Dangers of Heroin Abuse During Pregnancy

heroin

Substance Abuse During Pregnancy

Being pregnant is one of life’s many blessings. The 9 months a baby spends in the womb are very important for staying healthy. These 9 months are very vital for the baby’s life. Anything that is taken in the mother’s body can have an effect on the baby. Using any substance during pregnancy is very bad for the baby and can cause the baby to have problems it will forever have to live with.

Problems Caused by Heroin Abuse During Pregnancy

  • Birth defects. These are health conditions that are present at birth. Birth defects change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. They can cause problems in overall health, how the body develops, or in how the body works.
  • Placental abruption. This is a serious condition in which the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth. The placenta supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. Placental abruption can cause very heavy bleeding and can be deadly for both mother and baby.
  • Premature birth. This is birth that happens too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Low birthweight. This is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome (also called NAS). NAS happens when a baby is exposed to a drug in the womb before birth and then goes through drug withdrawal after birth.
  • This is when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (also SIDS). This is the unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old.

  Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Heroin abuse during pregnancy can cause neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) NAS occurs when heroin passes through the placenta to the fetus during pregnancy, causing the baby to become dependent along with the mother. Symptoms include excessive crying, fever, irritability, seizures, slow weight gain, tremors, diarrhea, vomiting, and possibly death. NAS requires hospitalization and treatment with medication (often morphine) to relieve symptoms; the medication is gradually tapered off until the baby adjusts to being opioid-free. Methadone maintenance combined with prenatal care and a comprehensive drug treatment program can improve many of the outcomes associated with untreated heroin use for both the infant and mother, although infants exposed to methadone during pregnancy typically require treatment for NAS as well. The abuse of heroin during pregnancy can also cause premature birth, birth defects and still birth.

Although heroin abuse is dangerous period, especially during pregnancy, it is even more dangerous to just stop the heroin abuse alone. If someone is wanting to stop the abuse it is important to get help from a doctor. Not only does the mother become addicted the baby she is carrying becomes addicted as well, and immediately stopping could cause harm to the mother and the baby and possible death.

Many women attempt to stop using heroin on their own, but when they do, they develop unpleasant symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Involuntary jerking muscles
  • Queasiness

In addition to these symptoms, you might also feel a relentless desire to use heroin again. These cravings could lead you back to drug use, even if you never intended to use the drug again in order to protect your baby.

If you are pregnant and using heroin, you need to get help now. This is not something that you can take care of on your own. If you try to go “cold turkey” and quit drugs too quickly, you can cause the death of your baby. Scientists believe this occurs because the baby suddenly becomes hyperactive, then oxygen-deprived. For this reason, doctors usually withdraw mothers from heroin after the baby is born, or very gradually during pregnancy, sometimes by using a replacement drug like methadone. Your heroin use puts you at risk for some serious health conditions. For example, you have a 50 percent chance of developing heart disease, anemia, diabetes, pneumonia, and hepatitis during your pregnancy. These are much higher odds than the average mother faces. Heroin slows the growth of your child both during and after pregnancy. If you do not get medical care, it is four times more likely that your baby will die during your pregnancy or shortly after being born. The baby will simply be too small to survive.

If you or someone you know is abusing heroin pregnant or not, it is very important to get medical help right away! Do not hesitate to call for help today!

Staying Safe If Detoxing from Alcohol at Home

alcohol detox

Detoxing at Home

It may come to the circumstances where detoxing from alcohol at home is the only option. If that is the case it is very important understand the precautions to take and make it a safe and comfortable experience. Detoxing from alcohol whether at home or in a facility can be very dangerous. Also, detoxing from home is not the full recovery treatment that is needed for one’s addiction. After care, therapy and medical attention play very big roles in the recovery process and are the best ways to reach the full potential of recovery.

How is alcohol detox dangerous?

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can vary widely in severity. In severe cases, the condition can be life-threatening. Symptoms may occur from two hours to four days after stopping alcohol. They may include headaches, nausea, tremors, anxiety, hallucinations, and seizures. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a set of symptoms that can occur following a reduction in alcohol use after a period of excessive use.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome can result in the following physical and psychological symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Digestive discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

The extent of withdrawal symptoms depends on various things, Length of time abusing alcohol, the amount of alcohol that was being abused and the overall health of the person. Sometimes the detox of alcohol can be easier for some and for others it can be the worst experience they ever experience.

Steps to Take for at home Alcohol Detox

If at home alcohol detox is the only choice a person has, it is important that they are not alone. Before beginning the process, it is important to consult with a doctor first. It is important to have a plan for if an emergency occurs during the process. Outpatient treatment is also an option.

Come up with a Plan

to stop drinking from the start date, advises Alcoholism Solutions. The person should talk to a physician, who might prescribe medication on a reduced dosage to be taken for several days. Get rid of all alcohol products in the home. Have someone by your side to help guide you when you seem you have become off track.

Keep Healthy Foods in the Home

Have some herbs or nutritional supplements available to help you with withdrawals. Vitamins A, B3, B6, C, D and E are especially helpful along with milk thistle, beta-carotene, magnesium, glutamine, and primrose oil.

Keep an eye on Emotional or Physical Issues to Occur

During this process, it may become difficult to deal with emotional and physical issues. This is another reason it is important to have another person around during this process. It may become difficult when the process gets rough to complete needed tasks. If you are the other person dedicated to help and individual through this process it is important to watch for physical symptoms that may include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headaches, sweating, sleeping difficulties, tremors, enlarged or dilated pupils, or involuntary movements of the eyelids. Seek medical help if you have any questions or doubts about the person getting through the detox process.

At home alcohol detox is never recommended. If it is something that must happen and there are no other options, it is extremely important to take the precautions and step to do it safely. If you or someone you love is going to choose to go through the alcohol detox process whether it be at home or in  facility do not hesitate to call for help and answers today!

How to Help Someone who is in Denial About Their Addiction

Addiction

Dealing with an addiction of any kind is never easy, especially when addicted to drugs and alcohol for years and even decades. When you have a friend, or loved one who has become addicted to using any substance but they are in denial of their addiction, helping them may seem overwhelming and nearly impossible. However, with enough patience and understanding it is possible to help those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol to admit their addiction and to overcome it altogether, allowing them to regain control of their lives.

Get Educated

Any time you are attempting to help a friend or a loved one to overcome an addiction, it is essential to get educated on addiction and coping with them yourself. Understanding how addiction begins, treatments available and various rehab centers that are near you and that may be right for your loved one or friend. The more you know about addiction, the easier it is for you to understand any hesitation or resistance you are likely to be met with when talking to someone who is in denial about their addiction.

Be sure to research the specific types of substances your friend or loved one is addicted to as this helps to identify withdrawal signs and symptoms that can be easily identified in an individual who is suffering with an addiction.

Create a Dialogue

Creating a dialogue is the first step to communicating openly with an individual who has become addicted to using drugs or alcohol. Understanding why your loved one is using any substance is possible by talking openly about any potential issues or problems they may be facing in their everyday life. Becoming an active listener is necessary if you are working with someone who vehemently denies they are addicted to using drugs and alcohol, regardless of how resistant they are to discuss the issue. When you are actively listening, and engaging in conversation while allowing yourself to be a shoulder to lean on, you are more likely to have the ability to discuss the abuse of drugs and alcohol openly.

Keep an Open Mind

It is essential to keep an open mind when working with difficult individuals who are adamant about not having an addiction. Remaining attentive and understanding is imperative to keep your friend or loved one from isolating themselves and going further into their addiction. Always keeping an open mind and answering questions while offering support is one way to let the person know you are there for them, regardless of whether they are faced with an addiction of their own.

Offer Resources and Assistance

Offering resources and assistance is possible once you have created a dialogue with your loved one or friend and you are both comfortable discussing the use of drugs and alcohol with one another.

Begin researching both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation treatment centers and facilities near you along with the type of activities and amenities each location has to offer. Researching the type of care that is available at each rehab center is a way for you to get your loved one to open their mind about regaining complete control of their life without the use of any substance, whether it is alcohol, prescription medications or even illicit street drugs. Conducting a bit of research on rehab centers is a way for you to begin a dialogue about seeking help for any trouble your loved one is in.

Overcoming an addiction and helping a friend or loved one to do so is not always easy, but it can ultimately allow them to get their life back on track for good. With enough time, effort, and commitment it is possible to help those who are in true denial of their addictions to let them go in order to begin living again without the need for any use of substances.

Understanding the Detox Process

detox

The First Step of the Detox Process

Making the decision to get help for an addiction can be a very tough one but very rewarding. Struggling with addiction and realizing help is needed is a big step. Deciding that treatment is the best option for addiction is the first step in the recovery process. Realizing there is a problem that needs help. The next step for successful recovery is detox.

What is Detox?

Detox is a process that safely gets an addict through the withdrawal stage and on the path for recovery. Detox is very important to get the substances out of the system and allow you to have a clear mind going into recovery. Detox can prevent unpleasant or fatal consequences resulting from sudden cessation of use and can aid you in becoming abstinent from drugs or alcohol. The goal of any detox program is physiological healing after long-term drug or alcohol addiction. First through stabilization, then through a period of detoxification.

First Stage of Drug Detox

The initial period of detoxification can be intense for many patients, and medical and psychiatric staff members will be on hand constantly to provide effective support. For example, within several hours after the last dose of heroin, those suffering from an addiction to the opioid will often experience some of the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Excessive yawning
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Muscle aches
  • Increasing watering of the eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Insomnia

Although these symptoms aren’t life-threatening, they can be quite uncomfortable, which is why it’s beneficial for these patients to receive psychiatric and medical care while detoxing from drugs. A number of issues can come up for patients in their first few hours of detox. The most urgent need will be addressed first, followed by the next and the next until full stabilization has been established. Some examples of possible issues include:

Violence

Some drugs can increase violent behaviors in users. For example, people who abuse synthetic cathinones, or “bath salts,” might be more at risk of hurting themselves or others. Patients who are a danger to others might require sedation or restraint to protect them and medical providers. These measures are only necessary if the patient becomes physically aggressive and attempts to harm staff members.

Symptoms of psychosis

Psychosis is a dangerous complication brought on by the effects of some drugs, such as cocaine. If someone uses excessive amounts of cocaine, they can become paranoid and even experience full-blown psychosis. Symptoms include visual and auditory hallucinations and delusional thinking. Other reasons for psychosis include the presence of a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as schizophrenia, or a lack of sleep due to stimulant use. Someone who is suffering from psychosis can behave erratically and become unpredictable. It’s important to address this issue and treat the patient appropriately before proceeding with further interventions.

Injury

In some cases, patients may have hurt themselves while under the influence of drugs or been physically or sexually assaulted before entering detox. For example, phencyclidine, or PCP, is a powerful dissociative drug that can cause feelings of increased strength and invulnerability. Due to this misconception, PCP users are likely to put themselves in harm’s way because they’re under the impression that they won’t get hurt. They’re also at an increased risk for suicidal behaviors, which can result in injury if suicide is not completed. Any physical injury must be treated immediately before addiction treatment is provided.

Medical illness

Many people who suffer from chronic, debilitating pain are prescribed opioid painkillers. Unfortunately, it’s possible to develop a dependence and subsequent addiction to these medications. As the patient begins to detox from the prescription opioid, their severe pain will return in addition to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. It’s important to be aware of the individual’s medical history and treat the symptoms of pain appropriately before proceeding.

Threat to self

Withdrawal from opioids and other substances can be associated with severe depressive symptoms that might be connected to suicide attempts and completed suicides. Patients who exhibit suicidal behaviors or thoughts must be protected at all times. Once these acute issues have been assessed and identified during evaluation, they’ll immediately be treated until they have passed or the patient has been stabilized. At that time, attention and focus can turn to dealing with withdrawal symptoms associated with detox.

Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

The symptoms that are experienced during the detox can vary between multiple things depending on the user. Factors that influence individual experiences with withdrawal include:

  • The length of addiction. Daily use for an extended period of time can cause lead to high levels of tolerance and more severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • The combination of drugs abused, including alcohol. A comorbid dependence on drugs and alcohol can create a unique constellation of withdrawal symptoms, which might exacerbate one another.
  • The dose of the drug when the patient enters detox. Tolerance develops from persistent substance abuse. Thus, doses must be increased in order to feel the desired results. The higher the doses used, the more likely it is that withdrawal symptoms will be severe.
  • The existence of co-occurring physical or mental disorders. If a patient suffers from a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety or a physical condition such as chronic pain, these symptoms could be amplified due to withdrawal and cause significant distress.
  • Half-life of the drug. In general, if the drug is short-acting, withdrawal symptoms will occur more immediately after the last dose. If it’s long-acting, withdrawal syndrome may be delayed a few days.

Common withdrawal symptoms that develop in association with a number of drug types include:

  • Mood disturbances. This can mean mood swings, irritability, and/or agitation.
  • Sleep disturbances. Insomnia despite intense fatigue is common.
  • Physical issues. These may include chills, sweating, tremors or shaking, as well as flu-like symptoms, including runny nose and headache, nausea, and vomiting.
  • The desire to use the drug of choice in order to stop the withdrawal symptoms is strong.

Types of Drug Detox

There are different types of detox. The specific types of substances having been abused as well as the spectrum of withdrawal symptoms experienced by the patient will influence which type of detox is appropriate. Some choices include:

  • Outpatient detox. It’s rare that this is recommended, but an outpatient program might be a good choice in relatively less severe cases of addiction, where regular check-ins with the treatment team and medication available by prescription or a methadone clinic can provide acceptable detox care. In instances where money is an issue or the patient must stay engaged at work or home, coming into an outpatient detox program regularly could provide adequate treatment.
  • Inpatient detox. In most cases, inpatient or residential detox is recommended in order to help patients avoid relapse and make sure that they have medical care in the event of an emergency. Most detox options are inpatient. Some are stand-alone programs will arrange for a seamless transfer to ongoing substance abuse treatment at detox completion, while others will be packaged with an inpatient addiction treatment program that addresses the psychological issues related to addiction as well.

If you or a loved one are unsure of the type of detox that is best, do not hesitate to call for help today. Detox from home can become very uncomfortable and dangerous and it is important to go about detox the right way to get a healthy start on the path of recovery.

What are Different Types of Hallucinogen Drugs

Hallucinogens

What are Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens are drugs that when used, cause hallucinations. Users see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem very real but do not exist. Some hallucinogens also produce sudden and unpredictable changes in the mood of those who use them. Hallucinogens can be addictive just like any substance that is abused, such as cocaine or heroin. With repeated use of hallucinogens, the user can begin to get used to the feeling they receive and the body can begin to crave it and develop an addiction where the users then believe the hallucinogens are needed to function.

Different types of Hallucinogens

As a group, hallucinogen drugs distort a person’s perception of reality in one way or another. Different types of hallucinogens distort a person’s perception in different ways. Distortions in perception result from alterations in the brain’s chemical processes and functions. each type of hallucinogen targets certain specific chemical processes, which accounts for the different “trips” or “highs” users experience.

Overall, three types of hallucinogens exist:

  • Psychedelics
  • Dissociatives
  • Deliriants

Psychedelics

Under normal conditions, the brain uses a selection process that determines how a person perceives his or her surroundings. In effect, this process filters out certain aspects so a person can attend to a task or activity. Psychedelic hallucinogens strip away this selection process so users experience everything in their surroundings. Drugs belonging to this type of hallucinogen include:

  • LSD
  • Peyote
  • Mescaline

When “high,” users experience an overwhelming sense of expansion where colors, sounds, smells and textures become worlds of their own. Seeing visions and hearing voices are also common.

Dissociatives

The brain’s ability to translate sensory perceptions enables a person to experience his or her immediate environment. Dissociative hallucinogens create a state of sensory deprivation where the mind is free to create its own internal environment and perceptions.

Drugs belonging to this type of hallucinogen include:

  • Magic mushrooms
  • PCP
  • Ketamine
  • DXM

While drug effects can vary from dose to dose and drug to drug, dissociative effects generally produce an “out-of-body-type” experience that leaves users in a trance state.

Deliriants

Unlike the other two types of hallucinogens, deliriant drug effects create false perceptions that have no basis in a person’s internal or external reality. Users enter a stupor-like state of confusion.

Deliriant type drugs include:

  • Datura
  • Deadly Nightshade
  • Jimson Weed

A person may start to hold conversations with imaginary people or go through the motions of completing a complex task, like getting dressed, without ever having picked out the clothes. In effect, deliriants create a psychotic state of mind where users can’t distinguish between reality and fantasy.

Hallucinogen Effects on The Brain

Hallucinogen effects target serotonin chemical processes in the brain. Serotonin acts as a vital neurotransmitter chemical that regulates a number of functions, some of which include:

  • Ability to control one’s behavior
  • Muscle movement controls
  • Emotional state
  • Feelings of hunger
  • Sensory perceptions
  • Sexual drive

Serotonin also interacts with two other key neurotransmitter chemicals known as dopamine and norepinephrine. Different types of hallucinogens may produce varying effects in terms of how serotonin influences dopamine and norepinephrine secretions.

Hallucinogens, in general come from plants, mushrooms and synthetically made formulas all of which contain varying consistencies of the drug. As a result, any one type of hallucinogen can produce one or more of the following effects:

  • Rapid changes in mood
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Tactile hallucinations

Abusing Hallucinogens can become very dangerous and a lot of people who abuse them do not realize what they could be getting themselves into. If you or someone you love may be abusing hallucinogens do not hesitate to call for help today!

Heroin Abuse Warning Signs

Suspecting Substance Abuse

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

Long Term Effects

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

relapse

Relapse

Worrying about relapsing on heroin while in recovery can be very scary. You have finally 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

oxycodone

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.