Vicodin Addiction

Vicodin Abuse and Addiction | Recovery by the Sea

Vicodin, a combination of the semi-synthetic opioid hydrocodone and acetaminophen, for the relief of moderate-severe pain. It acts on the brain by blocking pain receptors and also can induce feelings of well-being, making it highly effective but also very addictive.

Signs and Symptoms

People who take Vicodin may feel a rush of euphoria and relaxation in addition to a notable reduction in pain. Over time, however, users can develop a tolerance, and they will require more and more of the drug to achieve the same results.

Common symptoms of abuse include the following:

  • Drowsiness
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Severe anxiety and paranoia
  • Severe moodiness
  • Nausea and vomiting

Vicodin abusers may resort to fraudulent means to obtain the drugs, including engaging in a behavior known as “doctor shopping.” Doctor shopping describes the practice of visiting multiple doctors or pharmacies in an attempt to obtain more prescription drugs.

Due to an intense focus on using the drug, almost everything else in a person’s life may be neglected. Addicts may see their mental and physical health deteriorate, and their personal, professional, and financial situation might eventually begin to fall apart.

Effects of Vicodin Abuse

Even casual users or those strictly adhering to a doctor’s orders may experience the following symptoms:

  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting and upset stomach

If taken for an extended period, Vicodin use can cause medical issues, including liver damage or failure, jaundice, and urinary system issues. Because it is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, Vicodin naturally reduces heart rate and respiration, especially if used in large doses.

Symptoms of Vicodin Addiction

Identifying an addiction to Vicodin can be difficult. Some people acquire a dependence (having withdrawals and tolerance) to their prescription and don’t realize it until they stop taking it. Dependence can develop into an addiction, which is marked by the compulsive urge to use despite adverse consequences.

The Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V) identifies specific symptoms that manifest in those who have developed an addiction. According to the DSM-V, if a person exhibits three or more of the following seven criteria, they probably have an addiction:

DSM-V Diagnostic Criteria for Vicodin Addiction

1. An increasing need for larger doses over time to achieve the same effects.

2. Experiencing withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation.

3. Using more of the drug than initially intended.

4. Having constant cravings for Vicodin or making unsuccessful attempts to decrease use.

5. Spending a significant amount of time using or obtaining Vicodin.

6. Neglecting obligations due to Vicodin abuse.

7. Continuing to use Vicodin or refusing treatment despite recognizing the consequences of abuse.

Vicodin addiction can be challenging to overcome due to withdrawal. Patients may experience symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal even when it is used as directed by a physician.

Symptoms of  Vicodin Withdrawal

Symptoms of Vicodin withdrawal usually aren’t life-threatening – however, they can be very unpleasant and contribute to a relapse. These symptoms include the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability/agitation
  • Yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating and chills
  • Muscle aches

More serious symptoms may include:

  • Cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Muscle and bone pain

The time it takes for symptoms of withdrawal to onset varies between individuals. Both short- and long-term use of the drug can result in various symptoms.

Vicodin Overdose

Vicodin Abuse and Addiction | Recovery by the Sea

An overdose may occur when a person takes a dose that is too large or combined with another CNS depressant, such as alcohol, other opioids, benzodiazepines, or barbiturates.

Overdose symptoms may include the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constricted/pinpoint pupils
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Fatigue
  • Weak pulse
  • Slowed, shallow, or labored breathing
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Cyanosis (blue tint to lips and fingernails)
  • Coma
  • Seizures

Vicodin Withdrawal

One of the most commonly reported problems with the use of the drug is that withdrawal symptoms can manifest after reducing the dose or waiting longer between doses. For this reason, many users are afraid to begin the recovery process.

Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the muscles and bone
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Restlessness and uncontrollable leg movements
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills

Treatment for Vicodin Addiction

Addiction to Vicodin can adversely affect both the health and well-being of the person suffering as well as impact the lives of those who love them. Also, prescription opioid addiction can lead to the abuse of other more potent illegal drugs such as heroin.

Fortunately, addiction can be effectively treated using an integrated addiction treatment program that includes essential, evidence-based services, such as psychotherapy, counseling, education, and group support.

Our center employs compassionate medical providers who specialize in addiction and deliver these services to clients with care and expertise. We provide clients with the tools they so direly need to achieve abstinence and enjoy a long-lasting life of fulfillment and sobriety.

We can help you reclaim the life you deserve free from drugs and alcohol. Please contact us as soon as possible to find out how we can help!

The Top Nine Most Commonly Abused Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens | Recovery by the Sea Addiction Treatment

The Top Nine Most Commonly Abused Hallucinogens – A hallucinogen is a psychoactive substance often considered “psychedelic” because it induces hallucinations, altered perception, and other significant subjective changes in thoughts, emotion, and consciousness.

Hallucinogens aren’t often considered to be chemically addictive like many other illegal drugs, and some have even been researched as potential treatments for addiction. Direct modification of brain chemistry is usually required to cause dependency, and psychedelics tend to have minor or indirect influences on brain chemistry.

However, hallucinogens do have some potential risk of abuse or emotional and psychological addiction, and some can lead to lasting psychiatric problems, including psychosis.

Serotonergic Hallucinogens vs. Dissociatives

The main difference between serotonergic hallucinogens and dissociative psychedelics is that the dissociatives produce more intense derealization and depersonalization. For example, ketamine, a common dissociative, generates sensations that make the surrounding environment seem unreal as well as the feeling of being disconnected from one’s body, as well as the perceptual alterations experienced with other psychedelics.

Serotonergic Hallucinogens

LSD

Lysergic acid diethylamide, also known as acid or LSD, is probably the most well-known psychedelic drug. Popularized by the 196 0s counterculture, the compound was also the subject of a wide range of scientific studies throughout the 20th century.

LSD alters perceptions and awareness and may also cause hallucinations. It is not considered chemically addictive but can cause some adverse side effects such as anxiety and paranoia. Some studies have also shown an increased likelihood of developing psychological disorders such as schizophrenia among adults with other risk factors.

Psilocybin Mushrooms

Psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms, is a class of fungi that is believed to have been consumed since prehistoric times as an entheogen (a class of psychoactive substances that induce some type of spiritual or religious experience) and hallucinogenic drug. Psilocybin produces increased empathy, euphoria, and altered thinking. In some fungal species, it can cause open and closed eye visualizations.

Although psilocybin isn’t chemically addictive and doesn’t present a significant health threat, they are hard to distinguish from toxic mushrooms such as Death Caps which can look identical to some species of psilocybin and grow in the same areas.

DMT/Ayahuasca

Hallucinogens | Recovery by the Sea Addiction Treatment

N, N-Dimethyltryptamine, also known as DMT, was popularized by two researchers in the late 20th century, and was given the nickname “the Spirit Molecule.” DMT has been consumed for possibly thousands of years by Amazonian tribes who activated DMT innately in plants by brewing it in tea, referred to as ayahuasca.

DMT may be among the most potent psychedelic drugs known to humans and has the potential for powerful visual hallucinations. While there is scant evidence to suggest that it could result in chemical dependence or medical complications, there is a chance that psychological issues could develop from bad trips.

Mescaline/Peyote

Mescaline is a psychedelic alkaloid that can be found in a number of southwestern cacti such as peyote. Native American shamans commonly employ peyote in religious ceremonies. The substance is technically illegal in the U.S., but special exceptions are often made for groups that use it for religious or spiritual purposes.

Mescaline causes color intensifications, euphoria, and an increase in introspection. Users often report having personal epiphanies while on using mescaline. When consumed, the peyote cactus is bitter and can cause nausea and vomiting. Mescaline, like other psychedelic drugs, does have a potential for psychological addiction but is not thought to be chemically addictive.

MDMA/Ecstasy/Molly

3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, ecstasy, or molly) is an entactogen which is a class of drugs that induce a feeling of communion or oneness with others. Unlike the psychedelic drugs mentioned above, MDMA is most often used as a social “party” or “club” drug. In addition to elevating mood and producing euphoria, MDMA’s effects include feelings of increased empathy and emotional connection.

In some users, MDMA can cause mild hallucinations such as color changes or heightened auditory effects. Adverse effects of MDMA can include dehydration and a spike in body temperature that means users need to drink water consistently while intoxicated. There have been reports that MDMA has led to fatal medical complications due to hyperthermia and dehydration, especially when combined with alcohol.

Dissociatives

Salvia

Salvinorin A, or salvia, is a psychoactive drug that is derived from the Salvia divinorum plant native to Oaxaca, Mexico as well as Central and South America. Salvia is unusual in its chemical structure compared to other naturally-occurring hallucinogens. Unlike other psychedelic drugs, it’s not an alkaloid, but rather, a terpenoid, which is a broad category of organic chemicals.

Salvia is a dissociative drug (sometimes classified as an atypical psychedelic) that belongs to a class of psychoactive substances that distort sight and sound, and users often report feeling detached from reality and the world around them or themselves. Its hallucinogenic effects can result in trance-like states, anxiety, and dysphoria. Salvinorin A is federally legal in the U.S., but some states such as Florida classify it as a controlled substance.

PCP

Phencyclidine (PCP), also known as Angel Dust, is a synthetic drug that also causes dissociative hallucinations. PCP was originally synthesized as an anesthetic for medical use, but due to side effects that may include mania, delirium, and disorientation, use in humans was discontinued in the 1950s.

Unlike other psychedelic drugs, PCP is considered to be moderately addictive, and there is some risk of developing psychological problems. PCP can be found in various forms, including tablets or capsules, liquid, and a white crystal powder.

Ketamine

Ketamine, also known as Special K, was a precursor to PCP and was synthesized for the same purpose, as an anesthetic for use in surgeries. It can induce sedation and cause memory loss as a side effect. Its recreational use causes similar effects to PCP and it, too, has a low to moderate addiction potential.

Ketamine is often employed as a surgical anesthetic for both humans and animals. Much of the Ketamine peddled on the streets is diverted from veterinary offices. While Ketamine is available as an injectable liquid, manufacturers mostly sell it in powder or pill form.

DXM

Hallucinogens | Recovery by the Sea Addiction Treatment

Dextromethorphan (DXM), also known as Robo, is the one drug on this list that can be obtained over-the-counter and therefore has the most incidental usage. DXM is a common active ingredient in cough-suppressing medicines like Vicks, NyQuil, Robitussin, and many others.

At high doses, it can produce dissociative hallucinogenic effects similar to PCP or ketamine. Some who overuse products such as NyQuil may experience these effects unaware of that DXM is present in the formula or even that excessive DXM consumption can lead to such results.

More commonly, however, DXM is abused by teens looking to get high because it can be easily obtained over-the-counter at pharmacies. Fortunately, abuse is very unlikely to result in addiction or dependence.

Treatment for Hallucinogen Abuse

While hallucinogens are not considered to be chemically addictive, they certainly can be abused, and some frequent users may develop a psychological dependence upon them. Persons abusing hallucinogens are urged to undergo a substance abuse program at a qualified treatment center. Research has shown that people who receive care using a comprehensive, evidence-based approach experience the best outcomes and are more likely to enjoy long-lasting abstinence.

Recovery by the Sea employs caring addiction professionals who deliver therapeutic services, such as psychotherapy and counseling with compassion and expertise. We offer partial hospitalization and outpatient programs that provide clients with the resources and support they need to recover and sustain long-term sobriety and wellness.

You don’t have to suffer from substance abuse any longer – contact us as soon as possible to find out how we can help you reclaim your life!

Related: Polysubstance Abuse

The GHB Drug: Is it Addictive?

GHB Drug: Is it Addictive? | Recovery by the Sea Addiction Treatment

GHB Drug: Is it Addictive? – GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate, C4H803) is a substance best recognized in the media as a “date rape” or “club” drug. It is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant most commonly abused by teens and young adults at bars, clubs, parties, and raves. GHB is sometimes placed in alcoholic beverages, often when the drinker is unaware of its presence.

Of note, Xyrem (sodium oxybate, or sodium salt of gamma hydroxybutyrate) is a brand name prescription drug that is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of narcolepsy. It is therefore tightly controlled drug in the U.S. and requires patient enrollment in a restricted access program.

GHB Drug Effects

The chemical gamma-hydroxybutyrate is produced naturally by the body when food is broken down in the stomach. When abused as a drug, euphoria, increased libido, and relaxation are some reported positive effects of GHB abuse. Adverse effects may include sweating, loss of consciousness, nausea and vomiting, hallucinations, amnesia, and coma.

Some people report that in small doses, GHB has effects similar to those of stimulants. But as a depressant, and in a high enough dose, it produces a state of relaxation or drowsiness that can also result in impaired coordination, slurred speech, and unconsciousness. These effects are compounded when combined with alcohol and can onset within minutes, therefore making GHB popular as a “date-rape” drug.

There has been significant debate on the safety of recreational GHB use. Many users state that when used in small doses and not used in conjunction with other drugs, it is relatively safe and not addictive. However, recent reports from new studies have revealed that it is indeed addictive and discontinuation can produce unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

Dangers of GHB Drug

Despite anecdotal evidence from users saying GHB is safe on its own, there have been reported cases of users experiencing overdose when the drug is repeatedly consumed in high doses. These symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Shallow breathing
  • Confusion
  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Blackouts and unconsciousness

How Is GHB Used as a Date Rape Drug?

GHB is commonly available as an odorless, colorless substance that may be mixed with alcohol and given to unsuspecting victims in preparation for a sexual assault. Victims become incapacitated due to GHB’s highly sedative effects and are thus unable to fight against a would-be attacker. GHB may also induce amnesia, and therefore result in the victim remembering little or nothing of the experience.

GHB can be purchased on the streets or over the Internet in liquid form or as a white powdered material for illegal use. Most of the GHB found on the streets or over the Internet is produced in illicit labs, and therefore less likely to be a product of prescription GHB drug diversion.

GHB Drug Addiction

GHB Drug: Is it Addictive? | Recovery by the Sea Addiction Treatment

Despite the claims of many users, GHB does have the potential for dependence and addiction. When someone starts using it for recreational purposes, eventually they may develop a tolerance and require a higher dose to feel the same level of the desired effects. Considering how potent this depressant is, however, even one extra dose can cause an overdose that may be life-threatening.

Because GHB is metabolized rapidly, if someone who is addicted skips even one dose, withdrawal symptoms can onset within just a few hours. Sweating, anxiety, panic attacks, increased heart rate, and high blood pressure are the first indicators that a person is experiencing GHB withdrawal.

These first symptoms will subside after 2-3 days, but if the person abused GHB in large doses for a prolonged time, they might encounter another stage of withdrawal that includes an altered mental state, sleep disturbances, and hallucinations. These symptoms can be very similar to delirium tremens, a life-threatening condition associated with long-term alcohol abuse that includes seizures, psychosis, and tremors or uncontrollable shaking.

As this stage subsides, cravings, mood changes, exhaustion, and anxiety may persist for a few days more.

Treatment for GHB Drug Addiction

Although it is improbable that a person will become addicted to GHB after one or two doses, repeated exposure can develop into dependence and result in withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation. For this reason, persons abusing GHB should seek treatment as soon as possible.

Our center offers integrated, evidence-based treatment programs for persons struggling with substance abuse or addiction. Our programs, which include psychotherapy, counseling, and group support, are delivered by skilled, compassionate health professionals with years of experience in the field of addiction and mental health.

You can be free from the devastating effects of alcohol or drug addiction, and you can receive the help you deserve! We provide you with the tools you so desperately need to regain your happiness and enjoy long-term wellness!

Contact us today to find out how we can help you or your loved one recover and once again begin to experience a fulfilling life!

What are the Side Effects of Amphetamine?

Amphetamine Side Effects | Recovery By The Sea

Amphetamines are stimulant drugs that increase activity in the body’s central nervous system. They are frequently prescribed for the treatment of Attention Hyperactivity Deficit Disorder (ADHD) and include name brands such as Dexedrine and Adderall.

Amphetamines, however, are often abused for their stimulant effects, which include euphoria, wakefulness, alertness, and feelings of excess energy and confidence.

When a person abuses amphetamines, the brain is flooded with a rapid burst of the “feel good” brain chemical, dopamine. Over time, if the brain routinely receives this artificial surge of dopamine, it becomes accustomed to the rush, and the result is a chemical dependency. When this occurs, withdrawal symptoms ensue if the user abruptly discontinues use.

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classifies amphetamines as Schedule II substances. This classification means that although the drugs have a legitimate medical use, they also carry a high potential for abuse and dependence.

Schedule II drugs are considered substances that are dangerous to use without a doctor’s supervision. However, even when used for a valid medical purpose, amphetamines can still cause significant problems.

Amphetamine Side Effects and Symptoms

Amphetamines abuse comes with significant side effects that can impact both the body and mind. The physical symptoms of amphetamine abuse are usually quite evident.

Amphetamine side effects may include the following:

Changes in Energy Levels

Users often experience repeated bursts of unexplained, extreme energy that can last for up to four hours. Changes in energy levels may occur immediately after smoking or injecting amphetamines, and about 40 minutes after swallowing or snorting the drugs. After the effects wear off, a “crash” quickly ensues.

Increased Heart Rate and Breathing

Amphetamines accelerate many of the body’s processes that are controlled by the central nervous system. These include breathing and heart rate, which may become noticeably quicker after using the drug.

Insomnia

Amphetamines increase chemical activity in the brain to the point it becomes difficult for the mind and body to be still. Therefore, insomnia is among the most common amphetamine side effects.

Restlessness

Extreme levels of energy can lead to restless behavior to the point of constant leg shaking and body tremors. This effect may also manifest as constant itching and scratching and also clenching/grinding of teeth.

Weight Loss

Amphetamines suppress the appetite and are sometimes prescribed to help with weight loss. Over time, the addicted individual may incur significant and unhealthy weight loss.

Altered Sexual Behavior

Amphetamine abusers often initially experience an increase in sex drive due to the surges of dopamine in the brain. Increased libido and the impulsiveness that often accompanies drug and alcohol use can result in risky, unprotected sex and related diseases such as HIV.

Dehydration

Amphetamines cause dehydration, and it is difficult to drink enough water to counteract that effect. When a person is using amphetamines in large doses, this problem continues to increase causing dehydration, headaches and dry mouth.

Long-Term Amphetamine Side Effects

Long-Term Amphetamine Side Effects

While it is difficult to stop abusing stimulants once started, long-term stimulant abuse can lead to an even more severe and chronic brain disease – addiction. As the body adapts to amphetamine, it develops a need for more of the drug to achieve the same pleasurable effects.

This condition is known as tolerance and eventually leads to dependency, which is characterized by a need to continue taking amphetamines to avoid highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

But addiction is just one of many problems that prolonged amphetamine abuse can induce. Other severe physical ailments caused by long-term amphetamine abuse include the following:

  • Extreme weight loss
  • Insomnia
  • Immunity-related illnesses
  • Lung problems
  • Kidney complications
  • Increased risk of cardiovascular problems, such as stroke and heart attack
  • Increased risk of needle-related infections if injected
  • Vertigo
  • Weakness
  • Repetitive motor activity
  • Ulcers
  • Malnutrition and vitamin deficiency
  • Skin problems, such as facial blemishes and infections from open sores related to scratching
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • High body temperature and heat injury
  • Inability to feel pleasure from anything else (dysphoria)

Long-term amphetamine abuse can also cause severe psychological problems, including the following:

  • Decreased cognitive abilities
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Anxiety and panic
  • Paranoia
  • Amphetamine-induced depressive disorder
  • Psychosis (hallucinations and delusions)
  • Behavioral disorders

Even if addiction does not develop, a dependency on amphetamines can lead to unpleasant withdrawals symptoms upon discontinuation of the drugs, which is characterized by the following:

  • Fatigue and loss of energy
  • Apathy
  • Depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Slowed motor activity
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Vivid nightmares
  • Nausea and vomiting

Amphetamine Overdose

Amphetamine Overdose | Recovery By The Sea

Like other drugs of abuse, amphetamine use can result in an overdose if a user consumes an excessive amount or combines it with other psychoactive substances. Stimulants increase blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature, and all of these amphetamine side effects can be dangerous if they reach critical levels.

Especially when used in conjunction with other substances, such as alcohol or other stimulant drugs, amphetamines pose a significant risk of overdose.

An amphetamine overdose can result in death and is a medical emergency. If you identify any or all of the following, seek emergency help right away:

  • Increase in heart rate or breathing
  • Extreme sweating/hypothermia
  • Unconsciousness
  • Convulsions, tremors or extreme shakiness
  • Stroke or cardiac arrest (heart attack)
  • Chest and/or stomach pains
  • Unexplained aggression or anger
  • Extreme, uncontrollable anxiety or panic
  • Psychosis (hallucinations and delusions)
  • Paranoia
  • Slurred speech

A Word on Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine (meth) is another stimulant drug most often found illicitly that is chemically similar to prescription amphetamines. Meth is also a Schedule II drug because it is sometimes prescribed to patients with particularly stubborn ADHD under the brand name Desoxyn.

The effects of amphetamine and meth when abused are comparable, but meth, however, is characterized by a minor structural difference. This variation allows the drug to reach the brain faster than amphetamine and produces a rush or high more intensely and rapidly. For this reason, meth is considered to have an even higher potential for abuse and addiction.

And unlike amphetamines, most meth on the black market is not a product of drug diversion. Instead, it is produced in homemade, clandestine labs or by drug cartels. The active ingredient in meth is pseudoephedrine, but it is also made with a number of other highly-toxic and explosive chemicals including ammonia, hydrochloric acid, and red phosphorus.

Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction

Treatment for Amphetamine Addiction

Amphetamine addiction can develop after a person prescribed amphetamines has become dependent or misused the drugs. It can also occur when someone without a valid prescription uses amphetamines for recreational purposes.

In any case, drug addiction of any kind is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition that should be addressed as soon as possible. Clinical studies have found that the most effective treatments are those based on a comprehensive approach that includes psychotherapy, education, counseling, and group support.

Our center offers these therapeutic services in both inpatient and intensive outpatient formats, and are delivered by caring medical professionals who specialize in addiction and mental health conditions. We provide our clients with the education, support, and tools they need to achieve abstinence and sustain a long-lasting recovery.

You can restore sanity and harmony to your life and experience the happiness and wellness you deserve! Call us today to find out how we can help!

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine | Recovery By The Sea

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine – Cocaine is a potent and highly addictive stimulant drug that is most often used illicitly. Cocaine has been classified as a schedule II controlled substance, as it yields some legitimate medical applications. It is widely abused for its pleasurable effects that include feelings of increased energy, euphoria, and alertness.

Cocaine can be found in several forms, including as a white powder, paste, or a solid and rock-like base (crack cocaine). Regardless of form, cocaine use typically results in a rapid-onset, rewarding but brief high and an acceleration of various physiological processes. This experience is closely followed several minutes later by a period of dysphoria or a “come down.”

This increase of dopamine is, in large part, what leads to the subjective “high” feelings of cocaine use and its addictive potential.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine

Cocaine can be smoked, snorted, consumed orally, or injected. Regardless of the method of administration, however, the onset of effects can be nearly immediate. Cocaine works by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain – a chemical involved in feelings of reward and pleasure.

Usually, dopamine recycles back into the cell that issued it, interrupting the signal between nerve cells. However, cocaine use inhibits dopamine from being recovered, causing accumulating amounts to build up in the space between two nerve cells, halting regular communication.

This surge of dopamine in the brain’s reward center significantly reinforces drug-using behaviors, because the reward circuit begins to adapt to the excess dopamine induced by cocaine, and becomes desensitized to it.

As a result, people are compelled to take stronger and more frequent doses in an attempt to feel the same high, and to gain relief from withdrawal. These effects contribute to the development of both tolerance and dependence.

The high experienced after use produces a number of desired effects, including feelings of euphoria or elevated mood, increased energy and alertness, talkativeness, and grandiosity, or an inflated sense of self-confidence.

Some people use the drug in an attempt to improve performance or meet some other goal. Because cocaine temporarily decreases the need for sleep, some people will abuse the substance to stay awake and alert, to study, or to perform a strenuous task. Since it also suppresses appetite, it is also sometimes used as a weight loss aid.

Similar to other drugs of abuse, cocaine use is also associated with unwanted short-term effects, such as the following:

  • Feelings of restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Panic
  • Paranoia

The Impact of Method of Administration on Effects

The method by which cocaine is administered influences it’s short-term effects. Snorting can have slightly delayed impact on the body but results in a longer high. Smoking or injection tend to have a more rapid effect, with onset in as few as 7 seconds, but with a duration of only 5-10 minutes.

Highs of a shorter duration may produce more intense symptoms that can increase drug cravings and the rate of use. This is one reason why smoking crack cocaine is considered even more addictive than snorting powder cocaine.

It is sometimes used in combination with other substances, further compounding health risks. Combining drugs like cocaine and depressants such as alcohol or heroin can be especially dangerous.

Short-Term Effects of Cocaine: Side Effects

Whether used for short durations or prolonged periods, any cocaine use will likely be associated with side effects. Heavy use can result in cardiac arrest, even in those who are young and otherwise healthy. Using excessive amounts has been associated with erratic and possibly violent behavior.

Other side effects of cocaine use include:

  • Tremors, muscle twitches or tics
  • Paranoia
  • Vertigo
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Dilated pupils
  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, and body temperature
  • Decreased sexual function

Overdose

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than 14,500 people died from an overdose involving cocaine.

Overdose from cocaine can lead to the following complications:

  • Cardiac arrest
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Sudden death

The risk of an overdose is increased when cocaine is used in conjunction with another dangerous substance like alcohol or other drugs. Combining cocaine and heroin – infamously known as a speedball – is particularly dangerous. This drug cocktail carries an extraordinarily high risk of overdose and has killed well-known celebrities such as River Phoenix, Chris Farley, and John Belushi.

Lasting Health Effects

When short-term use develops into long-term use, the risks increase for both new and expanded negative consequences.

The potential health consequences of long-term use may include the following:

  • Severe, chronic fatigue
  • Unrelenting headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nosebleeds, loss of sense of smell, and irritation of the nasal septum, and complete nose collapse from snorting
  • Puncture marks, collapsed veins, abscesses, infection and allergic reactions from injecting
  • Significant weight loss
  • Heart arrhythmias and heart attack
  • Widespread ischemic vascular disease
  • Stroke
  • Seizures
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Death

When used over a prolonged period, cocaine can also lead to addiction, depression, social isolation, anxiety, psychosis, paranoia, and severe respiratory infections.

Cocaine Dependence and Tolerance

Dependence develops over time as the brain grows accustomed to the presence of cocaine and becomes less able to function correctly without it. Thus, when the user tries to quit, withdrawal symptoms ensue as the body attempts to regain equilibrium. When tolerance develops, the user needs ever-increasing amounts of cocaine to achieve the desired drug experience because the body is building up a resistance to its effects.

Addiction occurs when a person feels a strong compulsion to continue using, even in the face of personal, professional, legal, or financial troubles caused by substance use. Cocaine addiction is often marked by risk-taking and impulsivity, neglect of responsibilities, and strained relationships as a result of increased drug use.

The risk of addiction increases when the individual abuses cocaine to self-medicate an underlying mental or physical health concern. For example, someone suffering from untreated depression may use cocaine as a means to combat negative feelings. Nevertheless, this approach to self-medication never works in the long run and usually leaves the individual worse off.

Withdrawal Symptoms

When a user becomes dependent on cocaine, the body will have a strong, adverse reaction when the drug is not received. The most common effect of cocaine withdrawal is a “crash” or “come down.”

A cocaine crash usually includes symptoms such as the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of depression
  • Restlessness and anxiety
  • Increased hunger
  • Increased paranoia and distrust of others
  • Strong desire to continue or restart using the substance

The crash can persist for hours to days depending on the frequency, amount, and duration of previous cocaine use.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

The cravings that characterize withdrawal can be severe, but can also be treated with medical care and support. Treatment can take place on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Inpatient programs employ medical and mental health providers who specialize in addiction to supervise residents 24/7 long-term in a secure environment.

Outpatient-based treatment permits the patient to remain at home or a sober living facility and continue daily routines while attending treatment regularly. Both formats include evidence-based approaches such as psychotherapy, psychoeducation, individual and family counseling, and group support.

Our center employs caring addiction professionals who provide our clients with the tools they need to succeed at recovery. We can help you reclaim your life, restore your sanity, and begin to experience the life you deserve. Contact us today to find out how!

Is Heroin a Stimulant?

is heroin a stimulant

Is Heroin a Stimulant? – No, heroin is not a stimulant. Heroin belongs to a drug class known as opioids that interact with corresponding receptors in the brain and tend to have sedating, relaxing, and depressant effects. They reduce activity in the brain and body, as well as relieve pain and may induce intense feelings of euphoria.

Conversely, stimulants boost activity in the brain. They may also produce euphoric feelings, but rather than experiencing a sedating effect, users report feeling a surge of energy, wakefulness, and alertness.

How is Heroin Used?

Heroin is usually found as a white or off-white powder but can also come in the form of a less pure tar-like substance known as black tar heroin. Heroin is often injected into a vein, but it can also be smoked (‘chasing the dragon’) and added to cigarettes and cannabis.

Short-Term Effects of Heroin

Heroin’s effects are almost immediate if it is injected intravenously. In contrast, it may take between 10 to 15 minutes for effects to appear if snorted. Note that, no matter the route of administration, there are no safe levels of heroin use, and all heroin use is risky and potentially lethal because it is often laced with other drugs and harmful chemicals.

The effects of heroin vary between individuals based on several factors, including the following:

  • The person’s height and weight
  • The person’s overall health and metabolism
  • The person’s tolerance level
  • The presence of other drugs in the body
  • The dose consumed
  • The purity and potency of the heroin

Once heroin is consumed, the effects typically last between 3 to 5 hours, and include the following:

  • Pain relief
  • Intense pleasure (euphoria)
  • Relaxation and drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Decreased libido
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Confusion and clumsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Slowed breathing and heart rate
  • Nausea and vomiting

Heroin is most commonly injected intravenously using needles. In cases where needles are shared between multiple people without being sterilized in between uses, there is a dramatically increased risk of the following:

  • Hepatitis B and C
  • Tetanus
  • Vein damage
  • Infection
  • HIV and AIDS

Long-term Effects of Heroin

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “repeated heroin use changes the physical structure and physiology of the brain, creating long-term imbalances in neuronal and hormonal systems that are not easily reversed. Studies have shown some deterioration of the brain’s white matter due to heroin use, which may affect decision-making abilities, the ability to regulate behavior, and responses to stressful situations. Heroin also produces profound degrees of tolerance and physical dependence.”

Regular heroin use may also eventually lead to the following:

  • Bouts of intense sadness
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Difficulty conceiving children
  • No libido
  • Chronic constipation
  • Damage to the liver, lungs, heart, and brain
  • Damage to the veins, skin
  • Heart and lung infections from injecting
  • Increased tolerance
  • Financial, work, and social problems

Heroin Overdose

Heroin users can overdose if they consume a sufficiently large amount or encounter a particularly potent batch or a batch laced with an even stronger drug, like fentanyl. If you or a loved one is exhibiting any of the following symptoms after consuming heroin, contact emergency medical help right away:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Trouble staying awake, or “nodding out”
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Itchiness
  • Irregular heartbeat or palpitations
  • Cold and clammy skin
  • Dangerously slowed respiration rate
  • Bluing of the lips and fingertips (cyanosis)
  • Loss of consciousness

Naloxone, or Narcan®, is an opioid antagonist that detaches heroin from opioid receptors, thereby preventing or reversing an overdose. Fortunately, naloxone is carried by nearly all first responders and can be acquired over-the-counter without a prescription at most major pharmacies in the United States.

Heroin Withdrawal

Heroin is notoriously difficult to stop using because the body rapidly becomes dependent on its presence in order to function normally. Once the body is dependent, if the user attempts to quit or cut back their heroin use, highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms will occur. Such symptoms usually start within 6 to 24 hours after the last consumed dose and may last for a week or more – the first one to three days are by far the worst.

Heroin withdrawal symptoms include the following:

  • Intense cravings for more heroin
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Runny nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Depression and uncontrollable crying
  • Insomnia and frequent yawning
  • Stomach aches and leg cramps
  • Goosebumps
  • Lack of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heartbeat

Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction is a devastating and potentially fatal condition that adversely impacts the lives of those suffering as well as loved ones. If you or someone you know is addicted to heroin, it is imperative that you seek treatment as soon as possible. Although not curable, heroin dependence is treatable, and people can and have successfully recovered and went on to enjoy long-lasting sobriety and happy, fulfilling lives.

Research has shown that the best outcomes are achieved when patients undergo a medical detox followed by long-term inpatient or intensive outpatient treatment and aftercare. The programs should encompass a comprehensive approach using evidence-based modalities such as psychotherapy, psychoeducation, counseling, and group support.

Our center employs certified medical professionals who specialize in addiction and administer these services with compassion. We can help restore sanity to your life and get you started on the path to long lasting recovery.

Please do not suffer another day. Call us now to find out how we can help!

How Much Cocaine Does it Take to Overdose?

how much cocaine does it take to overdose | Recovery By The Sea

How Much Cocaine Does it Take to Overdose? – Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that has a limited medical use but is most often found illicitly. Someone who snorts, smokes or injects too much cocaine can experience an overdose, which can be life-threatening.

Cocaine doses typically range from 30 – 70 mg, but as users develop tolerance, they tend to use more and increase their doses above 1 g. The minimum dose of cocaine that is considered lethal is 1.2 g, but users with hypersensitivity to cocaine have suffered fatal overdoses from as little as 30 mg. In some rare cases of remarkably high tolerance, cocaine addicts have reported using 5 g of cocaine daily, which would prove fatal for most individuals.

The intensity of cocaine effects also largely depends on its method of administration. While many cocaine abusers snort it so that the drug is absorbed through the nasal cavity or smoked into the lungs, injection brings on the fastest high and therefore is the most dangerous method of use.

In addition to the amount used and the method of administration, whether cocaine use results in an overdose also depends on the drug’s purity and the user’s level of tolerance and overall health.

People who regularly abuse cocaine build a tolerance over time, which compels users to increase their dose in order to achieve the desired effect. Tolerance can also lead to binges, which can significantly increase the risk of an overdose.

Cocaine Overdose Symptoms

After a person uses too much cocaine, seizures or convulsions can begin within 2-3 minutes, and they can last up to a half an hour. The objective of emergency medical technicians is first to stop the seizures, then stabilize temperature, heart rate, and breathing. If the brain doesn’t receive enough oxygen, the person can slip into a coma. If a person experiencing a cocaine overdose does not receive medical attention in time, death may ensue.

Permanent effects of a survived overdose can include damage to the heart, liver, lungs, brain, kidneys, intestines, and reproductive organs.

Other symptoms that indicate a person may have used an excessive amount of cocaine include the following:

  • Chest pain
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Aggressive behavior
  • High levels of energy
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Excessive talkativeness
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Twitches or tremors

How Cocaine Overdose Affects The Body

Cocaine’s immediate physical harm and potentially life-threatening effects originate from the multitude of systems it affects throughout the body.

Impact on the Heart

A cocaine overdose has a tremendous impact on the heart. The user may suffer from severe chest pain or pressure as the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart constrict. At this point, the heart is being deprived of both oxygen and blood and begins to work excessively hard – which can eventually result in a stroke or a heart attack.

Blood pressure and heart rate will also perilously spike during an overdose, which could also cause heart failure. Also, if the user already has high blood pressure or heart problems without the use of stimulants, the risk of experiencing a life-threatening heart attack or stroke is much greater. Additionally, arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) can occur which can also result in death.

Impact on the Lungs

An overdose of cocaine overdose can also lead to acute bronchospasm as well as a number of other more severe lung conditions – such as pneumothorax (collapsed lung). Some users – especially those who injected cocaine – are also at increased risk of developing blood clots in the lungs.

Impact on the Brain and Central Nervous System

As noted, seizures and convulsions can occur during a cocaine overdose, as the brain is susceptible to toxic levels of the drug. Likewise, blood vessels in the brain can rupture, so the user may experience a fatal aneurysm or hemorrhagic stroke.

Also, the overdose process may lead to nerve cell “miscommunication” – an effect that can result in uncontrollable muscle movements such as shaking, jaw clenching, and teeth grinding.

An increase in muscular activity can lead to a dangerously elevated body temperature. The extremities may also feel shaky and weak, and, eventually, the exhausted muscles may seize up to a point where the user may not even be able to call for help.

Treatment for Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction, if left untreated, can be a devastating and life-threatening disease. Fortunately, however, cocaine addiction is treatable. Persons abusing cocaine are highly encouraged to undergo long-term, comprehensive addiction treatment that includes evidence-based approaches such as behavioral therapy, psychoeducation, individual and family counseling, and group support.

You can restore sanity to your life and experience the happiness and wellness you deserve. Contact us now to find out how we can help you achieve sobriety and begin your journey to indefinite recovery!

Valium Withdrawals

Valium Withdrawals | Recovery By The Sea

Valium Withdrawals – Valium (diazepam) is a benzodiazepine, belonging to a class of medication that is most commonly used to relieve anxiety, as well as insomnia and occasional seizures.

Any person who has used Valium for more than four months may experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit or drastically cut back. As Valium accumulates, the body reduces its own production of anxiety-relieving chemicals.

People who use Valium for a prolonged period or in high doses may experience more intense withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing drug use. These effects occur because, over time, the body grows accustomed to the drug’s presence and becomes unable to function normally without it – this condition is known as dependence.

Once physical dependence has developed, the user needs Valium to function and forestall symptoms of withdrawal. Valium users sometimes increase their doses to avoid withdrawal symptoms as tolerance to the drug increases.

In some cases, withdrawal from Valium can be life-threatening, so users should never try to quit abruptly (“cold turkey.”) Moreover, discontinuing Valium requires medical supervision as the body and brain strive to reestablish balance and become once again able to function properly without the drug.

Symptoms of Valium Withdrawals

The intensity of withdrawal symptoms largely depends on the duration of time in which the Valium was used and the average amount used on a daily basis. Withdrawal from Valium can be unpleasant and sometimes intense, but the symptoms are often less severe than more powerful benzos such as Xanax.

Common symptoms of Valium withdrawal include the following:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Headache
  • Tremors or seizures
  • Sweating
  • Muscle pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe anxiety and/or confusion
  • Restlessness and insomnia
  • Hallucinations

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the use of just 15 mg of Valium per day for several months will cause the user to experience withdrawal symptoms upon cessation. People who have used more than 100 mg of Valium per day are more likely to experience severe withdrawal symptoms and complications when they try to cut back on use.

Duration of Valium Withdrawals

Because Valium is a long-acting benzodiazepine, withdrawals last longer than that of most other drugs in its class. And due to its long-lasting effects, in some cases, the first symptoms of withdrawal may not occur for up to one week for those who Valium heavily.

One study from 1982 measured the withdrawal symptoms of 10 patients who had misused Valium from 3-14 years. Over the previous six months, their use of Valium had ranged from 60-120 mg daily, and they reported using no other drugs. The results were as follows:

“The withdrawal period lasted about six weeks. The intensity of the symptoms and signs was high initially, fell during the first two weeks, then rose again in the third week, before finally declining.”

Valium Withdrawals Timeline

First 1-2 Days

The first signs of Valium withdrawals might be experienced within two days of discontinuing use. Symptoms of anxiety and restlessness begin mildly but increase in severity over time.

Week 2

The symptoms of Valium withdrawals often peak in the second week after cessation. The worst symptoms of withdrawal usually start taking effect during this time and may include insomnia, nausea, sweating, and muscle pain.

Weeks 3-4

Valium withdrawal may persist for up to a month after discontinuing use. The intensity of withdrawal symptoms subside during this time and become more manageable.

Valium Detox

To detox means to clear the body of a substance while mitigating the withdrawal symptoms that will crop up once the substance is no longer being used. To detox from Valium without professional medical supervision can be dangerous, so it’s a great idea to enter a medically-supervised detox program.

Throughout a Valium detox, the dosages of Valium will be periodically reduced – usually every week – until the drug is entirely out of one’s body. Detoxing slowly can prevent dangerous withdrawal symptoms such as seizures from occurring.

Most researchers of Valium addiction recommend a fixed discontinuation schedule for detox lasting from 4 to 8 weeks. The length of time it will take for a full detox varies depending on how severe the physical dependency is assessed to be. The worse an addiction is, the more likely one is to experience highly unpleasant and possibly life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment for Valium Withdrawals and Addiction

After or during a tapering period, people who have abused or become addicted to Valium are encouraged to participate in a long-term, comprehensive drug treatment program. Integrated treatment can be administered on an inpatient or outpatient basis, but always includes psychotherapy, counseling, education, and group support.

Our center provides individualized treatment delivered by caring professional staff who specialize in addiction and mental health. We give clients the tools and support they need to be successful in recovery and sustain long-lasting wellness and harmony.

Contact us today to find out how we can help you on your journey to recovery!

Coke Withdrawal

Coke Withdrawal | Recovery By The Sea

Cocaine (coke) is a powerful, mostly illicit stimulant drug that when abused, can cause widespread devastation in the life of the user. While coke withdrawal may not be as intense as withdrawal from other drugs, such as heroin, it can come with its own set of unique challenges.

Moreover, withdrawal from some substances, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, can induce severe physical symptoms. Coke withdrawal, however, result in mostly psychological symptoms.

include the following:

  • Poor concentration and foggy thinking
  • Slowed activity and physical fatigue
  • Exhaustion
  • Restlessness
  • Inability to experience sexual arousal (reduced libido)
  • Anhedonia, or the inability to experience pleasure
  • Depression, anxiety, suicidal ideations
  • Unpleasant and vivid dreams
  • Physical symptoms including chills, tremors, muscle aches, and nerve pain
  • Drug cravings

When is Medical Detox Beneficial?

While a detox from cocaine may be undertaken as an outpatient, inpatient medical detox is recommended in some circumstances. For example, if there have been multiple attempts to detox and the person subsequently relapsed, the around-the-clock supervision provided by an inpatient medical detox can be invaluable.

Also, if a person suffers from a co-existing mental health condition, such as depression or anxiety, a medical detox followed by integrated inpatient addiction treatment can address both withdrawal management and mental health needs.

One of the more severe withdrawal effects that can result from acute coke withdrawal is an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. People who try to stop using cocaine after long-term abuse or addiction has developed can experience severe depression and wild mood swings, including thoughts of suicide.

With chronic, routine cocaine use, the brain grows accustomed to an abnormal amount of dopamine. Over time, the reward circuit is interrupted and becomes less sensitive to dopamine – this is called tolerance. At this point, the person needs increasing amounts of cocaine to feel the desired effects – without it, they may feel deeply depressed and discontented with life.

If a person has a history of depression or suicidal ideations, medical detox is often recommended to ensure the patient is safe and protected during the withdrawal process.

Withdrawal Timeline

Most of the symptoms of acute coke withdrawal should resolve after about 7-10 days. However, like with many psychoactive substances, cravings for cocaine may continue for much longer and could spontaneously reemerge, months or years after the person achieves abstinence.

Cocaine has a fairly short half-life, and among people with a severe dependence, withdrawal symptoms can onset as soon as 90 minutes after the last use.

The timeline for withdrawal symptoms will vary somewhat depending on the individual and factors such as the following:

Duration of Use and Average Dose

People who have abused cocaine for a relatively short period are less likely to have prolonged, intense withdrawal symptoms. People who have used cocaine for many years, however, may suffer from lingering withdrawal symptoms that persist for weeks.

Also, those who have used very large doses may suffer more intense withdrawal symptoms than someone who typically used lower amounts.

Polysubstance Dependence and Co-occurring Mental Health Conditions

A person who has developed a dependence to more than one substance may encounter withdrawal symptoms associated with both, potentially complicating the progression of withdrawal symptoms and adversely intensifying the experience of the person undergoing detox.

Also, people who abuse substances commonly suffer from one or more co-occurring mental or physical health conditions such as depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, or cardiovascular disease. Similar to polydrug abuse, these additional conditions may also complicate the coke withdrawal process.

Environment

If coke was used to escape from a stressful or traumatic environment, stress might trigger the desire to use again. Therefore, environmental factors that cause stress, such as relationship issues, work challenges, or other factors may intensify cravings for cocaine, and complicate the withdrawal process.

Treatment for Coke Withdrawal

Unlike some substances, such as opioids and alcohol, there are currently no medications approved by the FDA for the treatment of coke withdrawal. However, some medications may help people lessen both acute and long-term withdrawal symptoms.

For example, pharmaceuticals used to treat depression and anxiety could be beneficial to those undergoing cocaine withdrawal, as they work well to stabilize moods and prevent worse outcomes. These could be especially helpful for people whose withdrawal symptoms persist longer than a week.

After detox, patients are highly encouraged to undergo intensive addiction treatment in either a partial hospitalization or outpatient program and take advantage of comprehensive, evidence-based treatments such as behavioral therapy, counseling, group support, and education. Research has shown that programs that meet these conditions result in the best outcomes for those seeking to overcome addiction.

You CAN restore happiness and harmony in your life, free of drugs and alcohol! Contact us today to find out how we can help!

What is Black Tar Heroin?

Black Tar Heroin | Recovery by the Sea

Black tar heroin is a specific kind of heroin that is much different in appearance than the more recognized powder form, which ranges from whitish to brown. Black tar heroin, as the name implies, is a dark, sticky, tar-like substance – moreover, there is an obvious physical difference between black tar versus powdered forms of heroin.

Black tar heroin is a less-refined form of heroin and is also commonly referred to as Mexican black tar heroin due to its primary origin being drug cartels in Mexico. Some South American and Asian countries have also exported black tar heroin, however, and it is frequently found West of the Mississippi River in both the U.S. and Canada. Large western cities such as Los Angeles experience significant black tar heroin use.

Because black tar heroin isn’t as pure as the powdered form, some users erroneously believe that it’s not as potent. It is just as strong as other forms of heroin, however, and this misconception can lead to an overdose, as the user assumes that they need more of the drug to experience the same high as regular heroin.

Effects of Black Tar Heroin

Heroin, as an opiate, mimics the same brain chemical naturally designed to control pain and enhance pleasure. Once heroin has reached the blood-brain barrier, it transforms back into morphine, which attaches to opiate receptors. The initial reaction to heroin exposure is euphoria.

Black Tar Heroin | Recovery by the Sea

The means used to administer heroin determine the speed in which the effects occur, but regardless of method, in a matter of seconds to two minutes, the user will experience a rush, followed by a feeling of warmth and euphoria. This response occurs because morphine is not a natural endorphin, and the messages sent through the body are very different and more powerful than a reaction to a natural endorphin.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), psychoactive chemicals such as heroin and other drugs can produce up to 10 times the amount of dopamine, a chemical in the brain responsible for feelings of pleasure and reward.

Because heroin use induces intense feelings of euphoria in users, this is by far the primary reason for its popularity. Other short-term effects include:

  • Heavy feeling in extremities
  • Clouded thinking/trouble concentrating
  • Flushed skin
  • Dry mouth
  • Contentment
  • Reduced anxiety and tension
  • Drowsiness
  • Apathy
  • Nodding off

In general, all heroin use results in the same effects. The main difference between black tar heroin and white heroin is the purity – black tar heroin is only around 30% pure, due to the faster, less refined process of making it. This process makes it cheaper to buy, but possibly more harmful in some ways.

Note: While white heroin is more refined and pure, it’s usually cut with other powders to keep the cost down, and these can include extremely dangerous and more powerful opioids such as fentanyl.

Anyone who uses black tar heroin will experience these effects, but unfortunately, these effects are also what makes the drug so addictive. Prolonged use of heroin increases the likelihood of an overdose or the development of other disorders and diseases related to its use.

Long-term effects of heroin use include:

  • Insomnia
  • Collapsed veins and damaged tissue due to injections
  • Infection of the heart lining and valves
  • Abscesses
  • Constipation and stomach cramps
  • Liver, kidney, or lung disease
  • Mental disorders
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Irregular menstrual cycles

How is Black Tar Heroin Used?

The most common methods of administration of black tar heroin are by smoking or injecting. In some cases, heroin can be snorted, but it’s not nearly as prevalent as other methods. Since heroin is easily dissolved in water, injection is particularly popular and is also the method that produces the most rapid and intense high.

Paraphernalia associated with injecting heroin include:

  • A spoon
  • Syringes
  • Aluminum foil
  • Lighters
  • Cotton balls
  • A belt to tie off the arm so that veins are more pronounced

People who smoke heroin use a lighter to burn it after setting it on a small piece of aluminum foil. They will then inhale the vapors from the drug through a small funneling object, often a tube.

Health Risks

Black Tar Heroin | Recovery by the Sea

The use of any heroin, including black tar heroin, is detrimental to one’s health. Injecting the drug can result in venous sclerosis, a condition that causes the veins to narrow and harden. This effect can make it difficult for a user to inject heroin into that same vein in the future.

Eventually, veins may collapse altogether, forcing users to inject the drug elsewhere on the body, even into muscles. Bacterial infection is another serious health risk related to the use of black tar heroin. Infections, such as necrotizing fasciitis, can spread rapidly and be life-threatening in a very brief amount of time.

Botulism, another disease caused by bacteria, can also result from black tar heroin use – in fact, most patients treated for this condition are heroin users. If left untreated, wound botulism can result in paralysis or even death.

Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Heroin addiction is a devastating and potentially deadly disease that wreaks havoc on the well-being of the person suffering as well as those close to him or her. Treatment usually begins with a clinical detox, a process in which the patient is supervised around-the-clock by medical professionals while the body rids itself of toxic substances.

After detox, patients are encouraged to undergo long-term addiction treatment, which is characterized by an integrated, evidence-based approach that includes behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support.

You can reclaim your life, free from heroin addiction, and experience the happiness and wellness that you deserve. Contact us as soon as possible and begin your journey to recovery today!

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