Drug Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last?

When someone is looking to quit drugs and alcohol, they can be very apprehensive of beginning what is often a challenging and uncomfortable process? Perhaps the biggest obstacle in discontinuing the use of drugs is dealing with the withdrawal symptoms. No matter the drug of choice, withdrawals can be uncomfortable and painful to endure. Many people who want to quit drugs are fearful of the withdrawal process because of the unknowns. A significant part of overcoming fears concerning drug withdrawal is understanding the symptoms and knowing a general timeline of the duration of symptoms.

As you read this article, keep in mind that the withdrawal timeline can widely vary depending on many factors. These include the drug or combination of drugs being abused, the length of time used, quantity, and the level of dependency. This article contains general timelines of the most commonly abused drugs.

Drug Withdrawal Symptoms: How Long Do They Last?

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms usually begin about 8 hours after the last drink. In that time frame, people may experience symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain and anxiety, among other symptoms. Within 24-72 hours, other symptoms such as high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and confusion may occur. The worst of the initial wave of symptoms usually happens 2-4 days after the last drink. During this period, people may experience hallucinations, fever, and seizures could occur. These symptoms are often associated with a condition called delirium tremens (DTs). This condition can be fatal.

Heroin Withdrawal Timeline

For those withdrawing from heroin use, symptoms usually start to appear within 6-12 hours after the last dose. One of the hallmarks of heroin withdrawal is a low-grade fever—usually around 99 degrees Fahrenheit. Another characteristic of heroin withdrawal is intense heroin cravings, which bring on extreme mood swings, sweating and nausea, and significant aches and pains. People withdrawing from heroin can also experience insomnia, restlessness, and diarrhea. These symptoms (among others) usually peak 1-3 days after the last dose and subside after 5-7 days on average.  

Oxycontin Withdrawal Timeline

As with other prescription painkillers, the severity of Oxycontin withdrawal symptoms varies depending on the level of tolerance and the duration of use. Usually, withdrawal symptoms can appear in as little as six hours after the last dose. Symptoms often include anxiety, agitation, profuse sweating, and insomnia. Users also experience increased muscle aches and pains as well as runny nose and sweating. Other symptoms that can manifest include abdominal cramping, nausea, and diarrhea. The timeline of these symptoms is usually prevalent up to a week, although they may last longer, depending on the user. 

Addiction definition

Beware of PAWS

After the initial round of withdrawal symptoms diminishes, some may feel that the worst is over. However, many in early recovery will experience a second round of withdrawal symptoms a couple of weeks after quitting their drug of choice. These symptoms are part of a phenomenon known as PAWS or post-acute withdrawal syndrome. While these symptoms can occur as the result of any drug, PAWS is most felt in those who have abused alcohol, heroin, prescription painkillers, and stimulants. Unlike the acute symptoms of withdrawal, PAWS symptoms are primarily psychological.

Common symptoms of PAWS include increased aggression and hostility, mood swings, increased states of depression and anxiety, lack of focus, and a lack of libido. It is often thought that PAWS symptoms arise from the stress of the environment, dealing with past emotional traumas as well as underlying psychological and physical issues that impede recovery.

The Need for Professional Treatment

If you or a loved one are looking to quit drugs and alcohol, it is essential to seek professional help. While it may be tempting to try and quit on your own, you will be doing yourself more harm than good. Under the care of experienced professionals, you will undergo medically supervised detox, which will help the withdrawal process become more tolerable. Once you become stabilized, you can enter treatment and receive the tools, support, and care you need to overcome your drug addiction once and for all.

Don’t wait another day to deal with your substance abuse issues. Contact your local addiction treatment professional and discuss the treatment options that best suit your individual and specific needs. 

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The State of Women’s Health During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the most wonderful, purest time in a woman’s life. This phrase is heard by every woman who is at a noticeable period of pregnancy. It is natural, it is beautiful, it is the renewal of the body. Nature gifted a woman with this ability and modern times should provide everything to enjoy its course. However, matter how natural the process of bearing a child is, it is by no means easy.

It doesn’t matter if a woman carries a native child or acts as a surrogate mother, she still has to deal with a number of unpleasant circumstances that accompany pregnancy. And this is not about toxicosis and unusual taste preferences. Bearing a child is a serious stress for the female body. Big changes, both hormonal and psychological, are fast to hit the expectant mother’s organism. But people are different, and life circumstances also come in different shapes.

Alcohol & Smoking

We all know that alcohol is prohibited for pregnant women. It can damage the embryo early on – it is not filtered by the placenta, which means it quickly enters the baby’s blood. One of the main dangers of alcohol is one of its decay products – acetaldehyde. It has a destructive power both in relation to the nervous system of the child and the mother. All in all, drinking alcohol while carrying a baby can lead to mutations in the intrauterine development of the fetus as well as greatly disrupt the already delicate nervous system of a woman.

As for smoking, it is very important to understand that nicotine is a powerful vasoconstrictor. It narrows the capillaries, veins, and arteries. Of course, all this falls on the lot of the baby, whose mother could not deny herself a bad habit.

A great risk is a fetal hypoxia, that is, suffocation. In addition, a pregnant smoker may experience weakness, dizziness, lack of oxygen, pain in the limbs precisely because nicotine squeezes oxygen out of a weakened body.

Surely, any doctor will insist that a woman, having learned about pregnancy, must quit such bad habits as drinking alcohol and smoking. But for many people, this seems beyond the power of will. Therefore, experts recommend seeking specialized help from a doctor in an antenatal clinic where they will be able to approach this issue with the competence of the appropriate specialists.

Pregnancy

Hormonal “American Rides”

A thing that all husbands and relatives are so afraid – hormonal slides – are faced by every other pregnant woman to a lesser or greater extent. Sensations of vulnerability, sensitivity, tendency to cry, often for no reason. All of these sensations are far from unreasonable, however. After all, the whole body is tuned to the process of bearing and the hormonal background of a woman varies greatly based on that.

And the woman is experiencing a strong emotional shock. Now, she is not what she was really, the body is changing, it is becoming literally a stranger, it seems that everything in life happens without the direct participation of the woman herself. Many are scared when they think about what they can give the newborn, both psychologically and genetically. A critical view of the world appears in which a new person will have to be brought.

These changes, questions, doubts are absolutely natural. Both for mothers who bear their own baby and for surrogate mothers. Female hormones can literally endure a woman’s brain. Irresistible feelings of jealousy, anger, irritation with instant transformation into unbridled joy, euphoria, tenderness – these are typical hormonal slides.

Thus, a woman needs to treat her psychological health with understanding and due attention. Try to share your feelings more with your loved ones and let them help, support as much as they can.

Specifics of Mental Health During Pregnancy

When a woman expects a baby, she often does not feel well. Such phenomena as nausea, dizziness, fastidiousness in food, inconvenience due to weight gain and body position constantly accompany pregnancy. And this leads to the accumulation of psychological disorders.

Of course, you can often get by with the help of loved ones, who carefully and patiently listen to complaints and try to minimize discomfort. But still, there are times when the help of a psychologist is in place.

Studies prove that the psycho-emotional state of a pregnant woman seriously affects the development of the fetus and the preparation for childbirth and motherhood. A favorable psychological state reduces the number of complications and positively affects the development of the child after birth.

Inexplicable anxiety, unstable emotional state, causeless anxiety, with which the pregnant woman cannot cope on her own or with the help of loved ones must be examined by a psychologist.

Surely, all expectant mothers are tormented by doubts about the well-being and normality of the unborn child, and this is normal. But if these suppressive conditions do not go away or drag on for too long, you should contact a specialist to avoid serious psychological disorders.

There are several tips & exercises for harmonizing the mental state

  • Get out into the countryside, go out of town into the fresh air more often
  • Listen to more of your favorite music, especially if it evokes pleasant memories and associations;
  • Practice the technique of “Inner Smile” morning and evening. This is a psychological exercise, like meditation: you need to focus on the area of the heart and smile with your whole body, each cell, and each organ for about 5 minutes. The exercise should provide relaxation in the body and make you calmer as a whole.
  • Coloring mandalas. This is an old technique, from time immemorial, women in the tribe painted this symmetrical pattern, located in a circle as a symbol of the protection of the mother’s womb. This contributes to the internal psychological space.

Pregnant Tummy

Pregnancy & Drugs

But still, no matter how harmless at first glance the anxious state of a pregnant woman may seem, it can have a serious background. In recent years, more and more women have learned about such an unpleasant diagnosis as bipolar disorder precisely during the gestation of the baby.
Bipolar affective disorder (BAD) is one of the most difficult mental conditions for treatment, which leads to a significant change in mood, including manic and even depressive attacks.

Often, women do not understand what happens to them during pregnancy. It is as if hormones are raging and the mood is falling, and everything around is annoying. But these conditions do not pass and only intensify. Bad thoughts come to mind, the situation is aggravated. This may be a sign of the BAD.

Women who already know that they have a BAD and wish to have a baby should plan their pregnancy in advance. To avoid unpleasant surprises and establish the right treatment, you need to see a doctor. They will be able to develop a treatment plan that will provide the baby and mother with a safe pregnancy. This plan often includes:

  • Switch for more advanced medication
  • Custom medications for custom cases
  • Introduction of health supplements
  • Attentive leisure & daily health care

Frequently, doctors completely change the diet of the pregnant woman, and also regularly monitor all changes in the state of her health, both physical and psychological.

Thus, we approached the most complex and dangerous topic regarding pregnancy. Drug addiction. It seems that no one doubts whether drugs are a contraindication to bearing a child. Absolutely yes.

Numerous studies have proven that most drugs have a detrimental effect on the fetus. Women who used drugs during pregnancy or even shortly before conception are highly likely to experience complications in the course of bearing a child. High health risks await both the baby and the mother.

There are substances that cause nutrient deficiencies and anemia. Moreover, the effect can be lightning fast. Slow fetal development is also very common, and women often develop unbearable preeclampsia (late toxicosis of pregnant women).

Is it possible to efficiently avoid the dire consequences of drug addiction in pregnancy? Modern medicine is encouraging – risks can be minimized. First of all, you need to completely stop taking any drugs even before conception.

If pregnancy is a surprise, you should immediately end the drug. And you should definitely be honest with your doctor. It is necessary to tell what specific drugs were used to determine the risk zone. It will be necessary to pass a number of tests and undergo a small examination.

The situation becomes much more complicated if the expectant mother cannot end drug addiction. And this is not uncommon today. In this case, a woman needs to seek outside help from a special center where such people are not only helped to part with their addiction, but they are also supported throughout the pregnancy.

In conclusion, I want to note that pregnancy is a wonderful, unique period in a woman’s life, but it still requires close attention to health. And this is not only about the risks associated with the intrauterine development of the baby.

After all, a woman’s health is subject to great risks during this period as well. It is worth listening to your condition, controlling mood swings, asking for help from relatives, or even a doctor if something worries. Only an attentive attitude to your body will bring a good result – good baby health and trouble-free pregnancy for mom.


About The Author

Barbara Elliott works as an operating nurse at New-Life.ua reproductive medicine clinic. This infertility center offers surrogacy services, IVF, egg donation for infertility treatment for those who want to become parents


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7 Ways To Choose The Best Addiction Treatment Center

So, you’ve realized that you have an addiction. What are the next steps? If you want to get better, the quickest way to do it is by going to an addiction treatment center. However, there are thousands of addiction treatment centers all over the United States. The wide variety of choices can be a little overwhelming and may even put you off from seeking treatment right away.  How do you choose the right one? Each person is different, and so every different addict will require a different type of treatment. How do you find the perfect one for you?

Not all treatment facilities are equal. Some are better than others and choosing a bad one can have a very adverse affect on your recovery. The best treatment center for you is out there, but you just must know what to look for. Luckily, we are going to go over all the factors that you should consider when seeking out treatment.

7 Ways To Choose The Best Addiction Treatment Center

Location

This may seem like an obvious one, but it’s not as simple a choice as you might think. A treatment center close to home would be best, right? It is if you are trying to cut down on cost, and if you have responsibilities (work, family, school) that you cannot leave. So, a nearby facility would be the necessary choice in that situation. However, making a clean break of it and going somewhere as far away as possible from bad influences and bad memories to more completely heal and recover from the addiction.

Timeframe

This one depends on several things. First, how long are you able to get away from your responsibilities and commitments? Second, how severe is your addiction? Third, what can you afford? Obviously, the deeper your addiction is, the longer it will take to recover from. When choosing treatment programs, you generally have the options of thirty days, sixty days, or ninety days. However, there will be other options out there, but those may be harder to find. Any length of time will be beneficial, but only you can decide how much time you need.

Inpatient or Outpatient?

Again, this factor depends on both costs and the patient’s daily responsibilities. There are two types of treatment centers: inpatient and outpatient. With inpatient treatment centers, the patient goes there to live for the duration of the treatment program. For outpatient treatment, the patient just goes to treatment sessions a few times a week but continues with their daily life as usual.  Inpatient treatment centers are more effective, but they are significantly more expensive. Your choice should also depend on how severe your addiction is. If you are having significant withdrawal symptoms, these are best handled in an inpatient treatment facility.

Specializations

Many treatment centers specialize in different things. Some centers will specialize in opioids, some specialize in alcoholism, some specialize in heroin addiction, etc. Make sure to choose a treatment center that has a focus on your specific addiction. Look at reviews and success stories. Make sure you find a treatment center that has helped people with your specific addiction before. This will help ensure success for your own recovery.

Addiction Therapy

Therapies

Different treatment centers will employ different counseling methods, different medical treatments, and different forms of therapy. Make you sure you research different therapy types and understand what they entail. The more you understand yourself, the more you will understand what therapies will work for you. Different therapies will have different effectiveness for different people.

Amenities

This is especially important if you are choosing to check in to an inpatient treatment center. You will want to know what is available to you during your stay. Some treatment centers can be compared to five-star hotels, while others only offer the bare basics. Do not let the latter deter you though. Some find that having only the bare basics offers less distractions and is a better environment in which to recover from addiction. However, only you can decide what is best for you. Whatever you are looking for, you will be able to find a center that offers it.

Cost

Cost is probably one of the biggest factors that affects the treatment center that people choose. We can’t all be rich celebrities or rock stars, attending the fanciest rehab facilities. However, do not despair. Even if you think you do not have the money to check in to a treatment center, there are other ways to fund your stay. Many private insurances will cover treatment centers. Also, if you are insured under the Affordable Care Act, or through Medicaid or Medicare, these programs may cover part of the cost. Many people also take out loans to cover the costs. Lastly, do not be afraid to ask for financial assistance from family or friends. Your loved ones want to see you get better.

Road To Recovery

Conclusion

There are literally thousands of addiction treatment centers to choose from all over the country. The decision can be extremely difficult. Hopefully we’ve made it easier for you to make a good decision and sift through all your options. A good place to start your search would be at The Hope House, arguably the best luxury drug rehab center in the country. Or, conversely, you can start at the other end of the spectrum and research lower tier inpatient treatment centers and determine if your insurance will cover the costs or if cash-pay is worth the higher level of service. Most centers will accept a mix of payment options, including payment plans.  It’s prudent to do your research to assure you’re not being funneled into a rehab center that is not ideal for recovery.

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The Best Ways To Handle Withdrawal Symptoms From Drugs And Alcohol

When addicts get clean, it doesn’t take long for them to start noticing the benefits. Their lives, in general, are better, but they will also notice a big change in the way that they feel physically and mentally. Addiction of any kind takes a big toll on your body and when you get rid of that habit and your body starts to repair itself, you will feel so much better. But things have to get worse before they get better and so many people don’t make it far enough to see any benefits because they fall at the first hurdle. The first few days and weeks are often the hardest because you have to get through the withdrawal symptoms. If you are a heavy user, withdrawal symptoms can be horrible to deal with and a lot of people think that it’s easier to live with the addiction than it is to try to go clean. But if you can make it past the withdrawal stage and start to feel some of the physical benefits, the rest of your journey will start to feel a lot less daunting. These are some of the best ways to manage withdrawal symptoms when you are a recovering addict.

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Speak To A Counsellor

Most people experience a deep depression when they first come off drugs and alcohol. When you take away that high that you got from using drugs or alcohol, you are left with the polar opposite feeling. If you are an addict, it’s likely that drink or drugs were central to your life and so when you give them up, you are left with a void. When the depression hits hard, it’s easy to convince yourself that it’s not worth getting clean if it’s going to make you feel this bad, and you would be better off using again.

Increased anxiety is very common as well because alcohol and drugs are often used as a way to combat anxiety. When you take away that crutch, those feelings come flooding back, usually much stronger than before. But the good news is, as long as you can stay sober, this anxiety will not last that long.

The important thing here is that you don’t let these feelings overwhelm you and you don’t reach straight for the drink and drugs to combat them. Instead, you need to find healthier ways to process your feelings and put things in perspective again, which is why seeing a counsellor is a good idea if you are going through withdrawal. One of the most important things that they will do is remind you that these feelings are temporary and they are partly a result of your withdrawal. But they can also help you start to tackle the underlying problems that lead to your addiction issues in the first place.

Consider Medications

In the past, you had to go it alone with your withdrawal symptoms but that isn’t the case anymore. There are medications available that activate the pleasure receptors in your brain in the same way that drugs and alcohol do. That means that they can improve the withdrawal symptoms and make things a lot easier for you. You should seek the advice of a doctor and see if there is anything that they can offer you to help you get through the first few weeks. When you are going through withdrawal, it’s likely that you will take some time off work and things might be a little chaotic, so it’s a good idea to find an online pharmacy like Simple Online Doctor and have medication sent directly to your house. That way, you can make sure that you keep up with the medication and you cut the risk of relapsing. Taking medication can make a huge difference to your withdrawal symptoms and make it a lot more bearable, which increases your chances of getting through the difficult early stages.

Spend Time With Family

When things get really hard and you are considering using again, you need things to remind you why you are going clean in the first place. It’s easy to lose sight of that when the withdrawal symptoms make you feel so awful, which is why it’s good to be near friends and family. The people around you suffer from your addiction as well and it has a huge impact on them. When you are in the midst of your addiction, you are not thinking about them and you cause them a lot of distress. They have a lot to lose if you relapse as well, and being reminded of that can help you get through the difficult early period.

A lot of people fall at the first hurdle because withdrawal can be horrible to deal with, but if you can make it through that, you stand a much better chance of staying sober for good.

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Understanding How Medication Assisted Treatment Can Help Opioid Addiction

Opioid Use Disorder and Medication-Assisted Treatment

Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is a chronic, lifelong condition that affects quality of life, familiar relationships, and daily functioning. Unfortunately, much of the American public sees OUD as a moral failing, not a treatable medical condition. The reality is that OUD is a physiological response that develops after consistent use of opioids. Many opioid use disorders begin with a valid prescription to treat pain.

There are many reasons that a person experiencing OUD may find it difficult to stop, chief among them are the physiological and psychological pain of withdrawal. Medication-Assisted Treatment is a viable, evidence-based method of treating OUD that supports a long-term recovery.

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)?

Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT, combines psychosocial, behavioral interventions such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat Opioid Use Disorder. Medications used in MAT help address the physiological aspects of opioid addiction, while behavioral interventions address the other complex factors that contribute to the substance use disorder, such as trauma, family dynamics, or co-occurring mental health disorders. By addressing all factors simultaneously, providers can identify triggers, control cravings, and reduce the likelihood of relapse.

Understanding How Medically Assisted Treatment Can Help Opioid Addiction

Medication-Assisted Treatment and Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

Understanding the benefits of MAT first requires knowledge of how opioids affect the body and brain. An Opioid Use Disorder most often occurs when a person receives a prescription for a pain-relieving opioid following surgery or for a legitimate medical condition. When the affected individual takes the medication, it effectively controls pain because it works by blocking pain receptors. A side effect is a triggered sense of euphoria. Reliving this sense of euphoria is what may cause a person to misuse opioids for the first time. Over time, as the disorder progresses, the affected individual’s brain chemistry changes, such that it relies on the opioids to trigger the production of dopamine (the neurotransmitter responsible for the euphoria, but also in charge of several other important functions). This forms the basis for opioid dependence.

When the affected individual tries to abstain for opioids, withdrawal is the result, since the body no longer produces dopamine effectively on its own. Opioid withdrawal is notoriously painful and produces several troubling symptoms, such as:

  • Diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
  • Chills
  • Muscle aches
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Mood swings
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Heart palpitations
  • Arrhythmias
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headache

These symptoms are often very intense, so much so that a person with OUD will use again simply to make them stop. Even once a person physiologically detoxifies from an opioid – a process that can take around three days but typically lasts up to a week – the psychological effects persist for weeks or months. Medication Assisted Treatment works by managing the symptoms of withdrawal by reducing cravings and minimizing discomfort.

What Is Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)?

The process of initial detoxification varies, but the most intense feelings of discomfort occur within the first 72 hours. Within 7-10 days, a person may be physiologically detoxified from the opioids. After this period ends, a person with OUD is vulnerable to a condition called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS).

PAWS refers to the psychological and emotional effects of an addiction. The symptoms may persist for weeks and months, even up to two years after initial detox. Symptoms tend to occur in waves and may include:

  • Insomnia
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Intense cravings for the drugs
  • Emotional instability and irritability, quick to anger

One of the ways that Medication-Assisted Treatment can be beneficial is in the treatment of PAWS. People who utilize MAT report fewer cravings and reduced symptoms of PAWS, which can help support a long-term recovery by significantly reducing the risk of relapse.

Effective MAT Treatments for Opioid Use Disorder

Currently, only three FDA-approved medications exist for the treatment of Opioid Use Disorder: methadone, suboxone, and naltrexone. Here’s some information about each.

Methadone

Methadone produces a similar effect to opioids, but to a lesser extent and with milder effects. It is longer lasting and does not have the same increased potential for misuse; it does not tend to affect a person’s ability to function normally. As an opioid agonist, it works to provide relief of some of the most painful symptoms of withdrawal and PAWS. A single dose of methadone lasts about a day and a half. Some potential for misuse exists; as such, it may only be dispensed by a licensed provider in a clinical setting. A person on methadone treatment must visit the clinic for a new dose every couple of days, so they must be willing to remain compliant to the protocol.

Buprenorphine (Suboxone)

Buprenorphine is becoming a more popular choice amongst healthcare providers, as it is a partial opioid agonist and does not have a high potential for misuse. Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone (Narcan), a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. While it is difficult to misuse, it still requires regular visits to a medical provider to receive. Providers who wish to prescribe suboxone must attend an eight hour training course to obtain a MAT waiver, so not all providers can prescribe it.

Naltrexone

Naltrexone is available in two forms: a pill or an intramuscular injection lasting up to 30 days. When taken as an intramuscular injection (Vivitrol), it provides a convenient option, particularly for those looking for an intensive outpatient treatment option. The once-daily pill can be taken in the comfort of a person’s own home. It has little potential for misuse or diversion; as such, any provider who is licensed to dispense medication may prescribe it.

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, which means it works by blocking opioid receptors. It effectively reduces cravings in the person taking it because it no longer produces a feeling or euphoria or “high.” However, Naltrexone is only a suitable option after a person initially detoxifies from the physiological effects of opioids; starting it too early can make withdrawal symptoms worse.

MAT as an Effective Treatment Option

Numerous studies show that Medication-Assisted Treatment is more effective in preventing relapse and supporting long-term recovery compared to behavioral interventions alone. The National Institute on Drug Abuse supports the use of MAT as an integral part of an addiction treatment plan. According to their research:

  • MAT is effective in decreasing overall opioid use and its associated harms, including overdose death, transmission of infectious diseases such as Hepatitis C, and illegal drug-related activity. When the city of Baltimore introduced an initiative to increase access to buprenorphine, overdose deaths in the city decreased by 37%.
  • The use of MAT in pregnant women reduces the symptoms of neonatal abstinence syndrome, which occurs when a baby is born with a dependence on opioids.
  • The use of MAT in treatment programs improves compliance to other protocol and follow-up. Patients who receive medications for their OUD are more likely to remain in treatment and receive holistic interventions that support a long term recovery. With increased comfort comes increased ability to develop compensatory mechanisms to manage their disorder and its possible triggers.

Facts and Myths About Medication Assisted Treatment

MAT has a large body of evidence supporting its use as a viable treatment option. Unfortunately, the public and even some clinicians continue to have misconceptions about the uses of MAT in the treatment of Opioid Use Disorder. These myths can work to keep people from utilizing MAT, when it could prove vital to their recovery process. For example:

  • Some people and providers believe MAT is simply the act of substituting one addiction for another. In reality, MAT is only one aspect of a holistic treatment plan. Medications help manage the discomfort of withdrawal and PAWS, which allows the patient to focus on other aspects of recovery. Since some medications for OUD have potential for misuse, they must be administered in a supervised clinical setting (i.e., methadone).
  • MAT is not, and never will be, popping a pill to cure an addiction. One essential aspect of MAT is the behavioral intervention, which allows people to explore and recognize the triggers for their addiction. Anyone in long-term recovery knows that a substance use disorder is not something that can be “cured;” rather, it is something that they work consciously on the rest of their lives.
  • Despite popular opinion, medications for MAT do not pose much risk for diversion. They are heavily regulated and require extensive training to prescribe. The only formulation that does not require waiver training, Naltrexone, has very little potential for abuse, since using it in conjunction with opioids will send the person taking it into withdrawal.

The Use of MAT for Opioid Use Disorder

MAT can play a vital role in the treatment of OUD by reducing cravings and controlling long-term symptoms of withdrawal, including those for post acute withdrawal syndrome. When combined with other behavioral interventions, it can help a person with OUD sustain a long-term recovery.

Continuum Recovery Center provides intensive outpatient services, including MAT, for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Our protocols, which include psychosocial, evidence based mental health therapies, help individuals identify the many facets of their opioid use disorder to maintain sobriety.


About The Author

Geffen Liberman, staff therapist at Continuum Recovery Center, has been in the field for over 20 years, and has worked in every facet of substance abuse treatment. Using his own personal experience in recovery and the education he has learned while in the field, Geffen can relate and connect with clients in a way that promotes recovery, self-love and the desire for clients to achieve the best for themselves. Geffen is licensed in Arizona as a substance abuse counselor and has an IC&RC certification, as well as a life coaching certification.


 

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Rehab Success Rates: Does Rehab Really Work?

There’s an endless amount of statistics and information online about rehabilitation from drug and alcohol. Some are scary, claiming that there’s no real way to recover from drug and alcohol abuse. On the other hand, some statistics claim that rehab is a type of miracle cure. In reality, it’s hard to distinguish fact from fiction.

If you or someone you know is in recovery or is beginning the journey to sobriety, it’s up to you to make the most of reality. With the costs for treatments on the rise, how do you know if you’re spending money on an effective program? While there is no “cure” for addiction, it is possible to treat and manage addiction successfully.

Think of addiction like a chronic condition. When left on its own, it only gets worse. However, when you start a treatment plan, it’s possible to live a healthy and happy life with this condition. The hard truth is that addiction is something that never fully goes away. It’s always in the background. That being said, it can be overcome for a brighter future.

In this guide, we’ll break down the walls around rehab treatment to determine if it really works. We’ll look into the success rates as well as what they mean to come out on the other side with an honest answer.

Rehab Success Rates - Does Rehab Really Work?

Drug and Alcohol Rehab Success Rates

If you or someone you know is struggling to recover from drug and alcohol addiction, you’re not alone. Drug overdoses have actually become the top cause of injury-related deaths in the United States. Over 44,000 people a year die from drug overdoses. But for those who seek treatment, how often do they recover?

There’s a lot of conflicting evidence and research that goes into these statistics, and it’s true they might not all be straightforward. However, we should still get to know the numbers.

First, let’s define what rehab means. This is a more confusing term that you’d think since there’s no standard definition of “rehab.” As you might expect, since there’s no standard definition, there’s also no standard way to define whether rehab is successful. A lot of success rates are based just on how many of the patients complete their programs while others follow-up with ongoing sobriety. In addition, how are relapses counted?

These are the questions that need to be asked about drug and alcohol rehab success rates. Understanding the concept of help with drug addiction can sometimes be confusing, but it usually has to do with the individual, facility and situation.

Drug and Alcohol Addiction by the Numbers:

  • Over 20 million Americans over the age of 12 have an addiction
  • 6.8 million people who have an addiction also have a mental illness
  • 16.6 million Americans are considered alcoholics

With these numbers in mind, how does rehab make a difference, if it does at all?

Rehab Success Rates by the Numbers:

  • Compared to those who obtained help with their alcoholism, those who did not get help were less likely to achieve 3-year remission
  • Between 40 – 60% of people who have been treated for addiction or alcoholism will relapse within a year

After seeing these stats above, it’s still not clear whether or not rehab is an effective way to manage addiction or alcoholism. We still need to take a closer look at how rehab works to see why it’s such an effective way to achieve recovery.

Addiction group therapy

Types of Drug and Alcohol Addiction Rehab

There are a number of different types of rehab from drug and alcohol abuse, and they also contribute to whether the program itself is successful. There are some intensive programs that are likely fit for those who are really struggling with recovery and withdrawal, and there are also outpatient programs like therapy and group sessions that are better for ongoing management.

Inpatient Treatment – With an inpatient program, there is a rigorous medication and counseling schedule that helps the patient slowly heal their body and learn coping strategies. These inpatient programs run anywhere from a month to several months, as needed, and they’re supervised by a medical professional.

Residential Treatment – These programs are similar to inpatient, yet they’re intended to last for a longer time. The patient moves into the residential facility for a long-term program which is usually over 70 days. From there, they become a part of the sober community to counsel patients into a better lifestyle change.

Detox – Detox is something that gets a lot of media attention, but it’s actually not a program in itself. Detox is the process of transitioning the body from regular substance. Detox is usually done before a patient enters an inpatient or residential program.

Outpatient Treatment – Finally, outpatient includes a number of things like group therapy, in-person sessions, and counseling. Patients continue to live in their own homes, and these programs are ongoing for a longer period of time.

Support group

Why Do Drug Rehab Programs Work?

Not all drug treatment programs are created equal. Unfortunately, there are many substance abuse programs that don’t live up to their claims. In order for a program to be effective, it needs to have a number of things:

  • Educated, experienced personnel
  • Physicians certified by the American Board of Addiction medicine
  • Individualized treatment
  • Long-term timeframe
  • Mental health counseling and treatment
  • Medications, if needed

Simply treating the symptoms of addiction doesn’t work. There needs to be a customized approach to treatment that addresses the root problems as well as coping strategies for the future. While it’s true that between 40 – 60% of patients relapse in the future, this does not mean the program was a failure.

As we’ve said, addiction is a chronic illness. There is no single cure that magically changes the way the patient’s body and mind are wired. It takes ongoing care and management. There are good days, bad days, and in-between days. As long as the patient recovers from their relapse and keeps moving closer to recovery, it’s a success.

Final Thoughts

If you or someone you love is struggling with the challenges that come with addiction, don’t be deterred by the confusing statistics surrounding drug rehab success. These programs, as long as you’re careful in your choice, are an effective way to achieve a brighter future.

Instead of fixating on success rates, we need to change our perspective on what it means to live with addiction. Things are never that black and white. Relapse or troubles after treatment doesn’t mean the entire program failed. It just means more structure and support is needed to keep moving forward.

Choosing the method of recovery that’s right for you is half the battle. From there, you’ll need to find a treatment that works for your lifestyle. Ultimately, we can all agree that drug rehab is more than worth it to protect your future and your happiness.

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The Ties Between Alcohol and Cancer

Alcohol is one of the most used substances in the country, and one of the deadliest. It is important to learn more about the dangers and health risks associated with overindulging in alcohol. Alcohol is one of the most widely used drugs in the United States and, according to the National Institutes of Health, leads to the death of 88,000 Americans annually. One of the most common problems associated with over drinking is cancer.

Excessive alcohol use leads to the development of a number of different types of cancers. Based on data from 2009, it is estimated that 3.5 percent of cancer deaths in the United States were alcohol related.

The Ties Between Alcohol and Cancer

Types of Alcohol-Related Cancers

There is clear evidence that the use of alcohol leads to the development of multiple types of cancer. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services lists alcohol as one of the known human carcinogens in a report.

Head and Neck Cancer

Oral and throat cancers are more prevalent in drinkers than non-drinkers. Specifically, moderate drinkers have a 1.8-fold higher risk of developing these types of cancers than those who don’t drink. For heavy drinkers, it is even higher, as they are five times as likely as developing these types of cancer. Similarly, the risk is even higher if the person uses tobacco as well.

Esophagus Cancer

Alcohol abuse is also associated with a higher risk of esophageal cancer. Similar to oral and throat cancers, those who use alcohol moderately have a slightly higher risk of developing this type of cancer, but heavy drinkers are five times as likely to develop it.

Liver Cancer

Liver cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among alcohol users. In fact, those who drink are two times as likely to develop this type of cancer as nondrinkers.

Breast Cancer

Studies have shown clear evidence that there is an increased risk of breast cancer in those who drink alcohol compared with non-drinkers. Heavy drinkers specifically are 60 percent more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer.

Colon Cancer

Alcohol consumption leads to a 20 to 50 percent increase in the risks of cancers of colon and rectum compared with no alcohol use at all.

There is mounting evidence that alcohol consumption is linked to a number of other cancers and that it is associated with increased risks of melanoma and prostate and pancreatic cancers.

Woman drink

Why Alcohol Increases Cancer Risk

There are a number of hypothesized reasons that alcohol use leads to an increase in the risk of different types of cancers, however, the exact risk isn’t completely understood. One hypothesis is that when the body breaks down ethanol, it turns it into acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical, and probable carcinogen, the substance can damage both the DNA and proteins in the body. Similarly, cells that are damaged by alcohol may try and repair themselves, but this can lead to DNA changes and can be a step toward cancer.

While there is no proven way to avoid cancer completely, there are steps that you can take to help lower your risk of alcohol-related cancer.

For one, you can work to limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages. For men, this means limiting yourself to no more than one or two drinks per day, and for women drinking no more than one drink per day.

Moreover, avoiding binge drinking or drinking heavily can help to reduce your risk of alcohol-related cancer as the risk of cancer increases with the more alcohol that you drink. However, even light drinking can lead to an increased risk of developing some type of cancer. Reducing binge drinking will also help with a number of other physical health problems.

Tobacco

There is much evidence that shows the combination of alcohol and tobacco leads to a much greater risk of developing oral and throat cancers than just using one or the other. The problem becomes much worse if tobacco and alcohol are used together.

Bottles Alcohol

Getting Alcohol Treatment

Recognizing that you or your loved one has a drinking problem is just the first step. For most, getting sober is not an easy process and it is a lifelong struggle. Luckily, there are many treatment options across the country that can help those with alcohol use disorder. Going through an alcohol treatment program can be frightening, especially if you don’t know exactly what to expect. But the more you learn about what treatment can offer the more comfortable you will likely feel about the situation.

Drug and alcohol treatment centers are there to help patients safely detox and to educate patients on the details of addiction and how to prevent relapse following discharge from a facility.

When it comes to getting treatment, detoxification is one of the most important steps in achieving sobriety, especially for those dealing with alcohol use disorder. Alcohol use can lead to dangerous, even life-threatening withdrawals if not handled properly. There are a number of worrisome symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal, including:

  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Agitation
  • Auditory and visual disturbances
  • Anxiety
  • Vomiting and more

Alcoholism treatment

A treatment center will likely provide medically supervised detoxification for new patients. Detoxification can last somewhere between a couple of days to a week. During detoxification, patients will overcome the symptoms and problems associated with withdrawals and newfound sobriety. This will allow the patients to deal with hard physical problems before they begin behavioral treatment.

After detoxification, patients will be exposed to group and one-on-one therapy sessions to help them learn more about the details and processes of addiction. Some styles of therapy, like cognitive behavioral therapy, will be used to help patients identify triggers that could lead to a relapse. Following inpatient treatment, patients will likely be given a discharge plan and pointed toward an outpatient facility to help them continue their treatment while getting adjusted back to normal life.

Treatment centers are there to help. They’re there to be a part of the solution and save as many people as possible.


About The Author

Matthew Boyle is the Chief Operating Officer of Landmark Recovery, drug and alcohol rehab centers in Indiana. He has been working in the healthcare space for 7 years with a new emphasis on recovery. Before his ventures into healthcare, Matthew graduated from Duke University in 2011 Summa Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree. After Duke Matthew went on to work for the Boston Consulting Group before he realized his true passion lies within Recovery. His vision is to save a million lives in 100 years with a unique approach to recovery that creates a supportive environment through trust, treatment, and intervention.


 

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Battling Addiction: 5 Ways To Spur Yourself On

When you’re dealing with addiction, you accept that you’re in a lifelong battle. If you take your eye off the ball, you could end up going back a few steps; as such, you need to be spurring yourself on everyday, and reminding yourself that the voice in your head – the voice of your addiction – is smaller, and not as significant, as your voice. Keeping yourself focused can be difficult, but there are many ways to do so, and we’ve noted down 5 of them here.

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#1: Think about yourself

No matter what your addiction would have you feel or think, you are worth so much more than a life controlled by substances. You have things to achieve, memories to make, and you deserve to do this on your own terms. Recovery from addiction is ultimately about you, so remind yourself that you’re the focus here, and that your voice should prevail, not the one that is pulling you in a toxic direction.

#2: Keep your loved ones in mind

Addiction has a hurricane-like effect on your life, meaning that your family and friends invariably get pulled into the suffering. Think about all of the times that they have stood by you throughout your addiction, and how they never turned their backs on you, because of their love. Whilst recovery is complex, keeping your loved ones in mind can help you in the day-to-day of handling your addiction.

#3: Reward yourself for landmarks

As with anything that you’re trying to achieve, when you’ve reached certain points in your recovery, you need to celebrate! Getting those new veneers from a leading ultimo dentist, having dinner with your loved ones, and even walking around the park and appreciating your new outlook on life, are all great ways to reward yourself for how far you’ve come. And you deserve it!

#4: Make a bucket list

Looking to the future is always a great idea, and making a bucket list could help to keep you focused. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to visit Niagara Falls, or you want to drive around the country, or you’ve always wanted to skydive. Whatever it is that you want to do, keep your future in mind. This is a future that you may not have had if you were still in the throes of addiction.

#5: Remember how far you’ve come

Staying focused throughout your recovery will be a result of remembering how far you’ve come. A few years (or months) ago, you may have been living a life that you couldn’t even remember due to substance abuse, and now, you’re on the road to freedom. It’s a tough road, but the important thing to remember is that you’re on it. Think about all that you’ve achieved, and all that you could achieve still.

So, if you’re battling addiction, it’s important to remember that the journey will be a difficult one, and there is a lot to overcome. However, it is extremely worthwhile, and taking it day-by-day is important if you’re going to keep your addiction at bay. Spur yourself on, and keep these things in mind; your future will be brighter than you ever expected as a result.

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Advice For Caregivers Looking After An Addicted Loved One

Are you a caregiver for an addicted loved one?

It might be somebody you live with on a full-time basis, such as a partner, parent, or a child. Or you might live apart but see your loved one on a regular basis to provide physical and emotional support.

Whatever the case, we know it won’t be easy for you. Focusing on their needs will take its emotional toll on you, so for your own needs, as well as to give you the tools to be a better caregiver, you need to think about yourself too.

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You shouldn’t care for your loved one alone

We’re sure you’re great, but you’re not superhuman. All the care your loved one needs shouldn’t come from you alone, as you might experience exhaustion and burnout, and that won’t help anybody. So, ensure you have the support of your doctor for yourself and your addicted loved one. Get in touch with the appropriate therapy and rehabilitation groups if your loved one hasn’t yet been through a course of help. Considering addictive disorders are linked to mental illness, you might also seek help from community support services for people with a disability. And share responsibility for your loved one with other interested parties and family members, giving you the option to follow the next tip.

You need to practice self-care

The demands of your loved one may be many, but without time to yourself, you might become ill and even prone to addictive tendencies yourself. Therefore, find time to care for your mental health, with exercise, sleep, and healthy eating, and do things that relax you and make you happy. Schedule time in the week for yourself, and if your loved one needs full-time support, take this time when they are otherwise engaged in a support group or with another carer. Your life is important, and nobody wants to see you suffer unduly, including your loved one, so look after #1, for the benefit of yourself and those around you.

Attend a support group for caregivers.

It might be a group that is organised by a specific charity or organisation, or it might be an online group, or something that has been set up informally in your local community. Whatever the case, you need to know that you aren’t alone as a caregiver, so meet up with those people who know what you’re going through. The social company will be useful for a start, but you might also draw on the strength and ideas of others to help you in your caregiving role. You might also be a source of help to others, so be prepared to share anything that has made your life easier.

Don’t be afraid of letting go

We know you will do all you can to help your loved one, but when it gets too much for you, it is important to hand over that care to others. Especially when you don’t feel equipped to handle mood changes and lapses back into addictive behaviour, you should call on the assistance of the relevant professionals to take over your caring duties. You or they might have to spend a significant amount of time apart for a while, but that’s okay. Provided they are still getting help, and so long as you aren’t running yourself into the ground, you will both benefit from a little distance.

We hope the advice above was useful to you, but we would love to hear your thoughts. Should you be a caregiver for another, let us know how you have coped, and give us any further advice for the benefit of our readers.

Take care, and thanks for reading.

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Taking Some Control Over Your Own Health 100%

Your health is something you can often feel out of control with. You’ve got a brain and a body to look after, to feed properly and put to bed at night, and they’ll still turn on you when you least need them to! At least, that’s how it feels when you suddenly come down with a cold, or you get a diagnosis for a chronic illness you weren’t expecting when you went to the doctor’s that morning.

And that’s why you can feel so out of control, and so vulnerable, in the face of your own wellbeing. You want to be someone in charge, and you want to be confident as you do it – but how can you even think to manage that when we’re hardly ever sure of what causes us to get ill? It’s a delicate balance, and it’s one you should learn about. So with all that in mind, here’s a couple of ways you might be able to put some control back in your own hands.

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Ask for Help When You Need Some

Of course, it may seem counterproductive to ask someone else to help you out when you’re feeling out of sorts, but it’s one of the most important self care tasks to keep in mind. Whether you’re feeling bad because of a physical ailment or a mental illness, you need to remember you’re allowed to reach out, and that you’re going to feel much better for doing so.

Taking control means giving yourself a break, not working yourself to the bone, and knowing your own limits in terms of your health. Being able to stand firm in the face of the idea that unless you’re contributing, you’re not worth the time and effort, is something few people are able to do. So let’s make sure you stay in bed when you’re struggling to stand up, and that you’re taking the time to have a snack if you haven’t stopped at the daily grind all morning!

Use a DNA Kit

Nowadays, technology can do a lot for our health, and monitoring is made a lot more effective and a lot less invasive because of it. After all, the more advances that come out each year, the better we get at solving our ailments and giving ourselves a chance at longer, healthier lives. Operations are far more complex, and far more successful, thanks to the use of technology, and even your own heart can be regulated via the use of tiny electrical devices.

Which is why a DNA test might be best for giving you an insight into your own body and how it works. After all, your genetic code has a lot to answer for, and companies like iDNA Health are the experts in Clinical Genetics – why not visit a website like this to see if a kit would be available to you?

Remember, taking some kind of control over your own health doesn’t have to be as hard as it’s made out to be.

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