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.

 

The Behavior and Common Patterns of an Addict

The Behavior and Common Patterns of an Addict Pathfinders Recovery Center - A young addict is laying in a street corner as he begins to experience withdrawal symptoms from his substance abuse.

What is an Addict?

While you may have heard about rising addiction rates, you might not fully understand what an addict actually is.

An addict is someone who has an addiction to a drug or to alcohol.

These addictions can form in various ways — from prescription drug misuse or recreational substance use.

No matter what led to a person becoming an addict, there are many different ways addiction can affect their lives and the people around them.

These effects have serious long-term negative physical and mental effects.

This is what makes having access to quality addiction treatment centers so important.

The Behavior and Common Patterns of an Addict Pathfinders Recovery Center - A group of those in recovery for being an addict and residing in residential treatment to learn healthy coping mechanisms to avoid substance abuse.

Understanding Addiction

Addiction is a serious, chronic disease because of the way substance abuse changes the brain. An addict’s brain makes them constantly crave, seek, and use substances, even when it is negatively affecting their health.

This is because alcohol and most drugs change the way that your brain releases the chemicals that make you feel happy and relaxed. Your brain learns to rely on a substance to release these chemicals, which makes it difficult for you to feel good from things you used to enjoy doing. Over time, you will need more of the substance to feel the effects.

This is what makes overdose such a major concern for addicts.

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Common Patterns within Addicts

No matter what substance an addict uses, they tend to have similar patterns in their behaviors. These behaviors can act as red flags to addicts and their friends and family members.

There are various signs you can look for to try and figure out if you or someone you know is an addict.

These signs include:

  • Having new friends frequently
  • Spending a lot of time alone
  • Stopping activities or hobbies you used to enjoy
  • Not taking care of your physical appearance
  • Having problems being tired or sad all of the time
  • Losing or gaining a significant amount of weight
  • Having too much energy
  • Talking fast or saying things that do not make sense
  • Often being angry, or having violent outbursts
  • Frequently changing between feeling bad and feeling good
  • Having a strange or unreliable sleep schedule
  • Having problems fulfilling your obligations at work or at school
  • Frequent strife within your personal relationships

Just one of these signs may not mean that someone is an addict. If you or someone you know is showing two or more of them, there is a chance an addiction is to blame.

Once you realize that you or someone you know is an addict, it is essential to start seeking out a drug rehab or alcohol rehab program.

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The Physical Effects of an Addiction

Drug and alcohol addiction can have many negative effects on an addict’s body. This is because our systems are not meant to process large amounts of drugs and alcohol on a regular basis.

This can lead to issues with many of an addict’s body processes and organs. The effects an addict experiences can vary depending on what they are abusing, how often they are using it, and how much they are taking.

Some common negative effects include:

  • Problems with the nose and lungs for people who snort drugs
  • Damage to the liver, kidneys, or heart
  • Damage to the lungs, which leads to breathing problems
  • A higher chance of cancer, including liver, throat, esophageal, breast, and kidney cancers
  • Short- or long-term problems with your brain
  • A higher chance of being infected with HIV or hepatitis from sharing needles or having unsafe sex
  • Needle marks, collapsed veins, and an increased chance of getting a serious skin, muscle, or blood infection from frequent injection or from using a dirty needle for those who inject drugs

While some effects of addiction are short-term and can be successfully treated by a doctor, others cannot. That is why it is critical for an addict to find help from a reputable rehab like Pathfinders Recovery Center.

 

The Behavior and Common Patterns of an Addict Pathfinders Recovery Center - An older man talks with an addiction specialist regarding his past as an addict and the need for addiction aftercare services.

Mental Illness and Alcohol Rehab

An addict’s substance abuse does not just pose a risk to their physical health. It can also have many different negative effects on their brain and mental health. These effects can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Problems dealing with stress
  • Angry or violent outbursts
  • A harder time learning new things
  • Short and long term memory loss
  • Poor judgment
  • Poor decision-making skills

These negative effects happen because of how drug abuse changes the way that your brain works. These effects can last for weeks or even months after an addict stops abusing drugs or alcohol.

For addicts who had an existing mental health issue before they became an addict, substance abuse can make their symptoms worse. Addicts often deal with serious depression and anxiety due to substance-related chemicals that imbalance their brains.

The only way these people feel better is by using drugs or alcohol. Once the effects wear off, they only feel worse. This leads addicts with mental health problems to use more and more drugs in order to try and treat their symptoms.

Going to rehab is the only way for addicts to finally get help for both their addiction and their mental health problems, known as a dual diagnosis treatment.

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Drug and Alcohol Rehab Treatment Options

There are many individuals struggling with addiction that tend to worry their addiction is too severe to be treated by a drug rehab or alcohol rehab program.

However, no matter how severe your addiction is, it is possible to get help and successfully overcome addiction.

Drug rehab treatment helps addicts get clean by avoiding the use of drugs and learning healthy ways to cope with stress and other triggers to avoid relapsing, and even potential overdoses.

There are many different drug rehab and alcohol rehab treatments available.

Some common rehab center treatments include:

  • Medical detox to assist in easing withdrawal symptoms
  • Behavioral therapies
  • Medications to lessen cravings or long-term withdrawal symptoms
  • Treatment for mental health issues
  • Tools and resources for long-term care to prevent relapse

For an addiction rehab program to be successful, it must be customized to suit the individual needs of every client. This is something that Pathfinders Recovery Center takes very seriously.

Each and every client that comes to us for help to overcome addiction gets the individualized attention they need by receiving a customized treatment plan based on a multitude of factors.

 

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Getting the Help You Need for Your Addiction

When someone is dealing with an addiction, it can be challenging for them to see how their addiction is affecting their health. It may also be hard for them to see that they can get help to lead a normal, sober life.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we know what it takes to get your life back to normal after addiction.

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 ensure your success by using only scientifically-proven, 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 or not they will be able to take advantage of their health insurance benefits to assist in covering their treatment. Simply give us a call, and one of our addiction specialists can perform a free insurance verification check to see how much of your treatment program will be covered by your insurance before you actually enter treatment.

No matter what addiction you may be struggling with, you do not have to keep dealing with the negative effects of this alone.

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 our rehab programs can make in getting your life back on track.

Dating While Not Sober

Dating While Not Sober Pathfinders Recovery Center - A couple is recovery is no longer sober together as they binge drink beer at a restaurant, while the man has his head on the table.

Let’s talk about dating while not sober first.

I have plenty of experience.

I only had two relationships when I was sober.

One was my first boyfriend in high school.

The second is my current relationship.

The span in between was relationship after relationship founded on alcohol or other drugs.

As you probably know, you do not make the same decisions under the influence that you do while sober.

For me, that meant dating many people that I had nothing in common with except for alcohol.

I dated people that irritated me when I was sober.

Part of that irritation was due to a hangover.

But not all of it. I was often sober during the week.

I was the kind of drunk you would label as a “weekend warrior.”

A large part of it was that I did not like the person I had a relationship with.

Most importantly, you need to like yourself, and I did not for a long time.

It is essential to realize the mistakes you have made and learn from them.

People teach us lessons about ourselves.

Dating While Not Sober Pathfinders Recovery Center - A couple that relapsed and are now dating while not sober are arguing after they have indugled in quite a large amount of alcohol.

The Cheater

I still need to forgive myself for some of the harmful, hurtful people I let into my life.

One of the worst was a guy who ended up living with me for about six months. I met him through mutual drinking friends. He knew I had feelings for him, and he completely took advantage of that. He was sleeping with me the entire time while sleeping with at least two other women.

I was suspicious, but I was not one to snoop. I believed that if you trust someone, you should not snoop. When I did become suspicious, I felt bad kicking him out because he had a kid.

For him to have custody, he needed a place for his kid to come to safely. He was broke, so he could not afford an apartment.

I was getting more and more to the point where I wanted him out. I needed proof other than my gut feeling that something was off. He often used one of my old laptops. I got it out and logged onto Facebook. I did not have a Facebook account at that time, so his profile popped up right away. I decided to check his messages. The first thing I saw was all these messages to his new girlfriend, Katya.

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Starting to Wake Up

I was going to kick him to the curb.

But first, I was going to tell his new girlfriend who I was and what was going on. I reactivated my Facebook account, logged in, and emailed her immediately. She responded by chat. She said, “I can’t believe he would do this after saying he is in love with me and blah blah blah.” He said these same things to me at one point. Then, the conversation took a surprising turn. Katya informed me that another woman had reached out to her a week earlier, accusing him of cheating as well.

Katya also enlightened me that he said he hated my dog. If you knew my dog, you would think he was the biggest jerk to have ever walked this Earth. Trust me on this. Who could not love a pudgy, chill, and blue and white chihuahua? He is a rock star. So, to think this three-timing, no good, son of a… was taking advantage of me.

As I was chatting with her via messaging, I moved all of his stuff into the back hallway. I texted him to let him know his stuff was outback. His text back was something weird like, “Let’s have this out in person.” I had zero need to see him in person. There is nothing to discuss in this case. Trust me. I did see him one last time getting the stuff out of the back hallway. I had changed the locks after he left.

But, I still needed to get Katya’s keys from him to give her. I opened the back door and what I saw was the saddest, tall man with tears streaming down his eyes. He was like a kid caught with his hand in the candy jar. I almost felt sorry for him. But I could not. I told him he was pathetic and got Katya’s keys and slammed the door shut. Some people say that closure does not exist. I would say the moment where I shut the door in his face was the best closure I have ever experienced.

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Dating While Sober

I started to become aware of something after an experience with a cheater. I was grasping again at love. Grasping meant going through the same harmful patterns again and again. I was beginning to feel exhausted. I would never find someone real until I started to find myself.

Things did not change for me overnight. It took time and practice. The last two people I dated before I met my current partner were steppingstones. One was a realization that I did not want to date people who did drugs anymore. This person did, and I broke up with him. It felt good. It was the first time I thought about myself rather than the other person. Then, I met another person.
We drank the first few times we hung out and started dating. We also lived in different countries. We did a long-distance relationship, and then I moved to his country for a while. I was always irritated with him, even right before I left to go live with him.

I had barely seen him and almost broken up with him. The romantic version of myself that wanted to live in another country won over. It was a disaster. I was only there five months and left, for good.

 

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Dating While Not Sober Pathfinders Recovery Center - A couple is meeting with an addiction counselor to determine how to get back on the road to recovery after relapsing and now dating while not sober.

Sober Dating

After returning to the United States, I decided I needed more change to avoid making bad decisions. I decided to get sober. I was not drinking much, only once a week. But clearly, that was too much for me to get my life in order.

Around that time, I also lost my job. The rain came pouring down.
But my mentor Father Michael Pfleger says, “Storms run out of rain.” I walked through the storm of life on my own for a while. I was applying to jobs, deciding where to live, and taking care of myself. Every day, I would go on a walk. Life was simple. For the first time, I enjoyed the lack of excitement.

Constant moving and feeling like I had to prove something to someone were exhausting. I did not feel like moving at a fast pace anymore. I wanted to take the time to think things through.

I decided to work for a relative’s company while I was applying for jobs. The job was in New England. A small rural town. It sounded exactly like what I needed. The city had always triggered me to continue these negative patterns I was trying to quit. I did break loose.

I started to live a sober life. While sober, I had the control to say no to people I did not desire. Dating while sober meant taking care of myself and not going with an idea that did not serve my higher self. It did not mean that rejection did not hurt. I was able to handle it better and know that the feeling would pass.

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Love Yourself First

I started to put time into hobbies.

I put time into taking care of my body by exercising.

I read all the time.

I learned guitar.

I went on hikes and felt nature healing me.

I decided to stay.

It was only six months until I met my current partner.

We met through an event.

We began a sober relationship.

We hung out and got to know one another.

We had a lot in common.

I learned after months of dating that I enjoyed being around this person.

It did not happen overnight.

But because I was sober, I enjoyed the process at my own pace and moved forward as I felt.

We are still together; it will be two years in March 2021.

Dating sober is more about finding yourself than anything.

No matter who comes into your life, you will attract the person you deserve if you avoid dating while not sober.

A person who will honor you — rather than who you pretend to be while chugging your Miller High Life.

It is not that you will not have bad dates.

You will understand that they are a part of life, a passing moment like every other moment.

It will all be worth it to know yourself, to love yourself.

There is no love more important than the love you have for yourself.

No partner can fulfill that.

Is Outpatient Rehab Right For You?

Looking for “outpatient rehabs near me” is sometimes the most effective choice for treating addiction.

Choosing to seek rehabilitation is difficult to make.

Having to determine what type of rehab to attend makes the decision even more complicated.

Rehabilitation, whether residential rehab or outpatient rehab, is an effective and common form of treatment for addiction.

Read on for information about how to choose whether you attend inpatient or outpatient rehab.

Is Outpatient Rehab Right For You? Pathfinders Recovery Center - A group of individuals that searched "outpatient rehabs near me," is attending a group therapy session as part of their outpatient treatment programs.

About Outpatient Rehabs Near Me

While both are very constructive options for rehab, inpatient and outpatient programs have essential differences.

Outpatient rehab allows patients to continue living at home as they attend therapy for addiction, while inpatient rehab involves patients remaining as residents at the rehab facility.

Many patients prefer to attend outpatient rehab because of its added flexibility.

Still, the right choice of rehab type is different depending on multiple factors: the severity of the patient’s addiction, the familial and living situation of the patient, and the patient’s health.

Understanding that there are options to make your recovery as comfortable as possible is a significant factor in accepting the help you need.

Some outpatient rehabs near me offer various degrees of intensity in their treatments, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).

Although they are sometimes quite helpful, low-intensity programs may not offer much more than education on addiction.

While knowledge of addiction and education about recovery is beneficial to many patients, more severe addictions often require more intense treatment than these programs offer.

When considering outpatient rehab, make sure to remember that treatment may not be as all-encompassing as other program options.

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Understanding Outpatient vs. Inpatient Rehab

Inpatient rehab is an excellent option for patients whose drug or alcohol addiction is severe or do not have demanding jobs or home lives. Residential rehabilitation centers holding a license to practice offer inpatient rehab. While short-term programs do exist, standard inpatient rehab usually lasts from 6-12 months.

There is a community-centered feel to inpatient rehab, as patients live with helpful doctors and people who struggle with the same issues. For some patients, this aspect of the community draws them to inpatient rehab and helps them know that recovery is possible. You can find more information on inpatient rehab from the NIDA here.

Licensed outpatient treatment centers offer outpatient rehab during the day. Patients come in multiple times a week but do not live at the rehab facility. Treatment at outpatient rehab includes individual or group counseling.

Patients typically participate in behavioral treatments such as the following, according to the NIDA:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Patients learn to recognize and cope with compulsive addiction situations.
  • Multidimensional Family Therapy: Adolescents attend therapy with their families to improve family dynamic and address drug abuse issues.
  • Motivational Interviewing: This utilizes the motivation of patients for a drug-free life.
  • Motivational Incentives: This uses positive reinforcement to encourage drug or alcohol abstinence.

Patients may continue outpatient rehab for prolonged amounts of time if necessary. Outpatient rehab often starts intensely, with patients attending therapy multiple days a week. Over time, sessions become short if patients find that their recovery journey is going well.

Though outpatient rehab is an excellent choice for patients whose drug or alcohol addiction is more manageable, it is not always the best choice for severe addictions. If you or someone you love suffers from a severe addiction to drugs or alcohol, you should attend some inpatient therapy.

Because patients are residents of inpatient therapy centers, there is less temptation to relapse. Spending time in an inpatient setting allows patients to adjust to living without drugs or alcohol and establish positive abstinence strategies. In-depth therapy is offered at inpatient centers, helping patients understand why their addiction formed in the first place and the steps that will allow them to overcome it.

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Effects of Addiction and Substance Abuse

Addiction and substance abuse are epidemics in America and around the world. Addiction affects millions of Americans, changing, and sometimes even threatening their lives. Outpatient treatment near me helps treat those who suffer from addiction to drugs or alcohol and lead them toward recovery.

Knowledge about the effects of addiction helps friends and family members stay informed about their loved ones’ addictions. If you think you may suffer from addiction to drugs, it is also essential to be knowledgeable about possible effects so you can seek treatment if and when they do occur.

Addiction to drugs or alcohol causes serious health risks, both short and long-term. Long-term issues with drug addiction, according to the NIDA, include increased risk of lung disease, heart disease, stroke, cancer, or mental illness.

People who use drugs are also at an increased risk of contracting infections or diseases like hepatitis and HIV/AIDS. Alcohol addiction sometimes causes adverse effects in the brain, heart, liver, and pancreas, as stated by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

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Mental Illness and Outpatient Rehabs Near Me

Addiction does not only affect the body in short and long-term situations; it also very common for addiction to adversely affect the mind. People who experience substance abuse and addiction issues are also more likely to struggle with mental health issues.

While it is not clear why this occurs, some people with mental health issues may seek out drugs or alcohol to avoid their illness. Drugs and alcohol often seem like an escape, but the effects of mental illness often worsen if addiction forms. If you or someone your loved one struggles with both mental illness and addiction, they should receive treatment for these issues together.

Some outpatient treatment centers offer treatment for both mental illness and addiction. If one or both of these issues is severe, the patient should receive more in-depth treatment at an inpatient center. However, if the patient’s mental health and addiction are relatively manageable, outpatient therapy is a safe and effective choice.

Is Outpatient Rehab Right For You? Pathfinders Recovery Center - An individual who searched "outpatient rehabs near me," is meeting with an addiction specialist to determine if inpatient or outpatient rehab is the right choice for their level of substance abuse or addiction.

 

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Payment for Treatment at Outpatient Rehabs Near Me

Our company supplies prospective patients with free insurance verification to help deal with the complicated process of paying for treatment.

Financing treatment at outpatient rehabs near me sometimes seems like just one more problem to add to addiction’s burdensome issue.

We understand that this is not an easy process.

But it is important to remember that our outpatient treatment centers are as dedicated as possible to our patients’ recovery.

Though we wish that recovery was a guarantee, relapse is a common issue for those suffering from addiction to face.

However, we want to stress that relapse does not always mean that treatment has not helped and will not continue to help.

Recovery is possible after relapse, especially if patients continue rehabilitation.

For many, relapse is simply an unfortunate but necessary step in the recovery process.

Remember that you are capable of overcoming addiction.

Take a chance on an addiction-free life by contacting us today about whether outpatient treatment centers are right for you.

Our expert physicians and staff are capable of helping you decide which type of rehabilitation fits you best.

We understand how difficult addiction is and promise to supply you with the skills you need for recovery.

Reach out today for more information on outpatient rehabs near me.

Addiction Aftercare

What is Addiction Aftercare?

Addiction aftercare is an important part of ensuring long-term sobriety.

Sobriety does not always begin and end in an addiction treatment program.

Long-term sobriety requires a long-term commitment.

This is where addiction aftercare comes in. When you complete an addiction treatment program, you may be anxious about what happens next.

When you choose Pathfinders’ luxury treatment center, we will help you find guidance and support long after your program is complete.

Choosing Pathfinders means choosing long-term sobriety and incredible peace of mind.

Addiction Aftercare Pathfinders - A group of individuals that has completed treatment is taking part in a group therapy session at a reputable rehab center for addiction aftercare to ensure they stay on the path of sobriety

Addiction Treatment and Addiction Aftercare

There are many options available to you when it comes to addiction treatment programs and addiction aftercare programs, .

Whether you have completed a residential inpatient program, outpatient program, or a supplemental treatment that landed somewhere in between, you may not feel ready yet to face your sobriety alone.

During your addiction treatment, you learned how to build healthy support systems, habits, and coping mechanisms. You learned how to manage your addiction and avoid relapse.

But, what happens when you feel unprepared to face these tasks alone? You choose not to.

Professionals in addiction health care have long sworn that remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical.

Research in this area shows us that most people will need at least three months in treatment to reduce or stop their drug use significantly.

They take it a step further to ensure that the best outcomes occur with longer durations of treatment.

Whether your addiction treatment program lasted 30 days or one year, the support and guidance you receive only stop there if you let them.

Addiction aftercare is ideal for those who need help enforcing their sobriety, building effective support systems, and participating in recovery groups that will help keep you on track.

 

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Why is Addiction Aftercare is Often Necessary?

As you likely know by now, addiction is a chronic illness. This is not something to hide or be ashamed of.

Addiction is chronic the same way diabetes is.

Removing the stigma from your addiction will help you reevaluate your need for continued care.

Addiction, whether it is drugs or alcohol, is lifelong.

There is no quick fix or cure.

The good thing is that addiction can be effectively managed and treated with comprehensive care and long-term support.

There is no shame in admitting that you are not ready to face your sobriety alone.

This is the reason why addiction aftercare was created.

We want you to have access to medical, physical, and emotional support, guidance, and ongoing maintenance for as long as you need it.

We will help you manage your disorder so you can maintain your sobriety and good health.

Maintaining your sobriety and health can also improve all other aspects of your life.

As you progress through addiction aftercare, you may notice that you have naturally developed better communication skills, relationships, and financial habits.

 

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Addiction Aftercare vs. Other Addiction Treatment Programs

During your initial addiction treatment program, you have gone through the detox, withdrawals, and the early learning stage.

You have developed a deeper understanding of your addiction and the underlying factors that contribute to it.

You have used therapeutic and holistic techniques to improve your mental and physical health.

Achieving sobriety in your addiction treatment program is a major accomplishment to be celebrated.

But, it is not one that should later bring you fear.

Once your program ends, you should not feel like you have to move forward alone from here.

Addiction Aftercare Settings

Addiction aftercare is simply the next logical step after you achieve initial sobriety.

It can be done in an inpatient setting, intensive outpatient, or traditional outpatient setting.

12-step programs are some of the most common addiction aftercare services.

In any setting, addiction aftercare can help you find support in a safe and comfortable environment, and make it easier to avoid relapse.

It comes as no surprise that patients who participate in addiction aftercare programs often experience lower relapse rates than patients who do not.

You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to get the care you need.

We will tailor your addiction aftercare program to best meet your unique needs and circumstances.

Addiction Aftercare Pathfinders - A man who has completed his initial addiction treatment is now participating in addiction aftercare by virtually holding a one-on-one counseling session with an experienced rehab facilitator to help him stay free from addiction

 

Recovery Groups

When you are working toward long-term sobriety and a healthy, fulfilled life, seeking addiction aftercare in recovery groups can help in various ways.

Participating in addiction management in group settings helps you hold yourself accountable. You will also be able to swap stories with others on the same journey and learn from their experiences.

This may feel strange or uncomfortable for addicts starting their original addiction treatment program.

But, you are likely used to group settings by now. In recovery groups, you can benefit from a supportive environment, receive encouragement and advice, and maintain anonymity if you choose.

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are two of the most common examples of these groups. They provide social and complementary support to other addiction treatments.

In these types of settings, you can continue to develop effective strategies for dealing with stress and managing your condition.

Common Problems After Addiction Treatment

The same way that your original addiction treatment program did not rely on a singular technique; your addiction aftercare program will not, either.

Addictions often come with ongoing, systemic issues.

Maintaining your sobriety will include overcoming barriers and hurdles after your program ends.

You may have trouble finding a job or home. You may face distressing legal troubles, as well.

The stress and worry that stem from complications like these can be significant triggers for substance abuse.

Avoiding relapse will require a dedicated, long-term approach.

Addiction aftercare can help.

 

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Treatment Methods Used in Addiction Aftercare

Depending on your needs, you may have access to many of the following:

  • Career guidance and support
  • Legal guidance and support
  • Support through life transitions like relocations, job changes, and family problems
  • Ongoing case and addiction management
  • Substance monitoring
  • Life coaching and effective goal setting
  • Relationship and support group building
  • Academic support for those furthering their education
  • Support and guidance with budgeting and general financial planning

Addiction aftercare focuses on providing help, encouragement, guidance, and advice on maintaining sobriety and building the life you want.

Many people who have struggled with addiction do not have these same types of support systems at home.

We are here to fill in the gaps.

You have everything you need within you to build the life you choose.

Let us help you work through all of the other details and set you firmly on the path to finding it.

Paying for Addiction Aftercare

Most major insurance providers help in covering the cost of addiction treatments.

At Pathfinders, we accept most major insurance providers to make it easier for our patients to get the care they need and deserve.

If you are unsure of your coverage, call our addiction counselor to get an insurance verification.

They are always available to help.

If you do not have insurance, they will be happy to discuss each of your treatment and payment options to work out what is best for you.

 

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Pathfinders’ Addiction Aftercare

Pathfinders Recovery Center offers luxury addiction treatments that meet a variety of needs.

We have received the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers.

We are proud to have committed ourselves to provide comprehensive care throughout each stage of the recovery process.

Whether you completed your initial program here or elsewhere, our addiction aftercare is open to you.

We are here to help you achieve a sober life so you can reach each of your long-term goals.

What Happens if I Relapse?

What Happens When you Relapse?

If you have found yourself telling a trusted friend or relative: “I relapsed,” you may be asking yourself what happens next.

Saying or hearing the words: “I relapsed” can be challenging for everyone involved.

Addiction does not just impact the individual; it affects their loved ones too.

It can also impair your career and the community you have built around yourself.

A relapse is not a failure.

It is not the end of the road.

Relapsing into a drug or alcohol addiction is the same as relapsing into a chronic medical condition. It only means that it is time to try again.

What Happens if I Relapse? Pathfinders - A man who has previously completed treatment and was on the right path to recovery and sobriety has suddenly found himself saying "I relapsed." He must realize that relapse is not a failure, and there are ways to come back from a relapse

I Relapsed

Living a healthy, sober life is something that you deserve, and the people who love you deserve to see it happen too.

Saying the words: “I relapsed” is hard to do.

It can be disheartening and difficult to admit when it happens.

But, like any goal worth pursuing, a setback should not keep you from coming back stronger and giving the pursuit of long-term health and sobriety all that you have.

Understanding the difference between “I relapsed” and “I failed” is crucial in maintaining the mentality you need to succeed.

 

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After Relapse, It is Time to Quit Again

Whether you have relapsed at home after quitting cold turkey; having been through a program already, we will meet you where you are in your journey and help you get back on track.

When you feel like relapsing means that it is time to stop trying and let the professionals and the support system you build here at Pathfinders remind you why it is worth trying again.

And no matter how many times you have relapsed, it is always worth trying again.

 

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How Common is Relapse After Rehab?

Relapsing does not mean that you will never be successful.

Unfortunately, it is an occurrence that many addicts struggle with.

In fact, most addicts who do not participate in aftercare planning, services, and programs are likely to relapse and return.

If you have relapsed in the past, it may be time to reevaluate and pursue another path to sobriety.

At Pathfinders, we offer a wide variety of program options and services for a personalized, high-level experience.

Relapsing should not keep you from trying again. It may be the next try that changes the rest of your life.

Risk Factors for Relapsing

Addiction is a chronic disease.

To put this into perspective, conditions like asthma and diabetes are also chronic diseases.

And relapse rates for drug abuse are similar to relapse rates for other chronic medical conditions.

Addiction is not something to be ashamed of or embarrassed by. It is not something you should hide or ignore.

Some of the most common risk factors for relapsing are high-stress jobs, challenges in important relationships, and overwhelming cravings.

Another important risk factor to consider is your environment.

If you live or spend time with people with addictions, you are more likely to relapse.

The same is true, with an addiction starting in the first place.

Alcoholism, in particular, is largely linked to genetics.

While there is no cure for addiction, it can be managed with the right approach.

What Happens if I Relapse? Pathfinders - A young man has admitted "I relapsed" and has attended group therapy at a rehab facility center to seek treatment to begin is path to recovery again because relapse is not a failure, but a way to learn from mistakes and find healthy ways to avoid relapse in the future

 

Avoiding Relapse

Seeking well-rounded, versatile, and personalized addiction care is crucial to avoiding relapse.

Remaining in treatment for the appropriate amount of time is also crucial.

Experts suggest that long-term recovery requires multiple episodes of treatment lasting for at least three months.

Addiction treatment allows you to counteract the disruptive effects of addiction on your brain and behavioral patterns.

Counteracting self-destructive or otherwise damaging thoughts and behaviors will help you regain control of your life.

Avoiding future relapses means changing deeply rooted thoughts and behaviors, resuming treatment, modifying treatment, or trying another type of treatment.

If you follow the comprehensive plan, we create with and for you, build healthy habits, coping mechanisms, support systems, and practice relapse prevention techniques, you will give yourself a much higher chance of success.

Pathfinders Rehab Program Options

Whether you are recovering from an addiction to alcohol or drugs or a dual diagnosis, we offer a variety of program options to help get you through.

Depending on your unique needs, addiction, and mental health, we will recommend one of the following program options:

For many people, medical detox is a necessity at the start of addiction recovery.

Whether you have skipped this step in the past or tried and then relapsed, this is a critical part of enforcing early sobriety.

This supervised, professional care setting can make all the difference when you are coping with even the worst alcohol or drug withdrawal symptoms.

It can also help you build your strength and confidence as you continue into additional treatments.

 

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Pathfinders Rehab Program Methods

From various therapies to support groups, our rehab treatment methods are well-rounded and holistic.

They are care methods based on years of research and results.

These care methods will likely include:

  • Individual therapy sessions with a trained professional within our facility
  • Family therapy sessions
  • Group therapy
  • Support groups and recovery group meetings
  • Training in addiction management and relapse prevention
  • Lifestyle and financial guidance
  • Aftercare planning
  • Long-term support

When used together, each of these treatment methods can help you avoid relapsing again in the future.

We provide you with the tools, knowledge, guidance, and support you need. Putting in the work every day is up to you.

Finding long-term health and sobriety and avoiding the complications that come with addiction may be challenging, but it is infinitely worth the effort.

You deserve a life free from the abusive cycle of addiction.

Find it today.

Is Relapsing Dangerous?

Multiple relapses can be dangerous or fatal.

Your body may not be adapted to the same levels of drug exposure as before, making it easier to overdose. This is something that many people never consider.

A relapse is not an excuse to give up. It is a perfect reason to try again.

At Pathfinders, we understand how difficult it can be to become and remain sober.

We will work with you to ensure that you have what you need to find long-term sobriety so that these concerns become a thing of the past.

Do not let your drug or alcohol addiction control your life for another day.

Paying for Addiction Care

If you have never attended a rehab program before, you may be worried about the potential costs.

What may surprise you is that most health insurance providers offer coverage for addiction health care.

If you are unsure of how much of your program will be covered, please call our addiction specialist. They will confirm your insurance coverage for you.

They will also outline alternative payment methods if you do not have insurance.

This is an essential factor to consider, but it is not the only one.

Avoiding relapse and building a healthy, sober life you feel good about is infinitely worth pursuing.

 

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Pathfinders Addiction Care

It is time to put your last “I relapsed” into the past.

Leave it far behind and find addiction care that simply works.

It may be what was missing all along.

From your first phone call through aftercare planning, we will walk the path to sobriety with you, and we will help you overcome each barrier that presents itself along the way.

Withdrawal Help: How to Fight Through Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms and Come Out on Top

Many of us know someone who has struggled with opioid addiction. If not yourself, perhaps it was a family member or close friend. Opioids affect a lot of families throughout the United States, so know that you’re not alone in dealing with them.

In fact, statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicate the numbers of affected patients is significant. Studies show that 21 to 29 percent of patients who were medically prescribed opioids for chronic pain end up misusing them. On top of that, over 72,000 cases of death due to drug overdose have been recorded in a single year.

It’s clear that opioids affect many people throughout the country. If you or someone you know is undergoing a transition to sobriety from opioids, he or she will likely experience opioid withdrawal. Even though the transition can be challenging, consider these tips providing withdrawal help for you and your family.

Know What To Expect By Doing Your Research

Every opioid abuser has a different physical composition. That means that each patient has a different relationship with the substance, including how their body will react to opioid withdrawals.

Still, there are certain things you can expect that most patients experience during opioid withdrawals. If you’re a serious opioid abuser, you might already be familiar with the first symptoms of opioid withdrawals.

Within 6 to 12 hours, minor symptoms start to appear. These include muscle aches, excessive yawning, trouble sleeping, headaches, or even a fever. It’s around this time that most common opioid abusers give in and go back to their substance.

If the patient holds out, though, the worst part of withdrawals typically happens around 72 hours after last using the substance. These patients experience serious nausea, stomach cramps, depression, and serious cravings for the drugs.

After these intense symptoms, patients will still exhibit irritability and trouble adapting to life without drugs for up to weeks after last using. It’s up to them and the community around them to maintain sobriety through every avenue possible.

Maintain a Positive Attitude, Even When It’s Tough

The first step to remember is to remember your perspective throughout the entire process of transitioning to sobriety. Though withdrawal symptoms may be physical, the battle you’ll be finding is a mental one. You will be challenged to work through your pain instead of reaching for the drug again.

Don’t be too hopeful about maintaining such a positive outlook, though. It’s going to be pretty tough at times to remember that sobriety is worth the effort.

Many people go back to misusing their drug of choice simply because they choose to ignore their pain rather than fight through it. Break the cycle be sticking through even the toughest parts of the process.

There are benefits to staying grateful for being able to challenge yourself with sobriety. Consider this guidance to remain grateful even during your darkest times of overcoming opioid addiction.

Stay Connected To Surrounding Friends and Family Members

Not only will transitioning to sobriety challenge you in physical and mental ways. You’ll also be tested in an emotional capacity.

Many people don’t realize that drug abuse affects their emotional stability. The effects of consistent drug abuse can numb the natural coping mechanisms we’re supposed to use. When patients quit taking those numbing opioids, they tend to struggle with coping with emotions again.

Some patients overcoming addiction are fortunate enough to already be surrounded by family members and friends. Not everyone is so lucky, though. That’s why it might be necessary for some people to enter into a treatment facility to be surrounded by caring hands.

A stable community of support is crucial for adjusting a patient’s emotions back to normal. Consider this guidance for dealing with emotions during early sobriety.

Cultivating genuine relationships during withdrawals can be the difference between success and failure. Make sure you don’t try to handle the transition to sobriety all on your own.

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask for Help

As mentioned above, you’ll need other people around you to be successful in your sobriety. At the very least, you need to be able to talk to someone about your struggles throughout the process.

Misusing opioid substances ends turning our brain chemistry to have a dependency on those substances. It’s no wonder that many who attempt to quit the drug abuse turn back to it. The brain literally becomes hardwired to need the substance for peace.

Take care, though, to allow your brain to readjust after dependency on opioids. You’ll find that your cognition and emotional stability seem much healthier when you’re sober.

For a while after transitioning to sobriety, many patients tend to deal with symptoms of anxiety or depression. It’s unfortunate that the mood is so affected, but it’s important to prepare for.

Sometimes it can seem as though the transition to sobriety is too much for someone to handle. As difficult as it can be to deal with these strong withdrawal symptoms, don’t be afraid to ask for help during your dark times. There are plenty of resources available to assist you, such as the National Helpline for substance abuse.

Exercise At Least a Little Bit Every Day

It’s no secret that your body is going to go through some serious changes during this transition. You know from your research that you’ll experience trouble with energy levels and sleeping habits. The good news is that there are efforts you can take to help regulate your body’s needs.

That regulation starts with a thorough exercise routine. Don’t worry – you don’t need to become a bodybuilder just to transition away from drug abuse. It is a good idea though, even if just to maintain some level of routine.

It’s common that opioid abusers don’t make a habit of exercising while abusing substances. Since transitioning to sobriety is such a dramatic lifestyle shift, exercising can help normalize a sober life. For many, exercise is even a chance to substitute unhealthy habits for healthy ones.

Don’t push yourself, though. Only work out to the extent of whatever is recommended by your doctor. Don’t expect to be very active right off the bat.

Even if you only take a brisk walk every day, you’ll be off to a good start in your new sober lifestyle. You deserve to make the most of your new, healthy life of sobriety.

Get Plenty of Rest

Along the lines of physical health, don’t forget about your sleep cycle. It’s an unfortunate truth that going through opioid withdrawals could negatively affect your sleep. Don’t worry, though – there are steps you can take.

It might be difficult to get to sleep, especially at first during withdrawals. Do your best to stick to a regular sleep schedule anyway. Even if you’re only laying down without sleep for eight hours, your body will technically still get the rest it needs.

Over time, your brain will get used to calming down around the same time. The goal is to normalize a healthier sleep cycle than the one you had to rely on opioids for.

You’ll eventually notice that your sleep cycle becomes more regular. This is a sign that most of your withdrawal symptoms are wearing down. Work through those difficult withdrawal times knowing that a regular sleep cycle will surely be worth the investment.

Monitor Your Diet and Nutrition

Along with plenty of exercise and rest, don’t forget to watch your diet during addiction recovery. Your body is going to need all the natural help it can get to readjust without opioids.

The first thing to think about is making sure you drink plenty of water. Dehydration can be a huge problem for many patients overcoming opioid dependency. Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water every day while you’re going through withdrawals.

When it comes to what you eat, do your best to stick to healthy greens and grains. That means you need to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. It also means you need to minimize the number of carbohydrates and fats you consume.

Examples of healthy foods to eat include leafy greens like spinach or salads. You should also look at nuts and non-meat proteins.

Your body is doing a lot of internal work when it is readjusting to a life without opioids. Give it the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay strong during this time.

Check Out Recovery Facilities

It’s clear that recovering addicts need to be surrounded by a supportive and helpful community. The withdrawal process can be long and arduous.

For those patients who aren’t fortunate enough to have family members and friends ready and available, recovery facilities are normally available. Do plenty of research to find the best treatment center in your area.

Stay Informed About Withdrawal Help

As you recovery from opioid abuse, you deserve to be around as much withdrawal help as is available. We know how important it is to take the matter of your recovery seriously.

We encourage you to stay as informed as possible about the recovery process. Check out the rest of our blog today to learn about withdrawals and other parts related to the recovery process.

 

Everything You Need to Know About Overdose Prevention Toolkits

More than 72,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2017. More than half of those deaths were due to opioids.

Every day we read another article about someone dying from opioid abuse. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, and beloved celebrities like Prince, and most recently Demi Lovato, are falling victim to these drugs.

Which is why the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) has recently released updates to its Overdose Prevention Toolkits. These toolkits are helpful for overdose prevention.

They can save someone’s life. But first, you need to understand what these toolkits are for and how to use them properly.

Keep reading to learn about overdose awareness and how to use the opioid overdose kit.

Facts About Overdose Prevention

Part of the problem when dealing with opioids is that those who do not use or abuse these drugs aren’t aware of what the signs of an overdose are. Recognizing the signs in a timely manner can help save someone’s life. Let’s go over the signs now.

Signs of an Overdose

One way to promote overdose prevention is by sharing the common signs of an overdose. Since people rarely die immediately from an overdose, there’s usually time to help save a life by knowing how to respond.

When in doubt, call 911.

If someone has lost consciousness or is unresponsive to outside stimuli, it’s a good chance they’re overdosing. Check to see if their breathing is slow, shallow, erratic or has stopped altogether. A limp body is also a sign they’re overdosing.

A slow, erratic or not there pulse is also a sign someone is in distress and needs immediate help.

Listen for the “Death Rattle”

In some cases, the person may be awake, but if they are unable to speak, it’s a sign they could be overdosing. Listen for choking or a gurgling noise that sounds similar to someone snoring, this is known as the “death rattle”.

Those with lighter skin, their skin tone may turn a bluish purple. For those with darker skin, their skin tone may appear ashen or grayish. In either case, their face will be pale and/or clammy. Check their nails and lips to see if they’re turning purplish black or blue.

Another sign of an overdose is vomiting.

Signs Someone is High on Opioids

Seeing someone high on opioids or heroin-based drugs can seem very scary to those who don’t abuse drugs. But if you’re worried someone is getting too high, it’s important not to leave them alone.

If this happens to you, monitor their breathing and keep them awake by walking them around.

To help you recognize the signs of opioid abuse, check their pupils. Their pupils will be contracted and look smaller than normal.

Their muscles may be droopy and it’s difficult for them to walk or function properly. They may start passing out. Their speech may be affected and slurring is possible.

Check to see if they appear to be scratching at itchy skin or if they start passing out but then respond to you shaking them or reacting to a loud noise.

If you feel you are out of your depths with helping someone you believe is overdosing, call 911 and ask for help.

Those Who are Most at Risk

Addictions don’t happen overnight. And those who are addicted often hide it well from others. Part of overdose awareness is understanding who is most at risk. Let’s take a look.

Long-Term Pain Management Users

Many people rely on opioids to manage their long-term pain. When used correctly, opioids are very helpful. Unfortunately, when used in the long-term, it can easily lead to overuse.

As the body builds up a tolerance, some people may begin to take more to get the same type of relief they were previously.

Others who are receiving opioid medication regimens are at a higher risk for incomplete cross-tolerance.

Abuse Drugs or Have a History of Drug Abuse

Those who have a history of substance abuse are also at high risk for overdosing or abusing opioids. And those who are currently abusing illicit drugs also have a higher risk of overdosing.

What the Opioid Overdose Kit Does

The opioid overdose kit was created to help 911 First Responders, medical personnel, and the public deal with the opioid crisis. The more all of us understand how dangerous opioids are and that we can all help, the more lives we can save.

If you believe you are witnessing someone have an overdose or if you believe you are overdosing, do not wait. Call 911 immediately. First responders are trained in overdose prevention.

However, First Responders are the last tool in preventing an overdose. Physicians and the support of friends and family can help prevent abuse in the first place. Keep reading to learn how.

How Prescribers Can Prevent Opioid Abuse

It’s incredibly important for physicians who prescribe opioids to their patients to carefully monitor the patient for the entire duration of them taking the drugs. Physicians should first ask the patient if there is a history of drug abuse.

State Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs

To help combat opioid abuse, many states have developed a prescription drug monitoring program. This way, a physician can check to see if a patient is being prescribed other medications from another doctor.

Choosing the Appropriate Medication

Part of overdose awareness is having the physician make choices on what type of medication is most appropriate based on a few factors.

First, the severity of the problem should be taken into account. Doctors should err on the side of caution rather than prescribing strong drugs for minor issues.

The doctor also needs to take into account how well the patient is able to take their medications properly. Those on opioids long-term should be closely monitored with follow up appointments.

The doctor needs to take into consideration the likelihood of the prescribed drug becoming a risk factor for the patient. Some drugs aren’t as habit-forming as others.

Educate the Patient

Every physician should carefully explain the effects all prescribed medications will have on them. Patients need to understand the likelihood of abusing the drugs and how to ask for help if they find they are becoming more dependent on them.

All patients should fully understand the risks and benefits of any medication they are prescribed.

And those patients who are taking a high-risk medication or are at a higher risk for abuse, a physician should consider prescribing Naxolone in the event of an overdose.

When to End the Prescription

In some cases, it’s necessary to end the prescription because the patient is showing signs of abuse. Here’s how to recognize those signs.

If the patient is caught altering or selling their prescriptions or has engaged in doctor shopping, it’s time to stop the behavior. And if a patient is consistently running out of their medication too early or they are threatening a physician, it’s time to get them the help they need.

How Yourself and Others Can Help

When someone is abusing drugs, it’s important for everyone to get involved to aid in overdose prevention. The opioid overdose kit helps friends and family spot the warning signs and provides them with information on appropriate actions to take.

All drugs should always be kept in a safe place away from children and animals. If possible, keep your prescription narcotics in a locked space so that other family members aren’t tempted.

If you are on opioids that are prescribed by your doctor, only take the medicine as it’s been prescribed by your doctor.

Mixing your prescription drugs with alcohol or other drugs is dangerous. It’s very easy to overdose when too many substances are in your body. Do not mix your drugs.

When someone in the family is taking an opioid, or other strong prescription drugs, it’s very important that everyone knows what the signs of an overdose are. Everyone in the household should also know what steps to take in case of an overdose.

Always properly dispose of any unused medications. It’s not safe to leave them lying around.

What is Naxolone

Naxolone, otherwise known as Narcan is an extremely important part of the opioid overdose kit. This drug is the antidote to an opioid overdose as it reverses the effects of the opioid.

However, Naxolone does not act as an overdose prevention when a person has taken benzodiazepines like Valium, Klonopin or Xanax. Naxolone also won’t work against barbiturates like Florinal or Seconal.

And Naxolone won’t work if the person has taken stimulants like amphetamines or cocaine. However, if the person mixed other drugs along with an opioid, it is possible that Naxolone will work.

Side Effects and Dangers of Naxolone

There are many possible side effects of Naxolone. It’s also possible to experience side effects of opioid withdrawal after being administered Naxolone.

Immediately call 911 or your physician if you’ve been administered Naxolone and experience things like chest pain or fast heartbeats. Naxolone may also cause vomiting, sweating, and a severe headache.

You may experience convulsions or slow breathing. It’s also possible to experience an allergic reaction to Naxolone.

Get Help Today

The most tragic part of overdose prevention is that most overdose deaths can be prevented. Overdose awareness needs to continue so that everyone knows the warning signs.

The stigma of seeking out help needs to be removed. Everyone deserves to be supported and feel safe.

If you or a loved one needs help, don’t wait until it’s too late. Contact us today and we’ll help you find out how much of your rehabilitation process is covered by your insurance.

Signs of Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Relapse

What are the Reasons Relapse May Occur?

For addicts going through the recovery process, most have been told something along the lines of “relapse is a part of recovery.” Is relapse part of the recovery process? The simple answer is no. Many individuals in recovery find success the first time around. However, alcoholics and drug addicts may experience a relapse, or multiple, when attempting to get clean and sober from their drugs of choice. Relapsing can be devastating to addicts themselves, but can also take a toll on the loved ones that surround them. This article is meant to inform those who suffer from addiction and their friends and family different reasons why this may continue happening, and how to deal with relapse as it comes.


Why Does an Addict Relapse?

drug-addiction-relapse

Addiction is unpleasant (to say the least) for the person suffering and their loved ones. Many people wonder what is the cause of addiction. Debated by some, addiction is a disease that results in changes to the brain from continued substance abuse. Addiction is not a disease that develops overnight; we generally pass through a series of phases that begin with experimenting and partying from time to time, gradually developing into loss of control regarding our substance intake.

Our substance use, be it alcohol or drugs, becomes compulsive and renders us acting irrational and abnormal. After an addict has been sober for some time the tendency to relapse is very strong. The data shows that each time you try to stay sober your likelihood of gaining lasting sobriety increases.


How our Brains Work in Conjunction With Addiction Relapse

Our brains contain complex reward systems, developed over time and evolved to help us pursue the things necessary to our survival (i.e. food, reproduction, etc). Our frontal lobes (the part of our brain that develops last and is crucial in our ability to predict, reason, and create) help us weigh the consequences of our impulses. When this system is functioning in conjunction with one another it helps us to make better decisions for ourselves.

However, in an addict it is as if our reward systems do not communicate properly with the frontal lobe in a cohesive and logical way. Our sensitive reward system can be triggered very easily causing us to crave drugs or alcohol. To sum it up, our minds don’t allow us to think the consequences of our actions through clearly, even after some time in recovery has passed.

Can you cure a drug addict? Many addicts believe their disease is one that will last forever, but this notion isn’t true. Thankfully, addiction is a disease that can be successfully treated. Education is key in kicking addiction. That’s why it’s so important to seek out the resources and information about different treatment options


Warning Signs of a Potential Relapse

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  • Excusing unhealthy behaviors – after some time passes it can become easier to slow down on internal growth and honest self-appraisal.  This happens so subtly that we don’t always notice when this is happening.  Then after some time we begin to justify the behaviors that risk our sobriety and increase our chances of relapse. We know in our hearts the behaviors are wrong yet we do them anyway.  This leads us to feelings of shame, anxiety, guilt etc…
  • Obsessing about work, money, or a romantic interest – These are good things for us to have in our lives.  The key is to learn not to obsess, and let these distract us from our primary goal of staying sober and learning to love ourselves.
  • Unhealthy spending habits – This is something that many addicts and alcoholics struggle with early in recovery.  Being irresponsible with our finances can lead to a heavy burden on our lives.  This is not conducive to the new life we are trying to lead and can produce more stress and anxiety.
  • Elevated levels of stress and anxiety – Most people that suffer from addiction are not monitoring this effectively in their early recovery. Therefor they cannot intervene on this in a healthy manner.  This can lead to the thought process of “a drink or a drug sounds like a good idea.”
  • Isolating – Because we as addicts have a tendency to  experience difficulty in monitoring our behavior and being honest with ourselves about the impact of that behavior, we need a sober social network and support system to help us see the truth. A sober social network can help us see how we are truly doing internally, and help us redirect the driving force of those behaviors into a healthy and more productive outlet.  We don’t do this alone and the beautiful thing about recovery is that we do not have to.
  • Romanticizing and glorifying your addiction – It is very easy for us to fall into this way of thinking, our minds remember the good times we had throughout our addiction, which there were plenty of.  If we didn’t enjoy it for so long before our lives came crashing down we would not have kept using drugs or drinking.  It can be difficult to remember the hangovers, withdrawals, lying, isolation, loneliness and pain we experienced that led us to try and get sober in the first place.  Make no mistake about it, it starts with a lot of fun but when the party is over, it is over.
  • Being a pessimist and forecasting negatively for your life – No one likes to feel depressed and hopeless.  Being honest and in touch with the real challenges that are ahead of us, while maintaining optimistic about those outcomes helps us to function more effectively. Having foresight for our futures, and believing we can be successful is key.  “those who believe they can, and those who believe that cannot are both usually right.”

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction please call Pathfinders Recovery Center today and speak with one of our founders directly.  You are not alone, and there is hope.

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