Tag Archives: dual diagnosis

is ibogaine safe for opioid addiction treatment

Is Ibogaine Safe for Opioid Addiction Treatment?

Is Ibogaine Safe for Opioid Addiction Treatment

Ibogaine treatment has seen a rise in popularity in recent years, specifically when it comes to opioid addiction treatment. There are many claims made regarding the success rates of Ibogaine treatment, which uses a psychoactive compound found in several different plants to facilitate a detox experience for patients addicted to a wide-range of substances. While this treatment seems to show promise, it is important to be aware of the potential risks involved in undergoing this largely unproven and untested form of addiction treatment. Before diving into this treatment method, it’s important to answer the question: is Ibogaine safe?

The Trap of the Magic Pill Mindset

In the battle to overcome addiction, it can be tempting to believe that a simple magic pill or treatment will be the answer to the problem. Unfortunately, addiction is often the result of many factors in one’s life. Whether it be trauma, a genetic predisposition to certain substances, social influences, or other co-occurring disorders, addiction can stem from many root causes, something which a simple treatment modality such as Ibogaine will not fully address.

To quote from Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Bertha Madras: “People think there is going to be a magic pill that’s going to erase addiction, and that’s just not reality. What they should not be desperate for is a quick fix.” While certain treatment methods can be useful in the process of overcoming addiction, a holistic, multi-faceted approach is the recommended way to address an addiction, as it will incorporate each issue which is contributing to the dependence.

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Opioid Addiction Treatment, Is Ibogaine Safe

The Dangers of Ibogaine Treatment

Ibogaine has been promoted recently as an alternative therapy to traditional methods, specifically as an option for opioid addiction treatment. Some medical professionals believe that Ibogaine inhibits the reuptake of serotonin, and that it can not only prevent a person from experiencing dangerous withdrawals, but that it can also reduce a person’s desire to use the substance again.

It is claimed that the spiritual aspects of this substance induce a sense of introspection which also leads to relief from addictive cravings, as a person will have an increased degree of perspective after their Ibogaine experience. This is the result of the fact that Ibogaine is an intense, hallucinogenic drug that can last up to 24 hours. Ibogaine can cause physical responses such as dry mouth, nausea and vomiting, muscle coordination issues, as well as extreme levels of dehydration.

In addition to the physical symptoms a person may experience as a result of taking Ibogaine, the drug can also bring on intense emotional reactions, many of which can be difficult for some individuals to process. If a practitioner is not able to effectively help guide a patient through their experience, Ibogaine can become a terrifying experience, fraught with uncertainty and unclear solutions.

An Uncertain, Unproven Treatment for Addiction

While Ibogaine seems to show promise as a treatment option for addiction, there is simply not enough data to say for sure whether this is a reliable and effective modality. A patient who decides to take the chance and try Ibogaine as a method for curing their addiction must rely on a certain degree of faith, as there is an absence of proven, time-tested evidence to fall back on in terms of how effective this drug is.

Because Ibogaine is listed as a schedule 1 drug in the United States, there are no Ibogaine clinics available stateside where a person can seek treatment. Instead, individuals are forced to go to Mexico and other countries where Ibogaine is allowed, but still not has heavily regulated as it would be in the US. While some clinics may claim to offer a trusted, safe environment for patients to detox within while using Ibogaine, this process is undoubtedly risky and involves a great level of inconvenience for the person who decides to go this route.

In order to answer the question: is Ibogaine safe, we must look at the potential risks inherent in this treatment option. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health, Ibogaine affects the cardiovascular system and there have been alarming reports of life-threatening complications, as well as sudden death cases associated with the administration of Ibogaine. The most likely cause of these sudden death cases was cardiac arrhythmias, showcasing the potential downsides which can impact a patient if they don’t consider all of their current health conditions.

Is Ibogaine Safe? 

Ibogaine is an unknown, mostly untested treatment option which has a long way to go before it can be considered a safe option for patients seeking relief from their drug addiction. The most effective treatment options are always those that address the confluence of factors which can make up the reasons for why a person becomes addicted. Magic pills are an intriguing idea to entertain, but the truth is that they are simply not a realistic outcome for people seeking relief from their addiction.

suicide and opioid addiction dual diagnosis treatment centers

Suicide and Opioid Addiction – Linked Epidemics?

Suicide and Opioid Addiction – Linked Epidemics?

Important note: This article addresses suicide. If you or a loved one is struggling, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

A disproportionately large number of U.S. residents have committed suicide while using an opioid. By definition, we are witnessing an epidemic. Dual diagnosis treatment centers are seeing an increase in patients as they themselves effort to understand the connection between suicide and opioid addiction. 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released alarming numbers during the spring of 2018. Their study determined almost 45,000 Americans committed suicide in 2016 alone and discovered an increase of suicide every year since 1999.

The U.S. Surgeon General has advised more Americans use opioids than smoke cigarettes. Considering the U.S. purchases 80% of the world’s opioid medications and prescriptions have increased 300 percent in a nine-year time frame, this makes sense.

Together, it appears opioids and an increasing suicide rate may indeed be linked.

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suicide and opioid addiction linked dual diagnosis treatment centers

An Increasing Suicide Rate

The relationship between suicide and substance abuse is a complicated one. While suicide is closely correlated with depression, use of either legal or illicit drugs increases the risk substantially. A 2013 study by the CDC revealed which types of substances were found in those who committed suicide. The leading six substances were:

  • Alcohol – 38.2%
  • Antidepressants – 35.3%
  • Benzodiazepines – 31.3%
  • Opiates – 26.8%
  • Marijuana – 16.6%
  • Anticonvulsants – 11.9%

Use of drugs or alcohol is one of the most common risk factors for suicide. However, substance use is only one half of the equation.

In isolation, it would easy to pin a large portion of suicides strictly on substance abuse. But unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. In most suicides, substance abuse is the cause or the result of one or more contributing conditions.

The CDC completed a study reviewing the mental reports of both medical examiners and law enforcement officials from 27 states in 2015. They acknowledged there may have been other circumstances involved in any single suicide report, but the result sheds light on the types of problems individuals may have been facing prior to their passing:

  • 42% reported relationship problems
  • 29% faced a crisis in the past or upcoming two weeks
  • 22% had physical health problems
  • 16% were confronting job or financial related issues
  • 9% tackled criminal legal problems
  • 4% lost their housing

The study showed that just over one-quarter (28%) of suicides had reported known problematic substance abuse. Understanding the relationship between the CDC’s statistics of the substances found in the bloodstream with the contributing factors is important. The connection underscores the role substance abuse plays in scenarios where the abuse was not a determining factor in the suicide.

The Exploding Use of Opioids

During the late-1990s, prescription opioid pain relievers were introduced to the general public in mass. It was promised these drugs would not be addictive or habit forming. The pharmaceutical companies were wrong.

The rate of opioid overdose has risen ever since opioids arrived at the corner pharmacy. In 2015, the CDC reported 33,000 deaths directly resulting from an opioid overdose. This includes prescription opioids such as fentanyl, hydrocodone, and methadone, illegally manufactured synthetics, and heroin.

Almost 225 million opioid prescriptions were written in 2015. The CDC study from the same year found approximately 2 million Americans were suffering from prescription opioid substance abuse disorders. The statistics of opioid misuse are staggering:

  • 21% – 29% of prescriptions for chronic pain are misused
  • 8% – 12% of prescribed opioid patients develop an opioid use disorder
  • 4% – 6% of those who misuse opioid prescriptions move onto heroin

Although the sheer number of annual opioid prescriptions has begun to decline, their misuse continues to increase. And as the number of prescriptions decreased, we may begin to see increased heroin and illicit opioid use in the coming years. Consider the following growth in opioid overdoses:

  • 54% increase in large cities in 16 states
  • 70% increase in the Midwest 2016 to 2017
  • 30% increase in 52 surveyed regions in the U.S.

We are in the midst of a public health crisis. The consequences of which are being felt by individuals, families, employers, and entire communities. Finding the link between suicide and opioid addiction will go a long way toward solving this immense problem.

Connecting Suicide and Opioid Addiction

Overdoses, caused by any substance, can often be difficult to evaluate. Was the overdose accidental or were the drugs consumed with a purpose – suicide?

What we do know are the increases in suicide risk associated with an opioid misuse. For men, the suicide risk nearly doubles if they were known to have an opioid use disorder. For women, there has been found to be an eightfold increase in the risk of suicide. Yet in most cases, the final factor causing an overdose is never known.

Opioid addiction is extremely powerful. The fact that 80% of first-time heroin users were misusing prescription opioids first supports this claim. And regardless of how many of the 115 daily opioid overdoses are attributed to suicide, any number larger than zero is too many.

The likelihood of suicidal thoughts can increase upwards of 60% when while taking an opioid. There are studies indicating death by suicide is 13 times more likely in opioid and injection drug users. More evidence that combating opioid addiction’s role in the nation’s suicide crisis cannot be overlooked

The Role of Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers

Admittance into rehabilitation centers increased 400% in the decade prior to 2010. As more research is conducted and more is learned about the relationship between suicide and substance abuse, the greater positive impact dual diagnosis treatment centers will have on their patients.

Dual diagnosis takes a coordinated approach to mental health disorders and substance abuse. By using a multidisciplinary team of clinicians, patients with co-occurring disorders are much more likely to find long-term success after receiving treatment. Traditional treatment centers are becoming much better at identifying individuals who are suffering from two or more conditions. And if dual diagnosis treatment isn’t available, such facilities are fortunately opening on a regular basis.

After completing programs offered at dual diagnosis treatment centers, individuals will effectively be able to manage both disorders. If you suspect someone you care about may be struggling with suicide and opioid addiction, let them know not only their friends and family are there for them, but specially trained experts. The community supporting those breaking opioid addiction is growing and help is no further than a phone call away.

Arizona Rehabs Discuss the History of Opioid Addiction

Arizona Rehabs Discuss the History of Opioid Addiction

There’s no doubt that our country is in the throws of a crisis. How did opioid addiction begin? Let’s take a look at the history of opioid addiction and how Arizona rehabs are trying to help.

There is reliable evidence of opium use as far back as 3,400 B.C. The opium poppy was called “joy plant,” and it spread from Mesopotamia to Assyria, Egypt and the Mediterranean. In 460 B.C., Hippocrates acknowledged its usefulness. Alexander the Great introduced it to Persia and India, and Arab traders took it to China. The Opium Wars were fought in China from 1839 to 1860.

Opium’s power to alleviate pain has resulted in thousands of years of abuse. In modern history, famous opiate users who battled addiction include Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Florence Nightingale, Billie Holiday, Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley and River Phoenix.

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History of Opioid Addiction arizona rehabs

The History of Opioid Addiction in the U.S.

Opiates are an unfortunate part of American history. With the advent of synthetic opioids, the problem only got worse:

  • The armies on both sides of the American Revolutionary War gave wounded soldiers opium. In his final years, Benjamin Franklin took it for a painful bladder stone that had tormented him for years.
  • Morphine was first isolated in 1803, and Merck & Co. took over commercial production in 1827.
  • Morphine and other opiates were widely used by the time of the Civil War. An alarming number of veterans were hopelessly hooked following the conflict.
  • Heroin was first made from morphine in 1874. As a cough suppressant, it was hailed as a wonder drug. Bayer Corp. launched it commercially in 1898. Heroin increased in popularity when users discovered that injecting the drug enhanced its effects.
  • Doctors were alarmed by climbing rates of drug addiction in the early 1920s. Heroin was made illegal in 1924.
  • World War II gave rise to nerve block clinics; anesthesiologists administered injections to treat pain without surgery. The clinics operated during the ‘50s and ‘60s.
  • President Gerald Ford set up a task force to study drug addiction in the 1970s. The focus shifted from marijuana and cocaine trafficking to the heroin epidemic.
  • Painkillers like Percocet and Vicodin were already becoming a problem by the late ‘70s. Many doctors were reluctant to prescribe them.

Dr. Hershel Jick of Boston University School of Medicine disagreed there was a problem. After analyzing almost 12,000 patients who’d been treated with narcotics, Jick concluded that addiction to opioids was rare in patients with no history of substance abuse. A pain-management specialist, Dr. Russell Portenoy, studied 38 patients six years later and also declared that opioid maintenance therapy was safe.

The two studies sparked a discussion that lasted into the early 1990s. Pain management became a priority for patients.

  • Every year in the early 1990s, the number of prescriptions for painkillers increased by 2 to 3 million. Then, from 1995 to 1996, the one-year increase was 8 million.
  • Purdue Pharma launched OxyContin in 1996. One year later, prescriptions of all opioid painkillers on the market increased by 11 million.
  • The Joint Commission is a nonprofit group that accredits medical facilities. In 2000, as part of doctors’ required continuing education, the commission published a book that cited studies in which there was “no evidence that addiction is a significant issue when persons are given opioids for pain control.” It expressed the opinion that doctors’ concerns about addiction were “inaccurate and exaggerated.”

The book was sponsored by Purdue Pharma.

Dr. David W. Baker with the Joint Commission later remarked, “There is no doubt that the widely held belief that short-term use of opioids had low risk of addiction was an important contributor to inappropriate prescribing patterns for opioids and the subsequent opioid epidemic.”

  • Purdue Pharma was charged in 2007 with misbranding and downplaying OxyContin’s high potential for addiction. Three executives pleaded guilty, and Purdue settled with the government for $635 million.
  • In 2010, the manufacturers of OxyContin released a new formula that contained an abuse deterrent. It was supposed to be more difficult to crush, inject or snort the product. According to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 24 percent of abusers reported being able to get around the tamper-resistant measures.  One participant in the study said that most former OxyContin users had switched to heroin. It was cheaper and easier to get.
  • Portenoy, one of the doctors who insisted in the 1980s that opioid therapy was safe, later said, “Clearly if I had an inkling of what I know now then, I wouldn’t have spoken in the way that I spoke. It was clearly the wrong thing to do.”
  • In 2016, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began taking steps to address the opioid crisis.

As of 2018, several states, including Florida, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas, have sued pharmaceutical companies for their role in the epidemic. Cities that have sued include Chicago, Cincinnati, Dallas, Indianapolis and Seattle.

How Arizona Rehabs Can Help

The history of opioid addiction is a grim one. Substance abuse is a serious brain disease that affects people with all different backgrounds.

Getting clean for good requires professional help. Like many other Arizona rehabs, we at Discovery Cove Recovery are committed to helping people like you reclaim their lives. Call today to speak to an experienced, caring staff member.

clinical opiate withdrawal scale

What is the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale?

What is the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale?

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

The Basics

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

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Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale

Which Signs and Symptoms are Assessed on the Scale?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Benefits of the COWS Scale

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

Are You Looking for Opiate Addiction Treatment?

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

detoxing from alcohol dangers

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

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

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

Disorientation and Confusion

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

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dangers of detoxing from alcohol

Detoxing from Alcohol, Common Problems

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

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

Severity of Symptoms

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

Alcohol Rehabilitation Arizona

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

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.

length of opioid prescription

Length of Opioid Prescriptions and Opioid Addiction

Length of Opioid Prescriptions and Opioid Addiction

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

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

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

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

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Limiting the Length of Opioid Prescription

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

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

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

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

Understanding Opioid Addiction

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

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

Synthetic Opioids are Addictive

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

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

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

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

Are You Addicted?

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

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

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

Getting Help for Addiction

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

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

Choosing Desert Cove Recovery for Help With Opioid Addiction

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

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

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

 

 

myths of opioid addiction

Myths of Opioid Addiction 

Myths of Opioid Addiction 

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

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

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

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

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3 myths of opioid addiction

Myth #1: Opioid Addicts Can Detox On Their Own

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Myth #3: Some is Good, More is Better

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

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

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

Understand the Signs of Opioid Addiction

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

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

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

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

 

 

pay for the opioid crisis

Who’s Going to Pay for the Opioid Crisis?

Who’s Going to Pay for the Opioid Crisis?

If you were to ask most recovering heroin addicts about their past choices, they would probably say that they would have never touched the drug if they had known the way it would affect them over the long run. When the cravings are at their worst, people will do anything they can to get their next dose, turning to crime to pay for the habit. Addicts often sell drugs to others so that they won’t run out of money, and that is why the heroin crisis is spreading across the nation like a plague.

The cost on society is much higher than most people would suspect, totaling around $193 billion. The government has to pay to investigate, prosecute and incarcerate those who commit heroin-related crimes, but the public pays for treatment and rehabilitation for those who are on public assistance. Also, many people lose their jobs because of their heroin addiction and are required to sign up for welfare programs, which further strains local, state and federal funds.

With the problem getting worse each day, many are now asking who should pay for the harm heroin has done to the nation. Getting everyone to agree won’t be an easy task, but we need to review the facts and find a solution that will repair the damage and allow us to move forward.

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Pharmaceutical Companies’ Role in the Opioid Epidemic

If you follow the trail of addiction far enough, you will find that many addicts once took prescription painkillers. People would get injured, go to the doctor and receive a prescription for opioid medications to ease the pain. After a few weeks or months, doctors wean patients off the pain medications so that they will no longer need them. By the time their doctors stop writing new prescriptions, many people have already become addicted.

Without a legitimate source of opioids, former patients often look to the streets to satisfy their cravings and stop the withdrawal symptoms. Some evidence suggests that major pharmaceutical companies knew about the danger and still opted to push their drugs to the public. Many people think that the drug manufacturers and marketers should help pay for the damage. Those who disagree with the stance say addicts only have themselves to blame.

The Government

Since the people designed the government to protect and serve the citizens, some say that it should pay for the cost of the opioid crisis. Government-funded rehabilitation centers that focus on treatment instead of punishment could have a positive impact on the nation.

Addicts would not fear prosecution and would be much more willing to seek help. Although the government would face some upfront costs, a lot of advocates believe this method is much cheaper over the long run. Critics argue that the government should not use taxpayer dollars to save people from the trap into which they have fallen.

Nonprofit Organizations

When it comes to finding a solution to the opioid epidemic that has already harmed many lives, some people say that nonprofit organizations should cover the bill. A lot of nonprofits have many connections and deep pockets that would allow them to set up treatment centers and cover the cost of overdose medications. Even though some charities offer their support, involving a few more organizations would take their results to new heights. On the other hand, some believe that nonprofit organizations should focus on assisting people who have diseases over which they have no control.

Drug Users

Since heroin addicts are responsible for the situation in which they have found themselves, they should pay for the fallout, according to some people. The argument is that heroin users had chosen to use opioids and to allow their lives to spiral out of control. The ones who don’t agree with that stance state that most heroin users have lost their jobs and homes, making them unable to pay for the damage.

Families of Drug Users

A lot of individuals feel as though a drug addict’s family should pay for the damage the drug addict has caused to society. Since they believe family members should help and support each other, they conclude that they should also pay for medical treatment, overdose medication and other expenses related to the opioid crisis.

From their perspective, family members should have spotted the warning signs and helped the addict before it was too late to find an easy answer. Others maintain that people are responsible for their own choices, so we should not hold family members accountable for an addict’s behavior.

Getting Help for Opioid Addiction

If you or someone you love is battling a heroin addiction, getting help quickly is vital, and we are here to give you a hand. We take time to get to know each client so that we can craft a treatment plan that will provide the best possible odds of success. If you have concerns, questions or are ready to start, contact us at Desert Cove Recovery today.