Tag Archives: addiction treatment

clinical opiate withdrawal scale

What is the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale?

What is the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale?

Everyone’s experience of addiction is different. Likewise, everyone’s path toward recovery is unique. When it comes to overcoming an addiction to opiates, seeking outside help is a must. For that help to be effective, a treatment plan that is tailored to suit the needs of the individual patient is essential. Rehab facilities have many tools at their disposal, and one of the best ones for assessing a patient’s opiate withdrawal symptoms and experiences is something called the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale. Read on to learn more about this useful tool and how it is used to help people overcome serious addictions.

The Basics

Often abbreviated simply as COWS, the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale is an 11-point scale that is used to rate common symptoms and signs of opiate withdrawal. Unlike the Subjective Opiate Withdrawal Scale, or SOWS, which is a self-reporting tool, it is designed to be administered by a clinician. Each of the 11 listed symptoms are given a score on a scale of 0 to 5, with 5 representing the most severe manifestation of the symptom in question. The patient’s score is then tallied and used to determine a tailored opioid withdrawal treatment plan.

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Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale

Which Signs and Symptoms are Assessed on the Scale?

Inpatient and outpatient treatment centers alike have numerous tools at their disposal for helping patients to withdraw safely from opiates. In particular, medications like buprenorphine and suboxone are often prescribed to help manage the most severe and uncomfortable symptoms. In turn, patients are less likely to relapse due to severe discomfort. However, to be effective, these medications must be administered at strategic points in the withdrawal process. The COWS scale is the primary tool that clinicians use to determine not only which medications should be used but when they should be administered.

The 11 signs and symptoms that are assessed on the COWS scale are:

1. Resting pulse rate – The patient’s pulse is monitored regularly. A resting pulse of 80 or below is given a score of zero while a resting pulse of 120 or higher is given a score of five.

2. Gastrointestinal upset – Symptoms may range from none to multiple episodes of vomiting and diarrhea.

3. Sweating – This symptom may not be present at all. On the other end, sweat may be streaming from the face or body.

4. Tremors – Tremors may not be present, or they may be severe enough to interfere with a patient’s ability to speak or move.

5. Restlessness – On the COWS scale, this symptom may not be present at all. In the worst case, the patient may be unable to sit still for more than a few seconds at a time.

6. Yawning – No yawning may be happening at all, or it may be happening as frequently as several times per minute.

7. Pupil size – Pupils may be pin-sized when exposed to light, or they may be extremely dilated on the more severe end of the scale.

8. Irritability and anxiety – Someone experiencing opioid withdrawals may show no sign of anxiety or irritability at all, or they may be so anxious or irritable that they struggle to participate in the assessment.

9. Bone and joint aches – This symptom can range from very mild to so severe that the patient is constantly rubbing their joints and unable to sit still.

10. Gooseflesh skin – Skin may be smooth on one end of the scale or look like gooseflesh on the other.

11. Teary eyes and runny nose – These symptoms may be missing entirely, or the eyes and nose may run constantly on the more severe end of the scale.

Benefits of the COWS Scale

After assessing the patient for each of the 11 symptoms, their score is tallied to determine how severe their withdrawal is. A score of 5 to 12 represents mild withdrawal while a score of 36 or higher represents severe withdrawal. Clinicians may use other scales in conjunction with COWS to gain an even clearer understanding of a patient’s current state; the Buprenorphine Administration Scale, for example, is often used in conjunction with COWS to determine effective doses of that medication as well as when to administer it. With many medications, introducing them too early can have the opposite effect, which can lead to a longer and more difficult withdrawal period.

Are You Looking for Opiate Addiction Treatment?

If you are coping with an addiction to opiates and are ready to regain your freedom from substance abuse, it’s important to understand that help is absolutely vital—and it is readily available. Detoxing from the drug is the first step, and the right inpatient or outpatient treatment program will use the COWS scale or other proven tools to determine the best individualized plan for you. Once detoxing is over, you will be free to begin the real work of addiction recovery and to take the first steps toward a lifetime of sober living.

detoxing from alcohol dangers

Alcohol Rehabilitation Arizona Takes Look at the Dangers of Detoxing from Alcohol

Alcohol Rehabilitation Arizona Takes Look at the Symptoms and Dangers of Detoxing from Alcohol 

Detoxing from alcohol can cause a variety of symptoms in the person who is experiencing withdrawal. People who consume alcohol often develop a dependency that is both physical and psychological. Even when the user understands the physical aspect of this substance, the psychological effects of withdrawal will often come as a surprise. Consider the value of using the services offered at an alcohol rehabilitation Arizona facility. You can always call the help desk for assistance when you need access to reliable information about alcohol withdrawal. This is a great way to learn about the services offered at Desert Cove Recovery. This will also allow you to get the answers to any questions you might have about how the rehabilitation process works.

Disorientation and Confusion

Withdrawing from alcohol can cause temporary disorientation or confusion. It can be difficult to think clearly or make decisions. However, getting access to reliable information is very important. The first step to recovery is learning about the problem, and it can take some time to sort through the information. This is a necessary part of the process of rehabilitation, which is why there are places to go for help. For example, people who are interested in getting professional help for their drinking problem can find resources at a facility for alcohol rehabilitation Arizona. This is an important option to consider because of the physical and mental effects that can take place when you are detoxing from alcohol. Some addicts try to detoxify alone, but this can be dangerous in many cases. The effect that the symptoms can have on family members, friends or co-workers should also be considered.

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dangers of detoxing from alcohol

Detoxing from Alcohol, Common Problems

There are a variety of symptoms that can accompany the withdrawal of alcohol. These may include night sweats, insomnia, headaches, tremors, nausea, appetite problems and mood swings. There are many other symptoms that can occur as well, so you should understand that there are many ways that the withdrawals can manifest in the human body. The individual differences between one person and another can also make it difficult to tell if a particular problem is happening because of the withdrawal from alcohol. This is an excellent example of how the professional services that are available at an alcohol rehabilitation center can help. In addition to providing the psychological support necessary to get through the withdrawals, these centers also provide access to resources, networks and other social services. This can help a person to learn how to live without drinking, which can be difficult for many alcoholics.

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal may vary a lot from one individual to another. There are many differences between people who consume alcohol, and the degree of dependency may also be affected by things like the person’s body weight, muscle mass and any other medical conditions that exist. In addition, the psychological effects of withdrawal are also related to the individual history. This may include domestic violence, childhood traumas and other serious events. Substance abuse is often used to mask pain, and the symptoms can be much worse for people who have untreated traumas that are driving the addiction. If you begin to experience symptoms during the first day after you quit drinking alcohol, then that is a sign that you could need professional help. Making the transition into sobriety is difficult for anyone, but this can be a critical period for certain people.

Severity of Symptoms

Severe cases may require additional intervention, and the rehabilitation process would start later in these cases. For example, some people will experience auditory or visual hallucinations within the first 24 hours after quitting. Existing medical conditions might also be aggravated during this period, which can be dangerous for people who already have heart conditions or high blood pressure. In addition, there is often a good amount of mental disorientation that can occur when you are in the withdrawal period. This can make it difficult to communicate effectively with other people, make good decisions or handle your daily responsibilities. Excessive emotions often accompany the withdrawal period, and this can become dangerous. In serious cases, domestic violence is likely to happen unless there is some kind of intervention.

Alcohol Rehabilitation Arizona

Learn how to get the help that you need in order to deal with the effects of withdrawing from alcohol. There are people who are trained and ready to help you recover from this difficult problem. Protect your family and friends by relying on the services provided by trained and experienced professionals. Dependency on this substance can create symptoms that are uncomfortable, and family members or friends might not be able to understand what is happening. If you are concerned about your safety, and the well-being of the other people in your life, consider using the services provided at a facility for alcohol rehabilitation Arizona at Desert Cove Recovery.

nutrition during rehab holistic addiction treatment center

The Importance of Nutrition During Rehab: A Holistic Addiction Treatment Approach

The Importance of Nutrition During Rehab: A Holistic Addiction Treatment Approach

There are many things that can have a powerful impact on drug addiction recovery. By making wise choices through an accredited holistic addiction treatment center, you can have the best chance of experiencing a successful long-term outcome. The information below will talk about the connection between nutrition and the rehabilitation process. It will also discuss how proper nutrition during rehab can be made possible by seeking treatment from a holistic rehab facility.

How Does Substance Abuse Affect Nutrition?

The process of substance abuse is very complex for each individual. As a result of the difficulties that accompany this problem, many people may find themselves having difficulty maintaining a healthy diet. For example, some people may simply forget to eat at all when they are under the influence of addictive substances. Others may find themselves dealing with strong cravings for junk foods that leave little room for healthier choices. Many addictive substances can cause a decrease in appetite. This can lead to the development of serious nutritional deficiencies over time. Last of all, dealing with disturbing physical and emotional symptoms that accompany drug abuse can also leave a person feeling less hungry.

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Health Implications of Substance Abuse and Addiction

Those struggling with a serious drug or alcohol addiction may discover that they have serious nutritional deficiencies. For example, it is very common for those fighting an addiction to deal with low levels of folic acid, vitamin B6, and Thiamine. Some addictive substances can further deplete the natural stores of specific vitamins and minerals, leading to bothersome physical symptoms that make recovery from addiction more difficult.

In addition to many possible nutrient deficiencies, those struggling with substance abuse can also experience unintentional weight loss. This can become a problem for those who were already thin prior to facing a substance abuse issue. The lack of an appropriate number of calories can result in weight loss, poor muscle tone, weakness, electrolyte imbalances, and many other health issues. The presence of these issues can also lead to an increased risk of the development of many life-threatening diseases. This can include cardiovascular disease, liver failure, hormonal imbalances, and blood sugar problems.

The Importance of Proper Nutrition During Rehabilitation

The process of seeking professional treatment for a drug addiction is difficult for everyone who goes through it. There is no doubt that this journey will require hard work, dedication, and a lot of introspection. However, the process is much harder without the assistance that proper nutrition can provide.

As it turns out, consuming a healthy diet can help you heal from addiction in many different ways. It can also lead to a much lower risk of experiencing a relapse down the road. How is this possible? Proper nutrition during rehab can provide the following important benefits:

Improved Repair to Existing Organ Damage

The abuse of addictive substances can lead to internal damage to vital tissues and organs. Thankfully, much of this damage is often reversible through proper nutrition. Excellent food choices can help heal the damage that has already been done while preventing further damage from occurring.

Increased Immunity

Specific foods can have a very powerful effect on the immune system. This results in strengthening the body to withstand the stress that recovering from an addiction can place upon it. Improved immune functioning will also help you become more resistant to common illnesses you come into contact with regularly.

Better Energy and Mood

It’s no secret that those recovering from an addiction often struggle with mood swings, personality changes, and a severe lack of energy. Giving your body the proper fuel it needs through a healthy diet can boost your energy levels. Excellent nutrition can also have a powerful effect on your overall mood, helping you manage stress and maintain a level of happiness throughout your treatment.

Better Management of Withdrawal Symptoms

No matter how well you manage the recovery process, withdrawal symptoms will always occur. While these symptoms are never easy to bear, they can be made much more manageable with the support of a healthy diet. Even serious issues such as chronic pain can become much easier to handle when healthy foods are a part of your daily routine.

Improved Resistance Against Relapse

Almost everyone who goes through treatment for an addiction faces the fear of a relapse. This is a normal thing to be concerned with. However, healthy food choices can strengthen your resolve to avoid a relapse in the future. Proper nutrition will also make your body that much stronger in the process.

The Benefits of Choosing a Holistic Treatment Center

A holistic addiction treatment center can provide many benefits that go beyond covering your nutritional needs during the healing process. Most holistic treatment centers provide access to a wide variety of tools, in addition to diet, that can go a long way toward helping you recover fully.

For example, holistic treatment facilities are well-known for providing nutritional support, fitness endeavors, spiritual activities, relaxation efforts, meditation, and many other services that provide for all of your needs. Many holistic rehab centers also highly promote family involvement that can lead to the improvement of your interpersonal relationships with others. All of these things can contribute to a successful long-term outcome to your drug addiction treatment journey.

Desert Cove Recovery is a highly esteemed rehab center that focuses on providing individualized and holistic treatment options for those struggling with an addiction. If someone you love has been affected by substance abuse, please contact our facility for more information on the innovative treatment options at your disposal at our holistic addiction treatment center.

VR addiction treatment

Will VR Addiction Treatment Work? Will Arizona Rehabs Incorporate Into Treatment?

VR Addiction Treatment – Will Arizona Rehabs Incorporate Into Treatment?

As the opioid crisis in the United States continues to escalate, treatment options for addictions of all kinds are more available and varied than ever. Throughout the country, there are addiction treatment centers in most major metro areas, and new techniques and treatments are being developed all the time. Technology has naturally played a major role in the evolution of the treatment of addiction and substance abuse, and nowhere is that more evident than in the advent of VR addiction treatment. Indeed, virtual reality technology, which is mostly associated with immersive video games, is increasingly being used in addiction recovery. Read on to learn more about how Arizona rehabs are looking into VR for addiction treatment as a viable option.

What is VR Therapy?

Before delving into what VR therapy is all about, an important caveat: This technology is still in its infancy, and much more research is needed to determine its overall efficacy. With that being said, this type of therapy involves using virtual reality technology, which immerses users in eerily realistic virtual worlds, to address various aspects of addiction. Most commonly, the technology is used to expose people in recovery to triggers and stressors in safe, clinical environments. It is also being explored as a way of making therapy more immediately accessible to those who are at risk of relapse. Some researchers are even exploring the use of the technology as a form of pain control.

History of Virtual Reality for Therapy

Buzz about virtual reality technology has reached a fever pitch lately, so it’s easy to assume that its use in therapeutic and medical settings is fairly new. However, virtual reality has been explored as an option in addiction treatment for some time. During the 1990s, for example, a doctor at USC treated war veterans with PTSD using VR technology. Later, they branched out to treat conditions like depression and schizophrenia with the technology too.

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In the early 2000s, Dr. Patrick Bordnick of Tulane University’s School of Social Work examined the use of virtual reality technology in the treatment of nicotine addiction. His research proved that the technology could trigger cue reactivity in smokers. Cue reactivity is a form of learned response that involves reactions to certain drug-related stimuli, or cues. The fact that VR technology can do this is significant because it offers a way for patients to work on positive reactions to such stimuli in safe, therapeutic environments.

VR Addiction Treatment and Environmental Triggers

As anyone who is in recovery can tell you, even the strongest resolve in the world can be no match for certain triggers. For a smoker, for example, that morning cup of coffee can be enough to make them want to light up. One of the most exciting promises of VR technology when it comes to addiction treatment is its ability to allow people in recovery to “face their fears” virtually. VR technology has come so far that when using it, people really do feel like they are immersed in the virtual world, so their reactions are genuine.

In the studies of VR therapy’s effects on nicotine addiction, researchers found that the technology made a difference when used in tandem with nicotine replacement therapies. Now, researchers are exploring ways in which the technology might be used to treat addictions to opiates. In fact, some versions of this technology place users directly in “heroin caves,” where they are presented with many triggers and cues. The resulting cravings can then be worked through safely with clinicians. Should the person encounter such triggers in the real world, it is hoped, they will be better equipped to cope with them in a healthy way.

Can VR Therapy Be Used to Ward Off Relapse?

Relapse is a common and natural part of the recovery process for many. Naturally, anyone with clean time under their belt wants to avoid it, but willpower often isn’t enough. Support groups urge those in recovery to hit a meeting or to call their sponsor when urges arise, but it isn’t always easy or possible to do. The hope is that VR technology may be turned to by those in recovery for immediate help when the urge to use strikes.

Noah Robinson of Vanderbilt University has spearheaded research into this area of VR therapy. He believes that by making therapy as accessible as, say, heroin, addicts would stand a much better chance of working through triggers and cravings that may lead them into relapse. The doctor has stated that the technology is akin to a “scalable intervention”—one that can be conducted by a single person and the appropriate VR technology.

The Accessibility Problem

To be sure, there is real promise in the use of VR addiction treatment, and the technology has progressed by leaps and bounds over the last handful of years. Even so, it is still a considerable investment for most people, so the odds of it becoming something that is used regularly in private homes any time soon are slim. More likely, the technology will begin finding its way into addiction treatment centers and Arizona rehabs, where it may be used in conjunction with proven therapies and treatments.

Will VR Therapy Ever Replace Traditional Treatment Options?

Some people believe that we will all exist mostly in a virtual realm someday. For now, though, we are all stuck in the real world—and VR therapy alone isn’t enough to ensure long-term sobriety. As exciting as the technology may be, traditional addiction treatment options are and will continue to be an integral part of any recovery. Many Arizona rehabs are available to help, including Desert Cove Recovery, so take the first step today.

FDA Approves Non-Opioid Drug to Treat Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Lucemyra (lofexidine hydrochloride) to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms in adults. This drug may lessen the severity of withdrawal symptoms; however, it may not prevent them.

Lucemyra is only approved for a treatment period of up to 14 days. The medication is not meant to be used as a treatment for opioid use disorder (OUD). It’s one part of a long-term treatment plan for patients with OUD.

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

When someone has been taking opioids over a period of time, he will develop a physical dependence on the drugs. This is to be expected, and doesn’t necessarily mean that a patient has become addicted to the medication. Withdrawal symptoms can occur in patients who have been using opioid pain medications as directed by their doctor and people with OUD.

These withdrawal symptoms include the following:

• Anxiety
• Cravings
• Diarrhea
• Difficulty sleeping
• Muscle aches
• Nausea
• Runny nose
• Sweating
• Vomiting

How Opioid Withdrawal is Typically Managed

For patients taking opioid pain medications as directed by a doctor, opioid withdrawal is typically managed by slowly tapering off the drug. This strategy is used to lessen the effects of withdrawal symptoms. Some patients are able to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms entirely.

In a patient with OUD, withdrawal is typically treated by substituting another opioid medication. In time, the dose is gradually reduced or the patient is switched to a maintenance therapy program. These medication-assisted therapy (MAT) treatments may use drugs like methadone, buprenorphine or naltrexone. Medications may be prescribed to treat specific symptoms, such as aches and pains or stomach upsets.

About Lucemyra

Lucemyra is taken orally and works by reducing the release of the brain chemical norepinephrine. Its actions are believed to play a role in several opioid withdrawal symptoms.

medically supervised detox

The Importance of Medically Supervised Detox

The Importance of Medically Supervised Detox

When an addiction sufferer realizes they have a drug or alcohol problem, the decision to stop using is a tremendous first step. However, for a number of reasons sufferers may choose to attempt the detoxification process by themselves.

Drug or alcohol addicts may be ashamed of their use, afraid to share their addiction, or simply may not know where to turn. Unfortunately going through detoxification alone may be more detrimental to the long-term health of the sufferer than not coming clean in the first place.

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importance medically supervised detox

Physical Withdrawal from Drugs or Alcohol

The sickness and physical pain caused by withdrawal symptoms often get the better of those attempting to self-detox. The body has become accustomed to functioning with the addictive substance. Organs and the brain have figured out ways to accommodate and flush toxic chemicals from the body.

But, once the addictive substance has been removed, the body doesn’t adjust as quickly. This results in unpleasant physical side effects including:

  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Stomach Pain
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling lightheaded

In the most severe cases, seizures, heart palpitations, and other life-threatening conditions can occur. The possibility of withdrawal resulting in permanent health issues or even death should be reason enough to see medically supervised detox.

With medical supervision and intervention, physicians may be able to introduce medications which can assist in reducing physical symptoms. Fear of replacing one drug with another should be eased. Medically supervised detox can require daily or even weekly supervision. Thus reducing the unlikely development of a secondary addiction.

Mental Obstacles in Detox from Drugs

Patients seeking to detox should not only seek out medical solutions but, mental and therapeutic support. While the physical discomfort of withdrawal can be severe, in some instances the mental anguish associated with withdrawal can become too much to bear for some individuals.

During the detox process, suffers can experience mental symptoms including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Nightmares
  • Sleeplessness
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Intense desire to use again

Detoxifying can be a psychologically taking ordeal. Having access to the proper level of both medical and mental therapeutic support significantly increase the chances for success.

The Benefits of Medically Supervised Detox

The detox process is similar to other medical treatments. First, the addiction is identified and evaluated. Once understood, the proper treatment plan can be put in place. Finally, and perhaps most important, follow up treatment and assessments help ensure a successful recovery.

Medically supervised detox provides the same benefits as other treatments, such as physical therapy or surgery including:

  • Professional medical and therapeutic staff
  • Clean, safe, and supportive environments
  • Expert symptom relief

Physicians and nurses specially trained in addiction-related treatments can alleviate withdrawal symptoms. They also know when to intervene in an emergency or when to change course if outcomes are not meeting expectations.

Rehabilitation and recovery centers provide a safe environment for sufferers. Surrounded by knowledgeable staff at all levels, comfort and privacy are provided for even the most vulnerable moments of the detox process.

What to Expect During Detox

One of the first questions asked is how long an average detox program can last. There are several factors which determine how long addiction sufferers may spend in a program:

  • Frequency of use
  • Underlying medical conditions
  • Use of single or multiple substances
  • How long drugs or alcohol have been abused

Typical stays last from a few days to a couple weeks. Keep in mind this is only the inpatient treatment portion of the program. Participants will be expected to make regular physician visits and are encouraged to commit to therapy sessions or support groups.

During the time at the rehabilitation center, expect to be surrounded by around the clock care from doctors, nurses, and therapists. Upon entering the center, physicians will establish a medical baseline of health and uncover any medical conditions you may have.

With around the clock monitoring, vitals are checked on a regular basis. As much rest as needed is provided. Each day medications are adjusted appropriately to assist in the detox process. Ultimately the goal is to get addicted suffers back to being themselves as soon as possible.

After Detox

In most instances, it is recommended clients seek continued monitoring. In addition to returning home with the support of friends and family, after detox treatment programs greatly reduce the chance of relapse.

As supportive as friends and family may be, trained professionals can help with unique physical and mental after-effects addiction sufferers may experience. The support in treatment programs provides a source of comfort while adjusting to sober living.

The importance of medical supervision during the detox process cannot be stressed enough. Medically supervised detox is the safest and best step anyone can take to rescue their life from addiction.  If you or someone you know requires detox, there are many organizations including Desert Cove Recovery who can provide the best possible detox options.

reinventing yourself after rehab

Reinventing Yourself After Rehab

A New You: Reinventing Yourself After Rehab

Rehab is only the first step in recovering from drug addiction. Once you get back to your regular routine, you must dodge triggers, learn to cope with stress in a healthy way and continue to avoid falling back into your old habits. One of the best ways to achieve this is to recreate your life. Reinventing yourself after rehab can be a daunting task. Using small steps to change your mindset and behaviors is the key to a sustained recovery.

Why Reinventing Yourself After Rehab Is Important

To understand the importance of reinventing yourself after rehab, it’s vital to understand how the nervous system helps you process experiences. Every time you do something new, your body has to develop the neural pathways to process the information. This is comparable to establishing a new hiking trail in the woods.

The first time you carve out the trail, it feels hard. You have to knock down branches and cut through shrubbery. When you do something new, it can feel challenging as your body creates a pathway for the experience.

reinvention after rehab

As you continue to walk down the hiking trail, the journey becomes easier. The path becomes more defined, and traveling along it keeps new growth from forming on the same route.

Your behaviors and activities in life are like this too. When you perform a certain routine often, the neural pathways that are used to process that task develop more layers of insulation. This helps the signals travel more quickly and smoothly within your body and brain.

Eventually, the new actions feel like habit. Getting there may not be easy, but your new life will feel more streamlined with practice.

When you enter rehab, your substance abuse behaviors feel like the norm. Although they’re not beneficial or healthy, they feel comfortable. It takes some effort to cut those pathways and establish new ones when you return to your regular life.

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A Different Mindset

Don’t underestimate the power of the mind for long-term sobriety. Most people engage in some level of negative self-talk, which can prevent them from doing what they know is best for them.

Awareness is the first step in recreating your mindset. Noticing thoughts that are detrimental to your recovery allows you to change them. Perhaps you tell yourself that you don’t deserve to heal or you’re too weak to stay sober.

Those beliefs are not true. Once you recognize them, you can develop positive mantras to repeat to yourself every time you fall back into your destructive thought processes.

Meditation or prayer can help you become more present and allow harmful beliefs to dissipate instead of making you feel emotional. Establishing a mindfulness routine allows you to live a healthy life without having impulsive reactions to stress.

Establishing New Behaviors

When you’re in rehab, you eliminate harmful substances from your life. You might also remove the stressors of maintaining a household and holding down a job. You may even disengage from your social group. Cutting these things out of your life can help you get away from the patterns that led to your addiction.

When you leave, you must replace the toxic aspects of your life with constructive ones. This may involve finding a new job, creating a new social circle or moving to a new place. These are major life changes that can be challenging.

A high-quality rehab sets you up to establish a new lifestyle. Your peers at a rehabilitation facility understand what you’re going through. Making connections there can help you surround yourself with positive people when you leave.

A transitional living program gives you a chance to test the waters before moving away from rehab completely. You might try going about your regular activities, like attending school or running errands, while returning to a safe harbor at the end of the day.

Ongoing support groups can also keep you focused on reinvention. Regularly appearing at meetings helps you feel like you’re not alone and provides resources for instituting new patterns in your life.

Reinventing yourself after rehab is a creative process that never ends. It is part of the journey of life and contributes to continual growth. If you don’t replace your old, negative habits with positive action, you may end up feeling unfulfilled and resentful.

When your lifestyle used to be pervaded by drugs, your reinvented existence must be characterized by purpose. Getting professional help can empower you to develop a strategy for the future, explore your passions and cultivate new rituals that bring meaning to your life.

 

 

length of opioid prescription

Length of Opioid Prescriptions and Opioid Addiction

Length of Opioid Prescriptions and Opioid Addiction

Every day, people who were only seeking a little pain relief unwittingly become addicted to opioids.

Most get prescriptions from their doctors following surgery or an injury. Many seek relief for ongoing back pain. Some borrow pills from friends just to take the edge off after a stressful day at work. None ever plan on getting hooked.

In 2016, 66% of all fatal drug overdoses in the U.S. involved an opioid. What was only an area of concern in the late ‘90s is now a full-blown crisis.

If you’re worried about your opioid habit, you may have reached out to us just in time. Keep reading to find out how your lawmakers and the professional caregivers at Desert Cove Recovery can help you.

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Limiting the Length of Opioid Prescription

In an effort to stop this epidemic, mental health experts and politicians want to limit the number of doses that patients can get at one time. Several states have passed laws on prescription lengths. The CVS pharmacy chain recently announced that it will only dispense seven days’ worth of opioids at a time.

The idea behind shorter prescriptions is to take unnecessary pills out of circulation. Limiting doses will result in less potential for abuse. Even people who use painkillers responsibly fail to properly dispose of the extras; stockpiles in home medicine cabinets are tempting.

Finding the magic number is no easy task. In the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, the recommended length of opioid prescription is three to seven days. Some experts challenge those numbers, pointing out that they are far too conservative for major surgeries like hysterectomies. They also argue that unreasonably short prescriptions will only prompt patients to get refills.

There’s no easy fix, but the opioid addiction crisis has everyone’s attention. That’s a good thing.

Understanding Opioid Addiction

Prescription opioids are closely related to morphine, codeine and heroin. Commonly used opioids include methadone, hydrocodone and fentanyl. One of the most frequently prescribed remedies, oxycodone, is twice as powerful as morphine.

Synthetic opioids attach to receptors in the brain so that your perception of pain is altered. If you have a legitimate need for them on a short-term basis, they’re a godsend. However, they have great potential for becoming addictive. 

Synthetic Opioids are Addictive

Dopamine is a natural feel-good chemical that gives you a warm sense of pleasure and reward when you’re enjoying yourself. In mentally healthy people, it’s always at just the right dose.

In addition to relieving pain, opioids signal your brain to increase production of dopamine. The excess might result in a rush of intense euphoria. There’s a severe letdown when the sensation wears off.

People become addicted to opioids when they try to duplicate that initial high by increasing the dose or combining pills with other drugs like alcohol. The body quickly builds tolerance, and the vicious cycle of addiction begins.

That’s why lawmakers are so concerned about doctors over-prescribing painkillers. The practice results in millions of loose pills being abused or falling into the wrong hands.

Are You Addicted?

You may have an opioid addiction if you’ve experienced even one of these symptoms:

  • Taking opioids after your pain has subsided
  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Taking opioids that aren’t prescribed to you
  • Trying without success to stop
  • Using opioids recreationally
  • Combining opioids with other substances
  • Craving opioids when you’re not using them
  • Lying about opioid use
  • Becoming defensive when friends or family members express concern
  • Sleeping during waking hours
  • Experiencing irritability, mood swings or depression

Your chances of becoming addicted are significantly higher if you have a mental problem such as depression, anxiety or eating disorder. You’re also at greater risk if anyone in your family struggles with substance abuse. Traumatic events in your past, like divorce, domestic violence or rape, will also make you more susceptible to opioid addiction.

Getting Help for Addiction

Substance abuse can start with one bad decision, but after that, the painkillers take over. Like other drugs, they teach your brain to crave them.

Drug addiction is a chronic disease with no cure, but it can be managed just like asthma or diabetes can. Just as people become addicted every day, people start to recover every day.

Choosing Desert Cove Recovery for Help With Opioid Addiction

Our caregivers at Desert Cove Recovery have years of experience with people just like you. Our comprehensive treatment plans utilize time-tested approaches that help recovering addicts stay clean for good:

  • The 12-step model
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Group meetings
  • Holistic approaches such as prayer, meditation, yoga, art, music or massage
  • Exercise classes and outdoor activities
  • Nutritional instruction

With professional help, you can break free from the grip of opiate addiction. Call Desert Cove Recovery today to speak with a caring counselor. We’ll tailor a unique treatment plan that’s just right for you.

 

 

myths of opioid addiction

Myths of Opioid Addiction 

Myths of Opioid Addiction 

The news is bleak and the numbers are staggering. Opioid use in the United States has been on a sharp incline over the past two decades. The number of fatalities, however, how increased at an exponential rate since the late 1990’s. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of overdose fatalities has:

  • Increased five-fold since 1999
  • Doubled since 2010
  • Soared by 25% since last year

And there seems to be no end in sight. The deaths from opioid use have reached and remain at record levels throughout much of the nation.

These are devastating blows to communities where addiction has reached epidemic levels. Closer to home, addiction can be shattering to both the individual and their family. Although the causes of the increased use to opioids are many, myths of opioid addiction can exasperate efforts to make progress on the issue. Here are just three myths and rumors not only causing hysteria, but barriers to real solutions. 

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3 myths of opioid addiction

Myth #1: Opioid Addicts Can Detox On Their Own

Detox, short for detoxification, is the process of a drug user or alcoholic allowing the body to naturally cleanse itself. On the surface, this method may appear to be a leading solution for an opioid addict. However, “detox” is only part of the process of breaking an opioid addiction.

Similar to other addictions, supplementing the natural detoxification process with FDA-approved medications, medical assistance, and counseling dramatically increase success rates. One key component is implementing behavioral health management.

Breaking addictions is a two-pronged process. On one side, the body must be prepared and properly nourished for the physical toll which accompanies detoxification. On the other, mental fortitude is necessary to endure psychological effects individuals will experience. For both, self-detoxification not only can be ineffective, it may put an addict into a worse state than before.

Myth #2: Opioids Are the Most Effective Chronic Pain Drug

This may be perhaps one of the most common myths of opioid addiction. With the sheer number of opioid prescriptions written each year, one would believe this is indeed true. But it’s not. There have been studies which have shown opioids perhaps could be the worst drugs available for chronic pain.

Working as well as other drugs, opioids have a unique quality. They can actually increase an individual’s tolerance to pain over time. As the pain tolerance rises, so too are the potential negative effects of opioid use including addiction, cardiac arrest, and other threatening outcomes.

There are many less expensive but just as effective non-opioid medications on the market today. From ibuprofen and acetaminophen to lidocaine and capsaicin, patients should have discussions with their physician about alternatives. 

And beyond pills, chronic pain sufferers should explore other options, with the guidance of licensed providers. For example, simple steps such as increased exercise and a healthy diet can go a long way to reducing pain symptoms. Alternative treatments may also be effective. Spinal manipulation, acupuncture, and electric stimulation therapy are methods gaining attention in not only managing but reducing chronic pain.

Myth #3: Some is Good, More is Better

We’ve all heard the saying “less is more.” Debates go on as to how true this statement may be in our daily lives. But when it comes to opioid use, more almost never is better.

Physicians are still learning how the human body regulates pain. There are a number of receptors involved and only a few of them react to opiates. When a low to moderate dose of opioid is effective, higher doses will likely provide no further improvement. This is because as the opioid dosage increases, the body’s ability to use them doesn’t change. The result is the body is left with an overage of the drug which the body must work overtime to flush out while increasing the body’s resistance.

Often it is a better course of action to supplement the effective low to moderate opioid dose with a different type of medication. Two together may work better than either one alone, without the negative side effects. Of course, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist about taking more than one medication at one time. This includes seemingly innocuous medicines such as cough syrups and common over the counter medications. 

Understand the Signs of Opioid Addiction

As a close family member, it would be easy to believe you would know if a loved one was addicted to opioids. But for a handful of reasons this often is not the case.

Opioid addicts will attempt to hide their addiction from family and friends. Unlike other addictions, opioid users do not have as many telltale signs of addictions. Usually only in the most severe cases will physical and behavioral changes become apparent.

However, one area which may raise a red flag are changes in social behavior. When abusing drugs, users will cut themselves off from social media, avoid phone calls, and not respond to texts. Small talk may become almost non-existent. And interest in others can disappear.

If you suspect someone you care about may have a problem, let them know not only their friends and family are there for them, but specially trained experts. The community supporting those breaking opioid addiction is growing. By eliminating the myths of opioid addiction and showing the way to recovery, we can help to reduce the effects of the opioid crisis.

 

 

Med Conference: Buprenorphine Effective for Addiction Treatment

Attendees at a presentation during Hospital Medicine 2018 learned that the drug buprenorphine is appropriate to prescribe for hospitalized patients with opioid use disorders. The same medication is also effective for treating the acute pain experienced by patients being treated using buprenorphine.

Significant Increase in Drug Overdose Deaths

Dr. Anika Alvanzo, from John Hopkins Medicine, made a presentation at the conference. She referred to the significant increase in drug overdose deaths over the past 20 years. The number of fatalities jumped from three percent per year between 2006-2014 and 18 percent per year in the years 2014-2016. Dr. Alvanzo said that a large number of these deaths can be linked to increased use of synthetic opioids.

Types of Prescription Pain Medications

While some people refer to opioids to describe all types of prescription pain medications, they differ in the way they are made.

• Opiates are natural pain medications that are derived from opium. The opium is extracted from the opium poppy and is used to make medications such as morphine and codeine.
• Synthetic opioids are manufactured by humans and include methadone and fentanyl.
• Semi-synthetic opioids are a hybrid made from making chemical modifications to opiates. Drugs in this category include oxycodone, hydromorphone and buprenorphine.

Buprenorphine Availability a Bridge to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders

Dr. Alvanzo stated during her presentation that there are currently three medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating opioid use disorder: buprenorphine, naltrexone and methadone. She went on to say that when buprenorphine is prescribed to patients on discharge from hospital, it “significantly increases” the likelihood that the patient will seek professional treatment. Approximately 75 percent of patients were in treatment one month after discharge.

The doctor urged her colleagues attending Hospital Medicine 2018 to consider getting their buprenorphine certification so that they can order the drug within the hospital and at discharge for patients. She referred to buprenorphine availability as a “bridge to treatment” for opioid use disorders patients.