Tag Archives: Opioid Withdrawal

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.

Methadone Withdrawal

Watch a commercial for any prescription drug and you may notice that it likely spends more air time disclosing all the potential side effects of a medication than talking about the benefits. A common dilemma in the medical field is the fact that a particular treatment will often solve some problems–and create new ones.

The use of methadone as an opioid addiction treatment is a prime example. While historically effective in helping patients disengage from heroin dependency, it has the potential to simply replace one addiction with another. Thus, one removed obstacle can lead to another one: overcoming methadone withdrawal.

What Is Methadone?

Methadone is a prescription drug medication commonly applied as a treatment for opioid addiction. Also an opioid itself, doctors will occasionally prescribe methadone to treat severe pain, but this application is less frequent. Methadose and Dolophine are common methadone brand names.

Examples of other opioids include heroin, morphine, and codeine. While methadone and heroin share the same drug classification, they act upon the body differently. Because of this, and the fact that methadone is much less likely to induce a “high” or any euphoric effects, it can be used to treat opioid addiction.

Methadone is a prescription drug medication commonly applied as a treatment for opioid addiction

According to the CDC, addiction to synthetic opioids, such as heroin, is the leading cause of drug overdose in the United States. As a closely-related substance, methadone has been shown as an effective treatment to “wean” an opioid abuser off of the substance.

The very characteristics that make it an effective addiction “antidote” also make methadone a viable candidate for dependency and abuse. If someone has “weaned” from a heroin addiction via methadone, there is still a detoxification process that needs to occur for full addiction recovery.

Thankfully–though it can be uncomfortable and difficult–methadone withdrawal is not life-threatening.

How Long Does Methadone Stay in Your System?

Methadone is a slower-acting opioid than its synthetic counterparts. This means that a methadone half life is longer, ranging from 8–60 hours. For comparison, oxycodone’s half life is just 3–5 hours.

This comparatively longer methadone half life does not necessarily make the drug “safer.” On the contrary, methadone’s half life means there is a potential for a higher concentration to build-up in the body if it is taken in more frequent intervals than prescribed.

It’s worth noting that patients who have withdrawn from opioids are at increased risk of overdose due to reduced opioid tolerance. These types of risks have contributed to methadone slowly falling out of favor in the medical community.

More and more addiction specialists see methadone as a crutch at best–and a risky one at that. Many are trying alternative methods to help patients overcome addiction to pain-relieving narcotics.

What Is Methadone Used For?

There are two main forms of addiction treatment involving methadone: methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) and medication assisted treatment (MAT).

The former is the type of treatment program mentioned above that more professionals are moving away from. It essentially “manages” heroin withdrawal and cravings by giving patients consistent doses of methadone. The main objection to this concept is that it has enables clients to simply remain addicted to a different opioid, with no built-in program to taper clients off to prevent severe methadone withdrawal.

On the other hand, a medication assisted treatment program (MAT)–with an emphasis on the word assisted–provides more comprehensive care for those struggling with a heroin addiction. As a general rule, most MAT programs have plans to get clients off all opioid-based medications within three months.

Methadone Maintenance Treatment vs Methadone Assisted Treatment

A holistic approach to methadone withdrawal may include supplemental treatments such as:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Vitamin supplements
  • Healthy meals
  • Exercise and sports activities
  • Massage
  • Aromatherapy
  • Spa amenities and treatments

Treatment centers with this type of holistic-minded MAT program are more respected by addiction specialists and see better recovery results than MMT services.

What Are the Symptoms of Methadone Withdrawal?

Methadone withdrawal symptoms may begin within 24-36 hrs after the last dose. Days two and three are when symptoms usually peak and should slowly decline over the following days.

Methadone withdrawal symptoms for first 30 hrs might include:

  • Tiredness
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Yawning
  • Trouble sleeping

Extended symptoms–which often feel similar to the flu–may occur over the following weeks:

  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Goosebumps
  • Severe nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression
  • Drug cravings

The timeline for methadone withdrawal varies from person to person, and largely depends on the length and intensity of a patient’s opioid addiction. The total time for detox can last anywhere from two to three weeks up to six months.

tiredness anxiety restlessness sweating watery eyes runny nose yawning trouble sleeping

This is why it is imperative that a medical professional monitor the methadone withdrawal process. Attempted alone, the chances of returning to other opioid use increases significantly. Tapering off of methadone in the safety of a MAT program makes full recovery more likely.

Recovery & Help

Symptoms of withdrawal aren’t life-threatening on their own. However, they can become so with use of an improper detox method or a person relapses soon after completing detox.

Because of these reasons, we highly recommend seeking professional treatment. The best kind is one that includes medically-supervised detox and ongoing support to stay sober after detox.

These are services which you can find at Reflections Recovery Center. Give us a call to see how we can help you or a loved one start the road to recovery today.

Morphine Addiction & Withdrawal Effects

Morphine is one of the most abused drug substances in the world.

According to the International Journal of Molecular Sciences (IJMS), morphine’s high rate of abuse potential is closely associated with the chronically high frequency of its administration.

Morphine and its opiate counterparts have highly addictive properties that, without careful medical supervision, can lead to tolerance, dependence, addiction, and even death. 

What is Morphine? 

Morphine is a pain-relieving medication that falls under the opioid class of drugs. This classification includes illegal forms of opioids such as heroin, synthetic forms like fentanyl, and pain relievers available by legal medical prescription such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and many others.

In its proper medical application, a doctor will prescribe morphine to treat moderate-to-severe pain. A patient may receive morphine in the form of a pill or swallowable liquid. It may also be applied intravenously, but this usually occurs in a hospital setting. 

What is Morphine Used For? 

In its proper medical application, a doctor will prescribe morphine to treat moderate-to-severe pain.

Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, is credited with the origin of morphine’s name due to the “dream-like state” that users report experiencing.

Morphine relieves pain by causing a flood of dopamine in the brain’s reward center. This dopamine release causes a euphoric high, which encourages morphine addiction. People who exceed their prescription limits or use morphine for non-medical purposes are more likely to become addicted to an illegal opiate like heroin.

Whether because the prescription runs out, they’ve built a tolerance to the current dosage, or are already showing signs of addiction, morphine abusers often turn to street heroin sellers to get an immediate or stronger high. 

Addiction–also known as “substance use disorder” (SUD)–is classified as a chronic recurrent disease of the central nervous system (CNS) which leads to personality disorders, co-morbidities and premature death.

SUD develops as a result of long-term administration of substances with abuse potential and includes physical addiction and/or psychological dependence. Psychological dependence is compulsive drug use to improve the perception of well-being whereas physical addiction means the cells can’t function without the drug they have become accustomed to.

While most people take morphine to experience the “desirable” side effects (pain relief, euphoria, etc.), it is all too easy to overdose by accident. If you see a loved one or anyone near you exhibiting any of the following signs of overdose, call 911:

  • Extremely pale skin that feels clammy to the touch
  • Body goes limp
  • Fingernails or lips have a purple or blue color
  • Vomiting or gurgling noises
  • Unable to respond or wake up
  • Slowing or stopping of breathing/heartbeat 

Signs of a morphine overdose: Extremely pale skin that feels clammy to the touch Body goes limp Fingernails or lips have a purple or blue color Vomiting or gurgling noises Unable to respond or wake up Slowing or stopping of breathing/heartbeat

How Long Does Morphine Last? 

The average morphine half life is about 2-3 hours. It takes several half-lives for the drug to be completely eliminated from the body, so 12 hours is a usual amount of time for morphine to be out of the blood.

Someone taking morphine will usually feel its effects within 30-60 minutes after oral ingestion. It generally wears off by about 4-6 hours after dose. Some extended-release formulas may not wear off until closer to 8-12 hours later. 

What Are the Symptoms of Morphine Withdrawal? 

It is extremely important to communicate frequently and clearly with your doctor about how you’re feeling while taking morphine. If you do need to stop taking it, do not do so abruptly. In order to reduce or avoid unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, your doctor can help you slowly reduce dosage over time in a process called “tapering.”

Morphine withdrawal symptoms can begin within the first 24 hours after the last dose. Withdrawal occurs when the body establishes a dependence on the drug, but this usually doesn’t develop until after several weeks of use. 

Initial symptoms after you stop using the drug might include:

  • muscle aches
  • restlessness
  • anxiety
  • lacrimation (eyes tearing up)
  • runny nose
  • excessive sweating
  • inability to sleep
  • yawning very often

Later symptoms–which can be more intense–begin after the first 24 hours and may be: 

  • diarrhea
  • abdominal cramping
  • goose bumps on the skin
  • nausea and vomiting
  • dilated pupils and possibly blurry vision
  • rapid heartbeat
  • high blood pressure

Morphine withdrawal symptoms can begin within the first 24 hours after the last dose was taken.

Morphine withdrawal symptoms, though they can be unpleasant and painful, usually begin to improve within 72 hours. Within a week you should notice a significant decrease in the acute effects. Still, rapid (or “cold turkey”) detox is not recommended. 

Morphine Addiction Recovery Treatment

While rest, plenty of fluids, & acetaminophen or aspirin can help address mild withdrawal,  more intense withdrawal symptoms may require hospitalization and other medications. 

Overcoming long-term addiction requires a little more care. The main treatment for prescription opioid addiction is medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which combines counseling and community support with medicines to moderate the withdrawal process.

If you or a loved one is suffering from morphine addiction, give us a call to see how we can empower you to help stop drug use and learn to thrive without opiates.

Why is fentanyl so dangerous?

America has been in the midst of an opioid epidemic since early 2017 and fentanyl has been at the forefront of this public health emergency. The amount of deaths caused by fentanyl begs the question why is fentanyl so dangerous?

What is fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid which is 80-100 times more potent and powerful than morphine. It is a very effective pain reliever initially in use to treat cancer patients. When it was first discovered in the later half of the 20th century, pharmaceutical companies claimed that the drug would not be addictive. However, fast forward to 2016, where 42,000 Americans were killed by the drug. Many understood that the drug posed a major threat to public health and safety.

How does fentanyl work?

Like other opioids such as heroin, fentanyl works by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain. Opioid receptors are primarily responsible for the feelings of pain in the body, hence why it is a very effective pain killer. However, fentanyl also causes the release of dopamine.

Dopamine helps encourage the repetition of behavior which we find appealing, such as eating, drinking or in this case, doing drugs. Fentanyl also creates a euphoric high which comes from the immense release of dopamine and pain-killing characteristics of the drug.

Fentanyl can also cause a variety of unpleasant side-effects such as:

  • Drowsiness 
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia 
  • Heachaches 
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

More serious side effects include:

  • Breathing problems (shallow, raspy or no breathing)
  • Low blood pressure
  • Physical dependence and addiction

Fentanyl vs morphine

Fentanyl and morphine are chemically similar and are both opioids with effective pain relief abilities.

The difference between the two and between fentanyl and other opioids is the strength of the drug. For example, codeine is a relatively weak opioid in comparison to morphine. Heroin is about two to five times stronger than morphine and fentanyl is approximately 80-100 times stronger than morphine.

Not much else is stronger than fentanyl except for carfentanil which is an additional 100 times stronger than fentanyl and is typically an elephant tranquilizer. 

Fentanyl is categorized as a schedule II drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) which means it has some potential for medical use but also has addictive qualities. 


Why is fentanyl so dangerous?

Fentanyl is a highly addictive substance. It can cause extreme physical and psychological dependence which can make it impossible to live without.

While most people understand that it is dangerous, they may not understand why or how it is capable of killing. Opioids are central nervous system depressants similar to alcohol. It slows brain and nerve function which in turn can slow down critical organ function such as the heart and lungs.

An overdose is the body’s adverse reaction to an overwhelming stimulus such as taking too much of a drug. The most common cause of death with fentanyl is a fatal overdose where the CNS becomes overwhelmed and the individual’s lungs stop functioning correctly. 

During the height of the opioid epidemic, drug dealers were lacing marijuana and cocaine with fentanyl without anyone knowing which caused a massive surge in fatal overdoses.

Even a very small quantity of fentanyl laced in marijuana or cocaine can cause someone who has never had the drug before to experience an overdose. This is because our bodies build a tolerance or resistance to drugs and as time and usage increases, so will the dosage. 

fentanyl opioid overdoses

Fentanyl and alcohol

Mixing substance is polysubstance abuse and greatly increases the chance of experiencing a fatal overdose. In most polysubstance use cases, the secondary drug of choice is alcohol.

Mixing alcohol and fentanyl can be extremely dangerous as they are both strong central nervous system depressants and the combined enhanced effects of the two drugs can overwhelm the body’s critical organs. The overwhelming depressant effects can cause breathing to completely stop and prevent oxygen from being circulated around the body.

Even if the overdose does not become fatal, it can cause permanent brain and organ damage. 

How long does fentanyl stay in your system?

Fentanyl has a half-life of 8-10 hours which means it will take 8-10 hours for the initially ingested amount of fentanyl to reduce by 50%. In other words it will take 8-10 hours for 10mg to effectively reduce to 5mg in your body. While the half-life is only 8-10 hours, fentanyl can be detected in the body via blood, urine and hair tests much longer after that. 

why is fentanyl so dangerous


Why is fentanyl so dangerous? It is a highly addictive and powerful drug. Very small amounts are frequently in other drugs now and increase risk of overdose and death. Fentanyl addiction is difficult to overcome alone, if not entirely impossible for most. Withdrawal symptoms are severe and require professional treatement.

Most addiction is the result of mental health issues or vice versa. This is a co-occurring disorder. With co-occurring disorders, it is important that both the addiction and mental health issue be treated.

Whether someone is coping with mental health and addiction, or just one, working with a professional will ensure that you receive the proper treatment you deserve. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today.

The Dangers of Fentanyl Patch Abuse: Know the Signs

One of the most widespread problems when it comes to addiction and overdose deaths in America is fentanyl. What is fentanyl? This substance is a synthetic opioid similar to heroin, but capable of producing much more potent effects.

A sample of fentanyl could be as much as 100 times more powerful than heroin, and the lethal dose is much smaller than that of heroin. Some drug manufacturers provide fentanyl medications to ease certain types of pain, particularly chronic pain that hasn’t responded to other treatment methods.

It’s possible to take fentanyl:

  • Orally with a pill
  • Through an edible product such as a lollipop or lozenge
  • With a transdermal patch

Unfortunately, some people have started abusing fentanyl patches because of their potency and viability compared to other forms of opioids like heroin. It’s imperative for anyone with a valid prescription for any type of fentanyl-based medication to take precautions to prevent others from using or having access to it.

Coming into contact with the sticky side of a transdermal fentanyl patch can lead to serious medical issues. Overdose is one of those risks, especially if a child or a person with little tolerance for narcotics touches the patch.

Risks of Fentanyl Exposure

How long does fentanyl stay in your system? That generally depends on the delivery system. An injected dose will be very potent and fast acting, but may not last as long as a dose taken orally.

Fentanyl patches generally release a low dose of fentanyl into the bloodstream over several days. Duragesic, the leading manufacturer of fentanyl patches in the U.S., reports its patches last for about three days before they require replacement.

Unfortunately, it is very easy to manipulate these patches for enhanced effects. Therefore, some people are abusing them in lieu of street heroin. Others simply do not realize that they can be more dangerous than street heroin because they are technically legal with a prescription.

How Do People Abuse Fentanyl Patches?

A fentanyl patch is similar to an adhesive bandage, but the underside has a gel coating that contains the fentanyl. Some people who misuse fentanyl patches will remove the gel and immediately ingest the entire dose at once. This is equivalent to consuming a three-day supply instantly. Others may apply multiple patches at once to absorb more of the drug.

Some people remove the fentanyl gel from patches and combine it with water or melt it down to inject it directly into the bloodstream. It’s also possible to chew on the patches to release the layers of fentanyl quickly; the mucous membranes of the mouth will absorb it into the bloodstream. Fentanyl is incredibly potent, and any of these methods carries a significant risk of overdosing.

When fentanyl enters the bloodstream directly or through the digestive system after a person chews on a patch, the risk of overdose increases dramatically. The body cannot process fentanyl well in these circumstances because it absorbs it too rapidly – compared to transdermal absorption.

Even used patches can still be fatal after a few days. A fentanyl patch may still contain up to 50 percent of the original amount of the drug after three days.

Signs of Fentanyl Overdose

Opioid addiction is incredibly powerful and entails some of the most severe withdrawal symptoms of any form of substance abuse. Fentanyl withdrawal can entail:

  • Hallucinations
  • Extreme drug cravings
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Irritability
  • Several potentially fatal medical conditions

Some individuals may attempt to take more fentanyl than they can handle to stave off these symptoms, potentially opening the door to an overdose.

Some of the early signs of fentanyl overdose can include:

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing

Since many individuals prefer to use alone or in seclusion, there may not be anyone around to intervene in the event of an overdose.

Fatal Risks of Overdosing

A fentanyl patch may cause an overdose on its own merit, or an individual may manipulate the patch for a more potent dose and then experience an overdose. Any overdose has the potential to be fatal, and it’s imperative to seek medical treatment immediately if you or someone you know begins to display the signs of overdose.

In particular, a few very dangerous symptoms to stay vigilant for include:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Extreme sweating
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Muscle cramping

Falling asleep under the effects of fentanyl is also extremely dangerous, especially after taking a large or concentrated dose. The respiratory system naturally relaxes and breathing slows during sleep. Since fentanyl can easily cause respiratory depression, it’s possible for a user to fall unconscious and slip into respiratory failure without anyone else noticing.

Signs of Fentanyl Addiction

Many individuals receive prescriptions for fentanyl for legitimate medical reasons. Unfortunately, these medications are very powerful and easily habit forming.

It’s essential for anyone who takes fentanyl medications to heed the instructions from their prescribing doctors very carefully and to only take these medications exactly as directed. It’s also vital to remember that following a prescription’s directions to the letter isn’t a foolproof way of avoiding fentanyl addiction (or overdose).

A person who develops an addiction to fentanyl may start exhibiting strange behavior, and loved ones should pay close attention to the warning signs of fentanyl patch abuse. Some of the signs could include:

  • Using more than the prescribed dose.
  • Appearance of damaged or destroyed fentanyl patches around the patient’s home or in trashcans: This could indicate that someone is opening the patches to remove the gel for a stronger dose.
  • Wearing more than one fentanyl patch at a time: There is no reason to ever apply more than one patch, even for acute pain. Some people mistakenly believe they can apply a patch directly to a specific part of the body for more targeted pain relief, but this is generally not the case. Always follow the instructions that accompany any fentanyl prescription.
  • Purchasing fentanyl patches from other people who have prescriptions.
  • Displaying fear of running out of patches.
  • Declining performance at work or in school.
  • Neglecting household duties, chores and basic living needs, like making meals and cleaning clothes.

Your Role

Do you know a friend or loved one who takes a fentanyl medication for a medical issue or has taken it recently? It’s important to stay vigilant for any changes in behavior that might indicate addiction.

A person in the early stages of addiction may be in denial about his or her behavior, but it will be obvious to others who start noticing some of the telltale behaviors associated with addiction.

Intervention and Treatment for Fentanyl Patch Abuse

It’s possible to develop fentanyl addiction simply by taking one’s prescription as directed. Others can propel themselves further into addiction by taking more fentanyl medication than prescribed.

It is imperative to acknowledge the extreme dangers of fentanyl patch abuse to prevent overdose deaths. Additionally, some individuals need to confront their addiction and seek treatment before it’s too late.

Fentanyl Abuse Detox and Rehab

There is no need to wait to hit “rock bottom” before seeking addiction treatment. The sooner a person struggling with substance abuse enters rehab, the better their chances are of getting and staying sober.

Fentanyl is a powerful opioid, and its withdrawal symptoms can be severe. Medically assisted detox is the best way to start the recovery process. An intervention can help get the person to this stage if they will not go willingly.

The thought of entering rehab may be scary, but the alternative is much worse. Detox and rehab are hard at first, but going through the recovery process can potentially save your loved one’s life. Instead of risking addiction and possible death by overdose, it’s crucial to spot and address the early signs of fentanyl patch addiction, and then take appropriate action.

See Our Prescription Drug Fact Sheet

Understanding Heroin Detox and Rehabilitation from a Parent’s Point of View

Watching your son or daughter struggle with heroin addiction is one of the hardest things that you can go through as a parent. You have always wanted the best for your child, and while you wish that you could solve this problem for them, you feel absolutely powerless to help.

It’s important to remember that no matter how difficult the situation may appear, there is always hope.

Overcoming heroin addiction is never easy, and the process will take time. By educating yourself about the nature of this drug and the important role of heroin addiction rehab centers, you can be the source of strength that your child needs to take back control of their life.

Here, we take a closer look at everything you need to know about how to help your child who is addicted to heroin.

Signs of Heroin Addiction

In 2016, nearly 1 million Americans admitted to using heroin over the previous year, making it one of the most widely abused drugs in the country. If you fear that your child is addicted to heroin but you don’t know for certain, there are a number of warning signs to look for, such as:

  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Depressed mood
  • Poor performance at school or work
  • Social withdrawal
  • Glassy eyes with pinpoint pupils
  • Deceptive behavior
  • Digestive issues and constipation
  • Poor personal hygiene
  • Injection scars on the body, commonly known as “track marks”
  • Frequent mood swings

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

Going through withdrawal is arguably the most challenging stage of heroin addiction recovery. The symptoms of heroin detox can be broken down into two phases, and typically begin six to 12 hours after the user has taken their last dose. While the intensity of withdrawal symptoms will vary from person to person depending on factors like age, level of addiction and health status, the symptoms themselves are similar for everyone.

During the first stage of heroin detox, your son will likely experience the following symptoms:

  • Muscle aches
  • Anxiety
  • Runny nose
  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
  • Watery eyes
  • Anxiety
  • Fever

The second stage of heroin withdrawal begins one to two days after the last dose and reaches peak intensity within 72 hours of abstinence. Stage two withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Intense heroin cravings
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Insomnia

The Need for Medically-Assisted Detox

Is your child is battling a severe heroin addiction? The safest way to get through the early stages of recovery is through a medically-assisted detox program at a licensed heroin rehab center. In a medically-assisted detox program, your son or daughter will be under the supervision of doctors and addiction treatment professionals 24 hours a day.

Although the acute withdrawal syndrome associated with heroin detox is rarely fatal, it is an extremely uncomfortable process. Those who have gone through heroin withdrawal frequently report that the experience is like having the worst flu of their lives. It’s no wonder why the estimated rate of heroin relapse is higher than 90 percent.

Medically-assisted detox allows recovering addicts to go through heroin withdrawal in a safe and controlled environment, which greatly reduces the risk of relapse.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Many heroin treatment centers recommend that addicts undergo medication-assisted treatment (MAT) to reduce the risk of relapse during the withdrawal phase. The medications used in MAT help to alleviate heroin cravings and withdrawal symptoms, and can only be prescribed by SAMHSA-certified opioid treatment programs.

The medications that can be used in MAT programs include:


Buprenorphine (aka Suboxone) is a partial opioid agonist used to suppress heroin cravings during withdrawal. While buprenorphine is itself an opioid drug, it does not produce the powerful sense of euphoria that users get from heroin, and can be used to safely wean the body off stronger opioids.


Methadone works in much the same way as buprenorphine does. Although methadone is less expensive and more widely used than buprenorphine, it comes with a slightly higher potential for abuse. This explains its decreasing popularity in rehab programs.


Naltrexone (aka Vivitrol) is both an opioid agonist and antagonist, meaning it helps reduce cravings for heroin while also blocking the pleasurable effects of other opioid drugs. A person taking naltrexone will not experience a high if they use heroin, which greatly reduces the risk of relapsing.

Rehab for Heroin Addiction

Once the withdrawal period is over and the last traces of heroin have left your child’s system, the deep work of addiction rehabilitation can begin.

First, your son or daughter may need your help in choosing the heroin rehab program that best suits their needs. Typically, heroin-addicted men achieve the best results through inpatient rehabilitation. Inpatient rehab offers clients the opportunity to focus all of their energy on self-care and healing. Additionally, they won’t have to manage all of the stress that everyday life presents.

At Reflections Recovery Center, our heroin addiction treatment program incorporates many different forms of both clinical and holistic therapy, such as:

  • Motivational interviewing
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Nutritional and vitamin therapy
  • Psychoeducation
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Trauma-informed care
  • Recreational therapy

At our treatment facility in Prescott, AZ, your child will undergo a course of treatment specifically designed to address the unique obstacles heroin addicts face in recovery. Entering a heroin rehab program also allows patients to become more vulnerable and open to therapy than they might be in a more generalized environment.

Take the First Step Toward Heroin Detox and Rehab

We understand how painful it is to watch a loved one struggle with heroin addiction. As a parent, you are likely wrestling with the fear that your son or daughter will never be the same person they were before heroin addiction took hold. However, you must never forget that there is always hope. By reaching out today, you can start the process of recovery and save your child from a life of addiction.

It won’t be easy, and it will take time, but with hard work and guidance from our team of addiction treatment professionals, your loved one can reroute the course of their life and experience lasting recovery.

See Who Qualifies for Treatment at Reflections

Oxymorphone (Opana) Addiction Withdrawal, Treatment for Detox and Rehab

Oxymorphone, marketed under the brand name Opana, is not the first drug that comes to mind when we think about the American opioid epidemic. However, Opana addiction remains a serious concern among addiction treatment specialists around the globe.

Treating an addiction to oxymorphone requires many of the same techniques used in treating addiction to other opioids. But because oxymorphone is such a powerful opiate, extra care should be taken during the recovery process to ensure long-term sobriety.

What Is Oxymorphone?

German scientists first developed oxymorphone in 1914, but the drug didn’t make it to the American market until 1959. Oxymorphone is prescribed for the treatment of moderate to severe pain, and many patients take it to treat feelings of anxiety prior to surgery.

Like other opioid painkillers, oxymorphone works by binding to opioid receptors throughout the body, which triggers the release of the “feel good” neurotransmitter dopamine. Oxymorphone is an estimated 10 times more powerful than morphine and available in both instant-release and extended-release forms.

Oxymorphone made headlines in 2017 when the FDA issued a request for the drug to be pulled from the U.S. market. This was the first such request in FDA history. By July of that same year, Endo International agreed to pull the extended-release version of Opana from the market, although generic versions of the drug are still available to this day.

Opana Addiction

Like other opioid drugs, oxymorphone has a high potential for abuse. Tolerance to the painkilling effects of oxymorphone develops rapidly with regular use. Over time, users will require more and more of the drug to treat their pain symptoms. Increasing the dose in this way frequently leads to dependence and abuse.

Signs that an oxymorphone user has developed an addiction to the drug include:

  • Drug-seeking behaviors such as “doctor shopping” and illegally purchasing the drug
  • Withdrawing from social activities that the user once enjoyed
  • Constricted or “pinpoint” pupils
  • Dramatic changes in mood that appear out of character
  • Engaging in risk-taking behaviors, such as driving under the influence
  • Trouble staying awake or falling asleep at inappropriate times

Oxymorphone Withdrawal Symptoms

Once a physical dependence on oxymorphone has emerged, attempts to quit using the medication can result in powerful withdrawal symptoms. Typical symptoms of oxymorphone withdrawal are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • High blood pressure
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety, irritation and depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Runny nose

Severely addicted users who attempt to quit “cold turkey” are at risk for life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, such as organ failure and suppressed respiration.

For addicted users, withdrawal symptoms typicality begin within 12 hours of the last dose and reach peak intensity during the second and third day after quitting. The total duration of acute withdrawal symptoms range from five to 10 days.

What Is Medically Assisted Detox?

Many opioid addicts find that the process of detoxification is too difficult to handle alone. Instead, they should enter a medically assisted detox program to safely break their drug dependence. Medically assisted detox is a treatment program that incorporates medical supervision and potential pharmaceutical intervention in order to alleviate the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal.

Benefits of Medically Assisted Oxymorphone Detox

The greatest benefit of medically assisted oxymorphone detox is safety. By going through the detox process with medical supervision, patients can receive immediate treatment for any troubling complications that arise related to the onset of withdrawal symptoms.

While few opioid withdrawal cases result in life-threatening symptoms, detoxing in a medical setting can help to put the patient’s mind and body at ease, which makes a profound difference in the early stages of recovery.

Other benefits of medically assisted Opana detox include:

  • Reduced intensity of opioid withdrawal symptoms
  • Residence in a stable, controlled environment
  • Additional support for any co-occurring disorders
  • Reduced opioid cravings during withdrawal
  • Reduced risk of stress-induced trauma during withdrawal
  • Mitigated risk of early relapse
  • Increased likelihood of long-term recovery

Individuals seeking to overcome an addiction to opioid drugs should take every possible precaution during the withdrawal and detox stages of rehabilitation. At Reflections Recovery Center, our expert staff of addiction treatment specialists have the knowledge and experience to successfully guide our clients through this trying time.

Rehab for Oxymorphone Addiction

There are a number of factors to consider when choosing a prescription opioid rehab program. Helping clients who suffer from an addiction to oxymorphone isn’t as simple as getting them to stop taking the drug.

Once clean, clients may still need to find a solution for managing their chronic pain. Having a licensed physician present at the prescription drug rehab facility is one way to ensure that preexisting medical conditions receive attention as well.

It is also important that patients receive emotional counseling to aid in the process of reintegrating back into society. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), psychoeducation and motivational interviewing are all powerful tools that every recovering addict can benefit from during recovery.

Addiction affects everyone in the user’s life. It is important to choose a rehabilitation program that will work with both friends and family to ensure that the recovering addict has a strong support system at home to aid in the healing process.

Prescription Opioid Rehab at Reflections

If you or someone in your life is struggling with an addiction to prescription opioid medications, know that the team of addiction specialists at Reflections Recovery Center in Prescott, Arizona is here to help. Contact us today and take the first step toward a life free from addiction.

Learn How We Can Help You Manage Chronic Pain as You Recover from Addiction

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How to Help a Family Member Addicted to Pain Medication

Opioid addiction is a serious problem in our society and has rightfully been labeled a national epidemic. However, after surgeries or during injuries, some people are looking for relief, and pain medication can be helpful.

Finding a balance between alleviating pain and preventing dependency can be tricky. Dependency can overtake someone’s life quickly, and it’s often easier for a friend or family member to see when an addiction begins to take hold.

Despite pain medication’s help in times of need, many believe that there are other ways to treat pain that shouldn’t lead to addiction. Medical professionals wrote 207 million opioid painkiller prescriptions in 2013, and that number has risen every year since. On a related note, the United States has almost 100 percent of the world’s hydrocodone.

Hydrocodone is an opioid that affects the levels of dopamine in the brain and is often prescribed after a surgery or when someone is recovering from an extremely painful injury. If someone takes it regularly for a while, a tolerance begins to build. This means people need to take more and more of the drug to continue to feel the pain-numbing effects.

If people stop taking the medication, they will be met with painful withdrawal symptoms that they may not even realize are a consequence of stopping the medication. Talking with loved ones about this downward spiral can be difficult, but it’s crucial that they find help for prescription drug abuse.

The Average Timeline of Opioid Withdrawal

Hydrocodone withdrawal generally begins between six and 12 hours after the last dose. This can vary depending on the specific dosage and the length of time the person has taken the medication.

Withdrawal symptoms usually peak within three days and can last any amount of time. Some experience withdrawal symptoms for a week and some for a month. If the person addicted does not find help, relapse can be almost impossible to avoid – if the medication is available. If it isn’t, some turn to street drugs, which create another, more deadly issue.

Opiates act as nervous system depressants, reducing:

  • Breathing rate
  • Heart rate
  • Blood pressure
  • Body temperature

The body eventually becomes dependent on the chemical changes that happen in the brain during this time. When the drug is gone, withdrawal symptoms ensue.

Common Painkiller Withdrawal Symptoms

Help for addiction to prescription drugs starts with watching your loved one who may be dependent. Therefore, some of the opioid withdrawal symptoms to watch for include:

  • Muscle aches
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive tears
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Chills

Psychological symptoms include difficulty concentrating, anxiety and countless others. These side effects can reach any level of intensity. The reaction depends on the person’s level of addiction and dependence on the drug.

If you’ve noticed these symptoms in a loved one after he or she stops taking medication and you see the drug-seeking behavior, your loved one may have a dependency on painkillers.

How to Respond If You See Addiction in a Loved One

You may be nervous about approaching someone regarding this issue; after all, a doctor prescribed these drugs because your loved one needed them, but their future may be in jeopardy. Considering the countless deaths from opioids that have swept this country, that isn’t an exaggeration.

If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, talk to him or her, but don’t encourage stopping cold turkey. Get them to their doctor or another professional for prescription painkiller help before they begin experiencing further dependency.

The more dependent a person is on a drug, the more difficult the withdrawal can be. People suffering from withdrawal should be under the care of medical professionals who can help counsel and stabilize them through the process.

Prescription Painkiller Help: Seek Alternative Pain Relief

Your loved one may be afraid to stop taking painkillers – not because of withdrawal symptoms – but for fear of chronic pain. For people who are dealing with chronic pain, it is frightening to think of cutting pharmaceuticals out of their life completely.

You may not have the answer for them in this situation, but a professional interventionist may be able to help. He or she can talk your loved through the need to seek help and discuss methods for pain management that do not involve opioids.

New and Overlooked Pain Relief Techniques

There are many interesting innovations on the horizon for pain management. Some researchers have suggested applied gaming as a strategy for pain management. The research is not completely finalized yet, but people are discovering that enjoyable activities like playing video games could help relieve the pain that people would usually take medication for.

Mental techniques are another way to combat chronic pain. Therapists have been known to be able to teach patients certain tricks that can help them deal with their pain. It is currently central in the military. Military members are taught these mental tricks and skills so they can keep fighting.

Similar methods can also work on civilians. At Reflections Recovery Center, we work with the individual to see which methods work best for them, both during their time in treatment here and when they walk out the door.

Rehab for Prescription Drug Abuse

The most important thing that people struggling with addiction need is support. Reflections Recovery Center offers this – along with compassion and professional medical care. We leverage personalized treatment plans and the full continuum of care to offer our clients their highest chance of lifelong recovery.


Roxicodone Addiction, Withdrawal and Treatment for Detox and Rehab

Balancing Roxicodone Risks of Dependency with Its Benefits

Roxicodone, also known as Roxycodone, is an opioid. More specifically, it is a white crystalline powder that comes from the opium alkaloid thebaine. It has an immediate release, and like many opioids, physicians can prescribe it to help patients deal with intense pain.

Roxicodone Dosing

The dosage of Roxicodone that is assigned to each patient depends on factors such as age, weight and drug tolerance. The level of tolerance for each specific person is different, and previous drug use may be a component in determining how effective it will be in covering someone’s pain. As with all medications, Roxicodone prescriptions take into account a patient’s medical history, including other medications or opioids.

What Roxicodone Is and When to Halt Usage

Know When You're Addicted - Reflections Recovery CenterRoxicodone is a very potent drug, and dependency can happen in a relatively short time. When someone who has become dependent on Roxicodone, or Roxi, stops taking it, withdrawal symptoms will likely occur.

Rather than stopping such a drug immediately, it’s best to wean off the medication to avoid painful withdrawal. The basic guideline is to reduce the dose by 25 to 50 percent each day, while carefully observing how the body and mind react to the change.

If the patient begins experiencing withdrawal symptoms, then the physician might up the dose back to the previous level before decreasing it again, but more slowly this time.

As with any drug a physician prescribes, users should talk to their doctors before ending a medication in any capacity. If you feel like you’ve become too dependent on this opioid pain reliever or another medication, discuss the situation with your doctor. If the dependency on the drug has lead to an addiction, your next call should be to a professional addiction treatment center.

At a certain stage of addiction, tapering off a drug is best done in a hospital or a licensed rehabilitation center, such as Reflections Recovery Center in Prescott. At Reflections, our team can help you safely reduce your dependence under professional supervision.

The Side Effects of Roxicodone

As with other prescription opioids, Roxicodone’s side effects can be very intense. Using this drug can lead to:

  • Respiratory depression
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Circulatory depression
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Shock
  • Cardiac arrest (especially when users take more than prescribed)

Like any medication, there are other, less serious side effects that users should still be aware of. These include:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Pruritus (severe itching)

You can also develop problems with your heart, digestive system and even risks to your nervous system. In short, Roxicodone can affect almost all areas of the body.

How to Avoid Dependency on Roxicodone

The best way to avoid a dependence on this drug or another pain medication is to start with the lowest prescribed dose. In fact, taking the medication in this amount is often too strong from people who haven’t taken opioids before.

Staying on top of the pain by taking the drug at regular intervals – rather than waiting until the pain is at its worst – can prevent people from taking too much for their body to handle. In some cases, people will take more of the drug than they need while trying to cover heightened pain. Staying on top of your schedule for medication, which likely includes anti-inflammatory drugs as well, is better than taking too much later.

If you begin with a large amount, your body will be shocked by the drug and is likely to react negatively. If these reactions do happen, they will usually lessen over time as the body becomes more used to the drug, but that’s not exactly a good thing.

Roxicodone Addiction Signs

Abuse and addiction are different than physical dependence and tolerance. However, if you suspect you are becoming dependent on Roxicodone, it may be time to discuss another type of pain medication to cover your symptoms.

If you stop taking the medication and feel uncomfortable, you are likely in the midst of addiction, and you might feel Roxicodone withdrawal symptoms such as:

  • Restlessness
  • Excessive tear production
  • Excussive mucus
  • Perspiration
  • Chills
  • Muscle pain
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Backache
  • Joint pain
  • Increased heart rate

Groups that Should Avoid or Limit Roxicodone Use

Some people should avoid Roxicodone use completely or only use it while being treated by a medical professional. Nursing mothers should avoid using Roxicodone, as it can work its way into the breast milk. This can lead to infants developing dependence on the drug, therefore putting them through withdrawal symptoms once nursing stops or the mom stops using Roxicodone.

Drugs like Roxicodone can sometimes impede women in labor by weakening and lessening the frequency of uterine contractions. This can make the process of giving birth longer and more difficult.

Studies of rats and rabbits have shown that the use of drugs such as Roxicodone during pregnancy were not directly harmful to the fetus. However, using the drug during pregnancy should generally be avoided unless the benefits outweigh the possible risks to the fetus.

While there has been no proof that the drug has a different effect on older people as it does on younger people, the increased sensitivity that most elderly people have to drugs makes the effects appear more intensely in them. Like other opioid drugs, Roxicodone should be limited or taken carefully.

Roxicodone Rehab Facilities in AZ

A Roxicodone rehab center is the foremost resource for someone dealing with addiction. Reflections Recovery Center is one of these Roxicodone rehab clinics.

Contact us if you have concerns about Roxicodone addiction signs, or if someone you care about has developed a dependency. Powerful medication is sometimes necessary for pain relief, but when the ill effects start to outweigh the benefits, it’s time for professional care.

Learn About OxyContin Risks and Symptoms