Tag Archives: Prescription Drug Abuse

Gabapentin High

According to GoodRX, gabapentin is the fourth most prescribed drug in the United States. Due to its prevalence and popularity, it has slowly made its way into the realm of drug abuse and addiction.

What is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a prescription drug used to prevent seizures. An anticonvulsant or antiepileptic drug, it is commonly administered orally via capsule. Along with its seizure preventative properties, it can also help dull nerve pain caused from shingles. Different brand names of gabapentin can have different primary uses. For example, the brand Gralise treats shingles pain, whereas Neurontin primarily targets adult seizure activity. Both medications contain gabapentin; however, they also contain a mixture of other drugs to treat the specific ailment.

Gabapentin for Anxiety

Gabapentin has been proven to be effective against anxiety disorders while being potentially a safer alternative to traditional benzodiazepines such as Xanax. It is considered to be a low risk drug that likely will not cause addiction or promote abuse and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) does not consider it to be a controlled substance. 

Gabapentin Warnings

Gabapentin comes with a long list of medical warnings intended to promote cautious and informed use amongst users. One of these warnings is to not suddenly stop taking the drug. The immediate cessation of gabapentin use, when prescribed for epilepsy and seizures, can cause a condition which is known as status epilepticus. Status epilepticus, a seizure lasting longer than 30 minutes, has a high mortality rate.

Other warnings include avoiding the combined use of the drug with other substances, drowsiness warnings and a depression warning. 

Is Gabapentin Addictive?

Most people don’t consider gabapentin to be an addictive drug. However, most anything can cause an addiction or dependency if abused for a long enough period of time. Many individuals who are currently using stronger opioids may also take it. Furthermore, individuals who are attempting to taper off an opioid addiction may turn to it as an alternative as it does not show up in drug tests.

Gabapentin Abuse

Gabapentin can cause a euphoric high if taken in high enough doses and some users have likened its experience to marijuana. Typically, users will have to take more than 800mg in order to feel the euphoric effects. People who abuse it are also more likely to combine the drug with other substances. With polysubstance abuse, the risk of experiencing an overdose is much greater as your body experiences different effects from multiple drugs which can overwhelm the system. Most of the time, people abuse gabapentin along with opioids or alcohol. 

Gabapentin High

Overdose

Gabapentin overdoses are rare but still well documented. While it is very much possible to overdose, the mortality rate from this is relatively low. In other words, a significantly low number of overdoses are fatal. However, an overdose can still cause permanent damage to your body as it can prevent adequate oxygen from reaching your brain. Unfortunately, unlike opioid overdoses, gabapentin does not have a quick remedy in the case of an overdose. It is possible to inject most patients with Narcan to end a narcotic overdose. There is no such cure for gabapentin.  Therefore, it is important that suspected overdose patients call emergency services immediately. Some signs of an overdose include:

  • Dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Low blood pressure
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Labored breathing
  • Unresponsiveness

Gabapentin Interactions

Gabapentin can interact with other medications such as morphine and stomach acid drugs (aluminum hydroxide and magnesium hydroxide). Further, according to drugs.com, there are a total of 219 drugs known to interact with this medication, 24 of which are major interactions such as methadone, oxycodone, percocet, suboxone, tramadol and alcohol.

Gabapentin High

Gabapentin and Alcohol

Gabapentin can increase the effects of alcohol on the body and can seriously affect cognitive ability. It may cause you to experience enhanced side effects such as dizziness, drowsiness and difficulty concentrating. Further, the decrease in cognitive ability can cause poor decision making, such as making the decision to drink and drive. 

Side Effects

Gabapentin can cause moderate to severe side effects when taken orally as prescribed. Some of the more serious side effects include:

  • Changes in mood and behavior
  • Depression (presence of suicidal thoughts)
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Increase in aggressiveness 
  • Allergic reactions
  • Muscle pain
  • Swollen skin
  • Rashes
  • Panic attacks

If you experience any of the above symptoms, it may help to call your medical provider and ask for further guidance.

Withdrawal

Gabapentin is known to cause withdrawal symptoms in long-term users. According to one study, those who frequently take between 400mg to 800mg may be at higher risk of experiencing withdrawals. Gabapentin withdrawals will likely cause similar symptoms experienced by alcohol and benzodiazepine users, as all three drugs target the same GABA receptors in the brain. Withdrawal symptoms typically begin immediately after quitting and can continue for up to a week. Withdrawal severity is dependent on a variety of factors ranging from age to the regular dosage taken by the patient. 

However, quitting is not impossible. Experts recommend that tapering be done in increments of no more than 300mg every 4 days. While a taper may be a safe way to slowly come off a gabapentin dependency, it does not address possible mental health issues which may have created a co-occuring disorder in the patient. Therefore, we always recommend that individuals seek professional help before beginning their journey to recovery.

Gabapentin High

Treatment

Gabapentin addiction may go hand in hand with other drugs, such as opioids or alcohol. It may also result from a co-occurring mental disorder. Whatever the reason, treatment and recovery is possible. If you or a loved one is dealing with addiction, please contact us today so that we may begin the journey to life-time sobriety, together. To find out more about drug abuse and treatment, read our blog.

Trazodone High

Trazodone is a common antidepressant. It isn’t popular as a recreational drug, and drug tests don’t often check for it. Nevertheless, like any substance the potential for abuse exists. Furthermore, abusing it can still lead to serious dependence and addiction.

What is Trazodone?

Trazodone Addiction

Trazodone is a prescription medication which helps treat patients with depression. Designed to boost the brain’s Serotonin levels and change a person’s mood, the drug prevents serotonin from absorbing back into the brain’s neurons. This creates an abundance of the chemical. Serotonin (5-hydroxytryptamine) is a naturally occurring chemical in the brain. Commonly referred to as the “happy chemical,” it promotes feelings of well-being and happiness.  Trazodone has proven as an effective antidepressant, as well as a mood and anxiety regulator. 

However, the idea of a drug giving you the “happy chemical” in order to make you feel happy is misleading. Trazodone does not make you feel naturally happy, as you would when seeing a loved one or doing something you enjoy. Instead, it creates a sedative effect to provide relief. Rather than making you feel happy, it works to calm you down. This is not necessarily the same as a euphoric high one might experience with other drugs, such as Marijuana or opioids. Rather, a Trazodone high is similar to a benzodiazepine high, though the effect is not as strong. Even though it is not a commonly abused drug, its calming and sedative effects can still be addictive. 

Addiction

Trazodone is not usually sold illegally. Nor is it considered to be a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Typically, Trazodone abuse begins when someone takes too much of their prescription – or takes it for too long. Regular Trazodone use will cause the body to develop a tolerance. Therefore, in order to feel the same calming effects, individuals sometimes take progressively higher doses. An individual who can no longer feel the effects may also move on to stronger and more deadly drugs – such as Xanax or opioids – in order to achieve a high.

Some people enjoy  the Trazodone high because it makes them forget their current situation and detach from life. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that substance use disorders and mental disorders are co-related and usually go hand in hand. This can be especially important to consider when looking at the kinds of patients who take Trazodone. 

Trazodone High

Trazodone Side Effects

Even when taken for the appropriate reasons and at the prescribed dosage, Trazodone can have negative side effects. These include:

  • Nausea and vomiting 
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Digestive problems
  • Muscle aches
  • Dry mouth or eyes
  • Numbness or tingling sensation
  • Constipation
  • Nervousness or confusion
  • Weakness or fatigue

More severe side effects can include:

  • Chest pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Seizures 
  • Labored breathing
  • Fainting

How Long Does Trazodone Stay In Your System?

Trazodone’s half-life is between five and nine hours. This means that it takes approximately this amount of time for the original ingested dosage to reduce to half of its size. Therefore, it takes approximately 42 hours before the drug completely leaves your system. This does not mean the effects will last 42 hours.  Nor does it mean that all traces of the drug will be gone. However, Trazodone drug testing is very uncommon.

Trazodone High

Overdose

Trazodone overdose, while not common, is still very possible. Most overdoses occur when individuals simply take too much, thinking that a higher dose will help alleviate their depressed thoughts or anxiety. It can also be dangerous in combination with other central nervous system depressants, such as alcohol. CNS depressants can enhance the drug’s effects and lead to overdose by slowing critical brain and organ functions, such as breathing. 

A lethal dose is unlikely, but not impossible. One medical case study found that fatal arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat) can occur during a Trazodone overdose. Therefore, always call emergency medical services if you or someone you know shows overdose symptoms.

Treatment for Trazodone Addiction

Substance use disorders and mental health problems often go hand in hand. This is especially true for Trazodone, since it is prescribed to individuals with depression or anxiety. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, seek professional treatment. A professional will be able to help diagnose the root cause rather than just treating the symptoms. Contact us today for help on your path to recovery.

Percocet Addiction

Opioid drug addiction and abuse has been on the rise in the US for some years now and is responsible for more deaths than motor accidents. Opioids also account for a majority of overdoses and have become a major problem in the US. Opioid addiction is a very concerning issue which many people do not fully understand. However better knowledge of the effects and dangers of drugs may help prevent users from falling victim to the drug. It is important to recognize Percocet addiction and take it seriously.

What is Percocet?

Percocet is the brand name for the combination of oxycodone (an opioid) and acetaminophen (commonly seen in brand name Tylenol). The acetaminophen present in Percocet helps boost the effectiveness and potency of oxycodone. Percocet is prescribed to individuals who are dealing with moderate to severe pain and can also be prescribed to those who struggle with chronic pain. 

Percocet can have some severe side effects even if taken responsibly, such as:

  • Hypothermia
  • Vomiting
  • Visual disturbances
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Hallucinations
  • Increased thirst
  • Hypo-tension or hypertension
  • Slowed/repressive breathing
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Chest pain
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)
percocet addiction

Why are opioids so dangerous?

Opioids relieve pain by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain which activates them. These receptors are a part of a system of proteins known as G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs). They work great as painkillers but can be very dangerous given their addictive nature. When opioids are taken, most people will feel a slight euphoric high. It will calm them down and make them feel relaxed. The issue is that users will build a tolerance to opioids.

percocet addiction

A tolerance is when your body essentially gets accustomed to the chemical and will develop a resistance to its effects- prompting users to take more for the drug to be useful. If someone is abusing this drug just to achieve a high, they run the risk of developing a tolerance and continually increasing their dosage to achieve the same high. At a certain point, the drug will become overpowering and cause an overdose. Most overdoses will cause the complete suppression of the central nervous system which in turn causes critical bodily functions such as breathing to completely stop.

Abuse vs Addiction: What is an addiction?

In the world of drug use, abuse and addiction can mean different things and it is important to understand the differences as it can determine what kind of treatment you need.

 Abuse

Abuse is the misuse of any drug. Instances of abuse include:

  • Taking more than the prescribed amount of a drug
  • Taking someone else’s prescriptions
  • Using non prescribed drugs to alleviate stress or experience a euphoric high

Taking any drug in a manner inconsistent with its labeling can be considered abuse. However, you are usually able to stop your habits relatively easily which is one of the key differences between abuse and addiction.

Addiction

An addiction is considered to be a chronic disease which is characterized by compulsive drug use and the inability to stop using even when the negative effects are known. Given that addiction is a chronic disease, it is common to see former addicts relapse. In fact, addiction has similar relapse rates as other chronic diseases such as type II diabetes.

Percocet addiction is no different. Users who have become dependent on the opioid will find it difficult to effectively become sober- but that does not mean it is not possible. 

percocet addiction

How long does Percocet stay in your system?

Percocet has a half-life of around 3.5 hours. A substance’s half-life will determine how long it takes for the substance to reduce to half of the taken dose to eliminate from your system. However, the substances that make up Percocet and that are unique to the drug (also known as metabolites) can have a longer half-life. It takes around 19 hours for the drug to leave your system. However, it is possible to detect for some time after that. 

Generally, it is possible to detect Percocet in your system via:

  • Saliva 1-4 days after ingestion
  • Urine 3-4 days after ingestion
  • Hair upto 90 days after ingestion

Keep in mind that these figures are for Oxycodone and by extension all opioids. There are a lot of other factors which may affect how long Percocet can be detected in your body such your weight, usage history and metabolism. 

Percocet Addiction Help and Treatment

As previously mentioned, addiction is a chronic disease which has a high potential for relapse. Therefore it is always recommended that anyone seeking treatment do so under the supervision of a professional who is trained to assist individuals who are on the road to recovery. Further, with the risk of withdrawals, it is never recommended that you try and go ‘cold turkey’ on your own. If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, please contact us today so we may begin your path to a sober life, together. 

Prozac and Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most widely misused drugs in the world. Given its high popularity and presence in modern culture, it is no surprise that some people experiment and mix alcohol with other drugs. Unfortunately, the dangers of mixing alcohol with other drugs will almost always cause a negative reaction. Prozac and alcohol is a common combination with many people not realizing the dangers.

What is Prozac?

Prozac (brand name fluoxetine) is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) antidepressant. It is used to treat major depressive disorder, bulimia, nervosa, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic disorder. It is taken daily in pill or in liquid form and is typically taken for weeks at a time as a long-term treatment option. Fluoxetine works by binding to neurotransmitters in the brain and preventing the release of serotonin. By preventing the release of the chemical, it begins to build up in the brain which improves the transmission of neurons. Ultimately this causes a temporary elevation in mood and can cause euphoric effects. SSRIs are considered selective because they do not affect the release of any other neurotransmitters and are the most common type of antidepressants. Other types of SSRIs used to treat depression include Lexapro, Paxil and Celexa.

In 2017, the National Institute of Mental Health reported that 17.3 million Americans reported dealing with at least one major depressive episode. Further, the National Alliance on Mental Illness reported that 1 in 5 US adults will experience a mental illness at some point in their life. With mental illness on the rise, it is not surprising to see an increasing number of people getting prescriptions for antidepressants such as Prozac. More access to antidepressants may encourage the mixed use with alcohol which can be dangerous.

prozac and alcohol - major depressive episode

Common side effects of Prozac are:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dry mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia

How long does Prozac stay in your system?

Prozac is a long-term drug. Its main chemical, Fluoxetine has a half-life of around 2-4 days whereas its metabolite (norfluoxetine) has a half-life of 7-15 days. A half-life is the determination of how long it takes for a chemical to breakdown into half of its original strength. Therefore, it can take around 4 weeks to completely remove Prozac from the body. 


One main advantage of a longer half-life is that it covers individuals who miss a daily dose and prevents them from developing SSRI Discontinuation Syndrome.

What is Alcohol

Alcohol is a very common drug so naturally, most people know what it is. However, it can still be beneficial to understand what kind of effects it has on the body as it can inform you on how it will interact with a drug. What people most commonly refer to as alcohol is actually ethanol. It is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant which works to slow breathing, heart rate and cognitive function. Some believe that in low doses, alcohol works as a stimulant. This is because it can make people feel more relaxed or can take the edge off in social situations. However, this is not entirely true as those feelings of relaxation and calm are created by the depressive effects of the alcohol. How much the alcohol affects you really depends on various body composition factors such as how much you have eaten, body weight and drinking history. 

prozac and alcohol

Some common side effects of alcohol include:

  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Upset stomach
  • Headaches
  • Breathing difficulties 
  • Distorted vision and hearing 
  • Impaired judgment 
  • Decreased perception and coordination 
  • Unconsciousness 

Mixing Prozac and Alcohol

The purpose of Prozac is to provide a calming effect and elevate mood. However, similarly to alcohol, Prozac can cause motor coordination and movement to worsen and can also affect alertness. The synergistic effects of mixing two drugs that affect movement and attention can cause an overall powerful depressive effect on your body’s nervous system. Further, the combination of the two can cause extreme drowsiness which can in turn lead to dangerous behavior. If you take Prozac and drink a light amount of alcohol- one you are usually comfortable driving with, you may not notice the overpowering effects until it is too late. The abuse of multiple drugs is polysubstance abuse.

prozac and alcohol

Effects of Mixing

An important tip to keep in mind is that alcohol tends to enhance the effects of any other drugs combined and vice versa. So in general, mixing alcohol with any sort of drug should always be avoided. Mixing Prozac and alcohol can also lead to suicidal thoughts and feelings of hopelessness. It is possible for alcohol to be a catalyst for depressive thoughts and feelings. Thus, drinking alcohol while dealing with symptoms of depression is not advised.

Even though Prozac should help reduce your symptoms of depression, the alcohol will likely be overpowering. One study even found that the “level of baseline alcohol consumption was significantly related to poorer response to Fluoxetine in a sample of depressed outpatients who did not abuse substances” and that alcohol use in general causes individuals to stop taking antidepressants for treatment.

It is also possible that the loss of effectiveness with Prozac can lead to less effective treatment with other drugs such as Lexapro.

Other side effects of mixing Prozac and Alcohol include:

  • Worsening depressive condition
  • The effectiveness of Prozac decreases
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased alertness
  • Increase risk of alcohol addition

You do not need to take Prozac and alcohol at the same time to feel their mixed effects. Prozac is a long-term medication. Its main chemical Fluoxetine and the other metabolites/chemicals will last in your body for some time. Subsequently, taking alcohol at any point during that period can cause a mixed reaction.

Treatment

Prozac is meant to help a number of conditions, and for many it does. However, it should only be taken under a doctor’s supervision. Mixing two substances can be very dangerous. Further, it can be made even worse if you are dealing with depression or alcohol abuse. If you or a loved one is dealing with depression or drug abuse, please contact us today.

Tramadol and Alcohol

Tramadol and Alcohol

Tramadol is an opiate analgesic (or narcotic). To this end, its purpose is to treat moderate to severe pain. As an opiate, there’s a significant risk of addiction and this increases with long-term use.* For the most part, it’s meant to help people that need 24/7 help for their pain. The need for continuous pain management contributes to the potential for long-term use – something medical professionals should monitor. Tramadol, like any opiate, should only be used under medical supervision. Likewise, it should not be stopped without medical supervision. Of course, someone taking tramadol might not always disclose use of other substances. In spite of the danger of mixing substances, a somewhat common combination is tramadol and alcohol. 


The mixture of tramadol and alcohol might not result in overdose every single time, but there is always the risk. Indeed, excessive alcohol intake significantly increases the risk, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Further, they state there is no safe use of alcohol and opioids. Additionally, most people likely do not realize how few drinks it takes to reach excessive or binge-drinking levels. Increased consumption of alcohol heightens the effects of alcohol increasing the risk when combined with tramadol. To this end, excessive alcohol use can depress the central nervous system, impairing breathing. Likewise, a side effect of opioids is also suppressed respiratory function. As stated by the CDC, there is really no safe combination of tramadol and alcohol, and the risk increases the more either substance is used.

How long does tramadol stay in your system?

Tramadol comes in different forms (tablets, capsules, drops, injections, etc.) as well as slow-acting and fast-acting forms. According to the National Health Service (NHS-UK), fast-acting will work within 30 to 60 minutes. This is better for pain that is expected to only last for a short term. Slow-acting will be released into the body over 12 to 24 hours and will take longer to work, but will last longer. Thus, this is better for long-term pain management. What is more, it’s important to take Tramadol only under medical supervision. 


Depending on the dose and length of time, someone might have different reactions with tramadol and other substances. Above all, it’s important to communicate consumption of any other substances with medical professionals. According to the Mayo Clinic, tramadol and Tylenol (acetaminophen), is a safe combination. However, it is still best for anyone taking tramadol to communicate with their doctor if they are taking any other type of medication.

Tramadol Side Effects

Some common side effects of tramadol can include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue, low energy
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Sweating

These symptoms are common and not immediate cause for concern. However, anyone should always communicate with their doctor any concerns. 

Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms

Under proper medical supervision, tramadol should not cause serious issues or withdrawal. However, it is possible for someone to mistakenly take an extra dosage, miss one or more doses, mix with other substances that cause issues, or even of course be using tramadol illegally. Ultimately, any of these possibilities, and many others, can cause someone to experience tramadol withdrawal symptoms. Equally important, sudden disuse of tramadol is more likely to cause withdrawal, so when possible it’s best to taper off with the help of a medical professional.

Tramadol withdrawal symptoms may set in 12-20 hours after the last dose. Symptoms can include:*

  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Tinnitus

Psychiatric withdrawal symptoms might include:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Panic attacks
  • Confusion

With this in mind, it’s important for anyone experiencing tramadol withdrawal symptoms to seek medical help right away. Moreover, it’s important to call 911 if anyone’s in immediate danger or in fear of overdose.

Tramadol Overdose

Under proper medical supervision overdose is not common. However, even someone using under supervision may accidentally take too much tramadol. As a result of tramadol misuse, from 2005 to 2011, emergency-room visits from tramadol misuse tripled to 21,469. In regards to what tramadol overdose looks like, the a Wall Street Journal article states, “Excess tramadol intake tends to cause seizures and a fast collapse.” 

According to a U.S. National Library of Medicine resource, other symptoms of overdose include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness 
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Muscle weakness

Again, under proper medical supervision the chance of overdose should be extremely low. However, mistakes happen as well as abuse being a common reality. It’s important for anyone using tramadol to be aware of the signs, as well as those with loved one’s using tramadol. Should you or anyone experience these symptoms as a result of tramadol use, it is important to call 911 as soon as possible.

Treatment

Most resources affirm that low-dosage, short-term use of tramadol under medical supervision shouldn’t result in addiction or serious health problems like withdrawal or overdose. Nonetheless, many people react differently and it’s always important to watch out for side effects and other problems. In many countries, this has led to a lack of oversight over the usage of tramadol. Moreover, in the United States, it was not controlled at a federal level until a few years ago. This allowed (and continues to allow) widespread use and abuse around much of the world. While it’s not as strong as morphine, it’s still an opioid and has the potential for abuse and addiction. 

If you or a loved one are struggling with tramadol abuse or addiction, we can help at Reflections Recovery Center. We can provide help and resources for intervention, if needed. Initially, each client goes through an assessment, which will help us determine if detox is necessary. We offer a 5-day detox program. Throughout treatment, we will help our clients improve their physical and mental health as well as providing the skills to maintain sobriety long after treatment. In addition to this, each client goes through an assessment so that we can determine what exactly they need. No person is the same, nor is their experience with addiction the same. Therefore, we form a treatment plan around each person’s unique needs. If you or a loved one needs help, please reach out today.

*Resources:
Tramadol: MedlinePlus Drug Information. (2019, June 17). Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a695011.html

Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for People Who Consume Alcohol and Use Opioids. Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/pdf/prescribing/AlcoholToolFactSheet-508.pdf

Tramadol. (2018, November 26). Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.nhs.uk/medicines/tramadol/

Tramadol And Acetaminophen (Oral Route) Description and Brand Names. (2019, May 01). Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/tramadol-and-acetaminophen-oral-route/description/drg-20062870

Epstein, D. H., Preston, K. L., & Jasinski, D. R. (2010, September 22). Abuse liability, behavioral pharmacology, and physical-dependence potential of opioids in humans and laboratory animals: Lessons from tramadol. Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2943845/


Epstein, D. H., Preston, K. L., & Jasinski, D. R. (2010, September 22). Abuse liability, behavioral pharmacology, and physical-dependence potential of opioids in humans and laboratory animals: Lessons from tramadol. Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2943845/

Scheck, J. (2016, October 20). Tramadol: The Opioid Crisis for the Rest of the World. Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.wsj.com/articles/tramadol-the-opioid-crisis-for-the-rest-of-the-world-1476887401

Schedules of Controlled Substances: Placement of Tramadol Into Schedule IV. (2014, July 02). Retrieved July 23, 2019, from https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2014/07/02/2014-15548/schedules-of-controlled-substances-placement-of-tramadol-into-schedule-iv

Xanax and Alcohol Mixed

Alcohol and Xanax (also known as Alprazolam) are both substances that are legal. They are also both substances that are widely available and commonly abused. This can make it difficult to recognize any issues. In regard to alcohol and Xanax, mixing the two can be incredibly risky even without a severe addiction to either. In moderation, alcohol does not cause severe damage every time it is consumed. Xanax is a controlled substance, that medical professionals issue to often help with anxiety disorders or panic attacks.

However, it is possible for them to both easily become an abused substance. Alcohol and Xanax can both have negative side effects. Mixing them can magnify what each substance does and cause greater harm. Combined alcohol and Xanax use increases risk for overdose, something many people may not realize.* To understand this better, it can help to know how each substance affects people and what happens they are mixed.

What is Xanax and what does Xanax do?

Xanax is the brand name for Alprazolam, which is a short-acting benzodiazepine often used to treat anxiety, panic attacks, or even nausea from chemotherapy. It is the most commonly prescribed psychiatric drug in the United States and often frequently abused. Like other legal drugs, there are counterfeit pills that can be found on the black market. While they may be similar, they are often cut with other substances and can cause significant harm. From McGill University, “GABA is a chemical messenger that is widely distributed in the brain. GABA’s natural function is to reduce the activity of the neurons to which it binds.”* Neurons can become overexcited, which can lead to anxiety. Benzodiazepines, like Xanax, work to enhance the actions of GABA, which depresses the over-excited central nervous system, and provide a sense of calm.

Clearly, when done legally and under medical supervision, Xanax is meant to be helpful and it has helped people. However, like any medication, it can have adverse side effects. Symptoms will vary for different people and will range in severity. Some common side effects can include: memory or concentration problems, depression, fatigue, suicidal ideation, or trouble breathing. Withdrawal from Xanax can be severe, and should be done under the supervision of a medical professional. Xanax is a short-acting drug that processes quickly and leaves the body quickly. This leaves you at a higher risk for withdrawal, since your body has less time to adapt to working without the drug.* Listing these symptoms is not a scare-tactic, but rather a way to convey issues that can arise. Further, it is helpful to understand the side effects to then understand how mixing alcohol will interact with Xanax.

What is alcohol and how does it affect us?

Simply put, alcohol is an organic compound; it is alcohol ethanol found in alcoholic beverages, which occurs by fermenting sugar with yeast. The alcohol humans drink acts as a suppressant to the central nervous system, similar to Xanax. It can boost one’s mood and increase their inclination to be social, while calming any over-excited nerves that usually make a person anxious. Many people drink for just these reasons. The negative aspects for alcohol, which become worse the more one drinks, are numerous, but the severity will affect individuals differently. Short-term effects might include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, anxiety, and fatigue. Alcohol can be addictive, which can lead to dependence and withdrawal. Long-term effects include liver damage, neurological damage, and various forms of cancer. Furthermore, the abuse of and addiction to alcohol can also lead to significant problems in one’s social and professional life.

Despite many of the negative aspects listed above, alcohol is one of the most common recreational substances. It has been around for thousands of years and it’s prevalence makes it widely accepted. In an article from National Geographic, archaeologist Patrick McGovern said, “Alcohol is central to human culture and biology because we were probably drinking fermented beverages from the beginning.” What is more, in modern times alcohol is marketed as a way to more fun and a better life. Even some of the adverse effects of alcohol, primarily concerning behavior during drinking and hangovers, are seen as humorous. This attitude combined with the popularity of alcohol makes it hard to recognize when it becomes a problem. Or that it can even become a problem at all. With that in mind, it is understandable how many people can then miss the dangers of drinking combined with something like Xanax.

Alcohol and Xanax Mixed

Alcohol and Xanax both suppress the central nervous system and mixing the two can intensify the actions of both substances. From an article published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), alcohol enhances the effects of Xanax which includes drowsiness, sedation, and impaired motor skills.* As both substances are sedatives, they significantly impair breathing when combined. As more alcohol is consumed, the areas of the brain that regulate “basic life-support functions—such as breathing, heart rate, and temperature control—begin to shut down.”* Consumption of alcohol and Xanax at any amount can be dangerous, but the risk of overdose becomes even more dangerous the more alcohol is consumed. Alcohol impairs one’s ability to think clearly, which makes recognizing symptoms of overdose even more difficult.

When taking Xanax, there is a warning not to consume alcohol. However, many people may either disregard this or not realize the severity of mixing the two substances. When dealing with addiction, someone might not be in a place to consider or assess the risks at all. What is more, with addiction, it is likely that someone could turn to using unregulated Xanax. This increases the risks with unknown substances added.

Treatment

It is possible, and often likely, that someone dealing with addiction will be facing issues with more than one substance. With alcohol and Xanax, it is tough to recognize that you or a loved one might have a problem.

At Reflections Recovery Center, we offer a detox center with a 5-day program. Withdrawal from alcohol and Xanax can both be dangerous to do alone. Our highly qualified team of medical professionals will work with clients to ensure a safe detox process. We also offer inpatient and outpatient treatment programs, with many resources available to create a unique and thorough treatment plan. Reflections can also treat co-occurring disorders, providing essential treatment for mental disorders and substance abuse disorders. Our goal is to help each client through every step of the process and to provide tools to maintain sobriety long after treatment. Alcohol and Xanax can be an incredibly dangerous combination. If you or a loved may be struggling with this, contact us today for help.

*Resources:
Understanding the Dangers of Alcohol Overdose – NIH
Side Effects of Benziodiazepines – Mind.org
Were Humans Built to Drink Alcohol? – National Geographic
Alcohol and Medication Interactions – NIH

Teens Using Illegal Drugs Less, But Face Other Challenges (Depression, Bullying, etc.)


Today’s teens are very much different than the ones 10 years ago, who are very much different than the ones 10 years before that. To people older than 30, you probably don’t have to make much of an argument to get them to agree with that assessment.

But if you do need to, you can point to a few statistics to prove that the behaviors among America’s current high schoolers differ than those in generations before.

With all of the talk about opioids, “Molly” and head-scratching viral movements like the Tide pod challenge, you might be inclined to think today’s teens are experimenting more and using more drugs than ever before. Recent statistics, however, don’t support this theory. But, teens are increasingly facing other kinds of challenges, which we will explain in this article.

Teen Illegal Drug Use on the Decline

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS) paints a pretty extensive picture of where teens stand with drug use, mental health issues and other lifestyle factors. The survey is conducted every two years, and the 2017 results were just released this summer. The latest survey drew from nearly 150,000 students all over the country who were in grades 9 through 12.

Here are some of the findings regarding illegal drug use among high school students:

  • 14 percent of students had ever used an illegal drug such as cocaine, inhalants, heroin, meth, hallucinogens or ecstasy.
    • This is down significantly from the 22.6 percent of high school students who responded the same way in 2007.
  • Only 1.5 percent of high school students said they had ever injected a legal drug.
    • This is down from 2.0 percent in 2007 and the recent high of 2.3 percent in 2011.

Prescription Opioid Use Among Teens Is Concerning

Despite illegal drug use being down across the board, the misuse of prescription opioids such as codeine, OxyContin and Vicodin was fairly high. The survey found 14 percent of high school students had misused prescription opioids, with more females responding positively than males.

This question hadn’t been asked in the survey before, so there’s no historical data to compare it to. The question was added to the most recent survey due to the country’s problems of late with opioids and heroin.

Adolescent and Teen Mental Health Issues Still Prominent

The most recent YRBS also had some revealing findings regarding teens’ mental health:

  • 31.5 percent of high school students reported persistent feeling of sadness or hopelessness within the past year, the highest mark in the last 10 years.
    • This number has been steadily on the rise since the 26.1 percent mark in 2009.
    • There was a big disparity among the two sexes in 2017: 41.1 percent of female students reported sadness/hopelessness feelings, compared to “just” 21.4 of male students.
  • 17.2 percent of students said they seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.
    • This number was higher than the 14.5 percent who said the same in 2007, but is similar to the results from the 2013 and 2015 surveys.
    • Significantly more female students reported considering suicide than male students – 22.1 percent to 11.9 percent.
  • And how many actually attempted suicide? 7.4 percent of students said they had tried within the last year – 9.3 percent of female students, and 5.1 percent of male students.
    • This number was higher than the 2007 mark of 6.9 percent, but lower than the 2015 mark of 8.6 percent.

Teen Bullying Statistics

Nineteen percent of high school students said they had been bullied at school within the year prior to the 2017 survey; more than 22 percent of female students responded this way, compared to 15.6 percent of male students. The overall number was actually down slightly from the 19.9 percent mark in 2009. The number has stayed relatively the same over the last eight years.

Just under 15 percent of high school students said they had been the victim of electronic bullying within the last year; more than twice as many females said so than males did. The 2017 mark was down from 16.2 percent who responded the same way in 2011, the first year the survey asked this question.

Other Interesting Findings

The CDC survey also had some interesting findings about lifestyle factors among high school students:

  • Just under 40 percent said they had ever had sex, down from 54 percent in 1991 and 48 percent in 2007.
    • In fact, the number has been steadily declining since 47.4 percent of high school students responded positively to this question in 2011.
    • Just under 10 percent in 2017 reported having four or more lifetime sexual partners, a number which has also been steadily decreasing since 2011.
  • Only 53.8 percent of students reported using a condom during their last sexual intercourse, a number which has been steadily declining since the 61.5 percent mark in 2007.

The Takeaways

To boil all of these numbers down to a few memorable takeaways, here’s what we can conclude about today’s high schoolers:

  • They are using illegal drugs less and injecting less.
  • Prescription opioid misuse is a concern.
  • More students are experiencing depression-like thoughts and symptoms.
  • More students are considering suicide or have attempted suicide than the high schoolers from 10 years ago.
  • Bullying, whether online or at school, is still a concern, although not on the rise.
  • Hopelessness/sadness, suicidal thoughts and bullying are affecting female students much more than male students.
  • Teens are having less sex, but using condoms at a lower rate when doing so.

Getting a Teen Help for Drug Abuse and Mental Illness

Dual diagnosis treatment for drug or alcohol addiction and an accompanying mental health disorder is becoming increasingly important in our country. If you have a son who is at least 18 years old, Reflections Recovery Center can help if he’s struggling with drug abuse and a potential mental disorder – such as depression or anxiety.

There’s no shame in surrendering to the care of professionals for help in turning your loved one’s life around. Contact us today to learn more about our renowned Prescott, AZ inpatient treatment program.

Dual Diagnosis Resources