The Most Addictive Prescription Drugs

Prescription Drugs | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

The Most Addictive Prescription Drugs – Drug addiction is a disease that negatively impacts a person’s brain and behavior, making it hard to control drug use. While many people become addicted to illegal recreational drugs, such as cocaine or heroin, it’s also possible to become dependent on drugs prescribed by a doctor.

Some prescription drugs have a higher potential for addiction than others. The majority of addictive drugs affect the brain’s reward system by overwhelming it with dopamine. This action leads to a pleasurable “high” that can compel someone to use the drug again, and over time, they may become dependent on the drug to feel good or even just normal.

List of the Most Addictive Prescription Drugs

Opioids

Opioids can induce a euphoric effect. They are usually prescribed to treat moderate-severe pain.

Signs and symptoms of opioid misuse/abuse may include the following:

  • Euphoria
  • Lethargy
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Vision changes
  • Headache
  • Seizures
  • Breathing problems
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Behavior or personality changes

Oxycodone (OxyContin)

Oxycodone is usually sold as the brand name OxyContin, and also in combination with acetaminophen (Percocet). It changes how the central nervous system (CNS) responds to pain. Like heroin, in high doses, it produces a euphoric, sedating effect.

Codeine

Codeine is often prescribed to treat to moderate pain and is also combined with other medications to treat cold and flu symptoms in a cough syrup. When used in high quantities, codeine-based cough syrup has a sedating effect. It can also produce altered levels of consciousness.

Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that may be prescribed for both acute and chronic pain. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than morphine. It produces feelings of euphoria and relaxation. In addition to the common symptoms associated with opioid addiction, fentanyl misuse/abuse may also cause hallucinations and nightmares.

Meperidine (Demerol)

Meperidine is a synthetic opioid commonly sold under the brand name Demerol. It may be used to treat moderate-severe pain, and, like other opioids, it can induce feelings of euphoria.

Opioid Withdrawal

A person who is addicted to opioids will likely encounter withdrawal upon cessation of use. Withdrawal symptoms may include the following:

  • Drug cravings
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Runny nose
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Excessive sweating and chills
  • Digestive problems

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants

Prescription CNS depressants, typically referred to as tranquilizers and sedatives, include benzodiazepines and barbiturates, as well as sleeping pills. They have a calming effect and are generally prescribed to treat anxiety or seizures.

Signs and symptoms of depressant misuse/abuse include the following:

  • Lethargy
  • Drowsiness
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Confusion
  • Impaired memory
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Vision changes
  • Impaired coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Behavior or personality changes

Alprazolam (Xanax)

Alprazolam is a benzodiazepine commonly sold under the brand name Xanax. It can be prescribed to treat anxiety and panic disorders or insomnia. Xanax depresses the CNS, and some people misuse it for its fast-acting sedative effects.

Additional signs and symptoms of alprazolam misuse/abuse include difficulties sleeping, edema of the hands or feet, and tremors.

Diazepam (Valium) and Clonazepam (Klonopin)

Diazepam and Clonazepam are benzodiazepines like Xanax. They are primarily used to treat anxiety and panic disorders or seizures. Clonazepam is sold under the brand name Klonopin, and diazepam is sold as Valium.

Like Xanax, these drugs are often abused for their sedating effects. They induce a high that can feel comparable to the effects of alcohol. For example, they can produce feelings of intoxication and relaxation.

It’s not uncommon for people to recreationally abuse Xanax, Klonopin, or Valium in conjunction with other drugs. Symptoms of diazepam or clonazepam may also include paranoia, hallucinations, and constipation.

Zolpidem (Ambien)

Ambien is the most common brand name for zolpidem tartrate, a hypnotic drug commonly prescribed to treat insomnia and sleep difficulties. When used for a prolonged period, however, Ambien can be habit-forming.

When taken as directed by a doctor, zolpidem can help patients with insomnia get to sleep. Nevertheless, like most medications, it can also cause undesirable side effects – especially among those who misuse it.

In recent years, Ambien and related sedatives, such as Lunesta, have primarily replaced benzodiazepines, like Valium, as a short-term remedy for insomnia because they are considered safer with a lower potential for abuse and physiological dependence. However, those who use Ambien for a more extended period than recommended and abuse the drug for its euphoric properties can quickly develop a dependency.

The side effects of Ambien use vary between people, but may include the following:

  • Next-day drowsiness
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Sleepwalking
  • Impaired coordination
  • Short-term memory loss

Withdrawal from CNS Depressants

A person who is dependent on CNS depressants will develop withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation of use. Withdrawal symptoms may vary between each different type of CNS depressant, but, in general, they share their core symptoms.

CNS depressant withdrawal symptoms may include the following:

  • Drug cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks
  • Mood swings
  • Excessive sweating
  • Flushed skin
  • Headache
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle and stomach pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures (rarely)

Stimulants

Stimulants boost brain activity which increases alertness and energy levels.

Signs and symptoms of misuse/abuse of stimulants may include the following:

  • Euphoria
  • Aggression and hostility
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Accelerated heart rate
  • Vision changes
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Behavior or personality changes
  • Psychosis

Prescription Drugs | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Amphetamine (Adderall)

Amphetamine, sold under the brand name Adderall, is sometimes referred to as “speed.” It is a stimulant drug most often used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy.

Products that contain amphetamine are often abused non-medically for their energizing effects. For example, Adderall is often abused by people seeking to stay awake and alert for long periods, such as truck drivers and college students obligated to meet deadlines.

Symptoms of amphetamine misuse often include the following:

  • Increased energy and alertness
  • Increased body temperature
  • Increased blood pressure and respiratory rate
  • The appearance of being on edge or jittery
  • Insomnia

Methylphenidate (Ritalin)

Similar to Adderall, methylphenidate, commonly sold under the brand name Ritalin, is a stimulant that affects the CNS. It boosts levels of dopamine in the brain, which helps to improve attention. It may be prescribed to treat ADHD and narcolepsy.

Like other stimulants, Ritalin can be habit-forming. Methylphenidate misuse may also lead to agitation, irritability, and trouble sleeping.

Withdrawal from Stimulants

Someone who is addicted to stimulants may develop withdrawal symptoms upon cessation of use.

Stimulant withdrawal symptoms may include the following:

  • Drug cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Extreme fatigue

Treatment for Addiction to Prescription Drugs

Do you suspect that you or someone you love is misusing prescription medications? If so, it is critical to seek professional help as soon as possible. You or your loved one will likely benefit from an intensive rehab program that includes medication, therapy, and counseling.

Prescription drug addiction can adversely affect one’s health and put a person at risk of a fatal overdose. Drug addiction can also damage relationships and put a strain on finances or cause legal troubles.

If you are currently abusing prescription drugs, we urge you to seek treatment as soon as possible. Midwood Addiction Treatment center offers a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment that includes evidence-based services essential to recovery, such as psychotherapy, individual and family counseling, psychoeducation, group support, and more.

Our center employs compassionate addiction professionals who administer these services to clients with care and expertise. Our staff provides clients with the tools, knowledge, and resources they so urgently need to achieve abstinence and experience long-lasting sobriety and well-being.

You can reclaim the fulfilling, drug-free life you deserve. Call us today to find out how we can help!

What Are The Long-Term Effects of Adderall Use?

Long-Term Effects of Adderall | Recovery by the Sea

Adderall is a prescription stimulant indicated for the treatment of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Adderall (amphetamine-dextroamphetamine) is designed to improve focus and attention spans in those experiencing ADHD.

Long-Term Effects of Adderall

People who abuse Adderall over a prolonged period may experience the following:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of motivation
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy and fatigue
  • Aggression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Mood swings
  • Paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Heart disease
  • Weight loss
  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Constipation

ADHD is one of the most commonly diagnosed neurological conditions among children and adolescents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that as of July 2015, nearly 10%, or close to 6 million, U.S. children between the ages of 4-17 had been diagnosed with ADHD.

As prescriptions for Adderall increase, so may its potential for diversion and recreational use. Adderall is often utilized as a “smart drug” by college students. It may be abused by students in response to the pressures of higher education, as students believe it will help them get better grades because they can stay awake and study longer.

Adderall also suppresses appetite and therefore may also be abused as a weight loss drug. Other times it may be used in combination with other drugs or alcohol, or to get “high.” Using Adderall in conjunction with other substances can be very hazardous and increases the likelihood of a life-threatening overdose or adverse interaction between the substances.

Stimulant drugs such as Adderall are addictive and abusing them for non-medical purposes may increase the risk of developing a psychological and physical dependence upon them.

How Prolonged Adderall Use Affects the Brain

Stimulants improve concentration and boost energy levels while reducing the need for sleep and suppressing appetite. Stimulants alter and enhance the activity of several neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. Over time, the fluctuations in dopamine activity can affect the brain’s reward center, and alter a person’s ability to feel pleasure without the chemical support of amphetamine use.

The more often it is abused, the more established these long-term effects of Adderall become. Tolerance to the drug may develop, and more Adderall may be needed at each dose to feel the desired effects. As Adderall leaves the bloodstream, symptoms of withdrawal and drug cravings can occur, meaning that the person has developed a physical and emotional dependence on the drug.

Someone who has become dependent on Adderall may have difficulty sleeping and concentrating, exhibit a lack of motivation, and feel depressed, irritable, or fatigued when it is eliminated from the body. Abusing amphetamines such as Adderall may also increase the risk of aggression and suicidal thoughts.

Long-Term Effects of Adderall | Recovery by the Sea

For those who have been abusing Adderall for a prolonged period, the emotional aspect of withdrawal may be the most prominent side effect. Natural production of dopamine is diminished, resulting in low moods and difficulty feeling pleasure without the drug’s presence. Fortunately, most of these changes in the brain will be repaired over time with maintained abstinence and appropriate care and support.

In some instances, Adderall and other prescription stimulants have been reported to precipitate psychosis and schizophrenia-like symptoms, such as hallucinations, paranoid delusions, and other behavioral or mood disturbances.

Anxiety and panic attacks may also be caused by extended use of an amphetamine stimulant or during Adderall withdrawal. Symptoms may be more intense for someone with a history of mental illness or an underlying mental health condition, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.

Physical Side Effects

Stimulants like Adderall increase body temperature, heart rate, and blood pressure, and repeated abuse, particularly in high doses, can lead to a wide range of medical issues such as stroke, heart attack, and seizures.

Adderall can result in damage to the heart and cardiovascular system when used for an extended period, especially when used in excess. The most common Adderall-related cardiovascular problems are hypertension (high blood pressure) and tachycardia (irregular heart rate). Sudden cardiac arrest is also a possible side effect of Adderall.

Other unpleasant long-term effects of Adderall misuse include:

  • Dizziness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Insomnia
  • Dry mouth
  • Heart palpitations
  • Headaches
  • Tremors
  • Trouble breathing
  • Constipation
  • Feeling jittery or “on edge”

Using Adderall excessively for a prolonged period increases all risk factors and possible long-term side effects, which may get progressively worse.

Treatment for Adderall Abuse and Addiction

Adderall addiction is a devastating, potentially fatal condition that requires intensive treatment in the form of long-term therapy, education, counseling, and support. Adderall addiction has no definitive “cure,” but those who undergo treatment are given the opportunity to reclaim their lives and once again live in peace and sobriety.

Our addiction treatment center offers clients a secure, structured environment and addiction specialists who are qualified to effectively address the individual needs of each client using an in-depth, custom approach to drug addiction treatment and recovery.

If you or someone you love has an addiction to Adderall, please seek treatment as soon as possible. Contact us today to learn about our treatment options!

The Dangers of Using Hydrocodone With Alcohol

Hydrocodone With Alcohol | Recovery by the Sea Addiction Treatment

The Dangers of Using Hydrocodone With Alcohol – Both alcohol and prescription opioids are frequently abused in the United States. The risks of abusing either substance by themselves are considerable, but when the substances are combined, these risks are dramatically increased.

Alcohol Abuse

According to a survey conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in 2015, more than 85% of people aged 18 or older reported drinking alcohol at some point in life. Indeed, excessive drinking is a serious problem in the U.S., as the same survey revealed that more than 25% of people also reported binge drinking in the month before the survey.

Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are related to problematic alcohol use and manifest as a result of excessive consumption. An estimated 88,000 people in the United States die each year from alcohol-related causes, making it the fourth-highest preventable cause of death in the country.

What is Norco (Hydrocodone)?

Hydrocodone is a prescription painkiller frequently found in drug combinations such as Norco and Vicodin that also include the over-the-counter pain reliever acetaminophen (Tylenol.) Hydrocodone medications block some of the brain’s nerve receptors and are routinely used to treat moderate-severe pain.

Common side effects of hydrocodone include dizziness, sedation, constipation, and nausea. There is also the potential for more severe side effects that can occur with or with combining hydrocodone with other substances, including the following:

  • Breathing problems
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Depression and moodiness
  • Abdominal pain

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), hydrocodone is the most commonly prescribed opioid in the United States. Also, it’s potential to produce euphoric feelings and provide a sedative effect make it attractive to would-be recreational users.

With the prolonged use of Norco, physical dependence can develop, signified by withdrawal symptoms when the person discontinues the medication. As a person’s tolerance to the drug increases, more of it is needed to feel the same effects.

The person may then start to increase the dosage or modify the method in which it is used (e.g., crushing the pills and snorting the leftover powder), initiating a pattern of abuse that quickly leads to addiction.

Liver Effects of Mixing Hydrocodone With Alcohol

Hydrocodone With Alcohol | Recovery by the Sea Addiction Treatment

Combining hydrocodone with alcohol can be quite risky for a number of reasons. First, as with any drug containing acetaminophen, drinking alcohol in combination can lead to severe liver damage. In fact, hydrocodone is packaged with warning labels regarding its acetaminophen content.

If alcohol and acetaminophen are mixed, this can result in alcohol-acetaminophen syndrome (AAS.) AAS is characterized by increased levels of transaminase, a liver protein that aids in metabolism. This effect is frequently a sign that the liver is working overtime to metabolize both the acetaminophen and the alcohol, which can lead to severe liver damage or even liver failure.

AAS may occur because the alcohol is metabolized first, meaning that the highly toxic materials in acetaminophen in the liver are neglected. It has been hypothesized that this hepatoxicity could be the leading cause of acute liver failure in the U.S.

Dangers of Mixing the Substances

Unfortunately, while acetaminophen presents significant dangers when combined with alcohol, the pleasurable effects of hydrocodone often lead to polydrug use of hydrocodone with alcohol.

Concurrent use can result in the following symptoms:

  • Poor judgment
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Confusion
  • Respiratory problems
  • Excessive sedation
  • Coma and death

Moreover, consuming any drug containing hydrocodone with alcohol can lead to life-threatening effects. Alcohol intensifies and accelerates the release of hydrocodone into the system (as much as two-fold) which can result in dangerously high levels of the substance in the body. Alcohol use also increases the degree of the drug’s absorption.

While people often deliberately abuse hydrocodone with alcohol, it can also happen by accident. Those using hydrocodone should check the alcohol content of anything they consume. For example, something as seemingly benign as over-the-counter cough syrup may contain alcohol, and even a standard dosage can result in very serious reaction when combined with hydrocodone.

Finally, operating a motor vehicle or machinery can be hazardous after consuming either alcohol or Norco, but doing so after using a combination of both can be especially dangerous. Mixing hydrocodone with alcohol can lead to impaired judgment and the decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle. Furthermore, impairment of motor skills can make it extremely difficult for a person to safely operate a vehicle once he or she is on the road.

Treatment for Alcohol or Hydrocodone Addiction

Addiction to either alcohol or hydrocodone alone can have devastating results. Combining the two substances compounds the effects and make the use of either one even more dangerous and potentially life-threatening.

Persons who are abusing alcohol and/or hydrocodone are urged to seek treatment at our center where we offer comprehensive, evidence-based services delivered by caring medical professionals who specialize in addiction.

We can help you restore balance and wellness to your life, free of drugs and alcohol indefinitely. Contact us today to find out how!

What are Narcotic Drugs?

Narcotic Drugs | Recovery by the Sea

Narcotic drugs, also known as narcotic analgesics, opioids, or painkillers are used primarily for the treatment of moderate-severe acute (short-term) pain, such as that experienced following an injury or surgery. They are also sometimes used to relieve chronic pain, such as in the case of cancer or palliative care, and can also treat diarrhea and coughing.

Some narcotic drugs such as oxycodone and codeine are legal if they are obtained through a prescription. However, these drugs are commonly diverted for their pain-relieving, feel-good effects. They are also found in completely illicit versions on the black market (e.g. heroin and fentanyl.)

Regardless of their origin, all narcotics have a high potential for abuse, addiction, and overdose. For this reason, they are considered very dangerous when not administered as prescribed under the care of a physician. In a nutshell, narcotics are depressant drugs that dull pain but can also impair cognition and senses, cause sedation, and slow autonomic functions of the central nervous system to a life-threatening extent.

Although the word narcotic tends to have a negative connotation regarding the illegal drugs associated with it, it is also a standard term used in health care. From one to another, narcotic analgesics vary in their ingredients, strengths, dosages, and cost. Many are taken orally as tablets, capsules, or liquids, while others can be injected or administered as a transdermal patch.

List of Narcotic Drugs

The following is an extensive list of both prescription and legal narcotic drugs.

Opium

Opium is the raw, natural foundation for all narcotics. It is derived from the somniferum papaver poppy plant and contains several opiate alkaloids including morphine, codeine, and thebaine. These chemicals have pain-relieving properties and are also the basis for many modern drugs, including oxycodone (thebaine) and heroin (morphine.)

Opium is not as commonly abused in the United States as derived opiates and opioids due to its limited availability as a natural substance, although it is classified as a Schedule I drug per the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA.) However, when it is encountered, it is usually found as a brownish powder and can be smoked, drank as a tea, taken in pill form, or injected.

Morphine (MS Contin, Kadian, and Arymo ER)

Morphine, as noted above, is an opiate derived directly from the opium poppy that is used as an analgesic for the treatment of both acute and chronic pain, and is also used as a sedative before surgical procedures. Morphine is considered to be one of the most effective pain relievers on the market and is available in oral solutions, tablets, suppositories, and injection preparations.

Is the U.S, morphine is not misused nearly as often as heroin and prescription opioids, but still has a high potential for addiction and is most often abused via injection by those dependent on opioids.

Codeine

Codeine is used as an analgesic and cough suppressant, but for pain, is widely considered to be less effective than morphine. In the U.S., codeine is only available in generic form or in combination products, such as Tylenol with codeine.

Codeine is generally thought to be less addictive than many more potent narcotics – that said, however, it still has the potential for abuse, dependence, addiction, and overdose.

Heroin

is heroin a stimulant

Heroin is an illicit, semi-synthetic opiate, and like opium is heroin is classified as a Schedule I controlled substance in the U.S., as it has no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse and addiction.

It is commonly distributed as a brown-to-white powder or a less pure version known as “black tar heroin” which resembles a dark sticky tar-like substance.

Heroin can be snorted, smoked, or injected. Heroin creates a very intense and rapid rush of euphoria, but can also cause extreme sedation. Therefore, users often cycle between an awake and unconscious state, also known as being “on the nod.”

Overdose deaths due to heroin and its far more potent cousin fentanyl (see below) have increased dramatically since the turn of the century, and are involved in tens of thousands of deaths each year.

A heroin overdose is a medical emergency and is characterized by labored/difficult breathing, stupor, lethargy, confusion, clammy/cold skin, slow heart rate and blood pressure, a bluish tinge (cyanosis) to the nails and lips, and potentially, a complete loss of consciousness.

Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet)

Oxycodone is an effective painkiller for moderate to severe pain, but if used for longer than a few days or abused, however, can quickly result in drug tolerance and dependence. Oxycodone is generally dispensed in tablet form and may be combined with an over-the-counter analgesic, such as acetaminophen.

Oxycodone is a Schedule II controlled substance, meaning that it does have an approved medical use. However, it is also commonly abused – in fact, OxyContin (and other oxycodone products) contain a black-box warning concerning their high diversion (theft), abuse, dependence, addiction, and overdose potential.

Oxycodone pills/tablets can be crushed and the powder can be snorted, smoked, or injected. These methods increase the effects of oxycodone, but also increase the risk of addiction and overdose.

Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Norco, Lortab)

Prescription Drugs | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Hydrocodone is an effective painkiller and the #1 prescribed and most often diverted and abused opioid drug. Prescribed in tablets, capsules, and syrups, hydrocodone medications can be swallowed, snorted, smoked, or injected.

The DEA has warned that hydrocodone is one of the top drugs found to be involved with prescription opioid overdose deaths, and it is considered to have a high potential for addiction. It is also frequently found in combination formulations with acetaminophen (Norco, Vicodin) which increases the risk of health complications when abused.

Hydromorphone (Dilaudid and Exalgo)

Another Schedule II narcotic derived from morphine, hydromorphone is dispensed in tablets, vials, suppositories, and injectables. The drug is frequently diverted via “doctor shopping” – e.g., forged prescriptions and sketchy prescribers – and through pharmacy and nursing home theft.

When abused, hydromorphone can be smoked, snorted, swallowed, and injected. It is very potent, highly addictive, and has a carries a significant potential for overdose when abused.

Meperidine (Demerol)

Demerol is a pain medication marketed as a table or syrup, and abuse often begins with a legitimate prescription for pain. A patient using Demerol for severe pain may become tolerant to prescribed doses and begin to escalate use (and evolve into abuse.)

Even when Demerol is used as directed with a prescription, a patient can become dependent on the drug and experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to quit – therefore, it can be challenging to stop using Demerol, resulting in misuse/abuse and addiction.

Methadone (Dolophine, Methadose)

Methadone is an opioid analgesic, although it is frequently prescribed for opioid dependence and detox as a replacement for faster-acting, more potent opioids such as heroin. It can be dispensed as a pill, wafer, or in liquid form, often administered through federally-regulated clinics.

Methadone is one of the longer-acting opioid agonists, as it remains active in the bloodstream for close to a full day. This means that it can be prescribed in lower doses and less often than other narcotics for the management of opioid withdrawal symptoms.

Buprenorphine (Subutex, Buprenex, Butrans, Probuphine and Suboxone, Zubsolv, and Bunavail)

Buprenorphine is a long-acting, partial opioid agonist drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat opioid dependence, both on its own and included in buprenorphine/naloxone formulations such as Suboxone. However, it can still be abused and has a potential for dependence.

The inclusion of naloxone in combination with buprenorphine products acts as an abuse-deterrent. Moreover, naloxone is an antagonist drug – if buprenorphine combination products are altered for abuse, effects of the opioid agonist are blocked.

Tramadol (ConZip, Ultram, and Ryzolt)

Narcotic Drugs | Recovery by the Sea

Tramadol is a different kind of narcotic analgesic. It not only has opioid agonist effects but also blocks the reabsorption of norepinephrine and serotonin for additional painkilling properties.

Although Tramadol is considered to have a relatively low potential for abuse and addiction, it is still a controlled substance and those who are already dependent on opioids and chronic pain sufferers may be more likely to abuse it.

Fentanyl (Actiq, Fentora, Duragesic, Subsys, Abstral) and Carfentanil

Fentanyl is a very potent narcotic (up to 50 times more potent than heroin) prescribed for the treatment of chronic and severe pain in those who are tolerant to other opioids. As a prescription, is it often administered as a transdermal patch. In a hospital setting, it is also used for general anesthesia.

On the black market, fentanyl is not usually a product of drug diversion, however. Rather, it is illicitly made in Chinese labs and frequently cut into other drugs such as heroin to increase the potency of the product and maximize profits. It the last few years, it has been involved in an escalating number of overdose deaths, now numbering in the thousands each year.

Carfentanil is similar to fentanyl but 100 times more potent. It is not indicated for any medical use in humans, and in the U.S. is only used by large animal handlers for sedation. The drug can be lethal to adults in tiny doses of two milligrams or less and is extremely dangerous to even handle it, less alone consume it.

Treatment for Addiction to Narcotic Drugs

After detox, narcotic drug addiction is most effectively using a comprehensive, evidence-based approach that includes behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support. Our center offers these therapeutic services in inpatient, partial hospitalization, and outpatient formats.

Our professional medical and mental health staff specialize in addiction and can provide clients with the knowledge and tools they need to recover and enjoy long lasting sobriety and wellness. Recovery from addiction is a lifelong endeavor, but you don’t have to do it alone.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms | Recovery by the Sea

Xanax (alprazolam) is a prescription medication that belongs to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines (commonly referred to as benzos) which are most often used to treat anxiety, panic disorder, and insomnia.

Benzos have a high potential for dependency, meaning that cessation of use can result in the following Xanax withdrawal symptoms:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Drowsiness and fatigue
  • Confusion or paranoia
  • Depression
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Irritability or agitation
  • Tremors or shaking
  • Memory loss
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia)
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Sore, stiff muscles
  • Muscle spasms or twitches
  • Headache
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Insomnia or restless sleep
  • Heart palpitations (tachycardia)

Dependency is caused by the brain’s propensity to adjust to the presence of certain drugs and become less able to function per usual without them. Xanax dependency is characterized by its depressive effects, and when a user attempts to quit or cut back, this often results in an overreaction of the central nervous system (Xanax withdrawal symptoms) including feelings of nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia.

How Does Xanax Work?

Benzos work by boosting the effect of a brain neurochemical gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA’s mechanism of action is to mitigate activity in the central nervous system, resulting in relaxation and a reduction of anxiety.

Like many prescription drugs, Xanax use can result in a host of adverse effects, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Drowsiness and lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Memory problems
  • Poor balance or coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Irritability
  • Diarrhea or Constipation
  • Increased perspiration
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Appetite or weight changes
  • Swelling in hands or feet
  • Muscle weakness
  • Dry mouth
  • Stuffy nose
  • A decrease in libido (reduced interest in sex)
  • Dependence and addiction

What is Tolerance?

Tolerance is a condition that occurs over time after the continued use of a substance. Moreover, the brain tends to reduce the response of a drug, simply described as “repeated exposure = diminished response.” When response decreases, the user feels compelled to consume more of the drug in an effort to achieve the desired effects he or she previously enjoyed.

Overdose

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms | Recovery by the Sea

Benzodiazepines are not easy to fatally overdose on in of themselves, but can easily prove deadly when used with other psychoactive substances, particularly other depressant drugs or alcohol. This is known as combined drug intoxication (CDI).

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2016, there were more than 63,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States, and more than 10,000 of these (about 1 in 6) involved the use of a benzodiazepine such as Xanax. Most fatalities related to benzos also included the use of some opioid, either prescription (e.g., oxycodone) or illicit (e.g., heroin or fentanyl.)

Overdoses of Xanax can range from mild to severe depending on the amount consumed and if other drugs are taken in combination. Overdose symptoms due to Xanax abuse or CDI may include the following:

  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • Shallow breathing (hypoventilation)
  • Cyanosis – bluish or purple fingernails and lips
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Uncoordinated muscle movements and weakness
  • Impaired motor functions, balance, and reflexes
  • Noticeably altered mental status
  • Low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Profound central nervous system depression
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness/unresponsiveness
  • Coma
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Death

An overdose due to CDI, which may or may not include benzos such as Xanax, is a medical emergency. If you or someone you know is experiencing the aforementioned symptoms, please call 911 immediately.

Treatment for Addiction to Xanax

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms | Recovery by the Sea

Treatment for Xanax abuse or addiction typically begins with a medically-assisted detox, a process in which the patient is supervised 24/7 for several days until withdrawal symptoms subside and the risk of serious complications has diminished. In some cases, patients are put on a tapering or weaning schedule that continues for some time – a strategy used to minimize withdrawal effects when cessation does occur.

Following detox, patients are encouraged to participate in a residential treatment program of 30 days or longer in our center. During an inpatient stay, persons are treated using comprehensive, evidence-based approaches such as individual and group therapy, family counseling, 12-step programs and holistic activities such as yoga and music and art therapy.

After residential treatment, many patients choose to participate in intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), which offers many of the same services as residential, but patients are allowed to live off-side of the center while they continue to engage in therapy and counseling sessions several times per week. The goal of IOP is to ensure that patients receiving ongoing treatment and support while transitioning back to the outside world.

Following intensive treatment, patients can benefit from our aftercare planning services, receive referrals to sober living facilities, and participate in alumni activities that offer long-term peer support throughout recovery.

Want to learn more about about getting help for substance abuse? We are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Contact us today.

What Are Depressants?

What are Depressants? | Recovery by the Sea

Central nervous system depressants are substances that decrease activity in the brain and body. Prescription depressants are indicated for the treatment of a variety of conditions, such as insomnia, seizures, anxiety, muscle tension, and pain in general.

When abused, however, these drugs can have adverse effects on the body, some resulting in serious complications, overdose, and even death. Common depressants include alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines, muscle relaxers, and sedatives.

Alcohol

What are Depressants? | Recovery by the Sea

Alcohol is among the most frequently used depressants, sometimes mistaken for a stimulant due to the euphoria it invokes early on during intoxication.

Nearly 9 out of 10 adults aged 18 or older report drinking alcohol at some point in their lives and roughly one-fourth of those have engaged in binge drinking – a pattern of abuse that increases the risk of adverse effects and alcohol addiction.

While alcohol is legal to use among adults over age 21, it is often abused, and people who use alcohol frequently and in large amounts run the risk of addiction and alcohol poisoning. When used long-term alcohol increases the risk of liver cirrhosis, as well as many cancers.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), adverse effects of long-term, excessive alcohol abuse may include:

  • Weakening of the heart muscle
  • Irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia)
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver
  • Increased risk of cancer in the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and breast
  • Increased risk of pancreatitis
  • Weakened immune system
  • Disorientation
  • Vision difficulties
  • Injuries from intoxication
  • Agitation and depression

Opioids/Opiates

Opioids and opiates belong to a class of drugs that include both prescription painkillers and illicit substances such as heroin. Due to their highly addictive nature, they are frequently abused for their feel-good effects.

Some health complications from opioid use include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Heart palpitations
  • Sweating and chills
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Hypersensitivity to stimuli
  • Confusion

While many other depressants, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines (benzos), are difficult to overdose on lethally, potent opioids such as heroin and fentanyl can cause death in just minutes. Furthermore, opioids are far more dangerous when combined with other CNS depressants such as benzos, alcohol, and sedatives.

In fact, in 2017, of the estimated 72,000 drug overdose deaths in the United States, the vast majority involved either prescription or illicit opioids/opiates.

Barbiturates

Barbituates are used for a variety of purposes, such as anesthesia, seizure management, and pain relief. They are also sometimes used for the treatment of alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Like many depressants, barbiturates have a high potential for addiction if misused. Side effects of excessive barbiturate use include:

  • Risks to pregnancy
  • Heart palpitations
  • Intentionally heavy sedation
  • Accidental overdose and death

Barbiturates can become addictive in a relatively short amount of time and are involved in approximately 1500 emergency room visits each year. By some estimates, they may currently be involved in as many as one-third of the drug overdose deaths in the United States.

Benzodiazepines

Benzos are anti-anxiety medications that are prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and panic disorder, insomnia, and sometimes seizures or depression. Benzos also have a high potential for abuse and addiction. Side effects of benzodiazepine abuse may include the following:

  • Sedation
  • Dizziness and unsteadiness
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Loss of orientation
  • Headache
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Confusion
  • Irritability and aggression
  • Impaired memory

Benzodiazepines are rarely fatal if overused on their own, but when used in conjunction with other depressants such as opioid the risk of a fatal overdose increases exponentially. In fact, benzos are involved in a large percentage of drug overdose deaths each year, especially those classified as combined drug intoxication.

Additional Depressants

There are several types of drugs classified as depressants that are less likely to be abused, but could potentially interact with other CNS depressants and therefore should only be used according to a doctor’s orders:

Antihistamines – these are used to reduce allergic reactions, inflammation, and in some cases can also work as mild anti-anxiety agents
Muscle Relaxers – used to ease strain and tension on the muscles due to injury, surgery, or other debilitating conditions
Anti-psychotics – used to treat the hyperactive mood during a manic episode, schizophrenia, or Tourette’s syndrome
Alpha and beta blockers – often used for Raynaud’s disease, high blood pressure, and anxiety disorders

Treatment for Depressants

What are Depressants? | Recovery by the Sea

Treatment for addiction to depressants such as alcohol, opioids, benzodiazepines, and barbiturates should begin with a medically-assisted detox. During this process, the patient is supervised 24/7 while his or her body rids itself of toxic substances.

Undergoing a medical detox allows the patient to monitored and administered medication to help ease withdrawal symptoms that would normally lead to relapse.

Following detox, patients are encouraged to participate in one of our addiction treatment programs, which includes both partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient formats. Both tracks include individual and group therapy, individual and family counseling, 12-step programs, and holistic approaches such as yoga, meditation, and art therapy.

After intensive treatment has been completed, patients can benefit from our aftercare planning services and alumni activities that foster ongoing community support and continued recovery.

Klonopin Vs. Xanax Addiction

Klonopin Vs Xanax Addiction | Recovery by the Sea

Klonopin vs. Xanax Addiction – Klonopin (clonazepam) and Xanax (alprazolam) are prescription medications that belong to the drug class benzodiazepines, commonly known as benzos. Benzos work by triggering or boosting the effect of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain. GABA is an inhibitory chemical that slows down or depresses the central nervous system, resulting in sedation.

For this reason, benzos, such as Klonopin and Xanax, are mild tranquilizers. On the street, benzodiazepines are known as benzos, downers, or tranks. Benzos are indicated for the treatment of the following disorders:

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Alcohol withdrawal
  • Insomnia/sleep disturbances
  • Muscle spasms
  • Seizures

Klonopin

Klonopin is a benzo usually prescribed for the treatment of panic disorders, epilepsy and other seizures and movement disorders. However, Klonopin has several known “off-label uses” – medically unapproved uses, such as altering dosage or method of administration. Such uses are nevertheless known to be effective at relieving certain symptoms or producing other desired effects.

Klonopin has seen successful off-label use to treat the following:

  • Social anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Acute mania
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Restless leg syndrome (RLS)
  • Trigeminal neuralgia (a chronic pain disorder)
  • Acute psychosis-induced aggression
  • Bruxism (excessive teeth grinding or jaw clenching)

Xanax

Klonopin Vs. Xanax Addiction | Recovery by the Sea

In recent years, Xanax has consistently been among the most widely prescribed psychiatric medications in the U.S. Xanax, like Klonopin, is a benzo typically prescribed for the treatment of severe anxiety.

Xanax has also shown to be effective in the treatment of the following off-label uses:

  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Tinnitus (ringing ears)
  • Tremors
  • Cancer-related pain
  • Agoraphobia (fear of public spaces)
  • Moderate to severe symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS)

What’s the Difference?

Although Klonopin and Xanax are similar in their core effects, there are a few significant differences between them. Klonopin and Xanax, while belonging to the same drug class, are nonetheless different chemicals. Because of this, the effects they produce are not wholly identical.

After consuming a drug, the body naturally rids itself of the chemicals over time. Different chemicals require different lengths of time to be eliminated. This required length of time by the body to reduce the concentration of a chemical by one-half is known as the “half-life.” The half-life of Klonopin is roughly 30-40 hours, compared to that of Xanax, which is only about 11-12 hours.

The difference in half-life between these two drugs essentially means that Klonopin is significantly longer-acting than Xanax. Concerning prescribed use, this longer half-life provides the patient with the advantage of having to use Klonopin less often than Xanax to produce or maintain similar effects.

Furthermore, depending on the person, the effects of Xanax are usually experienced much faster with peak concentrations occurring around 1-2 hours after ingestion versus Klonopin, which takes between 1-4 hours.

Considering this, the potential for abuse is more significant for Xanax because it proves easier to achieve a high. Users describe the high of Klonopin as a euphoric drowsiness. A Xanax high is similar to that of Klonopin, albeit much stronger, and thus, contributing to its addictiveness.

Xanax cycles in and out of the body rapidly, while Klonopin does so at a much slower pace. This fact, in combination with the strength of Xanax, accelerates the onset of dependence from repeated use when compared with Klonopin. Still, Klonopin combines a long-acting, potent high with a moderate-high risk of dependence and a rather long duration of withdrawal symptoms.

Because of this, long-term use of Klonopin can make independence from it a profound challenge, even more so than Xanax. Regardless, withdrawal symptoms of both drugs are markedly similar and include the following:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Tremors
  • Shakiness in hands
  • Memory loss
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety and panic attacks
  • Convulsions or seizures
  • Sore, stiff muscles
  • Muscle spasms or twitches
  • Headache
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Insomnia or restless sleep
  • Heart palpitations
  • Paranoia and fear
  • Anxiety
  • Panic attacks

Benzo Overdose

Klonopin Vs. Xanax Addiction | Recovery by the Sea

Abuse of either substance can lead to life-threatening overdose, and the effects of both are similar.

Due to their properties than depress the central nervous system (CNS) they should never be used in conjunction with other CNS depressants.

Overdose symptoms include the following:

  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Uncoordinated movements
  • Weakness
  • Profoundly altered mental status
  • Bluish fingernails and lips
  • Unconsciousness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Coma
  • Death

Treatment for Addiction to Klonopin Vs. Xanax

Treatment for Klonopin or Xanax abuse begins with a medically-assisted detox. In many cases, patients are put on a tapering schedule to minimize withdrawal effects. Following detox, patients are urged to participate in a treatment program of 30 days or longer in our center, which offers both inpatients and intensive outpatient formats.

We offer comprehensive, evidence-based therapy that includes individual and group therapy, family counseling, 12-step programs and holistic practices such as yoga and art therapy.

Following formal treatment, patients can take advantage of our aftercare planning services, referrals to sober living facilities, and alumni activities that offer long-term support throughout recovery.

Want to learn more about about getting help for substance abuse? We are here to answer any questions or concerns you may have. Contact us today.

Related: Snorting Xanax

Percocet Addiction

Percocet is a prescription painkiller that includes the powerful synthetic opioid oxycodone and acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol.) Percocet, like all opioids and opiates, is addictive because when used, it activates the reward center of the brain. Percocet addiction can develop over time when a person uses or misuses the drug regularly.

When Percocet is consumed, it releases a massive amount of dopamine – a chemical that induces intense feelings of well-being or euphoria. As the brain attempts to adjust to this uncharacteristic surge of dopamine, both dependence and tolerance can develop.

Dependence forms over time as neurons in the brain adapt to the repeated presence of drugs or alcohol, and can no longer function properly. When someone is dependent on a substance, they will experience highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit or cut back. Often, this is a primary reason why people relapse.

Percocet withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Yawning
  • Watery eyes/runny nose
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Hypertension
  • Increased heart rate
  • Muscle aches

Dependence develops when brain neurons adapt to the repeated drug exposure and only function normally when the drug is present in the user’s system.

Tolerance also forms due to repeated exposure. With regular use, the person experiences less response from the drug that they are accustomed, and therefore, need increasing amounts of the substance in order to achieve the desired effect.

Symptoms of Percocet Addiction

Percocet addiction can result in a number of side effects, including:

  • Constipation
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Low blood pressure
  • Lowered breathing rate
  • Sweating
  • Impaired coordination

In addition to physical and mental problems, users may also engage in risky behavior such as driving while intoxicated, become involved in illegal activity, or fail to meet important work, family, or school obligations.

Drug Obtainment

Not all people who are addicted to Percocet have prescriptions. Sometimes they are purchased or somehow obtained from friends and family. They are also a common product of drug diversion, sold on the street or on the dark web illicitly.

Percocet can also be obtained through forged prescriptions or multiple doctors and pharmacies (doctor shopping.)

Overdose

Percocet Addiction | Recovery by the SeaSomeone who is dependent on Percocet may be more likely to use other substances such as alcohol or heroin.

While an overdose of Percocet on its own can be fatal, death is even more likely to occur when Percocet is used in conjunction with other central nervous system depressants.

 

A Percocet overdose can include any or all of the following symptoms:

  • Muscle weakness, limpness of the extremities
  • Difficult, uneven, or labored breathing
  • Fatigue or stupor
  • Nausea, vomiting, or gagging
  • Cyanosis – blue or purple discoloration of lips and nails
  • Seizures and body spasms
  • Fainting spells
  • Coma
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Death

Consuming high doses of Percocet can also result in poisoning from acetaminophen. Symptoms include:

  • Jaundice
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in stomach or abdominal region
  • Profuse sweating or clammy skin
  • Feelings of irritability or confusion

Other complications from a Percocet overdose include kidney or liver failure, liver damage, urinary infection, chronic constipation, and a compromised immune system.

How Much Percocet Does It Take to Overdose?

The standard Percocet dose is 5-10mg of oxycodone per 325mg of acetaminophen, taken every six hours as needed for pain. Someone with a low tolerance to opioids could suffer overdose symptoms at just four 10mg doses.

But another danger lies with exposure to high amounts of acetaminophen, which can cause permanent damage to the liver, and when taken in doses of more than 10,000mg within 24 hours, death is likely imminent without treatment.

How Long Does Percocet Stay in Your System?

Percocet has a half-life of 3.5 hours, meaning that depending on individual factors, this is about the time for half a dose of Percocet to be purged from a user’s system. Furthermore, it takes an average of 19 hours to eliminate Percocet from the body completely.

This process may take longer for heavy, long-term users, however, as the drug is absorbed into the body’s fatty tissues when there’s more Percocet in the system that the person’s liver can handle.

Treatment for Percocet Addiction

Percocet Addiction | Recovery by the SeaTreating Percocet addiction usually begins with a medical detox. During detox, the patient is supervised by clinicians while their body cleanses itself of drugs or alcohol. In many cases, medication can be administered to mitigate withdrawal symptoms.

Undergoing a medical detox also ensures the patient does not have access to substances or situations that would trigger a relapse during this critical time.

After discharge, patients should be admitted to our center for no less than 30 days of intensive inpatient or outpatient treatment. During this time, patients participate in individual and group therapy, counseling, 12-step meetings, and other holistic approaches such as music and art therapy.

By promoting participation in multiple therapeutic activities, we aim to foster sobriety using a comprehensive approach and reduce the likelihood that patients will relapse after discharge.

After residential treatment is completed at our center, patients often move into an approved sober living home where they can continue their progress under reduced supervision while still residing in a safe, supportive environment.

We also offer aftercare support and alumni activities that help former patients stay engaged in their recovery long-term.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

We Accept Most Insurance Plans!