocks off” those that are already attached.

One of the most dangerous symptoms of opioid overdose is the way it slows breathing to dangerously low levels. By blocking the connection between the opioid and receptor, naloxone effectively reverses the symptoms of overdose.

How Long Does Naloxone Block Opioid Receptors?

The fact that naloxone can reverse overdose so quickly makes it a vital substance to treat individuals suffering from opioid overdose. Naloxone takes effect within 5 minutes of administration and wears off after about 90 minutes.

It is important to note that since naloxone (Narcan) wears off so quickly, a person receiving Narcan will need professional medical attention as soon as overdose symptoms have passed. Failing to seek follow-up care may result in extreme withdrawals followed by intense cravings for opioids in short order.

What Are Common Administration Routes For Naloxone?

Naloxone is most commonly taken nasally, but injectable solutions allow individuals to administer the substance even without medical training.

Some studies have proposed extending its use to addressing septic shock, which is characterized by extremely low blood pressure as well as organ failure. The efficacy of the drug in this application is still inconclusive, however. Thus, opioid overdose remains naloxone’s only medically recognized treatment.

Is Naloxone Addictive?

As a stand-alone substance, naloxone does not have any potential for abuse. Naxolene’s primary function is to simply counter the effects of another drug, so it does not act upon the brain in any way that would encourage addiction.

Naltrexone

Naltrexone is incredibly valuable for individuals who are overcoming a dependence to an opioid.

While naloxone (Narcan) is an emergency medication, naltrexone helps individuals overcome opioid addiction over a longer period of time. Naltrexone has a similar, but less forceful effect on the brain compared to naloxone.

While naloxone blocks all three of the brain’s opioid receptors, naltrexone blocks only one. Naltrexone targets the euphoria-inducing effect of opioids as a way to prevent dependence.

Naltrexone is incredibly valuable for individuals who are overcoming a dependence because it stifles the intoxicating feeling people seek to attain through opioid use.

After a period of detoxification, individuals who take naltrexone are able to focus on recovery without experiencing opioid cravings that can lead to relapse.

How Long Does It Take Naltrexone To Work?

Naltrexone can be taken either as a pill or as an injection, but effect of the substance lasts much longer when injected:

  • When taken orally, half of the dose will be eliminated from the body within four(4) hours whereas,
  • When injected the half-life extends to about seven (7) days.

The injection is more potent and effective, but the convenience of pills makes administration less complicated as this individuals to self-administer a pill daily.

In addition to opioid addiction treatment, naltrexone has also shown promise as a method to combat alcohol dependence. Though the two substances might seem very different, alcohol and opioids impact some of the same receptors in the brain.

Is Naltrexone Addictive?

Naltrexone is highly unlikely to be habit-forming, and, therefore, has little risk for abuse.

Side effects are rare and mostly related to withdrawals from substance abuse rather than naltrexone itself. These effects may include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Body Aches
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Drowsiness

Naltrexone is most effective when administered by a medical professional. Access to powerful treatments like this as part of a holistic recovery program can not only save a life from opioid overdose, but help them rebuild a new one drug-free.

Naltrexone vs Naloxone: How Do I Find Out More?

Though they share strikingly similar names, each substance has unique applications. Naloxone is an appropriate first step in assisting someone who has overdosed on opiates, but further treatment is needed to prevent overdose from happening again.

If you know someone struggling with an opioid addiction, finding a reliable medication assisted treatment (MAT) center can be a challenge. At Reflections, we provide a ‘whole-patient’ approach to the treatment of substance use disorder.

Reach out to us today to talk to our highly qualified team about how they use all resources available to provide individualized care for each patient.