Tag Archives: Prescription Drug Addiction

Cymbalta and Alcohol

Duloxetine, sold under the brand name Irenka or Cymbalta, is a prescription medication that usually comes as a capsule. Doctors usually prescribe Cymbalta for anxiety or depression, but they may also recommend it to help relieve pain.

Cymbalta can lead to complications with the liver, so consuming alcohol with the medication can cause liver damage or worsen a pre-existing liver disease.

Doctors usually prescribe Cymbalta to treat either anxiety or depression, but it can also be used to help relieve pain.

Cymbalta – The Ins and Outs

According to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), Cymbalta can treat the following:

  • Major Depressive Disorder in Adults
  • Generalized anxiety disorder in persons 7 years or older
  • Diabetic nerve pain in adults
  • General muscle pain in persons 13 years or older
  • Chronic pain in the bones, ligaments, tendons, or muscles in adults

The FDA classifies Cymbalta as an antidepressant, but it can also be used to treat several types of pain. Both diabetic patients and those simply suffering from chronic pain may experience relief with proper use of Cymbalta.

Cymbalta mainly reduces stress and also reduces severity of emotions.

Duloxetine works by reducing the brain’s ability to absorb both serotonin and norepinephrine. Serotonin is one of the body’s emotional hormones. By preventing its absorption, Cymbalta reduces the severity of emotions a patient will feel.

Norepinephrine, on the other hand, is the body’s ‘stress’ hormone, and is produced when the brain determines that the body is under tension. Cymbalta prevents norepinephrine from being absorbed in the brain, and improves mood as a result. In essence, this drug mainly reduces both stress and severity of emotions. 

However, the FDA recognized that the following side effects were common in patients with major depressive disorder who took antidepressants: 

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability/hostility or aggressiveness
  • Impulsivity
  • Restlessness
  • Bipolarity

The FDA also noted some side effects exclusive to Cymbalta:

  • Liver failure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Serotonin syndrome
  • Increased risk of bleeding
  • Skin reactions
  • Increased blood pressure

Indeed, Cymbalta can cause a number of unpleasant side effects, but most of the serious ones are rare. Moreover, they are more likely to cause complications in patients who have a pre-existing conditions. Fortunately, the FDA also determined that people who take Cymbalta don’t develop a dependence on the drug. Since it is non-addictive, it might be a better option than some other antidepressants.

 Cymbalta can cause a number of unpleasant side effects, but most of the serious ones are rare

The Impact of Alcohol

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH) clearly outlines how excessive and/or chronic alcohol consumption can negatively affect the body:

  • In the brain: Alcohol interferes with the brain’s regular pathways, and interrupts clear thinking, decision making, coordinated movement, and mood.
  • The heart: Too much alcohol can lead to a number of heart-related complications, including misshapen heart muscles, irregular heart beat, stroke, and high blood pressure.
  • In the liver: The liver metabolizes alcohol, and takes a toll from it in the form of a fatty liver, inflammation, scar tissue, and chronic liver damage.
  • In the pancreas: Alcohol prompts the pancreas to produce toxic substances that damage both the pancreas and surrounding organs.

Alcohol has also been studied to put the user at a higher risk of cancer. Too much alcohol causes a heap of unpleasant symptoms, but the combination of alcohol and Cymbalta can yield particularly nasty side effects. 

Cymbalta and Alcohol – A Dangerous Combo

It may not be inherently obvious that these two substances mix poorly, but if one were to take a look at both lists of side effects, the overlap puts the liver at especially high risk.

The FDA noted that Cymbalta should not be prescribed to individuals with pre-existing liver disease or chronic liver damage. This decision was due to the fact that Cymbalta sometimes causes liver damage, and patients who previously had liver complications could suffer severe liver damage.

On the other hand, NIH’s breakdown of alcohol’s effects on the liver include some of the exact side effects. Alcohol can wreak havoc on the liver, resulting in the formation of damaging scar tissue. Thus, excessive alcohol use can create the exact conditions that makes using Cymbalta excessively dangerous.

Alcohol can wreak havoc on the liver, resulting in scar tissue forming and chronic liver damage

Cymbalta can, however, also be applied to help patients who are struggling to overcome an alcohol addiction.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) conducted a study in which doctors prescribed Cymbalta to help mitigate the anxiety-like effects felt by individuals struggling with alcohol cravings. The participants originally responded well to Cymbalta, showing reduced cravings for alcohol. Unfortunately, many patients of the study suffered severe liver damage as a result of the drug.

Thus, while the drug can help patients overcome alcohol cravings, Cymbalta’s effect on people who had previously suffered from alcohol addiction is primarily negative, and other ways of overcoming cravings are more promising and less damaging to the liver.

Closing Thoughts

Cymbalta, an antidepressant, treats a wide variety of symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and chronic pain. Some of the side effects from it make it dangerous in individuals who have a liver disease, or who consume a large amount of alcohol.

The anxiety-treating aspect of Cymbalta can help decrease alcohol cravings in patients overcoming addiction, but the liver damage that commonly results make it a poor choice for treating the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.

To read more about addiction, visit our blog. If you think you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact us today, and we can help you on your journey. Overcoming addiction is difficult, and different for each person, but it doesn’t need to be taken on alone.

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:

  • 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 to 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. Therefore, 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.

Hydrocodone and Alcohol


Combining any drug with alcohol can lead to an overdose and should be avoided. Some combinations, such as hydrocodone and alcohol, are especially dangerous. Generally speaking, drinking alcohol should always be avoided after taking any kind of medication. However, in order to understand why, it is important to know the risks of mixing drugs. 

What is Hydrocodone?

Hydrocodone is an opioid agonist which is used to treat moderate-to-severe pain. It is a moderately potent opioid containing acetaminophen. It works by binding to and activating the mu-opioid receptors in the central nervous system, which in return causes analgesia (inability to feel pain), euphoria, cough suppression, respiratory depression and physical dependence. Hydrocodone’s other side effects include:

  • Stomach pain
  • Dry mouth
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Muscle tightness
  • Painful urination
  • Ringing ears
  • Insomnia
  • Swelling of extremities

Its ability to cause a sense of euphoria is common amongst all opioids. This euphoria is one of the primary reasons hydrocodone and opioids in general are considered to be highly addictive substances. However, hydrocodone is not commonly considered a powerful opioid, and some people mistakenly see it as a “safe” drug. 

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) categorizes drugs based on their potential for abuse and medical utility. For example, a Schedule I drug has no medical uses and has a very high potential for abuse. These include heroin, LSD, ecstacy and peyote. Hydrocodone is classified as a Schedule II drug, as it has some identified medical purposes but a high potential for abuse, addiction, and other health risks.

Hydrocodone is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Depressants actively slow down critical nerve functions, such as breathing and cognitive ability. Alcohol is also a CNS depressant and has similar effects. Mixing the two increases the risk of experiencing an overdose.

Hydrocodone and Alcohol

What Happens During an Overdose?

An overdose is simply the body’s negative response to more of a drug or chemical than it can handle. It can occur when taking too much of a drug or when combining two or more drugs which have similar effects. CNS depressants cause critical nerve function to slow down – specifically, the risk lies mostly with the respiratory system (since opioids slow down breathing). If you consume too much of a depressant, an overdose can occur. Not all overdoses are fatal; however, they can cause long-term organ damage. Without a consistent oxygen supply, the brain can experience permanent damage. If breathing is severely or completely impaired for any length of time, a fatal overdose is very likely. 

Other signs of an overdose include:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Confusion
  • Paranoia
  • Chest pain
  • Gurgling sounds
  • Blue lips and fingers
  • High body temperature
  • Unresponsiveness 
  • Convulsions
  • Tremors
  • Unconsciousness
  • Vomiting

If you think someone has overdosed, call emergency services immediately. The ability to recognize an overdose in its early stages could be the difference between a fatal and non-fatal overdose.

Hydrocodone and Alcohol

What Happens When You Mix Hydrocodone and Alcohol?

Given that both drugs are CNS depressants, combining them makes overdose is more likely. The the body will suffer the combined effects of the opioid and alcohol, which may be too much for it to handle. Generally speaking, when combining two or more drugs, the drugs work to enhance each other’s negative side effects (without increasing any positive ones). This applies to hydrocodone and alcohol. However, even without the overdose risk, the combined influence of the two drugs can cause you to engage in dangerous behavior (such as driving) while under the influence, and increase the risk of accidents. 

Hydrocodone and Alcohol

How long does Hydrocodone stay in your system?

Hydrocodone has a half-life of 3-5 hours. This means it will take 3-5 hours for the ingested dose to effectively reduce to half of its original dose. If you take 10mg of hydrocodone, it will take 3-5 hours for that to reduce down to 5mg in your body. Even after the effects have worn off, drug tests can reveal the presence of hydrocodone in the body for days or weeks. Hydrocodone leaves the body faster than other opioids, but can still be detected in saliva 12-36 hours after last ingestion, in urine 2-4 days, and in hair for up to 90 days.

How quickly the body metabolizes hydrocodone differs from person to person. Various factors such as body fat percentage, age, history with the drug, and organ function all play a role in how effectively your body is able to process drugs and chemicals.

Hydrocodone and Alcohol: Getting help

Addiction is considered a chronic illness ,which means it has the same relapse rates as other chronic diseases. This can make lifelong sobriety very difficult. However, it does not make it impossible. The journey is different for everyone, and most people need professional assistance. A professional can help diagnose and treat the underlying causes behind the addiction, rather than just attempting to manage the symptoms. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please contact us today so that we can help begin your journey to sobriety.

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. 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/

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