What is Medication Assisted Treatment?

What is Medication Assisted Treatment

Traditional addiction treatment options typically do not involve the use of medication.

Instead, the traditional recovery route usually includes a monitored drug or alcohol detox and rehab.

These are the traditional methods for a reason. They’ve been proven effective over many years. 

But sometimes, we need something more. A moderate to severe addiction, overwhelming withdrawal symptoms, or a history of relapse could require an even more dedicated approach.

Medication-assisted treatment or MAT may be recommended in these cases. 

What is the Purpose of Medication-Assisted Treatment?

What is the Purpose of Medication-Assisted Treatment

Recovering from a mild addiction and withdrawal symptoms may mean suffering through a week or so of flu-like symptoms, insomnia, and mood changes.

But for many individuals in recovery, withdrawing isn’t so simple. 

Many of the most common mental and physical withdrawal symptoms are severe enough to lead to relapse, cause short or long-term health concerns, or even become life-threatening.

Overwhelming withdrawal symptoms are one of the most common relapse triggers. 

The purpose of medication-assisted treatment is to make it easier to maintain your sobriety when your addiction becomes too severe to manage on your own. 

Types of Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment can be helpful during more than one stage of recovery.

A MAT program might mean a medically assisted detox or a medically assisted treatment program.

This can be a full-time, residential program or a part-time, outpatient program. 

Depending on the type and severity of your addiction, we may recommend detox and/or maintenance using medication-assisted treatment.

During detox, these medications may ease withdrawal symptoms, including cravings, making it easier to stay sober and feel more comfortable. 

After detox, MAT can be helpful in maintaining sobriety throughout your treatment program.

Medication-assisted treatment is considered the most effective intervention for treating opioid use disorders and others. 

How Does MAT Work?

MAT is often more effective than either medications alone or behavioral interventions alone because it provides the ideal balance of both.

Medication-assisted treatment integrates FDA-approved medications, social support methods, and behavioral therapies. 

This three-pronged approach provides a holistic, effective, and sustainable treatment method.

Our addictions do not form overnight. We cannot expect them to be solved that way, either.

An effective recovery requires addressing both the behavioral and biological components of addiction. MAT is an excellent way to achieve this goal. 

How MAT Promotes Sustained Sobriety and Reduces Relapse Rates

To demonstrate how useful medication-assisted treatment can be, let’s focus for a moment on one of its most common uses: opioid addiction treatments.

Prescription and illicit opioids alike come with a high risk of abuse and addiction. 

That is one reason why it is one of the most common addictions in the country. Many of these addictions start innocently enough.

One study revealed that up to 80% of heroin users had used prescription opioids first. 

Two of the most common were the prescription painkillers Vicodin and OxyContin.

Unfortunately, even when they come with a prescription, these medications can be dangerous, and dependence can develop quickly. 

Once dependence develops, many will graduate to something stronger to achieve the effects they felt when they started using opioids.

This is where things become more problematic.

Heroin, fentanyl, and other high-level opioids tend to come with overwhelming withdrawal symptoms that make it harder to quit, even when your urge to quit is strong. 

Medications like methadone and buprenorphine can help.

These carefully administered medications help satisfy drug cravings and reduce or eliminate other common withdrawal symptoms to promote sustained sobriety and reduce relapse rates. 

Drugs Used for Medication Assisted Treatment

Drugs Used for Medication Assisted Treatment

Methadone and buprenorphine are two of the most common opioid use disorder medications.

It may seem strange to treat opioid addiction with another opioid, but these medications have proven effective in the appropriate dosages and monitored medical settings. 

The amounts of these medications that we prescribe are too low to produce euphoric highs but substantial enough to promote several positive effects during recovery.

They are not meant to be used as substitutes but rather short-term aids during treatment. 

When used in appropriate dosages and under the supervision of a professional, they will not promote new addictions.

Instead, they will ease cravings and withdrawals, reducing your risk of relapse and clearing the path to sustained sobriety. 

Other Uses for Medication-Assisted Treatment

While it tends to be the most common in opioid disorder treatments, MAT is useful in treating other addictions, too. Medications are also common in alcohol treatments.

There are three approved substances for this purpose, including naltrexone, disulfiram, and acamprosate. 

The right approach is often the key to addiction recovery, which is why we offer a wide variety of customized treatment programs and methods to help everyone we meet find their way.

Many different addictions may warrant medication-assisted treatment. 

We can help you determine which treatment path will best fit your unique addiction and needs. 

Therapy and Medication-Assisted Treatment

We mentioned earlier that the most effective way to treat many addictions is to combine medication and behavioral therapies.

We need them both because they help us achieve different goals. 

While medications like the ones we provide will help ease cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, behavioral therapies help us gain a better understanding of how and why we got here.

This typically involves identifying root causes, improving the symptoms of common co-existing mental health disorders, and learning how to cope with feelings of stress or anger in healthier ways. 

Building healthier habits and coping mechanisms can help us reroute our natural responses to life’s inevitable challenges.

With our proven treatment methods, we help our clients break free from the things that are holding them back. 

It’s time to leave your addiction behind you and create a happier, healthier life that you can be proud of and excited about. 

Pathfinders Programs, A Path to Recovery

Our dedicated addiction teams are prepared to help with a wide range of addictions, withdrawal symptoms, mental health symptoms, and other needs.

To ensure that we can help our clients at any stage of the recovery process, we offer: 

  • Detox programs
  • Residential programs
  • Partial hospitalization programs 
  • Intensive outpatient programs 
  • Long-term rehab options 

A Breakdown of Our Addiction Treatment Programs

A Breakdown of Our Addiction Treatment Programs

Residential and long-term rehab programs are the only two that give you 24-hour access to the care, support, and guidance of our dedicated teams.

These programs are ideal for those with moderate to severe addictions and withdrawal symptoms or a history of relapse, among others. 

And they typically start with a personalized detox. But not everyone will need or be capable of committing to a full-time program.

That’s where our other programs come in. Partial hospitalization averages around 20 hours per week. 

Partial hospitalization programs are one of the most common treatment options for those affected by both mental illness and addiction.

The final option is an intensive outpatient program. An intensive outpatient program ranges from 9 to 19 hours per week. 

During each type of treatment program, many of the treatment methods remain the same.

Behavioral therapies are common across the board because they are some of the most effective addiction treatment methods. 

Different programs are better for different people and addictions. We can help you choose the path that will help you the most. 

MAT at Pathfinders Recovery Center

In Colorado and Arizona, we operate conveniently located and luxury-style recovery facilities.

In a safe and comfortable facility like ours, it becomes easier to maintain your focus, boost your confidence, and build a better life.

Call (866) 263-1820 for more information now!

Binge Drinking by College Students: The Risks

A young man drinking a large mug of beer, looking sad, to illustrate the dangers of binge drinking by college students

Unfortunately, binge drinking by college students is relatively common, and comes with a host of worrying side effects for mental health.

According to the National Institutes of Health, a 2018 study found that 37% of college students had engaged in binge drinking within the previous month.

The National Institutes of Health also reports that binge drinking among college students is linked to suicide attempts.

A study in the Journal of American College Health found that students who engaged in heavy drinking were more likely to experience poor mental health.

Given the high prevalence of binge drinking among college students, some students may require rehab in order to stop drinking and avoid the poor mental health and suicide risk that can come with heavy alcohol use.

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Consequences of Binge Drinking Among College Students

Beyond the risk of suicide and mental health problems, heavy, frequent drinking among college students can have a variety of negative consequences, including increased chances of missing classes or earning low scores on tests or assignments.

Heavy binge drinking among college students is also associated with assault, sexual violence, and deaths from accidents and injuries.

Unfortunately, the research shows that every year, about 1,500 college students are involved in fatal accidents involving alcohol, including motor vehicle crashes.

Other consequences of binge drinking among college students include health problems, risky sexual behavior, and involvement with police.

Heavy alcohol use may be common and socially promoted on college campuses, but the reality is that it can have devastating effects.

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Binge Drinking Among College Students Can Lead to Addiction

As previously stated, over one-third of college students engage in binge drinking within a given month, placing them at risk of developing an alcohol abuse disorder.

As the National Institutes of Health explains, binge drinking occurs when a college male consumes five or more drinks within a two-hour period, or when a female consumes four or more drinks within the same time period.
Unfortunately, college students may not realize they are drinking in this way, because large portions of beer or mixed drinks consumed during college parties could actually exceed what is considered a single drink. This makes it easy for college students to lose track of the number of drinks consumed, resulting in high rates of binge drinking among college students.

What is even riskier is the fact that some college students drink twice the amount that is considered binge drinking, a pattern that experts call “high intensity drinking.” Over time, this can lead to an alcohol addiction or an alcohol use disorder. According to the latest research, nearly 10% of college students meet the diagnostic criteria for an alcohol use disorder within a given year.

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Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder

Signs of an alcohol use disorder include being unable to cut back on drinking, giving up other activities in favor of alcohol use, or drinking larger quantities than intended. Other signs of an alcohol use disorder can include drinking in situations in which it is dangerous, continuing to drink despite relationship problems, and drinking to the extent that it is difficult to fulfill duties at work or school.

A college student who is struggling with an alcohol addiction may ruin friendships because of alcohol abuse, involve themselves in dangerous situations, such as drunk driving, and begin to fail classes because drinking interferes with studying and completing schoolwork.

Treatment for Binge Drinking Among College Students

If you are a college student who has become involved in drinking to excess on a regular basis, you may benefit from alcohol rehab. Excessive bouts of focused drinking among college students can lead to an alcohol use disorder, which is a brain disorder that negatively affects numerous areas of life.

Fortunately, treatment can help you to identify your triggers for alcohol abuse and develop strategies for living a life that is free from the grips of alcohol addiction. Experts recommend behavioral interventions and cognitive-behavioral treatments to address binge drinking among college students.
When you seek rehab for alcohol abuse, an addiction professional may provide a specific type of counseling called cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help you to think differently about alcohol and cope with situations that may trigger you to abuse alcohol in the future.

 

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Treatment for Mental Illness and Binge Drinking Among College Students

Excessive drinking among college students is linked to poor mental health, and it can even increase the risk of suicide. One study, published in Issues in Mental Health Nursing, found that college students who were heavy drinkers scored significantly higher on a depression scale when compared to those who did not have drinking problems.
Alcohol abuse can worsen mental health among college students, leading to depression and even suicidal thoughts. Many college students who seek treatment for alcohol abuse may also be in need of mental health care to address mental health conditions like depression.
To ensure the best treatment outcomes, college students with both an alcohol addiction and depression should seek treatment at a dual diagnosis center, which can address both conditions. For example, if you get treatment for alcohol abuse but ignore the underlying depression, you may return to drinking in order to help you cope with mental health symptoms.

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Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Colorado and Arizona

If you are struggling with binge drinking and are in need of rehab, Pathfinders Recovery Center has facilities in both Colorado and Arizona, and we are happy to provide services to those in surrounding states.
We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so we can help with both alcohol addiction and mental health concerns. Our leadership team has over 25 years of experience in the addiction field, and we are proud to offer premier dual diagnosis rehab services.
We also have a range of treatment levels, including inpatient, partial hospitalization, detox, and outpatient services.

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Paying for Dual Diagnosis Treatment

As a college student, you may worry about covering the costs of treatment for alcohol abuse and mental health concerns.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we take some of the stress out of the process for you by offering a free insurance verification program.

Simply visit our website and provide us with your insurance information, and a member of our team will tell you what you can expect to pay for treatment.

If you are without insurance coverage, we will work with you to create a cash payment plan.

Call us today to discuss your options and begin your treatment journey, so you can move forward from the consequences of binge drinking among college students.

What is the Importance of Mental Health?

How to Improve Mental Health

If you want to know how to improve mental health, the key may be halting your substance use.

In any given month, over 165 million Americans use an addictive substance.

That is more than half of the teen and adult population.

And whether or not you realize it, your drug or alcohol use may be damaging your mental health.

In fact, substance problems are a major source of mental health issues.

And without a sound mental state, it is impossible to maximize your sense of well-being.

No one should be left to deal with these kinds of issues on their own.

If you feel that your substance use is impacting your mental health, seek help as soon as possible.

This is by far the best way to avoid further problems and return to a healthier, happier way of living.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Addiction as a Mental Illness

When thinking about how to improve mental health, it is important to keep something in mind.

Today, experts classify substance addiction itself as a form of mental illness. The term for this illness is a substance use disorder, or SUD.

You also qualify for a diagnosis of the same illness if you suffer from major, non-addicted substance abuse. Tens of millions of Americans have a substance use disorder.

The SUD category is an umbrella for multiple types of mental illness. Each of these illnesses is named for a class of addictive substances.

Examples of these names include:

  • Alcohol use disorder, or AUD
  • Stimulant use disorder
  • Opioid use disorder, or OUD
  • Cannabis use disorder
  • Sedative, hypnotic or anxiolytic use disorder

Why are these conditions considered to be forms of mental illness? Because they significantly alter your state of mind and reduce your ability to function. They also change the way your brain works, and may physically damage your brain. In addition, SUDs alter your behavior and cause you to do harmful things you would not normally do.

A doctor can check if you have the symptoms of a substance use disorder. There are 11 different possible problems in affected people, including:

  • Losing control of how much or how often you use drugs or drink
  • Making substance use and related behaviors the focus of your daily routine
  • Growing less and less sensitive to the effects of drugs or alcohol
  • Having a habit of using addictive substances in risky or dangerous situations
  • Not being able to quit drug use or drinking, even with repeated efforts
  • Failing to meet your responsibilities because of your level of substance use
  • Substituting drinking or drug use for other activities you once loved to do
  • Experiencing social or relationship issues as a direct result of your substance use
  • Feeling powerful urges to drink or take drugs throughout your day
  • Developing symptoms of substance withdrawal if you quit or cut your consumption

Some of these problems are strictly related to addiction. Others reflect the presence of non-addicted abuse. From a mental health standpoint, addiction and major, non-addicted substance abuse are equally serious. What is more, they often occur simultaneously.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Dual Diagnosis

Unfortunately, some people with SUDs also have other mental health issues to deal with. This is not a rare problem. In fact, for every two people with a SUD, roughly one will be affected by an additional mental illness. The same statistic holds true in reverse. In other words, roughly one out of every two people with a mental illness also has a SUD.

What kinds of mental illnesses are most likely in people with drug- or alcohol-related SUD? The list of these conditions includes anxiety-based disorders such as:

  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD

Other commonly found illnesses include:

  • Depressive illnesses like major depression
  • Bipolar illnesses like bipolar I disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia and related conditions
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD

The current standard term for co-occurring SUDs and additional mental illness is dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis is a serious concern because it often has a double negative impact on your well-being. This is why it is so vital to understand the importance of mental health.

When it is present, it can make both your SUD and additional mental illness symptoms worse than normal. This double whammy on your mental health poses significant treatment challenges. For this reason, the question of how to improve mental health in people with dual diagnoses is vital.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Treatment for SUDs

If you have a SUD, professional treatment should be a top priority. There is a range of treatment environments available, including:

  • Medically supervised detox, or detoxification
  • Inpatient programs
  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Standard outpatient programs

Your doctor can help you find the right option for your particular SUD symptoms. Once you are enrolled in the right kind of program, you will receive help tailored to your needs and understand the importance of mental health. This help may include:

  • General supportive care
  • Medication
  • Behavioral therapy or counseling

While in treatment, you will benefit from the experience of addiction specialists. You will also learn how to improve mental health through your own efforts. As a rule, you should pursue some kind of follow-up treatment once your primary rehab program is over. You can also further your recovery by joining a mutual self-help group.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

It takes a special effort to improve mental health if you have a dual diagnosis. Why? Not only must you get help for your SUD symptoms. You must also get help for your particular form of additional mental illness. This two-part treatment is essential. Without it, your mental health will likely continue to suffer.

Mental health and addiction facilities may use medication for two aspects of your dual diagnosis treatment. First, you may receive a medication targeted at your SUD symptoms. In addition, you may receive something targeted at your other mental illness symptoms.

Other forms of treatment are also used in dual diagnosis programs. For example, you will almost certainly be treated with behavioral therapy or counseling. There are specialized therapy options available for people with dual diagnoses. One such option is called Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT. You may also receive a more widespread use SUD therapy such as:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy
  • 12-Step Facilitation Therapy
  • Family Behavior Therapy
  • Contingency Management Intervention

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Get More Information on How to Improve Your Mental Health

More than 20 million Americans suffer from mental illnesses called substance use disorders. And many of those affected must also cope with additional, serious mental health issues. If you feel you may have a SUD or dual diagnosis, professional treatment is a must. Otherwise, you may find yourself caught in a worsening spiral of mental and physical despair.

Most people with SUDs do not seek help. It is crucial that you do what you can to escape the ranks of the untreated. Every day, mental health and addiction facilities support recovery from SUDs and dual diagnoses. Some of the very best facilities provide all of the services you need in a single location.

Need more information on how to improve your mental health and protect your well-being? After all, the importance of mental health is crucial during and after recovery. If your concerns are substance-related, just called the specialists at Pathfinders. Our deep expertise gives us the ability to answer any question you may have. Pathfinders is also a top destination for the treatment of SUDs and dual diagnosis. We offer programs suited to anyone affected by these pressing mental health issues and the importance of mental health overall.

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What is a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program?

A Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program Can Be Essential

Many people with substance problems need a dual diagnosis treatment program to complete their recovery.

That’s true because they also suffer from other serious mental health issues.

If you are affected by these additional issues, you may wonder if it’s even possible to get better.

But with the effective treatments available today, this is indeed a realistic, achievable goal.

Recovery from dual diagnosis is not easy.

In fact, you may find yourself facing more difficult problems than people only affected by addiction or mental illness.

However, with time, effort and expert care, you can turn things around.

There is always hope, even for people severely affected by dual diagnosis symptoms.

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Basics of Dual Diagnosis

Until recently, dual diagnosis was widely known by another name: co-occurring disorders.

All people diagnosed with this issue are simultaneously affected by two significant problems:

  • A substance use disorder, or SUD
  • A separate mental illness

Some people with a SUD are addicted to drugs or alcohol.

However, some are not. Instead, they have serious, substance abuse-related problems even though they are not addicted.

You can also suffer from symptoms of addiction and non-addicted abuse at the same time.

There are many types of mental illness.

The list of these conditions includes such things as:

  • Major depressive disorder and other depressive disorders
  • Bipolar I disorder and other bipolar disorders
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD
  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Anorexia and other eating disorders
  • Schizophrenia and other schizophrenia-related disorders
  • Borderline personality disorder and other personality disorders

There is a strong, two-way connection between mental illness and SUDs.

If you have a mental illness, there’s a roughly 50/50 chance that you will also have a SUD.

There is also a 50/50 chance that people with SUDs will have a separate mental illness.

That figure includes people affected by all kinds of mental illness.

A smaller number of people with dual diagnoses, roughly 3.6 million, suffer from serious or severe mental illness symptoms.

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Substance-Induced Disorders

Sometimes, substance use itself directly leads to significant mental health problems. When that occurs, you do not actually have a separate mental illness. Instead, you have a substance-induced mental disorder.

All major addictive substances can trigger this type of disorder. Specific problems you may experience include:

  • Psychosis
  • Depression
  • Serious anxiety
  • Extreme disorientation, also known as delirium

When diagnosing you, your doctor will look for these kinds of issues. If they are directly caused by your substance use, you do not have dual diagnosis. However, it is possible to be affected by dual diagnosis and substance-induced problems at the same time.

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Typical Rehab Vs. a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program

If you have dual diagnosis, you cannot recover your health just by treating your substance problems. Instead, you must get help for your mental illness, as well. Why? Untreated mental illness creates a major roadblock for your ability to quit drugs or alcohol. The connection also works the other way. An untreated SUD creates a serious drain on your odds of recovering from mental illness.

Since the two issues affect each other, they must be treated together. This is the big difference between a typical rehab and a dual diagnosis treatment program. Standard substance rehab just helps you recover from an SUD. In contrast, treatment for dual diagnosis also helps you cope with additional mental health problems.

Not all addiction specialists offer dual diagnosis treatment. This means that you must take the time to find a program that meets your specific needs. You may find help in a facility that also offers standard substance rehab. However, some dual diagnosis treatment centers operate independently.

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Features of a Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program

Assessment of Your Condition and Situation

What happens in a dual diagnosis treatment program? When you first enter this kind of program, you should receive a thorough assessment of your condition. This assessment helps your treatment team uncover a range of crucial details. That includes such things as:

  • The exact nature of your substance problems
  • The type or types of mental illness affecting you
  • Whether or not you actually have a dual diagnosis
  • How badly you’re affected by your SUD and mental illness symptoms
  • What kind of care you’ll need to make your recovery
  • How much care you’ll need
  • The strength of your personal support network
  • Any important details of your personal background
  • Potential problems that could make your recovery process harder

Substance Detox

If you’re being treated for a dual diagnosis, you must stop your drug use and/or drinking. For this reason, dual diagnosis treatment programs place a heavy emphasis on detox or detoxification. That’s the name for a supervised process where you halt your substance use and go through withdrawal.

People who only have a SUD can sometimes go through detox on an outpatient basis. However, as a rule, you need inpatient detox if you have a dual diagnosis. That’s the only way to protect you from any unforeseen problems while withdrawing from drugs or alcohol.

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Active Substance and Mental Illness Treatment

Inpatient care is also often necessary for dual diagnosis patients once they finish detox. Why? You may need this kind of 24/7, live-in program to protect your health and well-being during treatment. However, some people may be eligible for outpatient treatment, instead.

Integrated intervention is recognized as the most effective option for dual diagnosis care. What does this term mean? From the very beginning, your dual diagnosis treatment program will address both your SUD and your mental illness. That way, you will never have to worry about continuing to suffer from untreated symptoms.

To treat your SUD, your program may rely on medication, psychotherapy or a combination of the two. The specific approach depends largely on the substance that triggered your problems. One type of psychotherapy, dialectical behavior therapy or DBT, is becoming increasingly common in dual diagnosis treatment. Evidence shows that this therapy makes it easier for people with mental illness to stop their substance use.

You may also receive medication specifically targeted at your mental illness symptoms. There are many different options available. Your dual diagnosis treatment program will ensure that the medication you receive meets your unique needs.

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Find Out More About Dual Diagnosis Treatment Programs

On its own, a SUD is enough to throw your everyday life far off track.

The situation is even direr if you also suffer from additional mental illness.

That’s why dual diagnosis receives special attention from addiction specialists.

It is also you need this kind of expert care if you are affected.

Without it, you have little chance of recovering from your combined substance and mental health problems.

The good news is that effective help is now available.

At a dual diagnosis treatment center, you receive focused care that addresses all aspects of your health.

This care can make all the difference between a successful recovery and months or years of fruitless struggle.

Need more information on dual diagnosis treatment programs?

Contact the specialists at Pathfinders today.

Our knowledgeable staff will answer any question you may have about these modern facilities.

We also feature first-class dual diagnosis care that meets the highest standards.

No matter how badly you are affected, we have the expertise needed to help restore your total well-being.

How to Tell If Someone Is on Drugs: Signs of Abuse

Having someone in your life who has a drug problem can be hard. It can be hard to help them, hard to get them to see what you see, and even hard to love them. Fortunately, if you know ‘How to Tell If Someone Is on Drugs,’ it can help them acknowledge the issue, and maybe even get the help they need.  

The difficult truth is, if someone you know or love is an addict, it might be up to you to help them get and stay clean. But it can be hard to know if they’re telling the truth and you don’t want your relationship to turn into you questioning them all the time.

Learning how to tell if someone is on drugs doesn’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to require you to search through their things or drill them on a daily basis. There are signs and symptoms that you can look for in order to help you determine if that person is using.

Keep reading to discover what the physical and behavioral warning signs are so that you can be better equipped to help them fight their addiction.

Common Physical Signs

First, we’ll look at some of the common physical signs and then behavioral signs that can help determine whether or not someone is using drugs. Then we’ll break down signs and behaviors that are specific to certain types of drugs.

Some of the common physical signs that you might notice in a loved one who is using drugs are as follows:

  • Sudden weight gain or loss
  • Sudden changes in appetite
  • Red or bloodshot eyes
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Pale skin
  • A Puffy face
  • Hyperactivity
  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Runny nose or sniffling
  • Tremors or shaking

Obviously, any of these can happen for reasons other than using drugs, but if you notice more than one of these signs and you notice them often, it could be a sign that someone is using.

Common Behavioral Signs

There are a few behavioral signs that you can look for in someone you think might be using drugs, regardless of what those drugs might be, such as:

  • New friends
  • Personality changes
  • Lack of motivation
  • Irritability
  • Lack of interest in hobbies and things that were once loved
  • Lying or dishonesty
  • Poor performance at work or at school
  • Increased need for privacy or security
  • Legal problems
  • Lack of grooming and personal care
  • Paranoia

Again, there are reasons other than drug use that could cause any one of these behavioral changes. But if you’re focusing on someone who has had a drug problem in the past or who shows more than one of these behavioral signs, chances are, they are using drugs.

What About Dilated Pupils?

Many people want to know what drugs cause dilated pupils as they can be an easy thing to notice and a very common sign of someone who has drugs pumping through their blood.

Your pupils are those black dots in the center of your eyes. Their job is to regulate the amount of light that enters your eyes and they do so by getting smaller or bigger.

Some of the drugs that can cause dilated pupils in someone are:

  • LSD
  • Heroine
  • Cocaine
  • Atropine
  • Sudafed
  • Antihistamines
  • Methamphetamines
  • Ecstacy

What Drugs Cause What Symptoms?

Now that we’ve tackled some common signs and symptoms, let’s take a look at those that can be indicative of specific drugs.

Did you know that drug addiction is a chronic disease? Even if an individual gets clean and stays clean for a long period of time, that disease is something that they could continue to struggle with their entire lives.

That means that a lot of times, it’s up to the people in an addicts life to look out for signs and symptoms that they may be using again.

Signs and Symptoms of Heroin Use

Heroin provides a chemically-provided sense of euphoria. It puts the user in a dreamlike state so that they could drift off for minutes or even hours.

For long-time users, however, it may act as a stimulant so that they can go about their usual activities. It’s estimated that 9.2 people in the world use heroin. It’s also been around for years so there’s been plenty of time to study the signs and symptoms.

You might notice evidence of heroin use in paraphernalia that has been left behind. Black tar or white powder can be left behind in small amounts on any surface that could have been used to prepare the drug.

You might also look for belts, rubber tubing, syringes or glass pipes. Keep in mind that glass pipes can also be used for tobacco or marijuana, so be careful not to jump to any conclusions right away if you see one.

When someone is using heroin, their breathing is typically slower, which is one of the ways in which an overdose can kill.

Itching, nausea, vomiting, and constipation are all additional symptoms that may be displayed by a heroin and opiate user. Heroin users are also prone to skin infection and the drug can cause spontaneous abortions in pregnant women. For an even more in-depth look at how to know if a loved one is abusing heroin, check out our blog here.

Signs and Symptoms of Cocaine Use

There are many signs that can be attributed to cocaine use. One big one to look for is significant changes in mood. Especially if the person using doesn’t want you to know that they are using, you may see them euphoric and energetic in one sitting, and then lethargic and depressed the next.

Runny noses, sniffling, and after lots of us, bloody noses, are all signs of cocaine use. You also might notice that this person disappears a lot, as the cocaine wears off and they feel the need to use more.

Someone who is addicted to cocaine may use poor judgment or suffer from hallucinations and delusions. They may have periods where they demonstrate overconfidence or aggressiveness.

Cocaine addiction is extremely dangerous as it can constrict blood vessels, enlarge the heart, and cause heart attacks.

Signs and Symptoms of Inhalant Use

More often than not, an individual who is addicted to drugs will use more than one type of drug. Furthermore, drug use can be expensive and often users will look for other, less expensive ways to get high.

Inhalants can be those inexpensive options. Short-term effects of using inhalants are giggling, silliness, dizziness, headaches, and even fainting or unconsciousness.

Long-term use of inhalants can cause emotional instability, memory loss, slurred speech, impairment of reasoning, hearing loss, eye flutter, tremors, and escalating stages of brain atrophy. Sometimes brain damage is reversible by cleansing, detoxification, and nutritional therapy. Sometimes, however, brain damage is only partially reversible or entirely irreversible.

Signs and Symptoms of Methamphetamine Use

Methamphetamine addiction is a worldwide epidemic. In fact, there are over 24 million users of this drug, also known as “crystal meth.” The abuse tripled from 1996 to 2006, in just 10 years.

Often, addicts of methamphetamine stay awake for days and even weeks at a time. Some of the side effects of using this drug are as follows:

  • Sleeplessness
  • Extreme weight loss
  • Total loss of appetite
  • Talkative
  • Excited
  • Dilated pupils
  • Paranoia and anxiety
  • Deluded sense of power
  • Unusual sweating and shaking
  • Aggression and violence
  • Mood changes
  • Blurred vision and glassy eyes
  • Mental confusion

If you’re looking for signs that a loved one might be using meth, you can look for small bags of white powder or crystals. You may also come across syringes small pieces of crumble aluminum foil, and or soda cans with holes.

Meth is produced using extremely harsh chemicals. Thus, it can do a lot of damage to the body. If you or a loved one has a meth addiction, it is imperative that you seek help right away.

Addiction Is a Disease, Not a Choice

Many people think that someone who is using drugs can choose to stop right away. But that is simply not the case. It’s important for a user to understand that it’s not their fault that they’re addicted and that the only way to make a change is to seek help.

If you’re scared at all about what that entails for yourself or a loved one, read our article about everything you can expect from when you decide to get help. We’ll break down the entire process from checking in to joining a supportive community to the many lasting benefits you’ll receive from seeking help.

How to Tell If Someone Is on Drugs

If you have a loved one with an addiction and you’ve taken on the great responsibility of watching out for that person, it’s essential that you know what to look for. The best thing you can do for yourself and your loved one is to know how to tell if someone is on drugs.

Once you decide to get that loved one help or get help for yourself, you will soon discover that you are not alone. You will become a part of a huge community of supporters that may end up guiding you and supporting you throughout your life along your journey of fighting that addiction. Would you like to ask a few questions or to find out how much of treatment your insurance may cover? Give us a call today so that we can start getting you or your loved one the help you need to fight your addiction disease.