Am I Enabling? The Difference Between Helping and Hurting 

Am I Enabling? Learning the difference between helping and hurting

When our loved ones are in trouble, all we want to do is help. It is one of our most beautiful human instincts but unfortunately when a loved one is in the throes of addiction, our well-intentioned help can really hurt. So, it’s important to ask ourselves, “Am I enabling?”

There is a fine line between offering support and enabling, and it is a difficult line to walk. Unfortunately, despite our best intentions, our help can inadvertently harm the addict by making it easier for them to continue using. On our end, we often feel guilt, hurt and betrayal because our help was used to fuel their addiction. 

Understanding what enabling is will ultimately support both you and the addict, as you will only be taking actions that push them towards treatment. However, be aware that this road can be a painful one. We cannot force anyone to change who does not want to change themselves. 


What is Enabling? 

Enabling is any action that makes it easier, more comfortable, or financially possible to continue an irresponsible, inappropriate or dangerous behavior. This can be unrelated to substance abuse or addiction, such as letting your child stay home from school because he didn’t finish his project in time. In this instance, you are not helping them, you are allowing them to shirk the consequences of their choices. This ultimately enables them to continue being irresponsible. 

When drug or alcohol addiction is involved, the matter becomes much more serious and can play out in a highly co-dependent manner. For example, a parent gives an addict money for groceries so they won’t “go hungry” but the addict spends the money to get their drug fix instead. The parent has not helped the child, just enabled them to fall deeper into addiction. 


Am I Enabling? 

Enabling can constitute more than financial support and occur in a myriad of ways. Ask yourself the questions below.


Do I make excuses for the addict’s behavior? 

“He’s just tired,” and “she’s just drinking because she had a bad day,” are examples of excuses we can make to ignore the deeper problem. But pretending the problem doesn’t exist, does not make it go away. Excusing behavior will only hurt both you and the addict in the long run. 


Have I ever lied to others in order to cover up their using? 

If you’ve ever found yourself covering for your addicted loved one, you are enabling. Maybe they have gone on a bender and you call their employer saying they are sick, or make an excuse as to why they didn’t make it to the friend’s birthday party. These are all actions which allow the addict to avoid consequences of their using and thus allow them to continue to do so. 


Am I afraid to express my feelings or concerns for fear they will react negatively (i.e. they may leave you or be angry with you)? 

Acting out of fear is the opposite of rational behavior. When we act out of fear, we sacrifice our own comfort and wellbeing in exchange for momentary peace and safety. 

The truth is, your fears can and may come true. The addict may leave, they may get into trouble, they could wind up in jail, or they could get angry when you address their addiction. But not addressing what is going just means that the addiction continues in the dark, where it thrives. 


Do I constantly blame others for the addict’s problems or addiction to avoid placing responsibility on them? 

Blaming addictive behaviors on outside factors such as a stressful job or drinking buddies who are a bad influence is ignoring the root of the problem. Thinking that if those factors weren’t in the picture, your loved one wouldn’t abuse substances is likely to be inaccurate. It also denies that the person may be in a full-blown addiction which is a disease not a choice. 


Am I putting the needs of the addict above the needs of myself or my family? 

Because addicts are typically unable to care for their own basic needs, they often rely on an enabler to help them. This is textbook Codependent Behavior. The enabler feels a personal responsibility to “help” the addict and the addict relies on the enabler to fix their problems so their addiction can continue. Things like bailing the addict out of jail, buying them food, or skipping other responsibilities to go pick them up are all signs of enabling. It also means you are putting their needs first. Can you really afford to pay their rent or is it causing your hardship? Either way, you are helping them use. 


Stopping the Cycle



1. Face your Fears

You may be afraid that without your help they could wind up homeless, hungry, or in jail. Accept that these are possible outcomes of their addiction. Typically addicts must become uncomfortable in order to accept they have a problem and seek treatment. Sometimes they need to hit rock bottom, but not always. Unfortunately you have to be willing to find out. 


2. Create Boundaries (and stick to them)

Learn to detach with love. Stop protecting them from the consequences of their actions, do not offer financial support, and do not bail them out of trouble. Keep a schedule and stick to it, for example, they are welcome to 6pm family dinner but only if they come on time. 


3. Seek Education and Support

Learn all you can about addiction. Go to Al-Anon meetings. Find a counsellor and take care of your mental health. This is a difficult journey. Understanding the roots of addiction and speaking to others who understand can help with feeling powerless, lonely, or scared. 


4. Talk to Your Loved One About Treatment

Wait until they are sober to have a conversation with them about their using. Be honest with them: talk what you see when they are high, tell them how their addiction has affected you and others. Then suggest they get treatment. Be prepared for them to respond negatively or decline, we cannot make someone change until they are ready. 


Lastly, contact a professional if you need help or advice. At Harmony Recovery Group, we are here for you.

Reach out to us anytime. 

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. 



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.

How Prescription Painkillers Can Lead to Heroin Addiction

How Painkillers Can Lead to heroin

Painkillers such as Codeine, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone and Morphine are all narcotics from the same family of drugs as Heroin. Opiates are derived from Opium derived from Poppies while Opioids are synthetically made versions that mimic Opiates. Because of this connection, painkillers can often lead to heroin. 

This class of drugs act as depressants, relieving pain by binding to receptors in the Brain and Central Nervous System. They work by mimicking the effects of pain-relieving chemicals that are produced naturally in the body, but to a much higher degree. When opiates bind to opiate receptors in the body, they block the perception of pain. 

While excellent for short-term pain mitigation and management, opiates create both tolerance and dependence in the longer-term. Not only does a patient need higher and higher doses to get the same effect as before, but they also become addicted and dependent on the medication to function normally. It takes less than a month to develop a dependence on opiates, after which a person will experience withdrawal without it. 

Furthermore, Opiates are also known for producing feelings of euphoria, which then leads to recreational abuse. 


The Opioid Crisis

Most people know that Opiate and Heroin use, abuse and overdose has increased over the years. The Opioid Crisis regularly makes national headlines. In response to the Opioid Crisis, regulators cracked down on production and prescriptions of opiates. They demanded that manufacturers decrease production by 25% and made it harder for doctors to prescribe them for pain. On the surface, this makes sense. Reduce the amount of people getting opiates and you will reduce the amount of people addicted to opiates. However, this did not answer the problem of people experiencing chronic pain nor those are already hooked on prescription opiates. 


Turning to the Streets

Imagine you are a person with a chronic back injury and your doctor has been prescribing Oxycontin to help manage your symptoms for months. As we know, it takes less than a month to develop dependency, so you are fully addicted to your Oxycontin prescription. Now, due to regulations, your doctor can no longer prescribe your dose. Your pain has not subsided, nor has your addiction to opiates. Thus, you head to the streets. Unfortunately on the streets the price of prescription opiates, which was already high, has now spiked significantly. The street price of Oxycontin is $1 per milligram. If you have someone who takes 80mg per day, suddenly they find themselves with an $80/day habit. In order to get your fix, your painkillers can lead to heroin, a much cheaper option. 75% of all people with an opioid addiction end up switching to heroin as a cheaper source of opioids. 


Statistics on Use and Abuse 

Opiate use, and substance abuse in general, is on the rise all over the world, not only in the United States. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that: 

  • In 2017, opiate painkillers were prescribed more than 190 times
  • Roughly 21 to 29% of patients prescribed opiates for chronic pain misuse them.
  • Between 26 and 36 million people worldwide abuse opiates
  • Over two million people in the U.S. suffer from substance abuse problems related to opiate painkillers
  • In 2010, the overuse of opiate painkillers resulted in nearly 17,000 deaths in the U.S.
  • About 80% of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.
  • Overdoses from opioids increased 30% from July 2016 to September 2017 in 45 states.
  • The Midwest saw the highest increases overall, with overdoses increasing by 70% from July 2016 to September 2017.


Signs of an Opiate or Heroin Overdose

Early treatment can save a life. If you or someone else experiences these signs or symptoms after consuming Codeine or any other opiate, call 911 immediately: 

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsive to outside stimuli
  • Awake but unable to talk
  • Body goes limp
  • Light skinned people: skin turns blue or purplish
  • Dark skinned people; skin turns grayish or ashen
  • Fingernails or lips turn blue or purple
  • Vomiting
  • Sounds of choking or gurgling in the throat
  • Pale and clammy face
  • Slow, weak or non-existent pulse

People who survive overdoses do so because someone was there to respond. It is rare that someone dies immediately from an overdose, getting them help can save their life and prevent permanent damage. The longer you wait, the more damage can occur. It is vital to act quickly. 


Getting Help 

We hope this article has helped you better understand how prescription painkillers can lead to Heroin. If you or a loved one are struggling with Opiate or Heroin addiction, please reach out. 

Call us today and find out how we can help. 



Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse Disorder: What You Should Know

Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse Disorder

Schizophrenia is a very serious mental disorder which can be devastating to those affected and their families. It is thought to be caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and is estimated to affect between 0.5% and 1% of the population. Because of its debilitating effects, Schizophrenia often goes hand-in-hand with Substance Abuse Disorder. 

Movies and TV shows have created a lot of misconceptions when it comes to Schizophrenia which we’d like to clear up. People with Schizophrenia do not all live in mental hospitals. Not all of them are homeless and they do not have multiple personalities. 

Treatment is possible and typically includes medication and psychiatric support on a long-term and often lifelong basis. However, it is important to note that because Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse Disorder are very closely linked, addiction treatment is often needed to improve outcomes.  


Signs and Symptoms of Schizophrenia

  • Seeing, smelling, or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
  • Paranoia and delusions
  • The “flat effect” wherein the patient loses the ability to feel emotions
  • Trouble with logical thinking
  • Disordered thoughts and speech
  • Problems with attention, concentration and/or memory
  • Self isolation and social withdrawal 
  • Loss of personal hygiene 
  • Unexplained fears of basic things like eating or drinking


Four Subtypes of Schizophrenia

There are four types of Schizophrenia which bear the name of their dominant symptom. They are follows:  


Paranoid Schizophrenia

People with Paranoid Schizophrenia are consumed by the idea that they are being persecuted, threatened, or controlled by people or even inhuman forces. As a result of this paranoia, Paranoid Schizophrenics are usually socially isolated and can act with hostility, irritability and be perpetually afraid of others. They may often hear voices telling them to harm themselves or others. Hallucinations and delusions are very prominent in this type of Schizophrenia. 


Disorganized Schizophrenia

Disorganized Schizophrenics often exhibit bizarre behaviors, incoherent speech, chaotic thought patterns, and unusual emotional reactions. As a result, they tend to have trouble holding a job, taking care of themselves, and interacting with others. 


Residual Schizophrenia

Residual Schizophrenia is when someone has been affected by the disorder in the past but is no longer exhibiting obvious symptoms. For example, a patient may not experience the more debilitating aspects of the disorder such as hallucinations or paranoia, but are still affected by some of the less severe symptoms.


Undifferentiated Schizophrenia 

This form of Schizophrenia typically defies categorization, as symptoms don’t fit specifically into one of the other subtypes. They might have a milder experience than is clear for diagnosis, or only show some of the symptoms for diagnosis.


Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse

Therapists often consider substance abuse to be a side effect of Schizophrenia. Studies have shown substance abuse rates among people with Schizophrenia is 50% higher than that of the general population. 

For example, the use of alcohol is common among people with Schizophrenia. Because alcohol dampens neurotransmitter activity in the brain, it slows things down. For people with Schizophrenia, this slowing can temporarily quiet the noise of a brain that runs on high speed all day long. 

Unfortunately, abusing a substance like alcohol doesn’t actually help treat the problem. Instead, it can actually exacerbate some symptoms. For example, alcohol can make hallucinations more pronounced. Furthermore, the lowering of inhibition from alcohol use also makes the erratic behaviors associated with Schizophrenia much harder to control. 

Proper treatment of both Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse Disorder together can help patients have the best chance at long term recovery and a normal life. 


Treatment for Addiction and Schizophrenia 

Medication in combination with Psychological therapy is an important aspect of Schizophrenia treatment. While it cannot cure the disorder, medication can help mitigate symptoms so that patients can lead normal lives. Furthermore, therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Family Systems Therapy, and Trauma Therapies can be very helpful in working through the emotional and psychological trauma caused Schizophrenia. 

If you or a loved one are suffering with Co-occurring Disorders like Schizophrenia and Substance Abuse Disorder, contact us today. We are here to help. 



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? 



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.

Telehealth: Addiction and Mental Health Conditions

Telehealth visit for addiction and mental health conditions therapy

What is Telehealth? 

Telehealth is a healthcare service available through a virtual platform. Visits occur on a device such as a phone, tablet or computer.

Telehealth also referred to as Telemedicine or Teletherapy,  has reduced the barriers to receiving care. Often used for those who are unable to travel for treatment. Patients can receive quick, on-demand counseling for medical conditions that do not require an in-person assessment or in mental health support like therapy. 

Is Telehealth Right For Me? 

Telehealth offers quick, on-demand support when you need it most. Telemedicine is for a patient that would benefit from care that does not require travel or time off. However, for some, it can feel impersonal compared to an in-person mental health experience. It is always down to the individual.

Privacy and Telehealth:

The concerns with privacy risks involve a lack of control over the collection, use, and sharing of data. According to Hall and McGraw, “The primary security risk is that of unauthorized access to data during collection, transmission, or storage.”  This is why the software used to conduct telehealth visits is HIPPA compliant and has special end-to-end encryption.

“Currently, the Health Insurance Portability and Accounting Act (HIPAA) contains the primary set of regulations that guide the privacy and security of health information. HIPAA requires that identifiable health information be encrypted so that only those authorized to read it can do so.”

Thinking about telehealth for yourself or a loved one facing addiction and mental health conditions? Give us a call with any questions.

What Is the Ketamine Drug?

What Is the Ketamine Drug? | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Ketamine (referred to on the street as Special K) is an anesthetic prescription drug that also has psychedelic properties. It alters sensory perception and can induce feelings of detachment from oneself and the world. For these reasons, it is a common drug of abuse. Ketamine exists in the form of a white powder or clear liquid.

Ketamine Abuse

When used for non-medical purposes, ketamine is frequently injected, although the powdered form can also be snorted or ingested orally. Ketamine is sometimes combined with other drugs or alcohol to intensify effects.

There is little evidence that suggests that ketamine has the potential to lead to chemical dependence. However, some long-term abusers can develop an emotional dependence and experience cravings for the drug when they attempt to discontinue use. Tolerance will also increase, which will require them to need increasing amounts to achieve the desired effect.

The development of tolerance can drive many individuals to engage in drug-seeking behavior and binge-like patterns of abuse. When binging, a user will use the drug repeatedly and excessively in a relatively short period.

Psychologically, ketamine withdrawal is similar to withdrawal from other drugs of abuse, such as cocaine, and can induce intense cravings. Adverse psychological effects, such as depression and anxiety, are common with ketamine, but physical symptoms are minimal or non-existent.

Short-Term Effects of Ketamine Abuse

Ketamine will typically produce a sudden high that lasts for around an hour. Unlike other dissociatives, such as phencyclidine (PCP), ketamine is short-acting. An injection can induce a high in less than a minute, and snorting or smoking can result in a high in under five minutes.

Anecdotally, users report feeling an overpowering sense of relaxation as if they are floating or having an out-of-body experience. Hallucinations can also occur and last beyond the initial relaxation phase.

As with any intoxicating substance, high doses will likely result in more intense effects, which users often cite as being comparable to a near-death experience. This overall effect is called a “K-hole” and can create unpleasant hallucinations and feelings of detachment from reality.

Other side effects of ketamine may include the following:

  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Drowsiness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure

Also, because ketamine reduces a person’s perception of pain, a user can unintentionally injure him or herself. These injuries can be especially problematic if the user fails to seek medical treatment promptly due to intoxication and can result in additional complications.

What Is the Ketamine Drug? | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Long-Term Effects of Ketamine Abuse

The long-term effects of ketamine abuse are not entirely understood, especially since ketamine is often abused in conjunction with other substances. However, there is some evidence that suggests that prolonged use can result in a thickening of the urinary tract and bladder, and long-term users may need to have their bladders removed when they encounter difficulty with urination. As with many drugs and alcohol, ketamine abuse has also been associated with kidney problems.


If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing a ketamine overdose on ketamine, medical attention should be sought immediately. Overdoses are often treated with symptomatic and supportive care in a clinical environment, and adverse effects will likely resolve in less than three hours.

Respiratory support is seldom needed, but additional ventilation or oxygen may be required. Profound respiratory depression is more likely to occur if ketamine was used in combination with other sedatives.

Managing Withdrawal Symptoms

Psychological withdrawal symptoms that onset as a result of chronic or repeated ketamine use can often be managed using a progressive tapering of the drug dosage over a few weeks, as directed by a health provider. When this method is used, the person’s system can gradually adapt to receiving smaller and smaller amounts of the drug, and psycho-emotional withdrawal symptoms will be minimized in comparison to quitting abruptly.

Treatment for Ketamine Abuse

Detox, therapy, counseling, and group support are very helpful for recovery from ketamine abuse. Harmony Treatment and Wellness offers these treatments in both partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient formats. Most ketamine users also suffer from polysubstance abuse or a co-occurring mental health disorder, and treatment is designed to address these problems simultaneously with the abuse of ketamine itself.

Ketamine is an intoxicating and potentially psychologically addictive drug that can result in severe mental distress and intense cravings upon abrupt discontinuation. If you or someone you love is abusing ketamine, other drugs, or alcohol, we urge you to contact us today to discuss treatment options. You don’t have to do this alone—we can help!

Undergoing a Weed Detox

Undergoing a Weed Detox | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Marijuana is a drug from the cannabis plant. The mind-altering effects come from THC, a compound present naturally in the plant. Although marijuana is not believed to be nearly as addictive or destructive as many other substances of abuse, there is increasing evidence that frequent use can result in some level of dependence. For this reason, professional intervention is sometimes required to help individuals get clean and remain in recovery over the long-term.

Effects of Marijuana

Smoking, vaping, or oral consumption all yield similar effects, though they are not the same for everyone. Depending on the method of administration, effects usually onset after 30 minutes to one hour of use and can last for several hours.

Effects commonly include the following:

  • Increased senses
  • Altered sense of time
  • Feeling humorous
  • Relaxation
  • Mood changes
  • Decreased body movement
  • Impaired thinking
  • Poor memory

Ingesting too much marijuana can cause people to experience hallucinations, delusions, and even psychosis. These symptoms may also occur in individuals who are predisposed to them, including those who have schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.

According to NIDA, long-term term adverse effects related to chronic marijuana use are of concern. Especially when used by adolescents, weed can impair thinking, memory, and essential learning functions that establish connections in the brain. Researchers are still trying to determine if any long-term damage comes from marijuana use. However, examples of lowered IQ in adults have been observed who started using weed when they were young.

Marijuana Dependence

Previously, researchers did not think marijuana was addictive. However, in recent years, that view has changed a bit. Levels of THC in weed have steadily risen, thereby making dependence and other adverse effects more likely. According to NIDA, as much as 30% of marijuana users may develop some level of dependency, and people who begin using it before age 18 are up to seven times more likely to develop an addiction than those who first use it as adults.

Although dependence does not necessarily equal addiction, it is possible that it will lead to it. When a person is dependent, their body is accustomed to the substance’s presence. He or she is more likely to engage in compulsive drug-seeking and using, which is the hallmark sign of addiction.

There are both physical and psycho-emotional side effects associated with using marijuana. Physical symptoms can include breathing issues, elevated heart rate, nausea, and vomiting. People who use marijuana for a prolonged period may be at a heightened risk for depression, anxiety, hallucinations, paranoia, disorganized thinking, and suicidal ideations.

While no known amount of marijuana will result in a lethal overdose, it is certainly possible to experience severe and disturbing symptoms, such as anxiety and paranoia. Also, people do occasionally end up going to the ER after having a psychotic reaction to marijuana. Likewise, dizziness that leads to nausea and vomiting can facilitate the need for medical treatment.

Undergoing a Weed Detox | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Weed Detox

Withdrawing from weed comes with a handful of withdrawal symptoms that can make it difficult to quit. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Sleep problems, especially insomnia
  • Negative mood, possibly anger
  • Decreased appetite
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Cravings to use the drug
  • Headaches
  • Excessive sweating
  • Stomach pains
  • Shakiness
  • Fever
  • Dehydration

There are currently no approved medical approaches to treat a person withdrawing from marijuana, but many detox programs can treat individual symptoms and provide emotional support. Behavioral therapies have been successful in helping people to achieve sobriety and stay clean. And in a detox program, medical professionals can prescribe medications that relieve specific withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches or nausea, to aid in the detox process.

Risks of Detoxing Without Help

Perhaps the most significant risk of undergoing a weed detox on your own is relapse. When you choose to detox with the support of health professionals in a safe and secure environment, you are much less likely to relapse, and getting through this early stage is sometimes all it takes to help people avoid reverting to using.

Also, detoxing at home may not provide you with the emotional support you need to help you navigate potentially adverse thoughts and feelings that may develop during withdrawal. Addiction specialists, therapists, and counselors can help during this process, and medication may be prescribed to reduce symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Getting Treatment for Marijuana Dependence

As noted, withdrawal symptoms associated with discontinuing marijuana are usually relatively mild. However, without professional treatment, relapse rates during this period are high. If you have attempted to quit weed multiple times and have returned to using, undergoing weed detox and a rehab program may be the right approach to try.

If you are ready to take the next step toward long-lasting sobriety and wellness, contact us today and find out how we can help!

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System? | Harmony Stuart

Ativan is a prescription benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety and a variety of other health conditions. The average half-life of Ativan is around 12 hours. Half-life refers to the time it takes for half of a dose of a drug to eliminate from a person’s system. Moreover, after ingesting the last dose, it can take approximately 2.75 days for the drug to be fully cleared from the body.

An active metabolite of lorazepam, known as glucuronide, has a longer half-life of 18 hours. For this reason, the full elimination of this metabolite will take longer than the Ativan itself. Glucuronide can remain in a person’s system and be detected in urine for as long as four days after the last use of Ativan.

Drug Screening for Ativan

Several types of tests can detect the presence of Ativan, such as:

Urine Tests

Urine tests will show Ativan for up to six days after the last dose, or one week in frequent users. If a urinalysis test detects glucuronide, it may be identified for up to nine days.

Blood tests

Blood tests can find Ativan in the bloodstream within six hours of ingestion and up to 72 hours after. For frequent users, however, it may take a bit longer than this to fully clear Ativan and its metabolites from the bloodstream.

Hair Tests

Hair tests are able to detect Ativan over a prolonged period. A correctly performed hair test can determine if a person has used Ativan for up to one month after exposure. However, this is not commonly performed due to expense.

Saliva Tests

The detection for Ativan in the saliva is only about eight hours.


Factors that Affect How Long Ativan Stays in the System

Individual factors can influence how long Ativan remains in a person’s system and how rapidly it is eliminated. These include:


Older adults, on average, may exhibit a 22% slower clearance rate of Ativan when compared to younger individuals. Theories as to why younger people eliminate Ativan more efficiently than older people include co-existing health conditions, blood flow, metabolic rate, and organ functionality.

Body Height and Weight

A person’s height and weight relative to the dosage of Ativan may impact how long it remains in the system. There is some evidence that being overweight can actually accelerate Ativan clearance, while a shorter or lighter person may take longer to eliminate the drug than a taller or heavier person who has used the same amount.


Genetic factors such as the presence of liver enzymes and kidney function can both play a role in how the body breaks down Ativan. People who do not metabolize Ativan well may take longer to expel it from their system.

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System? | Harmony Stuart

Kidney Function

Studies have shown that, while liver impairment does not appear to have a significant effect on the body’s ability to eliminate Ativan, kidney function could, in fact, impact how rapidly the drug is cleared. What’s more, renal issues could impede the excretion of Ativan from the body.

Metabolic Rate

As with all substances, people with a relatively rapid metabolic rate will likely process and eliminate Ativan faster than those with slower rates.

Frequency and Duration of Use

A person who takes several doses of Ativan each day will take longer to eliminate the drug than say, others who only use it once per day. Frequent and/or long-term users of Ativan are more likely to develop a tolerance to the drug’s effects and, as a result, continue to increase their dosage.

Use of Other Substances

The use of other medications, illicit drugs, or alcohol, in combination with Ativan, can influence its absorption, metabolism, and rate of clearance from a person’s system. For example, consuming alcohol can reduce clearance speed by 18%.


How Ativan Affects the Body

The majority of CNS depressants act on the brain by increasing activity at GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors. GABA is an inhibitory neurochemical and decreases activity in the brain and body, thereby inducing relaxation and calm. In doing this, Ativan helps relieve symptoms of anxiety, such as tension, irrational thoughts, fears, and nervousness.

Ativan does not impact the liver as much as most other benzodiazepines, which may be an important consideration for those who are taking birth control pills, anti-abuse drugs, ulcer medications, and other substances that affect the liver.

Side effects of Ativan use may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Impaired coordination
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Changes in libido
  • Changes in appetite
  • Constipation

How Long Does Ativan Stay in Your System? | Harmony Stuart

Dependence, Tolerance, and Addiction

When Ativan is abused or used for a prolonged period, both tolerance and dependence can occur. People with a high tolerance of Ativan, or other such substances, may be at a higher risk for addiction and overdose.

Dependence develops over time. The body and brain become accustomed to the substance’s presence, adapt accordingly, and become unable to function with it. As a result, attempts to discontinue use are met with uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and often rebound effects (e.g., anxiety or insomnia). This reaction often encourages people to re-engage in use to feel better.

Getting Help for Drug Dependence

At Harmony Treatment and Wellness, we urge you to take dependence on Ativan very seriously. If you or a loved one are suffering, please seek help as soon as possible. We offer comprehensive treatment programs intended to address all aspects of a person’s physical and emotional well-being. In doing so, we evaluate and treat co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety.

If you want to become drug-free and experience the life you deserve, contact us today. We are here to help!

Narcotics Drug List

Narcotics Drug List | Harmony Treatment and Wellness



The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) defines a narcotic as a drug that relieves pain and produces drowsiness, stupor, or insensibility. The use of this word is most often associated with either prescription or illicit opioids and opiates.

Opioids work to diminish the perception of pain signaling in the central nervous system (CNS) but also induce pleasant and rewarding effects, and therefore, have a high potential for abuse and addiction.

Commonly Abused Narcotics

The following is a list of some of the more commonly-known narcotics:


Before opiates were synthesized for medical use, opium was the go-to drug as it can be used with only minimal processing. Three alkaloids in opium (morphine, codeine, and thebaine) have served as the main constituents for the synthesis of many contemporary opioids. Opium itself is not a common drug of abuse in the U.S.


Heroin is an illicit semi-synthetic opiate derived from morphine that is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance in the U.S. Potent opioids such as heroin dull pain sensations but can also impair cognition and cause profound sedation. In extreme cases, heroin can slow automatic functions like respiration and heart rate to dangerously low levels. Due to the ongoing opioid epidemic, heroin use in the U.S. is at an all-time high. It has resulted in thousands of overdose deaths each year.

Heroin exists in many forms, from a whitish to brownish powder or as a less pure sticky, black substance, known as Black Tar Heroin. Heroin can be used by smoking, injecting, or snorting. It induces intense and rapid feelings of pleasure and euphoria. People who use it may cycle between an alert and unconscious state, known as being “on the nod.”

Oxycodone (OxyContin, Roxicodone, and Percocet)

Oxycodone is among the most popular and controversial drugs in recent history. It can be an effective treatment for moderate to severe pain, especially when combined with acetaminophen. However, long-term use of oxycodone can lead to the development of physical dependence and addiction. It may also lead to the abuse of less expensive, illicit drugs, such as heroin, when a person is unable to obtain or afford their drug of choice.

Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco, Lortab)

Hydrocodone is the most prescribed and commonly diverted and abused drug in the U.S. In fact, Americans consume around 99% of the world’s supply of this drug. Hydrocodone and its many combination products (e.g., Norco, Vicodin) are Schedule II controlled substances. Although hydrocodone products are only intended for oral administration, some may abuse them by crushing and snorting, smoking, or injecting them.

Morphine (MS Contin and Kadian)

Narcotics Drug List | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

As noted, morphine is a natural opiate alkaloid derived from opium. Pharmaceutical morphine is used as an analgesic for the management of pain and to induce sedation before surgical procedures. Morphine is one of the most widely used pain medications in hospital settings and often comes as a liquid solution. For this reason, those dependent on morphine may prefer to inject the drug as it offers a more rapid and intense onset of effects than when consumed orally.

Hydromorphone (Dilaudid and Exalgo)

Hydromorphone is a semi-synthetic opioid derived from morphine that is commonly used in hospitals for pain control. However, it is also found on the streets as a product of drug diversion. Like other opioids, when abused, people may attempt to smoke, snort, or inject it. Hydromorphone is very potent, considered to be highly addictive, and has a high potential to result in overdose when abused.

Fentanyl (Actiq, Duragesic, Subsys, Abstral)

Fentanyl is an extremely powerful opioid found in prescription and illicit forms. 1oo times more potent than mophine, its use in illicit drugs has led to thousands of deaths in the past few years. By prescription, it is often found in the form of a lozenge or patch. These methods that allow for slow delivery into the bloodstream for a prolonged period.

However, fentanyl is often manufactured illegally and in powder form. It is often laced into heroin (as effects are very similar) or other drugs to extend the supply and maximize dealer profits. Furthermore, people who are seeking heroin are often unaware of fentanyl’s presence in the drug, making the potential for overdose extremely high. In fact, even a tiny amount may be enough to cause an overdose, especially for someone who has not built a tolerance to it.


Codeine is used to manufacture prescription medications, particularly cough syrups such as Tylenol 3/4. It is a relatively mild opioid analgesic and a less potent pain reliever than morphine. However, people abuse the drug by consuming it in quantities higher than those prescribed.

However, the drug may be misused by consuming tablets or oral solution in quantities that exceed prescribed doses. It’s also commonly abused as “Lean” or “Purple Drank,” where it’s mixed with soda and candy. It can also be combining it with other psychoactive substances, such as alcohol, for more significant intoxicating effects. Still, this practice, is of course, hazardous and could lead to life-threatening complications and overdose.

Methadone (Dolophine and Methadose)

Methadone is a synthetic opioid that also has analgesic properties but is most commonly used for opioid replacement therapy for those who are addicted to more potent opioids, such as heroin. It is dispensed in pill, liquid, or wafter forms to be administered once per day through federally regulated clinics.

Methadone is a long-acting opioid that remains active in the bloodstream long after effects wear off. This means it can be taken in lower doses, less frequently to keep opioid withdrawal symptoms at a minimum. However, methadone is occasionally diverted and still has the potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction.

Meperidine (Demerol)

Meperidine is used to treat moderate to severe acute pain, sometimes for before or after surgery. Long-term use is not recommended as it can result in toxicity. Meperidine may be prescribed as a syrup or tablet, and like all opioids, it has the potential for abuse and addiction.

Tramadol (Ultram, Ultracet)

Narcotics Drug List | Harmony Treatment and Wellness

Tramadol is somewhat unique in that it not only has opioid agonist effects but also blocks the reuptake of adrenaline and serotonin. It is thought to have a low potential for abuse and dependence but is still considered a controlled substance by the DEA.

Tramadol is most often abused by those who are already opioid-dependent and those who suffer from chronic pain. Although tramadol may be less addictive than other opioid drugs, it can still lead to physical dependence and addiction, especially when abused.


Carfentanil is an incredibly powerful opioid used as a general anesthetic for large animals. It is believed to be roughly 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It is rarely found in the drug supply. However, in the second half of 2016 hundreds of people in Ohio overdosed on heroin laced with Carfentanil.


Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist commonly used for opioid dependence. In combination with the opioid antagonist naloxone, buprenorphine is widely available as Suboxone. It is widely used in Medication Assisted Treatment.

Getting Treatment for Opioid Addiction

If you suspect that you or someone you love is abusing opioids, we urge you to seek help today! Harmony Treatment and Wellness center offers comprehensive, state-of-the-art programs facilitated by caring addiction professionals committed to ensuring that every patient receives the tools and support they need to experience long-lasting sobriety and wellness.

If you are ready to take the first step, contact us to discuss treatment options. We are here to help!

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