Tag Archives: Prescription Drug Abuse

Ambien Withdrawal

No matter what substance a person is breaking an addiction to, going through withdrawals is an uncomfortable experience. Ambien withdrawal 

What Is Ambien?

Ambien–a brand-name for the drug zolpidem–is a sleep-inducing medication most often prescribed to people suffering from insomnia.  

Ambien is classified as a sedative-hypnotic that activates gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) neuroreceptors in the brain, slowing down nerve function. It is also considered a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. 

Ambien was initially developed as a non-addictive alternative to popular benzodiazepines such as Xanax. It later became apparent, however, that Ambien does, in fact, have addictive properties–it simply takes longer than benzos for an addiction to form.

Is Ambien Addictive?

Ambien has been proven to be quite addictive if taken for longer than intended. An Ambien prescription comes in two forms: an extended-release and a quick-release version. 

Both are intended to encourage and maintain sleep for one single use. In other words, taking Ambien today will likely have no impact on how well you sleep next week.

After approximately two weeks of continuous use, a user will start to become addicted to Ambien.

Ambien addiction can develop out of the perfectly reasonable desire to deal with insomnia and get some deep sleep. The issue arises when someone becomes dependent on Ambien to fall asleep every night. After approximately two weeks of continuous use, a person is at risk of their body becoming addicted to the drug.

The DEA categorizes Ambien as a Schedule IV drug which means it has a “low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence” but is still considered dangerous.

Ambien can quickly become a recreational addiction when anyone takes the drug outside of medical supervision. Usually they are doing this to try to experience an Ambien high.

Stages of Addiction

The stages of addiction can vary depending on the substance and individual. However, there is a lot of value in having a general understanding of how an addiction develops, as it can provide useful indicators. 

First Use: This is when the user “tries out” substance in order to see if they like the effects or not. This does not always lead to addiction. Some people, for example, try a drug and end up disliking its effects, leading them to avoid it. Interestingly, users who only partake in the drug every so often are also considered “first-users,” as they have not yet established a pattern of usage.

The danger of this stage is that it can be accomplished through legal means too. For example, an individual who receives prescribed opioids after a traumatic injury is experiencing the “first use” phase of addiction, even though it is in a medically-advised context.

Regular Use: A user will begin to exhibit patterns of usage. They may start to consistently consume a drug on the weekend, at parties, after work, or after specific stressful triggers such as being around an abusive individual. This is where the substance begins to become a habitual part of the individual’s life. 

The Risky Use Stage of addiction may result in driving while intoxicated or under the influence.

Risky Use: This stage will involve the user engaging in risky behaviors while under the influence, or as a means of obtaining the drug. This could include driving while intoxicated or under the influence. It might also involve theft as a way of paying for the addiction.

Substance Use Disorder: A substance use disorder (SUD) is a full-blow addiction. At this point, the individual cannot function without using the substance on a daily basis. They often show signs of floundering in their responsibilities such as holding a job or attending school. Some even become homeless. 

How Ambien Addiction Forms

For people who take Ambien, the case of legal use developing into an addiction is the scenario that presents the most likely danger. First use to deal with insomnia can very quickly turn into regular use as it becomes a nightly routine. 

Then, when their prescription runs out, they may feel the need to turn to illicit sources to attain sleep aids or other similar–even more potent–substances to prevent withdrawals. 

What Are Withdrawals?

Withdrawals can be described as the physical and mental effects caused by stopping the intake of a certain drug. 

During continued use of a drug, the body attempts to normalize the presence of the toxic substance in the body. Thus, immediately taking that substance away from the body will cause it to struggle to readjust to the absence of the drug. 

For example, skipping out on your morning cup of coffee can cause withdrawal symptoms like headaches and muscle pain due to the sudden lack of caffeine in the body.

The duration and effects of a withdrawal phase will depend on a person’s history of use with the drug as well as other factors, such as genetics and body composition. 

Ambien withdrawals typically occur 24-48 hours after the final dose. Symptoms of Ambien withdrawals include:

  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Cravings
  • Tremors
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Panic attacks
  • Hot flashes
  • Rapid heartbeat 

Can Ambien Withdrawals Be Fatal?

Ambien withdrawals are not fatal, but they can be painfully unpleasant. Someone going through Ambien withdrawals will typically find that these symptoms decrease or resolve within 1-2 weeks. 

The first 3-5 days usually see the most intense effects, though psychological withdrawal symptoms have been known to continue for up to two weeks. 

Although most withdrawals are not fatal, they are a painful process of recovery.

In some rare cases,  insomnia, cravings, panic attacks, and other side effects can linger in an individual for months after ceasing use of Ambien. The more intense or longer-lasting effects can be greatly reduced by tapering usage under professional medical detox supervision. 

Getting Help

Attempting to detox from a SUD on your own is both dangerous and has a low likelihood of success, as withdrawals can be painful and be enough to convince some to avoid getting sober in the first place.

Though an unpleasant part of the recovery process, seeking help from experienced professionals can set you up for successful addiction recovery. If you or a loved one need help dealing with withdrawals, please contact us today.

Oxycodone vs Percocet

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

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

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

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

Chemical Overview of Oxycodone vs Percocet

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

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

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

Chemistry In the Brain

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

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

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

Half Life of Oxycodone vs Percocet

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

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

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

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

Abuse Potential

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

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

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

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

Oxycodone vs Percocet Applications 

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

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

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

Oxycodone vs Percocet Side Effects

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

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

Serious, but less common side effects include:

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

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

Breaking Oxycodone and Percocet Addiction

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

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

Buspirone vs Xanax

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

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

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

What Is Xanax Mostly Prescribed For?

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

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

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

Is Xanax Addictive?

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

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

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

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

What Does Buspirone Do To The Body?

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

How Does Buspirone Work?

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

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

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

Is Buspirone (BuSpar) addictive?

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

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

What Else Can Buspirone Be Prescribed For?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dangers of Mixing Valium and Alcohol

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

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

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

Valium for Pain: How Does Valium Work?

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

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

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

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

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

What Are Valium’s Medical Applications?

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

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

Does Valium Have Side Effects?

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

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

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

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

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

Does Valium Have Risk for Abuse?

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

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

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

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

How Long Does Valium Last?

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

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

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

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

Valium And Alcohol Interaction

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

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

Side Effects of Mixing Valium and Alcohol

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

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

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

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

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

Treatment for Valium and Alcohol Addiction

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

Phentermine And Alcohol

Prescription medications are some of the most abused substances. This is largely due to the fact that they are easy to access and can carry “desirable” effects.

Prescription drugs are sometimes abused with alcohol to emphasize or increase the effect of the substance.

However, mixing prescriptions with alcohol is never a wise idea. Many substances, like phentermine, are known to have unpleasant or even dangerous effects when mixed with alcohol.

Breakdown of Phentermine

Phentermine–also known by its brand names as Adipex P or Lomaira–belongs to a unique stimulant subclass of drugs known as anorectics.

Doctors prescribe anorectics to help patients overcome obesity. Due to its unique effect of hunger suppression with few-to-no side effects, it is a valuable medication for individuals who are experiencing health complications due to weight.

The side effects of phentermine are relatively mild compared to some other prescription drugs. While there are some rare side effects that can be dangerous, the most common reported symptoms are usually just ‘unpleasant.’

Common side effects of phentermine include: Faster Heart Rate Pins and Needles Dry Mouth Trouble Sleeping Constipation Nervousness

In the brain, phentermine causes the release of norepinephrine. Norepinephrine is responsible for the brain’s reaction to stress responses and emergency situations.

The medication suppresses the hunger sensation in the brain and also acts upon the rest of the body by releasing adrenaline and epinephrine. Together, these two chemicals communicate to the body to break down fat, further helping the treatment of obesity.

Phentermine diminishes in effectiveness over time, so prescriptions for it are usually short-term. Three months is around the maximum amount of time that a phentermine prescription lasts.

After as few as three weeks, the effectiveness of the substance weakens, and the treatment no longer benefits the patient. The eventual lack of effectiveness seems inevitable, but tolerance might not be to blame.

Though the substance might appear to be dangerous if taken for extended periods of time, there has been little demonstrated abuse potential for phentermine.

Phentermine Abuse Potential

Stimulants are notorious for having substances that have a high potential for abuse: methamphetamine and cocaine are two of the most recognizable illicit substances.

However, not all stimulants hold the potential for abuse. Despite multiple studies exploring the potential for abuse of phentermine, no recorded cases have emerged.

Phentermine also does not appear to affect withdrawal symptoms upon users. This likely has to do with the way that the substance interacts with the chemicals of the brain.

While a chemical dependence to phentermine is extremely unlikely to develop, psychological dependence might be another story.

Many addictive substances interact with either dopamine or serotonin. Since phentermine interacts only with norepinephrine, this might explain why patients who have taken it for long periods of time do not experience withdrawal symptoms.

While a chemical dependence to phentermine is extremely unlikely to develop, psychological dependence might be another story.

Psychological dependence has to do with an individual’s specific thoughts, perceptions, and attitudes towards a substance. Even if a substance is not chemically addictive, someone who takes it for an extended period of time might become so accustomed to the pattern, that it forms an attachment phenomenon mirroring addiction.

For phentermine, this might become a problem since it inhibits hunger. Extreme weight loss as a result of abusing phentermine could bring its own health complications.

Mixing Phentermine And Alcohol

When mixed, the side effects of either alcohol or phentermine may worsen to unpleasant levels. Sometimes “new” side effects may even develop as a direct result of the combination.

One of the major reasons to avoid the combination is due to the area that each of these substances affect.

Both phentermine and alcohol interact with the central nervous system. Together, they may trigger unexpected and unpleasant side effects such as dizziness, trouble concentrating, and mood swings.

Since both phentermine and alcohol can cause an increased heart rate, the combination can cause dangerously irregular cardiac function.

Additionally, alcohol can make losing weight more difficult. Even if no interaction occurs, drinking alcohol–especially in excess–blocks phentermine’s effectiveness by encouraging weight gain. The most serious interaction between the two, however, occurs in the heart.

Since both phentermine and alcohol can cause an increased heart rate, the combination can cause dangerously irregular cardiac function. Individuals dealing with obesity are already at greater risk for heart complications, so this can be especially risky.

It is better to err on the side of caution with phentermine and alcohol and avoid drinking while taking this prescription.

Help for Psychological Dependence and Polysubstance Abuse

Fortunately, phentermine shows very little risk of addiction, but this does not mean it is beyond the capacity for abuse. Psychological dependence can be just as debilitating as chemical dependence–and may even have longer-lasting effects.

If you suspect someone you love may be dependent upon any prescription medication or combining them regularly with alcohol, it’s important to seek professional advice. Reach out to us today to speak with one of our caring, professional staff about how to identify addictive behaviors and practical options.

What is a Seroquel Overdose Like?

Individuals suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder may be prescribed Seroquel to treat symptoms of their condition. As an antipsychotic, this substance can help individuals who are experiencing psychotic symptoms of a medical condition. Off-label use of Seroquel, however, can develop into a substance use disorder (SUD). Long-term misuse of the substance can lead to health problems, as well as put the individual at risk of Seroquel overdose.

What Kind of Drug is Seroquel?

Seroquel, also known by its generic name quetiapine, belongs to a group of substances known as antipsychotics, or neuroleptics.

While opioids typically treat pain and stimulants may be prescribed to treat conditions like ADHD, neuroleptics are typically employed by medical professionals to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Specifically, symptoms like hallucinations, paranoia, delusions, or frantic thoughts can be helped with a neuroleptic prescription.

Though both have similar effects, neuroleptics fall into two main categories: One type (typical) affects dopamine neurotransmitters in the brain, while the other type (atypical), affects both dopamine and serotonin receptors.

In the brain, these chemicals are responsible for several aspects of life, including mood, appetite, and reward responses. While it might seem counterproductive to inhibit these chemicals in the brain, individuals who suffer from psychotic symptoms often have an overabundance of serotonin and dopamine, which means this method of action can have a balancing effect to help treat the individual’s symptoms. Quetiapine affects both dopamine and serotonin transmission, so it classifies as the second type of neuroleptic.

Hands holding pills and a pill bottle: Neuroleptics are typically employed by medical professionals to treat the symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Seroquel Half Life

The 6-hour-long Seroquel half life is somewhat short for prescription medications. This means that it typically takes six hours for the human body to chemically eliminate half of a given dose of quetiapine.

So, if a patient were to have a dose of 200mg, there would be 100mg left in their body after six hours had passed. In another 6 hours, there would be only 50mg. This process would repeat every six hours until the entire dose is eliminated from the body. Since the Seroquel half life is short, individuals with a prescription may need to take it daily in order to experience its effects continually.

Individuals who have a prescription for Seroquel may experience several side effects. Most of these effects are mild, but some serious effects can manifest by consuming Seroquel and alcohol simultaneously. The most common side effects of Seroquel include:

  • Tiredness
  • Sore Throat
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Weight Gain

Some individuals may also use the drug to self-medicate, or to treat an off-label condition that the FDA has not recognized quetiapine to treat. For instance, an individual may take advantage of the tiredness that often comes with taking Seroquel for sleep. However, using the substance for non-prescription purposes can lead to dangerous consequences or an unexpected interaction with another substance.

Illustration of a person exhibiting symptoms. Common side effects of Seroquel: tiredness, sore throat, dizziness, muscle weakness, weight gain.

Risks for Seroquel Overdose and Abuse

Quetiapine has had a history of abuse, but these reasons differ from the usual motivations for misuse. While some individuals may abuse a substance to experience euphoric effects or pleasant symptoms, abuse of this drug is usually the result of individuals consuming Seroquel for sleep loss or anxiety symptoms.

Seroquel for Sleep

Though more “innocent” than other reasons for prescription drug abuse, any inappropriate use of prescription medications can have uncomfortable consequences. Misuse also often forms a dependent relationship with the drug.

Individuals with a history of substance abuse may seek Seroquel as an alternative to their former addiction. Long-term use of the drug, however, can have detrimental effects on metabolism, weight gain, and blood fat content.

True addiction potential for Seroquel has yet to be measured. There have been multiple cases of individuals abusing or misusing Seroquel, but scientists have not yet determined if the substance can be physically addictive.

Notably, nearly all of the cases in which individuals misused Seroquel had previously suffered from a substance abuse disorder. Due to the nature of quetiapine abuse cases up to this point, it seems unlikely for someone to suddenly develop a Seroquel misuse problem. Rather, individuals who have had a history with substance abuse are most at risk of abusing the prescription drug.

Seroquel Overdose

Seroquel may, therefore, be low-risk in terms of addictive potential, and Seroquel overdose is also relatively low-risk. When compared to other similar neuroleptics, the list of Seroquel overdose symptoms is short.

While still potentially life-threatening for some individuals, the most dangerous Seroquel overdose symptoms recorded manifested as a high heart rate. Other symptoms included drowsiness and a weakened heart beat.

When compared to the life-threatening overdose symptoms of many other substances, quetiapine’s effects are relatively mild, even in high concentrations. However, these symptoms may be more serious when combined with other substances.

Since Seroquel abuse often occurs in individuals suffering from another substance abuse disorder, the potential for dangerous interactions may be more likely than normal.

Person handling a test tube: Scientists have not yet determined if Seroquel can be physically addictive.

Steps Toward Recovery

While Seroquel abuse is unlikely to develop by the drug alone, individuals who have a history with prescription drug abuse may be at risk of abuse. Though the side effects and Seroquel overdose symptoms may appear to be mild, substance misuse or abuse should always be taken seriously and addressed quickly.

If you think a loved one is suffering from Seroquel abuse or any other kind of SUD, contact us today. Reaching out can be one of the first and most crucial steps to take to help a suffering loved one.

“I Hate My Life”: Expression or Depression?

“I hate my life.”

Have you ever heard these words from a loved one? Or even said them yourself? 

It’s not uncommon for people to experience discouragement or a lack of motivation to complete regular daily tasks following a traumatic event or life change. However, continuously feeling defeated or that one is tired of life, are sentiments typically expressed by a person experiencing low grade depression.

Left unaddressed, these types of thoughts can grow into a crippling depression that has long-lasting effects. One of the most potent side effects of a crippling depression is chronic apathy.

The definition of apathy is a lack of feeling, interest, enthusiasm or concern.

It is almost impossible for the average person to go through life without ever experiencing apathy at some point. Sufferers from depression, however–especially if it leads to substance abuse–often report an inability to escape from apathetic thinking. 

Apathy is defined as a lack of feeling, interest, enthusiasm, or concern.

What is the difference between someone who is experiencing low grade depression vs someone who just feels apathetic? 

Having a “low” day, or a temporary mindset of feeling defeated can occur after events that overwhelm the emotions, mind, body and spirit. These might include death of a loved one, job loss, abusive relationships, extreme loneliness and even traumatic injury or chronic health conditions.

It’s not uncommon for these events to serve as a catalyst for depressive episodes that continue throughout life. Most often, though, these evens lead to periods of apathy only in the short term. 

On the other hand, someone who is suffering from crippling depression–or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, debilitating anxiety–tends to experience these feelings on a regular or even daily basis over a longer period of time.

Apathetic feelings in the average person can still be subject to the will to change negative thinking patterns or habits. Mental health sufferers, however, report that apathy in the context of depression seems to numb their ability to even want to change.

Having a "low" day, or a temporary mindset of feeling defeated can occur after events that overwhelm the emotions, mind, body, and spirit.

This “numbness” or lack of control is further compounded if substance abuse enters the picture. 

How could feeling that “I hate my life” lead to substance abuse?

Unfortunately, depression can contribute to the development of a substance use disorder (SUD). SUD can, in turn, escalate low grade depression into crippling depression. This is because people often seek illicit substances (or overmedication of legal substances) as a way to escape pain. 

Many people believe addiction is born out of a desire to attain the pleasure of a high.

While this is true in some cases, more often than not addiction victims report that the main motivation behind their first one or several uses of drugs or alcohol was to dull or eliminate–not to achieve–something: namely, pain.

SUD victims then proceed to fall into a cycle of apathy that keeps them trapped in addictive habits. Their increasing tolerance to a drug or alcohol substance may lead them to take more and more of it to escape the mental pain of debilitating anxiety or feeling tired of life.

The more the cravings rule their lives, the more powerless they feel to break out of this lifestyle. 

The feeling of being out of control and/or purposeless can lead to substance abuse and addiction. Addiction leads to more feelings of lack of control and defeat, for which substances seem to be the only cure. And the cycle repeats.

Getting Help

The progression described above is vicious and can have devastating effects on a person’s quality of life. Because of the nature of addiction, this cycle can be difficult to break, but it is entirely possible with help. If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, professional treatment is the most effective way to start the road to recovery. Contact us today.

Lyrica Withdrawal

Lyrica, or pregabalin, is a prescription drug for neuropathic pain and seizures. However, it is also known to be addictive. It is possible for it contribute to destructive habits, serious depression, and suicidal thoughts. With long-term misuse or abuse, withdrawal is a real possibility. Lyrica withdrawal can be dangerous and uncomfortable if done alone. It is always best to stop use under medical supervision or to seek treatment for help in dealing with withdrawal.

What is Lyrica?

Pregabalin works by binding to the alpha 2 delta site in the central nervous system (CNS). This calms down nerves and creates pain relief for those suffering neuropathic pain. Neuropathic pain is caused by damaged nerve endings, which can be caused by other diseases such as diabetes, shingles, or fibromyalgia. Lyrica can also be a useful medication for stopping or preventing focal seizures. While it is a useful drug in some situations, Lyrica potentially includes a host of different side effects such as: 

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Weight gain
  • Blurred vision
  • Unusual bruising
  • Unsteadiness
  • Confusion
  • Muscle pain 
  • Swelling extremities 
  • Kidney issues 
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts 
  • Anxiety

lyrica side effects

Lyrica Addiction

Lyrica addiction is uncommon, but it is possible for it to occur. Its negative effects have become more prevalent in recent years as prescriptions for it become more frequent. In the United States alone, over 64 million prescriptions were written for Lyrica (or some form of pregabalin) in 2016 alone. Given the high frequency of prescriptions, it is no wonder that the deaths associated with it have risen as well. 

It is possible to experience addiction when it is taken in high enough doses. Misusing it can provide a euphoric feeling and can even create feelings of dissociation in some individuals. Any drug or substance that creates feelings of euphoria has the potential for dependence and addiction. It is the ‘high’ most drugs offer which keep individuals coming back. This is especially true for people with pre-existing mental health conditions, since they may seek out experiences which can help them escape negative thoughts and feelings. 

Lyrica and depression

There are links between Lyrica, depression, and suicide. According to a study conducted by the University of Oxford looked at nearly 200,000 cases of individuals who used pregabalin between the years of 2006 to 2013 and found that 5.2% (over 10,000 people) were treated for suicidal behavior or died from suicide. A further 8.9% experienced overdoses and 6.3% were involved in serious car accidents. The study found that those using pregabalin were 26% more likely to experience suicidal behavior and 24% were likely to experience an overdose. 

lyrica side effects

The recent increase in pregabalin-related deaths and injuries became so severe that the United Kingdom reclassified the drug as a Class C Drug. This made it illegal to own or possess any amount of the drug, sell the drug, or to import it. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) considers the drug to be a Schedule 5 controlled substance. This means it is recognized as a drug with a lower potential for abuse but can still cause harm.

Lyrica Withdrawal

Abruptly stopping Lyrica is potentially dangerous to your health. With addiction or even dependence, care is necessary in order to avoid painful withdrawal symptoms. What is a withdrawal? Simply put, it is your body’s reaction to learning to cope without a constant supply of a stimulus. If you have been taking Lyrica for a number of years and suddenly stop, your body may struggle while learning how to survive without it. 

Withdrawals are often incredibly painful and in some cases cause death or require hospitalization. The withdrawal symptoms for Lyrica are similar to that of alcohol and benzodiazepines. However, the severity depends on length of drug usage, the dosage, and the user’s history of abuse with other drugs.

Lyrica withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Sweating
  • Rapid heart beats
  • Seizures
  • Insomnia
  • Cravings 
  • Mood swings
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea

lyrica withdrawal symptoms

It is possible for these symptoms to occur individually, or all at once. They typically begin 1-2 days after someone stops using Lyrica. The most at-risk patients are those who depend on the drug for anti-seizure medication. This danger is why supervision from medical and mental health professionals is always necessary for quitting Lyrica.

withdrawal is your body's reaction to learning to cope without a constant supply of a stimulus

How long does Lyrica stay in your system?

It is rare for employers or medical providers to test for Lyrica. However, it is still detectable in the body. How long it will stay in your system depends on various factors. Age, gender, genetic, metabolism, body-fat composition, and weight all play a role in determining how long the drug stays in someone’s system. 

Via urine test, it is possible to detect Lyrica  up to 6 days after ingestion, 2 days with a blood and saliva test and up to 6 months with a hair follicle test. Lyrica’s half-life is approximately 6 hours. A substance’s half-life indicates how long it takes for the ingested amount to reduce to half of its original size. In other words, if you ingest 10mg of Lyrica, it takes 6 hours for the drug to reduce to 5mg.

Getting help 

Deciding to seek help is a crucial step on the road to full recovery. Getting clean takes more than “willpower” –  it requires long-term effort and most of all, real support. Since addiction is so complex, it’s important to reach out for meaningful help. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, please contact us today to begin your journey to sobriety.

Baclofen Withdrawal

Baclofen is an antispasmodic medicine, which means it treats muscle spasms and twitches by relaxing the body’s muscles. When taken as directed by a doctor, it can be an effective treatment for symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis, spinal injuries, and even alcohol detox.

On its own, it is not a particularly addictive drug. However, mixing it with other drugs, such as marijuana, alcohol, or opioids, can increase the “high” it causes, making Baclofen potentially addictive.

When someone is dependent on baclofen, stopping suddenly can cause serious withdrawal symptoms – sometimes the same symptoms it is intended to treat. 

What is Baclofen?

Baclofen works by reducing the communication between muscles and the central nervous system. This makes stiffness and spasms less likely.

Doctors usually prescribe Baclofen to treat patients with medical conditions that cause these symptoms, such as multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries. While more medical proof is needed, one study  showed that baclofen can also help with alcohol addiction by reducing or even eliminating cravings.  

People usually take it in tablet form, and medical professionals may sometimes administer it by injecting it into a patient’s spinal fluid. Patients may also apply it to the skin as a cream or liquid.

Baclofen’s side effects are generally mild and include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Headaches
  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Nausea

Baclofen WithdrawalThere are no specific drugs that are prescribed with Baclofen, but there are several that should be avoided while taking it. Codeine, fentanyl, and morphine all have major interactions with Baclofen. Each of these drugs combined with Baclofen have similar side effects, the worst of which include trouble breathing, coma, and death.

When combining baclofen with alcohol, someone may experience dizziness, drowsiness, or difficulty concentrating. Some people may even have trouble thinking or making clear-headed decisions.

If you are taking baclofen, you should avoid operating machinery or driving until you know how it affects you, and do not combine it with other drugs without doctor supervision.

Is Baclofen Addictive?

Most people who abuse baclofen don’t do so intentionally at first. Someone may begin taking more than their directed dose thinking that more is better.

People also sometimes mix it with other drugs without knowing the possible interactions and start down a dangerous path. Doctors commonly prescribe the use of Baclofen to treat withdrawal symptoms of other addictive substances, but Baclofen itself can become addictive.

This means it can cause its own set of withdrawal symptoms. Some people abuse baclofen on its own (though this is rare), and abuse can develop into addiction. In one case, a user experienced feelings of well-being and pleasure for no apparent reason, as well as a craving for Baclofen. However, even a small decrease in dosage caused the patient to experience withdrawal symptoms.Baclofen Withdrawal

Baclofen Withdrawal

Baclofen withdrawal begins immediately after someone stops taking the drug, and the symptoms are sometimes severe. This usually happens when someone quits “cold turkey” – going from a full, regular dosage to nothing at all.

However, withdrawal symptoms can also appear when a patient simply decreases their usual dose. Since dependence is possible even in small doses, it is important to start and stop taking baclofen gradually.

Consult a medical professional if you think you should stop taking Baclofen or if it isn’t working for you. Some of the most common baclofen withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Agitation/Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Confusion

However, quitting baclofen can also cause more serious symptoms:

  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Delusions
  • Psychosis

These are more likely to occur if someone has been abusing baclofen along with alcohol or other drugs. This is where medically-supervised detox can be important and even life-saving.Baclofen Withdrawal

Overcoming Baclofen Withdrawal

Baclofen withdrawal symptoms are serious, and can occur very quickly, sometimes appearing as soon as 48 hours after someone stops taking the medication.

Depending on withdrawal severity, some people may need medical attention. Because many people often don’t realize withdrawal can occur while taking Baclofen, they may simply stop taking it altogether, and not realize the consequences.

It’s important to remember the seriousness of baclofen withdrawal and speak to your doctor if you want or plan to stop taking baclofen. 

The Bottom Line

While baclofen can be extremely beneficial when treating muscle spasms or alcohol detox, no one should take it casually. Baclofen can be abused by itself or with other drugs, sometimes leading to dangerous side effects.

Dependence on baclofen also develops relatively quickly, and can occur even even if someone is taking a small amount. Since withdrawal symptoms can be so severe, caution is key when deciding how to stop taking Baclofen.

If you think you or a loved one is struggling with Baclofen abuse, or any addiction, reach out for help. Contact us and we can help you on your journey to sobriety.

Trazodone Withdrawal


One of the most difficult points in the journey to sobriety is going through withdrawal.

Withdrawal is a side effect when quitting any addictive substance, and Trazodone, an prescription medication, can cause withdrawal symptoms. A trazodone withdrawal generally occurs when someone has been regularly abusing the drug, and the symptoms can be severe.

Understanding the effects of a withdrawal can help you better manage symptoms and seek help. 

What is Trazodone?

Trazodone has relatively little perceived value for recreational purposes, but can still be addictive. It is a prescription medication given to patients suffering with depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

Classified as a serotonin antagonist and reuptake Inhibitor (SARI), it prevents serotonin from being reabsorbed into the neurons, thus creating an abundance in the brain. Colloquially known as the “happy chemical,” serotonin is speculated to improve your mood when it is released naturally. 

Trazodone WithdrawalHowever, trazodone cannot effectively make someone feel happy on its own. Antidepressants work to manage symptoms rather than treat the underlying mental health issues. One of the ways trazodone achieves this is by providing a sedative effect to the patient, so it is not surprising to find that some people use it to treat insomnia.

The mixture of sedation and relief can make the drug somewhat addictive. It does not cause a euphoric high; rather, the effect is more akin to Xanax or other benzodiazepines.

What is Withdrawal?

Withdrawal is the adjustment period following the immediate cessation of drug use. The body can experience negative symptoms when adjusting to not having a certain chemical or drug in its system. In the case of trazodone, the body will need to adjust to the sudden decrease in the brain’s serotonin levels.

Withdrawal can have an emotional and physical impact, and its severity depends on a person’s history of abuse with the drug as well as the type of drug itself.

Different drugs come with different withdrawal timelines. For example, heroin withdrawal can last anywhere from 8 hours to 10 days. It is not known exactly how long trazodone withdrawals last. However, symptoms can begin hours after stopping and can continue for days or even weeks.

Some symptoms of a trazodone withdrawal include:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy
  • Headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Seizures 

Given that trazodone is mainly used to treat depression and insomnia, patients will likely experience those symptoms first.

Trazodone Withdrawal Management 

There are ways to lessen the negative experience of withdrawals. Some users may choose to go “cold turkey,” where they suddenly stop taking the drug. While this may seem like an effective method, it can actually make your withdrawal symptoms worse.

Keep in mind that the body is very adaptive in nature. Part of having an addiction is the process of your brain and body developing a tolerance for a certain stimuli – where it essentially gets used to having that substance.

Quitting can cause a shock to the body – like the feeling of going outside on a cold day after being indoors. 

Trazodone Withdrawal

One way to mitigate this shock is by gradually tapering your exposure to the stimulus. The same is true in reverse. Tapering your drug use will make the withdrawals less severe. For example, if you are used to taking 10mg of trazodone every day, it can help to take only 9mg the next day and so on. This is not necessarily a linear progression, and every body responds differently. 

This is why it can be so important to seek medical help. A professionally trained individual can help you create a plan which minimizes the effects of a withdrawal.

How Long Does Trazodone Stay in Your System?

Trazodone has a half life of 5-13 hours. A substance’s half life is an indication of how long it will take for the ingested dosage to effectively reduce to half of its original amount. For example, if you take 10mg of trazodone, it will take approximately 5-13 hours for that to effectively become 5mg.

While this does provide some insight as to how fast the drug will leave your body, it does not represent how long it can be detected via drug testing. Trazodone drug tests are quite rare. However, trazodone can be flagged as a false positive for MDMA with EMIT urine tests.

Trazodone Withdrawal

Getting Help During a Trazodone Withdrawal 

Withdrawals can be a very painful process which can make reaching sobriety quite difficult. However, it is important to keep the long-term picture in mind. Initial withdrawal symptoms are usually confined to a few weeks at most (though you may eventually deal with longer-term withdrawal symptoms such as cravings).

As we mentioned, it is best to get professional supervision when attempting to stop substance abuse of any kind. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today so that we can help you begin your journey to sobriety, together.