Tag Archives: Addiction

Over-the-Counter Pain Relievers as Effective as Opioids for ER Patients

For a number of patients, their first introduction to opioid pain medications occurs when they seek treatment in an Emergency Room (ER). Since doctors have more than one option for treating pain, what would happen if they offered over-the-counter pain medications instead of these strong, potentially addictive drugs instead?

A new study looked at what would happen if doctors took this approach to patients who visited the ER for treatment of sprains and broken bones. The results found that pain relievers sold under brand names as Tylenol and Motrin were as effective as opioids for treating severe pain.

Treating Acute Pain Without Opioids

The study involved 411 adult patients who sought treatment in two Emergency Rooms in New York City. All of them received ibuprofen (the main ingredient in Motrin) and acetaminophen (the main ingredient in Tylenol) or one of three opioid drugs: codeine, oxycodone or hydrocodone. All patients received standard doses, and none were told which medication was being administered.

The patients rated their pain levels on a score of 1-10 before being given their pain medication and again two hours later. The researchers found that for an average patient, the pain levels dropped from a 9/10 to approximately 5/10. There was little difference reported between the two groups.

Dr. Andrew Chang, Professor of Emergency Room Medicine at Albany Medical College in New York State, explained that ibuprofen and acetaminophen affect different pain receptors in the body. He went on to say that using them together may be especially effective.

These results dispute the standard ER practice used for treating acute pain. It could lead to changes that could help prevent new patients from being given opioids, which have such a high potential for abuse.

Although the study didn’t continue to follow the patients after they left the hospital, it is likely that the pain relief continued while taking the OTC remedies.

Study Has Potential to Help Opioid Crisis

Over two million people in the US are addicted to prescription painkillers or heroin. According to experts, changes in how ER doctors prescribe drugs could potentially put a dent in the current opioid crisis and help save lives.

Long-term opioid use often starts after patients are introduced to the drugs in an acute pain treatment situation. Emergency Rooms have given them to patients more often in recent years, although more states have limited the number of pills that can be given out. According to previous studies, approximately one-third of ER patients received an opioid painkiller during their visit. Approximately 20 percent of ER patients leave the hospital with a prescription for an opioid pain medication.

growth mindset in addiction recovery

Adopting a Growth Mindset in Addiction Recovery

Growth Mindset in Addiction Recovery

The mindset you have while you are facing an addiction will play a critical role in your odds of overcoming and combating the problem. If you have the wrong mindset when you are first getting started, you will make your journey harder than it needs to be. Falling into that trap can cause you to lose hope and give up, and you must avoid that mistake at all costs.

If you can develop a growth mindset, you will gain vital insights into your problem and uncover hidden solutions that you never knew existed. Acquiring a growth mindset will take effort in the beginning, and you must pay attention to your thoughts at all times if you don’t want to fall behind. If you remain on track and don’t give up on your goals, you will defeat your addiction in no time. The following guide reveals the main difference between fixed and growth mindsets, but you will also discover how you can cultivate a growth mindset and apply it to your addiction treatment.

Fixed Mindset

Learning about fixed mindsets and why they are harmful is a great starting point for those who want to overcome an addiction. If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that some people are better equipped to handle life’s problems than others. When you have a fixed mindset, you also believe that you can’t do anything to break free from addiction or change your life. You feel stuck when you’re in a fixed mindset.

stuck in fixed mindset in addiction recovery

This mentality is one of the most harmful factors that will hold you in place and stop you from improving your situation, so you must do everything that you can to change the way you see the world and the problems you face. Doing so won’t always be easy, but you will gain a powerful skill that you can use in many areas of your life.

Growth Mindset

You can gain almost any skill you want if you have a growth mindset, and nothing can stand in your way. When you realize that you can solve almost any problem that presents itself, you will find the motivation and inspiration needed to leave your addiction behind. Rather than giving up when they face trouble, people who have growth mindsets take a step back and look for new and creative ways to reach their desired outcome.

growth mindset

They know that success is not likely on the first or second attempt, but they also understand that persistence will move them toward what they want to achieve. Many factors can impact your addiction and determine the ease with which you can beat it, but having the right mindset is the biggest factor in your success.

Cultivating a Growth Mindset

If you don’t have a growth mindset and want to break the chains of addiction, it’s time to change your perspective, which is not as hard as you might think. You can begin by monitoring each thought you have about addiction and your plan to turn your life around.

Also, look to your past and think of times in which you overcame problems that you once thought were insurmountable. Setting and working toward short-term goals is another great way to prove to yourself that you can make progress and change your situation. Once you complete a small goal and get a little boost of confidence, use the motivation to push yourself past your next milestone. After you reach your milestone, make sure you take time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished.

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Applying a Growth Mindset to Addiction Recovery

Now that you have established a recovery growth mindset, it’s time to apply your new perspective to your recovery plan. You need to accept that you can’t overcome the problem with the tools that you already have on hand. While doing so can be painful, it opens many opportunities for you to reclaim your life and to change the direction in which it’s moving. Take some time to yourself and make a list of the top things that keep you trapped in the endless cycle of addiction.

For some people, the cravings get the best of them and keep pulling them back into the same trap. For others, friends or environmental factors can make it hard to leave addiction behind. You will then want to do research and find out how other people have overcome the problems you are facing. You might not be able to stop using the drug to which you are addicted all at once, but you can reduce the number of times you use the drug, which is a good step along the right path.

Taking the Next Step

Although building a recovery growth mindset is an effective way to defeat addiction and regain control of your life, it’s not always enough. If you are serious about defeating your addiction for good, nothing can compete with the touch of a caring group of experts.

Finding a treatment facility that will help to cultivate a growth mindset is a great way to give yourself the best possible odds of making a full recovery. Even in your darkest moments, we will stand by your side and help you harness the power within you. If you have questions or are ready to start, contact us as soon as you can. We’re here to help.

routine in addiction recovery

Routine in Addiction Recovery

New Routine in Addiction Recovery

If you’re reading this, you’ve committed to staying sober. By going through drug rehab, you’ve already come a long way. Establishing a routine as quickly as possible will increase your chances of long-term success.

However, there’s a delicate balance between sticking to a schedule and obsessing over it. If you fail to plan, you open the door to relapse. If you’re rigid and inflexible, you open the door to other addictive behaviors.

Keep reading for tips on creating a routine that strikes the perfect balance.

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The Importance of Routine in Addiction Recovery

Kicking a habit once and for all is difficult if you don’t have anything to replace it with. Having idle time on your hands, time that you once filled by drinking or using drugs, can get you into trouble.

The solution is to make sure that your days and nights are reasonably full. Staying clean is easier once you get into a consistent rhythm; your brain soon kicks in to reward you for making positive changes. Even your body performs better when you set fairly consistent times for eating, sleeping and exercising. Whatever routine you design for yourself is reinforced whenever you repeat it. In time, new habits feel comfortable and familiar, and every recovering addict can use that kind of stability.

In the past, substance abuse was your default setting when you were lonely, bored, depressed or anxious. The idea is to create a new, healthier default setting in which life-enhancing habits replace self-destructive ones. If you establish a good routine, your mind, body and spirit will quickly go along with it. You’ll be in control again.

Establishing a Routine

A structured lifestyle has special benefits for recovering addicts.

Poor health and insomnia are common problems for newly sober people. Scheduling long-overdue doctor visits and dental exams will help you bounce back. Healthy meals will replace lost nutrients. Going to bed and waking at the same time each day will regulate your body clock for better sleep.

Planning a routine in addiction recovery will keep you from feeling overwhelmed. You’ll see that every aspect of life is manageable. Scheduling your time leaves little room for procrastination, loneliness and boredom, which are all triggers to relapse.

Here are some ideas for designing your routine:

  • Prioritize recovery. Quickly decide where and how often you will attend meetings or speak with your sponsor.
  • Set a regular bedtime and time to wake up. Allow time for a healthy, unrushed breakfast before work.
  • Set consistent mealtimes. Research nutrition websites for menu-planning.
  • Set realistic and consistent times for exercise. Start slowly, and gradually increase the length of your workouts as you build stamina.
  • Schedule family time or date nights with your spouse.
  • Schedule daily and weekly household tasks such as cleaning, doing laundry and paying bills.
  • Schedule time for entertainment, hobbies and socialization. You might enjoy Monday Night Football, a daily crossword, a weekly movie night or a monthly book club. Get in touch with sober friends you haven’t seen in a while. Volunteer in your community.
  • Make time for quiet, restorative activities like yoga, religious services, journaling or reading inspirational books.

Fill in all the specifics. Take a careful look at the final product, and rethink anything that could become a pitfall.

For example, your bike route shouldn’t take you past the neighborhood bar you used to frequent. You may not be ready to attend the wedding of a friend if a lot of drinking is planned. If you scheduled time for music, change up your playlist to eliminate songs that you associate with drinking or drug use. Gambling, online bidding, viewing pornography, eating junk food and even overexercising are addictive behaviors. Avoid them.

Adjusting for Balance

Try your schedule out for a few days or a couple of weeks. You may have to tweak it for balance. There shouldn’t be large gaps of free time, but you shouldn’t be working 60 hours a week or watching TV all weekend either. Scheduling diverse activities will keep you from getting bored and make you a more well-rounded person.

Remaining Flexible

Becoming fixated on a routine defeats its purpose. You fought hard to break free from addiction, so don’t become a slave to your schedule.

Don’t neglect loved ones just for the sake of ticking off items on your list. Don’t get into a predictable rut where you stagnate. Pencil in plenty of time for classes or new activities that you’ve always wanted to try.

Be flexible. As long as your choices support sobriety, you’re okay. Feel free to skip the garage cleaning on a beautiful day. Take the kids to the park instead.

At Desert Cove Recovery, we’re committed to supporting you through each stage of the journey. If you need help getting started on a routine, call us today to speak with an experienced counselor.

 

holistic addiction treatment

Benefits of Holistic Addiction Treatment

Substance abuse and addiction are serious problems that affect millions of American adults every year. It can be difficult to know the correct plan of action to take when seeking treatment. Everyone is different and handles the process of recovery in a slightly different manner, leaving some confused and overwhelmed. This following information discusses the benefits that come with holistic addiction treatment and the reasons why this manner of addiction treatment is so successful.

What Does the Term Holistic Truly Mean?

Many people do not fully understand the meaning of the word holistic. Therefore, it’s important to define the proper meaning of this type of treatment before we go any further in this discussion. Holistic refers to the concept that various systems of the body are viewed as whole entities rather than separate and unrelated body systems. In the practice of holism, all parts of the body work together as one in order to support the overall health and well-being of the individual. Therefore, when treating a serious condition such as addiction, a holistic approach involves treating all parts of the individual rather than simply addressing bothersome symptoms.

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benefits of holistic addiction treatment infographic

Six Key Benefits of Holistic Addiction Treatment

1. Treating of Mind, Body, and Spirit

A holistic approach to healing centers around the concept that the mind, body, and spirit of an individual must all be healthy in order for that person to have the most successful life that they can possibly experience. Rather than just treating the physical effects of addiction, this method combines every distinct part of an individual and ensures the health of mind, body, and spirit.

2. Effective Traditional Therapies Remain the Foundation of Care

There are many traditional methods that have been used to treat addiction for decades. These tried and true methods still form the basis of a holistic approach to substance abuse. These methods are simply expanded upon to incorporate treatment of all components of the person seeking help.

3. Caring and Compassionate Environment

Treatment professionals who believe in a holistic approach to care generally provide a safe, secure, and compassionate environment that encourages openness and healing. These individuals are trained and experienced in dealing with the difficulties brought about by addiction. They provide these therapeutic interventions in a way that conveys compassion and empathy for the struggles each individual faces.

4. High Rates of Long-Term Success

Holistic methods of treating substance abuse tend to have better long-term outcomes. A greater percentage of individuals experience a complete recovery. In addition, fewer people treated by this approach fall back into their old patterns of substance abuse and addiction.

5. Greater Selection of Diverse Treatment Options

Holistic treatment facilities utilize a wide array of treatment options. While these comforting amenities may be seen as non-essential components to some, a holistic approach recognizes the importance of treating all body systems equally. Therefore, holistic programs often provide nutritional support, massage, fitness programs, meditation, outdoor recreational programs, and so much more.

6. Quality After Care Programs and Follow Up

Holistic treatment programs also recognize that the individual’s treatment doesn’t end the second he leaves the facility. Successful rehabilitation requires a great deal of skilled follow-up and aftercare therapies. These aftercare programs act as an additional means of support to keep each individual from experiencing a devastating relapse.

Why is Holistic Addiction Treatment So Successful?

We are all complex individuals and the reasons we make specific decisions, good or bad, can be very complex as well. Holistic methods of addiction treatment are successful because they look at a person as a whole and make it a point to treat all parts of an individual successfully. Holistic approaches recognize that a person suffering from addiction is so much more than just his substance abuse problem.

The Importance of Seeking Quality Treatment Promptly

Overcoming addiction and substance abuse is a difficult process. It should come as no surprise that the majority of those experiencing these issues require additional professional support to overcome it and bring about positive change in their lives. Seeking help to overcome these problems and regain a peaceful life should be recognized as a sign of courage and strength, not one of weakness.

Desert Cove Recovery is a top quality behavioral treatment center that believes in taking a holistic approach to managing and treating serious issues such as addiction. Located in the heart of Scottsdale, Arizona, Desert Cove Recovery uses the latest in cutting-edge technologies to tailor a treatment program to fit the needs of each individual.

No matter how serious your issues may seem, you don’t have to face them alone. You can recover from your addiction and experience a peaceful life by seeking proper treatment at a quality facility. Contact Desert Cove Recovery today to find out how we can help you get started on the road to recovery.

 

signs of alcoholism

Telltale Signs of Alcoholism

Alcohol is a drug that is typically accepted by society. While alcohol carries significant level of addiction, people tend not to notice it until it is very serious, because it’s hard to draw the line between what’s acceptable as social drinking and what’s not. It’s not always easy to be objective when trying to figure out if you or a loved one has a problem with drinking.

Consuming too much alcohol affects your speech, muscle coordination and vital centers of your brain, having a big impact in your safety and health. If you are wondering if a person is abusing alcohol or if they have progressed to alcoholism, read on for common signs of alcoholism.

Signs of Alcohol Abuse

Typically, a person abusing alcohol will have problems at work or school, such as being late or not going at all, because of being hungover or sick. They’ll drink in risky situations, such as before or while driving a car, boating or something similar. After drinking, the person also may not remember what happened while he/she was drinking; there are memory losses or blackouts.

Abusing alcohol will definitely have an impact in a person’s overall physical health. Long-term alcohol abuse, for example, can lead to liver damage. If a person has experienced negative effects on their physical health, yet they continue to drink, this is a key indicator of alcohol abuse. 

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signs of alcoholism

Signs of Alcoholism

When the alcohol abuse progresses into dependence or addiction, the person cannot quit drinking or control how much or when they drink. Alcohol becomes a focal point in life. The drinker must always make sure there is enough on hand, and social activities nearly always include drinking. They also need to drink more to get the same buzz as before, and may have withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking. These include feeling sick to stomach, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety. Withdrawal symptoms can also include delirium tremens, which can be deadly. 

You’ll notice that the amount of time and money that the person spends drinking has increased, and they have given up other activities so they can drink or recover from drinking. The person may drink early in the day, stay drunk for a long time, or drink alone. They also may keep drinking even though it harms their career, education, family or relationships.

A person in this stage of alcoholism will try to conceal their drinking and make excuses, or do things to hide their drinking, such as buying alcohol at different stores. They also change what they drink, such as switching from beer to wine because they think that doing this will help them drink less or keep them from getting drunk.

Often times, a drinker would like to quit drinking. Many times, however, they are unable to stop drinking for long, and again begin dangerous drinking patterns.

What Can I Do to Help Someone Struggling with Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is a serious problem all over the world as social drinking can turn into something more serious without realizing it. Finding a reputable alcohol treatment center is extremely beneficial and can give the person struggling with alcoholism the tools necessary to begin and experience long-term recovery.

If you or a loved one is battling dependence or addiction, know that you are not alone and that treatment is available. Contact a counselor in Desert Cove Recovery for help. There is always a solution to recover a normal and healthy life.

 

 

12 step program

Why the 12-Step Program Works

The 12-Step Program Works for Many. Find Out Why…

If you are battling a drug or substance addiction and want to make positive changes so that you can put your problem in the past, you are likely curious about the benefits of the 12-step program. When you realize you need help and decide to seek treatment, the program will help you make it past the most difficult parts of recovery to give you the best odds of reaching your goal.

A trained and caring expert will learn about you and your addiction to put together a treatment plan that’s right for you. Not only will you learn to accept the problem you are facing, but you will also realize how turning your life to God will give you the power to break free. 

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You Will Learn Acceptance

Denial is the worst enemy of addicts because it prevents them from taking the right steps to cure their problem. In simple terms, you need to know that an issue exists before you can have any hope of solving it. Addicts often read self-help books or watch videos online so that they can get rid of their addiction, but those methods rarely work.

The help of a professional, caring support staff and faith in God are the elements that lead to recovery from addiction, but you must accept that you are in trouble before you can find an answer. When you come to our addiction treatment program, we will utilize the 12-steps as a way to help you celebrate the fact that you are powerless to overcome your addiction alone.

You Will Take a Realistic Look at Your Choices

Many people stay trapped in addiction because they refuse to take a realistic look at their choices and how they have impacted others. Looking at the truth can be a painful experience at first but will get easier with time. Taking inventory of the decisions you have made as a result of your addiction can motivate you to make better choices in the future. Desert Cove Recovery’s addiction treatment program will inspire you to forgive yourself for everything that you have done, but we will also encourage you to make things right.

You Will Repair the Damage

When addicts try to fix their lives and repair their relationships, the guilt of their past often haunts them, which can cause further stress and depression. Some people will then return to drug use to combat the negative feelings, allowing the cycle to repeat. We believe that an effective addiction treatment must address all of the problems and emotions caused by the addiction.

Our team will invite you to make a list of each person you harmed because of your addiction and encourage you to reverse the damage. For some people, this means apologizing for past mistakes and promising not to repeat them. For others, making things right can involve repaying money they might have borrowed. Only you can decide what path is right, and you will know in your heart what you must do.

You will Learn That You Are Not Alone

Guilt, shame and feelings of worthlessness are common among addicts who feel as though their addiction is a sign of failure. One of the best ways to overcome negative emotions is to realize that you are not alone in your problem. Knowing that others have faced your battle and made it to the other side will give you the inspiration you need to keep pushing yourself forward.

You will get the chance to speak with people who are going through addiction and to understand that you are not the only person with these thoughts and feelings. The sense of unity that you will get from our program will give you the strength and courage to turn your life around.

You Will Monitor Your Progress

In addition to looking at your past choices and how they have affected others, you will also learn to monitor your progress. Each decision you make will either move you toward your goal or away from it, and keeping that fact at the front of your mind will enhance your odds of success. You will take inventory of your life every day and correct your path when needed, and you will know that you are doing the right thing.

Being Proactive

Each minute that an addiction remains untreated makes it a little harder for the addict to reverse the damage, so you won’t want to waste time. You can reach out to us right away to learn more about our program and what we can do to help. Addiction is a disease that impacts the mind and clouds judgment, but working with caring professionals and putting your life in God’s hands will enable you to escape from the struggle of addiction.

No matter your situation or the length of time for which you have been addicted, our proven system can give you the answer for which you have been searching. Your addiction does not need to define or control you anymore. We are excited to work with you and invite you to pick up the phone and give us a call, as soon as possible.

mental health and addiction

Dual Diagnosis: Why It’s Important to Pay Attention to Mental Health and Addiction

The Importance of a Dual Diagnosis in Addiction Treatment

Drug and alcohol addiction has become a problem for people across the nation, and taking every possible step to contain the threat is vital. Addicts often seek treatment but keep falling into the same trap once they complete the program and don’t know why. Rather than being simple or straightforward, addiction is a complex issue that requires a closer look when you want to give yourself or a loved one the best odds of escaping from the issue.

Mental health and addiction are very closely linked. For many people, learning about their mental health disorders is one of the most critical factors in their path to recovery. If you have depression, anxiety or other mental health diagnoses, our experts will get to the bottom of it and treat both conditions simultaneously. Doing so will give you the skills necessary to break free from your addiction and begin your recovery. 

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Why Diagnosing Other Mental Health Issues is Important

People who have mental health conditions and don’t know about them will sometimes turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication, but they won’t always understand why they keep using harmful substances. If a rehabilitation center only treats the addiction but fails to notice the contributing factors, the patient is more likely relapse within a few days or weeks after treatment.

When you go to a treatment center that understands the connection between mental health and addiction, you will make progress faster than you once thought possible. Treating the issue that caused or contributed to your addiction will make it much easier for you to stay on the path of sobriety.

Spotting the Red Flags of Mood Disorders

Learning about mental health and addiction so that you can discuss the red flags of a mood disorder will take you far when you want to defeat your addiction. If you felt sad a lot before you became addicted to drugs or alcohol, you might be suffering from depression. Suicidal thoughts are another indication that you should look deeper than the surface of your substance issue. Those who feel nervous and uneasy without reason likely have anxiety and will need to speak with a mental health professional. Extreme mood swings and feelings of heightened confidence could point to other problems that an expert will address.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Mental Health and Addiction

When people opt for our treatment programs at Desert Cove Recovery, our experts will assess the needs of each person so that they can decide the best treatment plan.  If we uncover other issues during the evaluation stage, we will treat the patient for addiction and the other mental health issue.

By customizing a program for each person, we can prepare our patients for life after the program in a way that will reduce their odds of repeating old habits. Handling other mental health problems has already improved the quality of life for many of our past patients, and we are confident that you will enjoy a similar outcome.

Our mission is to arm you with the tools that will allow you to reclaim your life and to break free from addiction and the other things that could hold you back from reaching your full potential. We care about our patients and will strive to help them achieve their short- and long-term goals. Even though recovery might seem far away, it’s closer than you think.

You Have Hope

Whether or not your addiction has another cause that you need to solve, our treatment centers are here to give you hope. Our team will work together to find an option that fits your lifestyle and needs, and you will know that you are in the right place. Likewise, if a person is not appropriate for our program or the therapies we offer, we will be up front on about this and discuss an alternate plan.

If you are like other addicts, you may be feeling lost and hopeless, but we promise that you can make it past your addiction if you allow us to guide you. Contact an admissions counselor today for help.

injection treatment for opioid addiction

Monthly Injection Treatment for Opioid Addiction Approved by FDA

The FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) has approved a monthly treatment for addiction that is the first of its kind. The new option can be used for those struggling with substance abuse issues stemming from an addiction to narcotics such as prescription painkillers or heroin.

Sublocade, from Indivior Plc, is buprenorphine given by injection. The drug reduces the sensations of withdrawal symptoms in addiction patients. Administering the drug monthly could help patients comply to the treatment schedule, compared to other versions currently available such as daily oral doses in the form of pills or dissolving strips.

Effort to Reduce Stigmas Around Drugs

Approving the new drug treatment product is part of the Administration’s plan to reduce stigmas surrounding this class of medications. Buprenorphine is a synthetic opioid, and critics have expressed their opposition to medication assisted treatment (MAT). Instead, they favor changing users’ behavior to combat the current opioid crisis.

The FDA and other federal agencies are supporting MAT, which involves administering drugs and providing counseling to those affected. The White House referred to the situation as a “public health emergency” in October.

The FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb, released a statement recently that said the FDA is “committed to expanding access to treatments that can help people pursue lives of sobriety.”

New Medication Available Early in 2018

According to reports, Sublocade will be made available to patients early in 2018, according to Indivior. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that in 2016, drug overdoses were responsible for taking the lives of more than 64,000 Americans. This figure includes overdoses caused by prescription drugs, such as fentanyl and OxyContin, and illicit ones like heroin. Clients who receive medication assisted treatment for drug addiction reduce their risk of death from all causes in half, according to the FDA, making this option a valuable one.

Mr Gottlieb stated that the FDA is currently working on guidelines that will get further treatment options for treating opioid addiction into the market more rapidly.

opioid overdoses in arizona

Opioid Overdoses in Arizona

100 Deaths from Opioid Overdoses Each Month in Arizona

Opioid overdoses in Arizona are at their highest rate in a decade. As the opioid crisis escalates across the country, Arizona has been hit especially hard. It currently sits at second in the nation for drug-related death, coming in just behind Nevada. Worse, the numbers have been steadily rising over the last few years.

In 2016, there were 790 overdose-related deaths, representing a 16 percent increase from the previous year. Of these deaths, 482 were caused by prescription drugs; the other 308 were attributed to heroin. This year, the numbers have been even higher, with some estimates placing overdose-related deaths at around 100 per month.

These numbers reflect only a small part of the growing opioid problem in the state. Overdose deaths may be under-reported. These numbers also do not account for all of the non-lethal overdoses that are treated each month nor for the other physical, psychological and economical impacts of the drug crisis.

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opioid overdoses in arizona

The Opioid Epidemic is a Complex Issue

Many of those who develop opioid addiction are individuals who originally obtained their drugs legally through a doctor’s prescription. They may have obtained these drugs for a specific surgery or injury, or they may suffer from a chronic pain condition.

However, thanks to the highly addictive nature of opioids and their difficult withdrawal symptoms, going off of prescription drugs can prove challenging for many people. Additional factors, such as life stress and interpersonal relationship trouble, can contribute to the likelihood of developing an addiction. Once legal access to painkillers is ceased, some addicts may turn to buying their drugs off the street or switching to the comparatively cheaper illcit drug, heroin.

Since the 1990s, America has led the world in opioid prescriptions, and doctors have been known to write extensive prescriptions beyond what is actually necessary to deal with pain. For example, a patient might go to a dentist for a wisdom tooth removal and leave with a weeks-long supply of Vicodin, even though a milder painkiller would likely be just as effective after the first day or two. Having so many extra drugs left over creates opportunities for drug misuse and abuse.

Additionally, despite the real dangers posed by these drugs, prescription painkillers are often viewed by users as being safer than other kinds of drugs. There is less social stigma against taking prescription opioids, and people may not seek help for their dependency until the problem gets out of hand.

Opioids are also notoriously easy to overdose on. Drugs available on the street may not be as pure as what a user is accustomed to. They may be laced with stronger opioids, such as Fentanyl, or they may be in a higher concentration than the user is expecting. A person who has become habituated to a specific dose may also be extremely sensitive to that same dosage after a period without any drugs; when tolerance wanes, a previously safe dose can cause a deadly overdose.

A Holistic Look at Opioid Addiction

Because so many people get hooked on prescription drugs, one suggested solution to controlling the epidemic is to limit the amount of opioid drugs in circulation. That has been the suggestion of Dr. Cara Christ, Arizona’s head health official. Dr. Christ suggests heavy restrictions placed on opioid prescriptions, preventing doctors from prescribing more than are absolutely necessary.

Other solutions, such as the growing availability of the overdose-reversing drug NARCAN®, can help to reduce the amount of opioid-related deaths. However, these measures do not strike at the root of the problem. Being revived does not put an addict into recovery; without further treatment, the user may end up overdosing again in the future.

The reality is that drug addiction is complex, and no single solution will help to solve Arizona’s opioid crisis. While issues are being discussed and implemented on a policy level, it’s important for individuals to obtain the care and intervention that they need.

At Desert Cove Recovery we recognize that addiction is deeply personal and affects each person differently. We offer treatment programs that help people to get sober and stay that way by addressing the underlying causes and contributing factors to their addiction. For more information about our program, contact us today.

most addictive substances

The Most Addictive Substances

What Are the 5 Most Addictive Substances?

While use of any psychoactive substance with pleasurable effects may lead to psychological addiction, certain drugs come with a heightened potential for both physical and psychological addiction. Physical dependence compounds the psychological aspects of addiction as both body and mind crave the drug, resulting in difficult withdrawals. Drugs with these properties have earned notoriety as the most addictive substances in the world.

Using an addictive substance does not guarantee that a pattern of drug abuse will follow. Whether a person becomes addicted to a substance depends on complex factors such as genetics. Repeated use of a highly addictive drug will put the user at a higher risk of developing a habit that requires treatment, particularly if the user is turning to the substance as a coping mechanism.

A scale developed by drug researcher David Nutt and his colleagues is commonly referenced in lists that rank the most addictive substances. The published report assesses how dangerous each drug is based on its potential for dependence, physical harm and social harm on a scale of zero to three. The dependence score takes into account pleasure, physical dependence and psychological dependence.

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most addictive substances

So, what are the most addictive drugs? Here are five that are high on the list:

Opioids

Heroin, an opioid, earned the highest mean score on Nutt’s dependence ranking with a 3.00. It also ranked as the most dangerous drug overall once physical and social harm were taken into account. All drugs in the opioid class, which contains heroin and legal painkillers alike, act similarly on the brain, binding to opioid receptors and increasing dopamine levels. Opioids are depressants that provide pain relief and a feeling of relaxation and euphoria. Because opioids are highly addictive, it’s not uncommon for those who are prescribed painkillers to become dependent and start seeking out heroin on the street. Between 26.4 million and 36 million people are estimated to abuse opioids worldwide.

Cocaine

Cocaine has a significantly lower potential for physical dependence than opioids, but it comes second to heroin on Nutt’s dependence scale with a 2.39 because its ratings for psychological dependence and pleasure are high. Both crack and powder cocaine are included in the rating. This stimulant drug influences the behavior of the neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin, resulting in euphoria and a perceived increase in confidence and energy. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), young adults have the highest rate of cocaine use. In the survey, 1.4 percent of adults ages 18 to 25 reported cocaine use within the past month.

Methamphetamine

Similar to cocaine, methamphetamine is a stimulant that floods the brain with the pleasure-inducing neurotransmitter dopamine. Known as crystal meth on the street, this drug may be snorted, smoked or injected. Meth use results in increased heart rate, appetite suppression, insomnia and paranoia. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveal that methamphetamine abuse is on the rise with a 30 percent increase in overdose deaths from 2014 to 2015.

Alcohol

Unlike many other drugs, alcohol is universally legal for recreational purposes and is widely accepted by the mainstream. It is frequently cited as the most commonly used addictive substance. Because alcohol is both highly ubiquitous and addictive, a vulnerable person can easily become exposed to it and then addicted. In the US, one in 12 adults is addicted to or dependent on alcohol, which gets an overall addictiveness score of 1.93 according to Nutt’s rating system. Alcohol is classified as a depressant, but its initial effects are more like those caused by a stimulant. Users typically become more talkative and outgoing prior to experiencing alcohol’s sedating effects.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines are a class of prescription drugs that act on the neurotransmitter GABA and depress the central nervous system. Due to their sedating properties, they are frequently prescribed for anxiety and insomnia, but unfortunately, some patients end up abusing them. Benzodiazepines are also commonly sold on the street for recreational use and known as benzos. They have a mean dependence score of 1.83 on Nutt’s scale. They are notable for their significant potential for physical dependence and their risky withdrawals that can cause seizures. Benzodiazepines become more dangerous when combined with opioid drugs, and a study reported on by CNN found that 75 percent of benzodiazepine overdose deaths also involve opioid use.

Seek Addiction Treatment to Overcome Abuse of Highly Addictive Substances

Drug abuse is a serious problem all over the world as people from all walks of life turn to psychoactive substances to cope with their struggles, and the more addictive a substance is, the greater the risk.

If you or a loved one is battling addiction, know that you are not alone and that treatment is available. Placeholder is a drug rehabilitation center that provides treatment for addiction to the substances mentioned in this list. Contact an addiction counselor today to learn more about your addiction treatment options.

Sources:

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0140673607604644

https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2016/americas-addiction-to-opioids-heroin-prescription-drug-abuse

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/cocaine/what-scope-cocaine-use-in-united-states

https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db273.pdf

https://www.ncadd.org/about-addiction/alcohol/facts-about-alcohol

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/18/health/benzodiazepine-sedative-overdose-death-increase/index.html