Pink Cloud Syndrome

Pink Cloud Syndrome

What Is the Pink Cloud?

When you are newly sober, you go through a wide range of emotions. When I completed treatment at Pathfinders, I felt like I could take on the world. I had gone from being a hopeless alcoholic to being full of energy and ready to take on any challenge.

For newly sober people, this is referred to as the pink cloud syndrome. The signs and symptoms of pink cloud syndrome include feeling overly confident and elated. There are positive elements of a pink cloud, but it can also lead you to slip up if you are not careful.

It’s important to feel accomplished once you’ve become sober. It’s a huge achievement. A lot of addicts never get to experience what it’s like to overcome your addiction. There are many positive elements of a pink cloud, but you have to be careful.

There is a big risk of relapse in pink cloud thinking. While it feels great to be newly sober, it can be scary as well. Your emotions can flip from moment to moment. It’s very important to recognize that when you are newly sober, you are vulnerable.

You did not expect to feel the feelings that you are experiencing. I expected my recovery to be a bigger struggle. Not to make it sound like it wasn’t, but I didn’t anticipate the pink cloud.

I struggled with feelings of guilt as well. It was almost like a survivor’s guilt of some kind. Why was I able to get sober yet so many other people can’t? First of all, you should never feel guilty because you got clean and someone else didn’t.

If you manage to overcome your addiction, you deserve all the happiness that you can get. It’s difficult to achieve and you don’t understand that until you’ve experienced it. You should expect the unexpected. Not only will getting sober be a tough challenge, but it’s also a very unique one. There is going to be vulnerability no matter what.

This vulnerability can make you think a lot of things. There is a chemical understanding of the pink cloud that you must have. Because your brain is still recovering from the damage done during your addiction, you have good days and bad days.

On your good days, you think you’ll never get high or drunk again. On your bad days, it takes every last ounce of effort for you to not relapse. The pink cloud can be very deceiving.

The roller coaster of emotions can be very difficult to deal with, and it may make you want to give in and throw away your progress. This is where aftercare planning becomes very crucial. If you don’t have a plan in place, you can be in danger of relapse.

Long-term sobriety takes a lot of work. The longer you are sober, the more likely you are to remain sober. This is not always the case for everybody. I’ve met plenty of people who have been sober for decades and one slip up makes them go right back to their old ways.

Sobriety is tricky, and it really is a day-by-day process. On your bad days, it can take everything in you to not use again. There are pitfalls of pink cloud thinking. The pink cloud can go away as quickly as it begins. How long can a pink cloud last? It’s different for everyone. Everybody’s sobriety journey looks a little bit different even if there are similarities.

When I first got sober, everything seemed easy. I thought it was too good to be true, and it was. When I left Pathfinders, the last thing I wanted to do was drink. The idea of drinking made me nauseous.

I could taste the alcohol on my lips and it made me sick to my stomach. I felt energized for the first time in years. I started to allow myself to think that I had totally defeated my addiction. It was over and done with.

I was never going to drink again. Then, after one bad day, I got the urge. It was very disappointing for me to go through that and realize that I had been thrown off the pink cloud. I didn’t relapse, but I came very close.

Paint It Pink: Long Term Sobriety

Paint It Pink Long Term Sobriety

No matter how well you are doing in your recovery, achieving long-term sobriety is a full-time job. If you aren’t willing to put in the work, it will be hard to stay on the right track.

Because of aftercare services and therapy, I have learned some good tips for managing pink cloud syndrome. First and foremost, you have to live moment to moment. When you start thinking too far ahead, it can really mess you up.

Each day, your goal should be to not drink or get high on that specific day. Don’t worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will come and you will have the opportunity to deal with it when that time comes.

It’s important to have a balance in your life. Avoid extreme emotions. When you are using drugs or alcohol, you are living on both extremes. You have high highs and low lows.

If you can find a way to manage your emotions and the way you react, you will teach yourself the power of rational thinking. Cultivating a healthy lifestyle will help you achieve this.

Developing healthy eating habits and engaging in physical activity is great not just for your body, but your overall mental health as well. If your mental health is in a good place, you have a great advantage.

Leaving behind the pink cloud and settling into your new lifestyle may be difficult, but it is a natural process. You’re not going to feel like Superman forever.

Eventually, sobriety just becomes another aspect of your life. It’s not the new thing in your life that’s bright and shiny. You have to remember that life ebbs and flows, and you are going to have challenges in the future. Taking on these challenges with a clear mind and a positive attitude is all part of living a sober lifestyle.

The 12 steps are a great outlet for you to learn about the pink cloud warnings. Anyone familiar with the 12 steps has heard about the pink cloud. If you are over-confident in your sobriety, it can give you a cocky attitude.

You don’t think you have a problem anymore. What meetings will help you realize is that you are not above your addiction, even if you have those fleeting moments where you feel that you are.

Meetings and therapy are a great way to keep you in check and bring down your ego a notch or two. I constantly have to remind myself that I am powerless against my addiction. The triggers for the pink cloud syndrome can affect anyone in recovery.

Leaving Behind The Pink Cloud

Leaving Behind The Pink Cloud

For all of us in recovery, there are plenty of occasions when we need to pick each other up. The pink cloud may make you feel all-powerful, but your peers in recovery will help you understand that these feelings will not last forever.

The ups and downs of sobriety vary from person to person, and there is no real handbook to follow. When you are newly sober, it’s a rollercoaster. Once my pink cloud went away, I was hanging on by a thread. It took everything in me not to get high.

When I think back on those days, I have a better understanding of how to help those who have just begun their journey. I know how I feel when I’m having an off day. It’s a very vulnerable position to be in.

Knowing that there are people in your corner who will help you through it can give you just enough of a boost to come out on the other end. However long you last on your pink cloud, you will still require the tools needed to maintain your sobriety once you jump off of it.

We all need affirmation from time to time. We need to be reminded by the people we respect that we are on the right track. The addiction peer support that I’ve received has given me an opportunity to maintain a righteous path.

The addiction support my family has received has only made things easier for all of us. They know when I am in need of help. They can see the signs. When I’m in a dark headspace, they know how to help lift me out of it.

Rehab romance and pink cloud thinking are very real. You have to understand and respect the process in order to keep moving forward. I take every experience I’ve had and every story I hear very seriously.

The moments of weakness are just as important to the process as the moments of strength. It’s been a wild ride for me, but I wouldn’t change a thing. We all need to keep our heroes close. You never know when you might need them.

Never Drinking Again

Never Drinking Again

Making The Decision Not To Drink

Making the decision to abstain from alcohol is extremely difficult. If you’ve gotten to that point, good for you. Keep in mind that a lot of alcoholics and problem drinkers never get to that point.

If you actually make the decision to stop drinking, that alone is a huge feat. If you slip up and go back to it, at least you know you can stop again because you’ve done it before. The reasons why people swear off alcohol may vary. Some people do it for their health and their overall well-being.

Some do it because it’s ruining their personal life. Regardless of how you’ve come to this conclusion, you’ve recognized that there is a problem that needs to be addressed. That is the first step.

Sometimes drinking is the symptom and not the problem. There’s a reason why a lot of addicts get as bad as they do. There is typically some sort of past trauma or tragic event that triggered you to use drugs or alcohol.

This isn’t the case with every single addict, but it’s a common thing they all have in common. A bad childhood. Mental health issues. Stress and anxiety. The list goes on and on. Whatever it is that led you to substance abuse, it needs to be taken care of as you begin your journey into sobriety.

There is something powerful to be said about dual diagnosis and drinking cessation. There are all sorts of therapy methods for alcohol abstinence, but dual diagnosis is an increasingly popular one.

Dual diagnosis refers to the process of tackling your addiction and your mental and/or emotional health issues at the same time. It may seem like a lot, but it worked wonders for me.

I had a lot of very serious emotional problems that I would cover up through drinking. When I got to Pathfinders for treatment, they offered a great dual diagnosis program that helped me work on all of my issues simultaneously.

It’s going to take a while to fix everything that you’ve been avoiding because of your addiction. When they say one day at a time, they mean it. You don’t have to worry about the next day or the next week.

The only thing that matters is how you are doing today, and what you are actively doing to work on yourself. There is a lot of rebuilding that needs to be done before you achieve long-term sobriety. If you’re up to the challenge, you can make it work.

Why is it so hard to stop drinking alcohol on your own? Because it is an all-powerful addiction. Recognizing that you are powerless to alcohol will help you through your initial period of recovery.

Some addicts try to convince themselves that they can have a couple of drinks and be ok. Some think they can figure out a way to keep their drinking under control. This usually doesn’t work out so well.

Even if you can control your drinking for a little while, it’s an addiction that’s designed to get worse and worse. Moderation and making drinking changes might work for non-addicts, but if you’re a true addict, you will know it sooner or later.

Self Knowledge And Drinking

Self Knowledge And Drinking

There is a lot of soul-searching to be done when you enter recovery. You learn a lot about yourself and what triggers you. You learn a lot about why you react the way you do in certain situations.

Even if you learn to cope with the triggers that may affect you, they can still overwhelm you at times. No one is perfect. When you attend meetings and therapy groups, you will meet a wide range of people from all different backgrounds, yet you all got there the same way. You couldn’t control it.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that they are never drinking again. It’s one thing to be confident in yourself, but it’s very hard for any addict to say this definitively and make it actually happen.

Plenty of people in recovery never do end up drinking again. But coping with never drinking again is a lifelong battle. You have to be strong every day. You have to recognize the triggers and how to avoid them. It’s a huge responsibility to put on yourself, but it will reward you greatly if you keep at it.

When you make the decision to quit drinking, picking the right place for recovery is key. Treatment centers are incredibly helpful for you to build a sober foundation. I was extremely pleased with my time at Pathfinders. I couldn’t have picked a more compassionate place.

Luckily, there are so many different forms of therapy and so many different recovery centers. What works for one person may not work for another. If you find the right treatment center, you will know it. Does alcohol detox work for casual drinkers? It may, but there may be alternative methods as well.

There is a lot that can be said about quitting cold turkey vs. home detox. Alcohol can be a very dangerous substance to detox from. It’s one of the few drugs where detox can be fatal if not done correctly. If you choose to do an at-home detox, you should make sure that you are doing it the right way.

Going through detox under medical supervision is the best way to do it, but if you’re going to home detox you need to recognize and be aware of the dangers and look into natural detox remedies. I strongly do not recommend quitting cold turkey if you are a late-term alcoholic.

It’s shocking that alcohol is legal, yet it can do more damage to us mentally and physically than most illegal drugs. I’m not here to argue that drugs should be legal, but it’s a strange reality.

You are allowed to legally drink yourself to death, but not to snort yourself to death. Alcohol is probably the most abused substance in the country because of its acceptance and availability. People make jokes about alcoholism and drinking to excess.

We think it’s funny until it hits us too close to home. When someone you know dies of alcoholism, it makes you think a lot more about how you view it. We often view drinking as a way to have fun and relax. That isn’t the case for a lot of addicts.

Milestones And Commitments To Stop Drinking

Milestones And Commitments To Stop Drinking

You have every reason to celebrate when you hit a milestone. When I was sober for one year, it was a surreal feeling. I was a bit worried though. I didn’t want to make a huge deal out of it, because I didn’t want to feel the external pressure to keep it up.

I still have off days and I still have times where I feel triggered to drink. Again, it’s a personal decision. If you feel like celebrating your milestones is a positive thing for you then by all means celebrate as much as possible!

You’ve done something worth celebrating. I like to spend some time on my sober anniversaries to reflect on how far I’ve come, and what I need to do to continue being sober.

There are several different schools of thought when it comes to recovery. There are some programs that claim they can cure you of your addiction and you will never go back. In my experience, that is not always the case for a lot of addicts.

When we talk about AA vs. other methods of sobriety, there are some differences but a lot of similarities. The AA approach is that you are powerless to your addiction, and seeking a higher power will help you achieve sobriety. Some people aren’t into the whole higher power thing, and that’s totally fine.

I try to keep in mind that I didn’t get here all by myself. I know there were a lot of people that helped me along the way. I try to celebrate those people as much as I celebrate my own progress. When I know someone has reached a milestone, I tell them how proud I am of them.

I don’t put any pressure on them, I just let them know they’ve done something commendable. The peer support I’ve received has helped keep me sober, so I try to lend a helping hand and give encouragement whenever possible.

Denial is a big part of the addiction process. We have to let people make the decision on their own to get help. You can only help someone so much. If you can’t help yourself, no one else is going to get through to you.

You can offer someone all the encouragement in the world, but if they don’t really want sobriety they won’t be able to attain it. I remind myself of this as well.

I can only do so much for other people, but I can do a lot for myself. Almost all of the days I’ve strung together are because of the decision that I made. That gives me a lot of faith in myself that I can keep it going.

What Happens When You Mix Adderall and Weed

What Happens When You Mix Adderall and Weed

You may know Adderall as a medication that’s used to treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). While it is used by adults, Adderall is most frequently used to treat ADHD in children. Children usually present the first symptoms of ADHD around the age of seven. What Happens When You Mix Adderall and Weed?

Sometimes the disorder goes away but up to 60 percent of children continue to experience symptoms in adulthood. Therefore, some adults have prescriptions for this drug.

Adderall is also used to help people with narcolepsy to stay awake. However, like many other prescription drugs, it’s also used recreationally by people who don’t have prescriptions.

Often, it’s combined with weed in an attempt to negate some of the negative side effects. Even people who have prescriptions may mix Adderall and weed.

In this article, we’ll look at the effects of mixing these two drugs. If you or someone you love is engaging in this practice, you need to talk to a medical professional.

The Effects of Adderall and Cannabis

The Effects of Adderall and Cannabis

Before we get into what happens when these two substances are combined, we first need to understand the side effects of each drug when taken separately. This sets the stage for understanding how they may interact.

Adderall is a central nervous system stimulant that’s made up of four amphetamine salts:

  • Dextroamphetamine saccharate
  • Amphetamine aspartate
  • Dextroamphetamine sulfate
  • Amphetamine sulfate

Adderall increases the levels of dopamine and norepinephrine in the brain. It helps to improve attention, focus, listening skills, and organizational skills while also controlling behavioral challenges.

While this drug is intended to make people with ADHD more focused, some people who don’t have this condition use it for pleasure or to improve their performance. Many of these individuals are college or high school students who want to stay awake for long periods while they cram for exams or work on large projects.

However, professionals who want to improve their job performance and athletes who want to do better on the field may also use it.

Like other stimulants, Adderall can cause cardiovascular and psychological distress. Some of the side effects include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Depression when coming down
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Headaches
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight loss
  • Diarrhea

Cannabis

Weed or cannabis is a psychoactive drug that is often smoked or consumed in an edible form. Many people see it as a harmless and even highly therapeutic drug.

However, the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content today is a lot higher than it was in the 1970s and this makes it more dangerous than some people realize. THC is the main psychoactive component in cannabis and it creates the high for which cannabis is typically known.

Some individuals who have ADHD use marijuana as a way of self-medicating. There are people who advocate for the use of weed as an ADHD treatment.

They say that it helps individuals to manage severe symptoms like irritability, agitation, and lack of restraint while causing fewer side effects than the usual prescription medicines.

While many people find cannabis beneficial, it can have serious side effects for some individuals. These side effects vary depending on how strong the weed is and how high the individual’s tolerance is.

 

Effects can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations 
  • Brain fog
  • Increased appetite
  • Blood pressure spikes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Laziness and inactivity

Chronic use of marijuana can also lead to long-term issues such as:

  • Problems breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • A decline in IQ if started as a teenager
  • A decline in verbal ability and general knowledge
  • Decreased life satisfaction
  • Problems with fetal development in pregnant women

People often believe that weed can’t be addictive. However, between 9 and 30 percent of people who use marijuana will go on to develop a substance use disorder. Individuals who start using when they’re under the age of 18 are more likely to become addicted

Marijuana can also be harmful for people with mental health conditions. For example, individuals who have schizophrenia are more likely to develop psychosis. Smoking marijuana can also make respiratory conditions worse.

What People Who Combine Adderall and Weed Experience

While Adderall and cannabis have benefits when used separately, mixing them is a cause for concern. It can be difficult to answer the question “what does mixing Adderall with weed feel like?” since marijuana can have such varying effects.

We know that Adderall is a stimulant but marijuana can be a stimulant, depressant, or hallucinogen depending on the strain used. Therefore, weed can either enhance the effects of Adderall or balance them out.

Some people who have ADHD say weed reduces the agitation and distress that Adderall often causes.

Meanwhile, some people who use marijuana say Adderall helps to relieve side effects such as fatigue and reduced cognitive function. This may seem like the ideal combination for people who use either drug for therapeutic purposes. However, not everyone will have the same experience.

Dangers of Adderall Abuse

Dangers of Adderall Abuse

The long-term abuse of Adderall can lead to irregular heart rhythms, increased blood pressure, and even addiction. People are most likely to become addicted to Adderall when they take more than the prescribed dose, take doses more frequently than prescribed or use the drug for longer than prescribed

Adderall can become more addictive when taken with other substances and people who struggle with substance abuse disorders are among those at the highest risk.

Students, people with stressful jobs, athletes, and individuals who struggle with bulimia or anorexia are also more likely to become addicted to Adderall. Even after individuals quit using Adderall, they may continue to face irreversible health issues.

Dangers of Combining Both Drugs

Depression is one of the possible outcomes when people use both Adderall and weed. Long-term Adderall use can make it difficult for the brain to release dopamine and serotonin on its own. The brain comes to rely on Adderall to produce these chemicals.

As a result, the user may experience depression and anhedonia, which is an inability to feel pleasure without using drugs. Heavy marijuana use can also cause the brain to release less dopamine so combining Adderall and weed over a long period can lead to depression.

Another danger of combining Adderall and weed is that the risk of abuse increases. Some people experience an even more desirable high when they take both drugs. This euphoria can drive them to use these substances again. This can lead to addiction.

People who abuse Adderall and weed regularly may need to undergo a medical detox process to get the drugs out of their bodies. Taking combinations of drugs that haven’t been prescribed is often dangerous. If you’re mixing substances and you’re finding it hard to stop, seek professional help.

How Long Do Weed and Adderall Stay in the Body?

Adderall has a half-life of about ten hours. This means it takes about ten hours  for half the dosage to leave the body. Generally, it’ll take around two days for the drug to leave your system.

Meanwhile, the effects of marijuana peak around ten minutes after use and last for one to three hours in most cases.

However, the effects can last for up to eight or ten hours. A lot depends on:

  • The individual’s tolerance
  • The individual’s body weight and metabolism
  • How much weed they took
  • How much THC the weed contained
  • Whether they ate beforehand 

Can You Overdose on Adderall?

The simple answer is yes. While people often associate overdoses with opioids and other depressants, stimulant overdoses can and do occur. They are different in that they result from an overstimulation of the parasympathetic nervous system.

Therefore, symptoms of an Adderall overdose include:

  • Heart attack
  • Aggression
  • Panic
  • Hallucinations
  • Tremors
  • Fever 

It takes a lot of Adderall to cause a fatal overdose. A lethal dose is somewhere between 20 and 25 milligrams per kilogram of body weight and it’s not likely that a person would take that much.

However, using weed can mitigate some of the side effects of Adderall. This may lead the person to use even more Adderall, thereby increasing the risk of a dangerous overdose. If you think you or someone else is experiencing an

Adderall overdose, call the emergency services and let them assess the situation. 

How to Tell If You’re Addicted to Adderall or Weed

Addiction is complicated and people who struggle with their drug use often aren’t sure about if they’re addicted or not. Given that it’s relatively easy to legally source both weed and Adderall, the lines may be even more blurred.

However, it’s important to note that any substance can be abused and even if you have a prescription for Adderall, you may be misusing the drug. If you’re worried about your drug use or your loved ones have raised concerns, you should talk to an addictions professional. 

Signs of drug addiction include:

  • Difficulty stopping or reducing your drug use
  • Needing more and more of a drug to get the effects you once did
  • Experiencing strong cravings for the substance
  • Thinking about ways to acquire more of the drug
  • Prioritizing the substance over hobbies and other things you enjoyed
  • Developing increased tolerance
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug
  • Repeatedly using the substance in dangerous situations
  • Continuing to use the substance even though it is negatively affecting your health
  • Continuing to use the substance even though it is negatively affecting people you love
  • Neglecting your responsibilities in favor of drug use

How Treatment Can Help

How Treatment Can Help

Misusing Adderall and weed is considered polydrug abuse. If you’re abusing two or more substances, treatment will need to address all of them along with any co-occurring disorders like anxiety or depression.

Any kind of substance abuse can have life-altering effects and your health can suffer in both the long and the short term. While mixing Adderall and weed may not be as dangerous and combining Adderall and alcohol, it is still unsafe.

The sooner you seek help, the better it will be for you. You may be able to reverse some of the damage caused by your drug use and prevent additional problems from occurring in the future.

By enrolling in a recovery program, you can detox from the substances in your body and learn how you can achieve long-term sobriety. It is highly recommended that you undergo medical detox.

You’ll have 24/7 medical supervision and you’ll be provided with medications to help you manage nausea, vomiting, and depression that may accompany withdrawal.

Making it through the detoxification process is the start of recovery. Getting the drugs out of your body is essential but you also need to take care of your mental and emotional needs.

It’s important that you identify what caused you to abuse drugs in the first place and then learn how to handle those triggers.

Treatments vary from one facility to another but people struggling with substance abuse problems typically benefit from one or more of the following interventions:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Motivational interviewing
  • Stress management
  • Relapse prevention planning

Get Addiction Treatment from Pathfinders Recovery Center

Now that you’re aware of the dangers of mixing Adderall and weed, you may think that you have a drug problem. Given the long and short-term dangers of substance abuse, you need to make it a priority to find a reputable rehab facility. At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we provide individuals with the tools they need to live a life free of addiction. We don’t only focus on detox. We offer a variety of customized evidence-based treatments that cater to the mind, body, and spirit. If you’re ready to start your recovery journey, call us to discuss the available treatment options. We offer fast insurance verification.

 

What is Medication Assisted Treatment?

What is Medication Assisted Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

What is the Purpose of Medication-Assisted Treatment?

What is the Purpose of Medication-Assisted Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

Types of Medication-Assisted Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How Does MAT Work?

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

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

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

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

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

How MAT Promotes Sustained Sobriety and Reduces Relapse Rates

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is where things become more problematic.

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

Medications like methadone and buprenorphine can help.

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

Drugs Used for Medication Assisted Treatment

Drugs Used for Medication Assisted Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

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

Other Uses for Medication-Assisted Treatment

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

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

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

Many different addictions may warrant medication-assisted treatment. 

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

Therapy and Medication-Assisted Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pathfinders Programs, A Path to Recovery

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

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

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

A Breakdown of Our Addiction Treatment Programs

A Breakdown of Our Addiction Treatment Programs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAT at Pathfinders Recovery Center

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

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

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

Am I An Alcoholic?

Am I An Alcoholic

What Is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol. While this explanation sounds simple enough, it can still cause a lot of confusion.

There are different types, levels, and experiences that alcoholics experience. 

It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re not an alcoholic if you haven’t experienced financial or relationship troubles, lost your license, or been in an accident while intoxicated.

Alcoholism isn’t always this straightforward. 

So, how do you know if you have a problem if it doesn’t look like our overgeneralized idea of what alcoholism is?

We’ll break down the answer to this question throughout the rest of this article. 

Am I An Alcoholic?

At some point, many binge drinkers ask themselves: do I have a drinking problem?

Generally, when your drinking reaches the point that you have to ask yourself this, the answer is likely yes.

But we will help you further evaluate and understand this complex concern. 

Use, Abuse, Dependence, and Alcoholism

Use, Abuse, Dependence, and Alcoholism

Addictions to alcohol are exceedingly unique for a few different reasons.

First, alcohol is an entirely legal substance, and therefore, generally goes unregulated for those over 21. Second, it is normalized enough to be a staple in most gatherings and celebrations. 

When was the last time you attended an office party, holiday gathering, or birthday party where no one had even one drink?

Third, it can be confusing and upsetting to try to understand why some people become addicted and others do not. 

So, how do we distinguish normal, healthy alcohol use from abuse, dependence, and alcoholism?

Nearly 18 million American adults have an alcohol use disorder. Every one of these disorders is unique.

They range from mild to severe and are never one-size-fits-all. 

But what separates normal use from abuse is the frequency.

What separates abuse from dependence is compulsive use.

Dependence is a key factor in alcoholism, as well. As your body builds a tolerance and dependence, you crave alcohol more. 

And you experience additional withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop drinking, too. Withdrawal symptoms are some of the most common red flags. 

Alcoholic Stereotypes: What If I Don’t Fit the Mold?

For many years, the media has perpetuated alcoholic stereotypes that aren’t always entirely accurate.

On TV shows and in movies, they all tend to resemble each other.

They’re down on their luck, broke or alone, got fired from their job, or changed course after an accident. 

While these situations surely exist, alcoholics come in many other forms that we don’t always acknowledge the way we should.

Addiction is a chronic disease that affects our brain chemistry.

Depending on our medical histories, mental health, and other individual factors, it can affect us in different ways. 

High-functioning alcoholics tend to break all the rules associated with alcoholic stereotypes.

Rather than appearing to be at rock bottom, high functioning alcoholics often live relatively normal lives.

They work, often in high-paying jobs, they’re educated, they have families and spouses, and balance daily responsibilities alongside their drinking. 

Signs of Alcohol Dependence

So, since alcohol use disorders come in different forms and levels, how do you know if you’re an alcoholic?

There are mild, moderate, and severe alcohol use disorders, alcoholism, and binge drinkers.

At the different stages, many of the signs and symptoms may overlap. 

This can cause some confusion. But there are red flags to look for in those with alcohol dependence.

What makes someone an alcoholic is the inability to stop drinking without experiencing cravings and other withdrawal symptoms.

In the next section, we will go over common risk factors for alcohol use disorders. 

Causes and Risk Factors for Alcoholism and other Alcohol Use Disorders

Causes and Risk Factors for Alcoholism and other Alcohol Use Disorders

Addiction develops from several different pathways. Mental health disorders, genetics, and environment are three of the most significant pathways.

Understanding the risk factors for developing alcoholism can help us avoid or overcome it. 

Some of the most common risk factors for alcohol use disorders include: 

  • Having more than 15 drinks per week if you’re male
  • Having more than 12 drinks per week if you’re female 
  • Having one or more parents with an alcohol use disorder 
  • Having pre-existing mental health disorder(s), most commonly depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia 
  • Having a stressful school, work, or home life 
  • Having low self-esteem 
  • Having a social circle that prioritizes drinking over all else or pressures others into participation even if they prefer not to drink 

Getting Answers and Understanding Your Addiction

It is not always easy to determine if we have a problem or not. The list above offers guidance into how alcohol use disorders develop.

But what do the symptoms look like once it has already developed? One of the first signs is personality changes. 

This might mean drinking alone or avoiding daily activities or responsibilities to drink more.

It might mean avoiding gatherings or activities where alcohol is not served, sneaking drinks there or in other inappropriate situations, or hiding your drinking from your loved ones.  

Needing more alcohol to get drunk because your body has built a higher tolerance is another sign of trouble.

Another sign is someone lying or becoming defensive, angry, or violent when their drinking is questioned. 

Lastly, drinking even after problems arise in your work-life, finances, relationships, or health is another sign of trouble.

If you are looking for additional signs or have unanswered questions, you can take a self-assessment quiz.  

Self-Assessment Quizzes

There are three free and confidential online screening tests you can take to better understand your drinking habits: 

The CAGE quiz is a good first step in determining whether your habits have become a cause for concern.

Developed from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, this four-question quiz is an easy starting point. 

The MAST test is 22 questions with a simple scoring system at the end.

A score of six or higher indicates hazardous drinking habits or alcohol dependence.

The experts who created the test at the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence recommend calling a healthcare professional if you score above a six. 

The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is a simple, effective alcohol consumption screening.

This is the most widely used, as it is based on data from a multinational World Health Organization (WHO) study. 

Choosing the Right Treatment for Alcoholism

Choosing the Right Treatment for Alcoholism

In the same way that there are different types and levels of alcoholism, there are also different types and levels of treatment for it.

What works for one person may not work for another.

That’s why we personalize our treatment programs based on the needs of the individual rather than the needs of the majority. 

Pathfinders: A Full Continuum of Care Options

Someone with severe dependence or withdrawal symptoms, little support at home, and a history of relapse might be better suited for an inpatient or residential program.

This gives you 24-hour access to the care, guidance, and support of our expert teams. 

In the comfort and safety of our luxury-level facilities, you will work toward your goals through a variety of proven treatment methods.

A few of the most common treatment methods include behavioral therapies, support groups, and holistic remedies. 

Someone with a milder addiction, support at home, or full-time work and family obligations that prevent a full-time stay might be better suited for an intensive outpatient program or another option.

But we do not expect our clients to have all the answers before they come to us. 

We will work with you to determine which course of action will best fit your addiction and needs.

Because one-size-fits-all solutions are ineffective. We treat each of our clients on an individual basis.

That is the Pathfinders difference. Call us today at (866) 263-1820 to learn more.

Ted Talks on Addiction

Ted Talks on Addiction

What Are Ted Talks?

Ted Talks are conferences organized by a nonprofit devoted to spreading ideas.

Typically, Ted Talk videos are short and powerful talks you can listen to for free in 18 minutes or less. The speakers are experts in their fields. 

The topics cover a wide range, from activism to virtual reality.

The tagline for these videos is “ideas worth spreading.” And when we consider how popular they have become, this tagline seems fitting. 

Top Ted Talks on Drug Addiction

Top Ted Talks on Drug Addiction

Addiction, whether to drugs, alcohol, or something else, is a widespread issue.

This is why we weren’t surprised to find that there are countless inspirational videos and talks relating to addiction and recovery.

But with so many options to sift through, how do we choose? 

We want to make it easy for you to find the information you need, so we sifted through tons of content to find the top Ted Talks on addiction for you. 

A Breakdown of Our Top Three Ted Talks on Addiction

Gabor Mate, in the power of addiction and the addiction of power Ted Talk, uses his background as a physician and specialist to evaluate why we become addicted to anything.

He links addiction to the lack of love, the desire to escape, and susceptibility. 

In Hari’s TED Talk, titled everything you think you know about addiction is wrong, this expert dives into the root causes of addiction.

And not just to drugs and booze. In the video, he asks the question: what really causes addiction – to everything from cocaine to smartphones? 

Dr. Volkow is the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and a world leader in the neurobiology of diseases involving our reward and self-control systems.

Addiction is one example of this type of disease. Obesity is another example. 

She delves into these systems and the ways that addiction affects them in her video, why do our brains get addicted?

These are some of the best addiction recovery videos available today.

Addiction and connection Ted Talks like these can help compassionately and conversationally shed light on this complex and sensitive topic. 

Ted Talks on Mindfulness and Addiction

Ted Talks on Mindfulness and Addiction

Another Ted Talk that may be interesting to those in or approaching recovery is how childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime.

This one is a meaningful discussion on healing from childhood trauma and why that it is so important. 

While it is not specifically about addiction, pediatrician Nadine Burke takes a deep dive into the ways that we carry our traumas from childhood into adolescence and adulthood.

Individuals with a family history of high stress, abuse, neglect, mental health conditions, or substance abuse problems carry the weight of these events with them. 

In the video, she tells us that those who experience high levels of trauma are three times more likely to develop heart disease or lung cancer later in life.

She stresses the importance of preventing and treating trauma in maintaining our health throughout life’s various stages. 

Since trauma, stress, mental health issues, and feelings of neglect are often linked to drug and alcohol addiction, this video is much more relevant to us than it may look at first glance.

Being mindful of and treating the root cause of an addiction is crucial to recovery. 

Similarly, Judson Brewer’s Ted Talk, “A Simple Way to Break a Bad Habit,” explains the motivation behind a whole range of addictive behaviors to make them more understandable.

This acclaimed psychiatrist acknowledges that addiction is not simple, but our approach to overcoming it can be. 

He uses mindfulness exercises and simple techniques to help patients break the habit of addiction.

In his insightful speech, he talks about the profound results you can find simply by paying more attention to something. 

His studies on the link between addiction and mindfulness offer a fascinating glimpse into the ways we make and break habits.   

Key Takeaways from Ted Talks on Addiction

Addiction is not a weakness; it is a disease. It undermines the functions of our systems responsible for reward, self-control, and motivation.

Overcoming addiction requires making meaningful connections and understanding this important distinction. 

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety; the opposite of addiction is connection.

Connection to our true selves, to each other, to nature, and to other things that are important to us.

By building more meaningful connections, we can stop using drugs or alcohol as a crutch. 

For some people, this might mean joining a book club, learning to paint, taking exercise classes, learning a new language, or simply spending some with supportive loved ones.

In the Johann Hari Ted Talk, “Everything You Think You Know About Addiction is Wrong,” he discusses an interesting study often referred to as Rat Park. 

Rat Park – A Study of How Environment Impacts Addiction

The study we mentioned above was run by a professor of psychology in Vancouver in the 1970s.

In this professor’s experiment, he built a cage called Rat Park for his test subjects.

He loaded the cage up with cheese, colored balls, tunnels, and friends. 

He also provided two separate water bottles – one filled with normal water and another filled with drug water.

In Rat Park, the rats did not enjoy the drug water and almost never used it. None used it compulsively. None ever overdosed. 

But rats in isolation with access to the same drug water overdosed 100% of the time.

This means that his test subjects went from a 100% overdose rate in isolation to a 0% overdose rate when they had happy, connected lives. 

This professor posited that addiction is often about your cage, an adaptation to your environment.

He maintains that when we are happy and healthy, we bond and connect with each other.

But trauma, isolation, and mental health disorders can make this bonding difficult. 

When we lack healthy connections, we often bond with something that will provide relief instead.

Having meaningful people, events, careers, and activities to bond with can help us prevent this.

This might mean choosing a less stressful job, building a sober social network, participating in support groups or other healthy group activities, or improving existing relationships. 

Treatment for Addiction – What Are My Options?

Treatment for Addiction – What Are My Options

Behavioral therapies, support groups, and stress management training are a few of the pillars of recovery.

In each of our programs, we aim to help our clients understand and overcome the root causes of their addictions. 

By building a foundation of understanding first, many people are better able to maintain their sobriety even as challenges inevitably arise.

We will teach you how to build healthy habits, coping mechanisms, and support systems you can rely on. 

From detox through aftercare, we will work with you to ensure that you get the care you need, when and how you need it.

We offer a convenient and diverse range of inpatient, outpatient, and hybrid programs to meet a wide range of unique addiction needs. 

Choosing Pathfinders Recovery Center

When you choose Pathfinders, you choose dedicated professionals, personalized programs, and proven techniques.

There are no one-size-fits-all solutions here.

Call us today at (866) 263-1820 to see the difference a Pathfinders approach can make.

Does Drug Use Speed Up Aging?

Does Drug Use Speed Up Aging

Can Drug Use Speed Up Aging?

One of the earliest signs of drug abuse is a drastic change in someone’s physical appearance. From dry skin and wrinkles to rapid weight loss and glassy eyes, many illicit drugs make themselves known through your appearance. 

Drugs and alcohol can alter your appearance in different ways. While the alterations may vary depending on the type of drug, method of use, length of abuse, medical history, and other individual factors, one thing remains the same. 

Individuals who abuse drugs almost always look older than others at the same age. There are a few different reasons and many different ways that drug use speeds up aging.  

Why Do Addicts Age Faster?

Why Do Addicts Age Faster

The three primary reasons that addicts age faster than others include: 

  • Health conditions and diseases induced by drug-related toxicity. 
  • Neglecting your physical and mental health and hygiene due to drug use. 
  • Nutritional and vitamin deficiencies caused by a poor diet and lack of hydration. 

While these are three of the most common ways that drugs can accelerate aging, there are many different causes. Drug and alcohol abuse can cause you to become dehydrated, inflamed, and malnourished. 

They can weaken your immune system, leading to damage on the cellular level, cognitive decline, and other concerning health impairments. Your organs, including your skin, take a hard hit in both short and long-term drug or alcohol abuse. 

This can leave you feeling and looking far older than you are. 

Drug Abuse and the Skin

How does drug use speed up aging? Drug abuse can cause dehydrated, dry, patchy, flaky, or scabbed skin. Sores are also common in certain types of drug abuse. This is due, in part, to the tendency of drug-addicted individuals to pick or scratch at their skin. 

Skin picking is a side effect of several different illicit drugs. The feeling that something is crawling all over you can lead you to scratch away at your body’s outer defensive layers. Other effects of drug abuse on the skin include: 

  • Rashes and other irritations.
  • Color changes. 
  • Dry, swollen, inflamed, or cracked lips. 
  • Gum and tooth decay. 
  • Dry, red, itchy, and inflamed skin patches. 
  • Extreme acne breakouts. 
  • Open sores. 
  • Scarring after picking at the skin or sores. 
  • Skin infections. 

No one wants to age faster than we already are. We worry about skin damage and fret over our appearances, but we forget that what we put into our bodies is often more important than anything else in the aging process. Here are the facts about how drug use speed up aging.  

Drugs and alcohol can age you far faster than normal and cause far more extensive damage than everyday wrinkles. These side effects may start as mild irritations or causes of lost confidence, but they can escalate into health concerns that are far more troubling. 

Over time, open sores and skin infections can take a toll on your immune system, making it harder for your body to fight off common illnesses and diseases with long-term impacts. 

Nutritional and Vitamin Deficiencies in Addicts

When it comes to the impacts of drug and alcohol abuse, nutritional and vitamin deficiencies are common concerns. Prolonged abuse can deplete your body of the essential vitamins and nutrients that it needs to function properly. 

Without these essential vitamins and nutrients, your body has trouble with certain functions. Cellular growth, rejuvenation, and repair are three functions that suffer and will worsen the aging effects on the skin. 

But these deficiencies do not only impact your skin. These effects can also damage your bones, organs, and brain. With a weakened immune system, it is harder for your body to heal and renew itself. You become more prone to get sick and to stay sick for longer. 

Drug Abuse and Your Teeth

Speaking of bones, let’s talk about the toll that drug abuse can take on your teeth. Among drug users, decaying, broken, or missing teeth are common. Drug abuse can also cause dry and cracked lips and damaged gums. 

Oral health issues are particularly common among meth users. That is where the term meth mouth comes from. One study of nearly 600 meth users revealed that the majority had oral health issues. More specifically, 96% had cavities, 58% had untreated tooth decay, and 31% had six or more missing teeth. 

The risk of dental and periodontal diseases is higher among drug-addicted individuals because drugs are linked to dry mouth and poor oral hygiene. Others are acidic, which wears away at the tooth’s enamel, while others make you crave sugar, grind your teeth, or clench your jaw.

Drugs like meth also cause bouts of unconsciousness, which makes it easier to lose track of time. After waking up, it is more likely for a user to go back for more than to get up and brush their teeth. Each of these effects can wreak havoc in and around the mouth.  

Drug Abuse and the Brain

If you think drug use speed up aging only, then you are wrong. The impacts of drug abuse aren’t limited to the skin, bones, body, or mind. Drug and alcohol abuse can affect a person from head to toe. But some of the most concerning side effects are the ones that affect the brain. After all, our brains are what keeps us functioning every day. 

Drug and alcohol abuse can age our brains, causing memory impairments or loss, inability to concentrate, overall cognitive decline, and permanent brain damage. Confusion is also common. These impairments can range from mildly distracting to crippling. 

Drug and alcohol abuse can also impact our brains in another way. Common mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety, are intrinsically linked to these types of abuse. And they can occur in either order. 

Some people develop mental health disorders after abusing drugs or alcohol. Other people abuse and end up addicted to drugs or alcohol to cope with the overwhelming symptoms of an untreated mental health disorder. 

Whichever condition comes first, this combination can create a vicious and crippling cycle. We can help you break it. 

Drug Abuse and Your Physical Health

Depending on the drug, method of use, frequency, medical history, and other individual factors related to the user, drug abuse can cause a wide variety of physical health impairments. One of the most common is the heightened risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Many different types of cancer, strokes, and heart attacks all occur at higher rates among drug and alcohol addicts, as well. People who regularly abuse drugs or alcohol often show and feel pronounced signs of physical decline. 

From memory loss and wrinkles to heart attacks and overdoses, there are many different reasons to quit using drugs. There are no positives to long-term drug abuse. When you are in it, it may seem like there is no way out. But we are here to show you the light. 

Pathfinders Recovery Center

Pathfinders Recovery Center

Getting help for drug addiction is easier than it has ever been. With proven and personalized programs in our safe and convenient facilities in Arizona and Colorado, we make it easy to get the help you need when and where you need it. 

We offer a wide range of inpatient and outpatient programs, proven and holistic treatments, and personalized guidance to ensure that you have access to everything you need on your recovery journey. Why wait another day to see the difference a Pathfinders approach can make? 

Call our addiction counselors today at 866-576-4892.

Ways Drugs Are Abused

Ways Drugs Are Abused

What Constitutes Drug Abuse?

Drug abuse is not always straightforward. It is not always about illicit drugs like heroin or cocaine. What are the ways drugs are abused? Drug abuse is often more about the method or the approach than the drug itself. Many people are surprised to find how frequently prescription drugs are abused, too.  

For example, prescription drugs like antidepressants that are given by doctors to improve mental health can also be addictive. They have a high potential for abuse due to their powerful side effects and chemical structures. 

Both prescription and illicit drugs are abused every day. When it comes to prescription drugs, what matters more is how and why you take them. But when considering illicit drugs that have no approved medical uses in the United States, any use constitutes abuse. 

Methods and Ways Drugs Are Abused

Methods of Drug Abuse

Whether illicit or prescription, there are many methods of drug ingestion. Some are more common than others. The most common methods of drug administration include: 

  • Injecting
  • Smoking
  • Snorting
  • Swallowing 

Now, let’s talk about which methods are the safest and which carry the most risk. 

Taking Drugs Orally

Swallowing pills, tablets, capsules, or other forms of medication is the most common way to take drugs. When you swallow something, it must pass through the stomach before absorbing into the bloodstream. 

This gives your body time to gradually absorb and disburse the ingested drug rather than flooding the bloodstream with it right away. For this reason, oral ingestion of drugs is generally considered to be the safest method. 

Requiring a pass through the stomach before entering the blood also gives your body the chance to rid itself of substances that it does not agree with. The digestive system will reject substances that do not belong or substances that belong in smaller quantities. 

This reflex is the reason why we vomit when we drink too much alcohol or eat spoiled foods. As a defense mechanism, purging helps keep the body safe and avoid poisoning the blood. As such, swallowing drugs also decreases the likelihood of an overdose. 

Although, that does not mean that it is not possible. With a high enough dose or a history of certain health complications, swallowing drugs can still be problematic or even fatal. While it is the safest method of ingestion, it is still important to only take drugs orally when they are prescribed and at the times and quantities that they are prescribed. 

Why Smoking Drugs is More Dangerous Than Swallowing Them

Drugs enter the body’s system faster than they are smoked rather than swallowed. Instead of traveling through the digestive system, they enter the lungs and quickly move into the bloodstream. This makes it a more dangerous method of drug ingestion than swallowing. 

Smoking also carries the additional risks of certain cancers, including lung cancer, throat cancer, and cancer of the mouth. Some other common health conditions associated with smoking include: 

  • Heart disease
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Chronic bronchitis 
  • Emphysema 
  • Stroke 

Not all drugs are smoked. Some of the most commonly smoked drugs are marijuana, crack cocaine, heroin, and opium. Smoking either prescription or illicit drugs can cause addiction, long-term or permanent damage to the lungs and various other health complications. 

Snorting Drugs to Get High Faster

When you begin to develop a dependence on drugs, you may feel the need to push for more frequent or intense highs. Many drug abusers start by taking prescription drugs through the appropriate methods. 

Some studies found that nearly 80% of heroin users reported using prescription opioids first. Powerful prescription drugs like opioids and benzodiazepines are often gateways to more dangerous drugs and methods. Therefore, it is critical to follow prescriptions closely. 

Over time, prescription drug users may become addicted and desperate for more. They take higher or more frequent doses, mix them with alcohol or other substances, or find ways to intensify their highs, boost their moods, or relieve their pain. 

Snorting drugs is one way that drug abusers try to achieve these goals. Heroin, amphetamines, cocaine, and ecstasy are some of the most frequently snorted drugs. When you snort a substance, it enters your bloodstream through the mucus membranes in your nasal passages.

Through this method, side effects typically begin to appear around 15 minutes after ingestion. Nasal ingestion is a method that is only recommended for certain prescription or over-the-counter medications, such as allergy sprays. 

Snorting drugs can deteriorate the nasal cavity lining, leading to significant and permanent nasal damage. It can cause swelling of the nasal lining, lung infections, nasal blockages, and compromised respiratory tracts. 

Another danger of snorting drugs is that powdered drugs are often tainted with other substances. Impurities like talcum powder and caffeine may be mixed with certain drugs without the user’s knowledge. 

This is a common practice among drug producers and dealers looking to increase their profits. And sharing tools to snort drugs with can cause the transfer of additional conditions like HIV and hepatitis C. 

Why Injecting Drugs is the Most Dangerous Ingestion Method

Of all the ways people take drugs, this is the fastest method for producing a drug high. Injecting drugs puts them directly into your bloodstream. The effects are almost immediate. Because it enters your bloodstream so quickly, it also moves to the brain quickly. 

This rerouting allows the drug to avoid your body’s natural defense mechanisms. Injecting drugs causes many preventable drug overdose deaths. It may also cause infections at the injection site, HIV or hepatitis from shared needles, collapsed veins, or arterial damage. 

Drugs should not be injected unless recommended by a medical professional. Certain prescription medications may involve injections. But these should either be administered by a doctor or nurse or under the guidance of one. 

What Other Ways Are There to Abuse Drugs?

What Other Ways Are There to Abuse Drugs

Outside of ingestion methods, two of the most common ways to abuse drugs are to take more than you are supposed to or take them more frequently than you are supposed to. These two methods are particularly common with prescription drugs. 

When a medical professional prescribes medication after an accident, for chronic pains, or to reduce the symptoms of a mental health disorder, their guidelines should be carefully adhered to. They will tell you how and how often to take your medication to achieve the best results. 

They will tell you what can be taken with this medication and what cannot. Despite popular belief to the contrary, prescription drugs can be highly addictive and dangerous. Following professional medical guidance can help mitigate these risks. Avoiding illicit drug use can do the same. 

Finding Treatment for Drug Abuse and Addiction

It is easy to give in and consider the outcome bleak, but hope is not lost. Addiction is a treatable disease. And recognizing that you have a problem is truly the first step toward recovery. The team at Pathfinders Recovery is uniquely qualified to offer a compassionate and well-rounded approach to addiction recovery

We will work with you to determine the best treatment plan based on your unique addiction and needs. Everyone is different. Our one-on-one approach ensures that you get the type and level of care best for you, not what might be best for someone else. 

Call our addiction counselors today at 866-263-1808. Someone is available 24/7 to provide insurance verification, guidance on choosing the right program, and answers to common questions. Today is a good day to get the help you need and deserve.

How Can You Get Sober From Drugs?

How to Sober Up From Drugs

If you are addicted to illegal or prescription substances, you must know how to sober up from drugs.

That is the only way to get your life back on track and avoid severe or even fatal problems.

Even if you are not addicted, you may need help getter sober.

Why? Non-addicted drug abuse can also have a serious, negative effect on your life.

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to sober up from drugs.

Professionals ranging from your personal doctor to addiction specialists have the knowledge needed to help.

With their guidance, you can regain your sobriety no matter how badly addiction affects you.

How Can You Get Sober From Drugs in a Safe Way? - Pathfinders - A man is shooting up heroin while he thinks about how you can get sober from drugs in a safe environment.

Drug Use and Drug Problems

Tens of millions of Americans use potentially addictive prescription medications. Most of these people follow their prescriptions and avoid problems. However, more than 16 million Americans misuse their medications. You can misuse a medication by taking it too often or in excessive amounts. You also take part in prescription drug misuse if you do things such as:

  • Use someone else’s medication
  • Crush you medication or do other things to speed up its effects

You are at risk for serious problems if you take any amount of an addictive street drug. Marijuana is the most common of these substances, even though this drug is now often legal to use. Other widely used street drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

If you are addicted to a prescription drug or street drug, you have a substance use disorder, or SUD. There are subtypes of SUD for each major drug category. For example, people addicted to amphetamines, methamphetamine or cocaine have a stimulant use disorder.

You can also be diagnosed with an SUD if you are not addicted. How is this possible? Even non-addicted drug abuse can seriously interfere with your ability to function. For this reason, such life-altering abuse is included in the substance use disorder definition

Immediate Placement in Drug Rehab – Get Help Now

855-728-4363

 

Can You Tell If You Need Help

Is it possible to tell when you need to start thinking about how to sober up from drugs? Very often, the answer to this question is yes. You should certainly think about your drug use if you misuse an addictive prescription medication. You should also be concerned if you are involved in the use of addictive street drugs.

When doctors diagnose an SUD, they look for signs of addiction such as:

  • Loss of control over how often you use drugs, or how much you take
  • Reduced sensitivity to the effects of any given amount of drugs
  • Withdrawal symptoms that start if you cut back on drugs or stop taking them
  • A lifestyle built around drug use or related activities
  • Not being able to quit taking drugs after multiple attempts to break free

Signs of serious drug abuse include:

  • Going through social or relationship problems as a result of your drug use
  • Using drugs multiple times while doing something dangerous like driving
  • Taking enough drugs to be unable to keep up with your major obligations

Learn More About Drug Rehab at Pathfinders — Call Today

866-263-1847

 

How to Sober Up From Drugs: First Steps

If you are wondering how to sober up from drugs, a common first step is talking to your personal physician. Today, many of these primary doctors have been trained to give drug screenings. Screenings serve several main purposes, including:

  • Assessing your level and pattern of drug use
  • Helping to determine whether you have an SUD
  • Determining how bad your symptoms are if an SUD is present
  • Helping your doctor guide you to the right resources for treatment

If you do not already have an SUD, you doctor may give you a brief intervention. That is the term for a short educational session about the dangers of your drug misuse. This session is designed to help you change and avoid developing diagnosable problems.

24-Hour Drug Rehab Hotline – Get Help Now

855-728-4363

 

How to Sober Up From Drugs: Drug Detox

If you have an SUD, you may need to enroll in drug detox, or detoxification, in order to get sober. Why? Detox provides a secure environment for people affected by addiction to stop using drugs. It also provides the medical expertise needed to safely make it through drug withdrawal.

What happens during detox? That depends on the drug or medication you are addicted to. There are specific detoxification options for substances such as:

  • A stimulant such as methamphetamine or cocaine
  • An opioid medication or street drug
  • An addictive tranquilizer or sedative

Everyone enrolled in a detox program receives care designed to keep them as healthy as possible. Some people also receive medication while going through the detox process.

How Can You Get Sober From Drugs in a Safe Way? - Pathfinders - An addiction therapist is comforting a patient who is looking for how you can get sober from drugs in a medical detox.

How to Sober Up From Drugs: Active Treatment

Completion of detox will leave you drug-free. However, this initial sobriety is not enough. To have a realistic chance at lasting sobriety, you must continue on to active drug rehab. Rehab helps you stay sober while you are still enrolled in treatment. It also teaches you techniques to remain sober once treatment comes to an end. Medication may be used as part of your rehab plan. Even if you do not receive medication, you will get crucial help from therapy or counseling.

What kinds of therapy will help you learn how to get sober from drugs and stay sober? Many options are available, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Family Behavior Therapy
  • Community Reinforcement
  • Contingency Management
  • 12-Step Facilitation

Your treatment team will match your therapy to your particular form of SUD.

 

Joining a Mutual Self-Help Group

It is common to join a mutual self-help group while still enrolled in rehab. In fact, the purpose of 12-step facilitation is to prepare you to join this kind of group. Self-help groups are beneficial because they allow you to establish peer relationships with others in recovery. These relationships provide extensive support for your long-term commitment to sobriety.

 

How To Sober Up From Drugs: Continuing Care or Aftercare

In detox and active treatment, you learn how to sober up from drugs. But this is not the end of your battle. You must also take appropriate steps to remain sober. A mutual self-help group will be a big plus. However, experts also recommend some form of continuing care or aftercare. This is the name for a follow-up program that gives you continued access to professional treatment. Continuing care will help you cope with the ups and downs of everyday life without returning to drug use.

Free Insurance Verification for Drug Rehab – Call Us Today

855-728-4363

 

Learn More About How To Sober Up From Drugs

Learning how to get sober from drugs can be a major turning point in your life. In contrast, if you do not learn how to do this, you may find yourself trapped in addiction’s powerful grip. If you suspect that your drug use has gotten out of hand, today is the day to get help. Together, your primary doctor and addiction specialists will help you recover from even severe drug-related problems.

Have questions about how to sober up from drugs? Just turn to the professionals at Pathfinders. Our experienced staff will help you sort out exactly what you need to do to get started. And if you need to enroll in a drug treatment program, Pathfinders is standing by. No matter what kind of substance you are addicted to, you will find what you need in our full range of treatment services.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States – Results From the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health; Pages 15 and 20

https://www.campusdrugprevention.gov/sites/default/files/2019%20NSDUH.pdf

U.S. National Library of Medicine – MedlinePlus: Prescription Drug Misuse

https://medlineplus.gov/prescriptiondrugmisuse.html

American Psychiatric Association: What Is a Substance Use Disorder?

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians – Chapter 2: Screening for Substance Use Disorders

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64820/

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians – Chapter 3: Brief Intervention

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64821/

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment – Physical Detoxification Services for Withdrawal From Specific Substances

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64116/#A85631

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment – A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition); Pages 39 -65

https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/podat_1.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64116/#A85631

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment: Continuing Care – What We’ve Learned and Where We’re Going

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2670779/

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.