Author Archives: Detox Counselor

Understanding Detox And Recovery From Suboxone

Understanding Detox And Recovery From SuboxoneWhen most people think of drug addiction, they think of marijuana, cocaine or heroin. However, prescription drug addictions are more common than ever. Addiction to one prescription drug often leads to other forms of addiction, particularly if your doctor has prescribed a substance to treat your original addiction.

Suboxone is one example of a drug that feeds off other addictions. Doctors prescribe Suboxone for patients already addicted to opioids such as OxyContin or heroin. However, patients can develop dependencies to this medication as well. If you are addicted to Suboxone, treatment for this substance and your original drug addiction is crucial.

Understanding What Suboxone Is

Suboxone contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is an opioid medication, and naloxone blocks its narcotic effects. This way, a patient can take buprenorphine for chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia and other conditions without getting the “high” people often experience with opioids.

In theory, this should prevent opioid abuse. However, many patients overuse Suboxone for reasons other than highs. For example, they might use it in search of a better night’s sleep, or because their pain might be very severe.

Suboxone comes as a tablet and in a film or strip that dissolves under the tongue. Patients should never inject or crush Suboxone and mix it into liquid. Those who take this drug need to be tested frequently to ensure proper liver function. They must also wear medical alert tags or bracelets in case of an emergency, such as accidental overdose.

Complications From Suboxone Interaction

As with many other drugs, patients should never mix Suboxone with other prescriptions or alcohol. To avoid dependency, patients should not keep leftover Suboxone tablets or films, and they should endeavor to take Suboxone exactly as prescribed. Patients should consult doctors about missed doses: It’s often OK to let a missing dose go, but not always.

Suboxone and its variant, Subutex, are potentially dangerous prescription drugs. They underwent only 16 weeks of FDA testing before going on the market to treat addiction. Additionally, they remain somewhat obscure, receiving less research than similar drugs.

Suboxone Side Effects

What Are Suboxone Side EffectsSuboxone has a long list of side effects. Some are common and found with most prescription drugs. However, others are potentially dangerous. For example, Suboxone can make you extremely drowsy. This often leads to weakness and shallow breathing, which can cause severe respiratory distress and other life-threatening conditions, especially if the user has taken other drugs that slow the heart and breathing functions.

Nausea and vomiting are also common. Sometimes these side effects mimic withdrawal symptoms, even if you are taking regular Suboxone doses. Many people experience constipation, diarrhea and clay-colored stools, along with other gastrointestinal issues. Such issues may lead to malnutrition and overall debilitation. Contact your doctor immediately if you are struggling to eat and drink regularly while taking Suboxone.

Other Suboxone side effects also mimic other aspects of withdrawal. These include shaking, sweating and muscle pain or cramps. Patients who use the sublingual film may experience tongue pain or swelling. Numbness or redness inside the mouth is common as well. Arm and leg swelling also occurs, in many cases.

How Do I Know If I’m Addicted To Suboxone?

Due to its laundry list of side effects, it isn’t always easy to identify addiction to Suboxone or Subutex. Many patients do not seek addiction treatment until they experience overdose symptoms.

Early overdose symptoms include:

  • Clammy skin
  • Muscle flaccidity
  • Lowered heart rate and blood pressure
  • Circulatory or respiratory issues

If you suspect you are overdosing, contact your doctor immediately. He or she will treat the overdose and give you a full physical exam. The exam’s results will help clinicians tailor your treatment plan when you begin detox.

What To Expect During Detox And Recovery From Suboxone

Suboxone detoxification may feel harder than other detox regimens because it requires getting off a drug that was supposed to end a different addiction. During detox, you will probably deal with severe original symptoms such as anxiety, insomnia and panicking. This is why it is so vital to detox in an addiction treatment facility with professionals nearby to help.

Additionally, withdrawal from Suboxone or Subutex looks a bit different from most withdrawal processes. Many addicts mistake initial endorphin drops for withdrawal. However, true withdrawal does not begin until addicts start tapering off dosages. True withdrawal can take as long as 72 hours to begin, and the full process can last up to a month.

Many Suboxone withdrawal symptoms mimic those of other drugs, especially opioids. You will experience the worst physical and psychological symptoms within the first 72 hours after initial withdrawal. Symptoms include headaches, fever or chills, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Psychologically, you may experience resurgent original symptoms such as anxiety, agitation and insomnia. Some addicts get violent at this stage, but clinicians will help you avoid harming yourself and others.

During the first week of withdrawal, your physical symptoms will decrease, but you may still experience anxiety and mood swings. Within two weeks, the worst physical and psychological symptoms will decrease dramatically. However, you will probably experience cravings and depression. Inpatient treatment can help tremendously during this stage.

Suboxone Addiction Therapy

Addiction therapies will vary depending on your facility. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a must: Your therapist may use psychodrama or role-playing as part of it. Other facilities offer equine, art, music and recreational therapy, including group fitness classes, personal yoga, tai chi or qigong sessions.

Some facilities supplement detox with electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback, also called neurofeedback. Biofeedback helps you retrain your brain to respond to stress without opioids or Suboxone. Acupuncture may be a therapeutic option, and your health care provider may offer you vitamins and other supplements to reinstate proper nutrition.

Seeking Help For Suboxone Addiction

If you or a loved is suffering from Suboxone or Subutex addiction, contact Pathways Recovery right away. We will work with you, your physician and your family to determine a treatment plan that covers Suboxone and original opioid addictions.

Immersive Opioid Detox Program in Sacramento Area

Understanding the Alcohol Detoxification Process For Recovery

Understanding the Alcohol Detoxification Process For Recovery

What You Need To Know Regarding Alcohol Detox

Alcohol is one of the most difficult substances for your body to stop. And, unlike many drugs, alcohol is legal and available in most places. Additionally, alcohol withdrawal symptoms set in quickly, about eight hours after your last drink. Many times, symptoms are so severe alcoholics give up on recovery before it has begun.

If you struggle with alcohol dependency, know that you can make a full recovery. Understanding what to expect from the detox process helps you stay physically and mentally strong. In addition, it is crucial to go through detox with a support system. Trying to quit alone lessens your chances for lasting sobriety.

The First Steps Toward Recovery

Because of how physically debilitating detoxifying from alcohol makes people, the process is best done in a facility with medical care, either inpatient or outpatient. At a facility, you have immediate and ongoing access to professionals, as well as other alcoholics who know what you’re going through and can lend support.

Before entering a detox facility, you should have a full health exam. This lets your doctor and other clinicians know how to help you. If you have particular needs that will influence detoxification, clinicians can tailor the process to fit them. Your doctor will continue monitoring your health throughout detox and recovery.

An Overview Of Alcohol Detoxification

Alcohol withdrawal happens in three stages with varying symptoms. The first stage can begin as soon as eight hours into detoxing, but it could take longer; some alcoholics don’t experience symptoms for a couple days. During the first stage, expect to symptoms to range from headaches and sweating to shaking and mild-to-moderate anxiety. Alcohol cravings are often intense in this stage. Stay close to professionals and other supports to avoid temptation.

Withdrawal usually peaks within 24-48 hours, though peak symptoms can last five to seven days. The symptoms include increased anxiety, confusion, and disorientation. Some alcoholics lash out or become violent. During peak withdrawal, physical symptoms become more severe, too. Your body temperature will fluctuate more; many alcoholics develop fevers at this stage. You may sweat and shake profusely, vomit, or have diarrhea.

Why Medical Care Aids Recovery

Some alcoholics experience Delirium Tremens, or DTs. This is a potentially dangerous medical condition involving the above symptoms as well as hallucinations or seizures. Hallucinations are usually visual but sometimes are auditory. Tactile hallucinations, such as the sensation of bugs crawling on your skin, are less common but not unheard of. Seizures may occur in short flurries, or you may experience more intense seizures at longer intervals. The longer you’ve had an alcohol addiction, the more at risk you are for DTs. Other risk factors also apply, such as being over 30.

During the final withdrawal stage, your symptoms will decrease considerably, but you may not be well enough to fight the mental need for alcohol, which can be extremely powerful. The third withdrawal stage is the longest and possibly most difficult. For some alcoholics, this stage lasts a month or more. You may experience symptoms periodically long after withdrawal is “over.” In such cases, inpatient treatment helps tremendously.

Have Support During The Detox Process

Many alcoholics believe they can detox alone, especially if they use anti-alcohol drugs. Drugs such as Naltrexone and Antabuse do help, but they are no substitute for medically assisted treatment.

Alcoholics are prone to risky behavior during withdrawal, especially if they were heavy drinkers before. Accidents, including head injuries, are common. Most alcoholics struggle to eat and drink properly during recovery, but not eating and drinking properly worsens symptoms. Additionally, the symptoms of delirium tremens and severe withdrawal can cause coma or death if left untreated.

An Overview Of Alcohol DetoxificationMany alcoholics have comorbid disorders – other dangerous disorders in addition to alcohol dependency. For example, some anorexics drink alcohol in place of eating, leading to a phenomenon called drunkorexia. Others have psychological disorders such as depression, generalized anxiety, panic attacks, and psychosis. If you know or suspect you have one of these, you need a dual diagnosis from a medical professional. Coexisting disorders often lie at the root of addiction, so treating them properly is crucial.

The Psychological Need For Professional Alcohol Detox

Recovering from alcoholism causes a range of emotions. You may feel sad, frightened, angry, or overwhelmed. Without healthy coping mechanisms, you will solve these feelings with alcohol. However, a facility like Pathways provides the psychological help you need. Counselors familiar with addiction will guide you through a number of therapies. Your treatment will include cognitive behavioral therapy and might include role-playing, equine therapy, recreational therapies, or music and art.

During therapy, you will gain the coping mechanisms and self-regulation to get control of your alcohol dependency. You’ll learn how to build healthy relationships, as well as how to repair the relationships alcoholism has damaged. Additionally, therapy will challenge you to change your thought processes. Negative thought processes like, “I’m worthless,” “I’m not good at anything,” or “I can’t change” drive people to unhealthy solutions. Once you learn to say, “I have value,” and “My life can change,” you will be less likely to return to addiction.

What Are Facilities Like?

Many alcoholics fear detox and recovery in a facility. They may picture Spartan environments where people will treat them without respect. However, most facilities around the country are the exact opposite. Many offer luxury treatment, because alcoholism recovery is such a personal and challenging process. Luxury facilities include private rooms, internet access, and more one-on-one attention than is typical in traditional facilities.

However, traditional facilities are often as warm and welcoming as luxury ones. In traditional setups, addicts receive access to a wide variety of therapies. Their meals are satisfying and nutritious, and they receive a balance of private time and time with others. For many facilities, including ours, the focus is on building rapport with clinicians and potential friends.

Learn More About Pathways Recovery's Professional and Safe Drug and Alcohol Detox Program:

Our Detox Program

Sacramento California Alcohol And Drug Abuse Rates And Statistics

Sacramento California Alcohol And Drug Abuse Rates And StatisticsSubstance abuse has become prevalent across the country. Heavily populated and urban areas, such as Sacramento, have seen a marked increase in usage rates in the past decade. In 2007, 29.7 percent of adults in California participated in binge drinking. Sacramento, meanwhile, showed a rate of 30.2 percent.

Fortunately, these numbers are beginning to fall for the first time. Sacramento has seen 29 percent fewer drug- and alcohol-related hospital admissions since 2012. This may be seen as a sign that prevention and treatment methods are working, but it does not mean that the danger in Sacramento has passed.

Indicators Of Sacramento California Alcohol And Drug Abuse Issues

There are two ways that information is gathered about drug and alcohol use. The first is through admission rates from treatment centers and hospitals. Additional statistics typically come from surveys conducted through medical facilities, schools, employers and other sources.

There are five major indicators that are used to gauge substance abuse:

  • Admissions to treatment facilities
  • Arrests in drug- and alcohol-related crimes
  • Motor vehicle accidents that happen under the influence
  • Hospitalization
  • Deaths

Admission Rates To Alcohol And Drug Treatment Centers

Admission rates are a reliable source of information, but they may not show the whole picture. According to estimates from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, only a fraction of addicts seek help. In 2009, 2.6 million individuals across the country received treatment at a specialized facility. This is out of 23.5 million people who reportedly needed treatment for substance abuse – meaning that only 11 percent were finding help.

A Growing Trend Of Addiction Treatment

sacramento-california-alcohol-and-drug-abuse-rates-and-statistics

The number of individuals seeking treatment has been climbing for many years, and experts attribute the lower overall usage rates to the fact that more users are finding help. After all, it can be difficult or even impossible to overcome addiction without professional assistance and support.

In 2000, only 5,708 people in Sacramento were admitted to treatment facilities for substance abuse. More than half of those patients, or 3,092, were female. By 2008, that overall number had grown to 8,756 and treatment was more prevalent among men. In fact, men have consistently been admitted more frequently to treatment programs since 2002.

Methamphetamine abuse was the most common reason for seeking treatment in Sacramento for several years, but in 2012, marijuana overtook the No.1 spot. Both of these are slightly surprising considering alcohol is the most prevalent cause in the rest of the country.

Back in 2000, 26.2 percent of total admissions in Sacramento were related to methamphetamine. The rest were:

  • 6% heroin
  • 2% alcohol
  • 4% cocaine
  • 1% marijuana
  • 5% other drugs

Substance Abuse Patterns In Age And Race

Substance abuse does not discriminate: Anyone can be drawn into the use of drugs and alcohol. That said, Caucasian patients make up most of the recorded cases at 45.6 percent. African Americans and Hispanics comprise 24.3 and 21.5 percent, respectively. All other racial groups comprise the remaining 8.6 percent.

Nearly half of the admissions (45.2 percent) came from adults aged 25 to 44 years in 2008. The second largest group is 17 and younger, with the smallest number of admissions coming from seniors 65 years and older.

Arrests Related To Drugs And Alcohol

sacramento-arrests-related-to-drugs-and-alcoholThe initial harm from substance abuse is to the user and his immediate family. The rest of the population begins to feel the effects when addiction results in crime – most notably, violent crime. An effective way to track drug-related crime is to examine the number of corresponding arrests.

The number of arrests in Sacramento has actually dropped since 2000 (when it was 9,720), although it peaked in 2006 at 10,931. These numbers include both felonies and misdemeanors. Drug-related crime rates in Sacramento are comparable to the rest of California, but remain slightly lower.

A majority of the arrests involve male culprits. From 2000 to 2008, an average of 76 percent of these arrests involved boys and men, ages 10 to 69. However, only 68 percent of treatment admissions were male, hinting that women may be more likely to seek help.

Motor Vehicle Accidents Involving Alcohol And Drugs

Another way to measure the impact of substance use is by examining the number of related motor vehicle accidents. Intoxicated drivers are involved in more than 57 percent of all motor vehicle crashes in California. More than 3,700 individuals were killed in single-vehicle incidents in 2004 alone.

There were more than 180,000 arrests for DUI in the same year, equaling 1 in every 121 licensed drivers throughout the United States. Thousands of people were killed in traffic crashes, and another 2,000 pedestrians and cyclists were struck by an impaired driver.

fatal-accidents-involving-drugs-and-alcohol-in-sacramento-californiaMost of these cases involve alcohol rather than other drugs. There also is a noticeable pattern of convicted individuals. Almost 75 percent of these offenders are regular heavy drinkers or full-fledged alcoholics, which leads many experts to believe that these people regularly drive while intoxicated.

The number of fatalities caused by DUI motor vehicle accidents has been steadily declining. There are two reasons attributed to this trend: newer vehicles have better safety engineering, and fewer people are drinking and driving. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (or IIHS) has been awarding crash-test ratings for many years, and new technologies have emerged that help compartmentalize the vehicle, provide increased support for the heads of occupants and more effectively restrain bodies during a crash.

Fewer people are involved in accidents involving impaired driving. From 1988 to 1998, the number of fatalities dropped an impressive 57.3 percent and has continued to steadily fall. In 1988, there were 18,503 deadly crashes involving alcohol. By 2014, there were only 9,967. The number is still too high, but the improvement is encouraging.

Hospitalization As A Result Of Substance Abuse

Sacramento HospitalizationThe Sacramento area also shows a lower rate of hospitalizations due to drugs and alcohol. In 2007, there were 205 cases for every 100,000 people statewide. Sacramento County, though, showed just 169 per 100,000. This equated to approximately 2,300 instances. The statistics include overdoses, but also take other accidents into account, such as falls or infections (as long as they were linked to substance abuse).

In 25 percent of hospitalizations, the gender was unspecified on the report, but the known cases show little difference between men and women: 38 percent were male and 36 were female, while the rest were unspecified.

Alcohol And Drug-Related Deaths

Death, of course, is the most serious potential danger of substance abuse. Cause of death reports are a sobering yet reliable way to gather information about those affected. Sacramento County showed fewer hospitalizations than the state average, but it has consistently seen a higher mortality rate. In 2002, there were 25.4 deaths per 100,000 people in the county, as compared to 20.1 per 100,000 in the state. By 2005, those numbers were 31.8 and 21.4, respectively.

There has been a noticeable decrease in deaths in the county since then. The state number was unchanged in 2007, yet Sacramento County saw its rate fall to 27.05. Of these deaths, 64 percent were male.

The Biggest Killers

Accidental drug poisoning is the most common cause of drug- and alcohol-related death. Out of 387 cases in Sacramento, 157 of them were related to overdoses. Alcoholic liver disease is a close second with 126 confirmed cases. Psychosis, dependence, myopathy, intentional overdoses and alcohol poisoning are some of the remaining causes.

Hope For The Future

Despite the growing national numbers, Sacramento County appears to be on the path to decreasing drug- and alcohol-related tragedies. Increased access to information and treatment centers likely contributed to the favorable statistics, but only time will tell how far they’ll drop and if such tactics can be deployed across the nation.

At Pathways Recovery, We Are Striving to Help the Sacramento Community Deal with the Problem of Substance Abuse in a Positive Manner, through Outreach and Therapeutic Treatment.

Contact Pathways Recovery

National Methamphetamine Awareness Day Is Coming: What You Should Know

National Methamphetamine Awareness Day - Pathways Recovery CaliforniaNovember 30, 2016 is National Methamphetamine Awareness Day. Pathways Recovery is dedicated to eradicating all addiction, whether involving drugs or alcohol. We think it’s important, however, to know all you can about the various drugs out there. The more you know, the better you are able to avoid addiction.

Methamphetamine is highly dangerous and negatively affects hundreds of thousands of people every year. Yet, the recognition of National Methamphetamine Awareness Day is somewhat recent. It was first recognized in 2006, making November 30 one of the "younger" drug awareness days in America. As we learn more about methamphetamine and raise awareness of it, we can work to prevent more people from using this drug.

Why National Methamphetamine Awareness Day Is Important

Since 2012, there has been a rise in methamphetamine usage. In 2012, an estimated 1.2 million people reported using the drug in the past year. In a 2013 survey, an estimated 595,000 people in the United States used methamphetamine in the last month, as compared to 353,000 total users in 2010. In 2012, 19.4 percent of drug offenses involved methamphetamine. Many offenders were convicted for meth trafficking. Offenders were found in possession of 3.3 to 11 pounds of methamphetamine.

Surprisingly, sentencing for methamphetamine possession, trafficking and personal use has become less harsh since 2012. Although 98.9 percent of methamphetamine offenders were sent to prison, only 34.1 percent of offenders received the recommended minimum sentence or longer.

In the years between 2008 and 2012, 40 percent of methamphetamine offenders received a sentence outside applicable guideline ranges. In many cases, this was because the state or federal government encouraged a below-range sentence. While the average minimum sentence guidelines for methamphetamine use remains the same, average sentences have decreased.

Is There An 'Average Methamphetamine Offender'?

Most methamphetamine traffickers convicted in 2012 were male (about 80 percent). Just over half of these individuals had no prior criminal history, and 68 percent were United States citizens. In 2012, most methamphetamine traffickers were white or Hispanic (47.6 and 45.4 percent, respectively). Only 2.5 percent of traffickers were black, and 4.5 percent were of other races.

Methamphetamine users are often young. In 2012, the average age of someone sentenced for methamphetamine use or trafficking was 35 years old. About 23.5 percent of reported users were minors or participated minimally in the offense, which decreased their sentences. These statistics indicate the average methamphetamine user or trafficker is a young white male. However, anyone can use methamphetamine and become addicted, and they could face serious negative consequences.

Types Of Methamphetamine

When most people think of methamphetamine, they think of crystal meth. While this is a popular and dangerous drug, there are several other forms of methamphetamine.

Most users take methamphetamine in one of three ways: The first is crystalline, which comes in an ice or crystal form. The second is powder (also known as “speed”). Third, some people take the methamphetamine base.

Methamphetamine derivatives are also popular. One derivative is ecstasy, which is commonly sold as a tablet. Methamphetamine derivatives are sometimes used as ingredients in herbal or vitamin supplements because they increase the user’s energy.

The Effects Of Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine users swallow, snort, smoke or inject the drug. Many users choose methamphetamine because it provides short-term bursts of high energy and alertness. As with many other drugs, methamphetamine cause a sense of euphoria, which often leaves users addicted to the emotional high.

The high energy associated with meth can cause:

  • Increased talkativeness
  • Shaking hands
  • Teeth grinding
  • Profuse sweating
  • Jaw clenching
  • Dry mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Paranoia
  • Frequent meth usage often causes nausea and vomiting, decreased appetite, libido changes and aggression or hostility.

    The Dangers Of Methamphetamine

    Long-term methamphetamine users experience a range of severe physical, mental and emotional symptoms. Extreme weight loss as well as deterioration of the mouth, teeth and skin are all common. In some cases, meth users experience brain damage and memory loss, which can permanently affect cognition.

    Many meth users sustain organ problems, such as:

    • Weakened heart
    • Kidney damage
    • Liver damage

    If the methamphetamine was snorted or smoked, the user may suffer from respiratory diseases and damage to his or her nose, sinuses and lungs.

    The psychological symptoms associated with methamphetamine use are often debilitating, too. Meth users may experience mood swings or depression. Some engage in violent behavior. In some cases, long-term methamphetamine usage leads to psychosis, strokes and brain damage similar to Alzheimer’s disease.

    Awareness Brings Solutions

    If you or a loved one is suffering from any kind of addiction, not just methamphetamine (crystal meth), please call us today and speak to one of our specialists, no matter what the drug or alcohol addiction you face. We have the solution!

    It’s National Recovery Month: Here’s What You Need To Know

    It’s National Recovery Month - Here’s What You Need To KnowSeptember is National Recovery Month. For addicts and their loved ones, it’s a time to increase awareness and celebrate sobriety. Each year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sponsors the month in an effort to promote the understanding of substance abuse and mental disorders.

    What Is National Recovery Month?

    National Recovery Month is a nationwide observance to educate Americans about how mental health and recovery services help addicts live enriching, healthy lives. It’s also a celebration of those who recover, just as we celebrate those who overcome heart disease and cancer.

    The Importance Of Behavioral Health

    National Recovery Month reinforces the message that our behavioral health is just as important as our physical health. Just as breast cancer awareness focuses on the importance of mammograms, substance abuse awareness emphasizes that treatment programs can and do work. The evidence is all around us, and September marks a time for public to see it.

    Transforming Lives

    Each year, thousands of prevention, recovery, and treatment programs participate in sharing success stories. Often unnoticed by the population at large, recovery services have transformed the lives of millions of addicts and their loved ones. Through a series of coordinated events, mental health workers help spread awareness about this process while destigmatizing addiction and substance abuse disorders.

    History And Conception

    National Recovery Month began in 1989 as Treatment Works! Month. Originally, it was a celebration of all those in the field who made sobriety possible. A decade later, the celebration became National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month to include those who successfully overcame a substance abuse disorder. In 2011, it was renamed again and now is called National Recovery Month to celebrate everyone involved in the process while emphasizing the importance of behavioral health. This is the celebration’s 27th year.

    Organizations That Make It Possible

    Recovery Month is a coordinated effort of more than 200 federal, state, and local government organizations, as well as nonprofit groups and associations that are committed to the prevention and treatment of substance and mental abuse disorders. Supporting groups help develop and disseminate teaching materials, awareness initiatives, and event promotion. The planning partners also come up with a theme for each year’s celebration.

    Join The Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!

    This year, Recovery Month focuses on the holistic effort that drives patient recovery. Substance abuse disorders affect more than just the patient; effects spread to families and loved ones. A success story is often a coordinated effort of a patient, the patient’s families, and their support professionals. This year is a celebration of that systemic effort.

    This National Recovery Month, take a few moments to learn about the recovery process through the stories of patients and their families. Celebrate every victory, and realize each new milestone is a step in the lifelong journey of recovery. Click the button below for help on your recovery path.

    Recovery Resources

    Detoxing From Benzodiazepines

    Benzodiazepine WithdrawalsBenzodiazepines include brand-name anxiety/insomnia medications such as Xanax, Valium, Klonopin, and Ativan. Over time, recreational and prescription benzodiazepine users can develop a dependency on the substance for its fast-acting, relaxing, and hypnotic qualities. In addition to short-term symptom management, medical providers also use the substance to calm patients before anesthesia or surgery or to lessen the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal.

    Benzodiazepine drug abuse is typically defined as daily long-term use. After a period as short as three months of regular or daily use, an individual can experience the telltale signs of addiction, including cravings and a quick rebound of negative symptoms such as anxiety or sleeplessness.

    How Benzodiazepines Affect The Brain

    In the brain, benzodiazepines boost the effects of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), one of the most common central nervous system neurotransmitters. The acid blocks nerve impulses in the brain, which translates to psychological tranquilization. Under normal conditions, the body does an adequate job of releasing GABA as needed. Taking a benzodiazepine strengthens the power of GABA in the brain. When used as prescribed, benzodiazepines offer almost immediate relief (within 30 minutes) to those who suffer from panic attacks or extreme anxiety. When taken recreationally, the class of drugs acts as a sedative and numbing agent.

    Over time, individuals may need higher doses of benzodiazepines to feel the same level of sedation. The substance creates both physical and psychological addiction, which may contribute to a more difficult experience with detox.

    The Importance Of Detoxing From Benzodiazepines

    Benzodiazepine abuse and dependence affects an individual’s quality of life. Those who are dependent may display symptoms of detachment, sedation, and confusion or dementia. When taken with other drugs, benzodiazepines increases the risk for health complications such as respiratory suppression or coma. In extreme cases, it also contributes to overdose-related death.

    Abusers may also exhibit a lost interest in life and life events and make excuses for not engaging in once enjoyable events. Detox allows recovering individuals to reconnect with the real world, regain a lost quality of life, experience clear-headedness, and regain a more positive attitude.

    Detox Timeframe For Benzodiazepine Addiction

    Depending on the type of benzodiazepine and the medication’s half-life, withdrawal symptoms can begin within a few hours or within a day. For those recovering from a powerful benzodiazepine drug such as Xanax, the effects of withdrawal can begin within 12 hours. Most addicted individuals overcome the worst of the detox period within two weeks, but residual side effects may last as long as a few months or years without medical support. Other factors that influence the recovery timeframe include genetics, dosage, the timeframe of addiction, general health and wellness, and mental health.

    Symptoms Of Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

    During the withdrawal period, those in recovery can experience the following symptoms at various levels of intensity:

    • Returning symptoms of anxiety or difficulty sleeping
    • Severe panic or anxiety attacks
    • Muscle tension
    • Upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting
    • Difficulty concentrating or thinking
    • Mood swings and agitation
    • Intense cravings for benzodiazepines
    • Loss of appetite and weight loss
    • Hallucinations
    • Seizures
    • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

    These acute symptoms may last a few weeks or several months, depending on the individual. In rare instances, someone may experience protracted symptoms that recur years after the detox period. Certain symptoms may affect some people more than others, while some people may go through the detox period with relatively few symptoms.

    Additional drug addictions often play a role in benzodiazepine detox. When taken in conjunction with other addictive prescriptions or illegal drugs, the symptoms associated with benzodiazepine use may change.

    Benzodiazepine Detox Often Requires Medical Care

    In most cases, people addicted to benzodiazepines can’t simply stop taking the drug and resume normal activities. Going cold turkey can result in serious medical complications, including severe muscle cramps and seizures. Instead, most addicts must wean off the medication or take additional prescriptions to reduce the risk of serious withdrawal complications. Only a qualified medical care professional can provide the right level of emotional, physical, and mental support.

    Recovery programs often approach addiction from more than one angle. They help an individual move past the physical symptoms of recovery, but they also provide access to a support group of other recovering individuals. Some recovery programs also provide meaningful educational information so patients can regain their health and happiness.

    Is Placer County, California, The Next Target Of The Teen & Young Adult Heroin Epidemic?

    Placer County, California, the Next Target of the Teen and Young Adult Heroin EpidemicOpioid abuse and heroin addiction have risen dramatically since the early 2000s. They affect every socioeconomic class, age, and gender in our nation, and pose a great threat to public health. California has not been spared. Statistics show that Placer County opioid abuse and heroin addiction are higher than the national average. What can we do as parents, educators, and community leaders to protect our teens and young adults?

    Recognizing The Scope Of The Problem

    The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), a division of the National Institutes of Health, classifies opioid abuse and heroin addiction as an epidemic. NIDA estimates that in the United States, 2.1 million people abuse opioids and approximately 500,000 people are addicted to heroin. The number of prescription opioid-related deaths has quadrupled since 1999.

    Cali Hospitals Treated Patients for Overdoses

    In 2013, California hospitals treated 11,500 patients for opioid and heroin overdoses. Every 45 minutes, a person in California overdoses. This staggering statistic represents a 50 percent increase from 2006. Hospitals in rural northern California see more overdoses than other parts of the state. Placer County, Sacramento County, and Shasta County all rank higher than the national average for opioid abuse and heroin addiction.

    Opioid Prescriptions On The Rise

    In 2001, The Joint Commission deemed pain the fifth vital sign in pain management. Physicians are required to manage pain effectively, based on a patient’s perceived pain scale. Hospitals evaluations consider how well the physicians do it.

    As a result, opioid prescriptions have skyrocketed in the last two decades. In 1991, there were 76 million opioid prescriptions in the United States. In 2012, opioid prescriptions more than doubled to 207 million. Along with the surge in prescriptions, the number of emergency room visits related to abuse steadily rose, from 144,000 in 2004 to 305,000 in 2008. The United States is the largest consumer of opioids, accounting for 100 percent of the global supply of hydrocodone and 81 percent of oxycodone.

    Increased opioid prescriptions mean greater access for teens and young adults in family homes. A doctor may dispense a 30-day prescription of Vicodin following surgery, but a patient may need pain relief for only a few days. Instead of disposing of the prescription, the leftover pills sit in a medicine cabinet at home.

    How Opioids Become Drugs Of Abuse

    Physicians commonly prescribe opioids for moderate-to-severe pain. They work by attaching to opioid receptors in the body, which both reduce the perception of pain and trigger a rush of endorphins, producing a sense of well-being. Endorphins are the body’s naturally occurring opioids.

    As people continue to use synthetic opioids, the body begins to inhibit its own opioid-producing system. Users have to increase their dosages to experience the same effects, which leads to a dangerous cycle of building tolerance and increasing risk of overdose. This is how addiction develops.

    Addictive Behaviors In Teens And Young Adults

    When teens and young adults begin to abuse opioids, they may take the drugs in ways other than prescribed. For example, they may crush and snort the drugs to increase their effects and produce a rush of euphoria. Most oral opioids are extended-release pills, providing long-lasting pain relief and minimizing the risk of addiction. When someone crushes and snorts or smokes these pills, however, they put the body into overdrive, triggering a massive release of endorphins that leads teens and young adults to experience a high.

    Opioids are alluring and dangerous for teens because they affect the reward center of the brain. This makes the drugs highly addicting. Because many of us keep opioids from old injuries or oral surgeries in our medicine cabinets, they’re easy for teens and young adults to obtain. The more potent the opioid, the easier the path to addiction is.

    Opioids And Their Relationship To Heroin

    As the opioid epidemic increases, so does access to heroin. Government officials have taken steps to curb opioid abuse by establishing new prescribing guidelines for physicians. Since it’s harder for many prescription pill abusers to get access to opioids, they turn to the next best thing: heroin, which is also an opioid.

    Heroin use has skyrocketed in the past few years, with the number of past-year users doubling between 2005 and 2012. NIDA directly links increased heroin use to the opioid epidemic, because it is the next logical step in the addiction path. Heroin is cheaper and more readily available than prescription opioids. It provides a viable alternative to achieving the euphoric effect associated with mis-using pills.

    Heroin is particularly dangerous because, unlike prescription drugs, there is no control over its purity. Heroin cut with fentanyl, a potent opioid, has found its way into local communities. When combined with other substances, heroin carries a higher risk of overdose and death. Anecdotal evidence suggests that heroin combined with fentanyl can bring about overdose within seconds of injection into a vein.

    Heroin Affecting Teens

    Heroin And Opioid Use In Placer County Teens And Young Adults

    Statewide emergency room data shows that heroin use among young adults has risen sharply in recent years. It is a growing problem in northern California, though some areas have more problems than others do. Lincoln Police Chief Rex Marks notes that, although heroin isn’t as prevalent in his area as some other parts of the country, it was easy for teens to obtain.

    Heroin once was a drug for the affluent. Now it is more affordable than meth, selling for $40 to $50 for a few grams. According to the County Sheriff’s Office, heroin use is up, based on possession arrests and deaths from overdose. The majority of victims are in their 20s.

    Prescription Pill Abuse

    According to data from the Drug Enforcement Agency, prescription pill abuse is rising among teens. Oxycodone is the most widely used and abused drug among 12- to 24-year-olds.

    In Placer County, 11th-graders abuse prescription pills at a rate two times the national average. This sobering statistic should compel concerned parents, educators, and community leaders to act.

    What Adults Can Do To Combat Opioid Abuse In Teens And Young Adults

    Parents and educators can take simple steps to prevent prescription drug and heroin abuse in teens and young adults. One simple step is for parents to clear out their medicine cabinets. The Roseville Police Department recently coordinated an effort to take back prescription drugs from residents, and safely and effectively dispose of them. Their last event yielded over 9,000 pounds of prescription drugs.

    Parental Efforts

    According to the Coalition for Placer Youth, those who learn about drug risks from their parents are 50 percent less likely to use. Parents should not be afraid to talk with their teens about the dangers of opioid abuse and its path to riskier behaviors such as heroin addiction. Teens identify their parents as the #1 influence in their lives. Parents should provide guidance about possible negative consequences of opioid use and abuse.

    The sheer availability of prescription drugs makes it possible for Placer County teens to experiment. Make sure to lock up all your current medications in a cabinet. Even if you trust your teen, their friends and acquaintances might not be so trustworthy.

    Know The Consequences

    The adverse outcomes associated with prescription drug abuse are severe. Respiratory distress, addiction, coma, brain damage, and death are all possibilities. Prescription drug experimentation may quickly devolve into heroin abuse, given its increased affordability and availability. Heroin and other intravenous drug use have their own consequences, including transmission of HIV and hepatitis C, among other blood-borne diseases from shared needles.

    Act Quickly And Know The Signs

    Parents, educators, and community leaders should be involved in a multifaceted effort to curb the threat of opioid and heroin abuse at the local and county levels. Parents should talk frankly to their children about the consequences. Educators should implement districtwide initiatives to inform the student body about the dangers of abusing prescription pills. Community leaders should encourage pill take-back programs and offer resources for parents to guide the conversation.

    Prescription pill abuse and heroin addiction are preventable. We, as a community, should be aware of the threat heroin poses to our children and how readily accessible prescription pills are. According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, 168,000 teens were addicted to pain medicine in 2014, and an additional 500,000 were using a pain reliever for nonmedical purposes. In 2014, nearly 30,000 teens aged 12 to 17 used heroin, and 18,000 became addicted.

    Most adolescents who misuse prescription pain relievers get them at no cost from a friend or relative. Don’t let your teen be one of them. Talk to them about the dangers of drug abuse and the connection between prescription pills and heroin. Together, the residents of Placer County can address the issue head on, paving the way for healthier teens and brighter futures.

    Need more information to help your teen or young adult with a drug or potential drug problem? Read here for additional options available to you.

    Family Education Program

    Pain Relief At A Heavy Price: The Effects Of Oxycodone

    Effects Of OxycodoneOxycodone is a semi-synthetic opioid painkiller, most often prescribed by doctors to alleviate moderate to severe pain. It is a very effective narcotic commonly used after surgery or to treat other extremely painful injuries. One of the main characteristics of oxycodone is its highly addictive properties.

    Developed in 1916 by a group of German scientists, oxycodone was originally intended to replace heroin, which was considered at that time (and still is) dangerously addictive. In 1996, Perdue Pharma introduced OxyContin which contained a higher concentration of the drug formulated in an extended time release capsule. Touted as the 12-hour painkiller, the press release from Perdue stated, one tablet in the morning and one before bed would provide “smooth and sustained pain control all day and all night.” OxyContin immediately took off in terms of sales.

    A Wide Range Of Disturbing Side Effects

    While OxyContin was certainly promoted as a convenient source of pain relief, and physicians began to widely prescribe it because of its efficacy, few understood the risks with it and its high potential for addiction. And, even fewer realized the unintended consequences of addicts crushing OxyContin capsules and snorting or injecting them to obtain a euphoric, opium-based high.

    Along with addiction, there are many other unwanted side effects of the drug:

    • Emotional Instability
    • Difficulty Concentrating
    • Euphoria
    • Drowsiness
    • Hallucinations
    • Light Headedness
    • Paranoia
    • Risk of Violence
    • Difficulties Sleeping
    • Cravings
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Mood Changes
    • Agitation
    • Memory Loss
    • Confusion

    Overcoming OxyContin Addiction

    One of the other very unfortunate aspects of OxyContin addiction is the withdrawal symptoms that occur when the drug is stopped. Symptoms of withdrawal can range from nausea, diarrhea and chills to serious complications, such as heart palpitations and seizures. Symptoms of withdrawal tend to be longer with opioid painkillers like oxycodone and can actually occur for weeks and even months, depending on the length of time the individual abused the drug.

    Because symptoms can be both unpredictable and serious, professional detox and rehabilitation provide the best chance for overcoming withdrawal and achieving long-term recovery. For some, medication can be beneficial for overcoming the symptoms of withdrawal. When this is combined with other treatments, including individual and group therapy, yoga, meditation and a 12-step program, the individual can work on recovery of the mind, body and spirit.

    What Else Is Being Done

    Because an increasing number of Americans are becoming addicted to this dangerous medication, there have been recent steps to curb the problem. In 2013, the FDA released labeling guidelines for long acting and extended release opioids that forced the manufacturer, Purdue Pharma, to state that the drug is for:

    “pain severe enough to require daily, around-the-clock, long-term opioid treatment"

    It is no longer recommended for moderate pain. The manufacturer also reformulated the medication to make it more difficult to crush or dissolve.

    Still, the US Department of Health and Human Services estimates that approximately 11 million people in the United States consume oxycodone in a non-medical way annually. And sadly, a significant percentage of these individuals will end up in the emergency room or will die from overdose.

    Get Help Now, Call Today

    Because of the severity of the addiction to OxyContin and the painful side effects, the best chance for recovery is with professional treatment. Don’t wait for your addiction to get worse. Call now for immediate help, one of our specialized counselors will be there for you.

    A Drug 50x Deadlier Than Heroin?

    Fentanyl 50x More Deadly Then HeroinThe dangers of opioid addiction have certainly gained more exposure recently with the deaths of celebrities like Prince, who was reported to be struggling with an addiction to opioid painkillers prior to his untimely death in April. It’s an unfortunate reality that opioid addiction has become an epidemic in the United States, and much of it is being fueled by prescription painkillers.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 80 percent of prescription painkillers are prescribed by 20 percent of prescribers, and sales for prescription painkillers have increased more than 400 percent since 1999. Not surprisingly, the number of overdose from these medications has also increased – by more than 300 percent. In fact, more individuals are dying from prescription pain medications than from heroin and cocaine combined.

    An Illicit Version Of A Prescription Painkiller

    While all opioid painkillers are addictive and can lead to overdose, addiction specialists are particularly worried about one medication that is flooding into cities and towns across the U.S. It’s fentanyl, which is the most potent painkiller on the market. Prescribed by doctors for cancer treatment, the drug was developed to ease the extreme pain of cancer patients. Now, an illicit version of this drug is being sold on the street in the form of pills and powder, causing a growing number of individuals to become addicted and even overdose. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the CDC both believe that illegal fentanyl is currently a national health crisis.

    Clusters of fentanyl-related overdoses are showing up in increasing numbers which has led to the CDC issuing a health advisory to inform health providers and first responders about overdoses. Ohio, Florida and New Hampshire have all seen tremendous jumps in related deaths. In these states and a growing number of others, fentanyl deaths are far surpassing overdoses caused by heroin.

    Just How Dangerous Is Fentanyl?

    Many are surprised by the strength of this drug. When law enforcement confiscates it, they have to wear hazmat suits for protection. It can be absorbed by the skin and the eyes, and only a few small grains of the drug can kill an individual. First appearing on the streets in 2007, the Drug Enforcement Agency traced the drug to a lab in Mexico. Seven years, later the number of  overdoses spiked, and many believe that it is now being produced in China and trafficked through Mexican cartels into the U.S.

    Effects Of Fentanyl Abuse

    Along with the risk of overdose, this drug also has many long-term damaging effects including:

    • Immune suppression
    • Gastrointestinal problems
    • Paranoia
    • Social withdrawal
    • Delusions or hallucinations
    • Personality changes

    Help For Fentanyl Withdrawal

    Withdrawal from this drug requires professional treatment because of the intense symptoms that happen during the detoxification process. If you or a loved one is abusing fentanyl or any other drugs, do not wait another day to get help. It could be a matter of life or death. Call Pathways Recovery immediately for help.

    Why The Risk Of Opana Addiction Continues To Increase

    Continued and updated from our original blog: Opana Taking Over For Oxycontin

    It has been nearly a decade since the powerful prescription painkiller Opana hit the market. Twice as strong as OxyContin, it continues to destroy the lives of abusers and their families.

    The Dangers Of OpanaPathwaysRecovery-SignsOfOxycontin-5-4-16

    Also known as oxymorphone hydrochloride, Opana is two to eight times more potent than morphine and can be crushed, chewed, snorted or injected. Because of its strength, abusers of other opioids are at risk of overdosing on Opana. Unlike OxyContin that can produce a stimulating effect, Opana causes users to fall asleep. One of the biggest risks of the drug is respiratory depression. There is also a big risk for addiction, depending on the dose and frequency of use.

    Classified as a schedule II narcotic by the DEA, Opana also produces side effects of:

    • severe drowsiness
    • light-headedness
    • itchy and/or clammy skin
    • headache
    • constipation
    • trouble breathing
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • decreased heart rate
    • seizures
    • confusion
    • weakness

    When mixed with other drugs or alcohol, the results can be dangerous and even fatal.

    Widespread Availability Leads To More Addicts

    A key reason why Opana has become such a popular drug is because of its street price which is nearly half that of Oxycontin. Many addicts who once used OxyContin or other opioid painkillers have made the switch to Opana. In fact, it has become the drug of choice for many. In Kentucky, the drug was present in the blood of 23 percent of all overdose victims in 2011. Since then, the numbers have only increased.

    The Trend Of Opana Abuse And Addiction

    A decade ago, the drugs of choice were Vicodin or Lortab. This shifted to oxycodone, and today it’s all about Opana which is leading to greater number of addicts and more fatal overdoses. Sadly, the trend is spreading fastest in rural, low-income areas where individuals are purchasing the drug from elderly people with prescriptions who are selling it to supplement social security income. Others are buying the drug from overseas manufacturers. Some are even stealing the drugs from pharmacies or stealing other things to obtain the money to buy the drug. For abusers of Opana who cannot afford the drug, the next step is heroin.

    Are You Battling Opana Addiction?

    Do not underestimate the power of this dangerous drug. Attempting to overcome addiction to Opana is not something to try alone. Withdrawal symptoms can be very serious, and your best chance of recovery is under the watchful eye of professional addition treatment professionals. In many cases, there is insurance that covers detox and rehab for Opana addiction. Call now to get the the help you need, we will be with you every step of the way.

    Learn More About Insurance That Covers Detox And Rehab