Tag Archives: Arizona drug rehab

stigma of addiction, scottsdale treatment center

We’re Starting to See a Reduction in the Stigma of Addiction, But We Still Have a Lot to Work For

We’re Starting to See a Reduction in the Stigma of Addiction, But We Still Have a Lot to Work For

The stigma of addiction brings a heavy burden to people who are suffering with the problem. These people often feel “marked” with defects that keep them from living sober lives. This can lead to feelings of shame and helplessness. Luckily, there has been a reduction in the negative imagery that goes along with this condition.

How Has This Stigma of Addiction Been Reduced?

This country is experiencing an enormous rise in its drug addiction rates. However, more and more people are speaking out and sharing their stories. Even celebrities in Hollywood have come forward to shine a new light on recovering from addiction. Along with being outspoken in interviews, Demi Lovato speaks through her music. She released a song that discusses her struggles with sobriety. She explains that the road to recovery is not easy for anyone and that there is no shame in the battle.

Recently, Lovato suffered a setback. She was admitted to the hospital after an apparent overdose. Instead of negative comments and statements from the public, there has been an outpouring of support and positive energy. Thanks to social media, her relapse has given people from all walks of life the courage to speak about their similar problems and to offer sympathy to the suffering music star and to others who are in the same position. Lovato has shown that celebrities are human and have the same flaws as other people. It is a great opportunity to knock down some walls and to fight the stigma that is attached to addiction.

Music has allowed Lovato to use lyrics as an outlet to explain the bumps on her journey and to apologize for her mistakes. She wrote in detail about her failures ad this has built trust with her fans. It has allowed other drug users to understand that relapse happens and that it is possible to get back on the right path and to avoid the negativity that often surrounds the shame of addiction. As more and more people offer support, the stigma should continue to decline.

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Why Stigma Should Not Be an Issue

Is there a stigma related to cancer? Is there a stigma linked to having a heart attack? Like these physical ailments, addiction is a disease. It strikes people of all races and classes. Since no other health condition brings a negative stigma, drug addiction should not be the exception.

According to the American Medical Association, addiction is a disease that changes the way a person’s brain functions. Many drugs encourage the brain to release chemicals that bring feelings of pleasure. With continued use, these chemicals change the brain’s systems. This means that an individual will crave the substance. Brain changes can last long after an individual stops using, which leaves the person vulnerable to triggers that often lead to relapse. In many cases, a strong individual with the will to stop using is still left open to fall off a sober path.

Although seeking treatment is a smart way to gain sobriety, it is not a guarantee that the problems are over. Understanding the struggles of a user makes it clear that a negative stigma should not be placed on an individual who is trying to get clean.

How Stigma Prolongs the Problem

Many times, a user who experiences a negative stigma about his or her drug habits have a decreased likelihood of seeking treatment. Even when he or she admits that there is a problem, they may be afraid to come forward and to ask for help. It is essential to uncover a trusted medical professional so that a patient can receive solid advice and treatment. Researching a respected rehab facility is vital as well.

Our Scottsdale treatment center is filled with a compassionate staff. We understand the struggles and realities that addiction brings to an individual’s life. We are not afraid to help patients through the withdrawal process and to assist them on the road to recovery. We never judge or criticize, which means that the environment at our facility is nurturing and relaxing. Patients can feel safe, concentrate on the root of their problems, and learn how to avoid triggers that may cause relapses.

Thankfully, the stigma of drug addiction is becoming less damaging. However, we still have a long way to go. Society is starting to realize that addiction can affect anyone and relapse is not a sign of weakness. As in the case of Demi Lovato, it is important to support people with problems, especially when they decide to get help. To get started on a sober path, call our Scottsdale treatment center today.

heroin rehab arizona, naltrexone implant for opiate addiction

People are Getting Naltrexone Implants for Opiate Addiction & Why Heroin Rehab Arizona is a Better Choice

People are Getting Naltrexone Implants for Opiate Addiction & Why Heroin Rehab Arizona is a Better Choice

Millions of people struggle with addiction and are desperate to get to the light at the end of the tunnel and a return to a life of normalcy. However, the path is usually not an easy one, and it is a journey that can be taken in one of many different ways. Some turn to heroin rehab Arizona for help to overcome their addiction, while other people take problems into their own hands by getting a naltrexone implant for opiate addiction.

What Are Naltrexone Implants and Why Are People Turning to Them to Treat Opiate Addiction?

Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. Its prime benefit is that it blocks the effects on the brain of opioids such as prescription painkillers, heroin and other narcotic drugs.

Effects of opioids usually include a temporary escape from pain, stress and fear, which is why they can be so addictive. However, that escape never lasts as tolerance starts getting built after many uses. Eventually, the effects of the substance continue to decrease, getting to the point that taking it ends up being necessary just to feel normal. Now the person’s body relies on the drug to survive, instead of using it as a means of escape, resulting in a heavy drug addiction.

Many of those who are addicted to opioids are turning to naltrexone implants to help them overcome their addictions for a number of reasons. The primary benefit of naltrexone is that it blocks many of the opioid’s effects at the brain cell receptor levels, which results in the desired benefits being significantly reduced. Due to this effect, the opioid cravings are lessened, a definite help in overcoming an addiction.

Specifically, a naltrexone implant for opiate addiction consists of small medication pellets that go under the skin. They gradually release the naltrexone over a period of several months.

Implants, in particular, are preferred by many because they remove the risk of forgetting to take a pill, or even purposefully not taking a pill. Naltrexone can be a good option for those who have a history of relapsing as it decreases the desire for alcohol or opiates.

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Do Naltrexone Implants Work?

A naltrexone implant for opiate addiction does appear to help reduce opioid use. According to a 2009 study, patients participating in a study experienced 45 fewer days of heroin use and 60 fewer days of opioid use than those in the control group. Additionally, a 2014 systematic review of nine studies found that naltrexone implants were much more effective than the absence of them although it should be noted that “the quality of the evidence ranged from moderate to very low.”

Importance of Heroin Rehab Arizona

Although naltrexone implants are proven to help with addiction, there are several other ways to take control of your recovery. One thing that naltrexone does not help with are withdrawal symptoms. These can be significant and can include abdominal pain, agitation, anxiety, diarrhea, muscle cramps, nausea, sleep disturbances, sweating and vomiting. Heroin Rehab Arizona will help ensure that the withdrawal experience is handled as carefully as possible so that this part of the recovery process is overcome and is not as overwhelming to the patient as it might otherwise be.

Another reason why it’s important for those addicted to heroin to engage with a heroin rehab program is because the rehab process will address the underlying issues that led to addiction in the first place. Allowing this process to happen will ensure that the chances of recovery are permanent. Of course, relapses are always possible, but it’s important to keep the odds of those occurring as low as possible, and heroin rehab is the best way to make sure that this ends up being the case.

Naltrexone Doesn’t Cure Addiction

It should also be noted that naltrexone doesn’t cure any sort of addiction. It helps, of course, but it is not a be-all and end-all cure that many might be hoping for. The person addicted to opiates also needs to be motivated to recover. Simply taking naltrexone will not be enough if the desire and motivation is not there to overcome the drug use and to make that permanent.

Obviously, the same can be said of those in a rehab center, but, in that case, the support will be there to help the patient see that it is in his or her best interests to overcome this addiction. Of course, all that matters in the end is that the patient is motivated, and no support system, regardless of how strong, can ensure that will occur, but a rehab center will increase the odds of that happening.

If you or a loved one is suffering from an addiction to heroin or other opioids, contact Desert Cove Recovery, Heroin Rehab Arizona for assistance. Our experienced staff will assist you as you begin your journey to recovery.

Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment

Rehabs in Arizona That Offer Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment See Benefits

Rehabs in Arizona That Offer Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment See Benefits

The process of drug and alcohol addiction can be challenging for some people. When residents are at a rehab center in Arizona, they have the encouragement and support that is needed to be successful when they go home. There are classes offered at rehabs in Arizona as well as group and individual counseling sessions. However, finding a rehab that offers exercise as part of addiction treatment can be beneficial for many people who are dealing with addiction.

For many people, playing outside or walking on a trail is considered a form of recreation. For someone who is fighting addiction, it can be therapeutic. Exercise as part of addiction treatment allows for getting the mind healthy by focusing on activities that don’t involve drugs while talking to other people who are participating. Taking the time to get the body healthy, in at least a minimal way, can help to reverse any damage done by drugs and alcohol.

Here are some of the benefits that can be seen when exercise is offered as a part of addiction treatment:

Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment Decreases Stress

A primary benefit of exercise as part of addiction treatment is stress reduction. When people rely on drugs and alcohol to relieve the stresses that they have in life, it can be difficult to take part in other activities that offer the same feelings.

Various forms of exercise increase the heart rate, relieving stress that is felt in the body for many residents in rehabs in Arizona. They can channel the stress that they have about issues with relationships and past situations in a manner that is often fun and refreshing.

exercise in addiction treatment

Exercise Helps Reduce Sleep Issues

Sometimes, people who have used drugs and alcohol for long periods of time tend to stay awake because of the high that they get from the substances. Exercise is a natural way to tire the body. Paired with planned activities at the rehab center as well as daily chores, exercise can often help residents who have had problems with sleeping in the past.

Once they begin to get a normal sleep schedule again, they can begin to go to bed at roughly the same time each night and get up at the same time the next day. This will help the body adjust to being functional in a healthy way once again.

More Energy from Exercise in Rehab

After exercising for a few weeks, residents at rehab centers can begin to see an increase in energy levels in the body. This increase in energy in a natural way instead of using drugs and alcohol can allow residents to focus on therapy sessions, classes that are taken, seeking employment, and interacting with the other people who are at the rehab center.

Exercise boosts the oxygen levels in the blood, allowing more oxygen to reach the brain and the other vital organs. As more oxygen circulates in the body and fewer drugs are introduced to the body, the person will be able to stay awake longer during the day and channel the energy that is built to positive tasks instead of those that are negative.

Mood Changes from Exercise

When there are no drugs in someone’s body, it can sometimes impact the mood that the person has during the day. There can be times of anger or sadness while the person is recovering in rehab. Exercise can help to stabilize the mood and even enhance the mood as the person begins to see the benefits of this kind of therapy.

While exercising, endorphins are released in the body. These chemicals are responsible for feelings of happiness. As the person continues to exercise by walking, running, playing sports, or simply spending time outside doing something that involves movement, the endorphins will continue to be released. It usually doesn’t take long for endorphins to be released in the body, which means that residents in a rehab center can spend about 30 minutes a day exercising and have the rest of the day for other activities or resting and spending time alone.

Get Healthy While in Rehab

When the body has more oxygen delivered to its vital organs, the body becomes healthier. The only way that this can happen is through exercise of some kind. People who are in rehab can take a daily walk or participate in an exercise class to begin seeing health benefits that are provided by some kind of activity each day.

After weeks of exercising, people can usually begin to see a decrease in weight and begin to breathe easier. Regular exercise also helps in the prevention of heart disease, the risk of a stroke, and depression. It can also keep the bones and joints healthy.

While exercise is known to be an important part of a healthy life, for those trying to overcome addiction, it can be even more important. If you are ready to make a change in your life, and begin your journey in recovery, contact Desert Cove Recovery today for more information.

hepatitis c and opioid, addiction treatment az

The Link Between Hepatitis C and Opioid Addiction

The Link Between Hepatitis C and Opioid Addiction

The opioid epidemic is characterized by an increase in the number of people who misuse narcotics, including prescription painkillers and heroin. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that more than 115 people experience a fatal overdose from these substances every day in the U.S. Many who survive are facing a new challenge: hepatitis C infection. According to a study published in the American Journal of Public Health, hepatitis C and opioid use are linked.

What is Hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a disease that damages the liver. It’s spread through the blood and can cause liver failure or cancer. Doctors believed they were on their way to eradicating the disease through the use of certain medications, however, the rise of the opioid epidemic changed those expectations. The number of people with hepatitis C tripled from 2010 to 2015, according to CNN. Currently, approximately 3.5 million Americans have hepatitis C.

The decade from 2004 to 2014 saw a 400 percent increase in acute hepatitis C as well as an 817 percent increase in admissions of people ages 18 through 29 who injected prescription opioids. Most people who had hepatitis C before the 1990s were part of the baby-boomer generation. People born between 1945 and 1965 were more likely to have contracted the disease from unsafe medical procedures or blood transfusions. The increase of hepatitis C in the younger generation points to a link between the disease and opioid injections.

Hepatitis C is Spreading Through Injected Drug Use

Twenty-eight percent of people who inject drugs are infected with hepatitis C every year. Reusing the equipment that’s used to administer opioids intravenously can quickly cause an outbreak.

Jon E. Zibbell PhD was in charge of the study that looked at the connection between hepatitis C and the opioid epidemic from 2004 to 2014. He found statistically significant increases in the rates of hepatitis C among opioid users who injected the drugs.

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hepatitis c and opioid, addiction treatment az

Many people start taking prescription painkillers orally. Over time, they transition to injecting heroin because it is cheaper and delivers a quicker high. New infections occur most often among these opioid users, many of whom are younger than 40.

In some states, the number of people infected with hepatitis C is double the natural average. Once many people within a community are infected, the disease spreads more rapidly because they share equipment.

Women in rural counties are three times more likely to have hepatitis C than women in urban counties, according to a CDC study. The study did not intend to compare opioid abuse rates with hepatitis C rates, however, Dr. Stephen W. Patrick, the study’s author, said that 5 times more infants were born with opioid withdrawal symptoms in rural areas than urban ones. One concern that experts have is that babies born with hepatitis C may not be treated because their mothers are unaware that they’re infected.

Catching Hepatitis C Before It’s Spread Further

Because many people don’t have symptoms or seek treatment, the actual number of people who inject drugs and have the disease is probably much higher than researchers have found.

It takes time for symptoms of hepatitis C to show up, therefore, many people don’t know that they’re infected until it’s too late. Plus, most people with drug abuse disorders don’t seek treatment for their addiction. Oftentimes, many people don’t know that they have hepatitis C until they receive a blood screening for a blood donation or routine exam.

By that time, liver damage may have set in. People who do have symptoms right away are more likely to get treatment that prevents the disease from progressing.

The FDA has approved several treatment regimens that can cure the disease. The problem is that many people who suffer from hepatitis C and opioid abuse disorder don’t get help. People who suffer from addiction may be compelled to take part in risky behaviors, such as sharing needles, even though they know about the dangers.

Jonathan Mermin of the CDC says that testing people who are at risk of developing the disease, which includes anyone who has injected opioids intravenously, can increase the effectiveness of treatment for those who test positive.

Free needle exchange programs have cut down on the number of people who use dirty needles. However, the stigma of drug addiction prevents many people from taking advantage of these programs or going further to attend rehab. Access to treatment is another obstacle that people with hepatitis C face.

Treating Hepatitis C in Addiction Treatment AZ Setting

Many rehab centers are staffed by medical professionals who can provide treatment for hepatitis C alongside therapy for addiction. At rehab, patients can be monitored to make sure that they administer their hepatitis C medication correctly, which is crucial for curing the disease. Because some hepatitis C treatments cause side effects such as depression, getting help at a comprehensive rehab center, such as our addiction treatment AZ, is important for managing psychological and emotional issues as well as physical ailments.

If you have hepatitis C and suffer from opioid addiction, call our addiction treatment AZ to learn how we can help you manage your substance abuse disorder as well as other physical and medical conditions. Treating the mind, body and spirit can help you succeed on your path to recovery.

trauma and addiction treatment in arizona, trauma therapy addiction treatment

Trauma and Addiction Treatment in Arizona

Trauma and Addiction Treatment in Arizona

Many times, those who love someone dealing with issues related to addiction think that if only they could rid them of the drugs or alcohol that they take, everything else would work itself out. However, this is generally too simplistic a view as, in many cases, it’s not really the drugs and alcohol that are the problem.

Instead, they can be part of the solution. By trying to help the person find the means to cope with a traumatic time they may have experienced in his or her past could make the difference.  This could possibly date back to childhood, or maybe instead something much more recent. Of course, there are other coping mechanisms that are much more positive than substance abuse, but some do turn to drugs or alcohol to help them get over their trauma.

Clearly, this is not the right move to make, but it happens, and it is especially important to get trauma and addiction treatment in Arizona if this is the cause. The connection between recovering from the trauma and using this treatment method can be an especially strong one as the person suffering from the trauma may feel like there are no other coping methods that would work as well. This can often be the case even when it has become clear that addiction has resulted from the use of drugs or alcohol.

The Link Between Trauma and Addiction

In order for someone to be successful in recovery, they must treat the root of the problem – the trauma. Trauma and addiction treatment in Arizona must be combined with trauma therapy and addiction treatment so that both the original problem and the incorrectly chosen solution can be addressed. This allows the individual to recover from both hardships that have been experienced. It is not going to be easy in either case, but it is what needs to be done in order for the solutions to be long-lasting.

It’s important for both those seeking treatment, and people who love them, to know that types of trauma can vary quite a bit. One type of episode might deeply affect somebody, while the exact same type could result in little to no trauma for another. It is important to hear from the addict how certain situations affect them and to help them learn healthy ways to cope amidst these feelings. Some examples of types of trauma that can cause people to turn to drugs or alcohol for numbing include abuse, neglect, illness, accident, violence, bullying, military-related trauma and separation from loved ones.

Some of the most damaging things that some do to those who have suffered trauma is to dismiss it by saying things like, “Why are you letting that bother you?”, “I experienced the same thing”, and “I’m fine.”

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How to Treat Trauma Related Addiction

Trauma therapy addiction treatment includes, most importantly, determining other ways to cope with the feelings of trauma in a healthy manner instead of turning to the damaging habits of drugs or alcohol. Some of the things that this involves include the realization that recovery is a process and that it will not be overnight. Although it may seem like it should just involve flipping a switch to some, it really is not like that. Progress can absolutely be made, but it will be a gradual process, little by little.

But what makes it more difficult in this situation is that recovering from trauma combined with recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol exacerbates things. Removing the drug or alcohol just on its own is often a trying situation because of the detox necessary to rid the body of the addiction. However, what needs to be handled with care is the simultaneous removal of the trauma coping mechanism. A new one must be found and encouraged so that old habits aren’t easy to return to once rehab has been completed.

When Dual Diagnosis is Present

Sometimes adding to the difficulty of a healthy detox are co-occurring mental health issues that accompany the addiction and trauma. In this case, the addiction may be the result of one or the other or both, and sensitive care must be given to help those in recovery.

Our staff is trained to handle all of these types of situations and ensure that treatment is given in an all-encompassing manner that helps the individuals recover from every aspect of their troubles and start regaining control of their lives again. The treatment will be individualized to the person and his or her situation.

One of the treatment methods that is often used is the inclusion of a peer-supportive environment. It tends to be easier for people to recover mentally from their addictions and traumatic experiences if they are able to regularly speak to those who are experiencing and have experienced similar things. Being able to share experiences and learn from what others are experiencing can really help the recovery process.

If you or a loved one could benefit from these services, contact us today for more information.

accredited addiction treatment AZ

Accredited Addiction Treatment ARizona

Accredited Addiction Treatment in Arizona

Seeking treatment for an addiction to drugs or alcohol is a big step. In light of this, it is important to take the time to identify a treatment center that will address your specific needs.

Since your primary goal is to free yourself from your addiction, it’s crucial to choose a rehab that relies on proven, evidence-based practices and has patients’ best interests at heart. Unfortunately, this isn’t something that you can just take a facility’s word for; there is too much at stake for that. By sticking with facilities that offer accredited addiction treatment in Arizona, however, it will be much easier to identify one that will arm you with the tools for long-term success.

What is Accreditation All About?

It is easy enough for a drug rehab facility to state that it uses proven methodologies and is otherwise above board regarding addiction treatment. As the saying goes, however, actions speak louder than words. Since your health and life are at stake here, this isn’t the time to give a place a shot and hope for the best. Instead, insist on undergoing treatment at a facility that holds relevant accreditation from authoritative accreditation bodies. Read on to learn more about how to find them.

Why Does Accreditation Matter in Addiction Treatment?

Like anyone who is ready to reclaim a sober life, you’re probably already planning to do your homework before choosing an addiction treatment center. However, you are a novice when it comes to addiction treatment, so you can’t be expected to know what to look for. Accreditation matters because when a facility is accredited, it has proven to an independent organization that it meets or exceeds a rigorous list of standards. Think of this independent organization, or accreditation body, as detectives who do the heavy lifting for patients like you. If a facility has the “all clear” from a respected accreditation body, you can rest assured about the quality of care that you will receive.

Who Offers Accreditation for Addiction Treatment Facilities?

Learning that a treatment center is accredited is a step in the right direction, but it’s also important to confirm that the accreditation comes from a respected and reputable organization. Many accreditation bodies offer accreditation to addiction treatment centers; without a doubt, The Joint Commission is the best known of them all. Formerly known as JCAHO, The Joint Commission provides accreditation to facilities that meet an exhaustive list of stringent quality standards.

Another name to look for when seeking accredited addiction treatment is CARF—The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities. This organization has been accrediting health care facilities since 1966. They offer various levels of accreditation, but the three-year one is the gold standard. Other accreditation bodies include the National Committee for Quality Assurance and the All States.

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The Accreditation Process for Addiction Treatment Centers

It’s important to know what is involved in acquiring an accreditation from an organization like The joint Commission because it drives home just how stringent their standards tend to be. To receive an accreditation from The Joint Commission, for example, a facility must demonstrate that it meets all of the organization’s accreditation conditions and that it is committed to continual improvement. An intensive on-site survey is performed to confirm that a facility meets these standards. The organization is typically given time to make corrections before a follow-up survey is completed.

To maintain its accreditation, an addiction treatment center must submit an annual Quality Improvement Plan along with an annual Conformance to Quality Report to the accreditation body.

Benefits of Choosing an Accredited Addiction Treatment Center

Some of the top advantages of choosing an accredited facility for addiction treatment include:

  • outcome- and evidence-based treatments that are continually assessed and improved for quality
  • emphasis on individualized addiction treatment—patients are not treated like numbers
  • effectively trained and credentialed personnel who undergo continuing education and training on a regular basis
  • emphasis on customer satisfaction
  • access to the latest evidence-based treatment options
  • the peace of mind of knowing that the facility must meet and continue to meet a rigorous list of standards to continue to hold the accreditation

You will also find that accredited facilities tend to offer the most pleasant and relaxing surroundings for people who are in recovery. Oftentimes, these facilities employ a whole-person, or holistic, approach to addiction treatment, which recognizes the fact that physical dependency is just one aspect of addiction and that many other factors often contribute and must be addressed.

Accredited Treatment is the Right Choice

In light of Google’s recent move to address shady, fly-by-night rehab facilities by refusing to display their ads in search results, it is more important than ever to perform your due diligence when seeking addiction treatment. While the search engine’s efforts are a step in the right direction, there are still many pitfalls to watch out for. One of the best ways to sidestep the worst of them is by sticking with facilities that possess accreditation from dependable and reputable accreditation bodies.

Desert Cove Recovery is accredited by The Joint Commission, so you can be rest assured you are receiving quality care from start to finish. Contact us to learn more about our programs and take the first step on your road to sobriety. 

End the Opioid Crisis, Opioid Addiction Treatment Arizona

How to End the Opioid Crisis, Opioid Addiction Treatment Arizona

How to End the Opioid Crisis – Opioid Addiction Treatment Arizona

According to the CDC, more than 33,000 people died from opioid overdoses in the United States in 2015. Every year, the steadily worsening opioid epidemic poses an economic burden of more than $78.5 billion, which includes costs that are associated with criminal justice activity, health care, addiction treatment and lost productivity. Oftentimes it feels like little or nothing is being done about it. However, many people have ideas about how to end the opioid crisis. The question is which of these proposed solutions will actually put a dent in the problem. Desert Cove Recovery, opioid addiction treatment in Arizona, takes a look at how to end the opioid crisis.

How Did We Get To the Opioid Crisis?

Starting around the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies looking to peddle opioid painkillers assured the medical community that they wouldn’t lead to widespread addiction. We now know how wrong they were, of course; in no time, as opioids flooded the market, they became increasingly diverted away from people who were legally prescribed them, and misuse became rampant and widespread. When efforts were made to curb their availability, many people simply switched over to illegal drugs like heroin. In 2018, an average of 115 people die from an opioid overdose in this country every day. Read on to learn about some of the ideas for putting an end to the opioid crisis.
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Education about Addiction

Turning a blind eye to a problem is a surefire way to cause it spiral even more out of control, so education could very well be the key to curbing the opioid crisis. The primary goal of education would be to limit the spread of the epidemic by raising awareness about the risks of using opioids. This education should extend beyond the general public to be directed at physicians as well. Many doctors, for example, could benefit enormously from learning more about safely prescribing such medications.

Prescription Opioid Medication

People who aren’t informed about the issue often scoff at the notion of prescribing yet more medication to someone who is coping with an opioid addiction. However, medication-assisted treatment has been shown to be very effective for helping addicts to achieve long-term sobriety from these highly addictive substances. Sometimes referred to as replacement or maintenance therapy treatment, the use of medications like methadone and buprenorophine has been shown to reduce the risk of relapse, which tends to be quite common among those who quit “cold turkey.”

Early Intervention for Opioid Addiction

Another potential key to ending this ongoing crisis is to find help for people as early in the addiction cycle as possible. The sooner people seek treatment, the easier and more effective their results tend to be. A huge part of this will depend on education and raising awareness. If society at large starts being more open about the signs of opioid addiction, for example, it would be easier for people to recognize it in themselves—and they would be more likely to seek treatment sooner. It should also be noted that increasing the availability of medications like naloxone, which reverse overdoses, would also help enormously. Naloxone helps not only by saving lives but by potentially assisting those who have overdosed to seek treatment.

Accessible Opioid Addiction Treatment Arizona Options

Even when a person realizes that they have an opioid addiction, it isn’t always very easy or obvious to know where to turn for help. Increasing the availability of accessible, holistic, evidence-based treatment would streamline the process of reaching out for help when needed. This also means cracking down on treatment facilities that do little or nothing to truly help people overcome addictions. For example, more facilities could be required to employ doctors who are certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Someone shouldn’t have such difficulty locating opioid addiction treatment Arizona or anywhere else.

End the Stigma of Opioid Addiction

Finally, perhaps the best way to turn the tide of the devastating opioid crisis would be to end the stigma that continues to shroud addiction. Although major strides have been made in that regard over the last few decades, there is still a lot of stigma attached to being open about having an addiction. This unfortunately makes it more difficult for people to seek treatment—or even to admit that they have a problem in the first place. Once again, education will play a major role in ending this stigma, so adding information about addiction to school curricula, for example, could be a step in the right direction.

In trying to put an end to the opioid crisis, it’s crucial not to overlook the most important thing of all: the addicts themselves. At the end of the day, the primary goal of this battle will continue to be getting help for those who need it. If you believe that you are addicted to opioids, it’s important to understand that help is available. Our opioid addiction treatment Arizona facility is here to help you take the first step, so give us a call today.

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.

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.

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.