Category: Substance abuse

Fentanyl withdrawal

The Symptoms Of Fentanyl Withdrawal To Prepare For

The opioid crisis has impacted millions of Americans by claiming lives and ripping families apart. There are several opioids that have harmed people, but one drug, in particular, has increased in popularity in recent years and that drug is fentanyl.

Fentanyl desensitizes the brain and is extremely dangerous but recovery from this addiction is possible. When beginning the rehabilitation process there is a withdrawal period that can be very scary for the person recovering and their loved ones. There are several signs that come along with it and they should not be ignored.

Keep reading to learn about fentanyl withdrawal and how to cope with the symptoms.

What Is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid pain reliever that is traditionally used to treat severe pain. It is a powerful drug and is fifty to one hundred times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is also made and sold illegally and that has accounted for a lot of its destruction.

Several overdoses and deaths have been caused as a result of the illegally made form of the drug. This form is oftentimes mixed with heroin or cocaine and gives a more euphoric and addictive experience to the user. The drug alone caused over 30,000 deaths in 2018 and is damaging families all over the country.

As powerful as this drug is, the detox process can also take it’s toll on the body with several symptoms that individuals and their loved ones should recognize.

Depression

When weening off of fentanyl it is common for people to experience depression. Users can begin to feel empty and hopeless inside and will share many symptoms of clinical depression.

This is a part of the grieving process of the body not being in contact with the drug that it depended on for so long. Depression symptoms differ from person to person but if you notice you or your loved one sinking further into an episode and becoming suicidal, seek help immediately.

Always remember that this is temporary and that the outcome of the withdrawal period will be positive.

Body Aches

Another symptom includes body aches. Your body may experience a series of headaches and muscle pains because it is yearning for the drugs again.

The aches are temporary and usually last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks before getting over the initial shock and the body reaching homeostasis. Individuals may also have seizures and vomit as a form of purging their body of the toxins.

Insomnia

Insomnia is also a common symptom of fentanyl withdrawal. This could last for well over six months before the body establishes a normal sleeping pattern. Insomnia can be a scary symptom to deal with and can lead to other problems such as anxiety.

It’s important to avoid taking sleeping medications due to their addictive nature and to focus on mental exercises to help get sleep. Establishing sleeping rituals such as a set bedtime or taking a relaxing bath at night can help individuals get into a normal routine.

Be Patient During the Fentanyl Withdrawal Period

All of the symptoms outlined are a part of the process of becoming a healthier person for yourself and your family. If you or a loved one are working towards stopping fentanyl usage the most important thing to do is to be aware and be patient.

Fentanyl withdrawal takes time and can be scary, but knowing what to expect can make for a smoother transition.

Check out our website for more information on recovery and the treatment programs that we offer.

schizophrenia facts

Quick Schizophrenia Facts and How It’s Linked to Substance Abuse

Substance abuse takes a toll on mental health, but do you know how extreme the effects can be?

From seizures to strokes, the excessive use of drugs, alcohol, and nicotine can lead to a myriad of brain disorders. Among these disorders is schizophrenia.

Schizophrenia can be caused by genetic, biological, and environmental factors, but it can also be a product of substance abuse.

Here are some quick schizophrenia facts and how it’s connected to substance abuse.

What Is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that keeps the afflicted party from distinguishing between reality and imagination, often blurring the two together. Schizophrenia can cause hallucinations, psychological delusions, and disorganized speech patterns.

The onset of schizophrenia usually occurs in the early 20s for men and late 20s for women. When emerging in teens, schizophrenia is often hard to diagnose because the symptoms can seem to be fairly normal teenage behaviors such as depression, irritability, and lack of motivation.

Schizophrenia rarely occurs in children, but some indicating factors include abnormal movement and delayed language skills.

Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia

The first signs of schizophrenia often include depression, a flat expression, and withdrawal from social situations.

The afflicted party will often find social situations difficult because they have a hard time portraying emotion and concentrating. They may begin to isolate themselves or become hostile and anxious.

In extreme cases, schizophrenia can cause the afflicted party to believe their thoughts aren’t their own or that normal events have a special meaning. People with schizophrenia may eventually turn to drug use, making their symptoms worse and possibly getting into trouble with the law.

How Drugs Cause Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia can lead to drug use, but sometimes it’s the other way around. Drugs can cause an imbalance of the chemicals serotonin and dopamine in the brain, leading to hallucinations and hypersensitivity. Though drugs don’t directly cause schizophrenia, they increase the likelihood of developing it.

Psychoactive and psychotropic drugs like marijuana and cocaine can alter the neurotransmitters in the brain and make symptoms worse for people who already have schizophrenia.

Who’s at Risk for Developing Schizophrenia?

Young men and individuals who haven’t completed higher levels of education are at a higher risk of abusing substances, leading to schizophrenia.

Teens who regularly smoke potent forms of cannabis are more likely to develop schizophrenia by their mid-20s.

People who already have schizophrenia may try to self-medicate with alcohol, nicotine, cocaine, and cannabis, making their schizophrenia worse. Symptoms may also be worsened in individuals who have experienced a stressful event.

Those with addiction problems or who tend to relapse after recovery may develop schizophrenia.

Knowing Schizophrenia Facts for Recovery

Now that you know these schizophrenia facts, it’s time to seek treatment for the afflicted person in your life.

Currently, there’s no cure for schizophrenia, but it can be treated and managed with helpful medication and therapy. Treating both substance abuse and schizophrenia together is the best means of recovery!

Be sure to check our blog regularly for more health and wellness advice!

signs of opioid addiction

Obvious Signs Of Opioid Addiction That You Should Notice

Nearly 2 million people in the United States alone have been diagnosed with substance abuse disorders related to opioids.

Opioid addiction can happen to anyone, including your coworkers, neighbors, children, or even you. It’s important to be able to spot symptoms and signs of opioid addiction early on, as this disease can be fatal.

Every day, more than 130 people die from opioid overdose.

Keep reading to learn some common signs of opioid addiction.

Taking Opioids More Often or in Larger Doses Than Prescribed

Opioids are a class of medications that are prescribed for pain relief. When opioids are taken exactly as prescribed, they are relatively harmless.

Unfortunately, those who misuse opioids can easily become addicted. Misuse of opioids isn’t necessarily intentional, though, as a person might feel the need to take higher doses to relieve pain.

Neglecting Responsibilities

Those struggling with opioid addiction can easily lose interest in things that they once enjoyed, or even needed to do.

A person might fail to show up for work or school. They might also stop visiting friends and family, or even neglect personal hygiene. Neglecting responsibilities is not necessarily done on purpose, as addiction can force a person to focus their life around drugs.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms happen as a person is coming off of a high or if the person hasn’t been able to get high at the time that they normally would.

Mild withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, agitation, insomnia, sweating, shaking, and muscle aches. More severe signs of withdrawal symptoms could include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dilated pupils, abdominal cramping, and chest pain.

If you notice withdrawal symptoms in someone, avoid confronting them until the symptoms have subsided. Withdrawal can lead to unexplained emotional outbursts or aggression.

Multiple Appointments with Different Doctors for the Same Pain or Illness

If you notice that someone has been making several appointments with different doctors for the same illness or pain, this could be a sign of opioid addiction.

It’s easy to know that doctors will not continually prescribe opioids, so this is one way that sufferers compensate.

Mood Extremes

If you start to notice that a person is having extreme mood swings on a regular basis, opioid addiction may be the cause.

A person who is intoxicated by opioids will often experience feelings of euphoria. However, when the intoxication starts to wear off, that person might start to feel severe depression or anxiety.

These mood swings often happen very quickly and can sometimes be difficult to notice.

What to Do If You Notice These Signs of Opioid Addiction

If you see any of the signs of opioid addiction in a loved one, or even in yourself, don’t wait to seek help. Opioid addiction is a very serious condition and leads to multiple deaths every single day.

Contact us today to speak with a professional for opioid addiction treatment.

Understanding and relating to your family member with an addiction

Many families go through life without addiction making an impact on their immediate family. If there is no history of addiction in the family, most people do not know how to understand or relate to the family member who is challenged with a substance abuse problem.

A common question is, “why can’t they simply stop using/drinking?” Or, “why don’t they realize how they are throwing away their life?” Having a family member self-destruct due to substance abuse can be one of the most painful and exhausting experiences in life. You worry for their safety, for their future, for their livelihood. As parents, you’ve raised them to be strong and independent, yet for some reason, they’ve chosen drugs over other life obligations – work, family activities, school…

There are several approaches many family members take. Some will enable their loved one, giving them money for rent and utilities. Others take the tough-love approach demanding that they “straighten up” or all ties will be cut. While enabling is dangerous and allows the individual to continue use at the expense of those who care for them, family members maintain a bond, despite continued and persistent substance use. The tough-love approach has different psychological effects on the person with the issue. More often than not, those in treatment for a substance use issue report low self-esteem and isolation from family members. This can lead to depression and perpetuate continued use.

What can you do to help a family member?

1 – Learn about addiction and how people are physically dependent on the substances they are abusing.
2 – Speak to your family member about the issue – encourage them to admit they have a problem.
3 – Research treatment options in your area. In some cases, it is better to get treatment out of town where is no risk of running into someone familiar in the treatment setting.
4 – Encourage them to consider the options you found – but remember, this is their fight and they need to take ownership of it and do follow-up research. This can also lead to a sense of accomplishment and pride.
5 – Set boundaries of expected behavior and stick to these boundaries, regardless how challenging it is.
6 – Find a local support groups like al-anon or nar-anon so you can learn from others who are also experiencing similar situations with a family member and addiction.
7 – If they agree to go to treatment, participate in the treatment experience. Attend visitations and family therapy sessions.
8 – Make sure they know you support them in their fight to be well and lead a life of recovery.

Related Blog:  Addiction and Family

Pathways provides 28-day and extended care treatment programs for adults with substance use disorders. In addition to engaging clients in the 12-Step process, the program also focuses on setting boundaries, developing coping skills and handling trauma. If you, or someone you know is in need of substance abuse treatment, contact Pathways for more information at 855-349-5988.