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Addictionblog.org by Addiction Blog - 4h ago

I drink…Is it a problem?

It depends on HOW MUCH and WHY you drink!

Alcohol, if consumed in moderate and controlled doses, can be an appropriate social activity. In fact, moderate drinking is even recommended by some medical experts. How much is considered too much? Recommended amounts and patterns of alcohol consumption, include:

  • Drinking no more than 3-4 standard drinks per drinking episode.
  • Drinking no more than 7 drinks per week for women.
  • Drinking no more than 12-14 drinks per week for men.

If your drinking habit is along these lines – you are probably OK.

But, if you have difficulty controlling alcohol intake…you may need help. If you catch yourself drinking too much, too often, and spend a great deal of your time drinking or recovering from hangovers…you probably have developed a problem with alcohol use and require medical help.

—–

Feel like you’ve had enough?
Our free helpline is here to assist you!
Call us for help with drinking.
ANYTIME: 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

—–

Continue reading to learn more about unhealthy alcohol consumption, signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse, and how to recognize a drinking problem in yourself or a loved one. Then, check out our suggestions for treatment and help responses to help you control your drinking or deal with booze abuse. At the end of the page we invite your questions and try to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.

What is alcohol abuse?

Alcohol abuse is a pattern of drinking that harms all aspects of your life. It follows a maladaptive pattern of drinking and a number of negative repercussions as a result of alcohol consumption. In drinking amounts alcohol abuse can be represented as:

  • Drinking more than 15 standard drinks per week if you’re male.
  • Drinking more than 12 drinks per week if you’re female.
  • Drinking more than 5 drinks per day at least once a week (binge drinking).

Such pattern of alcohol abuse is called ‘a disease’ because it can destroy:

  • Your physical and mental health.
  • Your social relationships with family, loved ones, and friends.
  • Your educational and professional aspirations.
  • Your financial stability.
  • Your good legal records.

…and your life as you knew it.

5 common risk factors for alcohol abuse

There are many reasons and factors that can influence one’s likelihood to turn to drinking alcohol in unhealthy ways. Here, we outline some of the most common reasons that can hide behind a person’s alcohol abuse.

REASON #1: Genetics. Experts believe that genetics makes up 50% of the risk for alcohol abuse and addiction. But not all people who drink will become addicted, dependent or even drink regularly. However, the genetic factor is not something to be ignored if you have a family history of alcohol use problems, especially in your closes family circle.

REASON #2: Stressful environments. People may abuse alcohol because they think it is a way to cope with problems, pressures or stress in life. What does a typical alcohol abuse pattern look like? Something like this:

  • You need a way to deal with problems or stress in life.
  • You drink alcohol!
  • Drinking causes other problems in life.
  • This in turn creates additional stress and problems…which compel you to drink!

…and the pattern repeats again and again.

REASON #3: Social surroundings. If alcohol is commonly present in your social environment, i.e. your peer group at school or work, your community, or your country…you are more likely to engage in drinking. Additionally, if you were brought up in a household where drinking too much alcohol was present, it is likely that you will also see it as an acceptable activity.

REASON #4: Drinking at an early age. According to the Mayo Clinic, individuals who start drinking at an early age are more likely to have an alcohol problem or a physical dependence on alcohol in the future. There are three (3) main reasons that contribute to this factor:

  1. One reason for this is that with time drinking can become a comfortable habit.
  2. Another reason is that at an earlier age your brain is more susceptible to change in structure and in function under the effects of alcohol.
  3. A third reason is that with frequent alcohol abuse your body’s tolerance levels will increase, so you need to drink more to feel drunk.

REASON #5: Mental health problems. It is not uncommon for a person to turn to alcohol when suffering from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or other mental health issues. The effects of alcohol may seem to temporarily ease feelings of anxiety or depression, which in turn can result in abusing alcohol more and more.

NOTE HERE: These are only some of the most common factors that contribute to the development of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Personal reasons that compel alcohol abuse are highly individual and may include some or all of the above, as well as other factors (mixing alcohol with illicit or prescription drugs, biological makeup, past traumatic events and experiences, cultural expectations of alcohol consumption, etc.)

Signs and symptoms

Looking to determine whether you have a problem with alcohol abuse or not?

You are not alone!

Many people question their drinking patterns. To get to the bottom of the issue, you will need to pay a close attention to your behavior and get honest with yourself. Here are some of the most common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse that signify you have developed an unhealthy drinking habit:

  • Consuming alcohol and getting drunk to relieve stress.
  • Drinking despite awareness of possible health conditions worsening.
  • Drinking in critical situations like driving, operating machinery or while on medication.
  • Experiencing accidents or injuries after drinking.
  • Having interpersonal relationship problems due to alcohol use (separation, bitterness, and loneliness).
  • Neglecting duties and responsibilities at work, home, or school due to drinking.
  • Repeatedly facing alcohol-related legal problems (like DUI ‘s).

If you find two (2) or more of the statements above to be true for you or someone close to you – it may be time to seek professional help. After all, an alcohol abuse problem can best be diagnosed by professional medical doctor or healthcare provider. They will do a physical exam and ask you questions about your drinking habits to make a professional diagnosis and recommend adequate treatment options based on your individual situation and needs.

Help for alcohol abuse

Wondering “Who can help me for my problem with alcohol abuse?” Take hope! There are plenty of professionals and resources that aim to help any person facing an alcohol abuse problem quit alcohol and rebuild a sober, successful life. Here are some suggestions:

1. Alcohol abuse helplineAlcohol helplines exist to give you direction and information about where to look for help about your addiction issues. They primarily exist to provide you with basic resources and recovery options. You can call us NOW to speak with trusted treatment consultants who can help you find an alcohol recovery program suited to your individual needs.

2. Alcohol Treatment CentersAlcohol addiction treatment programs and alcohol detox treatment facilities help people with alcohol problems to regain sobriety and maintain abstinence from alcohol. Treatment programs may take place at an inpatient or outpatient setting, depending on individual needs and preferences, as well as the severity of the alcohol abuse problem.

3. Pharmacists – Some medications can help people with alcohol problems achieve sobriety by making drinking unpleasant, or make alcohol dependence recovery easier. These medicines can be dispensed by a pharmacist with a doctor ‘s prescription. Pharmacists can also help recommend some over-the-counter medication that can help you manage minor alcohol withdrawal symptoms as they occur.

4. Poison Control Center – Call 911 or 1-800-222-222 to get access to immediate medical support and advice if you or a person next to you is suffering from acute alcohol poisoning.

5. Prescribing Physician – Doctors can help people with alcohol problems to achieve sobriety by monitoring the withdrawal phase, prescribing medicines specifically to treat alcohol abuse, and providing referrals to further treatment for alcohol abuse. The doctor may prescribe the following meds:

  • Antabuse (disulfiram) which makes drinking an unpleasant experience.
  • Revia (naltrexone) to block the pleasurable effects caused by drinking.
  • Campral (acamprosate) to block good feelings induced by alcohol.

6. Psychiatrists – Psychiatrists are medical doctors who are trained to help individuals (and their families) with alcohol problems. A psychiatrist may prescribe medicines to help improve alcohol recovery outcomes, address cravings and compulsions to drink, and can explore the roots cause for alcohol abuse.

7. Psychologists – Psychologists are trained to help with alcohol abuse problems. In cases of alcohol abuse, psychologists perform counseling and behavioral therapy to help you identify, avoid and cope with situations that induce drinking.

8. Social Workers – Social workers focus the alcohol abuse treatment on the person and address issues within the family, notably the children. Social workers assess the impact of alcohol abuse within the family unit, help with recovery, and ensuring the wellbeing of the client and the family is taken into consideration within the alcohol rehab program.

9. Addiction Specialists – Some physicians have a certificate to work with people who face alcohol addiction. These are also called Certified Addiction Specialist (CAS). Doctors with CAS certification are highly knowledgeable in the management of addiction disorders, including alcohol abuse.

Got more questions?

We hope to have helped you find answers to many of your questions regarding alcohol abuse. For any additional questions, please CALL the number listed on the top of our page or leave a comment in the designated section below. We do our best to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries. In fact, we strive to help all who need a hand to make alcohol abuse a thing of their past once and for all.

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Addictionblog.org by Addiction Blog - 4h ago

ARTICLE SUMMARY: Yes, it is difficult to quit meth. However, professional help can make the process more manageable. This article reviews the common side effects and dangers of quitting. Finally, you’ll learn about the best and safest practices for getting off meth…for good.

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 10-15 minutes.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Addictive Qualities
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Side Effects of Quitting
  • Why It Is So Hard
  • Main Dangers
  • Getting Off Meth Safely
  • Your Questions
Addictive Qualities

Methamphetamine (meth) is one of the most addictive substances in the world. This is why it is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This law categorizes both prescription and illicit drugs, and rates them according to a drug’s addictive qualities, medical use, and relative benefit. In this case, meth has been categorized as a drug with a high potential for abuse and limited medical use.

So, why is this drug so addictive?

Mainly, meth is super addictive because it is very effective. It gets you high for a long time. In fact, meth is a stimulant that induces euphoria, or a feeling of extreme well-being. Anyone who takes meth will feel high, and for long periods of time. This is because methamphetamine has a long half-life of about 10-12 hours, especially when compared with other drugs like cocaine. This means that meth effects can last for up to 12 hours after you take it…making it a cheaper and more effective drugs.

Brain Chemistry

So, how does meth work in the brain?

When meth is taken, it travels through the bloodstream to the reward center in the brain where it occupies the sending neurons. Meth causes a chemical release of the neurotransmitter called “dopamine” into the gap between neurons. As a result, your dopamine levels raise abnormally high. The effect is over stimulation in your brain and a powerful wave of pleasure ,which lasts from 8 to 12 hours from a single meth dose.

When meth is used for a longer period of time, however, dopamine supplies become exhausted. As you continue to take meth, previous doses become less effective. This phenomenon of physical tolerance means that no matter how much meth you take, you can never recapture the initial rush. This is the reason why you become motivated to take more. In fact, chronic meth abusers have a lot less dopamine in their brain as they take meth over and over again… until they reach a point when their neuro transporters are destroyed and opioid receptors withdraw.

Over time, meth negatively affects brain centers responsible for:

  • Emotions, by causing aggression and depression.
  • Judgment, by dulling and over-riding the ability to think rationally.
  • Memory, by affecting a person’s ability to recall events.
  • Movement, by causing tremors and convulsions.
Side Effects of Quitting

Long term and chronic meth users develop both a physical and psychological dependence on the drug, which makes quitting difficult due to withdrawal symptoms. How is dependence related to withdrawal? Basically, anyone who becomes physically dependent on methamphetamine must go through withdrawal before s/he can quit for good.

Firstly, it’s important to know that meth dependence can develop in as little time as a couple of weeks or regular dosing. Dependence is actually a state of brain adaptation. In order to balance out the stimulant effects of meth, the central nervous system “slows down” body functions and responses so that it can continue to survive. Take away the drug, and the “slowed down” functions manifest…resulting in withdrawal.

Common meth withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anhedonia, the inability to feel or experience pleasure
  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Appetite changes
  • Concentration problems
  • Cravings
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Paranoia and psychosis
  • Suicidal thinking
Why It Is So Hard

Meth is hard to quit for a few reasons:

1. Nothing compares to the high.

The extreme pleasure it triggers in your brain makes other experiences seem lifeless. Once experienced, these excessive amounts of dopamine set a new standard for pleasure which your brain continues to look for.

2. People want to avoid withdrawal.

High levels of psychological and psychological distress felt during withdrawal drive people to keep using. Withdrawal can be an awful experience. Meth withdrawal can be dangerous. So, to avoid the pain…people simple keep using without much hope or plan for the future.

3. Meth temporarily alters your ability to make rational decisions.

Meth affects our brain’s ability to make decisions or to practice good judgment. It actually can neutralize or dull the executive control centers in the brain. In this way, the brain is “hijacked” and meth use does not seem like such a big deal.

 

Main Dangers

So, when is quitting meth dangerous?

Meth comedown is risky when done cold turkey, without doctor’s clearance or medical supervision. and when you lower doses abruptly. All of these methods are NOT advised when you are thinking about quitting meth. Here is more on why these methods are considered unsafe.

1. Cold turkey meth is dangerous.

Cold turkey means quitting meth without any help or formal treatment. This method involves quitting the drug totally and all at once. You should know, however, that this drastic method has serious consequences and it’s very risky. During a meth cold turkey you will experience extreme withdrawal symptoms.

Cold turkey meth is characterized strong physical and psychological discomfort, feelings of hopelessness and suicidal tendencies. These are the reasons why you SHOULD NOT consider this way of quitting meth because it can be extremely uncomfortable and it increases the possibility of relapse which can only make you feel worse.

2. Stopping meth without medical supervision is dangerous.

This way of cessation is NOT recommended due to the necessity of medical monitoring during meth withdrawal. Meth withdrawal is not like other types of drug withdrawal because of the severe psychological symptoms. During detox you can expect symptoms such as: depression, hallucinations, and frequent mood disturbance. In other words stopping meth without medical help is not advised, because you may not be able to control your emotions and behavior. Doctors at detox clinics / treatment centers can monitor your state and manage withdrawal symptoms using pharmacotherpay.

3. Lowering doses of meth suddenly and abruptly can trigger extreme withdrawal.

Stopping meth suddenly or abruptly can trigger an enormous shock to your system. Furthermore, this state can intensify the withdrawal symptoms and put you in life threatening situations. Instead risking your life and well-being, look for medical assistance.

Getting Off Meth Safely

Despite all the challenges, it is possible to quit using meth once you strongly decide to. Because meth is a drug with strong psychological influence it requires a strong will, devotion, and medical professionals that will guide your during all stages of treatment. Here is how you can get off of meth safely.

1. Quitting meth with a doctor’s supervision can help you better cope with withdrawal.

This method not only is it considered safe, but it is a necessity when you consider coming down from meth. When under medical supervision, doctors can prescribe medications that will address withdrawal symptoms as they occur. These can include:

  • Wellbutrin and Paxil prescribed to reducing the cravings.
  • Provigil prescribed to help you with sleep disorders, increase your energy and level of concentration.
  • Remeron prescribed for relapse prevention during meth withdrawal.

If you are dealing with severe depression, anxiety, psychosis, suicidal thoughts, or sleep problems that last longer than one or two weeks, your doctor may prescribe you with antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, anti-psychotic medication, or sleep aids.

2. Tapering meth can prevent relapse and lessen withdrawal.

As an alternative to quitting meth cold turkey, consider tapering under a doctor’s supervision. For some people it may be best to try cutting back meth use in steps. Try lowering your use to twice a week instead of every day, or twice a month instead of every weekend. You can also cut down on quantities. Use 1/4 gram instead of 1/2, or use 1/8 instead of 1/4. Regulating the use of meth frequency and lowering quantities can help with withdrawal as well!

3. Meth detox clinics provide you with a safe environment and psychological support

The best way to come down from meth is to detox in the safety of a medical center. Meth withdrawal is mostly psychological. Detox centers can provide you with a supportive atmosphere and medical care. In case you’ve mixed meth with other drugs the medical staff within the detox clinic will help you withdrawal from other substances as well. Use SAMHSA online treatment locator to find a detoxification clinic close to your living area, or ask your physician for a referral.

4. Inpatient rehab for long term meth recovery.

Successful recovery from meth addiction often requires checking into a residential facility. In a recovery program, you’ll have the chance to receive regular psychological counseling, social support, and group therapy will help you overcome your addiction difficulties. A 30-60 or 90 DAY inpatient treatment program will help you create a whole new lifestyle away from the meth which previously controlled your life. Meth residential treatment centers offer personalized treatment programs to address your specific needs.

Your Questions

Still have questions about quitting meth? Please post your questions in the comments section below. We try to respond to all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly. In case we don’t know the answer to your question, we will gladly refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources: DEA: Methamphetamine
Rehabs: Why Is Meth Addictive?
Mental Health Daily: Meth Withdrawal Symptoms + Timeline
American Addiction Centers: Crystal Meth Withdrawal
North Bay Recovery: The Psychological Withdrawal of Quitting Meth
Last Resort Recovery: It’s Dangerous to Quit Meth Cold Turkey Without Help
Addiction Center: Meth Withdrawal and Detox
METH COMEDOWN: HERE ARE THE FACTS
Element’s Behavioral Health: Dangerous Detox: Doing It At Home Could Be Deadly
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Why Drug Test?

Some U.S. employers reserve the right to drug test employees, especially if work requires operating heavy machinery. In fact, drug abuse is a common problem at many workplaces and schools. It’s so widespread that some employers regularly require testing when you apply for a job, and they do regular checkups during your employment.

In this ecstasy infographic you can find out the exact information about how long ecstasy will show up on blood, urine, hair, and saliva drug tests. We hope to inform you so that you can be best prepared for the outcome of any particular drug test. Finally, we invite your questions about testing for ecstasy in the comments section at the end.

The Half-Life and Detection of Ecstasy

While the effects of ecstasy ingestion typically last 3 – 5 hours, the elimination half-life of ecstasy is 7 – 9 hours. However, the presence of ecstasy can still be found in your urine for longer than that, especially if you are chronic user.

Drug Name: MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine)
Drug Class: Stimulant
Street Names: Ecstacy, XTC, ADAM

Detection Windows

Let’s assume that you want to quit taking ecstasy. Or, maybe you have a employment drug test coming up. If you’re a regular or binge users, you’ll have to face the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms as you try to detoxify your system from ecstasy. It’s like a major dopamine crash. During this period a significant part of the drug may have left from your body.

But how far back can drug tests detect the use of MDMA?

Drug tests can test positive if you have used ecstasy from several days to several months depending on the type of the test. How long ecstasy stays in your system will vary by user. Age, gender, metabolism, and inidivudal health factors all play a role in themetabolism of any drug. See more details about metabolism in the paragraphs below.

Detection Windows by Drug Test

Urine: A urine test will show ecstasy presence 5 – 20 days after you last used the drug.
Hair: This is the test with the longest detection windows. A 1.5 inch hair sample will show ecstasy presence for 90 days after your last use.
Saliva: This type of test detect ecstasy 3 days after your last dose.
Blood: In the blood ecstasy is detectable between 1 – 4 days of your last use.

Ecstasy Metabolism Factors

The elimination of MDMA is not the same at every person. Many things influence the speed with which this drug will be eliminated from your system. One person may find that they are able to pass an MDMA drug test within several days following usage, yet others may fail the same drug test.

Factors that influence the ability to efficiently eliminate ecstasy from your system include the following:

Age: A person’s age has an influence over the speed by which ecstasy is metabolized and cleared from the system. Younger people have a quicker metabolisms, they are physically more active, and have a stronger health and immune system. Older individuals often have less blood flow to their liver/kidneys, are usually using prescriptions, and have a weaker immune system than younger people. As a result, it takes longer for older people to metabolize and eliminate ecstasy from their system.

Body mass index: Your body mass index accounts for both your height and weight. The logic goes like this: the greater the dosage of ecstasy you take in relationship to your BMI, the slower it may be eliminated from your system.

Genetics: Your genetic profile can affect the speed by which drugs are metabolized in the system. Since ecstasy is metabolized primarily in the liver by CYP2D6 (cytochrome P450 2D6), genetic variants in CYP2D6 will influence the rate by which the system processes ecstasy. People with a slower metabolizing rate may take longer than others to metabolize ecstasy before they clear it from their system.

Liver/kidney function: Since ecstasy is metabolized primarily by the liver, people with liver problems may not eliminate ecstasy as quickly as those with a strong liver. Poor liver functioning is manifested in prolonged and less efficient metabolism.

Metabolism: Your individual metabolism is influenced by the intensity of your physical activity, body mass the things that you eat and the levels of hydration. People with a faster metabolism rate metabolize ecstasy more rapidly than those with slower metabolisms. The impact of daily exercise, muscle tissue, and dietary intake on metabolism is significant and may influence the clearance of MDMA from your system.

Other substances: It is known that various drugs can interfere with the metabolism of ecstasy. Every substance that inhibits with the functioning of liver enzyme CYP2D6 can significantly impair metabolism of ecstasy. This is extending the duration over which ecstasy stays in the body.

Your Questions?

In this infographic, we’ve presented the basic ecstasy detection timelines and described the factors that can affect the window of detection on common drug tests. However, if you’re still concerned about the results of your drug test, feel free to leave your comments or questions below. We’ll do our best to address your concerns and point you in the right direction for treatment.

If you like to learn more about all kinds of drug testing and detection timelines, download our free guide here.

Reference Sources: NCBI: Analysis of MDMA and its metabolites in urine and plasma following a neurotoxic dose of MDMA
FDA: Drugs of Abuse Home Use Test
NCBI: Disposition of MDMA and Metabolites in Human Sweat Following Controlled MDMA Administration
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Addictionblog.org by Addiction Blog - 1d ago

ARTICLE SUMMARY: Yes, it is difficult to quit meth. However, professional help can make the process more manageable. This article reviews the common side effects and dangers of quitting. Finally, you’ll learn about the best and safest practices for getting off meth…for good.

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 10-15 minutes.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • Addictive Qualities
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Side Effects of Quitting
  • Why It Is So Hard
  • Main Dangers
  • Getting Off Meth Safely
  • Your Questions
Addictive Qualities

Methamphetamine (meth) is one of the most addictive substances in the world. This is why it is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). This law categorizes both prescription and illicit drugs, and rates them according to a drug’s addictive qualities, medical use, and relative benefit. In this case, meth has been categorized as a drug with a high potential for abuse and limited medical use.

So, why is this drug so addictive?

Mainly, meth is super addictive because it is very effective. It gets you high for a long time. In fact, meth is a stimulant that induces euphoria, or a feeling of extreme well-being. Anyone who takes meth will feel high, and for long periods of time. This is because methamphetamine has a long half-life of about 10-12 hours, especially when compared with other drugs like cocaine. This means that meth effects can last for up to 12 hours after you take it…making it a cheaper and more effective drugs.

Brain Chemistry

So, how does meth work in the brain?

When meth is taken, it travels through the bloodstream to the reward center in the brain where it occupies the sending neurons. Meth causes a chemical release of the neurotransmitter called “dopamine” into the gap between neurons. As a result, your dopamine levels raise abnormally high. The effect is over stimulation in your brain and a powerful wave of pleasure ,which lasts from 8 to 12 hours from a single meth dose.

When meth is used for a longer period of time, however, dopamine supplies become exhausted. As you continue to take meth, previous doses become less effective. This phenomenon of physical tolerance means that no matter how much meth you take, you can never recapture the initial rush. This is the reason why you become motivated to take more. In fact, chronic meth abusers have a lot less dopamine in their brain as they take meth over and over again… until they reach a point when their neuro transporters are destroyed and opioid receptors withdraw.

Over time, meth negatively affects brain centers responsible for:

  • Emotions, by causing aggression and depression.
  • Judgment, by dulling and over-riding the ability to think rationally.
  • Memory, by affecting a person’s ability to recall events.
  • Movement, by causing tremors and convulsions.
Side Effects of Quitting

Long term and chronic meth users develop both a physical and psychological dependence on the drug, which makes quitting difficult due to withdrawal symptoms. How is dependence related to withdrawal? Basically, anyone who becomes physically dependent on methamphetamine must go through withdrawal before s/he can quit for good.

Firstly, it’s important to know that meth dependence can develop in as little time as a couple of weeks or regular dosing. Dependence is actually a state of brain adaptation. In order to balance out the stimulant effects of meth, the central nervous system “slows down” body functions and responses so that it can continue to survive. Take away the drug, and the “slowed down” functions manifest…resulting in withdrawal.

Common meth withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anhedonia, the inability to feel or experience pleasure
  • Aggression
  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Appetite changes
  • Concentration problems
  • Cravings
  • Delusions
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle weakness
  • Paranoia and psychosis
  • Suicidal thinking
Why It Is So Hard

Meth is hard to quit for a few reasons:

1. Nothing compares to the high.

The extreme pleasure it triggers in your brain makes other experiences seem lifeless. Once experienced, these excessive amounts of dopamine set a new standard for pleasure which your brain continues to look for.

2. People want to avoid withdrawal.

High levels of psychological and psychological distress felt during withdrawal drive people to keep using. Withdrawal can be an awful experience. Meth withdrawal can be dangerous. So, to avoid the pain…people simple keep using without much hope or plan for the future.

3. Meth temporarily alters your ability to make rational decisions.

Meth affects our brain’s ability to make decisions or to practice good judgment. It actually can neutralize or dull the executive control centers in the brain. In this way, the brain is “hijacked” and meth use does not seem like such a big deal.

 

Main Dangers

So, when is quitting meth dangerous?

Meth comedown is risky when done cold turkey, without doctor’s clearance or medical supervision. and when you lower doses abruptly. All of these methods are NOT advised when you are thinking about quitting meth. Here is more on why these methods are considered unsafe.

1. Cold turkey meth is dangerous.

Cold turkey means quitting meth without any help or formal treatment. This method involves quitting the drug totally and all at once. You should know, however, that this drastic method has serious consequences and it’s very risky. During a meth cold turkey you will experience extreme withdrawal symptoms.

Cold turkey meth is characterized strong physical and psychological discomfort, feelings of hopelessness and suicidal tendencies. These are the reasons why you SHOULD NOT consider this way of quitting meth because it can be extremely uncomfortable and it increases the possibility of relapse which can only make you feel worse.

2. Stopping meth without medical supervision is dangerous.

This way of cessation is NOT recommended due to the necessity of medical monitoring during meth withdrawal. Meth withdrawal is not like other types of drug withdrawal because of the severe psychological symptoms. During detox you can expect symptoms such as: depression, hallucinations, and frequent mood disturbance. In other words stopping meth without medical help is not advised, because you may not be able to control your emotions and behavior. Doctors at detox clinics / treatment centers can monitor your state and manage withdrawal symptoms using pharmacotherpay.

3. Lowering doses of meth suddenly and abruptly can trigger extreme withdrawal.

Stopping meth suddenly or abruptly can trigger an enormous shock to your system. Furthermore, this state can intensify the withdrawal symptoms and put you in life threatening situations. Instead risking your life and well-being, look for medical assistance.

Getting Off Meth Safely

Despite all the challenges, it is possible to quit using meth once you strongly decide to. Because meth is a drug with strong psychological influence it requires a strong will, devotion, and medical professionals that will guide your during all stages of treatment. Here is how you can get off of meth safely.

1. Quitting meth with a doctor’s supervision can help you better cope with withdrawal.

This method not only is it considered safe, but it is a necessity when you consider coming down from meth. When under medical supervision, doctors can prescribe medications that will address withdrawal symptoms as they occur. These can include:

  • Wellbutrin and Paxil prescribed to reducing the cravings.
  • Provigil prescribed to help you with sleep disorders, increase your energy and level of concentration.
  • Remeron prescribed for relapse prevention during meth withdrawal.

If you are dealing with severe depression, anxiety, psychosis, suicidal thoughts, or sleep problems that last longer than one or two weeks, your doctor may prescribe you with antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, anti-psychotic medication, or sleep aids.

2. Tapering meth can prevent relapse and lessen withdrawal.

As an alternative to quitting meth cold turkey, consider tapering under a doctor’s supervision. For some people it may be best to try cutting back meth use in steps. Try lowering your use to twice a week instead of every day, or twice a month instead of every weekend. You can also cut down on quantities. Use 1/4 gram instead of 1/2, or use 1/8 instead of 1/4. Regulating the use of meth frequency and lowering quantities can help with withdrawal as well!

3. Meth detox clinics provide you with a safe environment and psychological support

The best way to come down from meth is to detox in the safety of a medical center. Meth withdrawal is mostly psychological. Detox centers can provide you with a supportive atmosphere and medical care. In case you’ve mixed meth with other drugs the medical staff within the detox clinic will help you withdrawal from other substances as well. Use SAMHSA online treatment locator to find a detoxification clinic close to your living area, or ask your physician for a referral.

4. Inpatient rehab for long term meth recovery.

Successful recovery from meth addiction often requires checking into a residential facility. In a recovery program, you’ll have the chance to receive regular psychological counseling, social support, and group therapy will help you overcome your addiction difficulties. A 30-60 or 90 DAY inpatient treatment program will help you create a whole new lifestyle away from the meth which previously controlled your life. Meth residential treatment centers offer personalized treatment programs to address your specific needs.

Your Questions

Still have questions about quitting meth? Please post your questions in the comments section below. We try to respond to all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly. In case we don’t know the answer to your question, we will gladly refer you to someone who can help.

Reference Sources: DEA: Methamphetamine
Rehabs: Why Is Meth Addictive?
Mental Health Daily: Meth Withdrawal Symptoms + Timeline
American Addiction Centers: Crystal Meth Withdrawal
North Bay Recovery: The Psychological Withdrawal of Quitting Meth
Last Resort Recovery: It’s Dangerous to Quit Meth Cold Turkey Without Help
Addiction Center: Meth Withdrawal and Detox
METH COMEDOWN: HERE ARE THE FACTS
Element’s Behavioral Health: Dangerous Detox: Doing It At Home Could Be Deadly
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Why Drug Test?

Some U.S. employers reserve the right to drug test employees, especially if work requires operating heavy machinery. In fact, drug abuse is a common problem at many workplaces and schools. It’s so widespread that some employers regularly require testing when you apply for a job, and they do regular checkups during your employment.

In this ecstasy infographic you can find out the exact information about how long ecstasy will show up on blood, urine, hair, and saliva drug tests. We hope to inform you so that you can be best prepared for the outcome of any particular drug test. Finally, we invite your questions about testing for ecstasy in the comments section at the end.

The Half-Life and Detection of Ecstasy

While the effects of ecstasy ingestion typically last 3 – 5 hours, the elimination half-life of ecstasy is 7 – 9 hours. However, the presence of ecstasy can still be found in your urine for longer than that, especially if you are chronic user.

Drug Name: MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine)
Drug Class: Stimulant
Street Names: Ecstacy, XTC, ADAM

Detection Windows

Let’s assume that you want to quit taking ecstasy. Or, maybe you have a employment drug test coming up. If you’re a regular or binge users, you’ll have to face the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms as you try to detoxify your system from ecstasy. It’s like a major dopamine crash. During this period a significant part of the drug may have left from your body.

But how far back can drug tests detect the use of MDMA?

Drug tests can test positive if you have used ecstasy from several days to several months depending on the type of the test. How long ecstasy stays in your system will vary by user. Age, gender, metabolism, and inidivudal health factors all play a role in themetabolism of any drug. See more details about metabolism in the paragraphs below.

Detection Windows by Drug Test

Urine: A urine test will show ecstasy presence 5 – 20 days after you last used the drug.
Hair: This is the test with the longest detection windows. A 1.5 inch hair sample will show ecstasy presence for 90 days after your last use.
Saliva: This type of test detect ecstasy 3 days after your last dose.
Blood: In the blood ecstasy is detectable between 1 – 4 days of your last use.

Ecstasy Metabolism Factors

The elimination of MDMA is not the same at every person. Many things influence the speed with which this drug will be eliminated from your system. One person may find that they are able to pass an MDMA drug test within several days following usage, yet others may fail the same drug test.

Factors that influence the ability to efficiently eliminate ecstasy from your system include the following:

Age: A person’s age has an influence over the speed by which ecstasy is metabolized and cleared from the system. Younger people have a quicker metabolisms, they are physically more active, and have a stronger health and immune system. Older individuals often have less blood flow to their liver/kidneys, are usually using prescriptions, and have a weaker immune system than younger people. As a result, it takes longer for older people to metabolize and eliminate ecstasy from their system.

Body mass index: Your body mass index accounts for both your height and weight. The logic goes like this: the greater the dosage of ecstasy you take in relationship to your BMI, the slower it may be eliminated from your system.

Genetics: Your genetic profile can affect the speed by which drugs are metabolized in the system. Since ecstasy is metabolized primarily in the liver by CYP2D6 (cytochrome P450 2D6), genetic variants in CYP2D6 will influence the rate by which the system processes ecstasy. People with a slower metabolizing rate may take longer than others to metabolize ecstasy before they clear it from their system.

Liver/kidney function: Since ecstasy is metabolized primarily by the liver, people with liver problems may not eliminate ecstasy as quickly as those with a strong liver. Poor liver functioning is manifested in prolonged and less efficient metabolism.

Metabolism: Your individual metabolism is influenced by the intensity of your physical activity, body mass the things that you eat and the levels of hydration. People with a faster metabolism rate metabolize ecstasy more rapidly than those with slower metabolisms. The impact of daily exercise, muscle tissue, and dietary intake on metabolism is significant and may influence the clearance of MDMA from your system.

Other substances: It is known that various drugs can interfere with the metabolism of ecstasy. Every substance that inhibits with the functioning of liver enzyme CYP2D6 can significantly impair metabolism of ecstasy. This is extending the duration over which ecstasy stays in the body.

Your Questions?

In this infographic, we’ve presented the basic ecstasy detection timelines and described the factors that can affect the window of detection on common drug tests. However, if you’re still concerned about the results of your drug test, feel free to leave your comments or questions below. We’ll do our best to address your concerns and point you in the right direction for treatment.

If you like to learn more about all kinds of drug testing and detection timelines, download our free guide here.

Reference Sources: NCBI: Analysis of MDMA and its metabolites in urine and plasma following a neurotoxic dose of MDMA
FDA: Drugs of Abuse Home Use Test
NCBI: Disposition of MDMA and Metabolites in Human Sweat Following Controlled MDMA Administration
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ARTICLE SUMMARY: You cannot completely remove triggers from your psyche. Triggers for your drug-of-choice can stay with you for the rest of your life. But you don’t need to act on them. This article can serve as a guide for how to work through them.

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 15 minutes.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

  • What is a Trigger?
  • The Brain
  • Are Triggers Normal?
  • When You’re Most Vulnerable
  • What You Can Do
  • Who Can Help You with Triggers
  • What Do The Experts Say?
What is a Trigger?

Simply put, a trigger is a thing that makes you want to drink or use drugs. A trigger can be:

  • an event
  • a memory
  • a sensation (smell, taste, sound)
  • a location
  • a feeling
  • a person or group of people
  • or even an anniversary of a tragic loss

…each of these things can make you want to turn to drugs or alcohol as your way of coping; the drug-of-choice becomes your “way out.”

How else can we define triggers?

This article published in Frontiers in Psychiatry notes that triggers can be understood as, “certain situations, places, or people associated with the type of behavior in question.” Further, addiction triggers are commonly external in nature. The external triggers can be stressful situations, high-risk places that remind you and are somehow associated with your drug abuse history. In short, these external triggers can be divided into two subcategories:

  1. Environmental triggers which include places that might provoke relapse.
  2. Social triggers associated with interactions and communication with people, the so called “bad company” which may drag you to going back to substance abuse.

So, can coping with these triggers become easier over time?

We think so!

Indeed, the founding principles of healthy addiction recovery teach people how to be aware of possible triggers, learn how to recognize them, and learn how to act upon a trigger should it occur. We hope to teach you the basics here.

Triggers are the things that remind a person of substance use behavior and induce a craving for the drug-of-choice. The Brain

Triggers are actually kind of like grooved pathways in the brain. When you are exposed to a trigger, your brain automatically responds to it unconsciously. It’s kind of like playing a wax record … and always hearing the same song.

Here’s what the process can look like, all in a matter of microseconds:

  1. See a white tablet.
  2. The brain quickly and unconsciously remembers what it’s like to be high.
  3. The brain triggers a body response. Your mouth develops saliva, or you feel a tingle in your nose.
  4. You want to crush and snort the tablet.

Why does all of this happen? And in such a short amount of time!

Like Pavlov’s dog, your brain becomes conditioned over time. With repeated drug use, you begin to associate your drug-of-choice as a “tool” which use to bring pleasure and happiness. The repetitive and excessive amounts of either dopamine or serotonin that most psychoactive drugs contain leave permanent records in the neural pathways.

According to this study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Science, “Several recent models of addiction have presented the concept that this heightened craving or wanting of drug is the behavioral manifestation of molecular and cellular changes in the stress and dopamine pathways.” In other words, drugs can change the brain … even physically.

Still, take hope!

While triggers can never be deleted completely from the “hard drive” of your brain, you can certainly influence their relative strength.

Are Triggers Normal?

Yes.

Triggers are the so-called “provocateurs” or things associated with your previous substance abuse that are always going to test the level of your sobriety. Not only are triggers a normal part of every individual recovery process, but they are almost inevitable to avoid.

Why?

You are never going to be able to escape from life that surrounds you.

You might see a person drinking alcohol in a beach chair and feel a pang of craving and then sense a cold drink hitting your tongue. Or, you may pass an unknown stranger in the night using drugs … and taste the cocaine trickling down the back of your throat. Perhaps you sniff the scent of nicotine or weed in the air at a festival. A needle during a blood test can trigger the rush of euphoria that heroin used to bring on.

Whatever your particular cue…awareness and context are key!

Anyone in recovery is expected to have certain places, people, odors, or memories, that remind them of their drug-of-choice. Sometimes, a trigger can make active addiction seem nostalgic or even preferable to what’s going on in the moment. But, while we can never absolutely get rid of those triggers – because we are always taking in information from the outside environment – we can learn how to work through them.

When are You Most Vulnerable?

Triggers manifest as internal or external forces that compel a person to act compulsively and return to his/her previous drug of choice. We’ve listed many of the common external triggers in the sections above. But note here that internal triggers can be even more powerful. What are they?

Internal triggers are states of mind or body that make us most vulnerable to relapse. Many people who attend 12 Step meeting may know them under the acronym HALT, which is a shortened version of assessing whether you are:

  • Hungry
  • Angry
  • Lonely
  • Tired

These triggers are connected to your emotional state. And if you are either hungry, angry, lonely, or tired – or any combination of the four – life can seem overwhelming and stressful. And you can be triggered right back to your drug-of-choice.

What You Can Do

What can you do about triggers?

When people are trapped by triggers they tend to feel a roundup of emotions such as: anger, fear and despair. These chaotic moments can destroy all the previous successful efforts and lead you back into the vicious circle of addiction. In order to avoid the unwanted consequences, consider the following precautions:

STEP 1: Identify your addiction triggers.

This step requires that you develop new self-awareness. So, you’ll need to start pay attention to your senses, to the things that happen around you, and the way you react to them. Practicing self-awareness and observing reactions can greatly help you to identify possible threats that may lead you to relapse. Once you detect your unique and individual triggers, make a list of them and update it from time to time.

STEP 2: DO NOT deny, repress, nor fight an urge alone.

When we tend to repress internal processes, they become stronger. Keep this rule in mind whenever you notice yourself fighting a craving for drugs and/or alcohol. Instead, be aware of and acknowledge the trigger. But this does not mean that you need to surrender to them. Count to ten and then tell yourself that you are in control.“If we believe we are [in control], we are much more likely to have an impact on our behaviors,” said NIDA director Dr. Nora Volkow. Finally, ask for help when they hit you.

STEP 3: CREATE A TRIGGER COPING PLAN.

This step may require some professional help.

Generally, experts recommend that when an emotional dissatisfaction acts as a trigger, you can try to find other alternatives that bring pleasure which do not involve drugs or alcohol abuse. Further, to prevent a slip-up, anticipate and avoid troublesome situations. This plan can include contacting people  from your network or support, calling a hotline number, or removing yourself from a stressful situation.

What Do The Experts Say?

Kenneth Pecoraro, LCSW, LCADC, CCS who has over two decades of experience in providing treatment for individuals with substance use says:

“One of the first concepts that someone with a substance abuse issue learns in the recovery process is to, ‘Change people, places and things’. Although avoiding people, places and things is an essential part of recovery and relapse prevention, there is a lot more to think about when it come to our connection of persons, things, or ideas by some common factor.”

According to Tim Davis, substance abusers should watch out for these 5 common relapse triggers in addiction recovery:

  1. Old haunts and old friends.
  2. Justification of “just once.
  3. Toxic relationships.
  4. Unhealthy choices.
  5. High-pressure situations.
Who Can Help You With Triggers?

When dealing with triggers in everyday life you can always rely on the following modalities:

  • Anger management
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Counseling and other psychological services
  • Mindfulness
  • Stress management

But where can you find help?

  1. Look for a licensed counselor in the APA psychologist finder.
  2. Do a Google search for “site:.gov addiction trigger coping”.
  3. Talk with a trusted friend, mentor, or spiritual guide.
Getting Rid Of Triggers Once And For All?

It is possible?

No. But can you weaken the power of a trigger. Indeed, you weaken the association of pleasure with your drug-of-choice in the reward center of the brain by just staying sober.

One thing is certain, triggers are going to be everywhere around you! You can never eliminate all the sounds, smells, tastes, nor completely isolate yourself from dangerous situations and people, but you can learn how to control your impulses. Happiness and pleasure lie in so many other hobbies and activities that you can do. Discover them, because they will be your best guardian when a cue surprises you from out of the blue.

Your Questions

Did you find something of value about getting rid of trigger in addiction recovery? We hope so.

Feel free to comment and ask more questions in the designated section below. We’ll try to answer all legitimate inquiries personally and promptly, or if we don’t know the answers, we’ll refer you to someone who does.

Reference Sources: Summit Behavioral Health: Identifying and Managing Addiction Triggers The FIx: How to Fight Those Addiction Triggers Inspire Malibu: 6 Tips for Overcoming Addiction Triggers and Cravings
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Addictionblog.org by Dr. Harold C. Urschel Iii, Md, Mma,.. - 1d ago

Where There’s Smoke There’s…Reduced Productivity in the Workplace

Cigarette smoking has been identified as the single most preventable cause of both morbidity and premature death in the United States, accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, or about 1 in 5 deaths.

In 2016, more than 15 of every 100 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older (15.5%) currently smoked cigarettes, meaning that an estimated 37.8 million adults in the United States currently smoke cigarettes. Additionally, more than 16 million Americans live with smoking-related diseases such as lung cancer, emphysema, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and the list goes on.1

The number of current smokers has declined from 20.9% (nearly 21 of every 100 adults) in 2005 to 15.5% (more than 15 of every 100 adults) in 2016, however, current smoking prevalence did not change significantly during 2015-2016.

Who is More Likely to Smoke?

Even though the number of adults who smoke cigarettes in the United States is down in general, there are certain populations who are still at a higher risk to start smoking. Looking at gender, while the numbers are pretty close, men are statistically more likely to be cigarette smokers than women (17.5% of adult men versus 13.5% of adult women).

When considering age as a factor, the highest rates for smoking are associated with those 45-64 (18%) and those 25-44 (17.6%), while those 65 years and older are the least likely to smoke.

Race can also play a factor. The statistics show that the populations with the highest rates of smoking are American Indians/Alaska Natives and (non-Hispanic) mixed-race individuals (31.8% and 25.2%, respectively), while whites and blacks are in the middle range (16.6% and 16.5%, respectively), and Hispanics and Asians are at the low end of the range (10.7% and 9%, respectively).

Addiction (alcohol and drug abuse) is one of the biggest predictive factors for cigarette smoking. This fact is reflected in the astronomically higher rates for smoking among addiction treatment populations as compared to the general public. In some instances, the rates for smoking among addiction treatment populations are more than triple the rates for the general public. Add to this the fact that adults who experience serious psychological distress are more likely to become smokers, and it’s clear that this demographic is at the highest risk for smoking.

Smoking and its Impact on the Workplace

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that smoking costs American companies approximately $300 billion in health expenses and lost productivity. This means that, on average, smokers cost their employers nearly $6,000 a year more than staff who don’t smoke, according to a recent study in the journal Tobacco Control.

Many studies have shown that smokers cost the healthcare system more and that they cost health insurers more. Because many companies self-insure – meaning they pay for healthcare costs even if a health insurance company manages the benefits for them – that means smokers cost their employers more.

The costs attributable to smoking are particularly important to employers. Besides the increase in medical costs which can be attributable to smoking, companies who employ smokers face additional, indirect costs as well. These include impacts on workplace absenteeism and productivity.

A number of studies have shown that employees who smoke report considerably higher rates of absenteeism, accidents and injuries than employees who never smoke. Absenteeism, however, is just a small piece of the indirect burden that smoking employees represent for companies. In addition to the time lost as a result of illness or injury, there is a growing body of evidence to suggest that smokers are also less productive on the job.

What is really surprising to most is just how much less productive smokers can be. While almost all employees are unproductive some of the time and in one way or another, research shows that smoking negatively impacts productivity separately and apart from lost work time due to smoking breaks and absenteeism.

This is because nicotine is a powerfully addictive drug, and although a cigarette may satisfy a smoker’s need for nicotine, the effect wears off quickly. Within 30 minutes of finishing off a cigarette, the smoker may already begin to feel the symptoms of both physical and psychological withdrawal. Indeed, much of what a smoker perceives to be the calming and elucidating effect of smoking is actually relief from their acute withdrawal symptoms.

The Easiest Addiction to Treat

Getting smokers to quit may not be as daunting a task as it seems when looking at the numbers. Studies have shown that as smokers have more opportunities and more resources to quit, they are much more likely to utilize these resources to kick the habit.

In fact, many smokers will admit that they want to quit, but doing so can be quite difficult. The reality is that most cigarette smokers who try to quit on their own take, on average, six to nine attempts before they are successful. It’s for these reasons and more that Enterhealth, a Dallas-based drug and alcohol addiction treatment company, has been offering the latest smoking cessation treatments as a part of their standard rehabilitation regimen for over 10 years. These effective treatment techniques are found in both their inpatient facility, Enterhealth Ranch (located in Van Alstyne), as well as their Outpatient Center of Excellence (located in the Park Cities neighborhood of Dallas).

Now, in an effort to extend their reach beyond just patients who come for drug and alcohol addiction treatment services, Enterhealth is also offering these services to individuals and, importantly, companies that want to give employees an extra resource to help them finally kick the habit.

The treatment, which involves a 12-week program, is typically conducted over Enterhealth’s secure online telehealth portal, Enterhealth Connect (although in-person sessions can be arranged). These teleservices sessions (using online video) start with medical interviews and assessments with board-certified M.D.s and addiction-trained therapists who then tailor the smoking cessation program to each individual in order to reduce the cravings, anxiety, depression and weight gain which often accompany quitting smoking.

By conducting the initial assessment, both a doctor and therapist are able to first determine if there are any underlying physical or psychological issues, then they are able to select the right science-based medications and therapies to make it as easy as possible for that patient to stop smoking. Patients who have used the online service find it not only very effective but also very convenient, as they can participate in all of the sessions from a location of their choosing without have to use any of their time for transportation to and from the session.

Successful Smoking Cessation Helps More Than Just the Individual

It’s no surprise that quitting smoking can improve your health in myriad ways. The obvious benefits are the decreased risks for heart disease, lung disease, diabetes and cancer. But there are less obvious ones as well. People who quit smoking report that their sense of smell and taste “return” after quitting, and it can also clear up blemishes and halt damage to your skin (especially the face). Quitting smoking can also lower the chances of men developing erectile dysfunction and improve the chances of having a healthy sex life.

The benefits don’t stop there, and the advantages for companies are also substantial. The aforementioned study in the journal Tobacco Control provides several tangible benefits that are attractive to companies, including: fewer instances of sick leave, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and, most importantly, higher levels of satisfaction with life (i.e., happier people!).

If you or a loved one would like to quit smoking, don’t wait, reach out and contact the experts at Enterhealth today.

Reference Sources: 1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2018 June 20]. 2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current Cigarette Smoking Among Adults—United States, 2016. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2018;67(2):53-9 [accessed 2018 June 20]. 3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. State Tobacco Activities Tracking & Evaluation (STATE) System. Map of Current Cigarette Use Among Adults (Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System) 2016 [accessed 2018 June 20]. 4. Huebsch, R. (2016, October 26). Negative Impact of Smokers in the Workplace. Retrieved June 20, 2018, from http://smallbusiness.chron.com/negative-impact-smokers-workplace-21811.html 5. Halpern, M. T., Shikiar, R., Rentz, A. M., & Khan, Z. M. (2001, September 01). Impact of smoking status on workplace absenteeism and productivity. Retrieved June 20, 2018, from http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/10/3/233 6. Guydish, J., Passalacqua, E., Tajima, B., Chan, M., Chun, J., & Bostrom, A. (2011, June). Retrieved June 20, 2018, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3103720/ 7. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Consequences of Smoking—50 Years of Progress: A Report of the Surgeon General. Atlanta: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Office on Smoking and Health, 2014 [accessed 2017 Nov 6]. 8. Xu X, Bishop EE, Kennedy SM, Simpson SA, Pechacek TF. Annual Healthcare Spending Attributable to Cigarette Smoking: An Update. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2014;48(3):326–33 [accessed 2017 Nov 6]. 9. Berman, M., Crane, R., Seiber, E., & Munur, M. (2013, May 25). Estimating the cost of a smoking employee. Retrieved June 21, 2018, from http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/early/2013/05/25/tobaccocontrol-2012-050888.short
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Addictionblog.org by Addiction Blog - 1d ago

Does Experimentation = Abuse?

Yes!

Ritalin is a strong stimulant used to treat ADHD, narcolepsy, chronic fatigue, and depression. By acting directly on the brain, Ritalin increases the levels of dopamine, which triggers euphoria and feelings of wellbeing. Because of these properties many people start to abuse Ritalin.

So, if you are taking the drug in order to:

  • Feel euphoric and high.
  • Heighten focus and alertness.
  • Increase energy and stamina.
  • Perform better in school or at work.
  • Suppress appetite for weight loss purposes.

…you are, in fact, abusing it and may need to seek help before this behavior starts to hurt your health, relationships, and finances.

But, what are the signs of Ritalin abuse? What are the most common side effects associated with the abuse of Ritalin? We give our answers in the article below. Then, we invite your questions in the comments section at the end of the page.

—–

Is Ritalin abuse turning into a problem?
We can help!
CALL US … and start living a drug-free life TODAY.

—–

What If You Have A Prescription?

Ritalin contains methylphenidate as its main psychoactive ingredient. Methylphenidate is a strong stimulant that affects the central nervous system (CNS) and changes the function of the brain. In medicine, it is used for treating narcolepsy, chronic fatigue, and depression.

Also, Ritalin is a part of the program for treating attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) in children and adults. Ritalin helps increase attention and focus, improves daily performances, and keeps you awake.

Despite it’s medical usefulness, this is a drug with a strong addictive potential, classified as a Schedule II drug. This means that any Ritalin use without doctor’s prescription or non-adherence to general use suggestions is illegal and punishable by law.

Q: What does this mean?
A: It means that even if you do have a doctor’s prescription to use Ritalin, taking it in doses, ways, and frequencies other than prescribed is considered to be ‘drug abuse’.

How is Ritalin Abused?

You are abusing Ritalin if you are:

  • Administering Ritalin by snorting, injecting, and/or chewing.
  • Buying Ritalin off the street or via online pharmacies.
  • Getting Ritalin from someone else that’s prescribed (drug diversion).
  • Mixing Ritalin with illicit drugs, alcohol, or other prescription meds.
  • Obtaining prescriptions from several doctors (doctor shopping).
  • Taking Ritalin in larger doses than prescribed.
  • Using Ritalin more frequently than recommended.
  • Using Ritalin to get high.

Does any of this sound familiar? If you recognize yourself or a loved one in the behaviors described here, seek medical help for Ritalin abuse as soon as possible. Call our helpline to get information, recovery tools, and support.

Signs and Symptoms

If you suspect a loved one is abusing Ritalin there are some tell tale signs that can help you get to the truth. People who are not using Ritalin correclt usually exhibit some the following signs.

Behavioral signs

  • impulsiveness
  • reduced appetite
  • repetitive behaviors
  • social withdrawal
  • violent behavior
  • weight loss

Physical signs

  • gastrointestinal distress
  • impaired vision
  • pupil dilation
  • rapid heart rate
  • stomach pain
  • sweating

Psychological signs

  • anxiety
  • agitation
  • dizziness
  • depression
  • headaches
  • insomnia
Ritalin Abuse Side Effects

When Ritalin is taken other than prescribed, it releases a high concentrated amount of methylphenidate into the system. This kind of abuse can cause many side effects, that can lead to mental and physical damage. The most common side effects of taking Ritalin other than prescribed include:

  • auditory hallucinations
  • dry mouth
  • heartburn
  • muscle tightness
  • nausea and vomiting
  • OCD-like behavior
  • paranoia
  • restlessness
  • sleep disturbances
  • tendency toward violence
  • uncontrolled movements

Moreover, abusing a stimulant like Ritalin does not only harm your mental and physical health, but may lead to a number of unwanted consequences to life as you know it. Some of the risks associated with Ritalin abuse may include:

  • Broken relationships with friends and family.
  • Financial difficulties.
  • Hospitalization.
  • Job loss.
  • Legal problems.
Ritalin Overdose: When to Call 911?

An unintentional overdose (OD) can occur when Ritalin is taken in high doses, but without the intent to self-harm. A Ritalin overdose can result in symptoms that can signal you when too much methylphenidate has been ingested. Symptoms of a Ritalin OD include:

  • chest pain
  • confusion
  • excessive sweating
  • extremely dry mouth
  • high anxiety or panic
  • high body temperature
  • muscle cramps or twitching
  • racing heart
  • rapid, shallow breathing
  • rapid thoughts and speech
  • tingling or numb sensation in hands and feet

If you or someone close to you take too much Ritalin: Act fast! Call 911 to seek emergency medical attention, or call your local Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Once you are connected with a 911 contact representative, give them information about:

  • How much Ritalin was taken.
  • How was the drug administered.
  • What other drugs or alcohol were taken along with Ritalin (if any).
  • How long has it been since the victim took the drug.
  • Your exact location (e.g.. in the back yard, on the 2nd floor, in the bathroom).
Help for Ritalin abuse

Once you decide to break free from Ritalin abuse, the next step is to seek help!

—–

You CAN quit Ritalin once and for all!
Call us.
ANYTIME: Day or Night.
We can help!

—–

To get yourself even better prepared for what you can expect from the process of treating a drug problem. we share more details here. The process involves three main stages of treatment: Evaluation, detox, and therapy.

1. Initial Evaluation. To effectively treat a drug use disorder, doctors need to find out more about you and the scope of your problem. As a part of your initial eval process, you’ll go through an interview, assessments, and drug testing so your doctor can establish a diagnosis. Using the results from the evaluation, doctors will design a personalized treatment plan fit your your individual needs.

2. Detoxification. Before you begin longer term treatment, all traces of the drug will need to be eliminated from your body. Dependence to Ritalin can form quickly, making you experience a cluster of adverse symptoms known as Ritalin withdrawal. This can be a harsh and uncomfortable process, which is why medical Ritalin detox options include short-term use of prescription medications to address and minimize symptoms as they occur. They also provide a safe and supportive environment in which to detox.

3. Therapy and Counseling. The most effective treatments for a drug problem are behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral and contingency-management interventions. For example, the following methods have been shown to be effective in reducing Ritalin abuse:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Contingency management interventions
  • Family education
  • Individual counseling
  • Motivational incentives
  • 12-Step support
Got More Questions?

This text was only a general preview on some of the main signs of Ritalin drug abuse and its most common side effects. For more on Ritalin addiction treatment, feel free further explore our website. You can also contact us in the comments section below or via the contact us page. We will do our best to respond personally and promptly to all legitimate inquiries.

Reference Sources: NIH: Medicine Plus: Methylphenidate NIH: Methylphenidate Abuse and Psychiatric Side Effects FDA Medication Guide: Ritalin
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Relapse as a Part of Treatment?

What do most treatment centers do to prevent a relapse? Helping a patient detox from alcohol in a safe and stable environment is one thing; preventing that patient from ever abusing alcohol again is another thing altogether.

It’s an unfortunate and unavoidable truth that many people with an alcohol use disorder do relapse, even when they’ve had the highest quality of treatment. In circumstances like this, it’s essential that alcohol addiction treatments do everything they can to avoid being part of a recovery and relapse cycle.

How Many People Relapse After Rehab?

Relapse is when a person returns to drinking after a period of sobriety. These periods are often short but are sometimes much longer. Sadly, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Prevention, roughly 90% of people with alcohol-use disorder relapse within four years of completing treatment.

The numbers do not put alcohol addiction treatment in a positive light. It’s easy to see why many people lose hope of recovering. Worse still, the relapse rate can trigger a vicious cycle. Why should a person go to the trouble of detoxing from alcohol if there’s a 90% chance that they’ll end up relapsing anyway?

It’s important that we reframe these numbers in a more positive light. Though alcohol addiction centres can and should improve, we should also acknowledge the good that is accomplished in the 10% of people who complete a program and stay sober.

Even a short period of sobriety can be a blessing. Though a full recovery is ideal, a one or two-year period of sobriety can be a happy and meaningful part of someone’s life. In that time, a person with an alcohol abuse disorder can make fulfilling emotional, social and professional developments. Ideally, they’d also lay the groundwork for a full recovery.

Should Rehabs Have To Publish Their Relapse Rates?

One proposed solution is legislation mandating that alcohol addiction treatment centres track and publish their relapse rates. Patients would be able to compare high-performing centres to low-performing centres and make the best choice based on results.

The idea is not without merit. If drugs companies must publish the results of their medical trials, why shouldn’t the same reasoning be applied to alcohol addiction centres? Might we be able to improve performance if alcohol addiction treatment centres are held accountable for their results?

It’s also possible to see some unintended consequences of this legislation being implemented poorly. People who relapse are often likely to hide their drinking for fear of disappointing friends and relatives. Would rehab centres always be able to accurately establish who had and who hadn’t relapsed, especially when the patients themselves might have an incentive to mislead interviewers about their progress?

The second potential danger is one that we observe in selective schools obsessed with their grade average. A rehab centre might be incentivised to refuse treating a patient who looks unlikely to make a full recovery as the failure would be a blot on their record. Obviously, a system which can in some cases leave the neediest without support is one that needs work before implementation.

What About Kindling?

So, why is alcohol withdrawal more dangerous the second time around?

A relapse into alcohol misuse is always a tragedy. The patient may feel like their hard work and progress has been a waste of time. Family members who were previously supportive might waver. There’s the danger to health of excessive alcohol consumption, as well as the economic dangers of alcohol abuse.

But there’s also a less publicised factor that makes a relapse dangerous: kindling. It’s widely known that alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous or even fatal. Water-soluble ethanol, one of the chemicals in alcohol that affects the brain, amplifies GABA. GABA is a brain chemical that slows and “relaxes” the brain. This is why drunk people are clumsy and slur their words.

When people with an alcohol dependency suddenly stop drinking, the slowing effects of GABA on the brain stop immediately. This causes the brain to “speed up” at dangerous levels, and it’s this process that can be fatal. One benefit of alcohol addiction treatment centres that is undeniable is the medical supervision. By supervising an alcohol detox, a medical professional can greatly reduce the symptoms and dangers of alcohol withdrawal by prescribing the correct medicine.

Kindling is what happens when a person experiences recovery and relapse a number of times. Each time a person goes through alcohol detox and withdrawal, the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal become more and more severe. A person experiencing alcohol withdrawal for the first time is much less likely to experience seizures than a person going through alcohol withdrawal for the second time. Kindling is another important reason why alcohol addiction centres need to get it right the first time around.

What About the Loss of Hope?

It’s also important that the patient continues to have hope. When a patient recovers from alcohol and then relapses, they’ll often try a new method of recovery. The failure of the first recovery can then be blamed on the “old treatment” which they’ll see as a “bad” way to recover.

This is a mental exercise that can be helpful, even if it isn’t necessarily accurate!

But if a patient recovers via a second method only to relapse again, they might come to the conclusion that they are a lost cause and beyond help. This is a very dangerous negative cycle to be in. People who think that they are beyond help are more likely to drink excessively and are less likely to seriously engage with attempts at recovery.

Breaking the Relapse and Recovery Cycle

What can alcohol addiction centres do to break the cycle of relapse?

The fact that relapse is so common does at least enable us to identify with some clarity the telltale signs that a patient is close to relapsing.

Skipping meetings with sponsors, therapists, or counsellors is one of the biggest warning signs. Another sign is losing interest in healthy hobbies and alternative therapies that were a part of their original recovery. Ignoring or failing to follow an after-care plan is another indicator that a relapse might be imminent.

Therapy, including cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), is the best weapon that we currently have against relapse. It’s important that a patient is able not only to detox from alcohol but also develop the mental skills needed to resist temptation in the future.

People in recovery should also be able to identify potential triggers and develop coping techniques that will help them overcome their cravings. Good nutrition, exercise (at least 20 minutes of cardio per day), and stress management are key to lifestyle changes. Most importantly, they need to be able to continue to believe in themselves and the possibility of recovery.
Should a patient waver … rehabs may need to develop novel ways to reach out and keep in touch. This is why forward-thinking industry leaders are using:

  • Skype-to-Skype video chats between counselors and patients
  • Mobile apps to track recovery progress
  • Alumni groups for continued support
  • Weekly check-ins or recovery coaches.

What ideas have you come across that you think can work?

Your feedback is welcomed!

Author Bio: Obi Unaka is the Treatment Director at Charterhouse Clinic. He has developed addiction treatment services and led clinical teams within residential, community and criminal justice settings.
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Duration Of Withdrawal

Although Suboxone is used to treat opiate addiction, there may come a time when you’re ready to get off it. However, the main ingredient found in Suboxone – buprenorphine – is known to cause physical dependence. So, if you lower the dose or completely stop taking the medication, you may experience withdrawal symptoms.

But, what is Suboxone withdrawal? How can it be treated? Find the answers in our drug withdrawal infographic! We break down symptoms by occurrence and timing..so you can know what to expect. Perfect download for your treatment clinic, office, or detox setting!

And if you find it interesting, feel free to share it! The embed code is right under this visual presentation.

The Detox Timeline

As a combination of two psychoactive ingredients, buprenorphine and naloxone, Suboxone may cause serious withdrawal when reduced or stopped abruptly. In general, the set of symptoms starts when the effect of the last dose has worn off. When does each symptom of Suboxone withdraw occur? Check out this detailed list below to find out:

0-72 hours after the last Suboxone dose:

  • Abnormal skin sensations
  • Cravings
  • Diarrhea
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Sweating

3-7 days after the last Suboxone dose:

  • Agitation
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Mood swings
  • Vomiting

Week 2 Suboxone Withdrawal:

  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea
  • Sleep disorders

Week 3 Suboxone Withdrawal:

  • Anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Sleep disorders

Week 4 Symptoms of Suboxone Withdrawal:

  • Cravings
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings

NOTE: The safest way to treat any withdrawal is with medical assistance. When you are supervised in a medical detox setting, you can get physical as well as psychological support. Plus, doctors can prescribe you symptomatic relief when needed.

How Long To Withdraw?

It depends.

Each case of withdrawal is unique and different in terms of length. Moreover, there are many other health factors affect the withdrawal symptoms and their duration.

The main factors that will influence duration of withdrawal from Suboxone include:

  • Your general health.
  • Your individual metabolism.
  • Suboxone dosage and frequency of use.

Still, some withdrawal symptoms can last for several weeks up to few months. In fact, long-term Suboxone users may experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). These symptoms may last for a longer period.

The most common Suboxone PAWS are:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Sleep disorders
Your Questions

Need help for Suboxone withdrawal? How should you treat Suboxone addiction? Give us a call NOW on the number listed on this page to be connected with a compassionate addiction recovery specialist. The helpline is trustful and available 24/7.

Still got questions? Feel free to write them in the comments section at the end. We will try to respond promptly and personally.

Reference sources: NIDA: Treatment approaches to drug addiction
FDA: Subutex and Suboxone Questions
FDA: SUBUTEX AND Suboxone APPROVED TO TREAT OPIATE DEPENDENCE
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