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Tag Archives: Prescription Drug Addiction

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.

Klonopin and Alcohol

Recreational drug users will often mix a substance with alcohol to enhance the effects of the drugs for an overall better high. Whether or not the mixing was intentional, combining any drug with alcohol can have dire consequences. Klonopin and alcohol are substances where there is frequent misuse and abuse. Many fail to realize the dangers in the combination.

What is Klonopin?

Klonopin is the brand name for Clonazepam. It is a benzodiazepine primarily in use to treat certain seizure and panic disorders in adults and children. It can also help relieve anxiety, relieve muscle spasms and help with sleep which are attributes of its benzodiazepine properties. Klonopin works by increasing the effects of the Gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter which essentially slows brain and nerve function. 

What is a benzodiazepine?

Benzodiazepines or “benzos” are one of the most prescribed medications in the United States and help treat anxiety, insomnia, seizures and panic attacks in patients. It can be broadly described as a central nervous system depressant. Given that nearly 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety, it is no wonder why the drug is so popular. Unfortunately, as with any popular drug, comes the issue of abuse and increase in illicit availability. Some popular benzos include Xanax and Valium which are known to be addictive drugs especially when some users take benzos in order to achieve a recreational, euphoric high.

klonopin and alcohol

Benzos have a variety of side effects such as:

  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Trembling
  • Impaired coordination
  • Vision problems
  • Grogginess
  • Feelings of depression
  • Headache

In addition, Klonopin has other side effects such as:

  • Depression
  • Loss of orientation
  • Sleep issues
  • Problems with thinking 
  • Memory problems
  • Dry mouth
  • Slurred speech
  • Diarrhea and constipation

How long does Klonopin stay in your system?

Clonazepam has a uniquely long half-life when compared with that of other drugs at around 20-50 hours. The half-life of a drug refers to the amount of time it takes for the drug to reduce to half of its originally taken dose. In other words, If you take 10mg of Clonazepam, it will take 20-50 hours for that 10mg to effectively become 5mg once ingested. Keep in mind that just because a drug has a certain half-life and elimination period, does not mean that it cannot be discovered via drug testing. Some Clonazepam metabolites such as 7-aminoclonazepam can be detected in urine upto 3 weeks after ingestion and others can be detected up to 30 days after.

Is Klonopin addictive?

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) schedules or categorizes thousands of drugs based on their potential for abuse and medical utility. Klonopin and by extension, Clonazepam, is in the category of being a schedule IV drug. According to the DEA, a schedule IV drug has “a low potential for abuse relative to substances in Schedule III.” 

However, the DEA still considers it to be somewhat addictive and dangerous. In 2016, the American Association of Poison Control Centers indicated that there were 74,050 cases involving some type of benzodiazepine along with 14 deaths reported. Klonopin may not be as addictive as other drugs such as opioids, however, it is still very much possible to develop a dependency in as little as two weeks.

klonopin and alcohol

Like most benzos, Klonopin users will develop a tolerance over time which can be dangerous as it promotes the use of higher doses. A tolerance is your body’s way of getting adjusting to an outside stimulus. The more you experience something, the more your body becomes normal or indifferent to it. For drug users, that means the euphoric high they first experienced may never occur at that intensity ever again. However, in order to get close to it, users will continuously increase their dosage potentially until overdose. 

Mixing Klonopin and Alcohol

Klonopin and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants which help calm people down by slowing critical brain function. However, these CNS depressants also slow breathing and other nerve function, making it dangerous to combine the two. Many people will however mix alcohol and some form of benzo, as the DEA states, “Benzodiazepines are also used to augment alcohol’s effects and modulate withdrawal states.”

Mixing any two drugs will usually result in an enhanced effect from both drugs. However, mixing two CNS depressants can lower critical organ function such as breathing until it stops, causing an overdose. Mixing the two drugs can also cause serious impairment and promote dangerous behavior which otherwise would have been avoided such as driving or operating machinery.

Some signs of an overdose include slowed and shallow breathing, confusion, unresponsiveness and slow reflexes. In extreme cases, overdoses can cause death and therefore require immediate assistance from medical professionals. 

Treatment

klonopin and alcohol

Treatment for addiction can be challenging. Addiction is considered to be a chronic illness which means it has similar relapse rates as other illnesses such as type II diabetes. Addiction to multiple substances, like Klonopin and alcohol, does further complicate treatment. However, this is not to say it is impossible. Plenty of people have recovered and moved on to living a life of sobriety. We recommend that you seek the help of a trained professional who can help diagnose the causes rather than just manage the symptoms. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today so we can begin your journey to lifelong recovery, together.

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

Painkiller Addiction

What Does Painkiller Addiction Look Like?

There is no clear image or description of what addiction is like. Still, for many people they at least had an idea that it was “hard” and illegal drugs like heroin or meth. It wasn’t something that would be a part of the lives of people with jobs, social circles, or supportive families. It’s also difficult to ever admit that you might be the one with a problem. Prescription drugs, which are widely and successfully marketed in the U.S., are meant to help. Under medical supervision, that should be the case. Because of the above reasons, and more, it is difficult for people to recognize they could have a problem. By the time people, or those around them, realize there is a problem they could be dealing with full-blown addiction. 

All prescription drugs have the potential to be abused. Prescription painkillers carry a significant risk, even when taken under supervision. The most common type of prescription painkiller that people are familiar with is opioids. Some common opioids are Codeine, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, Morphine and Methadone. In part due to the reasons listed above, the opioid crisis seemingly took over the United States overnight. It happened over time, but unfortunately public awareness has been slow to catch up. Many people still lack understanding of just how dangerous prescription painkillers can be. Often people also think they are not susceptible and can control their use. For many, addiction is not obvious until access to the drugs is cut off or restricted. 

Painkiller Addiction in the Male Population

Painkiller addiction is a very real problem for both men and women. A study conducted in 2018 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), showed that men’s deaths caused by painkillers has gone up by 265% since 1998.* The gap between men and women is closing, but it is still very much a problem for men. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, cites a study revealing, “Men are more likely than women to use almost all types of illicit drugs, and illicit drug use is more likely to result in emergency department visits or overdose deaths for men…”*

Exactly why men have higher rates is not entirely clear. However, in a study published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the authors believe it is possible men have more exposure and opportunity.* In our culture, and many others, men are supposed to be strong and able to take care of themselves. It’s possible that this leads to men hiding addiction, refusing to acknowledge problems, and subsequently failing to receive treatment. 

Clearly, with painkillers it is common for someone to begin using them following a serious injury or surgery. In a controlled study, where patients had no pre-existing pain, scientists found that male patients needed higher doses of morphine after medical procedures. While these patients were not addicted, it’s an interesting study regarding different aspects that are important to consider with gender. Morphine overdoses, just like any opioid overdoses, are still a constant reality at a time when public awareness has been slow and ill-equipped to deal with them.

The Risks of Using Painkillers

Men are more likely to use various substances, also known as polysubstance abuse, which is particularly dangerous. This can strengthen the side effects of each substance and significantly increase risk of permanent damage or overdose. 

As with addiction to other substances, painkiller addiction can cause a lot of chaos in the life of the person using the substances as well as the lives of those around them. Someone suffering from addiction will put their relationships, familial and otherwise, at risk. Maintaining employment is difficult the more severe addiction becomes. When a person is addicted to painkillers and is unable to maintain access, they turn to what’s more easily available. Counterfeit pills are available on the street but, as we have seen, they are laced with other substances. They frequently contain fentanyl, which is 80-100x stronger than morphine and even incredibly small amounts result in overdose. Oftentimes people will turn to heroin, which is easier to get, and dangerous on its own. Heroin now frequently contains some amount of fentanyl.

Someone struggling with addiction is unfortunately likely to turn to substances that are cheaper and easier to get, without regard to what they might be laced with. Prescribed, legal opioids can cause health issues even when used under medical supervision. They can cause drowsiness and respiratory depression, which is slow and ineffective breathing. This plays a major part of overdosing on painkillers. As men often combines substances, this can be enhanced and is particularly dangerous with alcohol. Proper education on the the topic is lacking; people don’t realize just how dangerous alcohol and painkillers are when mixed. Alcohol depresses the Central Nervous System. Combined with opioids it can appear that someone is sleeping, without realizing they are not breathing, and it may be too late before anyone realizes.

Overcoming Painkiller Addiction

The good news is that awareness about painkiller addiction is increasing, with more information widely available. The unfortunate reality though, is that many people do not think they will face abuse or addiction with painkillers. It is also difficult for people to acknowledge addiction, because of the shame and stigma surrounding it. This can leave those suffering from painkiller addictions, and even their loved ones, with a sense of hopelessness. Men, in particular, are loathe to admit they have a problem and to admit to something perceived as a weakness. 

As a men’s only rehab, we are able to focus on the unique challenges and needs that men have. Recognizing that there is a problem is an important first step. Admitting to addiction is not easy, but the risks to one’s well-being and the lives of those around them are significant. At Reflections Recovery Center, we work to remove the shame and stigma. Initially, we evaluate clients and their need for detox. Throughout treatment, we will work with clients to understand their life and the different factors that contributed to addiction.

 Our goal is to help clients overcome their addiction through initial sobriety, as well as helping them learn behaviors and skills to maintain sobriety. Recovery is not linear and it is life-long. Relapse is, of course, a part of many people’s recovery. With that in mind, we will work with clients to create a relapse prevention plan to ensure they have the best possible chance at recovery. If you or a loved one needs help with painkillers, please contact us today.

*Resources:
Prescription Painkiller Overdoses – CDC
Sex and Gender Differences in Substance Use – NIH
Sex Differences in Drug Abuse – U.S. National Library of Medicine
Influences on Gender Postoperative Morphine Consumption – NIH


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

Carisoprodol (Soma) Abuse and Addiction


Carisoprodol/Soma abuse and addiction is becoming more common in recent years, and this may be in response to the changes surrounding opioid abuse, addiction, availability, and dangers. Abuse of non-opioid prescription drugs have become more common because the dangers of opioid prescription drug abuse have become widely known.

Many prescription drug abusers feel that the abuse of non-opioid RX drugs are safer. However, prescription drug abuse of any kind holds many dangers, and Soma/carisoprodol can be very dangerous drugs.

What Is Carisoprodol (Soma)?

Carisoprodol is a musculoskeletal relaxer that is often used to treat painful muscular or skeletal conditions including back pain, joint pain, and severe arthritis. The most common form of carisoprodol used for medical purposes in the United States today is in pill form under the brand name “Soma.” Because of its sedative properties, it is often misused, abused, diverted from legitimate medical uses for recreational use, and is considered addictive and deadly in the event of overdoses.

Carisoprodol/Soma Side Effects:

  • Paralysis (numbness or loss of feeling in extremities).
  • Weakness, lack of motor control, uncoordinated movements, inability to stand or balance oneself.
  • Loss of consciousness, blacking out or fainting.
  • Increased heartbeat or tachycardia.
  • Seizures and convulsions, uncontrollable tremors, muscle spasms.
  • Blurred vision, loss of vision
  • Agitation/Confusion

Carisoprodol/Soma’s Potential for Abuse and Addiction

The potential for substance abuse involving Carisoprodol/Soma has been widely documented, with its abuse potential being compared to hydrocodone, oxycodone, and codeine. A 2007 study on carisoprodol abuse in Norway [New Tab Link to: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2000626/] not only proved that substance abuse from carisoprodol was highly likely, but the study helped to get the drug banned in Norway in 2008.

In the United States, Carisoprodol/Soma is legal to use with a prescription, but has been a schedule IV drug in the U.S. since January of 2012.

How Is Carisoprodol/Soma Abused? 

Carisoprodol is a skeletal/muscle relaxant that can help with back pain and other chronic pain issues by providing sedative, relaxant, and anxiolytic effects. Many soma abusers take the drug by its self in high dosages to maximize the effects felt, though carisoprodol/soma is also used for its potentiating effects when mixed with opioid narcotics.

The Dangers of Mixing Carisoprodol/Soma with Opioids

As a “potentiater,” soma/carisoprodol – when mixed with opioid drugs like codeine or hydrocodone – increases the amount of codeine/hydrocodone that is converted in the body to morphine/hydromorphine. In short, mixing soma with opioids makes the opioid effects stronger and more potent. It also dramatically increases the risk of accidental overdose and death.

The Dangers of Mixing Carisoprodol/Soma with Alcohol 

Carisoprodol is also often mixed with alcohol by recreational users, and mixing soma and alcohol – like mixing it with opioids – increases the effects of alcohol on the body. When mixed, a small dose of carisoprodol and as little as 1 drink of alcohol can have extreme effects, causing blackouts, slurred speech, complete lack of balance, and loss of consciousness.

The biggest danger of mixing soma and alcohol is the risk of overdose and possible death. The overdose symptoms caused by carisoprodol is very similar to overdose symptoms of GABAergic chemicals like alcohol, opioids, or heroin. The risk of respiratory depression is high with soma overdose, which can lead to hypoxia and death quickly.

Can You Get Addicted to Carisoprodol/Soma?

Yes, physical chemical dependence and addiction is very possible with carisoprodol. The risk of addiction and dependence to soma is based in the way the drug works in the brain, acting on the GABA receptors of the brain – just like heroin, opioids, and alcohol. Once the individual has become dependent on the drug, withdrawals can occur if they discontinue use of the drug without tapering or quit cold turkey.

Carisoprodol/Soma Withdrawal Symptoms

Again, because soma is a GABAergic drug, the symptoms of soma withdrawal are quite similar to alcohol and opioid withdrawal symptoms and include:

  • Changes in Cognitive Function, Confusion
  • Increased Anxiety
  • Increased Depression or Sadness
  • Mood Swings
  • Tremors, Shaking or Seizures
  • Agitation and Aggression (Aggressive Thoughts and Behaviors)
  • Insomnia/Sleeplessness
  • Muscle Cramps or Pains
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Headache
  • Increased Heart Rate, Tachycardia, or Heart Palpitations
  • New or Worsening Mental Health Conditions (Phobias, OCD, Co-Occurring Disorders)

Because so many soma abusers mix the drug with other drugs and/or alcohol, the severity of the withdrawals and the timeline for withdrawal can vary greatly. Just like alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal, carisoprodol withdrawals can be deadly in certain cases. It is very important to seek soma detox or full medically assisted drug detox when attempting to quit carisoprodol.

Carisoprodol/Soma Addiction Treatment and Recovery

Carisoprodal and opioids are very closely related, in-that they share common action mechanisms and risks for dependence, overdose and withdrawal. Not only have we seen an increase in individuals abusing soma since the opioid epidemic has arisen, but we have also seen many chronic pain sufferers that have been switched to carisoprodol from opioid medications to treat their chronic pain.

The risk of abuse, overdose and addiction to carisoprodol is very real, and those that have found themselves dependent on soma will need addiction treatment for soma dependence to treat the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of addition.

Arizona Prescription Drug Rehab 

At Reflections Recovery Center, we have become renowned for our efforts in treating prescription drug addiction in men throughout the opioid epidemic. While the majority of the country has now woken up to just how dangerous prescription opioids can be, too many are underinformed of the dangers of other prescription drug that are used to treat chronic pain conditions like severe back pain.

If you have found yourself with an addiction to soma, or if your loved one has become addicted to carisoprodol, Reflections’ men’s prescription drug detox and treatment program can help you to recover.

Explore Our Men’s Rehab Programs

What Families Need to Know About Painkiller Withdrawal


Painkiller addiction (addiction to opioid-based prescription drugs) is a very real concern in the United States, and has been for over a decade – as the opioid epidemic grew and claimed more lives. Because abuse of prescription painkillers and painkiller addiction is deadly – yet can start off in a seemingly harmless way – it’s extremely important for parents and families to be educated on painkiller addiction, withdrawal and the need for painkiller addiction treatment

Painkiller Withdrawal is Dangerous and Can Be Deadly without Medical Detox

The number 1 most important thing that families need to know about painkiller withdrawal is that quitting suddenly can be dangerous, and the withdrawal symptoms from painkiller addiction can be deadly, if not treated with medically supervised opioid detox.
We cannot stress this enough, if you have a loved one that is addicted to painkillers and opioid-based prescription drugs. Do not let them quit cold turkey, get them into proper care with medically assisted painkiller detox.


Why Painkiller Addiction is So Dangerous

Prevent Prescription Opioid Abuse in Your Home

According to a study on “Association of Household Opioid Availability and Prescription Opioid Initiation Among Household Members,” dangerously addictive prescription painkillers prescribed to one person in the family can easily wind up in the hands of others in the house.

Not only are family members likely to take prescription opioids to get high if they are easily accessible in the home, but the study also shows that when a person in a family gets prescribed opioids, other members are more likely to get a similar prescription filled within 12 months.

When one family member takes prescription opioids that were meant for another member of the family, this is called drug diversion and opioid initiation. The risk is that the person taking the opioids may become addicted, and quickly seek out new sources of opioids.

“When opioids are prescribed to one family member, there is a 12% risk that other family members will consume those drugs, and be ‘initiated’ into opioid abuse and addiction through this exposure.”

75% of heroin users in treatment admit that their addiction started with prescription painkiller opioids, and many of those that developed a substance abuse issue with prescription painkillers admit that they started taking the pills from their parents’ or other family members’ prescriptions. This makes the prescriptions painkillers that are not locked up and are easily accessible to other family members the #1 root cause of heroin addiction.

When you look at the heroin epidemic today, having killed of 65,000 Americans in 2016, drug diversion from unsecured medications in your family’s home is dangerous and 100% preventable. Parents especially should not leave any prescription medications accessible to children or any other family members.

The Risks of Opioid Addiction with Chronic Pain, Injuries and Illnesses

Opioid medications and painkillers really do serve legitimate medical purposes, and are often the best medical option for treating illnesses associated with pain and chronic pain. If a loved one has been diagnosed with a chronic pain issue or illness that causes pain, they need medications to control the pain and preserve quality of life. However, families should remember that that problems with medications can arise, and families should be looking out for the best interest of their loved ones when it comes to opioid medications and any other prescription drugs.We are not saying that you need to take away your loved one’s painkillers at the first sign of a problem. We are simply saying that – for the benefit of your loved one’s health and safety – you should be aware of what medications your loved one is taking, the risks of those medications, the doctor’s recommended dosage, and the symptoms and signs that an addiction is forming.


Painkiller Addiction Among Athletes

Prescription Painkiller Addictions in the Young and Elderly

Those that are in their formative years (12-25), and those that are elderly (55+) are especially prone to opioid use disorders and misuse of painkillers. If your children are prescribed opioid painkillers for injuries or illnesses, you as a parent should immediately educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of addiction, withdrawal and overdose.

While it may feel like an invasion of your child’s privacy, or an overstepping of your boundaries to count and monitor how many pain pills your child is taking after being prescribed opioids, it is needed for their safety and wellbeing. So many that have lost their lives in the past decade due to the opioid epidemic were originally prescribed painkillers by a doctor, and their lives may have been saved – if only family members intervened into the problem sooner.



Withdrawal FAQs

FAQs about Painkiller/Prescription Opioid Withdrawal

There are a great many questions that individual addicted to opioids and their family members may have about painkiller addiction – specifically about detox, withdrawal and recovery. We have gathered some common questions below, and given answers that will be beneficial to the loved ones of those suffering from opioid use disorders and addiction.


How Long After Taking Prescription Opioids will Painkiller Withdrawals Begin?


This depends on how much of an opioid a person has been taking, how long they have been taking the drugs, and what form of opioid painkiller they have been using. Different brands and types of painkillers have different half-lives.

The half-life of a drug is how long it takes for 50% of the dosage taken to be metabolized and released from your body. For example, morphine’s half-life is 2-3 hours. Opioids can also build up in the system, and if a person is taking a large amount of opioids, or a combination of different types of opioids, the half-life of the total amount of drugs in a person’s system can be compounded.

Generally, opioid withdrawal timelines state that – in most cases – opioid withdrawal begins within 6-12 hours, peaks at about 72 hours, and a person should be through the painkiller withdrawal within 7 days.

My Loved One Is Addicted to Painkillers and was Arrested. Should I Let Them Stay in Jail to Get Off Drugs?


No. A person in jail is not going to receive proper medically assisted detox, or the medical care they need. Families need to realize just how serious a condition opioid addiction is, and that a person can die from painkiller withdrawal.

There have been numerous cases of families not posting bail for a loved one, or allowing them to stay in jail for an extend period of time, to give them time to “sober up.” Many of these cases have ended in death or serious injury to the addict due to painkiller and opioid withdrawals.

The proper way to deal with this situation is to make sure that they get medically assisted painkiller detox to get them stabilized and out of the danger zone of acute painkiller withdrawal. After they have been stabilized, it is fine to leave them to pay for their mistakes through incarceration, or any other penalty the courts and law enforcement decide upon. However, getting an addict stabilized through medical detox is essential to their life, safety, and wellbeing.

I’ve Heard Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) Detox is Just Using One Drug to Replace Another. Is This True?


No, medication assisted treatment for detox is not replacing one addiction for another. MAT detox is clinical treatment to safely stabilize a patient that is addicted to a drug or alcohol, and remove the last of the drugs and alcohol from their system, before they can receive substance abuse counseling and work on staying sober.
MAT detox for does use medications similar to painkillers, heroin and other opioids to stabilize the patient, but it utilizes these medications on a taper and titration schedule (slowly decreasing the amount of the medication down to zero). This is the safest way for a person to stop using drugs, and will prevent the deadly withdrawal symptoms seen if detox is attempted cold turkey.

Opioid replacement therapy, is likely what you have heard arguments against – calling it replacing one addiction for another. This is used in cases of extreme addiction, where relapse is likely to end in a deadly overdose.

Suboxone and methadone clinics are examples of facilities that offer opioid replacement therapy – where a patient goes daily, weekly or monthly to receive medications that keep withdrawal symptoms from appearing. This type of treatment is not for everybody, and we recommend MAT detox that has the goal of getting the patient completely off drugs, by the end of the schedule.





Painkiller Addiction Detox, Treatment, and Recovery

Reflections Recovery Center offers a full continuum of treatment in our painkiller addiction treatment programs for men. We assist families who need help and immediate assistance for a loved one addicted to painkillers, opioids, and/or heroin – offering intervention services, medically assisted opioid detox, evidence-based and proven clinical and therapeutic addiction counseling and treatment, as well as aftercare and family support throughout recovery.

We urge parents and family members who don’t know where to turn with their loved one’s addictions to contact us for an addiction assessment and recommendation for long term painkiller addiction recovery.

Family Support for Painkiller Addiction

Oxycontin Detox at Reflections Recovery Center in Arizona

Benzodiazepine Prescription Drugs that Require Detox


Benzodiazepine Prescription Medications Can Lead to Addiction

Doctors prescribe benzodiazepine medications to treat medical conditions such as panic disorders, muscle spasms, seizures, anxiety disorders and the symptoms of acute alcohol withdrawal. While benzodiazepine medications are not as chemically addictive as opioids, cocaine or methamphetamine, they still carry a significant potential for abuse.

Some people abuse benzodiazepine medications for a euphoric high or intense muscle relaxation, and several take these medications longer than advisable. Unfortunately, proper cessation of benzodiazepine medication can be tricky, and attempting to try quitting “cold turkey” can have deadly consequences.

Benzodiazepine Prescription Uses and Risks

People who take benzodiazepine medications for anxiety or other mental health disorders may build a tolerance to the drugs over time. They also develop a physical dependence at the same time, often compelling a cycle of abuse that leads to addiction.

Prolonged use of benzodiazepines will lead to ineffective treatment for the person’s prior symptoms and make it difficult to function at home, school or work. Some people will take these medications in hazardous situations, such as before driving or operating dangerous equipment.

When an individual reaches the point that a benzodiazepine prescription drug is interfering with daily life or has grown into an addiction, it’s crucial to know how to address this issue safely.

Stopping Benzodiazepine Prescriptions Safely

Most doctors will recommend a patient to take a benzodiazepine medication for a certain amount of time and then gradually decrease the dose to wean off the medication. People who improperly stop taking their benzodiazepine medications risk an intense resurgence of previous symptoms the prescription aimed to treat.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

Benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms typically include nausea, disorientation, anxiety, hallucinations, hypersensitivity, tremors, and heightened autonomic activities like heart rate and breathing. The most serious possible withdrawal symptom is a potentially fatal grand mal seizure.

When a person enters detox for benzos, medical professionals will administer medications to manage these symptoms and flush the remaining benzos from the patient’s system. This is a long process that involves slowly tapering off the dosage of benzodiazepines that can last weeks or even months, depending on the level of addiction.

Most detox personnel recommend tapering the patient’s previously abused benzodiazepine medication and then switching him or her to a longer-acting benzodiazepine. Then, the patient will slowly taper off of that medication until the physical benzo dependency has passed. During this time, treatment and counseling between doses can help the patient understand the root cause of his or her addiction.

Types of Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepine medications are available in a variety of brands, each of which has different properties. Some are fast acting but only last for a short time, while others are slower acting but last much longer.

Different benzodiazepine medications require different detox methods, so it’s vital to understand the risks of each type of benzodiazepine medication.

Xanax Addiction

Alprazolam, commonly known as Xanax, is an effective treatment for a variety of panic and anxiety disorders. This fast-acting medication reduces excitability and increases inhibitory brain activity.

Xanax addiction can easily lead to:

  • Difficulty functioning in work, school or social settings
  • Profound symptoms of anxiety and panic
  • Disorientation
  • Many other negative symptoms

Chlordiazepoxide: Librium Addiction

Chlordiazepoxide, also known as Librium, is a sedative used to treat anxiety disorders and the withdrawal symptoms of addiction to some other substances, such as alcohol. Librium produces extreme adverse effects when combined with some other substances such as alcohol and opioid-based prescription painkillers.

When abused, Librium can cause “paradoxical disinhibition,” a condition entailing symptoms that one wouldn’t typically expect to see from a person under the influence of a sedative, such as:

  • Increased aggression
  • Irritability
  • Impulsivity

Clonazepam: Klonopin Addiction

Clonazepam, known as Klonopin, is the third-most prescribed benzodiazepine medication in the United States. This drug treats various anxiety disorders such as:

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Extreme phobias

Klonopin abuse can lead to difficulty focusing, memory problems, cravings for more Klonopin, lethargy and delirium. It is possible to overdose on Klonopin, which can lead to respiratory depression, coma or death.

Clorazepate: Tranxene Addiction

Clorazepate, or Tranxene, is a fast-acting benzodiazepine medication that treats several anxiety disorders. Abuse of this drug can lead to dependence, and like other benzodiazepine medications, it requires a careful discontinuation plan for safe cessation.

Diazepam: Valium Addiction

Diazepam, commonly called Valium, is a central nervous system depressant used to treat anxiety and aid relaxation. Valium can ease muscle spasms, prevent seizures and manage the symptoms of various anxiety disorders. Abuse of Valium can lead to tolerance and addiction.

Over time, Valium withdrawal can affect a person’s mental health and cause symptoms such as:

  • Heightened aggression
  • Irritability
  • Hallucinations
  • Feelings of intense anxiety

A Valium overdose can lead to coma or death.

Estazolam: Prosom Addiction

Estazolam, or Prosom, is a short-term prescription to aid sleep. Unfortunately, this drug can lead to dependency when abused, mixed with other substances or taken longer than prescribed.

Flurazepam: Dalmane Addiction

Flurazepam, known as Dalmane, is very similar to Valium and often prescribed as a sleep aid. Similar to Valium, abuse of this drug can easily lead to dependency and significant withdrawal symptoms.

Lorazepam: Ativan Addiction

Doctors generally only prescribe lorazepam, also known as Ativan, for short-term treatment for anxiety disorders. Even if a patient takes this drug as prescribed, it can still lead to tolerance and dependency, which can entail:

  • Profound memory loss
  • Impaired muscle coordination
  • Sensory problems

Midazolam: Versed Addiction

Doctors prescribe midazolam most often as an anesthetic sedative, but it can also help relieve the symptoms of anxiety disorders. Like any other benzodiazepine medication, users should gradually taper off this medication to avoid withdrawal.

Oxazepam: Serax Addiction

Oxazepam, also known as Serax, is a slow-acting benzodiazepine medication that helps users fall asleep and stay asleep. However, slow-release medication can lead to a tolerance, which can then lead to dependency without a cessation plan.

Temazepam: Restoril Addiction

Restoril, or the generic version temazepam, is a sleep aid intended for short-term use. Temazepam can cause short-term memory loss and other withdrawal symptoms with extended or inappropriate use.

Triazolam: Halcion Addiction

Similar to Restoril, Halcion is a sleep aid intended for short-term use. This drug carries a high potential for abuse, and abusing Halcion can lead to significant withdrawal symptoms.

Quazepam: Doral Addiction

Another benzodiazepine sleep aid is quazepam, also known as Doral. This medication depresses the central nervous system and is easily habit forming. Doctors generally only recommend Doral for occasional use.

Undergoing Safe Detox for Benzos

The thought of entering benzodiazepine detox can be frightening, but it’s important to understand how crucial medical assistance is during recovery. Benzodiazepine withdrawal can lead to profound physical and psychological symptoms, so attempting to quit a benzodiazepine medication cold turkey can be extremely dangerous, even fatal.

See Our Detox Services

What real clients have to say about Reflections Recovery Center in Arizona
Reflections provided me with the tools that got me where i am today with 14 months sober.
— Ricky A, Long Beach CA
Reflections gave me a life and an opportunity to become part of society. They challenged me and shaped me into the man I want to be.
— Dyer K, Gilbert AZ
I learned how to stay sober, found my best friends and created a new life at Reflections
— David S, Phoenix AZ

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