IOP Programs Denver

Intensive outpatient programs

Attending a Denver Intensive Outpatient Program

Intensive outpatient programs or IOPs are a way for mental health treatment centers to bridge the gap between inpatient and outpatient facilities. An inpatient facility allows patients to stay there for an extended period to deal with their problems. These facilities limit the number of external stimuli that a patient has to deal with, so they can focus on their recovery. Because of this focused recovery approach, inpatient treatment tends to have more success and less chance of a relapse. Inpatient treatment isn’t for everyone, unfortunately. The type of treatment usually requires a person to leave their job or take an extended leave of absence.

The other side of the treatment scale is outpatient treatment. This type of treatment offers more freedom to the patient than inpatient treatment. With outpatient treatment, the patient must show up at a scheduled time to receive counseling and attend group therapy sessions. They don’t stay at the facility, and the onus is on them to make it to their scheduled counseling. Outpatient counseling has the downside that a person still has to deal with their environment and other influences that could lead them to relapse. IOP programs seek to find a middle ground between these two treatment options.

What Is an Intensive Outpatient Program Or IOP?

Intensive outpatient treatment is a treatment program for substance use disorder. It’s a step-down treatment after detox and inpatient treatment. Typically, it lasts for weeks, with visits scheduled for a few days out of the week. IOP can serve as either the primary treatment after detox or a continuing treatment method after a person has completed residential treatment. IOPs are built to be flexible and offer patients the best option for visiting a treatment center within their schedule. Most patients are trying to cope with re-entering the world and holding down a job. An IOP gives them the support they need through therapy while not infringing on their lives.

IOP sessions vary in length, but typically they last between two and four hours long. Most facilities that offer IOPs try to limit them to at least three days a week. More intensive programs might provide additional time, but three days are standard. One of the core focuses of IOP treatment is preventing relapse from external stimuli. Much of the discussion might be around managing the triggers that could lead to relapse and how to cope with those forces. Interpersonal relationships might need to be re-examined to give the person a better chance at staying away from those that might encourage unacceptable behavior.

What Does an IOP Treat?

While IOPs can be used for treating addiction, they can also be applied to an extensive range of mental health conditions. Among the typical cases in that IOP may be used are:

Typical Features of a Quality Intensive Outpatient Program

Not all IOP programs are the same. Some are far better at dealing with disorders than others through their flexibility and how they approach the issue of addiction or mental health disorders. The ideal IOP should feature:

Education Services

Recovering from any disorder requires understanding it fundamentally. A top-class IOP should incorporate education into its regimen. Part of the treatment should discuss how drug and alcohol addiction affects the body and the mind. Relapse prevention starts with recognizing the effects of cravings and how they change a person’s behavior. Intensive outpatient sessions should address practical ways of avoiding relapse.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy - IOP Programs Denver

Psychotherapy is one of the accepted methods of treating substance use disorder and mental health over the long term. A good IOP will incorporate family, group, and individual therapy to help recovering people deal with their conditions. Sharing experiences with others, opening up to family, or addressing the direct effects of a person’s mental health issue positively affects their ability to maintain their recovery.

Support Services

Typically, a person is in pretty rough shape financially, legally, and in employment when they enter rehab. The best IOP programs have advisors who can help people recover their financial and social standing while motivating them to continue their treatment. Finding solutions to these problems can help people focus more on improving themselves.

Who Can Benefit from a Denver IOP Program?

Anyone who has had a mental disorder or is dealing with long-term recovery from substance use disorder can benefit from joining an IOP. The IOP is an alternative to inpatient treatment while offering many benefits to outpatient therapy. IOPs do have an ideal candidate for success. A person who wants to undertake IOP needs to fit these criteria:

  • The patient must have completed inpatient treatment or have a mild enough substance use disorder that they don’t need acute treatment.
  • The patient must have a moderate substance abuse disorder.
  • They must not be dependent on drugs or alcohol.
  • They must have a means of support outside of the treatment center since they don’t live there.
  • The patient must be able to get to and from the facility independently.
  • They should be able to commit a significant amount of time to their recovery.

A recovery center would look at a patient’s history and determine whether they fit the ideal patient model before suggesting that they start IOP. Not all patients will match the perfect model of a patient. Since recovery depends on the individual, each person will have their own road to recovery. IOP can help some patients that don’t meet the ideal criteria but are willing to work towards their recovery.

Are IOP Programs in Denver Covered by Insurance?

IOP Programs in Denver Covered by Insurance

Insurance companies are required to cover treatment for mental health disorders. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires that all public, private, and group plans offer coverage for mental health treatment. IOP is another type of treatment that can help individuals who suffer from mental health disorders.

Therefore, IOP programs in Denver are covered by health insurance to a particular degree. Consulting with the facility will help you better understand whether your insurance will cover your IOP and to what amount. You may be responsible for meeting some part of the financial responsibility for your treatment, even with insurance.

Medication-Assisted Treatment and IOP Participation

Medication-Assisted Treatment or MAT uses medication alongside therapy to gain results in treating substance use disorder and mental health issues. Evidence from many studies suggests that this might be a viable way of helping some individuals cope with their mental health or substance use problems.

Results have shown that individuals who might otherwise be struggling with recovery have a much better outcome when incorporating MAT into their treatment. The use of MAT has historically been part of many inpatient and residential treatment programs. Introducing it to IOP requires adapting the existing methodology to the intensive program.

IOPs that incorporate MAT offer significant benefits over IOPs that use standard therapy as their go-to approach for treatment. Generally, patients who don’t have acute issues with substance usage are the best candidates for MAT. These patients benefit from being treated in their home environments for their disorders, allowing them a better chance of recovery. MAT raises that chance further by providing them with a way to manage their cravings through medication. Combining therapy with group support through IOP gives a recovering person the social support they need to recover from their disorder completely.

What Are the Features Of Top IOP Programs In Denver?

IOPs are quickly becoming popular because they combine the best of good treatment models. However, not all IOPs are helpful to every individual. The top IOPs in Denver share some similarities, however. Among the traits they display are:

  • Mental Health Disorder Assessment: Determine what mental health disorders the patients are dealing with.
  • Therapy Sessions: Group, individual, and family therapy should all form part of the treatment regimen.
  • Behavioral Health Assessment: How does this mental health disorder affect the person’s behavior?
  • Life Education Skills and Training: A recovering person will have to relearn many basic life skills a person needs when living independently.
  • Teaching Focus Development: Yoga and meditation help balance a patient and get them focused on their recovery.

If you are looking at an IOP and aren’t sure whether it’s right for you, you should objectively examine what it offers. You should be able to get to the location relatively quickly, so you don’t miss appointments. The staff should be welcoming and understanding about your goals. It should also offer you an individual solution to your problem, not a generic fix.

Find Lasting Sober Success with Pathfinders Recovery Centers Now

Pathfinders Recovery provides treatment to our patients with a view to long-term recovery. Our two decades of service have prepared us to deal with all types of mental and substance use disorders. Our staff is trained in helping recovering persons come to terms with their disorders and overcome them. Let us help you deal with your condition. Call us today, and we’ll guide you towards leaving your disorder behind and living your life anew!

Men’s Only Rehab

Mens Only Rehab

Alcohol And Drug Rehab Basics

For persons struggling with alcohol or substance abuse and dependency, a rehab facility can be essential in their journey to sobriety and recovery. Rehabilitation facilities can be thought of as safe spaces with trained medical and psychological staff that offer services to persons trying to overcome addiction. At Pathfinders Recovery in Arizona, we offer a men’s only rehab that allows men to focus on their recovery in an environment specifically designed for success.

These services are all focused on navigating the process of withdrawal from the substance in as safe a way and environment as possible and treating the psychological conditions that may have led to the addiction in the first place.

Substance Use and Abuse Statistics Among Men

Substance abuse affects all genders, but there are genuine distinctions regarding the divide. According to the NIDA, Men and boys over the age of 12 are 11.5% more likely to fall prey to substance abuse than women and girls over the age of 12, who experience this issue at a rate of 6.4%.

When it comes to Alcohol Use Disorder, it is estimated that up to 20% of men struggle with it, versus around 7-12% of women. What does this tell us? There is a not insignificant divide between how “at-risk” men are to substance abuse compared to women. This is not said to diminish the suffering of women or to remove attention from that issue but rather to highlight those men are empirically more at-risk in certain regards, and the problem must be tackled at the root cause.

What are the Risk Factors for Addiction for Men?

Many factors can result in substance use and abuse. There is a misconception that falling prey to substance abuse is a moral failing or a character flaw. It is not. Some of the more common factors that put one at risk of falling into a substance abuse habit are:

Genetics

The literal DNA that makes up your body. Suppose you have a history of substance abuse in your family. In that case, there is a statistically higher probability that you may fall into a habit of substance abuse to some degree or another.

Environment

The surroundings you live within, what you are exposed to, the trauma inflicted upon you in adolescence or at any time really, the coercive influence that may or may not exist upon you. These things make up your environmental experience and can put you at risk for addiction.

Dual Diagnoses

Certain psychological conditions lead to substance abuse as the patient tries to “self-medicate.” Conditions like depression and anxiety are good examples of this particular phenomenon. Dual Diagnosis can also apply to neurodivergent persons. Persons with innate dopamine deficiencies and deficits caused by ADHD are at risk for substance abuse.

Why Choose an All-Male Rehab Center?

Why Choose an All-Male Rehab Center

All-male rehab centers are simply what they sound like – drug and alcohol rehabilitation facilities that cater exclusively to helping men. You might be asking yourself, “Why choose a men’s-only rehab?” We are going to examine some of the benefits of single-gender rehab settings.

  • There is an inherent expectation for men to be “tough” or “resilient” in everyday life. This is rooted in toxic masculinity and is one of the core reasons men are more at risk for certain types of addiction than women. Difficulty in being vulnerable and expressing emotions are two of the core things that make addiction rampant among men. Men-only rehab facilities foster an environment that allows men to be vulnerable and, thus, work through their trauma.
  • Staff at these facilities are specifically trained to manage how men experience addiction and, therefore, rehabilitation. Because men tend to be more goal-oriented and motivated, treatment plans and communication may be tuned more in line to take advantage of this inherent quality to help ensure the success of the treatment.
  • Because the way men specifically experience the world and society is a huge factor involved in their psychological trauma, the methods and practices utilized when delivering therapy would be specifically aware of how difficult emotional vulnerability is for men. Therapists may conduct sessions while walking, for instance, to both burn calories and allow the client to avoid eye contact while expressing emotions and dealing with painful trauma, a thing that, for many men, the world has not prepared them to be able to do.
  • Without the presence of women, you erase the potential of romantic distraction (for heterosexual males seeking treatment in the facility). Aside from this, the company of women may prevent men from being genuinely vulnerable, a critical component for treatment. Reframing emotional vulnerability and therapy as an act of strength and not a sign of weakness can be more difficult if women are around. This might make it more inherently tricky for some men to put down their guard.
  • All-male rehab centers tend to focus on a results-oriented approach. These facilities can help a man open up about himself and become comfortable with others of their gender. It allows them to head in a unique and necessary way that other approaches cannot manage.

These are just a tiny sample of the techniques and considerations that are a part of men-only rehab facilities that specifically cater to treating men going through addiction. The male experience of the world is inherently unique and requires targeted treatment that keeps that unique experience in mind.

What are the Types of Programs Offered at Men’s Rehabs?

At Pathfinders in Scottsdale, our men’s rehab facilities offers a range of services; Addiction is not a one-size-fits-all ailment, so the treatment would not be either. We will detail the various options, but here are some factors to consider. Firstly, there are evidence-based/medical-focused treatments AND what could be holistic treatments. Secondly, treatments or sessions may be individual OR group-based.

Thirdly, as we said earlier, each person and their needs are unique. Finally, treatment can be inpatient for persons who need the round-the-clock observation and support, especially in the early stages of withdrawal, and outpatient, where people don’t stay at the facility but come in regularly for the sessions. Because of this, treatment almost always involves some combination of all of these things.

Evidence-Based Treatments

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

How clients develop and allow negative thinking and poor self-image to dictate their actions inevitably, cognitive-behavioral therapy moves away from harmful thinking toward positive thinking. By doing this, clients typically feel empowered to make more healthy decisions moving forward in their life.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy

This is very similar to CBT. These techniques examine how a client’s actions can be changed for the better through talk therapy.

Experimental Therapy

Talk therapy is sometimes not enough to address the needs of some clients. Experiential therapy can be helpful in these cases; clients may engage actively outdoors with others, building their team skills, interpersonal dynamics, and problem-solving.

Motivational Interviewing

Clients struggling to overcome indecision and uncertainty can sometimes be helped by these methods. It can significantly aid in being motivated to take action by establishing and accomplishing positive goals.

Trauma Therapy

Psychological trauma is one of the significant contributors to men using and abusing substances to escape mental and emotional pain. A key component of proper recovery is learning healthy ways to process and identify the trauma’s effects on their lives. By working with compassionate counselors and therapists, clients can learn to identify triggers and deploy healthy coping mechanisms.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy is the basis of nearly all talk therapy. With this method, clients work one-on-one with a counselor or therapist to discover the underlying issues that have impacted the client and led to their fall into abuse and addiction, to begin with. Substance use disorder is often a symptom of deeper psychological issues that have yet to be addressed. These issues are consciously or unconsciously being ignored or self-medicated in an attempt to deal with them and cope. In a comfortable and safe setting, clients can develop a personal relationship with their therapist and work through the issues to overcome substance abuse and improve their overall mental health.

Holistic Treatments

Yoga Therapy

As a practice, yoga offers many unique therapeutic advantages. The techniques help clients engage in the yoga therapy that teaches them how to control their bodies and be capable of expelling stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions when they are confronted by them.

Mindfulness and Meditation

Meditation focuses the client’s attention on being as present as possible at the moment. By enhancing one’s awareness of themselves as an intimate part of the world around them, clients can better understand their motivations and actions and those of others. As a practice, meditation teaches clients to limit dwelling negatively on the past or becoming too obsessed with the future.

Art and Music Therapy

Art and music therapy allows clients to explore their creativity and experience the healing aspects of these practices. Metaphor is a highly effective tool for working through issues. Journaling is a well-noted practice with many benefits. Learning new hobbies and skills is inherently fulfilling for humans. Simply consuming and appreciating works of art can allow clients to develop positive psychological perspectives of themselves and their issues.

Massage Therapy

Massage Therapy

Touch therapy can be beneficial in managing overall health and wellness. As the body’s soft tissue is manipulated, many clients find that there is a release of tensions in their body and that this goes quite a long way towards aiding in reducing stress and anxiety. Thus, they are in a better position to explore and progress through the work of treatment.

Privacy And Confidentiality at Men’s Treatment Programs

For anyone struggling with substance abuse, one of the worst aspects is the shame, stigma, and judgment attached to both being an addict and, paradoxically, seeking treatment. Patients may be concerned about whether or not the fact that they are being treated would be in danger of being publicly disclosed.

Fortunately, HIPAA laws exist and are enforced to protect citizens’ information. Rehab centers must comply strictly with this standard. All staff at men-only rehabs must follow the same rules and regulations as any family doctor. No one on the team is allowed to share information about your case unless your express consent is given or unless the situation necessitates the release of information, such as in a medical emergency where providers need certain information to treat you.

Does Insurance Cover Men’s-Only Rehab Treatment?

Rehabilitation can be an expensive process. If the client needs complete inpatient care, the out-of-pocket costs can skyrocket even higher. However, many clinics accept insurance to completely or significantly cover treatment costs. Medicaid and Medicare are two national options that many facilities do accept. Keep in mind, though, that this is a thing that differs from center to center, and it is essential to check with the individual facility to ensure that the insurance you (or a loved one) are interested in using is accepted.

Searching for ‘Men-Only Addiction Treatment Near Me’

The internet has changed how people discover resources. One of the top Google searches around the particular topic of getting help for substance addiction is “finding men-only treatment near me in Arizona.” This tells us that many people are trying to find help AND that the internet is an incredible tool for delivering that information. A quick search will give you many options to explore for treatment. It is a matter of finding facilities with high success rates where their reputation precedes them, such as the programs for men at our facility in Arizona.

Find Lasting Addiction Recovery for Men at Pathfinder’s Arizona

At Pathfinders Recovery Center in Scottsdale, AZ, we have over two decades of experience treating and rehabilitating persons struggling with substance abuse and addiction. Our expert medical team works with you to help you navigate the entire process of detoxing through to healing from the psychological trauma that led to the addiction in the first place.

A truly sober, happy, and fulfilling life is the ultimate goal for every client that comes to us for help, and our results speak for themselves. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse issues, please know that there is hope. Contact us today for more information or a consultation.

Chronic Relapse Treatment Center

What is Chronic Relapse

The Cycle of Addiction and Relapse

For many individuals who suffer from substance abuse disorder, the rehabs they enter can end up becoming revolving doors. The constant cycle of recovery and relapse cycles over and over in a seemingly never-ending battle for sobriety.

What makes the situation more frustrating is the inability to pin down why the relapse keeps happening. The motivation to recover is present, and the effort is put in each time – it’s difficult to remain in recovery after a few weeks or months after graduation.

This would just be attributed to a lack of discipline or motivation in the past. However, many experts believe it points to an underlying mental health condition or a specific set of symptoms that manifest this behavior.

It’s known as chronic relapse, and it’s actually a very common occurrence in many present-day rehab participants.

What Is Chronic Relapse?

In order to understand chronic relapse, first, consider temporary relapse. Temporary relapse occurs when addicts experience a setback related to their recovery process — losing housing, getting fired from a job, or having an argument with loved ones.

After experiencing a period of stress or difficulty, most people bounce back into their normal routines of substance abuse. They temporarily lose their motivation to stay clean or quit drinking.

However, if the crisis persists, then it becomes a chronic relapse. A person suffering from chronic relapse experiences regular periods of craving, increased tolerance, negative mood swings, compulsive behavior, poor performance at school or work, and/or legal troubles.

Short Term Addiction Treatment and Relapse

Those who successfully complete detoxification and enter residential rehab programs tend to remain sober longer than others. On average, recovering heroin users spend less than six months living in halfway houses before returning home.

Yet many individuals who suffer from chronic relapse will fall off the wagon just a short time after returning home. This could be because the initial time in inpatient treatment wasn’t enough for them.

Once patients leave rehabilitation, they must rely solely upon themselves to deal with triggers and temptations. If adequate education and treatment wasn’t received during their stay in rehab, they’re left unprepared for entering the real world again. If left untreated, chronic relapse can lead to further deterioration.

What is the difference between a chronic relapse treatment center and a traditional rehab facility?

What Is a Chronic Relapse Treatment Center?

 

For individuals who frequently suffer from challenges associated with relapse, regular rehabilitation facilities that offer the typical 30-day program clearly aren’t enough. The resources available at a normal treatment center and a facility that specializes in this issue can be more accommodating.

By definition, a chronic relapse treatment center is a facility that provides care 24 hours a day in a non-hospital environment. The planned length of stay in these facilities is typically anywhere from six to 12 months.

Chronic relapse treatment centers normally include the following elements as part of their treatment plans:

  • Helping clients stay active and healthy through participation in exercise or sports
  • Preparing balanced, healthy diets high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and minimally processed foods
  • Various stress management techniques like yoga or mediation
  • They offer substance abuse and mental health resources to break the constant cycle of relapse

Personalized Treatment to Combat Chronic Relapse

What Is a Chronic Relapse Treatment Center

There is also a distinct outline for treatment offered to clients in chronic relapse treatment centers. Personalized treatment plans contain elements of each of the following:

  • Evidence-based treatment that’s proven to work long-term in an inpatient setting
  • Various options for customized care plans that include dual-diagnosis treatment
  • Continued support and sober living home options for structured rehab during aftercare
  • Continued resources for group recovery meetings during post-care treatment

Facilities that specialize in chronic relapse often include a softer, more accommodating touch that provides more of a home-like environment. Many people consider these facilities as “upscale” or “extravagant.” However, there is just more attention put into the need for the client’s appropriate environment.

Different people require different elements and environments to promote long-term sobriety. Research has shown that individuals who suffer from chronic relapse often require a more intimate, personal environment.

In order to identify the presence of chronic relapse, you must understand the signs and symptoms of this condition.

Signs and Symptoms of Chronic Relapse

There are specific signs and symptoms that identify the presence of chronic relapse. These symptoms include the following:

  • They are glamorizing the use of their drug of choice. This may include the individual sharing fond memories of past substance abuse.
  • The individual believes they can use again without any negative consequences
  • They may become increasingly isolated
  • They may stop participating in their 12-step recovery meetings
  • They stop pursuing interests that were a part of their recovery plan
  • They may begin to doubt how effective their initial treatment plan is/was

Identifying these signs could make it possible to prevent relapse before it happens. Do you know the differences between emotional, mental, and physical relapses?

Emotional, Mental, and Physical Relapse

Emotional, Mental, and Physical Relapse

To understand chronic relapse, you must understand how normal relapse takes place. It doesn’t happen overnight – in fact; it happens in three distinct phases.

Emotional Stage

The emotional stage includes the individual experiencing anger, stress, sadness, depression, or any wide range of intense feelings. Initially, the user may not think about using. However, when these feelings aren’t dealt with and processed in a healthy manner, individuals will progress to the next stage.

Mental/Craving Stage

This is the mental warning sign of an impending relapse. Users may find it difficult to stop thinking about using at this point and continuously play the process of using it repeatedly in their minds.

Physical/Engagement Stage

At this point, the user physically engages and enters relapse. The user put themselves at high risk of addiction once again by continuing to relapse. The urge to use again will be quite intense with each subsequent relapse, and it’s easy to fall back into habitual use.

Now, what about the stages of chronic relapse?

What Are the Stages of Chronic Relapse?

The stages of chronic relapse aren’t dissimilar to normal relapse. However, they take place over an extended period and include several more mental steps and contemplation. Below is an example of the stages of chronic relapse.

Precontemplation

During this stage, individuals aren’t necessarily contemplating using drugs or drinking alcohol. However, thoughts of past use may circle around in their heads. They may dream about using drugs or give too much thought to reliving their past or remembering what drug use felt like.

Contemplation

During this stage, individuals are actively contemplating using drugs. They may go back and forth in their head, arguing with themselves or trying to rationalize why it would be okay to use drugs at this point.

Rationalization

After making the decision to move forward with using, individuals will attempt to rationalize their decision to themselves. They’ll use excuses like, “well, I’ve been sober for a while, so I won’t become addicted again.” Another famous excuse is, “I’m only going to use this one time, and I won’t get high after this.”

Relapse

During this stage, the user actively engages in relapse. They will obtain their drug of choice and proceed to get high. The results after this stage vary but often include the same sentiment among all users.

Remorse

The remorse stage includes the individual expressing guilt about using. This will include a period of depression and withdrawal from society, family, and friends. It’s often these feelings of guilt and negative emotions that trigger subsequent use. Individuals are unable to properly handle or process these emotions, so they turn to further drug use to avoid dealing with them.

After this stage, uses go one of two ways. They either choose to seek help immediately or fall back into regular use.

Regardless, once the user comes back to terms with the fact that they need more help, they enter the acceptance phase and must go through the detox, withdrawal, and treatment process all over again.

Individuals who suffer from chronic relapse end up wasting large chunks of their lives on this condition. Each time they cycle through relapse, treatment, recovery, and back into relapse, you’re looking at anywhere from six to nine months of hard work and progress erased each time.

Why Do People Relapse Frequently?

Most people think relapse involves going right back to exactly the same way of thinking, and doing that got them hooked in the first place. But research tells us otherwise.

Even though a person may engage in harmful activities, he or she won’t develop true addiction unless certain personality traits come into play. Addiction researchers used to refer to these characteristics as vulnerability factors but now call them risk markers.

Risk markers occur early in development and indicate susceptibility to developing addictive tendencies later in life. People whose genetic makeup includes specific variations in dopamine genes, for instance, are believed to be predisposed to alcoholism and substance abuse issues. Researchers have identified dozens of similar risk markers.

Risk markers vary from individual to individual, but the following are typical warning signs that someone could develop issues with chronic relapse:

  • Lack of strong bonds with parents
  • Unstable childhood
  • Low self-esteem
  • Poorly developed conscience
  • History of trauma or neglect
  • Psychological instability
  • Impulsivity
  • Hanging out with the wrong groups of people
  • Lack of education regarding triggers and relapse, or substance abuse in general.

Some experts suggest that anyone exhibiting four or more of these qualities identify the chance for chronic relapse.

Who Benefits from Chronic Relapse Treatment Plans?

Although chronic relapse can happen to anyone, certain segments of society exist that may have a higher risk of developing this condition. Individuals with any of the following situations benefit the most from relapse treatment plans:

  • Anyone with stressful events going on in their lives (health problems, unemployment, rocky relationships, etc.)
  • Underlying mental health conditions
  • Any victims of childhood sexual, mental, or physical abuse
  • Genetic history of substance abuse or alcoholism
  • A lower amount of dopamine receptors compared to the average number
  • Anyone who displays the traits of having an impulsive or addictive personality
  • You have fewer dopamine receptors compared to the general population

When individuals aren’t educated on any of the issues listed above, their chances of chronic relapse increase significantly. It’s important to seek treatment and craft a chronic relapse prevention plan.

Crafting a Chronic Relapse Prevention Plan

When people relapse chronically, it’s harder to pull themselves out of the cycle of unhealthy choices. Finding effective ways to cope with stressful circumstances helps reduce the likelihood of falling back into old habits. To break a pattern of relapse, clients must implement the following strategies into their relapse prevention plan:

Identify Triggers

Identifying triggers can help pinpoint moments when urges arise. Triggers can range from environmental stimuli to emotional states. Common triggers include boredom, anxiety, depression, loneliness, anger, frustration, and impatience. Learning to manage these triggers effectively can significantly decrease the chances of relapse.

Learn Skills That Promote Mindfulness

Mindfulness refers to the ability to focus attention internally instead of dwelling on external distractions. Practicing meditation and breathing exercises can increase awareness and lower stress levels.

Set Goals

Setting realistic goals that coincide with your values can boost self-confidence and motivate you to stick to your plans. Create actionable steps toward achieving your objectives and write your own success story!

Hold Yourself Accountable

Admit when you made a mistake and act immediately to correct it. Don’t blame others, and don’t dwell on regret. Take accountability for your actions.

Long Term Treatment and Long-Term Recovery

Long-term treatment leads to long-term recovery. Individuals who suffer from chronic relapse commonly need much longer stays at the inpatient facility of their choice.

The more education and counseling a client receives, especially in the right environment, the chances of avoiding relapse during the long-term increase significantly.

Lasting Recovery with a Chronic Relapse Treatment Center

At Pathfinders Recovery Centers, we’ve helped many clients achieve recovery from chronic relapse challenges. Our state-of-the-art facilities are comfortable and conducive to long-term comfort, which clients need for long-term residence for chronic relapse.

To find out about our specialized treatment plans for chronic relapse, contact a member of our admissions team today!

Gas Station Dope

Gas Station Dope

Over the Counter Drugs… from a Gas Station

In the world of illegal narcotics, there are always designer drugs and research chemicals that make their way onto the scene. Many of these are completely unheard of by the FDA and squeak by for a while under the radar.

Many of these gain popularity through individuals who are on probation and still want to catch a buzz without failing a drug test. Normally you can find these substances in gas stations, and while most of them come and go – some have gained immense popularity and, many times, become notorious for being extremely dangerous.

Examples of these fad substances include spice, K2, and bath salts. Each of these was sold at gas stations and smoke shops – all of them were on the news for the wrong reasons.

Ultimately, all of these substances were banned, and gas stations that continued to sell them ended up being raided and fined. Normally these substances disappear, but not without doing considerable damage.

This craze’s latest offering is Tianeptine, a supplement being sold in gas stations and has similar effects as heroin and other opioids. It also causes nasty withdrawals and has been banned in several states. People are calling it “gas station dope,” and here’s what you need to know about it.

What Is Gas Station Dope?

What Is Gas Station Dope

Just because a product is easily available doesn’t mean it’s safe for use. This is especially true when it comes to gas station supplements.

Tianeptine is a perfect example of this, posing serious health risks and possibly leading to death. This substance is not FDA approved for any medical use whatsoever. Despite this, many of the manufacturers are illegally marketing this product as a solution to opioid use disorder, depression, and pain.

This substance is normally marketed as Coaxil – an atypical drug used for antidepressant purposes in Europe and Asia. As stated earlier, this drug is not approved by the FDA and is considered an unscheduled agent as of now.

Studies have shown that this drug has an opioid agonist. There have been multiple cases of negative effects and even deaths because of recreational abuse.

Emergency calls placed regarding this substance included cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and neurological side effects. Callers also experienced symptoms similar to withdrawal after discontinuing long-term use.

In the United States, reports of negative reactions and unsavory effects involving this drug are increasing. The Poison Control Center fielded only 11 cases between 2000 and 2013. However, in 2020 alone, over 150 cases were reported.

Is Tianeptine Legal In the US?

Currently, Tianeptine is only illegal in two states. It’s considered an unscheduled substance with no medical use by the FDA, which is basically stating the verdict is still out.

Michigan and Alabama are the only two states to ban this substance so far. In both states, Tianeptine is considered a Schedule II drug. Schedule II drugs are considered substances with a high potential for abuse, having the ability to do severe psychological and physical damage.

What Are the Effects of Tianeptine?

Most users report the effects of Tianeptine to be similar to an opioid high. Many users indicate the drug causes anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties, with mild euphoric effects.

It activates the body’s opioid neurotransmitters and potentiates dopamine. In high doses, it’s possible for this drug to cause deep sedation and even overdose leading to death.

When combined with other substances like phenibut, benzodiazepines, and opioids, it can cause drowsiness, difficulty breathing, and confusion. There have been multiple reports out of Europe, where the drug is more popular, of hundreds of withdrawal cases being considered more severe than those of opioids.

Because of all of these characteristics, it may be easy to identify individuals who abuse this substance.

Signs of Tianeptine Dependence

Individuals who abuse Tianeptine may show effects similar to opioid abuse. These signs include:

  • Frequent drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Frequently nodding out

When users run out, they’ll also display signs of withdrawal.

Does Tianeptine Cause Withdrawal?

Users have reported severe withdrawal symptoms with this drug. Many consider these symptoms to be even more severe than opioids.

Each year since 2013, cases have increased. As of last year, there were 251 cases reporting either adverse side effects or withdrawal. The increases reported are similar to the same trends as other similar drugs like Kratom, bath salts, and spice.

Kratom and Other Forms of Gas Station Dope

Kratom and Other Forms of Gas Station Dope

Kratom is known to cause withdrawal symptoms like opioids as well. This natural supplement is one of many substances to make its rounds through the gas station circuit, being marketed as an alternative to popular street drugs.

Some of these other drugs include:

Bath Salts

Bath salts are a ‘research chemical’ similar to methamphetamine. However, the negative results produced were much more severe. Users ended up in a zombie-like state, with several cases of murder and grotesque self-mutilation being reported. These substances were banned from the market and made illegal in the United States.

Spice/K2

This substance was marketed as an alternative to marijuana, advertising a similar relaxed high. However, many users reported negative side effects that included intense psychoactive properties leading to hallucinations. This drug was also taken off the market.

Salvia

Native American tribes have used this herb for years as a religious sacrament. It has extremely high psychoactive properties and leads to hallucinations and other harmful side effects. Salvia was taken off the market but is still widely traded on the black market along with psychedelics like LSD and psilocybin mushrooms.

Medical Detox for Tianeptine and Kratom

In many cases, the best course of treatment for recovery from substances like these is medical detox. Whenever detox causes intense physical withdrawal like opioids, completing the process can be difficult because of the discomfort.

However, medically-assisted detox provides constant monitoring by a professional staff and certain medications to ease the pain and discomfort caused by withdrawal symptoms.

The response from Tianeptine to this form of treatment may be similar to that of medication-assisted treatment and opioids. However, because of the relatively limited information regarding the detox process, it’s hard to recommend a concrete regimen. This is especially true considering there are no official research or case studies done on the drug.

Out of the cases that have been studied, the methods used for opioids HAVE proven effective in the treatment of withdrawal and detox from Tianeptine. Other medications may be used to mitigate the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, such as clonidine and antidepressants.

Is Long-term Recovery from Gas Station Dope Possible?

At Pathfinders Recovery Centers, we’ve dealt with many cases of rare designer drugs and research chemicals causing harm to clients. With attention to past case studies and a careful approach led by our expert medical team, long-term recovery is possible from substances like Tianeptine.

We’ll craft a personalized care plan that works best for you and help you prepare for life after treatment. For more information on how we can help you break the chains of substance abuse, contact a member of our admissions staff.

How Long Does a Heroin High Last?

How Long Does a Heroin High Last

Heroin is one of the most dangerous opiates on the market today. Usually found as a powder, many individuals use it as a recreational drug. In the past, opiates like heroin used to be used as painkillers. However, doctors realized that these substances have undesirable side effects like addiction with time. Heroin is a fantastic painkiller. It inhibits signals from reaching the brain, dulling the feeling of pain that may occur within the body.

Alongside this beneficial painkilling aspect, heroin also produces a sense of euphoria as it causes the body to dump a lot of dopamine into the brain. Dopamine is the chemical that makes a person feel good about accomplishing something. Unfortunately, this dopamine rush causes the brain to change itself to cope with it, leading to dependence and addiction.

The Stages of a Heroin High

Heroin highs happen in two different stages. In the first stage, there is a feeling of warmth, happiness, and euphoria that is associated with the spreading of the drug into the brain’s regions. This may only last a few minutes, and it’s the feeling that many heroin users yearn for. The second stage lasts a bit longer and is characterized by extended mild euphoria, sleepiness, relaxation, and pain relief.

This second stage of high lasts for between two to five hours. Eventually, the feeling dissipates, and the user starts feeling the need to use it again to chase that feeling. Why exactly does heroin do this to a person, and how does it work on a person’s brain and body?

What Does Heroin Do to You?

The brain is a mass of chemical interactions. The transmission lines for these interactions are known as receptors. The brain typically sends information between receptors by chemicals known as neurotransmitters. One set of these receptors is designed to accept chemicals like heroin, known as opiates or opioids.

Once a person takes an opiate-like heroin into their body, these receptors start collecting the molecules inside the bloodstream. The opioids are pain-blockers, making it harder to get a pain signal through to the brain. Unfortunately, the side effect of these opioids is a massive flood of dopamine, as mentioned before.

How does Heroin Work in the Brain?

How Long Does a Heroin High Last

This dopamine flood is far in excess of anything the brain usually has to cope with. As a result, it needs to adjust itself and reorient to deal with the new situation. It starts rewiring itself to function normally with such a large volume of dopamine in the body. This rewiring results in the body needing more dopamine to get the same effect, an adaptation known as tolerance.

A person who is tolerant to heroin needs more of the drug to get the same high they rode previously. The rewiring of the brain creates physical dependence on the drug, meaning that the brain can no longer operate normally without it in the bloodstream. Dependence is the first step towards addiction. The term addiction refers to a brain disease where a person’s dependence on a substance affects their ability to make cognitive decisions.

What Opioids Are Similar to Heroin in Effect?

Drugs produced from opium or the poppy plant itself are called opiates. Synthetic drugs that try to mimic the chemical properties of opium and its derivatives are known as opioids. Both of these types of drugs interact with the same systems in the brain. Their impact is similar to a great extent. Among the opioids that produce a similar effect as heroin when taken are:

  • Fentanyl: Fentanyl is 80-100 times more potent than morphine, the precursor to heroin. It typically appears as pills, and gel capsules, resembling legitimate pharmaceuticals. Fentanyl is sometimes combined with other drugs, but it can kill on its own. It’s among the most dangerous synthetic opioids currently available.
  • Prescription Drugs: Drugs such as codeine and oxycodone are synthetic opioids that have a similar action to heroin. These drugs were initially thought to be safe to use, leading to doctors prescribing them for chronic pain control. Thanks to this recklessness, there is a rising opioid crisis in the US as many of those prescribed developed an addiction.
  • Morphine: Before heroin was discovered, the painkiller of choice was morphine. It was used to significant effect as a painkiller and featured as a staple in the second world war as a painkiller on the front lines. Unfortunately, its addictiveness made it unsafe for use, and it was quickly phased out, forcing individuals addicted to it to find another drug to use.

How Long Does Heroin Stay in Your System?

Heroin doesn’t have a very long life within the body. Some experts agree that heroin’s half-life (the amount of time it takes for half the substance to be used) is about thirty minutes in an adult. While the drug is quickly in and out of the body, the effects that it produces can linger for hours. The initial hit, as explained above, brings that feeling of euphoria, with the secondary high and painkiller functionality coming later.

Concerns in Drug Testing for Heroin

How Long Does a Heroin High Last

Tests for heroin typically avoid looking for the drug in the bloodstream since it’s metabolized so quickly. However, it does linger in the body in the urine. If a person uses heroin, it may be present in trace amounts in their urine for up to two days afterward, although sometimes it may be excreted within six hours.

Urine is the most convenient test to find heroin over a period, but hair follicles can be just as helpful. If a person takes heroin, it can be detected in a hair follicle for up to three months after their last use. Newer tests have built upon these successes and can see heroin use in a person longer than three months, possibly up to six. This makes it extremely difficult to get away with taking the substance recreationally.

Factors That Affect a How Long A Heroin High Lasts

No two people who take heroin get the same feelings. Each person’s brain is built differently, but the brain structure isn’t the only thing that affects how long a heroin high lasts. Several factors can affect the length of a high, including:

  • Method of taking the drug: Injecting the drug into the bloodstream is the fastest way to get high, but it also results in the quickest removal of the drug from the bloodstream. Snorting or smoking the drug has a more extended high but takes longer to get there and back.
  • How potent the drug is: Most manufacturers of heroin these days are illegal labs with no quality control. The drug batches they produce will vary in concentration, which affects the intensity of a person’s feelings.
  • Amount of drug taken: The more drugs a person takes, the more intense the high is and the longer it lasts. Taking higher doses leads to more extreme highs but also runs the risk of overdosing on the drug.
  • Tolerance: As mentioned before, tolerance impacts the feeling of euphoria. The more tolerant to the drug a person is, the more difficult it is for them to get high from it.
  • Combination with other substances: Using heroin alongside other drugs can increase the feelings of euphoria, but it could also increase the risk of the body failing. Polydrug use carries a severe risk of life-threatening malfunctions and potentially death.

What Does It Feel Like When Heroin Wears Off?

How Long Does a Heroin High Last

Heroin is an addictive substance, and addiction stems from dependence. When someone uses the drug and comes off it, they immediately want to use it again. Part of that reason is because of the withdrawal symptoms that are typical of heroin and opiate use. Withdrawal symptoms are the body’s way of convincing a person to keep using the drug because the brain needs it to remain functional. Withdrawal occurs when a person cannot get the drug. The longer they go without it, the more intense the withdrawal symptoms get. However, the only way to break the physical dependence on the drug is to go through withdrawal.

Controlled Withdrawal through Heroin Detox

It is best to enter a facility that deals specifically with detoxification if you intend to quit using the substance. Heroin detox is a controlled form of withdrawal, usually monitored by medical health professionals. In some rare cases, heroin withdrawal can severely impact the body and lead to life-threatening situations. While these incidents are rare, it’s always better to have a trained team present to deal with complications if they arise.

Those who aren’t dependent on the substance will likely feel a bit tired when the drug finally wears off. Heroin promotes sleepiness and relaxation in a person, so it takes some time for their brain to recover and return to normal functioning. A non-dependent person won’t have withdrawal symptoms if they stop using the drug, and they can quit any time they feel like it. However, just because they’re not dependent on the substance doesn’t mean they won’t want to use it again. Addiction is not just dependence, which is a physical condition. Addiction also has a psychological component that pushes a person to use it.

Long Term Effects of Chasing A Heroin High

Chasing a heroin high can profoundly impact a person’s personal and professional life. Among the most impactful effects that chasing heroin can have on a person are:

  • Legal costs: Heroin is a controlled substance in many countries worldwide. If held with the substance, a person will face legal charges and require a lawyer to represent them. Additionally, public legal records will indicate their drug use, which may impact their chances of landing a job in the future.
  • Destruction of relationships: Heroin dependence can lead to someone neglecting their family. A person addicted to heroin will seek out the drug above all other responsibilities, including those of a family. This inevitably leads to relationship disintegration and loss of trust within the family unit.
  • Physical and medical issues: Heroin can lead to several physical and mental problems. Using the drug often can have side effects, including collapsed blood vessels, insomnia, liver and kidney disease, and heart infections, to name just a few.
  • Potential overdose: As mentioned above, a person who is tolerant to the drug will need to take more of it to get the same high. Unfortunately, this usually means that there’s a real danger of overdosing on the drug.

Heroin is a dangerous substance, not just because it can lead to death but also because of the other related damages it can cause to a person’s life. In many cases, a person recovering from heroin addiction has to rebuild their life all over again.

Helping Someone Seek Treatment for Heroin Use

Sometimes, a person may not even be aware that they’re addicted to the substance. Typically, these people mention that they can stop anytime they want, even though it’s evident that this isn’t the case. In such a case, the person’s loved ones may need to step in and help them understand they have a problem.

Heroin use can be easy to hide, but a person dependent on the substance starts showing obvious signs of addiction over time. Behaviors such as avoiding social events, becoming reclusive, and no longer enjoying hobbies that they used to are good signs that they may be hooked on drugs.

Interventions are a dangerous way to approach helping someone with heroin addiction. In some cases, however, it may be the only way. The more viable method of helping someone is to guide them towards understanding they have a problem. They need to decide that they want to quit, or else rehab and recovery won’t be able to help them.

Treatment For Heroin Abuse and Addiction at Pathfinders

Pathfinders Recovery has helped hundreds of people recover their lives from heroin and opioid addictions. Our well-trained staff is knowledgeable in treatment options and can help you find a course that’s right for your problem.

Communal areas for detox and inpatient/outpatient treatment allow us to cater to a wide range of clients. Our flexible payment options ensure that no one is left out. If you or your loved one needs the support and care of a rehab facility, contact us today. We’d be more than happy to lend a hand.

How Long Does Meth Stay In Your System?

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Does Meth Remain in Your System a Long Time?

One of the most commonly asked questions from individuals with substance use disorders is how long certain substances stay in your system. This question is often raised for a few different reasons.

Someone might be curious about the length of time meth stays in your system because they’re ready to detox. Other times, it might be because they were sober and slipped into relapse and have a drug test approaching they need to pass.

The best way to understand how long meth stays in your system and how it behaves is by really becoming educated on what meth is and how your body reacts to it. Let’s take a look at this incredibly complex drug and its role in the lives of individuals who abuse it.

What Is Methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine, or crystal meth, is a synthetic stimulant that has a reputation for its highly addictive properties. This drug interacts with the central nervous system, leading to an intense release of dopamine, serotonin, and chemicals in the brain that manifests certain feelings and emotions when we engage in certain behaviors.

Technically, there are legal formulations of methamphetamine, such as narcolepsy medication Desoxyn. However, as an illegal narcotic manufactured on the black market, meth is a Schedule II substance on the federal and most state levels.

Throughout the 90s, methamphetamine experienced a boom in certain regions of the United States, leading to challenges with clandestine labs created by users looking to produce the drug themselves. Many of these labs led to explosions because of the crude setup and dangerous substances used to manufacture low-quality meth.

This low-quality version of the drug, otherwise known as crank, is only a fraction of the purity seen with the current version that’s flooded American streets. Many people consider meth, crank, and speed to be the same substance. However, individuals with an ear to the streets consider this to be false, as each of these terms describes a completely different substance, respectively.

Crank

Crank refers to the crudely manufactured version of methamphetamine that’s formulated in backyard and basement labs in remote areas of the United States. The popularity of these labs decreased after DEA crackdowns led to arrests in large numbers.

Additionally, many of the ingredients required to produce this version of meth are on the FDA’s banned substances list or are heavily tracked in an effort to observe buyer behavior. Crank is also known as shake and bake, bathtub crank, biker crank, and easter bunny dope.

Meth

Meth is the name that’s commonly used to refer to the current versions of methamphetamine that are circulating on the black market. Other names for this highly potent, pure form of the drug are glass, ice, tina, clear, and go-fast.

Large quantities of this drug are produced in huge warehouses known as superlabs throughout parts of Mexico. Drug cartels are behind the formulation, creation, packaging, smuggling, and distribution of this drug and rule the market with an iron fist.

It’s not uncommon for seized batches of this drug to test at nearly 100% purity. What used to be a drug considered to be approaching extinction as far as use goes has returned with a vengeance. Currently, meth is the number two most consumed drug in the entire world. This ranking is a side effect of the silent explosion of use that went almost unnoticed because of the opiate epidemic.

Speed

Speed is a term used to describe the pill form of methamphetamine. In the 70s, methamphetamine pills became popular on the black market before cocaine and crystal meth took over. Despite their decreased popularity in America, these pills still exist and are more common in parts of Europe as well as Asia the Middle East.

Despite the different forms of methamphetamine, many of the short-term effects are similar across all variations.

Short-term Effects of Meth

Meth is an incredibly long-acting drug with varying effects felt at different stages of intoxication. Because of the duration of the high, users normally require small doses of the drug to achieve the desired effects.

Despite these lowered doses, the presence of particularly intense short-term effects still has the potential to affect users in a very powerful and highly addictive manner.

Normally users either smoke meth via glass pipe or inject it with an insulin syringe. When either of these methods is administered, the drug reaches the brain very quickly, with injection being the faster of the two.

The result is what’s known as a “rush” – the sudden onset of intense pleasure and excitement. Users may also orally ingest meth or snort it nasally, both of which produce a much longer high with an increased presence of physical energy.

When the drug is swallowed or snorted instead of smoked or injected, the sudden, intense rush is replaced by a constantly maintained spark of motivation lasting for up to 12 hours.

The overall period of intoxication and time the drug remains present in the blood are dictated by what’s known as the half-life. When your body metabolizes the drug faster, the high isn’t felt as long, and the duration in which traces are detectable by a drug test is shorter as well.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Despite the fact that they’re both stimulants, meth, and cocaine exit the body at different rates. Cocaine is quickly removed and nearly completely metabolized in the body, while meth remains unchanged and hangs around much longer. This is what leads to the extended period of intoxication.

Normally the window of intoxication is anywhere between 10 and 24 hours. The overall period is heavily dependent on how much is ingested and at what time of day, how it’s administered, the body’s chemistry, and the function of the liver and kidneys.

Understanding these things about the elimination of methamphetamine from the body leaves the final question of the actual half-life of meth.

The Half-life of Methamphetamine

Understanding the half-life of meth is critical if you’re in the company of someone that suffers from meth abuse disorder. Being aware of this important number allows you to gauge when the individual can expect to experience the initial stages of withdrawal.

Normally, the half-life of methamphetamines in the bloodstream is somewhere between four and six hours. However, this doesn’t mean that all traces of meth are eliminated after this period.

It takes the course of about five half-lives for a substance to completely exit the body. After applying the appropriate math, it’s safe to assume that meth takes about 25 hours to fully vacate the bloodstream.

It’s important to keep in mind that the chemical breakdown products of meth can still be detected in other body systems, including urine, hair, and other sources. The following section highlights each different type of detection and how long they’re effective at tracing meth.

Detecting Meth in Drug Tests

Even when meth is eliminated from the blood, the drug is still detectable in certain types of tests. The following list contains information about each specific testing model:

Urine Tests

Urine testing is normally the most common form of detection when it comes to substance abuse. These tests are conducted fairly quickly and aren’t intrusive. The individual produces a urine sample in a cup, and the contents are examined with a panelled testing component. Normally urine tests can detect the presence of meth for a period of one to five days.

Blood Tests

Remember, blood tests follow the same timeline as the half-life of meth. This means that the drug is only detectable in the blood for about 25 hours.

How Long Does Meth Stay in Your System?

Saliva Tests

Drug tests that consist of saliva swabs are normally effective at detecting meth for up to two days after the last use. These tests require an absorbent material to swab the mouth or tongue.

Hair Tests

Hair tests can also be used to detect the presence of meth. All it takes is a half-inch sample of hair to detect the presence of meth for up to 90 days prior to the test.

Meth Testing Variables to Consider

The detection times of meth using these drug tests change from person to person. However, there are other factors that may influence the overall detection times.

These factors include the following:

  • The individual’s overall health in question has a strong influence on how fast the drug exits the body. If you have a clean bill of health, your liver probably functions at a high level, meaning toxins are eliminated much faster.
  • When someone uses meth in large quantities very frequently, the detection times will increase significantly. This may be the largest contributing factor to the length of time meth can be picked up by drug tests.

It’s important to remain aware that large quantities and frequent use cause meth to accumulate within a user’s body. This accumulation presents a significant increase in the chances of an overdose being experienced.

Because meth has such a long period of intoxication, when users repeatedly ingest the drug, the body doesn’t have time to recover from previous doses. This accumulation is incredibly dangerous and has the potential to cause stroke, heart attack, and other negative heart-related consequences.

Additionally, large accumulations of meth also increase the chances of experiencing a negative mental health event as a result of meth intoxication. Meth-induced psychosis is common, and can produce potentially dangerous side effects.

This is why it’s critical that users have a strategy for eliminating meth from the system before attempting recovery. Once the drug is completely expelled from the body, individuals can move forward with recovery without the constant fear of meth-induced psychosis and other challenges.

Getting Meth Out of Your System

How do you get methamphetamines out of your system? The only way meth efficiently leaves the body is through the liver. The liver must process this substance, and there’s no other way to eliminate it from your system once it’s been ingested.

Avoiding subsequent doses will help you avoid larger amounts of the drug from building inside of your body. This gives your liver a chance to process the drug and effectively eliminate it from all of your body systems.

Seeking Treatment

If your goal is eliminating meth from your body, the most logical course of action is to enter a medically-assisted detox program. These programs allow you to safely go through the detoxification process under the direct supervision of medical and mental health professionals. This supervision gives the client significant advantages in terms of successfully completing the detox process.

The most severe side-effects of withdrawal may be avoided by taking advantage of medication options provided by a physician. Additionally, being monitored by professionals decreases your chances of experiencing a more severe medical event because of things like increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and anxiety, which can all be side effects of detox.

When Meth is Completely Eliminated from the Body, The Road to Recovery

The post-detox period is defined as the time immediately following the drug being expelled from the body. Individuals may deal with the most significant mental challenges associated with recovery during this period.

The mind and body must acclimate to the absence of meth, and this transition can present significant challenges. It’s during this period that clients may become uncomfortable and mentally exhausted.

This struggle may lead to an increased risk for relapse and participating in an inpatient treatment program can help clients safely navigate these rough patches. It’s critical that clients receive education and guidance in the form of mental health counseling and various types of therapy to help them manage their emotions and behaviors.

Learning how to properly manage your emotions and behaviors is one of the largest elements of recovery, as you experience life with a “sober mind.”

Pathfinders Recovery Centers specializes in assisting clients with managing this journey back into normal life and environment. Our compassionate staff is well-trained in providing various levels of care and promoting recovery and mental wellness.

If you’re ready to start your journey to recovery and reclaim your life, we encourage you to contact a member of our Admissions department to learn more about our treatment options.

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms: A Deeper Look

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Combating the Fentanyl Overdose Epidemic

Turn on the news and you’ll undoubtedly hear about fentanyl use in many communities today. It’s quite likely that you may know someone who will succumb to fentanyl overdose symptoms at some point. This is because around 60% of opioid-related deaths in the U.S. today are caused by fentanyl. Clearly, more education is needed in regards to this drug.

Fentanyl as an adulterant has become quite popular. Initially drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine were laced with fentanyl. Many people didn’t know that fentanyl made these drugs more powerful and deadly. Today, people know about fentanyl and some will even admit that it’s their substance of choice.

What You Should Know About Fentanyl

When someone is addicted to fentanyl, they’re addicted to a drug that’s 50 – 100 times more potent than heroin. This is why the drug poses such a high risk for an accidental overdose. Since fentanyl is still being added to many other drugs, there’s the added danger that a person may not even know that they’re taking it.

What is Fentanyl?

Although fentanyl originated as a prescription medication (a.k.a. Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze) that was used to treat severe pain, it’s now being made and used illegally as well. In this regard it’s similar to morphine. Tolerance to synthetic opioids occurs when someone needs a higher dose or needs to use it more frequently to obtain the desired effects.

Where is Fentanyl Found?

Besides being found in heroin and cocaine, counterfeit fentanyl pills are now hitting the street. They’re being sold as ecstasy, oxycodone, and alprazolam. These pills are widely available and easy to purchase. This is dangerous because many people aren’t even aware of what they’re taking.

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to fentanyl?

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) warns that someone may come into contact with fentanyl without even knowing it. Therefore, it’s important to understand what some of the signs of exposure in non users include. Some of the things you should watch for include:

  • Slow breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Lack of consciousness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Blue lips or fingernail beds
  • Cold, clammy skin

 

How Should You Handle Fentanyl?

Recently there’s been a lot of talk regarding harm reduction and opioid safety. This is caused by the rise in usage and deaths from such drugs. For the safe handling of fentanyl the CDC suggests you take the following precautions:

  • Whenever you’re in an area where you suspect there’s fentanyl, make sure you don’t eat, drink, smoke, or use the bathroom.
  • Never touch your eyes, mouth, or nose if you’ve touched a surface that you believe may be contaminated with fentanyl.
  • Don’t do anything that may cause the fentanyl to become airborne. If you believe that the drug is already in the air, make sure you wear respiratory protection.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water immediately after you think you’ve been exposed to fentanyl. This is something you should do even if you wore gloves while in the area. Make sure you don’t use a hand sanitizer or a bleach solution because doing so will enhance the drug’s absorption into your skin.

 

It’s important to understand that it doesn’t take much fentanyl to overdose. Police and first responders are in harm’s way each and every time they respond to a suspected fentanyl overdose. While there are policies in place to help protect them, these policies continually need updated as we learn more about this drug.

How and Why Do People Use Fentanyl?

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Fentanyl is made in a lab. It’s then sold in the form of a powder. Many dealers mix it with other drugs since it only takes a very small amount of inexpensive fentanyl to get high. This is very dangerous because most people don’t even realize that they’re taking fentanyl. Since their body isn’t use to the effects of fentanyl they’re more likely to overdose.

Those who find out that they’re taking fentanyl may willingly replace their other drugs with it. They will typically use it in an eye dropper or as a nasal spray. Some people will make pills out of it so that it looks like other prescription opioids.

How does Fentanyl Affect the Brain?

Fentanyl is an opioid similar to heroin and morphine. Opioids bind to the body’s opioid receptors. These are located in the part of your brain that’s responsible for controlling pain and emotions. After you take opioids numerous times your brain adapts to the drug so you’re now dependent upon it. When this happens you may experience some of the following effects:

  • Extreme happiness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Confusion
  • Problems breating

Does Fentanyl Lead to Dependence?

Fentanyl will eventually lead to dependence. This is because of how potent the drug is. Even a person who’s taking the drug under a doctor’s supervision may become dependent upon it. They will experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped.

Sometimes dependence results in addiction. This is the most severe type of substance abuse disorder. When someone is addicted to drugs they’ll become compulsive in seeking it out. They’ll also continue to use the drug even though it may be causing them problems at work, home, or school.

When someone stops taking fentanyl they will have severe withdrawal symptoms within a few hours. These symptoms include:

  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Uncontrollable leg movements
  • Cold flashes (including goosebumps)
  • Issues with sleeping
  • Severe cravings
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

 

As you can imagine, the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal are extremely uncomfortable. They’re what causes so many people to remain addicted to this drug. The FDA is currently working on medications and devices to help people withdraw more comfortably.

Can You Overdose on Fentanyl?

As with any other drug, it’s possible to overdose on fentanyl. This happens when a drug causes serious adverse effects and life-threatening symptoms within your body. For instance, when someone overdoses on fentanyl their breathing will slow – even to the point of stopping. When this happens less oxygen makes its way to their brain. This is a condition that’s known as hypoxia. It can result in a person becoming comatized. At that point permanent brain damage and even death may occur.

How Much Fentanyl Can Kill You?

Just a quick note regarding fentanyl overdose amounts before discussing what a fentanyl overdose looks like. Although you never want to experiment with drugs like fentanyl, you may still wonder how much of it can kill you. Based on the amount of fentanyl in your system, here’s what you may be able to expect, but be very aware these are not exact and depend on general opiate and opioid tolerance:

 

  • 25 mcg is not fatal
  • 50 mcg places you at a modest risk of an overdose
  • 100 mcg places you at a moderate risk of an overdose
  • 150 mcg places you at a significant risk of an overdose
  • 250 mcg places you at a high risk of an overdose
  • 400 mcg places you at a extreme risk of an overdose
  • 700 mcg means death is likely
  • 1,000 mcg means death is near certain
  • 2,000 mcg means death is imminent

What are Some Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms?

Typically, opioids are measured in milligrams. However, fentanyl is measured in micrograms. These are 1,000 times smaller than a milligram. Hence why people so easily overdose on fentanyl. It only takes a very small amount to do so. All it takes is 2 mg of fentanyl which is like a pinch of salt.

While fentanyl itself is very dangerous, even worse variants have started to become more popular in recent years. Carfentanil is an elephant tranquilizer that’s 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It only takes the amount of a small grain of sand to kill an adult. This is why professionals call fentanyl and its offshoots the deadliest opionids in existence today. It’s also why it’s important to know what the symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include.

The typical overdose occurs quite quickly. Usually it only takes a few seconds. During these fleeting moments you must determine whether someone is suffering from an opioid or fentanyl overdose. There are some atypical signs that you should look for, including:

  • A person’s lips may immediately turn blue or grey
  • Their body may stiffen and show activity that’s similar to a seizure
  • They may start foaming at their mouth
  • They will be confused before becoming unresponsive

 

Common Signs of Fentanyl Overdose

Some of the more typical signs that a person who’s suffering from a fentanyl overdose will show include:

  • Dizziness: They’ll struggle to remain steady on their feet. They’ll also find that it’s difficult for them to remain in an upright position. They can neither sit nor stand but their body will need to lie down.
  • Weakness: Besides theri body being unable to remain upright, it’ll also grow weak. Fatigue is quite common. Even the person’s extremities may become limp.
  • Sleepiness: Since their brain isn’t getting enough oxygen, the person will start to experience feelings of drowsiness.
  • Hypoventilation: You may assume that you’d need to watch for rapid, erratic breaths. However, you should be watching for slow breathing. This is because opioids negatively impact the area of your brain that’s responsible for breathing.

 

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

You can seek help prior to a person overdosing. It’s important to know what symptoms to look for here. When you see any of the following symptoms it’s a good idea to seek medical intervention for the person:

  • A slow heart rate
  • Clumsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Unconsciousness when left untreated may result in the person slipping into a coma

 

When someone becomes unconscious you should seek medical attention immediately. These other signs should also be a red flag for anyone who believes their in the presence of someone who’s used fentanyl

What to Do When Someone Overdoses?

Whenever someone you know overdoses on fentanyl, it’s important to treat them with Narcan immediately. Thanks to the ‘Good Samaritan laws’ on overdose you shouldn’t be afraid to do so.

These laws have been put in place so you have immunity from arrest and prosecution when trying to help a victim of an overdose.

What should you know about Narcan?

Narcan and fentanyl overdose go hand-in-hand. This is because naloxone acts as a temporary antidote for opioid overdoses. When it’s administered properly naloxone can restore a person’s normal breathing and consciousness. Further treatment will still be necessary due to the depression of breathing. The person who overdosed should be taken to the hospital immediately.

Unfortunately, Narcan revival isn’t without some risks. You need to be aware of the risks of Narcan revival which may include:

  • Increased blood pressure: This is the most common side effect.
  • Nasal dryness, swelling, inflammation or congestion
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Headache

 

Some people who are revived with Narcan may become assaultive upon regaining consciousness. For your safety, this is something you should be prepared to manage.

Treating Fentanyl Addiction

Treatment for fentanyl overdose is similar to treatment for other addictions. You should receive a combination of both medication and behavioral therapy. This combination is the most effective way to treat your addiction.

Medication Assisted Treatment Options

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Two of the more popular medications that are used to help you withdraw from fentanyl include buprenorphine and methadone. They work by binding the opioid receptors in your brain that were influenced by fentanyl. In doing so they help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Naltrexone is another medication that’s frequently used. It blocks your body’s opioid receptors that that fentanyl doesn’t have any affect.

Counseling for Fentanyl Dependence

You should also seek counseling along with any medication your doctor may prescribe for your fentanyl addiction. Behavioral therapy will help you modify your attitude and behavior related to drug use. At the same time, they’ll also help you increase your healthy living skills (e.g., ensuring you take your medication properly).

There are a few different types of therapy that you may find beneficial. These include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy helps modify your behavior regarding fentanyl use. It will also help you effectively manage your behaviors, triggers, and stress.
  • Contingency management is a voucher-based system in which you earn “points” for negative drug tests. These points can be used for items that encourage healthy living.
  • Motivational interviewing is a patient-centered type of counseling style in which your mixed feelings regarding change are addressed.

Getting Help for a Fentanyl Addiction

Fortunately, you can overcome an addiction to fentanyl. When you start exploring fentanyl treatment options you’ll find that our evidence-based medication and therapy are the best treatment around. At Pathfinders Recovery Center we want you to regain control of your life. So, if you need help obtaining your sobriety, get in contact with us today.

Long-Term Effects of Heroin

LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF HEROIN

Heroin Use Disorder Definition

Opioid or heroin use disorder is a chronic, lifelong disorder. Heroin use disorder has serious potential consequences, including a history of relapse, disability, and even death. In 2020, over 92,000 Americans died due to drug overdoses.

This was almost a 30% increase from the previous year. While heroin overdose rates have decreased slightly in the years since there was a seven-fold increase in deaths involving heroin from 2002 to 2017. Heroin use disorders remain a significant public health crisis.

What is Long-Term Heroin Use?

Since there are currently no approved medical uses for heroin, any amount or method of use constitutes abuse. But what is the timeframe that we consider short-term heroin abuse, as opposed to long-term heroin abuse, which is more likely to lead to heroin use disorders?

For prescription medications, many experts define short-term use as covering roughly one month. Long-term use may then be anything over one month and averages approximately three months or more.

But again, the rules change when we are talking about an illicit drug rather than a prescription medication. Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs available today. And it has become increasingly common for dealers to lace heroin with fentanyl, making it even more dangerous.

Effects of Long-Term Opiate Intake

Long-term opiate ingestion can cause a wide range of side effects. These side effects may be physical, mental, or emotional, with most users experiencing some combination of all three. Individual factors can alter your experience with heroin, including:

  • The frequency of heroin abuse.
  • The method of heroin abuse.
  • Other substances that are present in the body.
  • Your overall physical and mental health.

For most, changes in thought patterns, drug cravings, relapses, and withdrawal symptoms are some of the most noticeable early side effects.

Physical Effects of Chronic Heroin Use

Long-Term Effects of Heroin

Many of the effects of heroin use disorder are more psychological than physical. However, there are still many potential physical side effects of chronic heroin use that users should be aware of. Some of the most common include:

  • Constipation
  • Depressed respiration
  • Pneumonia and other lung complications
  • Damaged nasal tissue for those who repeatedly snort heroin
  • Collapsed or scarred veins and bacterial infections for those who inject heroin

As we mentioned earlier in the article, your side effects may vary depending on the severity of your addiction and the state of your overall health, among other factors.

Psychological Changes Made by Heroin

Repeated heroin use changes the physical structure and physiology of the brain. These changes create long-term imbalances in our hormonal and neuronal systems, and these imbalances are not easy to reverse.

In long-term heroin use, one of the largest psychological concerns is white matter damage in the brain. White matter damage can impair our decision-making skills, behavior regulation abilities, and stress responses.

A lack of control over these emotional processes can leave us feeling trapped and helpless. We can help you end the cycle of abuse and regain control.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

Certain opiates, including heroin, produce extreme degrees of tolerance and physical dependence. When our bodies adapt to the presence of a drug, we become physically dependent on it, and withdrawal symptoms occur if we abruptly reduce or stop using it.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms may start in as short as a few hours after the last dose. Some of the most common heroin withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Insomnia and restlessness.
  • Bone and muscle pain.
  • Vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Involuntary leg movements.
  • Cold flashes and goosebumps.

Through any method, heroin is extremely addictive. And heroin use disorder leads users to prioritize the drug over all else in their life, despite any negative consequences this may cause.

Risks of Fentanyl and Heroin Overdose

With the rate of fatal heroin overdoses landing in the thousands, this opioid remains a pressing concern. And there are several activities or additions that may make a heroin overdose more likely. For now, we will focus on the risks of fentanyl and heroin overdose.

One of the most pressing problems in the heroin crisis is that it is frequently laced with fentanyl without the user’s knowledge. Fentanyl is another addictive and dangerous opioid, which is approximately 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

We can’t always control what distributors put in the drugs that they sell on the streets. And we can’t always control how our bodies react to these substances.  But we can control what we put into our bodies, even when it feels like we have no control at all.

Establishing Recovery That Will Last

Establishing recovery that will last starts with being honest with yourself. Heroin use disorder will not go away on its own. And it will likely not get better without treatment. This is not something that you have to face alone. Our dedicated professionals are here to help.

Heroin can present several overwhelming, uncomfortable, and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms. These severe withdrawal symptoms make it harder to detox at home. So, we recommend starting with medical detox.

Our suboxone and other medication-assisted options will help reduce or eliminate your withdrawal symptoms to aid the early sobriety stage. With these symptoms made more manageable, you become free to focus on your recovery.

From there, we recommend inpatient care, whether that means a traditional residential program or a long-term rehab program.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient Care for Heroin Addiction

Long-Term Effects of Heroin

Long-term drug abuse and addiction may require long-term inpatient care. While many traditional residential programs last an average of 30 days to three months, long-term rehab programs typically last longer than that.

Some stay for six months, while others remain for a year or more. If you start your recovery journey with a long-term program, you will spend your time here working toward a variety of recovery goals, including:

  • Altering damaging thought patterns and behaviors
  • Re-establishing the social skills lost during addiction
  • Building sober social networks and learning from social support groups
  • Developing healthy habits and coping mechanisms
  • Controlling negative emotions, like stress, anger, and depression, rather than submitting to them or using drugs to quiet them

During your time in long-term rehab, your days are spent with dedicated professionals and others on the same journey. We will evaluate your progress and needs as they change to ensure that you are still in the appropriate program.

Other Program Options for Heroin Addiction

While there are many different paths toward recovery, most start with residential care before transitioning into a more flexible program. Once your condition is more stable and you feel confident in your ability to maintain your sobriety at home, an outpatient program comes next.

Depending on your needs and mental health, this might mean a partial hospitalization program or an intensive outpatient program. We will work with you to determine which will best suit your needs when the time comes.

Overcoming Heroin Use Disorder at a Pathfinders Recovery Center

With conveniently located luxury facilities in both Arizona and Colorado, personalized care programs, and a full staff of dedicated professionals, the Pathfinders approach can make all the difference.

From detox through aftercare, we offer comprehensive programs to meet all of your recovery needs through each stage. Call us today at 866-275-0079 to learn more. Our confidential call line is always open, and our addiction counselors are here to help.

Lean Addiction and Abuse (Purple Drank)

Lean addiction, as shown by cough syrup being poured into spoon

What is Lean Addiction?

While it may not be one of the most well-known drugs of choice, lean addiction is a growing problem in the United States.

Lean is an illicit substance that combines codeine cough syrup with soda and hard candy.

Lean contains codeine, which can be highly addictive, and it is especially abused by young people.

A bottle of cough syrup being poured into a cup, illustrates the dangers of lean addiction

Understanding Lean

When lean was first invented, it was mixed with beer.

Later, lean was instead made with soda with a hard candy for added sweetness.

The drink gained popularity after being mentioned in many popular rap songs in the 1980s and 1990s.

Many rappers have since died after developing a lean addiction. Lean is also called “purple drank,” “dirty sprite,” and “sizzurp.”

Lean’s main ingredient codeine is an opioid. This drug is made from the opium poppy plant.

When you take an opioid, it affects areas in your brain that control your “reward system.” This means that it makes you feel relaxed, happy, and euphoric.

Opioids are also highly addictive. Once you begin abusing lean, your brain very quickly becomes dependent on it and makes you crave it.

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What are the Effects of Lean Addiction?

When taken for short periods of time, codeine cough syrups help you by blocking the urge to cough.

They also make you feel relaxed. However, they can have negative effects even when taken correctly.

These can include drowsiness, confusion, constipation, depression, nausea, vomiting, and slowed breathing.

If you have a lean addiction, these symptoms can become worse over time.

Frequent lean abuse can have even more serious side effects.

One of these side effects called hypoxia is especially dangerous.

Hypoxia is a condition where not enough oxygen reaches the brain and can happen when codeine makes your breathing slow too much.

Hypoxia can cause both short-term and long-term health problems, including brain damage, coma, and even death.

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How Can You Abuse Lean?

Lean is a drug that has no medical purposes. Taking it just once counts as drug abuse.

If you take it frequently or for long periods of time, it is very easy to develop a lean addiction.

If you are not sure whether you are addicted to lean, here are some questions that you can ask yourself:

  • Are you taking larger amounts of lean or using it more frequently than you used to?
  • Have you tried to cut down or stop taking lean but find that you cannot?
  • Do you spend a lot of time getting codeine cough syrup to make lean, or dealing with the side effects?
  • Do you crave lean when you are not taking it?
  • Are you having issues at work, school, or home?
  • Have you stopped doing things you used to enjoy so that you can take lean?
  • Do you need to take lean in order to feel happy or relaxed?
  • Do you experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking lean?

If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, there is a good chance that you have a lean addiction.

Now may be the time to consider getting in touch with Pathfinders Recovery Center to learn about our lean addiction rehab options.

Mental Illness and Lean Addiction

Because lean contains codeine, it can have the same negative effects on your mental health that any other opioid causes.

People who have a lean addiction are twice as likely to suffer from at least one mental health condition.

The most common issues are aggression, anxiety, depression, hallucinations, and mood swings.

If you had a mental health issue before your lean addiction, you will most likely find that taking lean makes them worse.

People who already have depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of abusing drugs like lean.

This often happens because a person tries to treat their mental health symptoms with lean.

In the short term, this can trick your brain into thinking that you feel better.

In the long run, it just makes your mental health symptoms worse.

No matter when your mental health problems first appeared, it is important that you discuss them with the team at Pathfinders Recovery Center.

Having both your lean addiction and mental health symptoms treated is going to be key to helping you overcome your addiction.

Rows of cough syrup and empty cups show the reality of lean addiction

Withdrawal from Lean Addiction

Having a purple drank addiction means that your brain is dependent on the codeine in this drug.

If you try to take less or stop taking it entirely, you can experience withdrawal symptoms. Much like any other opioid addiction, these symptoms usually come in two parts.

The first part will usually start within a day of stopping purple drank, though for serious purple drank addictions it may start within just a few hours.

The first symptoms can include anxiety, agitation, insomnia, muscle aches, watery eyes, runny nose, or sweating.

The second part of withdrawal then begins in another day or two, and is usually more severe.

They can include diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, dilated pupils, and goose bumps.

Purple drank addiction withdrawal symptoms usually peak about three days after stopping, and then slowly go away.

The entire withdrawal process usually takes about a week. For people with a very serious purple drank addiction, it can take a little longer.

These symptoms are very rarely life-threatening, but they can still make you feel extremely uncomfortable.

That is why Pathfinders offers a medical detox program. This allows us to help our clients be more comfortable during detox by providing medications to make the symptoms less noticeable and easier to deal with.

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Treatment Options for Lean Addiction

When it comes to getting treatment for your lean addiction, we have a number of different program options for you.

For people who are abusing opioid drugs like lean, our medication-assisted treatment program (MAT) is one of the most effective options.

MAT uses both medications and behavioral therapy to help you get through detox and treat the underlying reasons behind your lean addiction.

The medications we use help to both make withdrawal more comfortable and reduce your cravings for lean.

Therapy, both in individual and group sessions, helps you better understand why you ended up with this addiction.

It also helps give you tools to avoid drug use triggers, and ways to better manage your stress.

Both of these things help you to avoid using lean, and reduce your chances of experiencing a relapse.

Behavioral therapy will also help address any mental health symptoms you have been experiencing.

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Getting the Help You Need at a Quality Rehab Center

We know that no one starts using purple drank with the idea of becoming addicted to it.

Just because you have developed a problem does not mean that you have to live with it.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we know exactly what it takes to get your life back from the difficulty of addiction.

Our premier addiction treatment centers are located in upscale areas throughout the Scottsdale, Arizona area.

Our luxury locations provide you with a comfortable and home-like atmosphere so that our clients feel safe and secure throughout their treatment program.

We help to ensure your success by using only scientifically researched, cutting edge, and effective drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.

We have over 25 years of experience in helping people with addictions and co-occurring disorders to overcome their addictions.

Many of our clients wonder whether they will be able to take advantage of their health insurance benefits to help cover their treatment.

That is why we accept most major insurances through our free insurance verification.

Simply give us a call, and one of our addiction specialists can check to see how much of your treatment program will be covered by your insurance before you begin treatment.

You can trust us to communicate with your insurance provider to ensure that you receive every benefit that you are entitled to.

A lean addiction is nothing to be ashamed of and seeking help does not have to be a difficult process.

Let us use our years of experience to help you get on the path to a meaningful and lasting recovery.

Contact us today and see the difference stopping your drug abuse can make in your life.

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren’t Addictive

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren't Addictive Pathfinders - An image of a prescription of opioids that are highly addictive and can lead to opioid abuse and addiction, which is why it is recommended to seek out opioid alternatives for pain relief.

Every day 116 people die of an opioid drug overdose. And 42,249 people died of prescription opioids in 2016.

These numbers are chilling.

What is even more chilling is that many of these deaths are preventable.

The problem is that prescription opioids are seen as one of the only ways of coping with chronic pain. And people are rarely offered non-opioid alternatives.

Many individuals in recovery for opioid abuse fear that treating pain with opioids will lead to relapse.

However, it does not have to be this way. Many opioid alternatives can provide lasting pain relief with none of the risks.

Since opioids are so commonly used, you may ask yourself: “Aren’t they the best method to treat pain?”

The answer is no.

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren't Addictive Pathfinders - An image of a prescription of opioids that are highly addictive and can lead to opioid abuse and addiction, which is why it is recommended to seek out opioid alternatives for pain relief.

A 2017 study showed that there was no difference between opioid and non-opioid treatment for pain management.

Opioid alternatives — like ibuprofen and acetaminophen — performed as well as opioids when treating leg and arm pain. And beyond addiction, opioids have many other side effects, including constipation, nausea, vomiting, and adrenal problems.

There are many ways of treating pain without addiction or side effects.

Let’s look at a few opioid alternatives to help you manage pain safely.

Non-Opioid Painkillers

Many addicts fear that pain relief and drug relapse go hand in hand.

But there are many non-opiate painkillers for addicts.

From drugs that treat inflammation and injuries to drugs that treat chronic pain, there are opioid alternatives.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Most people know drugs like Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen by their brand names, Tylenol and Advil.

These medications are usually associated with treating mild headaches or migraines.

However, most people don’t know they can be serious non-opiate painkillers.

These drugs are considered NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

They work by acting directly on the injured body tissue to reduce prostaglandins, which causes increased inflammation after an injury.

NSAIDs function differently than opioids, which act on the central nervous system. The opioids bind to the opioid receptors in the brain, decreasing the brain’s awareness of pain. This leads to a euphoric feeling that can become addictive.

Though these drugs are non-addictive and are typically safer than opioids, they still have side effects like liver damage, stomach irritation, kidney problems, and bleeding problems.

Another serious side issue is the ceiling effect. This means that once you have increased the dosage to a certain point there is a limit or “ceiling” to how effective these drugs are.

As a result, these drugs are not recommended for chronic pain sufferers.

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Chronically ill patients are especially at risk for opioid addiction.

This is because the long-term use of opioids increases the risk of becoming dependent. It may also be because many non-opioid drugs are not approved for long-term use.

However, for people suffering from chronic diseases, like fibromyalgia and chronic back or knee pain, there are opiate alternatives.

For example, Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) work by decreasing sensitivity to pain by interfering with the spinal cord’s pain suppression pathways.

The practice of using these drugs has already become popular.

One SNRI, Duloxetine, is already widely prescribed as a treatment for chronic pain.

Though Duloxetine works well for chronic pain, it has side effects like loss of appetite, constipation, and fatigue.

With many individuals that struggle with opioid addiction looking for opioid alternatives, drugs like Duloxetine provide a second chance at life.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants are drugs that treat chronic pain and depression.

These drugs work effectively because chronic pain and depression have similar neurological makeup and often affect similar parts of the brain.

They work by controlling the output of serotonin and norepinephrine. They also regulate the function of the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus.

One benefit of using antidepressants to treat pain is that it can also help treat the depression that accompanies opioid abuse.

Anticonvulsants

Anticonvulsants are usually only thought of as anti-seizure medications.

However, they can also function as powerful opioid alternatives for those struggling with opioid abuse. They work by interfering with the pain signals sent from oversensitive or damaged nerve cells.

Though anticonvulsants are relatively safe, they do carry some risks. These drugs can affect levels of vitamins C, D, E, B6, and B22. They can also cause nausea, dizziness, weight gain, and fatigue.

Some of the newer drugs have fewer side effects. For example, drugs like Gabapentin and Pregabalin have successfully treated pain caused by spinal cord injuries.

Corticosteroids

Many people think athletes and bodybuilders typically use steroids or that extra boost in performance and muscle.

However, many people are unaware that steroids have been and continue to be used for pain management.

Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, they can be used to treat joint damage, nerve damage, and soft tissue damage.

What makes corticosteroids different than opioids is that they work on a cellular level. They bind to a cell, change gene expression, and control cellular function. This allows for the management of pain without the damaging effects of opioids.

Physical Opioid Alternatives

For people afraid of the side effects of pills, there many opioid alternative treatments that provide pain relief.

Physical Therapy

A great pain management option to talk to your doctor about is physical therapy.

Physical therapy allows for treating an injury or illness with exercise and massage, instead of surgery or drugs.

It also allows for more long-term pain management and recovery.

Physical therapy can often require more work on the part of the patient.

It requires attending sessions. In many cases, you will also have to perform exercises at home.

For people living without reliable transportation or in areas where physical therapists are rare, it can be challenging to access this type of treatment. Some physical therapists will travel to you, so it is important to consider all of your available options.

Physical therapy can improve healing and can provide long-term pain relief.

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren't Addictive Pathfinders - A middle-aged man is engaging in physical therapy with a professional physical therapist as one of the available opioid alternatives to manage pain and improve the healing process instead of abusing opioid medications.

Acupuncture

One of the safest ways of treating pain without side effects is acupuncture.

Though acupuncture is often regarded as pseudoscience, there is evidence showing it can help treat pain.

One study found that acupuncture worked and medicine in providing long-term pain relief for patients who came into the emergency room.

Scientists have found that acupuncture can change the way the brain processes and perceives pain.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is another alternative to opioids that has minimal side effects.

Chiropractic care is a part of the medical profession that focuses on the spine and its function.

Most practitioners manipulate the spine to align the body and improve function. This makes it the perfect treatment for lower back pain, headaches, and neck pain.

Although many see chiropractic care with the same skepticism as acupuncture, there is plenty of evidence to show that it is safe and effective. For example, 95% of chiropractic users report that chiropractic care has helped them manage neck and back pain.

Consumer Report study showed that chiropractic care outperformed all other back pain treatments, including prescription and over-the-counter medication.

For people who want quick relief without addiction or side effects, chiropractic care may be the perfect option.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation TENS

One of the most interesting methods of pain relief is a TENS machine or a TENS unit. This machine essentially zaps the pain away.

A TENS machine, or a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, treats pain by passing an electrical current through the superficial tissue.

It is believed that the subtle vibrations may drown out the signals of pain that the nervous system is sending.

It may also work by stimulating healing in damaged tissue.

Another benefit of this treatment is that it’s relatively cheap. Each TENS machine is only $100 per unit. Therefore, you can get pain relief without opiates and without breaking the bank.

One of the main drawbacks of a TENS machine is that there is not much evidence to support its effectiveness. However, some experts are hopeful it can work for certain kinds of pain.

We Can Help With Opioid Addiction

For many individuals struggling with addiction, having a plan for dealing with pain can be one of the essential parts of preventing relapse.

Many opioid alternatives offer relief for almost every situation – from back pain to chronic pain.

We understand that drug addiction is a process.

If you or a loved one struggles to make your way through, contact our team of experts today.

Remember that help is always available.