Category: blog

Spotting Rx Drug Abuse

“I found multiple bottles of pain killers with prescriptions from different doctors in the medicine cabinet.”

“My spouse is taking 2-3 times the recommended dosage of a prescription pain medicine.”

“There are unexplained ATM withdrawals from our bank account.”

“My spouse is suddenly having attendance problems at work/keeping a job. This was never a problem before.”

These are common warning signs of a prescription drug dependency/addiction. If you have noticed any of these signs with a spouse, adult child or anyone residing in your household, it may be time to address the issue. These warning signs can be accompanied by a withdrawal from family responsibilities, mood swings, hostility or a change in sleep patterns.

Start the process by creating a log or diary of what you know. When was the person initially prescribed
pain killers, anti-anxiety medications or sleep aids? Can you note specific instances of the warning signs since the person began taking the prescription? Has there been a steady increase in the number of instances?

What are the next steps? While being supportive, share your concerns with the individual. In many cases, the person will be in denial about the problem. The next step would be to speak to the doctor about the issue, if you can, given today’s privacy regulations. If the problem persists, it may be time to consider entering a treatment program, starting with a medical detox, followed by either residential or outpatient counseling.

Pathways 28-day and extended care treatment programs utilize proven, science-based methods to prescription drug dependencies and addictions. Contact us to learn more about these programs.

Xanax: Abusing Prescriptions

Despite the prevalence of attention given to abuse of prescription painkillers, one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the US is in fact Xanax and its generic form, alprazolam. From the class of benzodiazepine drugs, a grouping of controlled substances that also includes Valium and Klonopin, Xanax is a central nervous depressant meant to aid in the treatment of panic attacks as well as severe anxiety. The fast acting drug gives users a sense of calm and mild euphoria, however when use becomes extended over time, tolerance and abuse can quickly lead to dangerous physical and emotional dependencies. Xanax addiction can quickly spiral out of control for those afflicted and potentially cause severe health issues.


Symptoms of Xanax Abuse

Because of its classification as a depressant, the most common effect Xanax has on users is causing a sense of drowsiness. As a person takes more of the substance on a regular basis, tolerance for the drug builds. What began as mild drowsiness can evolve into constant state of lethargy where an individual begins shirking responsibilities, has difficultly with fine motor skills, and always seems to have their thoughts in a haze. The may seem confused, have a lot difficultly with short term memory, have trouble articulating thoughts, and may even have problems with their vision. Weight loss or a change in libido can also be symptoms occurring in conjunction with those mentioned that might further indicate the presence of a Xanax addiction.

Dangers of Xanax Addiction
As a drug that depresses the central nervous system, which also develops a tolerance in a user over time, the dangers of Xanax abuse are dramatic. A major issue with Xanax is its usage in conjunction with other substances, most notably alcohol. Since both are depressants, the simultaneous use of alcohol and Xanax carries the risk of experiencing fatal respiratory failure. Often, when someone abusing Xanax consumes alcohol, they do not consider the serious and immediate consequences of doing so because the usage of Xanax has become such a normalized behavior.

Xanax Withdrawal
Withdrawal symptoms from Xanax can cause intense discomfort, however they are very manageable with acceptance and a willingness to partake in betterment. Insomnia, headaches, nausea, chills, paranoia and anxiety all can accompany withdrawal from benzodiazepines. It is important to remember that for most, when under the supervision of rehabilitation professionals, these symptoms pass in a few days ad present the most difficult stage of overcoming Xanax addiction. It will take time for a person’s body and mind to recover from the abuse of the drug, and any recovery effort necessitates a course of therapeutic treatment. With the proper treatment, abuse and addiction of Xanax can be overcome.

Getting Help
If you or a loved one is suffering from chronic Xanax abuse and addiction, Pathways offers a residential treatment facility located in Sarasota, Florida. At Pathways, the recovery process begins with qualified and professional treatment practices meant to free lives held captive by the disease of addiction. For more information, please contact the professionals of Pathways Florida here.

The Pains from Percocet Abuse

Percocet is a pain medication that contains both oxycodone and acetaminophen, the same active ingredient in Tylenol. Because of the oxycodone component, long-term use of the drug may lead to the development of a tolerance to the medication. When an individual develops a tolerance to a prescription drug, they require more medication to feel its affects. You can see how this cycle of increasing the medication can easily lead to a dependence and full-fledged addiction.

Those who abuse Percocet abuse may exhibit confusion, sleepiness, light-headedness, slow breathing, constipation, sweating, headaches, vomiting or dry mouth. People who are dependent on Percocet, or any of the prescription drugs, will often seek prescriptions from several doctors (known as doctor shopping) and those who are very desperate for the drugs will look to street sources.

Unfortunately, prescription abuse happens all too often. If you have a friend or family member that you suspect is abusing a prescription medication such as Percocet, verify their prescription against the number of pills in the bottle to see if they are consuming more than the recommended dosage. If so, you may want to encourage them to seek treatment. Often, for people who are addicted to Percocet, detox alone is not enough. Residential treatment, such as what is available at Pathways to Recovery, is recommended.

Things to Consider When Seeking Treatment

You have a friend or family member who is abusing drugs or alcohol. You know you want to get help for them, but you aren’t sure what the first step should be. If you’ve found this article, you are doing what most people do – start an internet search. Of course, this can raise more questions than answers. We hope to simplify your process.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, has released a list of five items you should consider when looking for treatment. Pathways meets all of their suggested requirements.

1 – Does the program use treatments backed by scientific evidence?
Yes! Pathways uses several evidence-based treatment methods for substance abuse treatment. These primarily include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Moral Reconation Therapy and Motivational Enhancement Therapy. To learn more about each of these treatment methods, please visit our addiction information.

2 – Does the program tailor treatment to the needs of each patient?
Yes! Upon arriving at Pathways, each client sits with their primary counselor and completes a full assessment that is used to develop a treatment plan. This plan is tailored to specifically meet the needs of each client.

3 – Does the program adapt treatment as the patient’s needs change?
Absolutely! Weekly one-on-one counseling sessions between client and primary counselor give the opportunity to adjust the treatment plan, revise goals, as well as treat issues that may not have been revealed during the assessment.

4 – Is the duration of treatment sufficient?
While Pathways has traditionally been a 28-day treatment program, the ability to extend the program for an additional 30, 60, or 90 days provides opportunity to address additional issues or concerns that a client may have. Many Pathways clients spent years actively using and sometimes these behaviors cannot be changed in just 28 days.

5 – How does the 12-Step or similar recovery programs fit into drug addiction treatment?
Pathways incorporates the 12-Step philosophies into the treatment plan. Clients are required to attend meeting either off-site or on-campus.

For more information on how Pathways can help, please visit our website.

5 Common Symptoms of Heroin, Meth & OxyContin Abuse

Identifying the common signs and symptoms of addiction is the first step in getting help for yourself or a loved one. Symptoms of abuse are often present in three different forms – physical symptoms of use, mental and physical symptoms of withdrawal and outward symptoms of abuse.

Although OxyContin is a prescription painkiller used to treat chronic pain, many individuals become addicted to it due to its extended-release and ability to produce feelings of pleasure, similar to heroin and methamphetamines (meth). While the three drugs are made from different substances, the signs and symptoms of use, abuse and withdrawal are similar.

Physical Signs of Abuse
Physical signs of OxyContin, heroin and meth use are generally immediately visible or become apparent over time due to extended use.

-Shortness of breath and sweating- users often feel a shortness of breath or heavy breathing combined with an increase in perspiration.
-Hyper-alertness and sleeplessness- causes increased energy and feelings of a rush or euphoria, despite the lack of sleep.
-Decreased appetite and weight loss- uninterested in food and does not feel hungry. Weight loss is often rapid and more noticeable with extended use.
-Skin picking and crawling- obsessive skin picking, which causes sores similar to pimples and feeling as if something is constantly crawling under the skin.
-Nervousness and agitation- increased nervousness, paranoia, hallucinations or delusions, agitation or aggressiveness.

Withdrawal Symptoms
Symptoms of withdrawal are often similar to those experienced during use, however, they may be more intense and include other symptoms as well.

-Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea
-Increased anxiety and panic attacks
-Bone and muscle pain or weakness
-Hot and cold flashes with sweating
-Increased insomnia
-Behavioral Signs of Addiction

In addition to the physical symptoms, many outward behavioral signs are also evident, although they are not limited to OxyContin, heroin and meth addiction and may be present with any addiction.

Withdrawal from family, friends, school, work and other activities. In addition to a lack of interest in people and social activities, there is often a lack of interest in keeping up personal appearance and hygiene.
Deceitful, secretive and manipulative behavior. Lying and dishonesty, excuses to justify behavior, disappears, manipulates others to help them or to give them money.
Stealing, shoplifting and missing household items. Stealing money from friends or family members, shoplifting food or valuable items to sell, household valuables disappear.
Avoiding eye contact and increased hostility. Refuses to make eye contact during conversations, increased hostility towards family and friends, blames others for their behavior and actions.
Loss of personal items or property. Unable to pay bills, utilities shut off, inability to keep a job, loses vehicle, evicted from home.

Signs of an overdose include respiratory depression, seizures or tremors, loss of consciousness, vision impairments, high body temperature or fever, blue fingernails and lips, high blood pressure and sudden rapid heart rate. If you suspect a possible overdose, do not hesitate to seek emergency medical treatment immediately.

Contact Pathways for more information on identifying and recognizing the signs of addiction or to learn more about our program. You can also follow us on Facebook for ideas and tips on helping family members, Substance abuse and alcohol addiction information and additional resources.

An Insider’s Look: What to Expect at a Rehab Treatment Center

Finding treatment for drug abuse can be very difficult, especially for someone new to the idea. It can be helpful to have some ideas of what to expect, whether it’s a family member seeking help for an addict or an addict looking for recovery himself, as well as what he/she might experience.

Preparation
Rehab and recovery has its hardships but there are also many benefits and things to be excited about in making the decision to get clean and sober. Expectations when entering a rehabilitation facility or assisting a friend or relative in doing so depend a lot on each individual’s situation and personal experience with drugs, and it’s extremely important to first consider the many steps to take before arriving at the facility.

To start, the client checking in will only need to bring about a week’s worth of clothing. It is advantageous to keep in mind that Pathways treatment facility is in Florida, a very warm climate. However, air conditioning is brisk within the facility, so a sweater or jacket will come in handy.

At the same time, there is a vast list of items not allowed within the facility. Knowing the requirements in advance negates additional frustration upon arrival. Some examples of things the client can bring to the rehab center include:

  • Up to three pairs of shoes
  • Medications in RX bottles (to be assessed upon arrival)
  • Alarm clock
  • Personal blanket and pillow

The list of prohibited items is much more extensive. For example, new arrivals may not bring:

  • Cell phones
  • Radios
  • MP3 players
  • Outside food or drink
  • Clothing with drug or alcohol references
  • Clothing with inappropriate insignia

For a complete list of items Pathways does not allow clients to carry with them, it is important to consult with a professional at the facility or view the Pathways website.

Arrival and Check-In
After the personal property is reviewed and taken care of, new arrivals will be introduced to a highly trained counselor who will guide him or her in developing a successful treatment plan according to their individual needs. The assessment will cover chemical dependency treatment as well as mental health and complete recovery physically and emotionally.

Payment Information
Because the cost of addiction treatment and rehabilitation can often be prohibitive, Pathways offers clients and friends or families who are willing to assist and pay for the treatment several options to make the necessary payment. The cost of services is $9,600 per month for services. Pathways accepts payment from several different insurance companies, including but not limited to:

  • Aetna
  • Blue Cross/Blue Shield
  • Humana
  • United Health Care
  • And many more.

Clients, or their representative friend or family member, should assess the available insurance to see if coverage for inpatient treatment is provided. Should that not be available or not cover the entire cost, financing is also available through American Healthcare Lending, which provides:

  • Simple interest loans
  • Reasonable interest rates
  • Terms up to 84 months
  • No down payment or collateral
  • As well as many other benefits.

The Program
At Pathways, clients in treatment will receive services that prepare him or her to manage their addiction. Recovery skills, relapse prevention training, and counseling are provided by a team trained in the latest science-based techniques that have proven successful. The addiction treatment revolves around an intensive 28-day program and also offers options for extended care as needed, as well as detox.

Housing
Clients should expect to share a room containing a closet and bathroom, with linens provided. The goal is to assure clients can confidently transfer to a sober house, halfway house, or other loving, supervised facility for continued care.

Making the decision to enter treatment can be a difficult step for anyone with a substance abuse disorder. Our compassionate Pathways counseling staff will work with you to provide an individualized treatment program. To learn more or set up an appointment for an assessment, please call 855-349-5988.

What All Parents Should Know About Substance Abuse in Teenagers

No family wants to deal with substance abuse. However, the reality is that substance is one of the biggest challenges our society faces. For parents, their worst nightmare can come to fruition when learning their teenager is using and dependent on drugs.

There is hope and light at the end of the tunnel. Many individuals learn a life of recovery and turn their lives into positive examples. In part, this success is due to the profound support by family, peers, and a network of professionals who are committed to providing rehabilitative services.
Substance abuse does not have to lead to a point of no return. The first step that parents can make to ensure the safety and well-being of their children is to understand facts surrounding the disease.

Get the Facts:

  • Adolescents under the age of 18 are at an unpredictable and sometimes awkward time in their life. Natural feelings of insecurity, self-doubt and frustration, coupled with raging hormones, can make them very impressionable and more susceptible to falling prey to vices. Juveniles are also at greater risk of becoming addicts than adults because their brains are not fully developed.
  • The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP)states that teens with family history of substance abuse have higher chances of developing serious habits with drug and alcohol. It is also more likely for those with low self-esteem or depression to become victims. The average age most individuals first consume alcohol is 12, and experimentation with marijuana typically begins at age 14.
  • Teens experiment or become dependent on a wide range of drugs including alcohol, prescribed medication, over-the-counter medications, depressants, stimulants, heroin and designer drugs.
  • Common telltale signs of substance abuse among teens is glazed eyes, appetite loss, erratic behavior, poor judgment, fatigue, indifference towards school and social activities, physical health problems and a change in friends.
  • According to Medicine.net, juveniles who use drugs are more likely to engage in unprotected sex, experience teen pregnancy, suffer from life-threatening diseases and attempt suicide. Substance abuse also increases high school drop-out rates and enduring impoverished conditions, such as homelessness, because of voluntary or involuntary disassociation from family and friends.
  • Drug and alcohol treatment is an invaluable experience for those ready to seek help. Individuals who are pushed by peers and family members are not as likely to remain clean after rehabilitation.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)indicates that substance abuse treatment curbs addiction by getting to the root of the problem so individuals can have a better quality of life. However, the selection process can be challenging because there are not “one size fits all” solutions. The extent of drug and alcohol use, as well as the history behind it, differs from person to person. In addition, resources vary by center and the quality of each individual’s interaction with care providers is never the same.

If you know or suspect that your teenager has an abuse problem, contact Pathways for help.

3 Things to Know About Insurance for Substance Abuse Rehab Centers

Once an individual accepts that they need help, the next step will be to decide on treatment. Finding the right rehab facility can make recovery go smoother. Paying for treatment is a big factor in deciding on a facility and insurance often covers substance abuse treatment.

  1. Substance Abuse Treatment is an Essential Health Benefit
    According to gov, health insurance plans must cover certain essential health benefits. Among those benefits are mental health and substance abuse services.
  2. A Policy May Not Cover All Rehab Facilities
    Prior to seeking treatment, contact the insurance provider to determine the type of coverage provided by the policy. Knowing and understanding what coverage is available can make choosing a treatment facility easier. A policy may not cover certain forms of treatment, such as residential treatment.
  3. Insurance May Cover Extended Recovery Services
    Some services are available to help ensure the success of each client. Extended services include relapse prevention counseling, managing anger, anxiety and stress.

The inability to pay out of pocket does not have to be a barrier for anyone seeking treatment. It is important to investigate the various insurance options and payment plans when deciding to enter treatment. Contact Pathways to Recovery to determine the best payment option for you.

5 Pros & Cons of Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab Centers

The first step on the road to recovery is knowing you need help to beat your addiction. Another big step is choosing between an outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation center. Each type of treatment setting has advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages of Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient, or residential treatment, requires a 28 day stay. The actual length of a typical stay depends on your diagnosis, needs, situation and insurance coverage.

Pros:

  • You receive 24-hour supervision by trained staff and therapists; you are never alone while battling your addiction.
  • You are part of a community – other residents in the facility are also overcoming their addictions.
  • You are in a program that provides an intense level of care – individuals who have tried to battle addiction previously may a more intense setting.
  • Being in a residential setting, more time each day is focused on recovery, through group and individual counseling settings, as well as other treatment exercises.
  • You do not have the distractions of daily life activities/worries while in treatment.

Cons:

  • You are not free to come and go and you please
  • You are in a structured environment that dictates when you get up in the morning, when you eat, when you have counseling sessions and when you have free-time. For many, though this seems like a “con” it is actually one of the best components of residential/inpatient treatment.
  • Arrangements for child care will need to be made while you are in treatment.
  • Often, you will need to take a leave from your job to participate in residential treatment.
  • Many insurers will only cover outpatient treatment.

Outpatient Rehabilitation Centers

As the name implies, you receive treatment as you come and go. You typically participate in counseling sessions for a specific timeframe before you complete the program.

Pros:

  • Outpatient treatment is structured so you can continue many of your daily activities such as work, caring for children etc.
  • Counseling sessions are often offered in the evenings and sometimes even on weekends.
  • You can apply what you learn in treatment to your real life setting and start making changes immediately.
  • Many outpatient program include family sessions, to help your support network better understand the challenges you face.
  • Outpatient is considered a more affordable treatment option and is generally covered by insurance.

Cons:

  • You risk being exposed to the same influences, risks and triggers in your life that pushed you towards drug or alcohol.
  • You may still have access to drugs/alcohol.
  • Daily life distractions could keep you from focusing on recovery.
  • Access to your counselor is more limited than in a residential/inpatient facility.
  • Many residential clients develop bonds with other people in treatment that later become part of their sober support network. In outpatient, you do not spend as much time with others in treatment, which makes building the foundation of this support network more challenging.

There are many pros and cons to rehabilitation facilities. The right facility for you depends on many factors. To learn more about Pathways’ 28-day residential program, please contact us for more information.


Download Our Addiction Guide

FAQ: Common Questions About How to Pay for Rehab

Accepting that you have an addiction and deciding to go for rehab can be a daunting. Many people worry about the entire rehabilitation process and how it will affect their daily lives. Just like other cases in life, the unknown can be quite scary. Thankfully, there are clear answers to all the questions that you might have about the rehabilitation process.

Many people are concerned about cost of rehab. Does the price vary? Is payment upfront? These are a few issues to resolve before proceeding to seek these rehab services.

  • How long does the rehabilitation process take?
    There is no set period of time that applies to all who seek services. Some clients might require a three-month residential program whereas for others, 30 days may be adequate. This difference also brings about the difference in charges.
  • How much does the entire rehab process cost?
    Rehabilitation program costs can vary dramatically. Some of the elements that will affect cost are residential or outpatient care and the amenities offered.  Facilities and programs can be quite affordable or be very high end.
  • If I have to travel, how much will I have to pay to get to the facility?
    Many people prefer to travel to facilities away from home for privacy issues. This aspect is beneficial since it takes the addict out of their familiar home environment. In a different location, they can focus on getting their issues, free from distractions, family and friends.
  • Is insurance accepted?
    Insurance is accepted in most drug rehabilitation centers across the globe today. However, this varies depending on the facility. An insurance plan may or may not cover some portion of the rehab stay and therefore it is important to check a plan carefully before enrolling.

If you are interested in payment options or simply want to be provided with more information about our program, please contact Pathways.