How to Tell If Someone Is On Meth

How to Tell If Someone Is On Meth | Recovery By The Sea

Methamphetamine (meth) is a stimulant similar to amphetamine that is most often found illicitly. Meth is usually more powerful than other amphetamines, however, and is very rarely used for any legitimate medical purpose.

Meth is usually either purchased from a dealer on the street or “cooked” at home or in a clandestine lab. Meth is also known as crystal, ice, glass, ice, and crank, among other names. It usually appears as a crystal or rock-like substance that is clear, semi-transparent, or bluish. Occasionally it is found powdered or tablet form.

Signs of Meth Use

Regular meth use often leads to a myriad of changes in a person’s life that can be easy to identify if you know what signs and symptoms to look for.

Changes in Lifestyle

Meth users are often secretive and try to conceal their use. However, over time, it will likely become increasingly difficult to disguise their habit, as they continue to spend an increasing amount of time and money procuring and using the drug.

As meth use becomes a priority and central in a user’s life, they will begin to fail to attend to responsibilities at work and at home. For instance, expenses related to drug making, buying, or using may result in financial difficulties and a failure to pay bills. Also, binges may be followed by long periods of inactivity in which childcare and other critical responsibilities are ignored.

Mood Swings and Adverse Mental Changes

Like other stimulants, such as cocaine and Adderall, meth use causes the brain to release excessive amounts of dopamine, a neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of reward and well-being. With long-term meth use, the brain becomes less able to produce dopamine without the drug’s help. This effect can leave the user feeling depressed, anxious, and experiencing other negative feelings during periods of abstinence.

Chronic meth use can also result in paranoia, delusions, and even full-blown psychosis. Users may experience irrational fears and adverse psycho-emotional effects that continue long after meth use has ended—a condition known as PAWS. Highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms are common among long-term meth abusers when they try to quit using or cut back.

Behavioral Changes

Because meth is a potent CNS stimulant, increased activity in both the brain and body leads to feelings of euphoria and elevated mood and energy. Users are often extremely talkative and hyperactive and may compulsively engage in obsessive and repetitive activities, such as cleaning.

Meth users may also experience strange tactile sensations or hallucinations that cause itching or the feeling of bugs crawling on or under their skin. This can lead to repeated scratching and the development of sores.

What’s more, chronic meth use often results in appetite suppression, and thus, noticeable weight loss. Over time, users begin to appear malnourished and gaunt as a result of poor eating and sleeping habits.

How to Tell If Someone Is On Meth | Recovery By The Sea

Physical Signs

In addition to itching, sores, weight loss, and a generally disheveled and ill appearance, long-term meth users also encounter dental problems commonly referred to as “meth mouth.” This condition is characterized by a loss of tooth enamel due to poor oral hygiene and dry mouth, which leads to rampant tooth decay.

The manner in which meth is administered can also affect a meth user’s outward appearance. For instance, a person who smokes meth face a higher risk of bronchitis and pneumonia and may suffer from chronic coughing and congestion. And snorting meth, similar to snorting cocaine, can result in frequent nosebleeds and irreversible damage to the septum and surrounding nasal tissues.

Finally, injecting meth, although relatively uncommon, can lead to open wounds and sores on the skin, infections, and vein damage.

Meth Paraphernalia

Paraphernalia using for ingesting meth may include any of the following:

  • Razors, mirrors, rolled paper, or hollow tubes for snorting
  • Glass or metal pipes, bongs, foils, or light bulbs with a hollow tube attached for smoking
  • Spoons, lighters, syringes, and surgical tubing or tourniquets for injection

Signs of a Meth Lab

Not all meth users cook their own meth. However, the following signs may indicate someone you know is operating a meth lab in their home:

  • Excessive and threatening home security measures such as “Beware of Dog” or “Private Property” signs, alarm systems, etc.
  • Items for concealing the home such as blackened windows, drawn curtains, high fences, etc.
  • Chemical smells that are detectable around the home, garage, or yard
  • Garbage contains suspicious bottles, containers, or sheets stained from filtering chemicals
  • Evidence of dumping chemical waste, such as in burn pits

Treatment For Meth Abuse And Addiction

Meth addiction occurs when a user’s body has developed a dependence on the substance, and unpleasant side effects onset when the user tries to quit. When a user has become dependent, they will continue to engage in compulsive drug-seeking behavior. They will do whatever it takes to obtain and use meth despite the adverse consequences that result.

Treatment for meth use should include medical detox, followed by participation in multiple therapeutic services, such as psychotherapy, counseling, and group support. Recovery By The Sea is a specialized treatment center that offers care and support for meth users and others who suffer from drug dependence and addiction.

If you believe that a loved one is abusing meth, other drugs, or alcohol, we urge you to contact us today to discover how we can help!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: The Dangers of Injecting Meth

Ketamine Addiction

Ketamine Addiction | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Ketamine (Special K) is a potent anesthetic and dissociative, meaning it induces feelings of detachment from one’s body. It’s commonly used in veterinary medicine and to help with sedation during surgery but is also commonly found on the party and club scene among those seeking the high it provides. While ketamine isn’t believed to be as addictive as many other drugs of abuse, it does occasionally occur and can be detrimental to one’s life.

Ketamine comes in several forms, including powder, liquid, and as pills. When ingested, ketamine can cause users to experience visual and auditory hallucinations and euphoria. Because it’s an anesthetic, it also reduces physical sensations. Combining this drug with other depressants, such as alcohol, increases the risk of profound respiratory depression, which can be life-threatening.

Ketamine is also now available by prescription, as it is believed to be effective at treating symptoms of depression and alcohol addiction and withdrawal.

Signs and Symptoms of Ketamine Addiction

Ketamine is a relatively short-acting drug. One of the primary effects that people enjoy is that it blocks pain sensations. Unfortunately, not reacting to painful stimuli can be dangerous, and ketamine should not be used outside of a clinical environment or as prescribed by a doctor.

Furthermore, ketamine use can impair coordination, especially when used with other depressants. This effect could be risky and lead to injury, and it could also cause a person’s judgment capabilities to be diminished. It’s not hard to accidentally hurt yourself while on ketamine because it’s an anesthetic. Pain is sometimes essential for survival, as it warns us when we’re injured and forces us to take heed and focus on that injury, preventing further damage. Someone on ketamine can suffer from a severe injury and go one with life as if nothing happened.

In addition to sedating the user and impairing movement, it can produce out-of-body experiences in which the user feels detached from oneself and the surrounding environment. It distorts perceptions of sight and sound. At high doses, the user may encounter intense and frightening effects that may be described as similar to a near-death experience. This event is also sometimes referred to as a “K-hole.”

The symptoms of ketamine abuse and addiction are similar to those associated with alcohol abuse and may include the following:

  • Disorientation
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Hallucinations
  • Slowed or labored breathing
  • Mood changes
  • Depression
  • Impaired cognitive abilities
  • Impaired memory
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Effects of Ketamine Abuse

Ketamine Addiction | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Ketamine can be an unpleasant drug to abuse in the long-term. Repeated use can cause a wide array of adverse effects on the brain and body.

For example, it can cause severe abdominal pain, as well as damage to the bladder and urinary tract, also referred to as ketamine bladder syndrome. This condition leads to decreased control of the bladder and incontinence. It may also cause blood in the urine and ulcers in the bladder.

Because ketamine is often found as a powder, it is frequently snorted. Unfortunately, many of these powders are laced with other drugs. It may be something relatively benign, such as talcum powder or sugar, but it could also be combined with something more hazardous, like acetaminophen (Tylenol) or drain cleaner.

A dose can be difficult to gauge, and in some cases, it could be the wrong substance altogether (e.g., fentanyl), and result in a life-threatening overdose.

Ketamine Withdrawal

Withdrawal from ketamine typically lasts for 4-6 days after the last dose, and it might feel like suffering from severe flu symptoms. A person may encounter the following symptoms:

  • Chills and sweating
  • Cravings
  • Fatigue
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stiff muscles
  • Involuntary eye movement

These symptoms are not at all pleasant, but they can be effectively managed with medical care. Undergoing a supervised medical detox can ensure the patient is monitored and as safe and comfortable as possible as he or she withdraws.

Treatment for Ketamine Abuse or Addiction

If you are abusing ketamine or have developed an addiction, you can get help at a rehab center. At Recovery By The Sea, you can receive treatment for ketamine addiction in a safe and comfortable environment and remain protected from the temptations of further ketamine use.

It’s not uncommon for people who abuse ketamine to also use other drugs or alcohol, and if these other problems exist, they can be addressed simultaneously. Therapeutic services and activities we offer that are intended to treat all aspects of a person’s well-being include the following:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Peer support groups
  • Health and wellness education
  • Substance abuse education
  • Art, music, and adventure therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Aftercare planning

We also provide treatment for co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, childhood trauma, and more.

If you are ready to take the first step toward sobriety, contact us today! Drug abuse and addiction are conditions that may need lifelong maintenance, but you don’t have to do this alone! We are here to help!

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay in Your System? | Recovery By The Sea

Gabapentin (brand name Neurontin) is a commonly prescribed medication that remains in the body for about 36 hours. Gabapentin has a half-life of 5-7 hours, meaning that it takes this amount of time for the body to eliminate one-half of a dose of the drug.

What Is Gabapentin?

Gabapentin is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of seizures and neuropathic pain related to shingles. Gabapentin may also be used off-label for other purposes, including the following:

  • Pain unrelated to nerve issues
  • Anxiety that can occur in certain types of psychiatric disorders
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Withdrawal symptoms from alcohol and other substances

How Gabapentin Works

The DEA does not classify gabapentin as a controlled substance, but it does require a prescription from a doctor to obtain it legally. It is believed to simulate the action of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which inhibits activity in the central nervous system (CNS).

Gabapentin does not appear to affect GABA receptors directly, and instead, reduces the activity of other neurons through a different but unexplained mechanism. This would explain why gabapentin can address issues like pain, anxiety, and seizures, which are the result of overactivity in the brain.

Gabapentin is not considered to have the same addiction potential as many other prescription pain medications, as on its own, it does not cause euphoria, and it is not as potent as opioids. However, doctors will often prescribe gabapentin with other drugs, and these combinations can result in the more effective treatment of a specific condition. Unfortunately, this approach may, in some cases, lead to some level of drug dependence.

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay in the Body?

How Long Does Gabapentin Stay in Your System? | Recovery By The Sea

Gabapentin is most often consumed orally in tablet form, and as noted, will remain in the body for about 36 hours. Gabapentin is one of the few drugs not broken down by the liver, and instead, is primarily metabolized by the kidneys. Because of this uncommon process, gabapentin does not stay in the body for a very long period.

Gabapentin comes in both immediate- and extended-release forms. The latter continues to release the drug into the system gradually, over time, and therefore the detection window for the drug will be extended, as well.

Drug panel screens do not typically test for the presence of gabapentin because it is not a controlled substance and has a low potential for abuse. However, it can be detected if instructions are put forth to look for the drug specifically.
Gabapentin’s detectability ranges from 5-7 hours for most blood tests. It is not detectable in saliva, and it would be improbable that a hair follicle test would be used to check for gabapentin.

Urinalysis can, however, detect gabapentin for an average of 72 hours, and the broader range of detection would span from 1-3 days in most cases. A urinalysis, although rare in and of itself, is probably the most common method used to test for gabapentin.

Factors That Influence Elimination Time

Due to the way gabapentin is broken down in the body, the dosage may not affect the duration in which the drug stays in the system—at least to the extent of many other substances. Still, taking very high amounts of gabapentin could result in a longer elimination time for the medication.

Other factors can affect the elimination of gabapentin from the body, however, including the following:

  • Age, as older people experience longer elimination times Differences in kidney function
  • Weight and body mass index, as heavier people will eliminate it more rapidly
  • Hydration, because the drug is primarily broken down in the kidneys and eliminated through the urine

Getting Help for Drug Abuse

Although gabapentin is believed to have a relatively low potential for abuse, it does happen. Gabapentin is also commonly misused in conjunction with other drugs such as opioids, which can enhance their effects but also lead to additional complications, including drug dependence and addiction.

Moreover, those who are abusing gabapentin or other substances are urged to seek treatment as soon as possible. The earlier treatment is received, the less arduous the transition back to sobriety will be.

Recovery By The Sea offers comprehensive programs tailored to each individual’s unique needs and goals. We feature a variety of therapeutic services that are clinically proven to be extremely beneficial for the recovery process, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and more.

Are you ready to take that first step to long-term sobriety and wellness? If so, contact us today and find out how we can help you get started, one day at a time!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Is Gabapentin Addictive?

Is It Safe to Mix Xanax and Weed?

Is It Safe to Mix Xanax and Weed?

Xanax (alprazolam) and weed (marijuana, cannabis) are two substances that are frequently used and sometimes abuse, and there may be interactions and dangers of using both drugs concurrently. Although the possible interactions and risks of mixing Xanax and weed aren’t well-established, many health professionals believe that combining the two could result in amplified side effects, such as profound drowsiness and poor judgment.

Such effects can be hazardous because a person who is high on weed and using Xanax may put themselves in dangerous situations such as driving. Their combined impact may be unpredictable, and different people will experience different effects, some of which may be unwanted.

Also, marijuana in and of itself can cause distress and anxiety in some people, so for these individuals, marijuana should be avoided, especially when using Xanax. It could undermine the medication’s ability to work effectively.

What Is Xanax?

Xanax is commonly prescribed to treat anxiety, panic disorders, seizures, and, occasionally, insomnia. Xanax is a powerful depressant and works by reducing activity in the central nervous system, which result in a person feeling more relaxed. However, drowsiness, dizziness, and confusion may also occur, and Xanax is considered to have the potential for dependence and addiction.

For this reason, Xanax is only intended to be used for short-term treatment, and it’s important that people only use it with a legitimate prescription and precisely as directed.

What Is Weed?

Weed is a slang name for marijuana, which is an herb derived from the Cannabis plant. In the last few years, many states and municipalities have decriminalized its use or made it legal to use for either medical or recreational purposes.

In light of this, the stigma of marijuana use has further been reduced, particularly as researchers have found that it may have some therapeutic value in many cases. However, marijuana remains illegal in many states, and despite public outcry, the Drug Enforcement Agency has thus far refused to re-classify it, and it remains a Schedule I controlled substance.

When a person ingests marijuana, the active chemical THC binds to certain brain receptors and can induce feelings of euphoria, relaxation, and, in some people, anxiety, and paranoia. Side effects may also include drowsiness, dizziness, or cognition or memory impairments.

Interactions and Dangers of Mixing Xanax and Weed

Although mixing Xanax and weed isn’t as hazardous as mixing Xanax with some other substances, such as opioids or alcohol, potential users are urged to exercise caution. Doing this can amplify the effects of both substances, and result in severe drowsiness, confusion, and profoundly impaired judgment.

Impaired judgment is especially concerning because a person may not be able to make sound decisions that will prevent them from injuring themselves or others. Coordination may also be impaired, making walking and performing regular daily takes challenging or impossible and result in falls or injury.

There is unlikely to be a direct, life-threatening interaction from using Xanax and weed, but complications can occur, such as those aforementioned as well as suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Is It Safe to Mix Xanax and Weed?

Getting Treatment for Drug Dependency

By offering a variety of evidence-based treatment options, Recovery By The Sea effectively approaches addiction from multiple angles, which can increase the effectiveness of each element of treatment.

Some of our therapeutic options are as follows:

Group Therapy – Group therapy addresses interpersonal, family, and social struggles and fosters communication and the learning of relationship skills. It also nurtures a shared identity by promoting an allegiance of understanding and loving peers, as well as encourages appropriate attitudes and behaviors.

Individual Therapy – During individual therapy, people will benefit from one-on-one engagement with a licensed, trained therapist in a private, non-judgmental environment. Behavioral therapies are employed, which seek to identify negative thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, and find ways to replace them with ones that are healthy and positive. During therapy, patients are encouraged to explore the connection between their thoughts and behaviors in an effort to gain insight into the root causes of their addiction and understand themselves better. They will be encouraged to work through challenging and negative memories and experiences thoroughly.

Experiential Activities – Experiential activities can provide patients with an alternative way to express their feelings, as well as develop leisure and relaxation skills. These activities promote goal-directed thinking and problem-solving skills. Popular options include art, music, and adventure therapy.

A Comprehensive Approach Is Important for a Long-Term Recovery

Together, the above-mentioned therapies and services can enhance the effects of each other and make the overall treatment plan exponentially more effective than the sum of its parts.

By using a customized, multi-dimensional approach, clients learn better-coping skills to deal with cravings and triggers, prevent relapse, and manage co-occurring mental health conditions, such as anxiety.

If you are suffering from anxiety, other mental health problems, and drug dependence, we urge you to contact us today! Discover how we help people escape the prison of addiction and remain happy and healthy for life!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Snorting Xanax

Is It Safe to Mix Adderall and Weed?

Is It Safe to Mix Adderall and Weed?

Using Adderall and weed together may, on the surface, seem like a clever way to counteract the adverse effects of each substance. Because Adderall is a stimulant and marijuana is a depressant, one could easily imagine that some of their effects would offset each other, making the experience of using these substances more pleasant overall.

Indeed, some users report that marijuana use relieves some of the distress and irritability that be associated with Adderall. They also say that Adderall’s ability to induce alertness and help counteract the lethargy and decreased cognitive function that can be caused by marijuana use.

There may be significant, long-term risks associated with the recreational use of Adderall and weed. Chronic Adderall abuse itself can cause devastating, life-threatening effects, such as seizures, anxiety, and depression. Marijuana impairment could lower inhibition and reduce a person’s ability to realize how much Adderall and using and underestimate the potential for adverse effects or overdose.

When used in combination, both drugs can result in an accelerated heart rate and palpitations. And, unfortunately, there is not much research that has been conducted on the interaction between Adderall and weed. Instead, only anecdotal reports from users exist who have experimented with the combined use of both substances.

Is There a Safe Way to Combine Adderall and Weed?

Regarding the safety of using both Adderall and weed in conjunction, there is no way to know for sure what consequences a person will experience. The effects of both substances vary widely, depending on several factors. These include the amount of Adderall used, whether it is being used as directed for a medical purpose, and the potency and amount of marijuana they are using. And, of course, individual differences such as biology also come into play.

That said, information obtained from users who have experimented with the use of Adderall and weed suggests that using this combination may lead to the following:

Heightened Euphoria – Both Adderall and week can offer users a boost of euphoria because they increase dopamine levels in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that allows people to experience pleasure and reward from engaging in certain activities, such as eating and having sex. 

Increased Stimulation – Both Adderall and weed use can increase heart rate, and this effect may be amplified when the two substances are used together. For some, this experience may feel exciting and fun. For others, such as those with a heart condition or anxiety, this effect can be very distressing.

Reduced Anxiety – Both Adderall and weed can induce anxiety, but when used in combination, certain adverse side effects of each substance might be canceled out by the others. These include anxiety, paranoia, irritability, insomnia, and loss of appetite.

Increased Risk of Overdose

Although it is not believed that the use of marijuana can ever be life-threatening, Adderall, when used in excess, can lead to overdose and death. And because using weed with Adderall can mitigate some of the side effects of the latter, this combination leads to more Adderall use, increasing long-term risks and the potential for overdose.

A lethal dose of Adderall has been reported to be between 20-25 mg per kg of weight. Using this guide, a lethal dose for someone who weighs 70 kg (154 pounds) would be about 1,400 mg. This is more than 25 times higher than the highest prescribed dose. This amount would be, indeed, an incredibly high amount to accomplish. Still, a person using marijuana might not experience the effects needed to remind him or her that she has taken too much—this could be disastrous.

Adderall and Weed | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is a central nervous system (CNS) stimulant that includes amphetamine and dextroamphetamine. It is FDA-approved to treat the symptoms of ADD/ADHD and narcolepsy. At prescribed doses, Adderall works to reduce the hyperactivity and lack of focus associated with ADHD, allowing people to feel more alert and focused.

Many people, particularly those in high school or college, report abusing Adderall as a study drug to utilize its stimulant effects. Students take it to stay awake for long periods to cram for tests or to complete challenging assignments. Like other stimulants, Adderall can place a significant amount of cardiovascular and psychological distress on a person’s body and well-being.

Effects of Adderall

Common side effects associated with Adderall use include the following:

  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Dry mouth
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite and weight

More severe side effects may include the following:

  • Seizures
  • Hallucinations
  • Mania
  • Swelling of the face
  • Itching, rashes, and hives
  • Numbness or tingling
  • Paranoia or feelings of suspicion
  • Agitation and confusion
  • Fever and sweating or chills
  • Severe muscle stiffness or twitching
  • Impaired coordination
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Depression
  • Blistering or peeling skin
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Changes in vision
  • Slow or difficult speech
  • Motor or verbal tics
  • Teeth grinding

About Marijuana

Marijuana is considered to be a relatively safe substance compared to many others, such as alcohol or opioids. However, the potency of marijuana has increased in recent years, and THC levels can be found as high as 13%. By comparison, In the 1970s, THC levels were only about 2%.

Chronic or excessive use of marijuana can lead to mental and cardiovascular problems, including anxiety and panic attacks, paranoia, hallucinations, accelerated heart rate, and dramatic increases in blood pressure. When taken in conjunction with Adderall, these effects can be amplified, in which the user will experience the adverse effects of both.

Adderall and Weed | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Potential Long-term Effects on the Brain

There aren’t many studies that have examined the effects of combining cannabis and Adderall regarding a person’s mental health. Nonetheless, there are some things we know about the brain in general and how substances such as these can alter its functioning long-term.

For example, using drugs such as Adderall and marijuana chronically can impair the brain’s ability to release dopamine and serotonin naturally. This effect can lead, at least short term, to intense feelings of depression and anhedonia, in which a person cannot experience pleasure when a chemical component isn’t there to induce it. Moreover, these drugs combined may cause severe issues, such as clinical depression, after long-term use.

How Treatment Can Help

Abusing Adderall and weed qualifies as a polysubstance disorder in which or more substances are taken in conjunction. Such substance abuse requires an intensive, comprehensive approach that can effectively address both problems, as well as any co-occurring mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety.

A reputable professional recovery program, such as those offered by Recovery By The Sea, can help individuals sustain sobriety and long-term relief from the dangerous effects of Adderall, weed, and other substances.

During this type of full-spectrum treatment, clients can benefit from evidence-based and alternative therapies, such as the following:

  • Individual and family therapy
  • Dual diagnosis treatment
  • Peer group support
  • Art and music therapy
  • Stress management
  • Educational programs
  • Health and wellness programs
  • Relapse prevention planning
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Aftercare planning

Substance abuse of any kind has the potential to cause adverse, life-altering effects and severe health problems over both the short- and long-term, including death. The sooner you get help, the sooner you can begin to reverse some of the damage done and prevent more problems from occurring in the future.

If you are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we urge you to call us today and seek treatment that can help you recover before it’s too late!

How to Reduce Anxiety

How to Reduce Anxiety | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

How to Reduce Anxiety – Although it is an entirely reasonable human response, anxiety is also an emotional reaction that can cause us to over-examine situations and paralyze us when we encounter critical decisions or fearful circumstances. An anxiety disorder may develop when anxiety continues for a prolonged period and begins to interfere with daily functioning.

Anxiety is an unpleasant and sometimes terrifying emotion, and, understandably, some people try to find ways to prevent, or deaden these feelings. While drugs and alcohol may mitigate anxious feelings in the short term, substance abuse can and does tend to make anxiety worse in the long run.

Fortunately, there are much better, healthier ways to cope with anxiety than through the use of drugs and alcohol.

Common Symptoms of Anxiety

  • Sweating
  • Trembling/shaking
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest tightness
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of impending doom
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Ruminating on negative thoughts
  • Panic attacks

People who experience these feelings may engage in unhealthy behaviors as a means to escape, prevent, or reduce anxiety, such as the following:

  • Avoiding situations that foster anxious feelings
  • Withdrawing from others/social isolation
  • Abusing substances to self-medicate

These means of addressing anxiety may be somewhat helpful in the short-term but can result in chronic problems. Moreover, they disconnect individuals from their potential support networks and can worsen the underlying issues that contribute to anxiety instead of resolving them.

Why Do People Use Substances to Deal With Anxiety?

How to Reduce Anxiety | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

The answer may seem obvious at first, but there’s actually real science behind it. In research, people with chronic anxiety have been shown to have an overactive amygdala, a region of the brain that is responsible for fear and anxiety-related memories. The amygdala interacts with a stress response subsystem in the body called the HPA axis.

The HPA axis (hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis) is a complicated set of interactions between the hypothalamus, the pituitary glands, and the adrenal glands that are located at the top of each kidney. The HPA axis is associated with stress and is responsible for the release of cortisol, which prepares the body for a fight-or-flight response.

Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is an inhibitory neurochemical that counteracts the excitatory neurotransmitter glutamate. GABA can suppress thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, while glutamate leads to an excitatory effect. The balance between these two chemicals significantly contributes to whether a person is feeling relaxed and calm or alert and anxious.

Other chemicals, namely dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, also play a vital role in the development of emotional states such as anxiety. Pharmaceuticals can address a chemical imbalance issue by using agents that target and modify the GABA system in a way that reduces anxiety.

Some people resort to using drugs and alcohol to cope with anxiety because increased GABA activity increases feelings of relaxation. Unfortunately, however, it’s only a short-term respite from stress.

How to Reduce Anxiety Substance-Free

Fortunately, many self-help methods target the same anti-stress mechanisms in the brain that do not produce the adverse effects that alcohol and drugs wreak on one’s life.

Mindfulness & Meditation

Mindfulness is a method of focusing that helps the person practicing become more connected to his or her thoughts, emotions, and body. There are many ways to integrate mindfulness techniques into one’s life, and getting started is simple.

To begin, sit in a relaxed position and breathe deeply. Breath in slowly and hold it for four seconds, and gradually release it over five seconds. Pay close attention to breathing, and if the mind begins to wander, acknowledge the thought without judgment, and then let it go. Return to focusing on the breath.

Mindfulness helps the practicing individual remain firmly in the present without ruminating over the past or worrying about the future. It has also been shown to promote inhibitory control in the brain, which is precisely the remedy for anxiety.


Like mindfulness, yoga is another practice that reduces anxiety through breathing and centered attention on the body. Yoga requires deep breathing during uncomfortable and sometimes awkward positions and encourages people to breathe through stress using only the mind and body. It does this, in part, because it increases GABA levels, which promotes relaxation.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Mental health professionals often use cognitive-behavioral therapy as a technique to identify, challenge, and modify thought processes to alleviate the symptoms of anxiety. CBT is goal-oriented and requires the participant to engage in activities and practice at home outside of therapy.

Part of feeling anxious involves one’s own interpretation of biological and chemical changes. CBT works to reframe negative beliefs and thinking patterns, helping people mitigate their subjective experience of anxiety.

Make Informed and Healthy Choices

Certain lifestyle choices can affect our mental and emotional state and hinder or promote our ability to deal with stress. Positive, healthy practices, such as the following, can serve to reduce stress and increase resilience and overall well-being:

  • Eating healthy
  • Engaging in regular exercise
  • Developing a healthy sleep routine
  • Taking time to rest
  • Engaging in fulfilling and enjoyable activities and hobbies
  • Avoiding caffeine and other stimulants
  • Taking medication (if any) as prescribed
  • Seeking support from family, friends, groups, and mental health professionals

Treatment for Addiction and Anxiety

Integrated treatment is a comprehensive rehab program that provides all the medical, therapeutic, and holistic resources essential to help clients heal physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Each client should have a customized treatment plan, but for those who are living with both an addiction and a mental health disorder, an integrated treatment program may typically include the following services:

Medical Detox

For those who struggle with drug or alcohol addiction, the detox period, or the first days following the cessation of substance use, can be characterized by unpleasant physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. Detox services provide medical and mental health support to clients with and monitoring, if needed, to help them stabilize during treatment.

Evaluation and Diagnosis

To ensure that all co-occurring mental health symptoms are accurately diagnosed, an evaluation is the next step in integrated treatment. Also, all other issues that may be barriers in the client’s path to recovery are identified. Based on the evaluation results and the reported experiences of the client, diagnoses are identified to help the client understand and frame past experiences and prepare for the future.

How to Reduce Anxiety | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Treatment Planning

A customized treatment plan is developed for each client that combines an array of therapeutic and medical interventions to empower the client to recover from addiction, learn how to manage mental health conditions, and address personal issues that may be problematic.

Individual Therapy

One-on-one therapy is the basis for recovery, as it provides the client with a safe and confidential forum to address past experiences, current issues, changes that occur during therapy, and goals for the future. As treatment goals are achieved based on the initial treatment plan, the client can collaborate with the therapist to identify new therapy goals and modify the treatment plan accordingly.

Group Therapy

There are a variety of groups that may be employed as part of an integrated treatment program. These include 12-Step groups, groups that focus on a specific aspect of addiction, support groups for people who experience the same mental health issues, and groups that help members cope with a commonly shared life issue, such as parenting or legal problems.

Family Therapy

Working together with friends and family to repair relationships damaged during active addiction and untreated mental health symptoms can play a huge role in recovery. This is especially true if the client will be returning home to live with family members after treatment has been completed.


Before leaving treatment, clients are urged to work with a therapist to create an aftercare plan. This plan should include a combination of therapeutic services that meet the person’s needs during and after the transition into independent living.

Getting Help for Addiction and Mental Illness

Using an integrated approach to addiction and the factors that drive it, we provide patients with the tools, skills, and support they desperately need to achieve a full recovery and enjoy long-lasting sobriety and wellness.

If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol and a co-occurring mental illness, please contact us today!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Types of Anxiety and Addiction

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your Blood?

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your Blood? | Recovery By The Sea

Adderall is a stimulant drug that can be detected in the blood up to 46 hours after use. It has a half-life of 9-14 hours, meaning that after this time, only around half of the drug will remain in the body. Adderall should be eliminated entirely from a person’s system in three days. 

Testing can also be conducted using urine, saliva, and hair follicle samples. Detection windows for these tests include the following:

  • Urine 4 to 7 days
  • Saliva 20 minutes to 48 hours
  • Hair 7 to 90 days

If you have a prescription for Adderall, you should need to worry about “failing” a drug test for this medication. If you do not, however, we urge you to seek help to stop abusing it.

What Is Adderall?

Adderall is an amphetamine and nervous system often prescribed to treat attention deficit disorder (ADD) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). These are conditions in which a person finds it challenging to concentrate on a single task. Individuals with ADD/ADHD generally use the medication daily on a fixed therapeutic regimen, and rather than getting the user “high,” it induces a calming effect, allowing them to focus on tasks at hand.

Because it is a stimulant, Adderall increases dopamine in the brain, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. When stimulants are ingested, they boost the amount of dopamine that is available, but they also impair the body’s ability to produce its own dopamine after long-term use.

How Is Adderall Misused?

Like so many psychoactive substances, Adderall can be abused and has the potential to result in both dependence and addiction. When taken in a way other than as prescribed, Adderall can produce feelings of euphoria. To continue achieving this effect, a person may need to increase the amount of medication he or she uses over time as the brain adapts to the drug’s presence and diminishes its response accordingly (also known as tolerance). This effect can trigger a cycle of misusing Adderall that results in dependence, full-blown addiction, and overdose.

Dependence, like tolerance, develops over time with repeated use of a psychoactive substance. As the brain has now adjusted to a drug’s presence, it is not able to immediately function without it. Moreover, if a person stops using Adderall abruptly, they will experience many adverse side effects as a result. In an attempt to avoid unpleasant symptoms, people who are dependent on Adderall may find themselves compelled to relapse and unable to quit without professional help.

Determining Factors for How Long Adderall Stays in the Blood

Body Composition and PH Levels

Body composition can affect the length of time it takes for a person’s system to eliminate Adderall. Height, weight, muscle mass, and body fat percentage all play a role in this timeline. A person with relatively low muscle mass and high body fat will likely expel Adderall more rapidly than a person with high muscle mass and less fat. This is true because having more muscle means that a person has more water in their body, and more water means that Adderall is allowed to circulate in the body for a longer amount of time.

PH levels in the gastrointestinal and urinary tracts may also impact how long Adderall stays in a person’s system. If a person has a relatively high PH level, his or her kidneys will take longer to process Adderall. 

Food Intake

Food consumption can influence how rapidly the body can eliminate Adderall. When food is in a person’s system, the body will be working to metabolize the food as well as the drug, meaning it may take a longer amount of time to process both.

Organ Function

How Long Does Adderall Stay in Your Blood? | Recovery By The Sea

Organs such as the kidneys and liver and play a key role in clearing the body of potentially toxic substances, Adderall included. When an organ does not function as it should, these metabolic processes can be slowed. If kidney or liver function is not healthy, the drug may stay in the system for longer than it should, or it may be recirculated. 

Dosage Amount and Frequency of Use

The drug dosage will significantly affect how long it takes to be eliminated from the system. The more Adderall a person has used, the longer it will take for the body to expel it since there is more of the drug accumulated in the system to metabolize. The systems of people who have been using Adderall routinely for a prolonged period will probably take longer to eliminate it in comparison to those who only used the drug occasionally.

Treatment for Adderall Abuse

The longer an individual has been abusing Adderall, the more severe an addiction can become. As noted, withdrawal symptoms that onset shortly after discontinuing use can make it very challenging for users to quit on their own. 

Fortunately, Adderall abuse and addiction are very treatable, and there are many effective options available. Recovery By The Sea offers an integrated approach to drug and alcohol abuse that includes behavioral therapy, individual and family counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and much more.

If or someone you love needs help overcoming an addiction to Adderall, please contact us as soon as possible! Discover how we help people free themselves from the shackles of addiction for life!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Snorting Adderall

How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System?

How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System? | Midwood Addiction

How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System? – Clonazepam (brand name Klonopin) is a commonly prescribed benzodiazepine that has a relatively long-lasting effect. The effects of most benzodiazepines (benzos), such as Xanax or Valium, last between 3-4 hours, while the effects of Klonopin can last much longer, anywhere from 6-12 hours.

Clonazepam is usually prescribed to address anxiety, panic, or seizures. Benzos are a class of central nervous system (CNS) depressants that also include medications such as Ativan, Xanax, and Valium.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies clonazepam as a Schedule IV controlled substance. This classification indicates that although it does have a legitimate medical purpose, there is still some potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction, albeit relatively low.

Clonazepam also has a long half-life, which refers to the length of time needed for half of one dose of the drug to be cleared from the body. For clonazepam, this time period ranges between 30-40 hours, meaning that it takes roughly 2-3 days for 50% of clonazepam to be eliminated from a person’s body. Due to its half-life, a small amount of the medication is likely to remain in the system for up to 9 days after the last dose.

Individual factors may also influence how long the effects of clonazepam persist and the amount of time it takes for it to be cleared from a person’s system include the following:

  • Age
  • Height and weight
  • Body fat and mass
  • Genetics
  • Food consumption
  • Liver function
  • Metabolic rate
  • Urinary pH
  • Average dosage amount
  • Frequency of use
  • Duration of use
  • Use of other drugs or alcohol

How Does Clonazepam Work?

Klonopin reduces overactivity in the CNS that is associated with anxiety, muscle spasms, seizures, insomnia, and a variety of other disorders. As an intermediate-acting benzo, it can decrease the risk of seizure activity for several hours after the drug has been used. Klonopin may also be prescribed to people who experience persistent restlessness, fidgeting, or other involuntary movements.

Sometimes health providers will prescribe Klonopin for the treatment of anxiety and panic attacks. However, it isn’t prescribed as commonly for the short-term treatment of anxiety or insomnia as other medications, such as Ativan and Xanax. These other benzos are often more effective at addressing such conditions because their effects onset rapidly within minutes but are not as long-lasting as Klonopin.

Clonazepam Misuse and Addiction

Like other benzos, clonazepam can induce feelings of relaxation and well-being, which give it the potential for abuse and addiction. Even those who use clonazepam as prescribed by a doctor may find themselves progressing into problematic use. It is these coveted feelings that often drive a person to use clonazepam more often or in higher doses than directed. 

Clonazepam use can lead to tolerance and dependence if use persists for a prolonged period. Tolerance is a condition that develops when the body adapts to the presence of a drug and gradually diminishes its effects. When this occurs, the individual may be compelled to use more of the drug to feel the desired effects.

Dependence also develops after extended exposure to a substance, as the body becomes accustomed to its presence and is no longer able to function normally without it. Once dependence occurs, a person will begin to experience unpleasant or painful withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using the substance. Tolerance and dependence are hallmark signs of addiction, a condition that is also characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite the incurrence of adverse consequences.

Clonazepam Overdose

How Long Does Clonazepam Stay in Your System? | Midwood Addiction

Anyone who takes a dose of clonazepam in excessive amounts or too often is at risk for overdose. Although it is not easy to fatally overdose on clonazepam when used by itself, if it is used with other nervous system depressants, such as alcohol or opioids, the depressant effects of all ingested substances are compounded and can be life-threatening.

Symptoms of a clonazepam overdose include the following:

  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Amnesia
  • Impaired vision
  • Stupor or unresponsiveness
  • Labored, slowed, or stopped breathing
  • Hallucinations
  • Impaired coordination
  • Low blood pressure

If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms after using clonazepam, especially with other drugs or alcohol, please call 911 immediately.

Getting Treatment for Klonopin Addiction

Once an individual has developed a dependence on clonazepam, it can be very challenging to stop use. Those who take clonazepam regularly for a prolonged period will likely experience unpleasant withdrawal effects when they attempt to discontinue use. The discomfort of these symptoms is frequently the prime reason why a person will continue to use clonazepam even if he or she is highly motivated to stop.

Fortunately, recovery from clonazepam addiction is certainly attainable, and the first step is to acknowledge that you have a problem and begin seeking help. 

Recovery By The Sea uses a comprehensive, research-based approach to addiction recovery that includes behavioral therapy, counseling, treatment for co-existing mental health conditions, peer group support, aftercare planning, and much more.

If you or someone you love is dependent on clonazepam or other substances, help is available. Please know that you don’t have to suffer alone—contact us today and find out how we can help!

Is Gabapentin a Controlled Substance?

Is Gabapentin a Controlled Substance? | Recovery By The Sea

At the time of this writing, gabapentin (Neurontin) is not considered to be a controlled substance on the federal level. However, some states, such as Michigan, and other municipalities, have scheduled it as a class 5 drug, meaning it is believed to have a relatively low potential for abuse. It is commonly prescribed to treat neuropathic pain, epilepsy, and restless leg syndrome.

Gabapentin is a fairly new medication that was first introduced in 1993. As such, its use, mechanism of action, and adverse effects are still being researched. However, gabapentin appears to have an effect on the GABA neurotransmitter but does not seem to manipulate receptors related to other common drugs of abuse, such as opioids. 

For this reason, it’s not commonly thought of as a drug of abuse, and yet, it still has depressant properties that are similar to many other abused intoxicant substances. Also, it has been known to induce withdrawal symptoms in those who become dependent.

This medication can function as a tranquilizer and produce feelings of well-being that, although mild, are similar to the high produced by marijuana. It can also produce feelings of calm and increased sociability. It is recreationally used by polydrug users who combine it with other substances to amplify the effects of both the gabapentin or the other substance. It may also be misused by those seeking to relieve some symptoms of withdrawal from other drugs or alcohol.

The likelihood of gabapentin abuse occurring is considered low due to its relatively low potential for addiction. It does, however, induce withdrawal symptoms, which is a tell-tale sign of physical dependence. Effects induced by the drug could also promote psychological dependence. Treatment for gabapentin addiction may be more complex than other addictions because the individual will likely be dependent on other substances concurrently.

Gabapentin Use and Abuse

Prescription drug abuse is characterized by any use above and beyond that which is prescribed by a doctor. This includes using the medication without a prescription or making up symptoms to obtain a prescription. Taking a higher dose or more frequently than instructed is also considered abuse, and this is likely to result in withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued. 

Commonly, people enrolled in substance abuse treatment programs report abusing gabapentin without a prescription. One study revealed that 22% of surveyed patients used this medication for intoxicating purposes, especially for enhancing the effects of methadone.

Gabapentin is also increasingly being used as an adulterant in heroin. The fact that this medication is uncontrolled means that it’s not difficult to obtain legal prescriptions, which can then be sold on the black market. If gabapentin follows the trend of many other psychoactive prescription drugs, recreational use will likely increase until the DEA and other government agencies recognize the danger and begin putting restrictions in place.

Signs of Gabapentin Addiction

Is Gabapentin a Controlled Substance? | Recovery By The Sea

Although the potential for dependence on gabapentin is low, it can still occur, and such an addiction can be a serious issue due to the possibility of overdose and death. If you suspect that someone you know is using gabapentin without a prescription, other drugs, or alcohol, you can watch for the following symptoms of abuse:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Impaired memory
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Tremors
  • Jerky movements
  • Erratic eye movements
  • Double vision
  • Fever
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

If a person is taking gabapentin as directed with a prescription, these side effects are not necessarily an indication of abuse or addiction, although side effects tend to be more intense relative to how much a person uses. A number of symptoms characterize addiction, and a few are specific to prescription drugs. Common signs of prescription drug addiction include the following:

  • Making up or exaggerating symptoms to physicians
  • Doctor-shopping (visiting multiple doctors to get extra doses)
  • Switching doctors after a physician has refused to continue prescribing the drug
  • Changes in social habits and friends
  • Adverse changes in personal hygiene and grooming
  • Constant obsession with obtaining and using the drug
  • Feeling nervous about not being able to obtain the drug
  • Refusal or inability to quit using despite social, financial, or legal problems

Dependence and Withdrawal

Lastly, the occurrence of withdrawal symptoms after stopping the use of a drug is a hallmark indication of dependence and likely full-blown addiction. These occur because the body has adapted to the drug’s presence and has become unable to function without it. In addition to dependence, tolerance also usually develops, which is characterized by the need to use an increasing amount of the drug to achieve the same effect. 

In general, the higher the dose a person’s system adjusts to, the more severe the withdrawal symptoms will be. Common gabapentin withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Changes in appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Itching
  • Muscle pain or spasms
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Suicidal thoughts

While most of these symptoms are not outright dangerous, seizures can cause harm or even death, and suicidal ideations are always cause for alarm. For these reasons, it is recommended that a person who is thinking about going off gabapentin consult a doctor or addiction specialist. This should be done regardless of whether or not they are using it with a legitimate prescription. It may also be necessary for the individual to undergo a medical detox during the initial days of the withdrawal period.

Is Gabapentin a Controlled Substance? | Recovery By The Sea

Gabapentin Overdose

Prescription drug overdose fatalities have been steadily increasing for many years. Gabapentin overdose is similar to that of some opioids, such as heroin or Vicodin. However, unlike with opioids, there is no antidote to gabapentin overdose that can instantly reverse symptoms and prevent the substance from further affecting the brain and body. As such, irreversible damage is possible, even if a medical intervention is performed early.

Overdose is most likely to occur when combining gabapentin with other drugs or alcohol. For this reason, the fact that gabapentin is frequently being added to heroin by drug dealers is especially alarming. Moreover, heroin users often have no way of knowing what is in the drug they purchase on the black market, which is one of the reasons why opioid overdose deaths are so common.

Common signs of gabapentin overdose include the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Tremors
  • Slurred speech
  • Ataxia
  • Double vision
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Diarrhea
  • Slowed heart rate and respiration
  • Central nervous system depression

The biggest threat to a gabapentin overdose victim is a lack of oxygen to the brain—especially when it is consumed alongside other CNS depressants. Depression of the CNS results in slowed breathing, and it can even cause breathing to stop altogether. An overdose on any CNS depressant is considered an extreme medical emergency, and 911 should be called immediately.

Getting Treatment for Addiction

Recovery By The Sea offers comprehensive, individualized programs designed to treat all aspects of drug abuse and addiction, as well as co-occurring mental health conditions. Our programs feature therapies and services clinically-proven to be vital for the process of recovery, including behavioral therapy, individual and group counseling, group support, aftercare planning, and much, much more.

If you or someone you love is battling a dependence on gabapentin or other substances, contact us today! Discover how we can help you break free from the grip of addiction once and for all and foster the happy, healthy life you deserve!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Is Lyrica Addictive?

Signs of Opioid Use

Signs of Opioid Use | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Opioid drugs are commonly abused for their euphoric and sedative effects. For this reason, users often face a very high potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction. Opioids come in several forms, including prescription painkillers and street drugs such as heroin. Other commonly found opiates and opioids include the following:

  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)
  • Opium
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl and carfentanil
  • U-47700
  • Methadone
  • Tramadol

Prescription medications are usually found as a pill or tablet as a product of drug diversion, but also occasionally as a liquid or other form. Heroin and its highly-potent cousin fentanyl are usually found on the black market as a white powder. Heroin can also present as a dark tacky substance known as black tar and can be taken orally in a pill, smoked, snorted, or injected.

Opioid abuse is associated with the development of tolerance and dependence. Tolerance is caused by the brain’s propensity to diminish the response to a psychoactive substance after repeated use. This condition is hallmarked by a person’s need for increasing amounts of a drug to achieve the desired effect. Dependence occurs as the brain gradually adapts to the continued presence of opioids and becomes unable to function without it.

Withdrawal symptoms that onset after discontinuing opioid use are definite indications of physical dependence. Moreover, when a person stops using opioids or significantly reduces the dose, he or she will encounter highly uncomfortable and perhaps painful symptoms as a result. These unpleasant withdrawal effects are among the main catalysts for relapse.

Symptoms and Signs of Heroin Use

There are many physical, emotional, and behavioral signs of opioid use, including side effects, withdrawal, and symptoms of overdose. Some signs depend on the most common method of administration in addition to the type of drug used and the extent of abuse.

Side Effects of Opioid Use

Signs of Opioid Use | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

The following symptoms are among the most common effects that can manifest as a result of opioid use:

  • An initial rush of euphoria
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe itching
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Prolonged drowsiness
  • Heavy feelings in limbs
  • Impaired thinking

People who are addicted to opioids also frequently have mental health issues, which either contributed to the opioid use or are directly caused by it. Most commonly, these are related to clinical depression or anxiety, but can include many types of mood disorders and behaviors, including the following:

  • Agitation and irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Obessessive-compulsive disorder

Behavioral Signs of Opioid Use

When opioid use develops into a priority, a person’s entire life may begin to transform, and drug use becomes the primary focus. Due to this fact, there are likely to be marked changes in a person’s appearance and behavior. Most often, a person who is in the throes of addiction will continually prioritize drug use over obligations and relationships despite the myriad of problems it can cause. 

The following are common behavioral signs associated with opioid use that can serve as warnings for concerned loved ones that there is an immediate need to seek professional treatment:

  • Adverse changes in behavior
  • Concerning changes in social group
  • Use of street slang related to heroin or other opioids
  • Friends or family missing money and/or valuables
  • Neglect of important responsibilities, such as family, school, or work
  • Disheveled appearance and poor hygiene
  • Legal and/or financial problems
  • Deceptiveness and secretiveness
  • Firm denial that there is a problem despite clear evidence to the contrary
  • Doctor-shopping (visiting several doctors or pharmacies in an attempt to obtain prescription medication)

It’s important to note that many signs of opioid abuse are related to the method of administration. For example, a person who is using heroin or other substances intravenously may exhibit marks or sores on extremities at injection sites. They may also have bruises, abscesses, and scars, wear long sleeves or pants, even in warm weather, to hide this evidence of use.

A person who smokes opioids might experience frequent bouts of coughing and develop other lung problems, such as emphysema or COPD later in life. A person who snorts opioids may have nose bleeds and incur damage to nasal tissues.

Drug paraphernalia is also a sure-fire indicator of opioid use. People who inject will likely have needles and tourniquets lying around, and people who smoke it might have pipes and spoons. People who consume pills may have several bottles, perhaps empty in the trash. 

Symptoms of Overdose

An opioid overdose requires immediate medical care. The following are common signs of an opioid overdose:

  • Bluish lips or nails (cyanosis)
  • Clammy or cold skin
  • Disorientation and confusion
  • Slowed or stopped breathing
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Muscle spasticity
  • Low blood pressure
  • Weak or absent pulse
  • Profound drowsiness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Coma
  • Death

If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing an opioid overdose, please call 911 immediately or visit the nearest emergency room. If you have naloxone (Narcan) available, administer this medication as it can reverse an overdose and save a person’s life.

Signs of Opioid Use | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms manifest as a result of physical dependence in frequent opioid users or after a “binge”—a prolonged period of excessive use. Short-acting opioids, such as heroin, can result in withdrawal symptoms in as soon as 6-12 hours, whereas longer-acting opioids, such as methadone, are associated with an extended time before the onset of withdrawal symptoms—up to and beyond 24 hours in some cases. In all cases, symptoms tend to subside over 5-7 days.

In some instances, the loved ones of those abusing opioids may not know they have been using or the scope of their use. However, in learning to recognize the symptoms of withdrawal, they may increase their awareness of the extent of the problem.

Common withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid abuse include the following:

  • Dysphoria
  • Insomnia and sleep disturbances
  • Depression or anxiety
  • Cravings
  • Body aches and pains
  • Diarrhea
  • Irritability and agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration

Without treatment, a person undergoing withdrawal is very likely to relapse. Because of the heinous nature of addiction, they will often do anything to get their fix. This includes pilfering prescription medications from loved ones, stealing money and other items, dealing drugs themselves, or even prostitution.

Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Opioid abuse is a debilitating and potentially life-threatening disorder that causes a tremendous amount of suffering for both the person who uses and their loved ones. Fortunately, heroin addiction is very treatable through the use of a comprehensive, research-based approach. A comprehensive program consists of therapeutic services essential for recovery, such as psychotherapy, individual and group counseling, group support, and aftercare planning.

Treatment usually begins with detox—a medically-monitored process in which a person is supervised for several days while his or her body is cleared of opioids and other toxic substances. After detox, patients are encouraged to participate in an intensive treatment program followed by outpatient therapy.

Recovery By The Sea employs addiction specialists who provide patients with the tools and support they so desperately need to achieve a full recovery, prevent relapse, and enjoy long-lasting wellness and sobriety. 

Contact us today to discover how we can help you or a loved one navigate the recovery process toward a fulfilling and healthy life!

⟹ READ THIS NEXT: Signs of Cocaine Use
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