Dangers of Benzos and Alcohol

Benzos and Alcohol Dangers | Recovery By The Sea

Benzodiazepines, commonly referred to as “benzos,” to depressant the nervous system (CNS). They are commonly used to treat anxiety, seizures, and sometimes alcohol withdrawal. Alcohol is also a CNS depressant, and under no circumstances is it considered safe to combine these two substances.

Effects of Benzos and Alcohol

Alcohol, when used alone, can lead to several adverse effects, including the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Depression
  • Anger and aggression
  • Impaired coordination
  • Memory loss (blackouts)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irregular or slow breathing
  • Elevated heart rate

Drinking alcohol for a prolonged period and in excess can result in many health conditions, including liver disease, heart arrhythmia, pancreatitis, hypertension, and an increased risk of several forms of cancer.

Benzos are prescription drugs and should only be used as directed by a health provider. Popular brands include Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, and Valium. Misuse, including using them too frequently or in doses in excess of the prescription, can lead to side effects, which may include the following:

  • Drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Memory impairment
  • Impaired concentration
  • Headache
  • Impaired coordination
  • Loss of appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Sleep disturbances

It’s important to notice that symptoms of alcohol abuse tend to overlap with those of benzo abuse. This overlap occurs because benzodiazepines and alcohol are both depressants and affect the CNS in similar ways.

It is certainly possible to use either one of these substances responsibly. As noted, however, the two should never be combined, even when a person has a legitimate prescription for a benzo and is using the medication as directed. Their combined use can rapidly amplify the effects of each other, which significantly increases the risk of serious health complications, overdose, hospitalization, and death.

Benzos and Alcohol Dangers | Recovery By The Sea

Dangers of Mixing Benzos and Alcohol

As we have established, one of the biggest dangers associated with benzos and alcohol use is that they are both depressants and are very effective as such. Benzos, when used in prescription doses, can reduce CNS activity, and therefore help those who experience anxiety or seizures to function more normally. A standard drink or two of alcohol may also ease a person’s anxiety or induce relaxation and even cause a bit of drowsiness.

However, when used in conjunction, CNS depressants can cause profound sedation as well as perilously slow respiration and heart rate. Moreover, when these two substances are consumed even in relatively small amounts, the overall compounded effect can lead to many dangers and health risks. Because these two substances have similar depressant effects, it’s not unlike drinking more alcohol than one actually did or taking a double or triple dose of a benzo medication.

If either substance is abused, a person may experience extreme drowsiness, severely impaired coordination, and be at an increased risk of having a serious fall or injury. The combined effects also cause the person to become unresponsive and ultimately lead to coma, brain damage, or death. 

Depressed or labored breathing that can result from using these substances has the potential to be deadly. When this occurs, the person is not receiving enough oxygen, and even if he or she survives, brain damage may result. One hallmark symptom of a lack of oxygen is pale, clammy skin that is bluish around the lips or under the fingernails. If an emergency medical intervention is not performed, the person is at high risk for respiratory arrest and death.

Treating Alcohol Withdrawal with Benzodiazepines

When a person is trying to recover from alcoholism, a health provider may prescribe a benzodiazepine, such as Klonopin or Ativan. This is done to prevent specific symptoms of withdrawal, such as anxiety and seizures. The temporary use of such medication can make a person’s transition away from alcohol addiction safer and more comfortable.

Benzodiazepines are not really intended for long-term use, however, as they do have a high potential for abuse and addiction. For this reason, a physician who oversees a patient needs to watch for signs of an emerging chemical dependence. The development of a new addiction to a substance that induces effects similar to alcohol is especially dangerous if the person relapses and combines these two substances.

Help for Alcohol or Benzodiazepine Addiction

Those who struggle with polysubstance abuse are urged to seek professional help as soon as possible. If these conditions are left unaddressed, a person may continue to increase their use and leave themselves open to the possibility of an ever-worsening substance abuse problem or even death.

Addiction specialists generally regard comprehensive addiction treatment as the most effective way to treat polysubstance use disorders. Emotional support from therapists, counselors, and peers can help clients to examine the factors that led to their substance abuse issues. In doing so, they can begin to develop better mechanisms for coping with stress, triggers, and cravings to use substances.

Recovery By The Sea is a specialized treatment center that is committed to helping clients achieve abstinence and sustain long-term sobriety. Through psychotherapy, counseling, and group support, we aim to provide them with the tools they need to prevent relapse and make better decisions surrounding their health and well-being. 

If you are ready to reclaim your life, call us today to discuss treatment options and begin your journey to recovery! 

Is Alcohol a Depressant or Stimulant?

Is Alcohol a Depressant or Stimulant?

Is Alcohol a Depressant or Stimulant? – Alcohol is technically categorized as a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, but the answer is a little bit more complicated than that.

Alcohol, depending on the level consumed and a person’s individual reaction, can cause both sedating and stimulating effects. For example, increased heart rate and aggressive behavior are two effects associated with a stimulant, but motor skill and cognitive impairment are characteristics of a depressant.

Some researchers believe that persons who are at a heightened risk of developing an alcohol use disorder do not respond as dramatically to alcohol’s sedative effects as others do. In fact, alcoholism is more strongly associated with a greater stimulatory reaction to alcohol.

Alcohol impacts the brain in a variety of ways. For one, it binds to receptors for gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter (brain chemical) responsible for producing feelings of calm, relaxation, and sedation, as well as the suppression of breathing and heart rate. It also inhibits glutamate, a neurotransmitter that excites the central nervous system.

Is Alcohol a Depressant or Stimulant? – The Deception

In addition to its effect on GABA and glutamate, alcohol also releases dopamine, a feel-good chemical responsible for feelings of reward.

As dopamine increases, good feelings continue to emerge, and those affected may continue to drink alcohol, more or less in an effort to “chase” the dopamine high. As more alcohol is consumed, however, more depressant effects will develop.

Moreover, alcohol does not excite the nervous system, but rather, it is the excessive release of dopamine that produces pleasurable, rewarding feelings that may sometimes resemble extra energy. But the overall effect is misleading – as the person continues to drink, the central nervous system also becomes increasingly depressed despite the presence of dopamine.

Mixing Alcohol With Drugs

Mixing Alcohol With Drugs

When alcohol is used in conjunction with another sedating drug, the risk of life-threatening CNS depression increases. When CNS activity begins to slow down to a crawl, the threat of coma and death becomes a very real and present danger.

On the other hand, stimulants increase activity in the central nervous system and include substances such as caffeine, amphetamines, and cocaine. Some people use stimulants when drinking to decrease alcohol’s depressant effect and counteract the adverse effects of stimulants, such as anxiety, nervousness, and agitation.

Using alcohol with stimulants, however, is equally dangerous. People may continue to drink alcohol while feeling energetic and elated from stimulants (the depressant effect is essentially masked) under the erroneous belief that they are unlikely to suffer any ill consequences.

However, using alcohol with short-acting stimulants such as cocaine is especially dangerous, because alcohol’s depressant impact can continue well after the effects of the stimulant have worn off. In fact, combining alcohol and cocaine makes the risk of sudden death 20 times greater than by either substance alone.

Mixing alcohol with other stimulants such as prescription amphetamines (e.g., Adderall, Ritalin, Concerta) increases the risk of seizures and heart-related problems such as arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and cardiac arrest.

Also, continued use of alcohol while intoxicated by stimulants increases the likelihood of alcohol poisoning, a condition that can occur and be fatal in persons who reach a blood alcohol concentration of .4 or higher.

Finally, both alcohol and other psychoactive substances can invoke serious psychological effects such as major depression and anxiety, suicidal thoughts, irritability, aggression, delusions, hallucinations, and even psychosis.

Alcohol Poisoning

Alcohol poisoning is a dangerous and potentially lethal consequence of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a brief period. Drinking to excess can adversely affect breathing, heart rate, body temperature, and gag reflex. In extreme cases, it can result in coma and death.

A person with alcohol poisoning requires immediate medical attention. If you suspect a person is suffering from an overdose, call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room right away.

Symptoms

Alcohol poisoning signs and symptoms may include the following:

  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Blue-tinged skin
  • Pale or clammy skin
  • Low body temperature
  • Slow or irregular breathing
  • Unresponsiveness/stupor
  • Unconsciousness

What to Do

It’s not necessary to witness all the above signs before seeking medical help. A person experiencing alcohol poisoning who is unconscious and can’t be awakened is at a high risk of dying.

Take care to do the following:

1) Call 911 immediately. Do not assume that the person will sleep it off.

2) Be prepared to provide whatever information you have. Tell the hospital or emergency personnel the type of alcohol the person drank, the approximate amounts, and when it was consumed.

3) Do not leave an unconscious person alone. Alcohol poisoning impairs the gag reflex, so a person suffering from alcohol poisoning may choke on his or her own vomit. Furthermore, while waiting for medical attention, do not try to induce vomiting for this same reason.

4) Help someone who is vomiting by keeping him or her sitting up. If the person must lie down, turn them to the side to help prevent choking. Try to keep the person awake, if possible, to avoid loss of consciousness.

Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help

Is Alcohol a Depressant or Stimulant? | Recovery By The Sea

It can be difficult to determine if a person is drunk enough to justify medical intervention. However, it’s best to err on the side of caution. You may be concerned about the consequences for yourself or this person, especially if driving was involved or you are under the legal age. But keep in mind, the consequences of not getting help in time can be much more severe, and even lethal.

Causes

Alcohol in the form of ethanol can be found in alcoholic beverages, mouthwash, cooking extracts, some medications, and even household products. Ethyl alcohol poisoning generally results from drinking way too many alcoholic drinks, especially in a brief episode. This behavior is often referred to as binge drinking.

Binge Drinking

One of the leading causes of alcohol poisoning is binge drinking. Binge drinking is characterized by heavy drinking when a person consumes at least 4 or 5 drinks—for women and men, respectively—within two hours.

While just a few beers are unlikely to result in full-blown alcohol poisoning, often these binges can occur over hours and last for several days. Prolonged alcohol abuse will result in unpleasant and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. For this reason, many people on a binge will continue to drink rather than get help.

A person can consume a lethal amount of alcohol before becoming unconscious. Even after a person has stopped drinking, alcohol will continue to be released from the stomach and intestines into the bloodstream. For some time, the level of alcohol in the body will continue to increase.

How Much Alcohol Is Too Much?

Unlike food, which can take several hours to digest, alcohol is absorbed rapidly by the body, and long before most other nutrients. Also, it takes a lot more time for the body to eliminate the alcohol that was consumed.

Most alcohol is metabolized by the liver, which can only process roughly one standard drink of alcohol per hour. The more alcohol a person consumes, especially in a relatively short period, the higher his or her risk of encountering alcohol poisoning.

One standard drink is defined as:

  • 12 oz. (355 ml) of regular beer at about 5% ABV
  • 8-9 oz. (237 to 266 ml) of malt liquor at about 7% ABV
  • 5 oz. (148 ml) of wine at about 12% ABV
  • 1.5 oz. (44 ml) of 80-proof hard liquor at about 40% ABV

Note that some mixed drinks may contain multiple servings of alcohol and take even longer to be processed.

Risk Factors

Several factors can increase the risk of alcohol poisoning, including the following:

  • Height and weight
  • Sex (male or female)
  • Overall health status
  • Food content in the stomach
  • Use of other drugs
  • Rate of alcohol consumption
  • Amount of alcohol consumed
  • Tolerance level
  • Genetic factors

Complications of Alcohol Poisoning

Severe complications can arise from alcohol poisoning, including the following:

Choking

Excessive alcohol use frequently causes vomiting. Because it depresses the gag reflex, this increases the risk of choking on vomit if a person is unconscious.

Stopping Breathing

If a person accidentally inhales vomit into his or her lungs, this can result in a harmful and potentially deadly interruption of breathing (asphyxiation).

Severe Dehydration

Vomiting can lead to severe dehydration, and result in dangerously low blood pressure and accelerated heart rate. Alcohol use itself contributes to dehydration.

Alcohol poisoning can also cause seizures, hypothermia, irregular heart rate, and permanent brain damage. Any of these problems can result in death.

Treatment for Alcohol Addiction

heroin treatment support groups | rbsrehab.com

Alcohol addiction treatment may begin at a medical detox center, where patients receive around-the-clock care and may be rendered medications to relieve highly unpleasant and possibly fatal alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

After detox, patients are encouraged to participate in one of our treatment programs and opt for either partial-hospitalization (PHP) or intensive outpatient treatment. PHP offers clients most of the same therapeutic components as a residential program while allowing them more flexibility to attend to outside activities. These programs can be just as effective as residential programs, however, as they offer similar treatments, including psychotherapy, counseling, group support, and aftercare planning. Conversely, outpatients enjoy even more scheduling flexibility while they meet for several therapy sessions at the center each week.

Why Seek Our Help?

Alcohol dependence is a grave and potentially life-threatening disease that requires long-term treatment and support. While there is no cures an alcohol use disorder, it can be effectively treated. Those who seek help and enter recovery can regain their lives and ultimately experience long-term sobriety and well-being.

Our center offers a secure, structured environment and professional medical personnel who are trained to identify and address the individual needs of each patient using an in-depth, customized approach to alcohol and addiction treatment.

Depressant Drug List

Depressant Drug List | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Depressant Drug List – Depressants are psychoactive drugs that suppress the central nervous system (CNS) and work by impacting neurochemicals in the CNS. This action leads to effects such as relaxation, drowsiness and sleepiness, reduced inhibition, anesthesia, coma, and, in extreme cases, death. Most depressants are considered to have a high potential for abuse and addiction.

While depressants are all similar in their ability to reduce activity in the CNS, there are some key differences among drugs within this class. Some are safer to use than others or should only be used as directed by a physician.

Depressant Drug List and Facts

Types of Depressants

Drugs that are categorized as depressants include:

  • Ethyl alcohol
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines

Ethyl Alcohol

Ethyl alcohol (or just alcohol) is one of the most commonly used psychoactive substance in the world, second only to caffeine. Although alcohol is legal, it has a high potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2014, nearly 61 million people in the U.S. over age 12 reported binge drinking. Another 16 million persons over age 12 stated they had engaged in excessive drinking.

The social costs of alcohol abuse are also significant. According to a 2000 report by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), approximately 50% of all assaults, homicides, and highway fatalities involve alcohol.

Barbiturates

Barbiturates, also referred to as “downers,” are CNS depressants that induce feelings of euphoria and relaxation. Barbiturates were once considered relatively safe but are now known for their abuse and overdose potential. They can have a significant impact on sleep patterns and result in suppressed REM sleep. Because barbiturates can be dangerous, they are rarely used today to treat insomnia or anxiety.

Common barbiturates include the following:

  • Luminal (phenobarbital) – used to prevent seizures
  • Amytal sodium (amobarbital) – used to treat sleep problems
  • Seconal (secobarbital) – short-term treatment for insomnia

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines (benzos) are CNS depressants routinely prescribed to treat sleep problems, such as insomnia and anxiety. Around the turn of the 21st century, at least four different benzos were in the top 100 most commonly prescribed medications.

Because they are highly effective and have a relatively low toxicity, benzos are frequently prescribed as a short-term treatment for insomnia or anxiety. Their potential for addiction, however, makes them not ideal for the long-term treatment of conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and panic disorder.

Benzos have sedative, muscle-relaxing, and anticonvulsant effects. Because of this, benzos are prescribed, sometimes off-label, to treat a variety of conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, agitation, muscle spasms, and seizures. They are generally considered safe in the short-term, but chronic use can lead to tolerance, dependence, and withdrawals when the user tries to discontinue use.

Some common benzodiazepines are:

  • Xanax (alprazolam) – used to treat anxiety and panic disorder
  • Valium (diazepam) – used to treat anxiety and panic disorder, seizures, and muscle spasms
  • Klonopin (clonazepam) – used to prevent seizures

Depressant Drug List | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Uses for Depressants

Depressants are frequently prescribed to relieve symptoms resulting from the following disorders:

  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Generalized and social anxiety
  • Panic disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

How Depressants Work in the Brain

Most depressants act on the brain by boosting the activity of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a neurotransmitter. By increasing GABA, brain activity is decreased as a result, and feelings of relaxation and drowsiness are produced.

Researchers believe that alcohol may work a bit differently, however. Although alcohol is believed to stimulate GABA’s effect in the brain, attaching to GABA receptors and inhibiting neuronal signaling, it also inhibits the major excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate. Furthermore, it releases other inhibitors including dopamine and serotonin.

Moreover, consuming even small amounts of alcohol increases dopamine in the brain region known as the nucleus accumbens – one of the centers responsible for feelings of reward. Experts believe it is likely that GABA and glutamate work together to produce a cycle of positive reinforcement.

Opioids and Polydrug Intoxication

Opioids are in a class of drugs referred to as painkillers, but also have some properties that can cause CNS depression. For this reason, in high doses, certain opioids including heroin and fentanyl can produce life-threatening complications.

Although overdose by alcohol or benzodiazepines on their own may be somewhat difficult, combining them or incorporating another substance that can depress the CNS, such as barbiturates or opioids, constitutes polysubstance abuse, which dramatically increases the risk of a life-threatening overdose.

Treatment for Depressant Addiction

Persons who have a dependence on depressants should undergo a medical detox. Both alcohol and benzo withdrawal can result in death in extreme cases, so they should be closely monitored and managed with medication. In the case of benzo addiction, the patient may need to be on a tapering schedule that continues for several weeks.

Immediately following detox, persons who were dependent on depressants are urged to participate in an addiction treatment program. Our center offers evidence-based modalities such as behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support, among other essential therapeutic services.

Recovery By The Sea employs professional staff who have expertise in addiction and can provide clients with the tools they need to regain their sobriety and experience long-term recovery and wellness.

If you or someone you love is addicted to depressants, please contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options!

Klonopin and Alcohol

Klonopin and Alcohol | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Alcohol is an intoxicating substance found in hard liquor, beer, and wine. Klonopin (clonazepam) is the brand name for an anti-anxiety medication in the benzodiazepine family, and like alcohol, it is a central nervous system depressant. Under no circumstances is it considered safe to combine the two.

Effects of Klonopin and Alcohol

Alcohol, when consumed alone, can induce effects such as the following:

  • Slurred speech
  • Euphoria
  • Depression
  • Aggression
  • Impaired coordination
  • Memory loss (blackouts)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irregular breathing
  • Elevated heart rate

Drinking alcohol regularly and in excess can also lead to chronic health problems, including fatty liver or cirrhosis, hepatitis, pancreatitis, arrhythmia, high blood pressure, and an increased risk of some types of cancer.

Klonopin is a prescription medication, and while a medical professional should tightly control the dosing schedule, it is possible to consume too much and experience side effects, which may include the following:

  • Drowsiness or sleepiness
  • Blurred vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Loss of memory
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Headache
  • Impaired coordination
  • Loss of appetite or vomiting
  • Sleep disturbances

It is possible to use either one of these drugs responsibly, but the two should never be combined even with a legitimate prescription for Klonopin. It is also very important not to abuse/misuse these drugs together because they can quickly compound the effects of each other, which can result in a higher risk of overdose, hospitalization, and death.

Can You Mix Klonopin and Alcohol?

Both alcohol and Klonopin and are central nervous system depressants. In prescription doses of Klonopin, this property relaxes the individual and calms nerves, helping a person who suffers from anxiety to function normally. Unfortunately, this calming effect can also produce addictive behaviors. CNS depressants used in conjunction can lead to increased drowsiness as well as profoundly depressed respiration and heart rate.

Because both Klonopin and alcohol are both consumed orally, it is also possible that this slow method of metabolization can increase the risks of side effects, as more of the substances enter the person’s bloodstream.

The biggest danger of mixing Klonopin and alcohol, however, is that these drugs compound the effects of one another. Moreover, when alcohol and Klonopin are used together, even in small doses, the combined intensified effect can lead to extreme drowsiness, severely impaired coordination, and an increased risk of a serious fall or injury. This effect can also mean the person will be difficult to rouse, which could result in a coma.

Klonopin and Alcohol | Recovery By The Sea Addiction Treatment

Depressed or difficulty breathing is a potentially fatal side effect of combing alcohol and Klonopin, and is an indication that the person is probably not receiving enough oxygen. A hallmark symptom of a lack of oxygen is pale or clammy skin or blue tinting around the lips or under the fingernails (cyanosis). If left untreated without emergency medical help, the person could stop breathing and die.

A recent study performed by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, 2014) found that 38% of emergency department visits involving benzodiazepines combined with opioids or alcohol resulted in a more serious outcome, such as hospitalization, or in some cases, death.

Treating Alcohol Withdrawal with Benzodiazepines

If a person has an addiction to alcohol and they seek treatment to stop abusing this drug, a physician may prescribe a benzodiazepine such as Klonopin to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. Anxiety and seizures are two significant symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, and benzodiazepines have been shown to be very effective at mitigating the risk of severe symptoms such as these. In this way, benzos can make the person’s transition away from alcoholism easier.

However, it is vital that the overseeing physician carefully monitor the patient for signs of a burgeoning dependence on benzodiazepines. These medications come with their own potential for abuse and addiction. Such a development can be particularly dangerous if the individual experiences a relapse and combines a Klonopin prescription with alcohol use.

Help for Alcohol or Klonopin Addiction

For those who suffer from an addiction to either Klonopin or alcohol, it is critical to seek help as soon as possible to address the problem before it gets any worse. If these disorders are left untreated, the person may become more likely to use alcohol and benzodiazepines together or to combine these drugs with others such as heroin and prescription painkillers.

Comprehensive addiction treatment is usually the most effective way to address polysubstance abuse disorders. Medical supervision allows clients to withdraw from substances safely, while emotional support from therapists and peers helps clients to discover the roots of their substance abuse and develop better coping mechanisms for dealing with stress and cravings.

Recovery By The Sea is dedicated to helping clients achieve abstinence indefinitely, providing them with the skills and support they need to prevent relapse and make informed decisions about their lives, health, and well-being.

Call us today to discuss treatment options and begin your journey to recovery!

What is the Lean Drug?

Lean Drug | Recovery by the Sea

Lean is a liquid drug “cocktail” that consists of prescription cold medication, a soft drink such as Sprite, and hard candy. It’s also known as purple drank, purple lean, and sizzurp, among other names.

The prescription cough syrups contained in the lean drug typically contain codeine, an opioid that is used as a cough suppressant but can also produce pain relieving and sedating effects. The antihistamine promethazine is another potential ingredient, and can also cause sedation and the impairment of motor functions.

When codeine is consumed in large amounts, it can result in extremely harmful effects. Because the drug is in the form of a drinkable liquid, consumers can quickly lose track of how much of the psychoactive ingredients they have consumed. This is mainly due to the cough syrup’s flavor being masked by soda and candy, and this is where the real danger lies.

Also, the combination known as lean or purple drank has been touted as a desirable high by several celebrities, most notably musicians such as Lil Wayne and Justin Bieber. While lean’s “cool” media presence may compel young people to use, the reality is, even those who have been credited with making the concoction famous have suffered from health problems -for example, Lil Wayne reportedly began having seizures several years ago after a long history of lean abuse.

Lean Drug | Recovery by the Sea

There have been a view notable celebrity deaths associated with lean, as well. In November 2000, DJ Screw, who popularized the drink, died of a codeine-promethazine-alcohol overdose. Then in October 2007, Big Moe, a DJ Screw protégé who has been described as having “rapped obsessively about the drug” died at age 33, after suffering a heart attack, and it was believed that purple drank may have played a key role in his death.

Side Effects of the Lean Drug

Side effects may gradually increase as a person drinks an increasing amount of lean. First-time users, however, may also experience unpleasant side effects such as dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, and memory impairment.

The routine use of purple drank can also cause widespread health issues. Individuals who drink lean on a regular basis report suffering from tooth decay and other dental problems, constipation, unwanted weight gain, and urinary tract infections.

People who engage in prolonged abuse of purple drank or use the drug in a sufficiently large amount may also experience life-threatening complications such as an overdose, particularly when its used in combination with other depressant drugs or alcohol.

Lean Drug Addiction

Codeine, an opioid, the psychoactive ingredient in purple lean is behind its desirable yet hazardous effects. Opioids are a class of drugs linked to an extremely high rate of abuse and dependence.

The incredibly addictive nature of opioids is due, in part, to the rewarding and pleasant effects that they induce, including euphoria, relief from anxiety, and decreased aggression.

Because codeine is legal when prescribed and many people use it to manage coughing or pain legitimately, it’s challenging to track rates of abuse and addiction. The chronic abuse of opioids, however, can result in the development of drug tolerance or dependence. As tolerance builds, people often find themselves needing to use increasing amounts of the drug to experience the coveted effects.

This increase in drug-using behavior can be the catalyst for the development of physiological dependence. Opioid-dependent persons are then likely to suffer from a wide range of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to discontinue drug use. In the early stages of withdrawal from an addictive drug, the person may experience:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Agitation
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Teary eyes and a runny nose
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Sweating

If a person has used purple drank for a prolonged period or in very high doses, they may experience more intense withdrawal effects, including nausea and vomiting, stomach cramps, and diarrhea.

To avoid, stop, or postpone withdrawal symptoms, people addicted to the lean drug will often relapse, or return to consuming the drink or other opioid drugs, thus perpetuating an endless cycle of abuse that can devastate their mental and physical health.

Treatment for Codeine Addiction

Because withdrawal symptoms caused by codeine addiction can be so unpleasant, many patients opt for an inpatient detox and then immediately transfer to an addiction treatment program.

Treatment is comprised of two formats or phases: inpatient and intensive outpatient treatment. Both include evidence-based approaches to substance abuse treatment including behavioral therapy, individual and family counseling, and support groups.

During treatment, medical and mental health staff who specialize in addiction care for patients and provide them with the skills they need to navigate a drug-free life after treatment has been completed.

At our center, we can help you regain your life free of addiction to drugs and alcohol. Please call us as soon as possible to find out how!

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.

We Accept Most Insurance Plans!