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Call today to schedule your free and confidential consultation.

(858) 263-9700


Drug Rehab

Withdrawal Symptoms Caused by Stopping Addictive Substances and How to Manage Them

Substance dependence occurs when an individual who is using addictive substances such as alcohol, narcotics, prescription medications, or other illegal drugs experiences withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the product. The body becomes used to the substance to the point that it needs the product in order to function adequately.

Drug Addict Going Through Addiction CrisisOnce the substance is discontinued, the body will experience the following general signs and symptoms within a few hours:

  • Excessive yawning.
  • Increased sweating.
  • Muscles aches and pains.
  • Increased agitation or anxiety.
  • Mood swings.
  • A runny nose and teary eyes as well as other flu-like symptoms.
  • Cravings for the addictive product.
  • Difficulty with getting to sleep (insomnia).

These are not life-threatening issues but they can make the affected individual very uncomfortable which is why they rather choose to continue using the addictive substance.

Certain withdrawal symptoms may also specifically occur when discontinuation the following substances:

  • Depressants such as benzodiazepines and alcohol – agitation, anxiety, tremors, hallucinations, and seizures.
  • Narcotics such as opioid pain medications and heroin – Bone, joint, and muscle aches, gastrointestinal issues, and increased pain sensitivity.
  • Stimulants such as the amphetamines and cocaine – anxiety, aggression, depression, sweating, fevers, stomach aches, and tremors.
  • Bath salts – paranoia, tremors, depression, and sleeping difficulties.

The duration, intensity, and severity of withdrawal symptoms will depend on the following factors:

  • The length of the addiction to the substance.
  • How much of the substance is in the individual’s body when they discontinue the product.
  • How many different substances are used by the individual at the same time.
  • If there are any physical or mental disorders present.
  • How long it takes the substance to be eliminated from the body (half-life of the product).

Medical detox

  • Medical detoxification (detox) is a therapy used to help addicts to go through the withdrawal process with as little discomfort as possible.
  • Alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs use applicable medications with appropriate dosing regimens to help reduce the duration and severity of withdrawal symptoms when the offending substance is discontinued.
  • This is performed on an inpatient basis so that the patient can be monitored by healthcare personnel in order to provide the correct level of care to the patient and so that any emergency situations may be dealt with properly.
  • Admission to inpatient substance rehabilitation centers is the safest way to detox, especially when co-morbid mental health disorders affect the patient. Psychological counseling and psychiatric consultations are offered to these patients to help address mental health problems.
  • There are various methods of medical detox including the “cold-turkey” method (meaning stopping the medication with only medical supervision), short-term medicated detox, and long-term medicated detox.

The following medications are prescribed for patients to help reduce withdrawal symptoms associated with the respective addictive substances:

 

  • Short–acting benzodiazepines – used in those who use stimulants such as alcohol as well as in marijuana users.
  • Desipramine – used in long-term stimulant users.
  • Disulfiram – prescribed for users to prevent them from using alcohol. The medication causes a metabolite of alcohol to build up in the body causing moderate to severe gastrointestinal symptoms.
  • Methadone or buprenorphine – used in addicts of narcotics such as heroin and opioid pain medications.

Detox is Only the Beginning

Many people think of addiction treatment as detox and are afraid of it too.

Yes, detox is an important first step in recovery, yet detox is only the first of a series of steps and changes you need to make to complete recover from addiction.

When you wean yourself off the drug or alcohol, the body (which is dependent on the substance by now) undergoes withdrawal. These withdrawal symptoms may be physical, such as nausea and diarrhea or psychological, such as mood changes and depression. Most abusers dread these withdrawal symptoms. While detox can be a trying experience, it has a reasonably predictable – and relatively short – duration. Leading drug detox facilities, such as pacific Bay Recovery in San Diego, offer medical detox that is carried out under the supervision of doctors and addiction specialists.

It is important to remember that detox is just the beginning of a long process of sobriety and recovery.

Detox can bring change but that would only last a short duration. You need to follow it up with inpatient or intensive outpatient treatments that help you recover and cultivate a drug-free lifestyle.

Detox signals the beginning of your treatment but it isn’t the entire treatment. There is lot of work to be done. Check with your rehab center about addiction treatment programs available. You can choose from inpatient and intensive outpatient programs.

Heroin – The Ultimate High

Heroin gives a high like no other drug. But the sense of empowerment doesn’t last long. In fact, it leaves you worse than before. And most importantly, the drug slowly destroys every cell in the body.

Heroin and the Brain
Heroin is an opiate. It gradually alters brain structure and function. The drug itself goes through many chemical reactions in the brain and changes into morphine. It quickly binds to the opioid receptors, mimics endorphins (natural “feel-good” chemicals) and relieves pain and anxiety, producing a euphoric state. This is what makes heroin so addictive.

Heroin and the Body

  • Intake
    The person takes heroin.
  • Heart
    Heroin enters the bloodstream quickly.
    The heart pumps the blood with the drug in it.
  • Brain
    The drug passes through the blood-brain barrier and reaches the brain to undergo chemical reactions and binds to opioid receptors.
    Causes euphoria, pain and anxiety relief
  • Liver
    The drug undergoes extensive first-pass metabolism in the liver.
    The liver produces specific enzymes for this purpose.
    The drug enters the body’s circulation.
  • Kidneys
    Heroin has an extremely rapid half-life of 2-6 minutes.
    About 7% is excreted as unchanged morphine and 50-60% as glucuronides.
    Within 72 hours up to 90% is eliminated in urine.

How Heroin Destroys the Body
Heroin use can cause –

  • suppressed breathing
  • irregular heartbeat
  • hormonal imbalance
  • impaired decision-making
  • kidney failure

Timely treatment for heroin addiction can help prevent further damage.

Men’s Rehab – Teaching Men to Deal with their Demons Head-On

Men’s Rehab - San DiegoCo-ed rehabilitation (rehab) facilities make it hard for each gender to concentrate on healing and starting the recovery process. When you remove the distraction of the opposite sex, the focus goes back to the individual and full concentration on the addiction is in place. This might seem harsh, but men are more distracted by women than women are by men.

Male Counselors

It is often difficult for a man to open up and discuss their troubles with a female. Men know how to relate to each other. This type of approach helps men to figure out exactly what led them to addiction. Perhaps social drinking while watching sports turned into dependency in everyday life. That is common for men. Male counselors use male-driven approaches to counseling sessions by relating items to their specific interests. This aids the patients in recognizing triggers and trouble areas. For instance, while watching a football game, instead of grabbing a beer, get some apple juice instead. It’s the same color as beer but is minus the alcohol.

Comfortable Male-Friendly Setting

Centers that are decorated for men, with themes and accessories or even building projects to complete, are more successful. A male-friendly setting includes a lounge area with big couches, bulky tables, stuffed wildlife, and sometimes, sports themes. This helps men to feel more comfortable and less out of their element. It is still unfamiliar and uncomfortable but being able to recognize things that interest them is a step in the right direction. Men have a variety of interests from cooking to sports and using their hands to build things. Rehab facilities that focus on what they enjoy while treating their disease are found to be the most beneficial.

Activities Geared toward Men’s Interests

While television is unavailable in rehab centers, there are activities to keep men busy. Men need something constructive to do when they’re not in a therapy session.  Working rehab centers help channel frustrations, pent-up stress, and hidden emotions into completing projects. Working with your hands is very therapeutic and rewarding at the same time. Think of the piece of wood or project, you’re working on as your addiction. Take that negative energy and achieve the finished product, which in this case would be sobriety. Some other activities may include a golf outing, flag football, or learning to cook.

Re-Introduction to Society and Family Life

Some men take a back seat to raising children, paying the bills, and helping around the house. As part of their re-introduction to a normal lifestyle, parenting classes and family counseling are often suggested. When family members join therapy sessions, it becomes intense, but this is near the end of the program so that dealing with the pain and anguish felt by family members is easier to cope with. This helps men to want to be part of their children’s lives and help with the household. Essentially, it rounds them out as an adult and teaches them what living responsibility is really all about. The end result is a happier male that is more involved with life in general.

Holistic Rehab – It Isn’t just Crazy Talk

What is Holistic RehabA holistic approach to rehabilitation (rehab) for addictions might seem crazy, but the truth is, it works. These programs are based upon the premise that natural elements remove negative energies and toxins from the body to reduce the “need” for drugs and/or alcohol. Consider it as being a realist’s way of healing. Look into these programs and view the success rates–you may be shocked.

Natural Cleansing Remedies

Connecting with nature and natural elements help to detoxify the body naturally, removing toxins that aid in your dependency on drugs and/or alcohol. What this does is create natural endorphins, which are what creates happiness and energy.  When your body rids itself of negative feelings from positive reinforcements, such as a happy life, a tranquil environment, and a great support group, you can be on your way to embracing a natural lifestyle. This holistic approach may seem absolutely nuts to some, but it isn’t harsh on the body at all. It’s actually quite refreshing.

Aromatherapy for Trigger Reduction

Triggers and temptation cause a general unsettled feeling in the body. Aromatherapy counteracts it. There are different scents that every person finds relaxing. It is important to work with your counselor to find the perfect combination for your unique situation. For instance, someone who becomes angry when their drug of choice is not available may enjoy warm scents such as cinnamon, chocolate, or fresh baked goods. Those that get anxious when they need a fix typically enjoy eucalyptus or fruit scents.

What this type of therapy does is teach you how to take those feelings of anger, depression, and anxiety in combination with a relaxing scent and allow the negative energy to leave the body. The counselor will instruct you to use these scents, and fresh air to calm these unwanted feelings.

Creating Positives Out of Negatives

For every negative in life, there are several positives that will follow. It is important to learn how to take bad feelings, cravings, and triggers and turn them into something constructive. This can mean building something, painting, a new hobby or even going for an evening walk. It’s very cleansing to concentrate these feelings into something constructive to create feelings of accomplishment and happiness. Yoga is peaceful and helps to relax both the mind and body at the same time. Other ideas to consider are learning to cook, taking classes to learn a new trade, joining a walking club, or even just taking walks in nature on your own.

Holistic approaches aren’t for the birds. The body reacts to natural stimulation in a positive manner. Negative energy by allowing life’s stresses and tragedies to take over is what often leads society to dangerous addictions. Those with serious addictions may take longer to benefit from this approach and it may be very hard on the body in the beginning. Once you go through the program and see just how fresh and happy you feel, you’ll see that the tough road was all worth it and you’ll be more motivated to maintain the lifestyle.

Opioid-Dependence Implant: New Treatment Option

A new treatment option for addiction is Probuphine (buprenorphine), a 6-month implant that delivers a small dose of daily medication. Buprenorphine was first approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002 for the treatment of opioid addiction. Probuphine was developed by Braeburn and Titan Pharmaceuticals.

Opioid Dependence What to do?How does Probuphine Work?

The implant involves 4 one-inch-long rods placed under the skin of the upper arm. This procedure is done in the doctor’s office. The implant provides 6 months of continuous buprenorphine dosing. Probuphine works by binding to opioid receptors in the body to prevent physical withdrawal from opiates, blocking the effects of opiates, and limiting cravings for opiates.

Does Insurance cover Probuphine?

Most of the larger health insurers are covering Probuphine. The implantable device costs around $5,000 or $825 per month. However, some insurance companies are not yet covering the implant, citing that pills cost less. Probuphine is cheaper than Vivitrol, which is a form of naltrexone injected once a month. Vivitrol currently costs around $1,000 a month.

What are the Most Commonly Overdosed Opioids?

The most common drugs involved in prescription overdose deaths are:

  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)

What does the Statistics on Overdose Tell Us?

Overdose deaths involving prescription pain relievers have quadrupled since 1999 in the United States, and so have the sales of these drugs. From 1999 to 2015, more than 165,000 people died in America from prescription opioid overdoses. In addition, more than 14,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses in 2014 alone. Overdose rates are the highest among individuals age 25-54 years. Men are more likely to die from an overdose, but the mortality gap between women and men is closing.

In 2015, around 2 million people in the U.S. abused or became dependent on prescription opioid medications. Around 1 in 4 people received prescriptions for pain relievers for non-cancer diagnoses. In addition, each day in the U.S, more than 1,000 people are treated in emergency departments for misuse of prescription medications.

How are Probuphine Implants Inserted and Removed?

The Probuphine rod implants are inserted and removed only by a specially trained physician. The doctor numbs the skin of the upper arm using a local anesthetic. A small incision is made, and the implants are placed under the skin. After closing the small incision with sutures, a bandage is applied, which must be kept clean and dry for 3-5 days. You can apply an ice pack to the site for 20-30 minutes several times a day to relieve pain.

The doctor will give you a patient identification card, which you must carry with you at all times. The card contains the date the implants were inserted, and the date they must be removed. You will schedule an appointment with the doctor for removal. The procedure involves a simple office procedure, much like the insertion procedure.

Does Probuphine Work?

According to a phase 3 study by the manufacturing companies, Probuphine is quite effective for treating opioid addiction. The study involved 177 participants who received either Probuphine implants or sublingual buprenorphine tablets for six months. According to the study, the efficacy rate for Probuphine was 96.4% compared to 87.6% for the sublingual buprenorphine group.

In another clinical study, buprenorphine implant patients had significantly more negative urine drug screens during weeks 1-16. The Probuphine implant patients had 40% more negative urine tests for illicit opioids. Participants who received buprenorphine implants had fewer clinician-rated and patient-rated withdrawal symptoms experienced a greater change in ratings of severity of opioid dependence and had lower patient ratings for cravings.

Resources
CDC. Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics; 2016. Available at http://wonder.cdc.gov.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. Multiple Cause of Death 1999-2014 on CDC WONDER Online Database, released 2015. Data are from the Multiple Cause of Death Files, 1999-2014, as compiled from data provided by the 57 vital statistics jurisdictions through the Vital Statistics Cooperative Program. Accessed at http://wonder.cdc.gov/mcd-icd10.html.
Frenk SM, Porter KS, Paulozzi LJ. Prescription opioid analgesic use among adults: United States, 1999–2012. NCHS data brief, no 189. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2015.
Ling W, Casadonte P, Bigelow G, et al. Buprenorphine Implants for Treatment of Opioid Dependence: A Randomized Controlled Trial. JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, 2010; 304 (14): 1576 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.1427
Ossiander EM. Using textual cause-of-death data to study drug poisoning Ossiander EM Am J Epidemiol. 2014 Apr 1;179(7):884-94. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt333. Epub 2014 Feb 1112.)
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2014.

Not-so-Obvious Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addicts often don’t want help. They hide their problem as well as their struggle. Hiding allows them to go on drinking. Without professional help, the drinker can go on for long till s/he hits rock bottom. The longer they drink at dangerous levels, the higher is their likelihood of addiction.

So, how can you know if a loved one is hiding a drinking problem?

While denial is common among alcoholics, a person with a drinking problem will often rationalize the amount they drink; convincing themselves and others that it is no more than a drink now and then. When someone drinks in unhealthy amounts and pattern, it can involve clever ways to obtain and hide alcohol, including

  • travelling to places they may not be recognized, to buy alcohol
  • hiding alcohol around the house or office, for example, in non-alcoholic drink containers
  • using a hip flask
  • mixing alcohol in soft drinks

Hidden Signs of Alcoholism

There are various signs that may indicate a drinking problem.

  1. Denying or lying about the amounts they are drinking
  2. Drinking heavily while alone
  3. Passing out due to too much drinking
  4. Neglecting personal and professional responsibilities as a result of drinking
  5. Drinking alcohol first thing in the morning
  6. Experiencing cravings for a drink that affect mood or concentration levels

If you recognize these signs in a loved one, seek professional help so that they can work towards the best possible solution.

Exams and Tests for Drug Abuse and Dependency

A high index of suspicion is required for patients who show signs and symptoms of drug abuse or dependency. A complete evaluation of the patient is necessary, including physical examination and laboratory investigations. The clinical diagnosis of the patient is facilitated by the presence of specific signs – for example, nasal ulceration in cocaine abuse. Nevertheless, it is common for patients to have non-specific complaints related to drug withdrawal. A wide range of signs and symptoms has been attributed to drug abuse, including constricted or dilated pupils, coarse voice, abnormal heart rate, enlarged liver and collapsed veins.

Drug Addiction Treatment San DiegoDiagnosis of drug abuse is largely dependent upon the identification of important clues from patient history. For example, these may include frequent road traffic accidents, workplace absences, episodes of domestic violence, chronic pain with no underlying cause and a recent onset of seizures. The CAGE questionnaire is helpful in the diagnosis of alcohol dependence, and ideally, should be used to ensure the documentation of important information regarding alcohol dependency in a patient. It is also used as a screening tool to identify alcohol abuse and dependency. In terms of drug abuse, the Conjoint screening test is the tool of choice.

Substance abuse, in general, can lead to neuromuscular symptoms such as tremors, seizures, and rigidity. Psychological symptoms include nervousness, anxiety, confusion, slurred speech, irritability, a staggering gait, and hallucinations. Psychological problems always arise with CNS-acting drug abuse and confuse the clinical picture. The inspection of body and clothes of patients can provide additional evidence regarding drug abuse, for example, an alcoholic odor in the person’s breath, needle marks on their arms, residual cocaine around the nares and clothes that are stained with alcohol.

Laboratory investigations should be suggested if a clinical suspicion arises. Laboratory tests do not have diagnostic accuracy in detecting drug abuse. A few tests can help in identifying patients with drug abuse and they can also give information about chronic intake of specific drugs. They are also of value for the detection of organ damage from chronic drug abuse. Blood samples can be taken to run drug toxicology screens and measure Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV). The toxicology screens identify the pharmacological class of drugs.

 Drug metabolites are accurately detected in saliva and urine, therefore urine samples are useful in measuring hourly drug clearance. Positive findings in toxicology screens emphasize the need for confirmatory tests. Enzyme-mediated Immunoassay Technique (EMIT) is also used to confirm the presence of drugs in the bloodstream. In most cases, only metabolites of a particular drug are detected in significant quantities; traces of parent drug or complete absence thereof can make interpretation difficult, as metabolites of two or more different drugs can be similar. False negatives are common and can be brought about by additional drugs taken for the sole purpose of elimination. These drugs act as a ‘mask’ for the original drug being tested.  Other tests, such as gamma glutamyl transpeptidase and carbohydrate-deficient transferrin (CDT), have a role in identifying alcohol abuse.

Crystal Methamphetamine; How it Works?

Crystal methamphetamine, also called methylamphetamine or desoxyephedrine, is in the form of the chemical n-methyl-1-phenyl-propan-2-amine. On the street, it is simply known as “meth.” In the crystalline form, this drug is known as Ice, Tina, Glass, or Crystal. Typically, users smoke this drug in a glass pipe, but it is often dissolved in water and injected, snorted, or swallowed. Many women use crystal meth to lose weight, but the effects are usually short term. The body grows a tolerance to this drug, so the weight loss stops after six weeks of regular use.

According to a recent survey by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), over 12 million people in the U.S. have tried methamphetamine at least once, but over 1 million people used it on a regular basis the year prior to the 2012 survey. There are serious psychological, medical, and social consequences associated with methamphetamine abuse, as it can lead to memory loss, psychotic behavior, malnutrition, and serious dental problems. This drug also contributes to an increased risk of obtaining a blood-borne disease, such as hepatitis or HIV.

Methamphetamine AddictionYour Brain on Meth

Crystal methamphetamine increases dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter, which is involved in motivation, reward, pleasure, and motor function. This drug has the ability to release the dopamine rapidly, so the brain produces a quick “flash” of reward. This leads the user to become addicted and experience chronic relapses and compulsive drug-seeking behavior.

Methamphetamine Effects

Many methamphetamine users enjoy this drug because it produces a long-lasting high and causes numerous neurotransmitters to be released in tissues of the brain, which leads to a sense of euphoria. That high often lasts up to 12 or more hours, depending on the person and how the drug was originally taken. As a popular stimulant drug, crystal meth improves energy, concentration, and alertness, but decreases appetite and fatigue. Many meth users report an increased enjoyment in sexual activity and libido.

There are several associated effects linked to pure methamphetamine use. Crystal meth is never pure, so the dangers associated with this drug go beyond regular side effects and known signs. Commonly reported immediate effects include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Euphoria
  • Increased alertness and energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Insomnia
  • Jaw clenching
  • Increased libido
  • Elevated heart rate, blood pressure, body temperature, and blood sugar levels

The effects of chronic use include tolerance, temporary weight loss, drug cravings, the rapid decay of teeth (“meth mouth”), and drug-related psychosis. When a person overdoses on crystal meth, they experience a sense of flesh crawling, paranoia, delusions, hallucinations, brain damage, muscle breakdown, cardiac arrest, stroke, and/or hyperthermia.

The Ingredients

Methamphetamine is available by prescription for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obesity, and narcolepsy. This street drug is made in illegal labs in homes, however. The making of crystal meth involves the use of pseudoephedrine or ephedrine, which is an allergy and cold medicines. The “red, white, and blue process” is where red phosphorus, white ephedrine, and blue iodine are used to make hydroiodic acid. This type of drug is highly dangers, as the phosphorus with sodium hydroxide produces a poisonous phosphine gas, which can autoignite or blow up in the home. In addition to these substances, makers often use ether, chloroform, acetone, ammonia, methylamine, hydrochloric acid, lithium, and/or mercury to make crystal meth.

Why should I choose an Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program?

Recovery from substance abuse is a step-by-step process. After medical detox, people go through different types of treatment – inpatient and outpatient. Read on to learn how an intensive outpatient treatment helps you recover allows you to choose a program that’s right for you.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program

While people undergoing treatment for drug abuse get clean and come back to normal lives, recovery is a lasting commitment. Addiction treatment begins with drug detox after which individuals enter an intensive drug addiction rehab program.

Some people can’t enter an inpatient program due to personal and professional commitments. For them, an outpatient treatment program is best. It allows people to continue with work, school or family obligations.

Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program

Intensive Outpatient treatment brings the benefits of recovering while staying within one’s own family or community. Family members can offer them support to overcome addiction. In addition, career or educational responsibilities may help some people stay focused and successful during the recovery process.

After inpatient treatment, individuals may have to face the challenge of managing temptations and triggers, which were absent in the rehab but are there in the outside world. Losing the peer support might be a setback to some. Outpatient treatment does not present these challenges since the individual recovers at home and learns to manage triggers and cravings since the beginning of treatment.

Apart from this, intensive outpatient programs give you structure and support while allowing you to live at home. You undergo daily therapy sessions that gradually become less intensive. This helps you transition back into your home, life, and career while getting the necessary support.