Dangers of Long Term Oxycodone Abuse

What is Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is a prescription opiate analgesic or “painkiller” that works by changing the way that the brain responds to pain. It is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, and commonly supplied under the brand names OxyContin and Percocet. Oxycodone has a high potential for abuse. When prescribed the medication users begin to get used to the euphoric feeling that they receive.

Even taking this medication as prescribed can be a big risk for addiction. The more it is used a tolerance is built up and they will eventually need more to get the effect that is needed to help with pain. Once they medication is no longer supplied and the user stops taking it they may experience withdrawal symptoms. At this point the user turns into an abuser and tries to get the medication anyway possible. Oxycodone can produce intensely positive feelings and rewarding sensations in the user. As such, it has a high potential for abuse. When used recreationally, there is a high risk for overdose, as recreational methods of ingesting it often accelerate the absorption of large, dangerous amounts of the drug.

Oxycodone can come in liquid or pill form (with immediate and controlled-release variations), and is often prescribed as a combination product with other drugs such as acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen, with each combination having a different brand name. Brand names include OxyContin, Roxicodone, Percocet, and Percodan. Street names for oxycodone include “oxy,” “kickers,” “blue,” and “hillbilly heroin,” among others.

Short-Term Effects of Oxycodone

When taken as prescribed, oxycodone can bring about the following desirable feelings:

  • Euphoria
  • Extreme relaxation
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Pain relief
  • Sedation

Side Effects

Oxycodone is a powerful opioid painkiller. Its positive, pain-reducing effects can also come with several unwanted side effects:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Stomach pain
  • Drowsiness
  • Flushing
  • Sweating
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Mood changes

These side effects can make the user uncomfortable, and tend to get worse as the dose increases. Other side effects can be much more serious and may require immediate medical help:

  • Irregular heart rate and/or rhythm
  • Chest pain
  • Hives, itching, or rash
  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Hoarseness
  • Difficulty breathing or swallowing
  • Seizures
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Postural hypotension
  • Lightheadedness

Some of the most dangerous side effects of oxycodone use are associated with the breathing problems that it may create. A markedly slowed respiratory rate can quickly turn life-threatening, especially in overdose situations.

Long Term Effects of Oxycodone

When using Oxycodone for a long period of time it can affect everyone differently. For some Oxycodone, can be very affective for help with severe chronic pain. Even using it as needed it is not safe to depend on it and use it more often than directed by the Dr. Oxycodone is classified as a Schedule II drug, meaning that it has been determined to have highly addictive properties and a high potential for dependence.

Oxycodone dependence can be both psychological and physical:

  • Psychological dependence often stems from the feeling of euphoria that users experience at first. Users want to continue feeling as euphoric and relaxed as their early use, sometimes even seeking higher doses in hopes of amplifying the effects.
  • Physical dependence on oxycodone involves adaptation to a persistently heightened presence of drug in one’s system. After some duration, certain physiologic processes are impeded when the drug isn’t available. Additionally, tolerance can quickly develop a phenomenon that means you will eventually need more and more of the drug in order to achieve the same effects.

Oxycodone use has been found to be associated with kidney and liver failure, as well as a reduction in the brain’s ability to adapt to new input, which may account for the shift from controlled to compulsive use. Combination products present even further risk. Chronic or extended use of any medication combining oxycodone and acetaminophen may result in severe liver damage. This risk is profoundly increased when an oxycodone/acetaminophen combination drug is abused simultaneously with alcohol.

It is very common when prescribed Oxycodone or any opiate that is a narcotic to become dependent on it. An addiction can be developed with no thoughts about it ever happening. If you or someone you love has developed an addiction and are unsure what to do, do not hesitate to call for help today, there are people ready to help with any questions and get you pointed in the right direction.

Hidden Signs of Cocaine Abuse

When a person is abusing drugs, they will try to hide it from anyone close to them. Drug addiction something that everyone enjoys. It is something that may have started off as fun and games until an addiction is developed. An addict will try to hide their addiction because they are ashamed. They may want help but are afraid to reach out. It is important to know the hidden signs of drug abuse. When the signs are noticeable it is ok to get that person help.

Understanding Cocaine Abuse

Cocaine can make you feel happy and excited. But then your mood can change. They can become angry, nervous, and afraid that someone’s out to get them. They might do things that make no sense.  People who abuse cocaine get a fast rush when it is used. Some people who have an addiction to cocaine begin to rely on it for the energy they thing their body is getting. Cocaine has an effect that makes abusers more alert and moving faster. The heart begins pumping faster and the mind begins races. When the high wears off they can crash for days and become depressed.

When they become depressed without it and have no energy they thought they had before they may begin to panic and figure out anyway to get more.

First Signs of Abuse

When an abuser has run out of cocaine and no longer is high they will begin panicking. You may see them trying to sell anything they can. Money or items may come up missing or they may be gone for days at a time.  If these are things you are noticing, it is ok at this point to ask questions. They may also become very moody, easily agitated, and less productivity. All the signs of when an abuser does not have cocaine are the complete opposite from when they do. When the signs and symptoms go back and forth is the time for suspicion of abuse.

Typical signs and symptoms of current cocaine use

Mood Swings

When a person is abusing cocaine, they can have various mood swings. When they first use it they will become excited and happy. But then their mood can change when the feeling begins to wear off. They can become paranoid, angry, or anxious. They may also do things that don’t make sense.

Runny Nose

People who snort cocaine can have frequent nose bleeds. In addition to nose bleeds they may have a constant runny nose as if they have a cold and they are sniffling a lot.

Dilated Pupils

A person who is under the influence of drugs will have dilated pupils and/or more alert looking eyes that are sensitive to light.

Other Noticeable Signs:
  • Increased agitation.
  • Effusive enthusiasm.
  • Increased movement (i.e. hyperactivity).
  • Increased common cold-like symptoms and/or nosebleeds.
  • Signs of involuntary movements (i.e. muscle tics).
  • Changes in concentration and focus.

Dangerous Side Effects of Cocaine Abuse

One of the most serious effects of cocaine abuse is heart muscle damage. Cocaine may cause damage by inducing cell death in the muscles of the heart (cardiomyopathy). Intravenous cocaine use can lead to inflammation of the inner tissues of the organ (endocarditis).

These cellular effects of cocaine cumulate into serious conditions such as heart attacks and cardiac arrhythmias, which may be fatal. Other symptoms of cocaine-induced cardiotoxicity include:

  • Inflammation of heart muscle.
  • Rupture of the aorta, the major artery leading from the heart.
  • Severe declines in health and life quality due to reductions in cardiac function or severe blood loss.
  • Cocaine-induced heart failure or damage may also increase the risk of stroke, or brain damage resulting from interruptions in the blood supply available to the brain.

The abuse of this drug is also associated with kidney damage. The prolonged use of cocaine is thought to be related to the inflammation of important microstructures within this organ.

If you believe someone you love may be abusing cocaine or any other substance do not hesitate to call for help today. It is never too late to call. Getting them help today could potentially save their life.

LSD: How Dangerous Is It?

What is LSD?

LSD is one of the most potent, mood-changing chemicals. It is manufactured from lysergic acid, which is found in the ergot fungus that grows on rye and other grains. It is produced in crystal form in illegal laboratories, mainly in the United States. These crystals are converted to a liquid for distribution. It is odorless, colorless, and has a slightly bitter taste.

Known as “Acid” on the streets, LSD can be taken in small tablets, capsules, or gelatin squares. Either way that LSD is abused it gives the abusers the same disconnected with reality effect.  The effects given from taking LSD is considered a “trip”. Users like to call the high a “trip” that can last up to 12 hours. When something goes wrong with taking LSD it is considered a bad trip.

What is a Hallucinogen?

Hallucinogens are drugs that cause hallucinations. LSD is a hallucinogen. Hallucinogens are drugs that alter the user’s thinking processes and perception in a manner that leads to significant distortions of reality. LSD is a synthetic drug that in small amounts can produce very powerful visual hallucinations and mood alterations.

LSD use does not appear to result in physical dependence, although tolerance can develop.

Long-term LSD use, in rare cases, can lead to Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder, or chronic flashbacks of experiences while on LSD. These flashbacks can cause significant impairment or distress in the user’s life and can last for years.

5 Dangerous Effects of LSD

  1. The physical LSD drug effects include:higher body temperature and sweating, dilated pupils, nausea or loss of appetite, increased heart rate, blood sugar, and blood pressure, sleeplessness, tremors, and dry mouth. In most cases these may not be considered a relevant danger, but for individuals with prior history of medical concerns, they may be at risk.
  2. Since LSD is prohibited from any legal distribution, monitoring of the chemical manufacturing process is unregulated.Users can not be sure of the actual contents of the drug and have no idea what type of effect it may present. Users are unable to calculate the dosages and therefore, the effects are unpredictable. Users can swing from one mood to the next or feel several emotions at once.
  3. High doses of LSD can induce “bad trips”where the user experiences intense anxiety or panic, confusion, or combative behaviors. Distorted perception of time and depth with lack of control may induce changes to the shape of objects, movements, color, sound, touch, and own body images. These experiences may become severe, terrifying thoughts and feelings, fear of losing control, fear of insanity and death. If large enough doses are taken, the drug produces delusions and visual hallucinations that could last for 10 to 12 hours.
  4. Under the influence of LSD, the user loses their ability to make sensible judgments and see common dangers.They are more likely to participate in risky behaviors that make them susceptible to personal injury, which can, possibly, be fatal.
  5. After an LSD trip, the user may suffer acute anxiety or depression, severe fatigue, or they and may experience frightening flashbacksknown as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD). In some cases, especially after long term use, the effects of LSD can last for days or months after taking the last dose.

If you believe someone you love may be abusing LSD, it is important to know the signs to look for.  A person abusing LSD may experience the following physical and psychological changes:

  • Anxiety
  • Delusions
  • Dilated pupils
  • Disorientation
  • Fear and paranoia
  • Increase in saliva and drooling
  • Profuse sweating
  • Rise in pulse rate
  • Rise in temperature
  • Rise in blood pressure
  • Sleeplessness
  • Visual disturbances and hallucinations

There may also be many behavioral changes with regular use of LSD such as:

  • Change of friends
  • Lack of interest in usual activities
  • Aggressive Behaviors
  • Legal Troubles
  • Problems at work or school
  • Problems within personal relationships
  • Financial difficulties

Taking LSD can be very dangerous and can have an unexpected outcome. Some abusers may enjoy the high while other have a miserable trip that is hard for them to escape once LSD is taken. If you or someone you love is abusing LSD do not hesitate to get them help. LSD is very dangerous and if someone is in need of help it is important for them to seek help right away.

 

Why Detox Can Start the Alcohol Recovery Process

The more a person drinks, the more tolerant to alcohol the body becomes and the more dependent the brain may be on its interference. When alcohol’s effects wear off, someone who is dependent on it may suffer from withdrawal symptoms that can range from mild to life-threatening.

The first step in getting into recovery is to go through the detox process. Depending on how bad a person is abusing alcohol, can determine how their detox will go. A lot of people fear this first step. They are afraid of going through withdrawal, that can be extremely hard and even deadly.

Starting the Detox Process

Detox is important to get all the alcohol or possible substances out of a person’s body. The process of detoxification from alcohol can be far more intense than detoxification from substances. The process can begin as soon as up to two hours after a person’s last drink. Many of the withdrawal symptoms can last for several days, but it’s common for some symptoms to linger for as long as two weeks.

Stages and Symptoms of Withdrawal

Withdrawal can be broken down into three stages of severity:

  • Stage 1 (mild)anxiety, insomnia, nausea, abdominal pain and/or vomiting, loss of appetite, fatigue, tremors, depression, foggy thinking, mood swings, and heart palpitations
  • Stage 2 (moderate): increased blood pressure, body temperature and respiration, irregular heart rate, mental confusion, sweating, irritability, and heightened mood disturbances
  • Stage 3 (severe/delirium tremens): hallucinations, fever, seizures, severe confusion, and agitation

Alcohol withdrawal is highly individual. It is influenced by several factors. Length of time drinking, the amount consumed each time, medical history, presence of co-occurring mental health disorder, family history of addiction, childhood trauma, and stress levels. The use of other drugs in conjunction with alcohol can also influence withdrawal and increase the potential dangers and side effects. The more dependent on alcohol a person is, the more likely the person is to experience more severe withdrawal symptoms. Each person may not go through every stage of withdrawal, therefore.

It is not safe to go through the detox process at home. Due to the withdrawal symptoms being so sever medical detox in a facility will not only help keep you comfortable and safe, but can save your life.

Why Detox Can Start the Alcohol Recovery Process

To get into recovery for any addiction whether it be alcoholism or substance abuse detox is a very important step because the body needs to become healthy again. Detoxing the body from all the things that were harmful to it so it can begin to become healthy again. The brain will begin to become healthy as well and at this point a person can get a clear mind to focus on their recovery.

Recovery isn’t just about quitting the abuse of alcohol to the body and brain. Going into recovery you will tackle many things to help you live a long life of recovery. Once detox is completed one can already feel better and think straight on what they need to, to be able to continue to live in recovery.

Addiction can cause a person to lose many things in their lives. Family, Friends, and responsibilities are all things that when a person suffers from addiction they begin to care less about and can start to lose. Getting through detox and beginning the journey of recovery, they will begin to see those things again that mattered the most and with a clear mind can begin repairing the pieces that were broken when their addiction took over their life.

If you or someone you love may be suffering from addiction, do not hesitate to call for help today. Get the recovery process going to build a new successful life!

Cocaine Use Warning Signs

Wondering whether someone you love is abusing drugs or alcohol can be a very unsure feeling. It is something that you don’t want to be wrong about and something you don’t want to overlook. Warning signs for drug abuse tend to sometimes be the same for different substances. You may be seeing very many changes in someone and are curious if they are possibly using drugs. Being aware of the signs and symptoms of a loved one abusing drugs can be very important. Drug abuse is something that one should get a hold of right away and get help.

First Noticeable Signs

If someone you love is abusing cocaine and they don’t want you to know, they may disappear and come back in a whole new mood.  They may come back more excited, more talkative, and more active physically. Cocaine speeds up your whole body. You talk, move, and think fast. They may not be eating much or sleeping much. When a person is abusing cocaine, they feel a rush of energy and typically will not sleep very much and be up for many hours at a time.

These could be things you are already noticing and now have the question are they using cocaine. If a cocaine using is snorting the white powdery substance they may leave traces of the powder around their nose. If they are not snorting it cocaine can also be dissolved into liquid and shot up using a needle. At that point you may notice track marks on the user’s arms or random places on the body.

Mood Swings

When a person is abusing cocaine, they can have various mood swings. When they first use it they will become excited and happy. But then their mood can change when the feeling begins to wear off. They can become paranoid, angry, or anxious. They may also do things that don’t make sense.

Runny Nose

People who snort cocaine can have frequent nose bleeds. In addition to nose bleeds they may have a constant runny nose as if they have a cold and they are sniffling a lot.

Dilated Pupils

A person who is under the influence of drugs will have dilated pupils and/or more alert looking eyes that are sensitive to light.

These are only a few of the signs that may be noticed from someone that is abusing cocaine. Other common signs can include:

Mood symptoms:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Feelings of superiority
  • Euphoria
  • Panic
  • Irritation
  • Fearfulness

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Extremely talkative
  • Increased energy
  • Stealing or borrowing money
  • Erratic, bizarre behaviors
  • Violence
  • Abandonment of activities once enjoyed
  • Reckless and risky behaviors

Physical symptoms:

  • Decreased need for sleep
  • Increased need for sleep after usage
  • Headaches
  • Muscle twitches
  • Malnutrition
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
  • Constriction of blood vessels
  • Chronically runny nose
  • Nosebleeds
  • Nasal perforation
  • Hoarseness
  • Increase in body temperature
  • Faster heart rate
  • Rise in blood pressure
  • Decreased appetite
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Cravings

Psychological symptoms:

  • Intense paranoia
  • Psychosis
  • Violent mood swings
  • Hallucination
  • Break from reality
  • Unable to exert good judgment
  • Rationalization of drug use
  • Lack of motivation

Realizing these are the signs and symptoms of cocaine use that your loved one is presenting it is important to get them help and get their recovery process going. There are many long term and short term affects that can harm someone abusing cocaine. Getting someone to begin the process of recovery can save their life. Do not hesitate to call today for more information or help for your loved one.

Heroin Recovery Stories

Having an addiction to any substance can take over someone’s life.  Addiction isn’t a choice someone makes. Sometimes a person can be trying something for the first time and can create an addiction after only the first time abusing the substance. Regardless of how someone became addicted to a substance or what substance they are addicted to, being able to reach recovery through the storm of addiction can be one of the most rewarding things a person could do.

It is common for a person to go from one substance to another.  A lot of times people become addicted to prescription pills that they once needed and were prescribed. They begin to enjoy the feeling they are receiving from the prescription and eventually want more of it, or the pills aren’t enough of a high so they then turn to other substances like heroin to continue the feeling they began to feel from the prescription pills. Heroin Recovery along with recovery from other substances at the same time can be very accomplishing.

Christina’s Story

This is what began to happen to Christina, who suffered from a back injury and was prescribed pain medication to help with the back pain. Becoming addicted to the pain medication wasn’t the plan or expectation for Christina. When first prescribed she simply took them as ordered by the Dr. and even taking them as she was supposed to she began to enjoy the feeling they pills gave her. She felt they “Gave her more energy”. When really, they didn’t. It was just all a part of the euphoric feeling she was receiving from the medicine.

Where the Addiction Began

Enjoying the feeling she was receiving from the medicine she began to take it increasingly. When she ran out and no longer had the pills to receive the feeling she was craving, she turned to heroin. Like many people who suffer from addiction, she hurt many people who were close to her and did many things she would never imagine possible when under the influence. When people suffer from addiction they tend to hurt and do wrong to the people closest to them that love them the most. The hardest part about it is they know they are hurting the ones they love, they know they are doing the wrong things, and they know addiction is controlling their life. It takes a very strong willed person to be able to find themselves help and to get the help and work on changing their lives for the better! Luckily that is exactly what Christina was able to do.

Christina was able to get herself into Choices Recovery Center and finally get the help she needed. Choices was able to help make Christina feel like she mattered, to feel like she had a purpose and to know she didn’t have to live everyday of her life alone!

 

 

 

When suffering from addiction, getting yourself or your loved one into a treatment center can save your life or theirs! It can save you from a possible overdose that could have occurred with only one more use. Attending a treatment center can be the most effective way to get your life into recovery and on the right path again.

Getting Lost in Addiction

When caught up in an addiction it is easy to forget about the most important things in your life. Responsibilities, family, and friends are things that can remain there for a person during their addiction. Sometimes those are the things that are lost track of. This is what happened for Corey. When finally coming into recovery from his addiction it started to affect him by how much he was affecting others in his life. It was a sad and hard thing to deal with. Corey is thankful for his recovery that he was able to notice the things he was taking for granted while battling his addiction.

Addiction Controlling Lives

When under the influence of drugs or alcohol people begin to ignore the things that matter the most to them. They do betraying things to the people they love the most. Corey was lucky to be able to have the chance to get things back right with his son and on the right track and to be able to still have his family by his side. A lot of people give up on their loved ones because they are suffering from an addiction. When someone is suffering from addiction and gets so wrapped up in it, that’s all the people on the outside see is the addiction. Just like it’s hard for people to lose the people closest to them while wrapped up in addiction, it’s also hard for people to give up on someone they love because of an addiction.

Corey states that addiction isn’t fun. To some it may be an enjoyable high or time while using, but when a hard addiction occurs it becomes scary. A person can want more than anything to stop abusing drugs or alcohol but are simply terrified to do so. It’s the first step of detox and withdrawal than people are afraid to take. Going to a treatment center there is support so that first step isn’t one taken alone and is safe.

When finally getting into recovery Corey wanted to help others. He recognized the help he received from Choices Recovery and wanted to be able to help others, “Because in the end that’s what it’s about. People need help!”

 

Never hesitate to reach out for help for taking the first step in recovery for you or a loved one and call today!

What is Crystal Meth and How Dangerous Is It?

This is Rebecca’s true story of Crystal Meth addiction. How a girl, a normal girl can become addicted to drugs. There was no abuse in the home. She did not suffer any trauma. A story about one girl’s (like many) experimental behavior turned into a nightmare.

I started by asking, what is meth and how dangerous is it? This was her response.

Rebecca’s Story

This is the question I asked myself when I first used. I was 16.

It all started when I got caught smoking weed in the bathroom at school. It was no big deal… so I thought. I had been doing it for a few months. The school called, the principal, Mrs. Nether. I will never forget her name. She told my parents “She has been hanging around the wrong crowd, not her old friends. I noticed she had been acting a little different but I didn’t think it was this.

Once home my parents were very upset, to say the least. My dad was yelling while my mother cried. He said “You’re going to rehab! PERIOD!” my mom nodded in agreement. I refused and ran to my room slamming the door behind me. I contemplated running away, but where would I go? So, reluctantly… very reluctantly I went to rehab. I remember the day I left. I was steaming! I would not speak to my parents, I wouldn’t even look at them. When they dropped me off my father tried to hug me, I just stood there. My mother drapped her arms on me and wept. Again, I just stood there, I was even a little annoyed with her. If you feel that bad, why am I here?

I didn’t take the process serious at all. There were a few good points here and there but I couldn’t really relate. But then there was this guy…Kevin. I thought he was everything. He was so hot! He was cool! I was permitted to leave after 30 days. I gave Kevin my number and made him promise to call the second he got out.

Two months later Kevin called. I was so excited! I asked my parents if I could go meet him at his friends, they were giving him a coming home party. Reluctantly they agreed. There was music, dancing, and everything you could think of… weed, alcohol, pills, etc. You name it, it was there. Then his friend Brett pulled out these crystal looking things. I had never seen anything like this. He called it “ice”. I asked what it was they said meth. I was unsure how to “use” it but didn’t dare ask. I already felt dumb enough for not knowing what it was.

The device used was similar to the ones we used to smoke weed. A lighter was placed under the meth. As it melted a smoke appeared, circling inside, as if dancing for the onlookers as they drooled. Something smelled as if it was burning… probably our futures. Kevin looked disappointed when I declined. I shrugged my shoulders thinking, what is Crystal Meth and how dangerous is it? I quickly changed my mind before that glimmer in his eyes was completely extinguished. I gave the bong a long stare and watched my potential dance in the smoke disappear. I sucked in the toxic fumes. Just like that… I was gone.

I would never meet the woman I was supposed to become. I smoked her away. I turned into the very thing they warned me against. The thing I swore I would never become. I say thing because I was no longer a person, even in my own eyes. I felt like a monolithic monster. Living only to serve and worship one god… Crystal Meth. Now back in rehab for the third time. I consider myself very lucky, better yet, blessed to be here.

During one of my random visits family was family visiting, including my nephew. I lucked up on some “Peanut Butter” moments before. Peanut Butter is the purest form of meth. It looks and tastes like the real thing. My nephew found it, while looking for crayons in my bag. He landed in the emergency room and then ICU for a month. Words cannot describe how low I felt. I literally wanted to die. I tired.

Here, in rehab, on family day. My mother crying in front of me, my father feeling nothing but disgust. After 3 years of “using” my life away, this is where I am. Now I am the one weeping. Draping myself all over my sister. She is still like a statue but her heart is racing like a lioness defending her cubs. Finally, she embraces me. I want to fall into her, I feel even more guilty. I ask her “Why did you have mercy on me? Why did you write the letter? You should’ve just let me go to jail!” Her reply “I love you! Why would I do that? I still see that talented girl that used to paint so beautifully. The girl, that even when she was high, taught her nephew how to draw a proper superhero.”

Wiping tears and straightening her posture, returning to the lioness. “But please be clear if you EVER use again, I will flashback and kill you myself.” I knew she meant it but so did I.

That girl that disappeared with a dance comes to visit sometimes. Someday she will become a permanent resident. Until, that day I will stay clean and continue teaching my nephew to draw. I’m still not over the guilt, I probably never will be. I use it to keep me strong, not to eat me alive.

All stories do not end like this. She was one of the lucky ones. Many have died from abuse of this drug. She was also very lucky not to have suffered any chronic health complications. Meth, more commonly called, is a very dangerous drug that does not loosen its grip on its victims. Most importantly she still has the love and support of her family. Family loss is actually more of a devastating loss than anything else.

How Did I Become Addicted to My Opiate Medication?

This is a story about how simple it is to become addicted to a prescribed opiate. She was a woman going through her life, day to day. She fell into a rough patch then… Bam! She was addicted to vicodin. I asked her, why are opiates addictive? Here is her response.

During this time, Michael (my husband) were going through a rough patch. He cheated and I was not sure if I wanted to stay. I mean I wanted to stay but How could I ever forgive him? I was devastated! I thought we were better than that. I really loved him and our family. I was walking around in a fog, my mind was always somewhere else. So one day after dropping the kids off at school, I got into a car accident.

It was the summer of 2013. Nothing too serious but I was suffering from some moderate pain. The doctor prescribed Vicodin. I took it only when I was in pain… in the beginning.

Where it Started

I was still walking in this fog yet expected to function at the same level. The kids still had their activities: Bryan, 14 was playing football. Sara, 10 was in ballet. Elizabeth, 8 was playing soccer. All these activities plus PTA. I was completely overwhelmed! I wanted to disappear. I felt like a balloon, constantly pumping air into, I knew I was going to explode. I had no release. Where do I fit in, I felt like I did not matter. Even Michael took care of himself. The family’s needs were met because I made sure they were taken care of. Not me! No one cared out for me.

When I took it I felt normal again, even better than normal. This is how I became addicted to opiate medication. I could perform my normal tasks and get through the day without feeling like I wanted to vanish. I would start taking the pills when I wasn’t in pain. I would take it to help me sleep. Then I increased my dosage. I didn’t know why I was doing this, I didn’t have an “addictive personality”. I didn’t smoke and I barely drank. I later found that opiates release the brain’s’ endorphins which is the hormone that makes you feel happy. This why I became addicted so easily. I was so unhappy but when I took the medication I felt good. I wasn’t weighed down by thoughts of heartbreak. I was desperate to be the old me again.

I knew something had to change when I started looking for Heroin. I also learned that is the natural progression. I couldn’t get anymore refills from my doctor. I began getting a few pills here and there from the ladies in PTA. They started getting suspicious.

Before it was too Late

I was lucky, I was able to catch myself before my opiate addiction got out of hand. I spoke with my husband, together we spoke with the kids and decided to tell them I was going out of town for a while. We didn’t think they needed to know I was going to rehab. I’m still on the fence with Michael but at least I know how to handle everything better now. I take time to myself, I have always loved to crochet. Now, I take classes, it’s also very therapeutic. I have also learned the beauty of “no.” It is not saying no to you, rather yes to me. Because I matter too. I put myself first because if I don’t everyone loses. You can’t help others by sacrificing yourself.

She was amazingly strong. She caught herself from slipping into a very slippery wormhole of addiction. She was able to recognize something was wrong the moment heroin crossed her mind. Her strength saved her and her family. The kids would have been the true victims of her vicodin addiction.

10 Dangerous Effects of Hallucinogens

There are several different kinds of hallucinogens. They are found all over the world; the popularity depends or your geographical location. These are the most potent mood and emotional altering drugs. The high can last 15- 20 minutes but as long as 2 days. Depending on the dosage it can be an upper or a downer; less is an upper, more is a downer.

Hallucinogenic Drugs

The most popular to us are: Ketamine, better known as K, Special K, or Cat Valium. Phencyclidine, or PCP. Of course the most popular is D-lysergic acid diethylamide best known as LSD.  All of these drugs alter your state of mind.

Special K can be smoked, injected or swallowed in pill form. The effects can be felt within 2-3 minutes. If injected can be felt within 30 seconds. The initial feeling is intense relaxation or sometimes described as a “full- body buzz.” Like “floating” being out of one’s body or going through the “K-hole.”  

PCP is found in many different forms, white powder, crystals, capsules, tablets and liquids. In the 1950’s it was initially created as a surgical anesthesia. Depending on how it’s ingested, the effects can be felt within as little as 2 minutes but at times can take up to 30 minutes to an hour.

LSD is most commonly found as a “blotter.” This is a sheet of paper with a repetitive pattern. The colorless, odorless “acid” is dropped on the pattern. One design is then ripped off and placed on the tongue to be absorbed and then the paper is swallowed.

Effects of Hallucinogenic Drugs

  • Hallucinations– This is of course the most obvious. Users will have a severely altered state of reality where everything is distorted. It can be anything from seeing things that are not there to overreacting to objects moving and/ or attempting to harm them. These hallucination effects can create an avalanche of dangers including unforeseen accidental suicide and homicidal deaths.
  • Paranoia– People perceive danger where there is none, this could cause a user to hurt someone out of fear for their life. Or maybe they could hurt themselves thinking they are avoiding danger.
  • Accidental Overdose– Because doses on the street are not consistent, the effects of the drug can be felt at different times. The user may think it is not working or weak, then consequently, ingest more, leading to an accidental overdose of the drug. Dangerously elevated blood pressure and rapid/ irregular heart rate combined can lead to heart attack. This can also cause one to have a seizure.
  • Permanent Psychosis– There have been cases where people have used and never recovered. Their “trip” was so intense they now suffer from mental illness, their hallucinations/ psychosis never go away, now considered mentally ill. Some have to be permanently housed in facilities.
  • Flashbacks– Most users say they suffer from flashbacks. They can been clean for years yet will experience an hallucination at random. This can be done while engaging in any task, making this drug especially dangerous. No other drug does this kind of damage or with these kind of lasting long term side effects.
  • Death– This goes without saying because most of the side effects especially the hallucinogen effects can easily lead to death.
  • Dehydration– While tripping (like with most drugs) they are so consumed with the drug, they are not concerned with even a basic diet. Added with the commonly experienced sweating, nausea and vomiting one can easily become dehydrated.
  • Dissociation– A common hallucinogen effect. This is when the person is detached from the surrounding environment.
  • Derealization-The feeling that the outside world is a dream.
  • Depersonalization– The feeling of not being able to control one’s action. As if you are in a constant state of an outer body experience.
  • Mydriasis– Dilation of the pupils. These can become permanent for abusers. This leads to light sensitivity causing severe and frequent headaches even migraines which at times can be debilitating.
  • Depression– Because this drug interacts with so many of the brain’s’ functions this throw’s its chemistry out of balance, leading to depression. Also, not being able to function in one’s own skin combined with the laundry list of side effects, making it close to impossible to function.

Detox: The First Step to Recovery

Detox is the first step in any recovery program. It is important to stress that detox is not a treatment. It is the first step in a recovery program. A program is the best way to beat addiction, it deals with the person as a whole, not just cleaning the body of poison.

Detox is short for detoxification. This is the primary step in evaluating a patient to determine their specific needs. No person is the same therefore no treatment can be the same. Choosing a program is very specific to the individual and the substance abused. It is best to get help with in this phase because it can prevent an extremely unpleasant or even fatal reaction. The body can become dependent on the substance and without go into seizures and other deadly reactions. While in detox medical personnel helps patients manage symptoms of withdrawal. Rehabilitation programs usually combine detox with therapy and classes to lead down the path of recovery.

Withdrawal While in Detox

Detox can be painful at times, depending on the substance. There are medications that while under supervision can assist with pain, however staff will be very mindful not to create another addiction. Alcoholics suffer from DT (Delirium tremors). Heroine addicts may need methadone to help regulate neurological pathways. Then the patients will be weaned off all medications. Recovery centers have medical staff 24 hours. After detoxification the focus shifts to monitoring and support in various ways one being therapy.

Mental Illness and Drug Abuse

There may be more severe underlying issues contributing to the addiction. There could be childhood traumas that need to be addressed. Possible mental disorders may need to be treated as well. Sometimes the two are so closely intertwined that determining which one was first or caused the other is close to impossible. At times, the mental disorder does not surface until drug use occurs. Confusion as to which symptoms started when can complicate diagnosis. There can also be trauma experienced because of drug use. Using drugs too early, during the brain’s developmental stage, can create a host of problems as well.

After Finishing a Full Recovery Program

Post- Acute Withdrawal System (PAWS) can last up to a year from the last time they used. People must know this going into recovery. While in the throws of PAWS addicts may suffer from headaches, mood swings, insomnia, clumsiness and depression. They may begin to feel as though they are ruined and will never be normal again. Feelings hopelessness will set in and their sobriety is down the drain. Loved ones should be patient with them and they should be patient with themselves. Patience in all aspects, during every phase and with every facet is critical to sobriety.

There are some costs that coincide with detox.  However, it is worth every penny to save a life, returning a person to their former glory. Strictly speaking about finances, it may actually be cheaper. The addict may not notice how much money they were actually spending on drugs while in its grips, some spends hundreds per day chasing a high.