Heroin Recovery Stories

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

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

Christina’s Story

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

Where the Addiction Began

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

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

 

 

 

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

Getting Lost in Addiction

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

Addiction Controlling Lives

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

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

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

 

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

What is Crystal Meth and How Dangerous Is It?

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

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

Rebecca’s Story

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Did I Become Addicted to My Opiate Medication?

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

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

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

Where it Started

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

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

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

Before it was too Late

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

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

10 Dangerous Effects of Hallucinogens

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

Hallucinogenic Drugs

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

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

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

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

Effects of Hallucinogenic Drugs

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

Detox: The First Step to Recovery

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

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

Withdrawal While in Detox

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

Mental Illness and Drug Abuse

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

After Finishing a Full Recovery Program

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

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

5 Symptoms Your Love One May Have Overdosed from Vicodin

vicodin

Vicodin is usually prescribed by physicians for pain management. It is classified as an opiate. It is made up of hydrocodone and acetaminophen. Hydrocodone is the highly addictive property in the medication. It interacts with the brain’s reward circuitry, releasing dopamine. Dopamine is the “happy” hormone. It relieves pain and puts the one in a euphoric like state. If abused, acetaminophen has its own risks. For example, it can cause liver damage. Ironically, it is one of the most abused drugs in the U.S. Even with all its risks physicians continue to over prescribe this drug.

There are a few signs to watch for if you suspect someone may be addicted to vicodin. A few general signs to note which follow just about any addiction: loss of personal finances, excessive procurement of the drug, and loss of interest in regular activities and hobbies. They may begin to ask you for money or their drug of choice. 

Vicodin Overdose Symptoms

  • Nodding– You may notice a love one dozing off or they may be in a daze. This may even occur during a conversation. Commonly called a “narc nod, more typically associated with heroin. However, hydrocodone is similar to heroin. Not shocking this is a sign of overdosing on vicodin.
  • Mood Swings– The user may suffer from mood swings.The drug interacts with the brain’s chemicals causing them to become imbalanced. Vicodin creates false sense of happiness and relaxation. After a while the brain will struggle to release dopamine without hydrocodone (found in vicodin). They may be unable to control their moods, therefore making it difficult to be happy without it.
  • Inability to Focus– It may seem as if their brain is racing a mile a minute. That’s’ because it is. They may find it difficult to focus on one task. The drug has affected their ability to relax.
  • Too Happy– This sounds a little strange but it may seem as though they are in an euphoric state. Like they are too happy, abnormally happy.
  • Jaundice– This is a yellowing of the skin and eyes due to high levels of bilirubin. After long-term use this will happen because of liver damage. Jaundice can also cause pain in the upper right side of the abdomen.

Even when taking the the prescribed dosage it is easy to become addicted to vicodin. It gives much needed pain relief and a very pleasurable high. If you do suspect a loved one of being addicted to vicodin approach them with care and concern. Be patient for the reasons I have mentioned. If they become irritable or defensive this is natural. It may get excused away by saying “I’ve been under a lot of pressure lately.” Or “I haven’t had any sleep, I’m just really tired.” Reassure them there are a plethora of rehabilitation options. They can receive treatment suited especially for them.

Is Crack Cocaine Addictive?

Of Course! Crack Cocaine, more commonly known as crack, is very addictive. It is a more potent and cheap version of cocaine which is considered “a rich man’s drug.” Crack is a crystal form of cocaine to be smoked, injected or snorted. You become high immediately and addicted equally as fast. It creates a sense of dependency because it stimulates pleasure receptors in the brain. That initial high is very rarely accomplished twice. Therefore, they have to use more and more until they have reached euphoria, quickly and easily building up a dependency.

These factors it makes for a perfect storm of disaster. Women selling their bodies to get money for the drug. Because of their desperation they are niether selective or careful which leads to disease and unwanted pregnancies. At this point she is already a “Crack Head” (a common term used to refer to a person addicted to crack) therefore, the likelihood of quitting is slim to none. Many woman have been known to smoke throughout their entire pregnancy, giving birth to crack addicted babies that need intense care the moment they enter this world. Then placed into a system that may or may not give them the love they never had.

Children Pay for Poor Decisions

Or maybe after having children, the struggling single mother has become addicted. Children are often used as currency for this drug. This is the most tragic aspect of this drug. Crack cocaine has ruined innocent lives. One bad decision, by one person, on one day will create an avalanche of familial trauma. Kids have suffered severe neglect and abuse at the hands of their parents and/or others. The custodial parent cannot use crack and be a parent. Unfortunately, crack wins… everytime.

A mother would not otherwise chose to neglect her children. She will not feed or properly clothe them while in the grips of crack. A mother, once so nurturing and loving, will not come home for days at a time because she is binging. Or worse, she would be willing to sell them, for whatever purpose, to get her next hit. It is unnatural for a woman to choose anything over her child. Therefore, there has to be an explanation. Its got to be crack, a very powerful drug.

Not to put all them blame on the women. Men perform horrific acts in the name of crack as well. They degrade themselves and their family to get high. They will steal from elderly mothers. Attack innocent women while their children watch just for the contents of their purse. Crack Cocaine abusers say it turns them into some sort of immoral monster.

Making the Decision to Quit

Quitting is a difficult process. They suffer from anxiety and depression which leads to mood swings, creating an inability to find pleasure. The body craves it and shakes when they do not ingest use crack. This makes it almost impossible to quick. They may still suffer complication even after they have stopped. They may continue to suffer from anxiety and mood swings, add the inability to feel pleasure, this may lead to depression. Damaged breathing patterns may continue to persist as well. Unfortunately, the worst long-term side effect, clean or sober, is the lasting effects placed square in the lap of the children.

This drug seems to be the most powerful in the damage it has done to the innocent. It is so powerful that it overrides the strongest bond found in nature, the bond between mother and child. That says a lot. From abuse to health complications yet still the hardest thing to overcome is the feeling of not being loved and knowing someone chose Crack Cocaine over you. No matter how logical a victim attempts to be is still very difficult to remove emotion because the experience was so painful. They may have to go through years of therapy to correct the damage done to them.

However, these are not bad people. It is hard to understand given their atrocious acts. Understanding they are not themselves may help. They just made one bad decision, on a particular day that lead to years of turmoil. Making the decision to try it is the critical point. Once they are addicted it’s hard to hold someone accountable for anything other than getting clean.

 

Alcohol Detox Facility vs. At Home Alcohol Detox

Going through the detox process for any substance can be a very uncomfortable and dangerous process. Detoxing from alcohol can be one of the most difficult times to deal with. It is never recommended to go through a alcohol detox process at home or alone. There are many side effects during the process that occur that could become life threatening. If a person is alcohol dependent they have a strong desire to drink alcohol.  In addition, your body becomes used to lots of alcohol. There for withdrawal symptoms of alcohol can begin as soon as 3-8 hours after the last amount of alcohol was consumed.  This is what creates the trouble for an individual who may desperately want to stop drinking alcohol.  The fact that the withdrawal symptoms can be very hard on an individual can make it difficult to want to stop.

Once the detox process begins it can last anywhere from 3 hours to 4 days after stopping alcohol. Detoxing from alcohol can be a different experience for everyone whether at an alcohol detox facility or at home alcohol detox . There are many factors that come into play with determining how it can go for someone. Factors such as amount of time alcohol was abused by the individual, how much was consumed before detox began and the overall health of the individual.

Alcohol Detox Symptoms

The worst type of withdrawal is called delirium tremens, which includes symptoms such as hallucinations, fever, and seizures. Other symptoms that may be experienced include:

  • tremors
  • anxiety
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • an increased heart rate
  • sweating
  • irritability
  • confusion
  • insomnia
  • nightmares
  • high blood pressure

These symptoms can be very uncomfortable for anyone that may experience them and they can also experience more than one at the same time.

Detoxing in Alcohol Rehab

The first goal of entering an alcohol detox facility is to get you comfortable and to do an evaluation to see where you are at in the detox process. Alcohol detox facilities are highly recommended for addiction treatment. These facilities give you a safe and more comfortable experience with going through detox. Most people who go through detox are highly recommended to have it medically supervised.

When first arriving to an alcohol detox facility doctors will review your medical history. This is to note if there have been any past medical issues or if you currently suffer from any medical issues. They will also conduct a physical exam to see where your health is and what may be needed for you currently. The treatment for addiction will all depend on how severe the symptoms are. You may need an iv to keep you hydrated while detoxing or medications to help stabilize any symptoms you are experiencing.

Medications that are sometimes prescribed to help with the alcohol detox process include:

  • Ativan (lorazepam)
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Valium (diazepam)

In addition to these medications vitamin supplements may be given to replace essential vitamins that are decreased by alcohol abuse. These medications and vitamins are all essential to help you stay comfortable in the detox process. Without medical supervision, your symptoms could possibly worsen or tragically end in death.

At Home Alcohol Detox

At home alcohol detox is never recommended. It could leave you very uncomfortable and with uncontrollable symptoms. If detoxing from home is what is chosen to do, it is very important that someone is present always to monitor you in case the symptoms increase and something goes wrong that may require you to go to a hospital. Very often people choose to detox from home to have a little more ease and due to the expensive costs an alcohol detox facility can cost you. It is easy to assume that detoxing can be as easy just quitting from using alcohol, and if it is something that you have never experienced you may not be prepared for how uneasy it can be.

It can be surprising to some that suddenly stopping abusing alcohol can be more dangerous than going through withdrawal from other substances. Your loved ones may not be aware as well of the dangers of why detoxing at home can be risky. Detoxing from at home also does not include the programs for after detox that are available at a facility such as therapy and aftercare, that can maintain long-term sobriety. In contrast, a controlled, supervised medical detox program, under the care of compassionate, experienced providers can help control these risks.

If there are factors that have you stuck in deciding on what kind of a facility would be best for you, do not hesitate to call for help. Whether it be a call looking for recommendations on what is best for you or a loved one and the addiction or a call to see just seek for help, don’t hesitate! It could be the phone call that saves you or your loved one’s life today!

Indiana Hospital Study Finds More Newborns Addicted to Opiates

crack and pregnancy

A six month study conducted at four hospitals across the state of Indiana this year showed that one in five newborn babies tested positive for the presence of drugs in the umbilical cord.  The babies tested were those at risk for Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. NAS describes the state of withdrawal that infants are born into after becoming addicted to substances in utero.

The study found that opiates were the most common cause of the condition. Heroin use during pregnancy is a major public health concern, with the potential to result in serious maternal and neonatal health issues. Using a drug like heroin can eventually compel a person to prioritize the drug over important issues like hygiene and proper nutrition, which can give rise to numerous issues during pregnancy. It has been found that heroin, like morphine (used as a pain killer during birth), is transferred into the placenta very rapidly, and the drug exerts its effects on the fetus. Blood tests at birth have shown the infant’s blood levels to be 50% or even 100% of the mother’s drug level.

Risk of Chemically Dependent Fetus

During pregnancy the use of heroin can lead to poor fetal growth, premature delivery, and still birth. Premature rupture of the membranes also occurs, meaning that the bags of waters that hold the fetus break too soon causing premature birth.  There is a minimum 4-5% chance that the baby will have a major birth defect, although it may not be apparent right away.

Babies born to mothers who have used heroin while they were pregnant have inherited their addiction, and upon birth must go through withdrawal. This is a painful process and includes symptoms like diarrhea, sweating, a higher-pitched cry, shaking, tremors and irritability.  The babies are also very likely to have low birth weight and small head circumference.

Babies born with low birth weight have been shown to have many difficulties later in life:

  • Language, visuomotor, and other learning disabilities
  • Behavior problems
  • Children are more likely to be rejected by peers
  • Performance in school may suffer and the children may need special education courses

These effects can be counter-acted if the child receives intense hands-on care in the early stages of life.

Women who are using substances are apprehensive to reach out for help.

These are the questions that keep women from seeking care when punitive testing becomes common. As Guttmacher Institute analysis  notes:

Women who fear that they will be taken into custody, lose their children or face criminal sanctions if their drug use is detected, the argument goes, will avoid seeking critical prenatal care and drug treatment services they need for a healthy pregnancy. For this reason, leading medical and public health groups—such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association and the March of Dimes—all oppose punitive responses to prenatal drug use.

Rather than punishing and demoralizing a woman who faces pregnancy under less than ideal circumstances and without a strong support system, more should be done to provide her with empathy and the care that is right for her in her time of need.

If a mother stops using the drug “cold turkey,” the fetus will then experience withdrawal symptoms in the womb, which can cause the baby’s blood level from intoxication to withdrawal. Often times it leads to death and spontaneous abortion, premature birth, and other negative effects. (Bashmore, 508, http://www.nida.nih.gov/Diagnosis-Treatment/diagnosis3.html). The best thing for the mother to do would be to consult a health care provider or drug treatment center to get the appropriate detoxification for both her and the baby.

WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT FOR SUSPECTED OVERDOSE

Does A Recovered Addict Ever Truly Feel Recovered

The Midwest has been having an epidemic of opiate overdoses. In just 6 days in August 2016, Cincinnati, Ohio had 174 REPORTED overdoses.  Imagine how many actual overdoses that would equate to – all overdoses aren’t reported.  Overdoses from heroin that aren’t fatal go unreported because people are afraid of legal repercussions, probation violations, family consequences, or losing their job or societal standing.   It’s important to recognize the signs of overdose, and to seek medical treatment.  In fact, immediate treatment for a suspected overdose can mean the difference between life and death.

Overdose symptoms can vary depending on the amount of the substance that was used, the person’s age and weight, and the tolerance the individual has built up over time.  Opiates are a central nervous system depressant, which means that they literally depress your breathing and heart rate.  An overdose can cause you to stop breathing, and your heart to stop beating.  Overdose is more likely when using other substances in combination with opiates, such as cocaine, alcohol, and, prescribed or not, barbiturates and benzodiazepines.

There are specific signs to look for when you suspect overdose.  These can include bluish nails or lips, depressed or shallow breathing, weak pulse, pinpoint pupils, extreme drowsiness or loss of consciousness.  If you see these signs in a loved one, and suspect they may have overdosed, call 911 immediately.  After calling 911 for assistance, check to be sure their airway is clear – if the person is unconscious but breathing, roll them on their side, loosen their clothing, provide reassurance that help is on the way and keep them calm. If you suspect an overdose, try to prevent the person from taking more drugs. Be prepared to give the following information to emergency personnel:  What the person is using, when they last used, and the address where the person is.  Please stay close and monitor them until emergency help arrives.  If you have been trained to perform rescue breathing, be prepared to provide that until help arrives.  If you don’t have that training, and have a loved one struggling with addiction, look into available CPR training in your area.

Naloxone (or Nar-can) can be administered in the case of a suspected overdose.  It can reverse the effects of the overdose about an hour, long enough to seek help, and will not harm someone who hadn’t overdosed.  In some areas, naloxone is available to loved ones of addicts at risk of overdose to have on hand when an overdose is suspected.  Never make the mistake of believing that administering naloxone can take the place of emergency treatment.  It’s a life-saving measure to buy you a little time, but immediate medical treatment is still required.

Again, this point can not be stressed enough – IMMEDIATE life-saving measures are the key to surviving an overdose.  Any time an overdose is suspected, emergency measures need to be taken immediately.  Do not let an addict talk you out of calling 911, and do anything possible to ensure that they receive follow-up care after the emergency personnel have done their job.  Have them admitted to the hospital immediately or enroll them into a treatment program as soon as possible.

The best way to prevent overdose is to get your loved one into a residential treatment program where they can receive counseling and relapse prevention tools, while removed from access to their drug of choice, and able to be fully focused on their recovery.

It’s true that the best defense is a good offense.  A successful treatment program will offer an addict the opportunity to identify not only the triggers that cause them to use currently and devise strategies to cope with them, but also to identify the underlying issues and find out why the substance abuse began in the first place.