Heroin Abuse Warning Signs

Suspecting your loved one or someone you know is abusing heroin can be an uncomfortable feeling. They may be doing things they normally would not do and are showing signs that something is not right. Your gut feeling is telling you that they are possibly doing something they should not do and you are hesitant on how to feel about it.

It is important to recognize signs of substance abuse. Being able to identify signs of abuse could potentially save someone’s life. Heroin abuse is something that is hard to hide. Most abusers show the most obvious signs.

Noticeable Signs

Heroin produces a “downer” effect that rapidly induces a state of relaxation and euphoria (related to chemical changes in the pleasure centers of the brain). Like other opiates, heroin use blocks the brain’s ability to perceive pain. Heroin abusers, particularly those with prior history of drug abuse, may initially be able to conceal signs and symptoms of their heroin use.

Loved ones or co-workers may notice several signs of heroin use, which are visible during and after heroin consumption:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Constricted (small) pupils
  • Sudden changes in behavior or actions
  • Disorientation
  • Cycles of hyper alertness followed by suddenly nodding off
  • Droopy appearance, as if extremities are heavy

The above signs are not unique to heroin abuse. More definitive warning signs of heroin abuse include possession of paraphernalia used to prepare, inject, or consume heroin:

  • Needles or syringes not used for other medical purposes
  • Burned silver spoons
  • Aluminum foil or gum wrappers with burn marks
  • Missing shoelaces (used as a tie off for injection sites)
  • Straws with burn marks
  • Small plastic bags, with white powdery residue
  • Water pipes or other pipe

Behavioral signs of heroin abuse and addiction include:

  • Lying or other deceptive behavior
  • Avoiding eye contact, or distant field of vision
  • Substantial increases in time spent sleeping
  • Increase in slurred, garbled, or incoherent speech
  • Sudden worsening of performance in school or work, including expulsion or loss of jobs
  • Decreasing attention to hygiene and physical appearance
  • Loss of motivation and apathy toward future goals
  • Withdrawal from friends and family, instead spending time with new friends with no natural tie
  • Lack of interest in hobbies and favorite activities
  • Repeatedly stealing or borrowing money from loved ones, or unexplained absence of valuables
  • Hostile behaviors toward loved ones, including blaming them for withdrawal or broken commitments
  • Regular comments indicating a decline in self-esteem or worsening body image
  • Wearing long pants or long sleeves to hide needle marks, even in very warm weather

Users build tolerance to heroin, leading to increases in the frequency and quantity of heroin consumption. With growing tolerance, more definitive physical symptoms of heroin abuse and addiction emerge:

  • Weight loss
  • Runny nose (not explained by other illness or medical condition)
  • Needle track marks visible on arms
  • Infections or abscesses at injection site
  • For women, loss of menstrual cycle (amenorrhea)
  • Cuts, bruises, or scabs from skin picking

A lot of these signs are hard to deal with noticing. Confronting a person in regards to their possible substance abuse can become nerve wrecking and scary. You never know how the person might react or could you be wrong? If your gut is telling you something is wrong, do not hesitate to find help for the individual, as you could be much save their life! It is more important to help them find treatment verses something serious as an over dose or death happening to them.

Long Term Effects of Crack Abuse

Abusing any substances, no matter the length of abuse time, can cause long term effects that can affect the way your body functions for the rest of your life. People who use crack are often seeking an intense euphoric high and, perhaps, a temporary escape from personal problems that they can’t cope with. However, these fleeting highs are often replaced with longer-term devastation in many areas of their life. Unfortunately, the allure of crack is tough for many to resist, and the drug is so powerful that it’s quite possible to become addicted after the first time it is used. Eventually, the slippery slope of addiction can develop into long-term drug use a destructive pattern of behavior that can ultimately lead to a range of health issues and personal damage.

What is Crack Cocaine

Crack cocaine is the crystal form of cocaine, which normally comes in a powder form. It comes in solid blocks or crystals varying in color from yellow to pale rose or white. Crack is heated and smoked. It is so named because it makes a cracking or popping sound when heated. Crack, the most potent form in which cocaine appears, is also the riskiest. It is between 75% and 100% pure, far stronger, and more potent than regular cocaine. Smoking crack allows it to reach the brain more quickly and thus brings an intense and immediate but very short-lived high that lasts about fifteen minutes. And because addiction can develop even more rapidly if the substance is smoked rather than snorted (taken in through the nose), an abuser can become addicted after his or her first time trying crack.

Long Term Effects

If you have used crack over a long period of time, you can expect to see a number of physical changes occur. Among other organ systems, these changes can affect:

  • brain.
  • heart.
  •  lungs.
  •  nose.

Crack’s Effects on Your Brain

Unfortunately, your brain doesn’t forget the damage done from using crack. Long-term effects on the brain may include:

  • Structural and functional brain abnormalities (worsened memory and attention span).
  • Compromised dopamine production and activity throughout the brain.
  • Movement disorders.
  • Seizures, strokes, and the potential for irreversible brain damage.
  • Brain aneurysm (abnormal dilation of a blood vessel) and brain hemorrhage.

Crack, as an excitotoxic stimulant, can kill brain cells and can cause persistent changes to various neural pathways. Crack can cause seizures, even in first-time users. Crack’s intense circulatory system influence can precipitate strokes, which can create even more irreversible brain damage. Your risk of a brain aneurysm (abnormal dilation of a blood vessel) also increases, which can lead to a deadly brain hemorrhage.

Effects on Your Heart

Another long-term effect of crack use is extensive damage to your heart. Damage to the cardiovascular system may manifest as:

  • Chest pain.
  • Elevated heart rate.
  • Elevated blood pressure.
  • Increased resistance in the body’s blood vessels.
  • Higher risk of heart attacks.
  • More risk of cardiac arrhythmias.
  • Increased risk of sudden death.

Long-term crack use is also associated with ventricular hypertrophy which is an enlargement of the heart wall. This can lead to an increased risk of heart arrhythmias, heart attack and congestive heart failure. Coronary atherosclerosis may also develop from long-term crack use. Coronary atherosclerosis is the hardening of your arteries and spasms near these hardened areas can deprive the heart of blood, resulting in ischemic chest pain and, ultimately, myocardial infarction.

Effects on Your Lungs

Lung problems are a common long-term risk of crack use. The type of lung problems you will experience depend on the route of drug administration you’ve been using and may include any of the following:

  • Shortness of breath.
  • Coughing up sputum.
  • Coughing up blood.
  • Chest pain.

More unusual lung complications that may result from long-term crack use may include:

  • Pulmonary hemorrhage (bleeding of the lung).
  • Pneumothorax (a collapsed lung).
  • Pulmonary edema (accumulation of fluid in the lungs).
  • Thermal airway injury (from the heated vapor).
  • Pneumomediastinum (abnormal presence of air in the space between the lungs).

You may suffer severe respiratory problems such as a chronic cough, bleeding from the lungs, or you may have “air hunger” which makes you feel as if you aren’t getting enough air into your lungs. Air hunger is very distressing and can lead to panic attacks because it can make you feel as if you are suffocating or dying.

Effects on Your Nose

Depending on your method of using crack cocaine, long-term abuse can result in severe damage to the tissue and even the structure of your nose. Snorting crack cocaine can result in nasal damage that may include:

  • Perforated nasal septum (a tear or hole in the cartilage bridge between your nostrils).
  • Chronic rhinitis (irritation and inflammation of the nasal tissue).
  • Sinus infections.
  • Ulcers in the throat.
  • Nasal tissue death, due to narrowing of the blood vessels and insufficient oxygen.
  • Anosmia, or loss of smell.
  • Nasal insufflation of all forms of cocaine can create holes in your nasal septum. These holes may be small or large and can lead to serious infections.

You could also destroy your nasal septum completely and cause permanent disfiguration to your facial features. This damage can make it difficult to breath. In fact, some chronic crack users are only able to breath through their mouth. Chronic sinus infections, chronic runny nose and frequent nosebleeds may also develop due to the damage in your nasal lining. Some individuals even lose their ability to smell, which can impact the ability to enjoy food.

Long-term use of crack also causes severe mental problems. Some of the mental health problems that may result include:

  • Restlessness.
  • Anxiety.
  • Depression.
  • Irritability.
  • Paranoia.
  • Hallucinations.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction do not hesitate to call for help today. These long term effects can be very dangerous and make it very important to seek help right away.

10 Factors That Can Affect Heroin Relapse

Worrying about relapsing on heroin while in recovery can be very scary. You have final gotten help and have begun your recovery journey and are worried about relapsing. Having that constant worry is normal, and the feeling of being able to avoid relapsing will become very rewarding.

What is A Relapse

A relapse can be defined as to fall or slide back into a former state. When a substance abuser relapses, it means that they have returned to using alcohol or drugs after a period of being sober. A relapse trigger is an event that gives the individual the justification to return to this behavior. In many instances this person will have been just looking for an excuse to relapse, and the trigger provided this excuse.

10 Factors That Can Affect Heroin Relapse

Stress/Frustration

Beginning a new sober life can become challenging. You have all these expectations of how you want your new life to be and how it should be. But the reality is, it’s going to take some time and work to get to those expectations. The journey to get to the point you wish, can be a rough one and can get stressful. An addict is used to taking stress and frustrations out by abusing drugs. That is one new thing that must be dealt with differently now on the path for a new life.

Being full of self-pity

Now that you are finally sober, you are beginning to see things much clearer. You may begin to realize all the horrible things you have done during your addiction and all the people you have hurt. You may even begin to realize how low your life came while suffering from addiction. During this time of feelings, it is most important to remember the new path you have chosen. The fact that you are now sober and clear minded it a reward to top all the past choices that affected you until now. There is much more in life coming and waiting for you and it is important to remember how hard you worked to get to where you are and be thankful you can now fix the pain you may have caused to yourself or others.

Taking Recovery for Granted

Being sober and on the recovery path successfully is a fantastic feeling. You are now confident, you see things clearer and have great plans for your recovery. Recovery lasts a lifetime. If your alive and are sober, you are still in recovery.  Recovery doesn’t end when you complete treatment or become sober, recovery is forever. Do not get too comfortable. It doesn’t matter if you have been in recovery for a week or for years, relapse can happen at any time. A relapse can be when you least expect it you have the urge to use again and relapse. It can become tricky to not get off track in your recovery. It is important to understand to continue the things that helped you begin your recovery in the first place.

Lying and Dishonesty

When people enter into recovery, they are making a decision to have a more honest approach to life. While trapped during addiction the individual will have been trapped in delusion and denial. In order to maintain the addiction, they would have also needed to behave dishonestly. If people become sober and continue to behave this way it is usually a sign that they are caught in dry drunk syndrome. This means that they are physically sober but their behavior is just as it always has been. Dishonesty prevents them from finding real happiness in recovery and may eventually cause them to relapse.

People or places connected to the addictive behavior

Being around people and places associated with one’s addiction can often push a person to relapse. For example, going back to a favorite bar may tempt an individual to pick up the bottle again. Another example, going back around previous friends you got high with or going back to places you got high at. It’s better to avoid these temptations, especially in the early phases of recovery.

Negative or Challenging Emotions

While negative emotions are a normal part of life, those struggling with addiction often cite frustration, anger, anxiety, and loneliness, as triggers for relapse. Therefore, usually as a part of therapy, its essential to develop effective ways of managing these feelings.

Times of Celebration

Most situations that can trigger relapse are perceived as negative. However, sometimes positive situations such as times of celebration, where alcohol or drugs are present, are just as risky. Avoiding such events or bringing along a trusted friend can assist in preventing relapse.

Seeing or sensing the object of your addiction

In recovery, even a slight reminder of the object of the addiction, such as seeing the portrayal of addictive behavior on television, can lead to relapse. While it is impossible to avoid such reminders forever, developing skills for managing any urges or cravings can aid in preventing relapse.

High Expectations of Others

Holding realistic expectations doesn’t just apply to your own life, it applies to other’s lives, as well. When we expect too much of our spouses, our parents, children, loved ones, friends, acquaintances, or co-workers, we set ourselves up for disappointment. Understand that everyone can and does make mistakes in daily life. Instead of holding your loved ones to unrealistic expectations, focus on healing and rebuilding your relationships one day at a time.

Overconfidence

Self-confidence is a powerful tool in addiction recovery. However, there is a fine line between holding your head high and know your boundaries and justifying that you are in complete control and a small amount of your drug of choice or another drug won’t hurt you. By allowing your self-image to become distorted, you may become overconfident and indulge in irrational thoughts. In recovery, it’s important to build a healthy balance of self-esteem and humility.

Avoiding A Relapse

When beginning the journey for recovery it is very important to be aware of the things that could possibly be a trigger for relapse. Whether leaving a treatment center or an outpatient program the aftercare that is chosen plays a very important role in the road to recovery. After care is a way to stay motivated in recovery and to continue to help you with struggles you may face.

While relapse may happen for some and not others, it’s important to remember that relapse does not mean failure. Recovering from addiction is a life-long process of hard work and dedication to one’s program and recovery path. It is important that if relapse happens, you or your loved one get help right away. This does not mean they failed and cannot complete recovery. Maybe it wasn’t their time. It is ok to need help again because no recovery is perfect. Call today to speak with an addiction consoler to help get you or your loved one on the right path.

 

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.