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How to Prevent and Deal with a Drug Overdose?

People who suffer from substance abuse are always at risk of a drug overdose. If you or a loved one uses drugs or alcohol, it is important to know what a drug overdose looks like and what you can do if someone you know is experiencing an overdose.

What is a drug overdose?

An overdose occurs when a person consumes too much of a drug. Overdose amounts refer to amounts a person’s metabolism cannot detoxify before it leads to serious medical problems, including death.

What to do if someone is experiencing a drug overdose?

If you find the person has stopped breathing or is not conscious, call 911 right away. While you are waiting for the ambulance, ensure that the person stays awake. If you cannot keep them awake, keep a close watch on their breathing. If the person stops breathing, begin CPR till the ambulance arrives.

How to prevent a drug overdose?

If someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the best way to prevent an overdose is to help them enter a substance abuse rehab and overcome their addiction. The addiction specialists and counselors at the rehab will help your loved one wean off the substance and cultivate a drug-free lifestyle.

Rehab Can Help You Turn Your Life Around

Checking into a rehab is the biggest step in your recovery journey. You may not realize it now, but your life will change in many positive ways when you join a rehab.

Friends who understand you

When you complete rehab treatment, you may want to keep some old friends away, especially those who are still using. Having new friends who understand what you have been through and are also on a similar journey of their own can be a big source of emotional support. You’ll have the opportunity to make many new friends, who understand you, at the rehab.

Drug-free life is possible

Those who are addicted to drugs may not be able to imagine a life without them. Treatment programs at a good rehab will open your eyes to the possibility of a sober life and also help you learn how. You may be able to make a whole new start in life as you explore new activities or rekindle old interests.

Learn to cope with stress and trauma

The most important thing or skill you would learn at the rehab is coping with stress or trauma that may have triggered the abuse. You would no longer need to rely on drugs to handle stress or bad feelings.

Be in control of your life again

Once you overcome drug abuse and start afresh, you’ll regain control of your life. You’ll be able to appreciate all things, big and small, that you may have missed when substance abuse controlled your life.

Recovery brings challenges. But these positive changes will make it worth the effort. You’ll soon realize there is more fun in sobriety, than you ever had in addiction.

Systematic and Medically Supervised Withdrawal from a Drug

Medically supervised withdrawal from a drug, also referred to as detoxification, is the first step in substance abuse treatment programs and it involves the removal of these toxic products from the bloodstream.

An indicator of addiction to a substance is the onset of withdrawal symptoms when trying to remove the drugs from the body. These can range from mild to severe in nature, and there are situations which can be life-threatening depending on the drug used as well as the level of dependency and the method of intake.

Withdrawal symptoms can be both psychological and physical and abruptly stopping the offending drug is usually not suggested. Therefore, medically assisted detoxification is recommended to prevent patients experiencing unwanted withdrawal effects.

assisted or Supervised Withdrawal

Medically Assisted Withdrawal

Medically assisted detoxification is accomplished in a controlled facility which is supervised by healthcare professionals 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Some patients may need to be weaned down from the drugs they are using in order to slowly get the product in their system down to nothing, and others may require being prescribed other medications in order to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

The patients most likely to require medically assisted withdrawal include those who are addicted to drugs such as:

  • Prescription opioids
  • Heroin
  • Alcohol
  • Benzodiazepines

Prescription Opioids and Heroin

Prescription opioid addiction is a public health emergency currently in the United States with over 40 Americans dying from opioid overdoses every day in the country. In 2012 alone, over 2 million Americans over the age of 12 were addicted to these medications and another near 500,000 people were addicted to heroin. Heroin is also an opioid but an illegal one.

Opioid addiction needs to be managed medically since withdrawing from these drugs causes uncomfortable symptoms and signs such as:

  • Excessive sweating with intermittent chills
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Generalized muscle aches and pains
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Sleeping disturbances
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

Patients addicted to prescription opioids are usually managed by gradually reducing the dose of the drug until it has worked out completely from their bodies. Heroin is managed differently in that methadone is dispensed to these patients to take over the effects caused by the drug. The methadone is then gradually tapered down until it can be stopped.

Medications such as buprenorphine and buprenorphine combined with naloxone are also used to help treat opioid addiction and dependency.

Alcohol

Suddenly stopping the intake of alcohol in someone who has a severe dependency on this product can be life-threatening.

A condition known as delirium tremens (DT) can develop as a result of alcohol withdrawal and may present with the following symptoms and signs:

  • Agitation
  • Fevers
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

In order to avoid these severe conditions, medically assisted withdrawal from alcohol is often necessary and entails the use of medications such as benzodiazepines. Mineral and vitamin supplementation may also be prescribed to replace those lost as a result of excessive alcohol use.

Benzodiazepines

These drugs do have their place in treating anxiety and sleep disorders but there are patients who become dependent on them and need help to remove them from their system.

Benzodiazepine withdrawal is performed in a similar fashion to that of opioid withdrawal in that the dosage of the medication is tapered down until it is completely metabolized by the body and completely removed from the patient’s bloodstream.

Patients addicted to short-acting benzodiazepines are prescribed longer-acting ones during medically managed withdrawal in order to reduce the chance of potential side effects.

Symptoms of Heroin Overdose

Illegal drug abuse, such as heroin, can have negative effects on a person’s body and mind. As with any other addictive substance, it’s important to recognize the signs of abuse. Learning about these symptoms can help save lives.

Heroin

Heroin is an opioid, derived from morphine, that creates the feelings of relief and euphoria. Unfortunately, a growing desire for such pleasurable sensations can increase the risk of heroin addiction. It’s important to know about heroin overdose symptoms so that you can help a sufferer get prompt medical treatment.

Heroin Overdose Symptoms

Commonly observed heroin overdose symptoms include –

  • Difficulty breathing– Heroin can create powerful depressant effects which can slow down your breathing.
  • Extreme lethargy – The powerful sedating effect of heroin can make you extremely lethargic. The person may sleep longer and be difficult to awaken.
  • Pale skin – A lack of oxygen and blood flow can cause the person’s skin to look pale.
  • Constricted pupils – Tiny pupils is a well-known sign of heroin abuse.
  • Blue lips or fingertips – Blue lips or tips of the fingers due to decreased oxygen levels calls for immediate medical attention.

Heroin abuse can continue for a long period before an accidental overdose. Pay close attention to any symptoms of abuse to prevent overdose.

Parent Alcohol Abuse Linked with Increase in Teenage Dating Violence

According to a study from the University of Buffalo’s Research Institute on Addictions, having a parent diagnosed with alcohol addiction elevates the risk of dating-related violence amongst teenagers. This research study also found that the main cause of the dating violence during the adolescent years can be seen as early as infancy.

The Clinical Study

The research performed noted the following facts and findings:

  • 144 participants who had fathers with an alcohol use disorder were used to conduct the clinical study.
  • The participants were recruited at 12 months of age for the purposes of the research.
  • Over the course of the participants’ lifespan, data were collected at regular intervals and certain factors were identified that led to some of the teenagers being involved in violent behaviors during dating relationships.
  • The study found that family dynamics occurring in and stressors experienced during the preschool and middle childhood years resulted in the development of dating violence and aggression during the adolescent stage of life.
  • The major factor that increased the risk of behavior issues in teenagers was that the mothers of these children were less sensitive and warm in their interactions with their children due to them becoming depressed as a result of living with a partner with an alcohol use disorder. This was an extremely significant finding because it has been shown time and time again that children with sensitive and warm mothers are better able to regulate and control their behaviors and emotions.
  • It was also discovered that there was more marital conflict in the presence of alcohol addiction and this interfered with the children’s abilities to control their own emotions and behaviors.
  • Children who displayed increased levels of aggression during their early and middle childhood, especially towards their siblings, were noted to be more likely to display aggression towards their partners during their teenage years

early teenage dating violence with alcohol addiction of parents

Suggested Interventions

The researchers of the study made the following suggestions and recommendations:

  • The findings of the study underscored the critical need for early interventional and prevention protocols for families who are at-risk for alcohol-related problems.
  • Mothers with partners who are diagnosed with alcoholism are especially in need of support during these times as their emotional well-being directly impacts the behavior of the child towards their future partners.
  • The risk of violent tendencies during the teenage years can be reduced when parents are able to be more sensitive and warm in their interactions with their children during their toddler years.
  • Marital conflict should be reduced as this allows for an increase in the child’s ability to better control their emotions and thus their behaviors towards others.

Pacific Bay Recovery

Pacific Bay Recovery is a top drug and alcohol rehabilitation center that specializes in helping patients with substance abuse issues such as alcohol addiction.

The facility includes managing patients on an inpatient and/or outpatient basis depending on their needs and unique circumstances and offers the services of healthcare professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists, and occupational therapists to name a few.

The rehabilitation facility also specializes in working with family members of affected individuals so that marital conflict and any behavioral issues demonstrated by their children may be addressed and hopefully resolved.

 

Common Effects of Xanax Abuse

Benzodiazepines are among some of the most commonly prescribed medications today. Xanax is one of the commonly prescribed Benzodiazepines. Read on to understand Benzodiazepines the side effects and the dangers of abusing Xanax.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax is a powerful sedative in the benzodiazepine category. It’s used for treating anxiety, panic disorders, and insomnia. Xanax acts on the brain to create a sense of relaxation and restfulness.

What Are Common Xanax Side Effects?

Xanax can produce many undesirable side effects, some of which may be dangerous. Some common Xanax side effects are –

  • Chronic dry mouth
  • Forgetfulness or brain fog
  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies

Signs of Xanax Abuse

Xanax abuse affects everyone differently but the common symptoms include –

  • Slurred Speech – Since Xanax affects the mouth and tongue, it can negatively impact the speech quality.
  • Mental Confusion – Due to the depressed brain function, the person may seem confused or face difficulty in concentrating.
  • Coordination Issues – When someone takes a sedative, the entire body is in a state of relaxation. Abuse can make the muscles unable to function normally, creating coordination issues.
  • Disorientation – Xanax abusers may feel disoriented and/or unaware of the time, day, or place where they are.

You don’t have to let drug abuse control your life. You can overcome Xanax side effects with the help of professionals at a good rehab.

 

Free Opioid Overdose Antidote Available in Six States

Opioid Overdose TreatmentPatients in six American states will have free access to the Evzio naloxone auto-injector which is a medication used for reversing an opioid overdose. This is a very important medication that is available by way of a pilot program since America currently has an opioid epidemic which has been declared a public health emergency.

The six states which will have the naloxone auto-injectors available include:

  • California
  • Arizona
  • Colorado
  • Nevada
  • Missouri
  • Ohio

The United States Surgeon General, Dr. Jerome Adams, called for naloxone to be more readily accessible to those individuals who are at risk of overdosing on opioid medications. He also mentioned that friends and family members of such individuals should also be supplied with the naloxone auto-injector to use on the person overdosing on the narcotics.

In a statement, Dr. Adams mentioned the following:

  • 77 percent of opioid-related deaths occur outside a medical setting with the majority taking place at home.
  • Increased naloxone availability should occur in conjunction with increased access to evidence-based therapies for substance use disorders associated with opioids.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 115 Americans die daily from overdosing on opioid medications. In 2016, more than 42,000 people died from an opioid overdose and this rose to over 66,000 in 2017. This is why having naloxone available, which reverses the effects of opioids, is a very important step in attempting to curb the death rate caused by this crisis.

How to Receive the Naloxone Auto-Injector

Patients with commercial insurances will be able to receive the naloxone auto-injector without a prescription and without having to pay anything by calling a toll-free number and speaking to a pharmacist.

There is no fee for the device because it is available through the pharmaceutical company that developed the product, Kaleo’s, virtual standing order program. The device is then delivered to the individual’s home address once ordered.

If a patient doesn’t have government or commercial insurance and whose total income is less than $100,000 annually, Kaleo offers a Patient Assistance Program that makes the device available for free out-of-pocket.

Kaleo also says that they plan to extend their pilot program to additional states and hopefully the auto-injecting device will be available to more individuals around the United States to help prevent deaths as a result of opioid overdosing.

Pacific Bay Recovery

Pacific Bay Recovery is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center based in San Diego and they deal with and manage patients who are dependent and addicted to medications and drugs such as the opioids.

The services offered by the rehabilitation center include:

  • Inpatient programs for withdrawing patients from the offending drugs as well as psychology, and occupational therapy sessions.
  • Psychiatry consultations for those who have any underlying mental health conditions.
  • Group therapy sessions for patients to help them relate to others with similar issues as themselves.
  • Outpatient programs for those who are assessed as being able to benefit from such a service.

The healthcare professionals at Pacific Bay Recovery help patients to discontinue using offending drugs in order to reduce health-related complications that may occur as a result of opioid use and to improve their social and occupational situations at home and at work.

 

Opioid Overdose Symptoms

Drug overdose causes most accidental deaths in America, even more than motor vehicle accidents. Opioid overdoses form a large chunk of these drug overdose deaths.

Heroin overdoses are no longer limited to the homeless or the partying rock-stars. In the past few years, heroin and other opioids have made their way everywhere. That brings a risk of overdose. Several things that can be done to prevent opioid overdose. Knowing drug overdose symptoms is an important part of it.

Drug Overdose Symptoms

Drug overdose may lead to death, but if caught early, a medical facility could reverse or manage it.

During an overdose, the person’s pulse, rate of breathing and blood pressure can change to the extent it becomes life threatening. Aspiration (vomit being breathed into lungs) is a big concern. The person experiencing an overdose may experience muscle spasms, seizures and/or loss of consciousness, all of which may send him/her into a comatose state. The brain’s and other vital organs’ function may be permanently damaged.

Reasons for Opioid Overdose

Not all opioids are illegal. On the contrary, opioids are often prescribed as painkillers. For example, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, morphine and codeine can be obtained by prescription. These opiates may also be obtained illegally on the streets, including the most popular one – heroin.

Because so many different types of opiates are available by prescription and illegally, the likelihood of overdose is high, regardless of intention. For example, a specific batch of heroin may be purer than another or may even include another type of drug. Overdose may also result from re-use after a period of abstinence.

Why Personalized Addiction Treatment Plans are Critical to Your Recovery

Drug addiction and related problems are on the rise. The rate at which these are increasing indicates an urgent need to deal with them. We need to understand how to make addiction treatment better and which approaches have proven the most effective.

 

Tailor-made or personalized addiction treatment plans, specific to the individual, are designed considering every aspect of that person’s addiction. Here is a closer look at why personalized or individualized addiction treatment is critical for complete recovery.

 

One-Size-CANNOT-Fit-All

 

Exposure to drug use, easier availability of drugs, peer pressure and several other factors may influence a person’s drug abuse risk. A person who becomes addicted to prescription pain pills and then moves on to use, say heroin, experiences drugs differently than a person who had access to heroin because his/her parents used it.

 

Individualized addiction treatment plans focus on designing the right solution for each patient. This includes the patient’s personal history, length and frequency of abuse, social experience, mental health and personality. Once all that has been studies, a tailor-made treatment program can be created to ensure the person not only completely recovers but also doesn’t relapse and cultivates a drug-free lifestyle.

 

Dual Diagnosis Needs Personalized Treatment

 

In many cases, an individualized treatment plan is not only preferable but also a necessity.

 

Often patients are dealing with an addiction along with a mental health problem, such as depression, anxiety or PTSD. This condition is referred to as a “dual diagnosis.”

 

The mental health issue can interfere with the patient’s recovery process. An untreated substance abuse problem can also interfere with the person’s ability to manage the mental health issue. This is why individualized addiction treatment, that involves a psychiatrist as well as a physician, is necessary for such patients.

 

Take Charge of Your Rceovery

 

Individualized treatment also ensures that the patient remains engaged with his/her own recovery and doesn’t feel as though choice has been taken out of their hands. By working with de-addiction specialists and other medical professionals, patients can come to a better understanding of their own problems while developing solutions for long-term sobriety.

Alcohol Abuse in the United States on the Rise

A JAMA Psychiatry article that was published in September 2017 has shown that Americans are consuming more alcohol than ever before. An estimated one out of every eight Americans which equates to around 30 million people, struggle with an alcohol disorder.

The study looked at the drinking patterns of around 40,000 individuals between 2002 and 2003 and compared it to that of people in 2012 and 2013. The findings were shocking, to say the least, especially in light of other substance abuse problems affecting the country such as the opioid epidemic.

Study Findings

The following findings were made in the study:

  • Alcohol use disorders rose by almost 50 percent. Nearly 9 percent of the population was affected in the initial research period compared to nearly 13 percent during the second part of the study.
  • Alcohol use disorders have almost doubled amongst the African American population.
  • There has been an increase of 84 percent of the female population struggling with alcohol use disorders.
  • It was also noted that alcohol use disorders increased more than double (106 percent) in individuals over the age of 65 and by nearly 82 percent in those between 45 and 65 years of age.

As can be seen, these statistics show the increase in alcohol use disorders. This is the complication of alcohol use and using alcohol in itself has spiked tremendously. High-risk drinking, a situation that is defined as consuming four or more drinks a day in women and five in men and including a day where this limit is exceeded at least once a week, has increased from nearly 10 percent in 2002/2003 to nearly 14 percent in 2012/2013.

What is Alcohol Use Disorder?

Alcohol use disorder is a condition that is associated with a pattern of alcohol use that involves:

  • Being preoccupied with alcohol.
  • Having problems controlling one’s frequency of drinking.
  • Continuing the use of alcohol even if it causes problems such as getting into trouble with the law.
  • Having to drink more alcohol in order to achieve the same effect.
  • Using alcohol to the point where the body becomes dependent on the substance and stopping it abruptly will lead to the user experiencing withdrawal symptoms.

Complications of alcohol use disorder may include:

  • Alcohol intoxication – the higher the alcohol level in the bloodstream, the more impaired one becomes and this can lead to issues such as mental changes and behavioral problems such as unstable moods, inappropriate behavior, slurred speech, poor coordination, and impaired judgment.
  • Alcohol withdrawal – when alcohol use is stopped or greatly reduced, the user can experience problems such as a rapid heartbeat, sweating, hand tremors, hallucinations, sleep-related problems, anxiety, agitation, and even seizures.

Pacific Bay Recovery

Pacific Bay Recovery is a top drug and alcohol rehabilitation center that specializes in helping patients with substance abuse issues such as alcohol use disorder.

The facility includes managing patients on an inpatient and/or outpatient basis depending on their needs and unique circumstances and offers the services of healthcare professionals such as psychologists, psychiatrists, and occupational therapists to name a few.