What is the Difference Between Lortab and Norco?

What is the difference between Lortab and Norco?

So, What is the Difference Between Lortab and Norco exactly?

 

If you take pain medication, you may have asked yourself what is the difference between Lortab and Norco? Understanding prescription medications, their differences and potential interactions is important. Especially when controlled substances like opioids are involved. This article from Harmony Treatment and Wellness will help you understand the difference between Lortab and Norco and why it matters.

The first thing you should know is that nearly every prescription medication has a “common” name and a brand name. The common name is the active ingredient in the brand name. It often becomes the generic name for the medicine when a generic becomes available. This can confuse people sometimes. This article aims to clear up that confusion for you.

 

What’s the Difference Between Name Brand and Generic Opioid Pain Meds?

 

This question could be the topic for its own article. For the purposes of this piece, we’ll keep it simple. Pretty much every pharmaceutical drug begins as a name brand product. Drug companies spend billions every year on researching and developing new medications. One of the ways they recoup these costs (and turn a profit) is selling the medication. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates all prescription medications. Companies hold a patent on any new medication they introduce That allows them to be the only one who can sell that particular drug for a period of time. That period of time varies, but it can be as long as 20 years.

You may have noticed many new medications are only available in the brand name form. This is usually because the patent has not expired yet. Once a patent expires, other companies are free to make their own versions of the same drug. These may include a generic version. These medications must have the same active ingredient as the name brand, that is the medicine part. The rest of the medication can vary. That includes things like fillers, coatings, color, flavor and so forth. When you ask what is the difference between Lortab and Norco, that last sentence is your answer.

 

OK, That’s Interesting, But What is the Difference Between Lortab and Norco?

 

Lortab and Norco are both formulations which include hydrocodone as the primary active ingredient. Hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic opioid medication. What is Lortab? Well, both medications have acetaminophen (aka Tylenol) as a secondary ingredient. The rest of each table (the inactive ingredients) may vary, but that has little bearing on the effect of the medicine. In the United States, hydrocodone is always combined with another non-narcotic pain medication. Acetaminophen he most common choice by far. Some less common hydrocodone compounds may include ibuprofen (Advil) or even aspirin instead.

 

If you want to know what is the difference between Lortab and Norco, it helps to be familiar with the medications in this category. The only practical difference between them is the fillers and form the come in.

 

These are all examples of prescription drugs that include hydrocodone and acetaminophen as the active ingredients.

  • Vicodin
  • Lortab
  • Norco
  • Lorcet
  • Xodol

 

As mentioned, there are also some much less common medications that combine hydrocodone with a different ingredient.

 

Here are some examples of drugs that include hydrocodone and something other than acetaminophen:

  • Ibudone (hydrocodone and ibuprofen)
  • Vicoprofen (hydrocodone and ibuprofen)
  • Hycodan (hydrocodone and homatropine)
  • Rezira (hydrocodone and pseudoephedrine)
  • Tussionex (hydrocodone and chlorpheniramine)

 

More About What is the Difference Between Lortab and Norco?

 

Vicodin, Lortab, Norco, Lorcet and Xodol are all medications that combine hydrocodone and acetaminophen. They are just brand names used by different drug companies for pretty much the same medicine. Each version will include a number which tells you how much of each active ingredient each tablet contains. For example, a Norco 325/10 has 325 milligrams (mg) of acetaminophen and 10 mg of hydrocodone. A Lortab 10 mg – 325 mg tablet has…you guessed it. 325 mg of acetaminophen and 10 mg of hydrocodone. Can you guess what’s in a Vicodin 5 mg / 500 mg? The smaller number is always the hydrocodone.

 

Conclusion

 

If you’re still wondering what is the difference between Lortab and Norco, the answer is ‘not much’. They are different brands of essentially the same thing. The filler ingredients will vary a bit. The size, shape and color of the tablets will vary too. But for all intents and purposes a 10/325 Lortab and a 10/325 Norco are going to produce the same effect. Lortab and Norco both contain hydrocodone which is an opioid. That means they are controlled substances with a high potential for addiction.

If you or someone you love is struggling with their use of any controlled substance, Harmony Treatment and Wellness can help. Give us a call at (772) 247-6180 or reach out to us via our contact page here.

What Type of Drug is Xanax?

what-type-of-drug-is-xanax

Xanax And Other Types Of Benzodiazepine Drugs

Xanax (alprazolam) belongs to a type of drug called benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines (benzos or BZDs) are  prescribed for various kinds of anxiety. Benzos are effective. But benzos are also addictive. And they can become so very quickly. Benzos work. But for some people, they work a little too well. Xanax addiction can be overcome. But it takes patience, dedication, and proper protocol.

In this blog, Harmony Stuart will help you to:

  • Gain knowledge of what benzos are
  • Explain why benzos like Xanax are so addictive
  • Understand how to overcome Xanax addiction
  • Treatment options without drugs
  • How to get help for types of drugs like Xanax

 

Gain Knowledge Of What Benzos Are

Doctors mainly prescribe benzodiazepines to treat anxiety disorders. Some scientific evidence also suggests that benzos may help people withdrawing from alcohol. Benzos work by slowing down certain processes in the brain and body. They take effect almost immediately. This attribute also tends to make them addictive.

GABA

Our brain make chemicals that regulate our bodies. These chemicals are called neurotransmitters. They influence our appetites, how we think, how active we are. They impact how we understand the world and conduct ourselves in it. One such neurotransmitter is gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter. This means it inhibits. It slows things down. GABA keeps the inner workings of our bodies from happening too fast. In the case of anxiety, our thoughts race. Our heart rates elevate. And our blood pressure increases. GABA helps keep these things under control.

GABA And Benzos

Benzos (like Xanax) increase the amount of GABA in the brain. For someone suffering from anxiety, this helps them calm down. Their brain balances out what’s happening inside them. This makes them feel more stable and grounded.

Explaining Why Benzos Like Xanax Are So Addictive

Some medications will gradually make changes. For example, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) must usually be taken for a few weeks before a person notices a difference. But benzos can affect a person after a single dose. In fact, benzos are so addictive that a person can experience withdrawal after only 3-4 weeks of use.

Withdrawal is connected to dependence. If a dependent person stops consuming a drug, they experience withdrawal. If withdrawal symptoms occur, then the person has become dependent. So, a person can become dependent on benzos in less than a month. This means that a person suffering from Xanax addiction cannot function without Xanax. And what’s worse, benzo withdrawal symptoms can be fatal.

Understanding How To Overcome Xanax Addiction

The best way to overcome Xanax addiction is to prevent it in the first place. Use Xanax (or other benzo) for a short period of time. Make appropriate lifestyle changes to address the sources of anxiety. Then, phase out the Xanax. It’s always easier to prevent an addiction than it is to react to one. That said, below you will find some practical strategies to overcome benzo addiction.

Tapering

Quitting benzos cold turkey is not advisable. Doing so can cause one to slip into benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome (BWS). BWS symptoms can cripple one’s life. And as mentioned above, BWS can be fatal.

A key method for avoiding BWS is tapering. Rather than simply quitting, tapering slowly decreases one’s dose. Tapering slightly lowers one’s BZD dosage over an extended period of time. This allows the body to acclimate itself to a lower dose, without producing withdrawal symptoms.

Use Different Medications

Several benzo alternatives exist. They do not produce effects as immediately as benzos. Rather, some of these meds build up gradually in one’s body. For example, most selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) need several weeks to help combat anxiety. The advantage to this is that they are less habit-forming than benzos.

Alternatives to benzos include:

Treatment Options Without Drugs

Medications can become invaluable to recovery. But, they are only one tool. We must not rely too heavily on medications to help us. Other methods for dealing with Xanax addiction will also help us. Therapy helps people become conscious of underlying problems. Once they have this awareness, they can begin making changes to their internal lives.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) helps us develop and integrate our thoughts. We learn to practice mindful awareness of what we think. Next, we learn how to make progress in spite of stress. Then, we acquaint ourselves with healthy emotional patterns. Finally, we become fluent in articulating our emotions.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy

Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has also shown effective in treating benzo addiction. CBT helps us to audit our own thoughts. Rather than taking them for granted, we question and evaluate them for truth. This keeps our thoughts from asserting control over us.

Speak With Your Treatment Provider

DBT and CBT are only two examples of nonmedicinal treatment options for Xanax addiction. Speak with your treatment provider to find out more.

How To Get Help For Types Of Drugs Like Xanax

Xanax, and other types of benzodiazepines, have a high potential for addiction. If you or someone you love struggles with benzodiazepine addiction, call or contact Harmony Stuart today.

Lortab Addiction

Lortab addiction can be challenging to overcome.

Treatment for Lortab Addiction

Lortab addiction is a serious, condition when an individual develops a dependence on prescription painkillers . Lortab is an opioid analgesic used as a pain killer and only available by prescription. Physicians prescribe this for patients who suffer from moderate to severe pain due to injury, surgery, or terminal illnesses. Lortab is a combination of acetaminophen and hydrocodone that provides relief from pain.

If you struggle with Lortab addiction, it is important that you consider seeking professional help to help you with the process. Harmony Stuart can help. Contact us to speak with a member of our team to discuss our process for treating hydrocodone addiction.

Symptoms of Lortab Withdrawal

As with most other forms of opioid addiction, withdrawal from Lortab can make you feel ill.  Some symptoms of Lortab withdrawal are:

  • Anxiety
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Tremors
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability

How Addictive is Lortab?

Lortab is classified as an addictive drug, which means that it can become physically and/or psychologically habit-forming. It is a strong opioid analgesic, containing hydrocodone, and it can be physically addictive. For example, it can cause the brain to release dopamine when you use it. Dopamine helps regulate emotions and stimulates physical pleasure centers of the brain. As an opiate analgesic substance, this causes a euphoric effect.

You may develop a tolerance to Lortab or experience physical side effects within just a few weeks. When this happens, your body and brain begin to get used to the drug. So, you will need more of the drug to get the same euphoric feeling that you experienced in the beginning. Many people who have developed a physical dependency on Lortab will feel ill if they go too long without using it again. This is because their body has begun to rely on the drug in order to function properly.

Causes of Lortab Addiction

Scientists have yet to determine the exact causes of Lortab addiction. Many believe that people who struggle with addiction to Lortab and other painkillers often have a history of addiction in their families. Studies show that this is more likely if an individual struggles with alcoholism as well. Others try to self-medicate for physical ailments, but end up developing a dependency on the drug instead. You may also experience Lortab addiction, or any other substance abuse problem, if you are suffering from emotional trauma or mental illness as well.

Prescription Medication Addiction Treatment

The most important step in your recovery from Lortab addiction is to get the right help. Treating drug addiction can be difficult, and you need to be prepared. It is important that you find a program that offers you care and support throughout the process. You need to find a program that has the qualifications necessary to help treat your addiction, while also matching your specific needs, goals, and concerns. The first thing you should do if you are looking for treatment facilities for prescription medications is to research all of your options.

In addition to choosing the right facility, treatment should include cognitive behavioral therapy and counseling. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) involves learning about and practicing healthier behaviors. Counseling involves one-on-one or group sessions with a therapist who can provide advice and support to assist in maintaining abstinence. It is important that individuals seeking detoxification do not attempt to self-detoxify without the assistance of their physician or another professional who has experience with drug withdrawal.

Need for Medical Supervision

Something else that is important to remember is that if you are addicted to prescription medications, the withdrawal process can be dangerous. The body can become dependent on them; they can be a mild form of heroin or other opiates. Therefore, it is always advisable to seek help from your doctor for detoxification. You will also need to have a prescription for any medications you take at the beginning of treatment. Treatment should include counseling and medical supervision.

Other Names for Lortab

Lortab is also known as:

  • Fluff
  • Dro
  • Veeks
  • Tabs

Co-Occurring Disorders and Lortab Addiction

Lortab addiction is just one of the problems that co-occur with other disorders.  Lortab addiction can also be a sign of a mental disorder that requires treatment. In fact, it is common for people struggling with drug addiction to suffer from a mental disorder at the same time. Often, both the mental disorder and the drug addiction are underlying causes of one another. For example, having depression can cause you to self-medicate with prescription drugs. The most effective treatment addresses both.

Lortab addiction is a serious, but treatable, condition.  If you struggle with Lortab addiction, it is important that you seek professional treatment.  We know how to help with hydrocodone addiction and can provide you with the customized care that you need. Contact Harmony Stuart today to speak with a member of our care team.

Mixing Klonopin and Alcohol

mixing Klonopin and alcohol

Klonopin and Alcohol

Klonopin is a benzodiazepine that many doctors prescribe to people who have moderate to severe anxiety. There have been many cases where people were mixing Klonopin and alcohol. The dangers of doing this are serious.

 

If you have a prescription for Klonopin, it is vital to know the drug can be addictive. It becomes more of a problem when mixing it with other substances. The good news is there are treatment programs for people who need to stop using Klonopin and alcohol.

 

For now, it might be a good idea to learn more about the symptoms of mixing these substances, the withdrawal process and other aspects of this type of addiction.

Symptoms of Mixing Klonopin and Alcohol

Klonopin like alcohol and all depressants, causes depression of the central nervous system. If you have both these substances in your system, the effects will be amplified. Sometimes, the consequences can be deadly.

 

Some symptoms of mixing Klonopin and alcohol include:

  • Slower breathing
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Coordination issues
  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Memory issues
  • Cognitive function issues
  • Moderate to severe headache
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sleep problems

In most cases, Klonopin is a safe prescription drug. Doctors control how much of this medication each patient gets. The problem is that many people mix it with other substances such as alcohol. Some people will buy more Klonopin from others when they don’t get the effects they want from their prescription.

 

If you have been mixing alcohol with Klonopin and you’re struggling to quit, we can help.

Who Abuses Klonopin and Alcohol

Anyone can be at risk of abusing Klonopin and alcohol. However, studies show that undergraduate students have the highest rates of mixing Klonopin and alcohol. In the studies, 12.1% of the students were abusing one or more medications and alcohol.

 

Some of the others who commonly abuse alcohol and Klonopin include:

  • People 25 and younger
  • Those who don’t have their high school diploma
  • Single people
  • People who have a history of drinking a lot

If you have been abusing these substances, you aren’t alone. You can get the help you need to stop using alcohol and Klonopin.

Signs of Addiction

Many people who mix alcohol and a benzodiazepine like Klonopin don’t think there is a problem with what they are doing. Do they all have an addiction? There is no guarantee that everyone who takes these substances at the same time has an addiction. However, it is still dangerous to do so.

 

There are so many risks of mixing harmful substances such as alcohol and benzodiazepines. People who continue to mix them may have an addiction.

 

If you combine these substances and can’t seem to stop, contact us today. We can help diagnose whether you have an addiction. If so, don’t worry. We can get you the treatment you need to overcome that addiction.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms

Some people avoid going to a treatment program because they worry about withdrawal. It can be tough to go through this process on your own. However, you can get help managing the symptoms of withdrawal when attending a treatment program.

 

Some withdrawal symptoms a rehab center team can help you manage include:

  • Raised body temperature
  • Hallucinations
  • Coordination problems
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rebound anxiety
  • Profuse sweating
  • Seizures
  • Increased heart rate
  • Panic attacks
  • Tremors

Thinking about these withdrawal symptoms can be scary. However, if you enroll in a treatment program, you won’t have to deal with these symptoms yourself. You will get around-the-clock care if you go to an inpatient rehab center. There are other treatments you can receive, as well.

Get Help to Stop Using Klonopin and Alcohol

Mixing alcohol and a benzodiazepine can be dangerous. The side effects will be much worse if you have both substances in your system simultaneously. You could have side effects such as nausea and vomiting to tremors and seizures. Even if you don’t experience most of the side effects above, the damage these substances do to your body can be substantial.

 

The important thing is to get help to stop using these substances if you need to do so. Many professionals have experience and training to deal with addiction such as this one. Once you detox from these substances, the treatment program can help you learn techniques to manage your anxiety. Those techniques can give you a natural way of managing anxiety, so you don’t feel the need to use Klonopin and alcohol.

 

Have you been mixing alcohol and a benzodiazepine? We don’t want to see you struggle with substance abuse. Contact us today to get help with your Klonopin and alcohol addiction.

 

Over The Counter Drug Abuse

over the counter drugs can be abused

What Is Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse?

We know about people abusing illegal drugs. Terms like “opioid crisis” populate the news. Many people even abuse their own prescriptions. But what about over-the-counter drug abuse? Do people become addicted to commonplace pharmacy medications?

 

Over-the-counter” (OTC) refers to medications you may obtain without a prescription. Think about the aisles of your local pharmacy. You do not need to go see a doctor to obtain aspirin. If you have a cough or cold, plenty of medications lie within reach.

 

In this blog article, Harmony Stuart digs into these topics:

 

  • What kinds of OTC medications can one get in a pharmacy?
  • What are some of the most commonly abused OTC drugs?
  • Why do people abuse OTC drugs?
  • Can someone get help for OTC drug abuse?
  • Where can I get more information about over-the-counter drug abuse?

 

What Kinds of OTC Medications Can One Get In A Pharmacy?

You need no prescription to get over-the-counter medicine. You need only money, and the means to enter a pharmacy. Additionally, many retail and grocery chains contain pharmacies. Name-brand pain relievers even line the shelves of gas stations and rest stops. One can acquire OTC medications just about anywhere.

 

Pharmacies contain medications that numb pain and discomfort. They sell cough and cold medicines that can make you drowsy. On the flipside, you can also buy stimulants like caffeine pills. One could get some of the same results as if one consumed illicit or prescription drugs. And without the legal worries.

 

What Are Some Of The Most Commonly Abused OTC Drugs?

We all want to feel good. We’d gladly trade feeling better over feeling worse. People engage in over-the-counter drug abuse to change the way they feel. And just like prescription or illicit drugs, OTC medications can provide just that. Below, find examples of some of the most commonly abused OTC drugs.

 

Dextromethorphan (DXM)

Dextromethorphan shows up in many cough and cold remedies. OTC medicines like Robitussin, Delsym, and Mucinex contain it. If the label says “DM,” it has dextromethorphan. You can find DXM in syrup, capsules, dissolvable strips and more. Taking too much can make one sleepy. Other side effects include hallucinations and slowed breathing.

 

Loperamide

Loperamide provides temporary relief for diarrhea. It comes in capsules, tablets, and in liquid form. You can find it as an ingredient in things like Immodium and Diamode. It slows movement in your stomach and intestines. Overdosing on loperamide can lead to nausea, a racing heartrate, and trouble breathing.

 

Pseudoephedrine

Pseudoephedrine helps with stuffy and runny noses. We refer to it as a “nasal decongestant,” and likewise a stimulant.  You may know it by the brand name Sudafed. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) forbids athletes from consuming pseudoephedrine prior to competing.

 

Why Do People Abuse OTC Drugs?

People use drugs to change their moods, emotions, or mental states. When a person cannot stop despite negative consequences, they may have developed substance use disorder (SUD). Not everyone who abuses OTC medications will become afflicted by SUD. But many do.

 

We cannot attribute abuse of OTC medications to a single cause. Every person’s life carries its own struggles. No one holds the exact same deck of cards. But, several factors in one’s life do seem to collectively influence substance abuse. These factors include:

 

  • Genetics, family history, and DNA
  • Early home life and upbringing
  • Mental and physical health
  • Quality of relationships
  • Prescence of trauma

 

Can Someone Get Help For OTC Drug Abuse?

Those struggling with addiction to OTC medications can get help. Their addiction need not be a life sentence. People incur SUD for a variety of reasons. Each of those reasons need addressing. Harmony Stuart extols sobriety. However, we do not view sobriety as an end by itself.

 

Sobriety clears the mind. With a clear mind, one has a better view of one’s life. The recovery process at Harmony Stuart aims to treat the whole person. We do not identify people with their addictions or choices. We view each individual person as having individual experiences.

 

Depending on your journey, Harmony Stuart has several recovery paths you may choose from. View our treatment programs page to learn more.

 

Where Can I Get More Information About Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse?

Someone abusing over-the-counter drugs likely abuses other drugs as well. Often, people in these situations have compromised their mental well-being. They may suffer a mental illness alongside their substance abuse disorder. Research literature calls this comorbidity. As mentioned earlier, Harmony Stuart’s programs treat mental wellness in addition to substance abuse.

 

Have you still got questions? Good! Harmony Stuart wants to hear them. We can provide all the answers you need (and some you didn’t know you needed). If you, or someone that you love, struggles with substance use disorder, speak with us now.

How Do Opioids Affect the Brain?

How Do Opioids Affect the Brain

Ever Wondered How Opioids Affect The Brain?

Perhaps you’ve wondered, “how do opioids affect the brain?” It seems like every time you turn around, you see news about opioids. You hear words like “opioid epidemic” and “opioid crisis.” The news talks a lot about addictions. They frequently mention the deaths. But how does a person get real information about opioid effects on the brain?

In this post, Harmony Treatment & Wellness assesses the following:

  • What are opioids?
  • How do opioids affect the brain?
  • What is opioid use disorder?
  • Do treatments exist for opioid use disorder?
  • What if I want more information about opioids and the brain?

What Are Opioids?

Opioids occur naturally in your body. Your brain makes them. Researchers call these endogenous opioids. When we hurt, our brains release these opioids to make us feel better. Opioids have the function of easing pain.

What’s The Difference Between Opioids And Opiates?

We can also find opioids in nature. They come from the poppy flower (papaver somniferum). 3 natural opioids we get from the poppy plant include:

  • Opium
  • Morphine
  • Codeine

You may see the terms “opioid” and “opiate” used as synonyms. But they don’t mean the same thing. The word “opioid” refers to both natural and artificial substances. We apply the word “opiate” to natural substances.

Opioids have legitimate medical uses. But when news reports refer to an “opioid crisis,” it makes opioids sound terrible. You may hear the word “synthetic” used in this context. It means that a human being created it. Find a few examples of synthetic opioids below:

  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone

How Do Opioids Impact The Brain?

We learned that our brains manufacture opioids. So, what happens if we consume an opioid? Our brain rewards us. It releases chemicals that make us feel good. Imagine the feeling when you spend time with a loved one. Or when you eat a good meal. Now, imagine that you could amplify that feeling. That represents a glimpse of what opioids can do in the brain.

Our brain becomes accustomed to this feeling. It views this heightened sense of pleasure as its new normal. Over time, the brain begins to require opioids. Without them, it will not function properly. We use the term dependence to describe this state. If a person dependent on opioids stops using them, withdrawal may result.

What About The Body?

We know that opioids help ease pain. They also slow down the brain’s processes. This can make our bodies feel heavy and sluggish. Opioids cause us to get sleepy. We might experience a sense of calm. Therein lies much of the problem with opioids. They slow things down too much.

Opioid overdose can lead to a condition known as ”hypoxia.” It happens when the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen. Opioids slow down the brain and the body. Therefore, they reduce our breathing. If we don’t breathe enough, our brains don’t get enough oxygen. This condition of hypoxia can prove fatal.

What Is Opioid Use Disorder?

Humans like to feel good. And opioids give us good feelings. We should not feel surprised by the fact that people become addicted to opioids. They make pain go away. They provide relief. And they do it well.

But, abusing opioids can lead to opioid use disorder (OUD). The CDC has published a wealth of literature on the exact definition of OUD. For your purpose, you need only keep one thing in mind. Someone struggling with OUD keeps using opioids. And they cannot quit. They keep consuming opioids despite the presence of negative consequences.

Do Treatments Exist For Opioid Use Disorder?

If you struggle with OUD, do not respond with fear. If you love someone with OUD, hold fast. One must not OUD as a life sentence. Harmony Treatment & Wellness knows that people can (and do) recover from OUD. So, inhale. Below, you will find some examples of treatments for OUD.

MOUD/MAT

Treatment providers might treat OUD with a method called medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD). You could hear it called medication-assisted treatment (MAT). MOUD/MAT offers someone with OUD an opioid prescription to help the recovery. Treatment centers have used methadone for such purposes. More recent innovations in MOUD include buprenorphine and naltrexone.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Humans don’t inherently know how to think about our own thoughts. We just assume that we have thoughts. We (quite erroneously) believe we cannot change them. Enter cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT teaches people to evaluate their own thoughts. It helps them to question their thoughts. With CBT, we learn not to take our thoughts at face value. Particularly when used with MOUD, CBT has proven effective in treating opioid use disorder.

What If I Want More Information About Opioids And The Brain?

Thank you for reading this far. Help exists at Harmony Treatment & Wellness. If you’d like more information about how opioids affect the brain, reach out to us. We believe information empowers people. Contact us today to learn more.

Are Opioids Inherently Dangerous?

white opioid pills on a blue surface

Humans have been using opioids for thousands of years. The oldest evidence of opium production discovered dates back to 3,400 BC in lower Mesopotamia. (1) A multitude of wars have been fought over access to opioids in all their forms. It’s also safe to assume that the phenomenon of opioid dependence is just as ancient. Overdose deaths were a bit less common with opium in its raw natural form, but this is not the way most modern people encounter opioids today. The majority of opioid use begins with prescription medications.

These synthetic and semi-synthetic compounds are a far cry from the opium of the ancient world. Their purity, increased bioavailability and route of administration make overdose and abuse much easier. These risks are exponentially greater when we look at street drugs like heroin (diacetylmorphine). Not only is the potency of street heroin unpredictable, but there has been an explosion in the amount of heroin adulterated with fentanyl or carfentanil in recent years. The move by organized crime to increase profits by folding fentanyl compounds into heroin has caused overdose death in the U.S. to skyrocket. Fentanyl in its purest form is so powerful that a fatal dose will fit on the head of a pin and it sometimes even proves resistant to the Narcan (naloxone) doses traditionally given to try and reverse a fatal overdose.

Dangers of Opioids

So, what is it exactly that makes opioids inherently dangerous? There is a combination of factors that in combination, make opioids one of, if not the most dangerous category of drugs of abuse in the world.

Analgesic Effects – Up until recently, opioids have been the only truly effective pharmaceutical treatment for moderate to severe pain. This has led many pain patients to inadvertently become dependent on opioids. Over time they build a tolerance requiring more of the drug to get the same effects or become psychologically dependent upon them too.

Euphoric Effects – Opioids act on the brain’s pleasure centers directly. The same part of the brain that reinforces positive behaviors with ‘reward chemicals’ is short-circuited by opioids in a sense. They cause these chemicals to be released without the usual stimuli. Eventually the drug can come to take precedence over even basic necessities like food, water, self-care.

Respiratory Depression – Opioids slow the body down. They slow breathing and this is one of the most dangerous qualities they have. Overdose deaths are most often caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain. People literally stop breathing. What’s worse is, it is impossible to predict the dose which will be fatal and the respiratory depression effect is compounded exponentially when other depressants like alcohol or benzodiazepines are used in conjunction with an opioid.

The very nature of opioids makes them dangerous. The potential for physical dependence and addiction spares no one. If you use an opioid regularly for any significant amount of time, you will become physically dependent upon it. Period. You will experience withdrawal symptoms and cravings when you stop unless you do so in a medical treatment environment where these can be alleviated. Not only is physical dependence a risk, but psychological dependence is incredibly common.

In addition to these risks there is the risk of overdose, which is far easier to encounter by accident than most people realize and prescription opiates do not protect you from that risk. The key points to remember here are that opioids are in fact inherently dangerous. This does not mean that they don’t have a legitimate medical use. What it does mean is that anyone who chooses to put an opioid in their body, whether prescribed or otherwise, owes it to themselves to understand the facts and the risk involved.

If you’d like to learn more about treatment options for opiate addiction, feel free to call us at Harmony Treatment and Wellness.

Sources

(1) https://www.deamuseum.org/ccp/opium/history.html

Treatment Options for Opiate Addiction

man sitting in chair suffering from opiate addiction

The United States has been in the midst of an opioid addiction epidemic for over a decade. Heroin addiction was once limited primarily to cities and narrow segments of society. Today, addiction to a myriad of opioid substances has impacted communities from coast-to-coast. If you aren’t addicted to opiates, chances are you know someone who is or who has been impacted by opiate addiction. Fortunately, the medical field has risen to the challenge and there is a broad array of treatment options for opiate addiction now. Here is a breakdown of the choices for addiction care:

Medical Detoxification

Most patients will begin treatment for opiate addiction with medical detox in an inpatient facility. It takes only five days to become addicted to opiates, so the demand for detox is great. (1)

The medical detox phase of care is designed to get a person through physical withdrawal symptoms as comfortably as possible. The opiate detox process has become both more sophisticated and more effective with time. The latest protocols involve a combination of medications. Short-term treatment with Buprenorphine is designed to directly target the most severe opiate withdrawal systems, including body aches, chills, nausea, and cravings. An array of other medications can complement it to address tertiary symptoms like anxiety and depression. During this period a patient will be assessed to develop a treatment plan. Clinicians will want a full picture of what they are dependent on, how much has been used, and for how long. It is also important to assess the patient’s overall health at this time. Any other serious health concerns must be identified and addressed. Ideally, a psychological evaluation will also be conducted during this time. Co-occurring mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and anxiety will be diagnosed if present. All of this information goes towards building the most effective treatment plan possible, even if secondary issues aren’t tackled until after the detox phase.

Inpatient Treatment

Following the detox phase, many patients will opt to either remain at the same facility to undergo other levels of care or transfer to a facility that offers further treatment. Studies have shown markedly better outcomes and longer sobriety for people who undergo at least 28-30 days of treatment or more. (2) Depending on a person’s diagnosis, they may remain at the inpatient level for a week or more. Commonly, patients will move on to the Partial Hospitalization (PHP) phase relatively soon and may move to Intensive Outpatient (IOP) a couple of weeks after that. The length of time and levels of care varies from patient to patient. Many programs now offer a hybridized form of care where patients can receive PHP, IOP, or even Outpatient-style care while living in a sober living environment. This model provides more structure and security than attending an outpatient program while living at home possibly can. It can also be a more affordable option for many people with or without insurance.

Sober Living Environments.

Sober living homes, sometimes called ‘halfway houses’ aren’t usually thought of as a treatment option by themselves. They are, however, often an integral part of a solid treatment plan that follows medical detox and inpatient care at a medical facility. Certified and vetted sober living homes act as a bridge between treatment and a return to ordinary life. They provide a safe place to live and grow new relationships with people in recovery. More importantly, they are a safe space within which one can put new behaviors into practice. Many recovering people will choose to live in a sober living home for the duration of their PHP, IOP, and OP treatment. It’s often recommended that a recovering person lives this way for as long as a year, if possible. They can return to work or school and much of their daily life can be as it was before opiate addiction, only they have the safety of a place to live where they have accountability and structure.

If you’d like to learn more about treatment options for opiate addiction, feel free to call us at Harmony Treatment and Wellness.

 

(1) https://truthinitiative.org/research-resources/substance-use/opioid-dependence-can-happen-after-just-5-days
(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1852519/

LGBTQ Month: Methamphetamine Use in the Gay Community

Meth Use in the Gay Community

 

Crystal Meth use in the gay community has been a concern since the 1990’s but in recent years, use has skyrocketed. Meth is a stimulant which makes users feel euphoric, energized, and invincible. Because of these feelings the meth’s popularity has grown significantly in the club and circuit scenes as a party drug. 

A recent study found that gay men are four times more likely to try meth than straight men. What’s troubling is that meth is so addictive that users often get hooked on their very first try. 

The euphoric state helps users escape negative feelings around the social stigmas and internalized homophobia which can affect many in the gay community. Furthermore, meth’s effect on self-esteem, lowered inhibitions, and increased sexual drive, endurance and pleasure all feed into a growth in use in the pick-up scene. 

 

Meth Dangers

Methamphetamine use is associated with a myriad of health concerns, both short and long-term. 

Acute Health Concerns
  • Erratic, dangerous, sometimes violent behaviors
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • Nausea
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Impotence
  • Convulsions or seizures when used in high doses which can lead to overdose and death
Long-Term Effects of Meth Use 
  • Increased heart disease risk at a young age 
  • Higher risk of contracting HIV, STDs, Hepatitis, and MRSA
  • Permanent blood vessel damage in the brain
  • Higher risk for developing neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Epilepsy
  • Liver, kidney, and lung damage
  • Psychosis
  • Depression
  • Malnutrition
  • Severe tooth decay and/or loss, also known as “Meth mouth”
  • Premature skin ageing

 

Combining Meth with Other Drugs

The gay community is considered to be the largest consumer of “party” drugs. While crystal meth is known to be the most popular but it is often combined with other drugs (polydrug use) such as Ketamine, Poppers, and Ecstasy when in a party environment. Each of these drugs on their own carry health and safety concerns but any combination creates additional risks. For instance, speedballing, mixing sedatives with uppers like meth, can wreak havoc on the body’s systems. Polydrug use is associated with numerous health concerns and consequently it is a common cause of emergency room visits, carries high risk of overdoses, and greatly increases heart attack risk. 

 

Meth & STDs among MSM

Meth use in the gay community is increasing STD risks in the party scene. Among men who have sex with men (MSM), apps like Grindr and Tinder are increasing the prevalence of anonymous sex parties, in which crystal meth use is commonplace. Because meth lowers sexual inhibitions and impairs judgement, users are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors such as unprotected sex and sex with multiple partners. Both of these behaviors increase the risk of contracting STDs and HIV. In fact, studies have found a strong association between methamphetamine use and HIV infection. Another study found that methamphetamine users had two times as many partners in the prior four weeks, were 1.7 more likely to have gonorrhea, twice as likely to have Chlamydia, and five times as likely to have syphilis then the general population. 

Further risk for disease comes when methamphetamine is injected using shared needles which increases the risk of contracting HIV, Hepatitis and MRSA. 

 

Getting Help 

Methamphetamine is a highly addictive drug. Therefore, detoxing in a clinical treatment environment can help immensely with commitment, withdrawals, and support. Treating addiction as a medical condition offers the best chance for long-term recovery and a healthy sober life. 

However you identify, if you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, help is available. Call us today to find out how we can support you through this difficult time. We’re here to listen. 

 

Sources

Colfax G. Crystal meth and the epidemic of HIV/STD among MSM in the United States. Panel session 10.

Jones TS. Methamphetamine use and infectious diseases. Panel session 10.

www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070827101123.htm

https://www.jwatch.org/ac200704130000004/2007/04/13/drugs-sex-and-hiv-infection-among-msm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3375784/

https://www.jwatch.org/ac200712030000001/2007/12/03/crystal-meth-and-hiv-aids-perfect-storm

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/03/000328084630.htm

https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/08/21/meth-and-heart-disease-a-deadly-crisis-we-dont-fully-fathom-report-says

Rebuilding Foster Care Families in the Aftermath of Addiction

Foster Care and Addiction

It’s no secret that addiction tears families apart, this is especially true in the case of foster care. Studies have shown one in three children in the program were admitted due to parental substance abuse. But what happens when parents are in recovery and their children are able to come home. How do you heal the trauma that tore the family apart? 

 

Communicate 

Talk about what has happened, apologize, listen to their feelings. Depending on their age, this may be the time to have an open discussion with them and communicate honestly. Make sure they know that their feelings are valid, that you hear them, and of course, that you love them. 

 

Create a “New Normal” 

Children and families thrive on consistency. Try to create routines in your everyday life, maybe every night you have dinner at 6pm together. Or every morning you listen to the radio. Small things can make a difference in creating a feeling of consistency. Consider creating new traditions. Maybe every Saturday morning you take a walk together as a family or every Sunday you make pancakes. Making traditions make ordinary days feel special and make memories that last. 

 

Be Patient and Don’t Play the Guilt Game

Just because you’re in a different place now doesn’t mean you can expect things to change overnight. You may feel closed out or be frustrated by how your relationship building is going, but remember to be patient. This process takes time, particularly with older children. Don’t guilt them for holding a grudge or not responding the way you want them to. With time and consistency you can rebuild, but don’t put your expectations onto them. 

 

Keep Showing Up

It might be hard to face the circumstances, and new requirements such as supervised visitation however no matter what, continue to be there for them. It might take weeks, months, or even years for them to recover, feel safe, and accept the “new normal.” Regardless of how distant they may be, even when they act out or misbehave, stay with them. They need you and are likely testing your limits to see if you are here to stay. Be truly there for them. Show up, every day, in whatever way you can. 

 

Every scenario looks different. The ultimate goal is to heal, and let go of resentments and the shame. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and their children have been placed in foster care our case managers might be able to help. Contact us below or click here.