Tag Archives: opioid addiction

routine in addiction recovery

Routine in Addiction Recovery

New Routine in Addiction Recovery

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

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

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

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The Importance of Routine in Addiction Recovery

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

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

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

Establishing a Routine

A structured lifestyle has special benefits for recovering addicts.

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

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

Here are some ideas for designing your routine:

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

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

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

Adjusting for Balance

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

Remaining Flexible

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

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

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

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

 

holistic addiction treatment

Benefits of Holistic Addiction Treatment

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

What Does the Term Holistic Truly Mean?

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

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benefits of holistic addiction treatment infographic

Six Key Benefits of Holistic Addiction Treatment

1. Treating of Mind, Body, and Spirit

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

2. Effective Traditional Therapies Remain the Foundation of Care

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

3. Caring and Compassionate Environment

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

4. High Rates of Long-Term Success

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

5. Greater Selection of Diverse Treatment Options

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

6. Quality After Care Programs and Follow Up

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

Why is Holistic Addiction Treatment So Successful?

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

The Importance of Seeking Quality Treatment Promptly

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

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

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

 

12 step program

Why the 12-Step Program Works

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

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

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

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You Will Learn Acceptance

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

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

You Will Take a Realistic Look at Your Choices

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

You Will Repair the Damage

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

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

You will Learn That You Are Not Alone

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

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

You Will Monitor Your Progress

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

Being Proactive

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

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

opioid epidemic

Addiction Expert Explains Three Main Groups of Opioid Epidemic

For the average person reading news stories or listening to the situation being discussed on the air, it seems as though the situation is mainly about young people who have moved from a prescription opioid dependency to a heroin addiction and that fentanyl is causing many of the overdose deaths. Popular news stories imply that efforts to stop people from becoming addicted to prescription drugs have not helped, but only made the issue worse.

This is one part of the opioid crisis but it isn’t the full story. As Andrew Kolodny, the co-director of opioid policy research at Brandeis University Heller School for Social Policy and Management pointed out, there are three opioid epidemics impacting North America.

The Three Opioid Epidemics in North America

1. Longtime Addicts

This, according to Kolodny, is the smallest group. Most of them are between the ages of 50-70 and started using heroin in the 1970s and 1980s. They lost a number of their friends to addiction. Fentanyl is responsible for killing off people in this group, due to the heroin supply being “laced” with this powerful pain reliever.

2. Young Rural and Suburban Users

The second group is the middle one, and is between 20-40 years of age. This is the group that gets most of the press coverage. They are people who are being found dead of an overdose, often with needles still in stuck in their arm.

In many instances, the road to addiction starts out with prescription opioids. The person may have started taking medications prescribed for someone else. They may have originally been prescribed the pain medication, but started using it more often than as directed. When their supply ran out, they turned to buying pills on the street.

At some point the cravings for pills increased. The cost was high and heroin could satisfy the cravings at a cheaper price. Switching from pills to heroin wasn’t anything new, according to Kolodny. Again, when dealers started adding fentanyl to their heroin supply around 2011 because it was a cheap filler, the number of overdose victims skyrocketed.

3. Middle-Aged and Senior Adults

The largest group, which has remained mostly under the popular press’ radar, is made up of people in their mid-40s through to their 80s. Their deaths due to opioid abuse are under-reported.

People in this age group may have been taking pain medications prescribed by their primary care doctors for several years. When they pass away from heart disease or another cause, no one wants to think of their long-term opioid use as being a contributing factor. Families also don’t think to ask whether their loved one may not have been using their opioid medication appropriately, whether there was an interaction with other medications (over the counter or herbal supplements included). They wouldn’t ask whether alcohol use and opioids may have been an issue.

The fact there are three sub-groups among this epidemic is why the number of overdose deaths have continued to rise. This isn’t a typical substance abuse problem, as the number of lives lost have actually reduced the average life expectancy in America.

To solve this problem Kolodny suggests investing money in building a new treatment system at an estimated cost of $60 billion. Although there are a ton of addiction programs doing great things, the system as a whole isn’t slowing the number of deaths, so more must be done.

opioid overdoses in arizona

Opioid Overdoses in Arizona

100 Deaths from Opioid Overdoses Each Month in Arizona

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

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

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

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opioid overdoses in arizona

The Opioid Epidemic is a Complex Issue

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

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

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

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

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

A Holistic Look at Opioid Addiction

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

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

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

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

nerve stimulator for opioid withdrawal

FDA Approves Nerve Stimulator for Opioid Withdrawal

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given its approval for a specialized tool that will be used to help US patients addicted to prescription pain medications and get them off opioids.

The newly-approved device delivers electric pulses to the area behind the patient’s ear. This electric pulse triggers a current which travels to the person’s occipital nerves (the ones reaching from the spinal cord to the back of the neck) and cranial nerves. It functions as a PNFS (Percutaneous Nerve Field Stimulator) device system and stimulates the patient’s brain to mask opioid withdrawal symptoms.

This medical device has been named the NSS-2 Bridge (NSS stands for “Neurostimulation System”.) Research shows that when used over a five-day treatment period, the process can be effective. The device is used during the period when an opiate-dependent person is likely to experience the most intense pain, as well as body tremors and sweating, during withdrawal.

Seventy-three patients were involved in the trials to determine the device’s effectiveness. Close to one-third (31 percent) of the participants noticed a reduction in symptoms within half an hour of getting the device. The trial found that 64 of the patients got relief and were ready to move forward to medication-assisted therapy after using the device. This represented a success rate of 88 percent after the five-day trial. However, other applications may include permanent abstinence rather than switching to a maintenance drug.

The FDA has decided to approve the device, even though the results of the study are limited. Further trials will be undertaken to evaluate its effectiveness in various settings.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb stated in his reasons for approving the new device that there is a need for finding new ways of helping people who are addicted so that they can achieve sobriety with “medically assisted treatment.” He went on to say that while research is continuing to find better medicines to treat opioid use disorder, medicine also needs to look to devices to help as well.

Finding alternative methods of treating opioid dependency is a major topic of discussion regarding dealing the epidemic our nation faces. In addition to helping people get off these drugs, it is imperative to find more ways to reduce or avoid using these highly addictive substances.

Pain Relief Without Fear of Addiction

Compound May Offer Pain Relief Without Fear of Addiction

New research from Indiana University-Bloomington may give doctors and their patients living with pain a non-opioid option for treating severe pain.

Researchers conducted a pre-clinical study involving mice. They discovered that compounds known as PAMs (Positive Allosteric Modulators) heighten the effect of natural pain relievers the body produces internally when injured or exposed to stress. PAMs were first discussed with attendees at the 2016 Conference for the Society for Neuroscience, held in San Diego, California.

About PAM

The researchers chose a PAM that would intensify endocannabinoids. These two brain compounds (anandamide and 2-arachidonoylglycerol) specifically act on the CB1 receptor that responds to the presence of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The PAM used in the study was GAT211, a molecule that coauthor Ganesh Thakur at Northeastern University created that had effects that concentrated on the brain.

The PAM increased the effects of the endocannabinoids without creating the undesired side effects associated with marijuana use. These include lowering of body temperature and clumsiness.

The pain relief achieved from PAM was more effective and lasted longer than when drugs were used that work by breaking down then metabolizing the brain’s cannabis-type compounds. Using PAM on its own means natural painkillers target the correct part of the brain as needed. The alternative is take drugs that bind to receptor sites throughout the body.

Increases the Body’s Natural Ability to Relieve Pain

Study leader Andrea G. Hohmann, a professor and chair of neuroscience at the University’s Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences, stated that the study revealed a PAM increases the body’s pain relieving ability without decreasing effectiveness over time. This is a key component of addiction; a person finds that they need to consume more of their drug of choice to experience the desired effect.

Professor Hohmann went on to say that she sees the research her team is doing as “an important step forward” in the goal to find new, non-addictive pain relievers.

The results of the study were published in the journal Biological Psychiatry.

Non-Addictive Painkillers Help Save Lives from Opioid Overdose

Continuing to find ways of providing pain relief for patients that don’t involve drugs with a high potential for abuse is of utmost importance in the battle against opioid addiction. Tens of thousands of lives are now lost each year due to overdoses and millions of people are abusing these drugs.

If you have a loved one who needs treatment help for a substance abuse problem, contact Desert Cove today for more information about our program.

high sugar diet and opioid addiction

Research Indicates Link Between High Sugar Diet and Opioid Addiction

New research from the laboratory of behavioral neuroscience at the University of Guelph has suggested a possible link between diet and risk of opioid addiction. Specifically, children and adults may be more vulnerable to opioid addiction when high amounts of refined sugars are consumed.

There has been a lot of press recently about the current opioid crisis — and for good reason. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that provisional counts for the number of deaths has increased by 21 percent in the period 2015-2016. Drug overdoses are now claiming lives at double the rate of motor vehicle accidents and firearms combined.

Sugar Activates Reward Centers in Brain

Research studies have revealed that refined sugar activates the reward centers in the brain in the same manner as addictive drugs. Opioid abuse has also been linked to poor diet, including a preference for foods that are high in sugar. Based on this link, researchers had questions about whether there was a connection between a diet with an excessive amount of refined sugar and an increased susceptibility to opioid addiction.

How Research Was Conducted

The research team looked at whether an unlimited level of access to high fructose corn syrup changed laboratory rats’ behavior and responses to oxycodone, a semi-synthetic opioid. High fructose corn syrup, a commonly used food additive in North American processed foods and soft drinks, was selected for this study.

In one study conducted by doctoral student Meenu Minhas, the rats were given unrestricted access to drinking water sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. The sweetened water was removed after about a month. After a few days where the rats didn’t have access to any sweetened water, researchers evaluated the rats’ response to oxycodone.

The researchers found that when the rats consumed high levels of corn syrup, they may experience less rewards from the oxycodone. As a result, the rats may be looking to take higher amounts of the drug.

High Sugar Diet May Contribute to Opioid Addiction

The results indicate that a diet high in sugar may dampen the pleasure that someone may get from taking drugs such as Percocet, Percodan, and OxyContin at lower doses. Since these sedative drugs normally make a user feel more relaxed shortly after being ingested, someone who isn’t getting these results is likely to take a larger dose to get the desired results.

Higher doses of sedatives and painkillers can be dangerous. At high levels, they can interfere with central nervous functioning and slow down breathing, leading to coma or respiratory arrest. When combined with alcohol, their effects multiply since alcohol is also a depressant drug.

This research is another good reason to eat a balanced diet, including lean meats, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products. There is a place for sweets, but in moderation.

recognize opioid overdose

How to Recognize an Opioid Overdose

Recognizing an Overdose Early Can Save a Life

It is a sad but true fact that opiate addiction has been steadily on the rise since the early 2000s. This means that the rates of overdose have also been steadily climbing. In fact, the problem has become so widespread that law enforcement and medical professionals are labeling it an epidemic. Without the proper tools to recognize opioid overdose, a person abusing heroin or prescription pain meds can die or experience irreversible damage.

The World Health Organization estimates that at least 69,000 people across the globe die from opiate overdoses each year. To help curb this number, we believe it is important that everyone is educated about this class of drugs as well as the symptoms and how to help someone who may be experiencing an overdose. Continue reading to find out how opioids affect a person, how to recognize opioid overdose, and what steps to take to help save someone’s life. 

What is an Opioid?

Opioids are a category of painkillers that include well-known drugs such as heroin, morphine, OxyContin, Vicodin, methadone and tramadol. Due to the nature of these drugs, it is easy to become dependent on them if a person is not under careful medical supervision.

Most often, these types of drugs are given to people who have serious surgeries, significant injuries or chronic pain, but substances like heroin are most often introduced on the streets, sometimes when a person is unable to get more of their prescribed opioids.

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recognize opioid overdhose

How Do Opioids Affect a Person?

Opiates bind to certain receptors in the brain that help to block pain signals and make the user feel relaxed. When used in a managed setting, they are excellent tools for people who suffer from intense pain.

Issues arise when people take too much at once or begin to use the drugs as a way to escape from real life.

How to Recognize an Opioid Overdose

There are several telltale signs that a person is experiencing an opioid overdose.

Physical signs include:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Bluish tint around fingernails or lips
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Vomiting or painful constipation
  • Inability to be woken from sleep
  • Slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Unusual paleness
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Confusion or drunken behavior

If you encounter someone with these symptoms, it is critical to contact emergency medical services right away because the person’s life is in immediate danger. Opiate overdoses can kill a person quickly, so every moment counts.

How to Help Someone Who Has Overdosed

Though you should immediately call 911 when you recognize an overdose, there are steps you can take to assist the person until help arrives.

If the person is unconscious, roll him or her to one side. This helps prevent people from choking if they vomit while unconscious. If the person is still conscious, do your best to keep the person talking to you and don’t let him or her fall asleep. Because these drugs slow breathing functions, allowing an overdosed person to fall asleep can lead to cessation of breathing.

Don’t leave the person alone if you can help it. A conscious person will be delirious and can easily get into a dangerous situation, and an unconscious person may stop breathing. If left unattended, you won’t be able to administer rescue breathing if necessary.

There is also a treatment for these overdoses called naloxone. This is something that emergency rooms have used for many years to help reverse these types of overdoses, especially heroin-related ones. Due to the dramatic increase in overdose deaths, however, it is now common for emergency medical personnel and even caregivers to carry naloxone with them.

Naloxone comes in nasal spray and injectable forms and can give the overdosed person up to an hour’s respite from overdose symptoms. This does not stop the overdose permanently, so it is still important to call emergency responders to give the person lifesaving medical treatment. In addition, following an overdose, the person will likely require some sort of opioid addiction treatment to ensure that they don’t use heroin or other opioids again once they have recovered from the overdose.

Encountering an opioid overdose can be a frightening experience, but learning how to recognize the signs and give assistance can save lives.

Many Patients Receiving Treatment for Opioid Addictions Still Being Prescribed Painkillers

Opioid AddictionsA new study conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health revealed a major problem with prescribing practices in several states throughout the country. It was discovered that many patients who were receiving prescriptions for buprenorphine to treat their opioid addictions were also receiving prescriptions for prescription painkillers at the same time.

According to information from eleven states, two in five patients that were using buprenorphine were also being prescribed prescription painkillers. Additionally, it was discovered that 66% of people who had completed treatment were also being prescribed painkillers within 12 months.

This shocking discovery only serves to highlight the obvious need for better prescribing practices, prescription drug monitoring programs and more education for doctors. “Policymakers may believe that people treated for opioid addiction are cured, but people with substance abuse disorders have a lifelong vulnerability, even if they are not actively using. Our findings highlight the importance of stable, ongoing care for these patients,” commented Dr. G. Caleb Alexander, study author.

Many experts agree with Dr. Alexander. Treatment has been found to be one of the most effective ways to overcome an addiction to opiates. However, many people struggle to find a treatment facility that is right for them. This is made even more difficult by the potential changes being implemented surrounding the Affordable Care Act, which helped increase access to treatment for more people.

There are many successful ways of treating opioid addiction, and using burprenorphine (Suboxone) as an aid to reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings has proven to have multiple benefits. What this study shows is that the healthcare system in America has a long way to go to help fix the opioid crisis that appears to be continuing to escalate.