What Is Medical Detox? & Other Types of Drug Detox Programs

Drug detox is the process by which the body rids itself of toxic substances. Detoxing from drugs and alcohol is never easy, and in some situations, withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and even deadly. Medical detox, also known as medically monitored detox, is the safest way for most people to withdrawal from long-term dependence on drugs and/or alcohol. 

What is Medical Detox?

When you stop using drugs and alcohol after repeated long-term abuse, your body must readjust since it has become accustomed to the substance. Depending on the type of substance abuse, users may experience a variety of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea and vomiting, headaches, tremors, fatigue, or flu-like symptoms. 

Medical detox is a type of drug detox program that uses prescription medication to aid in the detoxification process and help with withdrawal symptoms. Although detox is the all-important first step in the recovery process, the thought of getting through withdrawal is discouraging, especially when you aren’t sure what to expect. If you’re worried that withdrawal will be too difficult, a medically monitored detox program ensures that the process is as safe and comfortable as possible.  

How Medical Drug Detox Programs Keep You Safe

The goal of a medical detox program is to ensure withdrawal takes place in a safe, controlled environment. Your vital signs will be checked regularly, and you’ll likely receive medications to help with a variety of withdrawal symptoms such as cravings, nausea, or severe anxiety. If necessary, you’ll receive meds to lower your blood pressure or to stave off the possibility of seizures.

Medically monitored detox often takes place at an inpatient medical detox facility, where you’ll have attention from trained staff around the clock until you get through the worst part of detox. Some inpatient rehabs have on-site drug detox centers, or you may be referred to an independent detox center or clinic. 

If you’re deemed high-risk, a hospital or psychiatric center provides a higher level of medical attention. 

How Long Does Medically Monitored Detox Take?

In general, most substances clear your body in eight days or less. However, there is no predetermined timeline for drug detox, and the length of medical detox varies depending on the type of substance (or substances), how much you’ve used, your health, age, and gender.  Keep in mind that some withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, or insomnia, may take weeks or months to resolve. 

Once you complete a medical detox, it’s critical to get into a good treatment program. Although detox is a huge accomplishment, it doesn’t address the problems that prompted you to turn to drugs or alcohol in the first place. You may feel great when the toxic substance has left your body, but without treatment, the risk of relapse is high. Look into drug detox centers that offer multiple types of rehabilitation programs and mental health services

What is Rapid Medical Detox?

People who undergo rapid medical detox are sedated under general anesthesia and will be asleep during the worst symptoms of withdrawal. Ultra-rapid detox is similar, but the process of withdrawal is even faster because the patient is given a drug to speed up withdrawal. 

Although rapid medical detox is touted as a quicker, easier method of detoxing from drugs or alcohol, it’s controversial. Many medical professionals feel it is no more efficient than standard detox. They are concerned that the risks may outweigh the benefits, especially for people with liver or heart disease or other health concerns. 

Also, even though rapid medical detox will get you through the worst symptoms, withdrawal doesn’t magically end. You may still experience pain, nausea, or severe cravings. Rapid detox can also aggravate depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems.

What Is Non-Medical Detox?

You may be a candidate for non-medical detox if you are in relatively good health, and your withdrawal symptoms are expected to be mild to moderate. However, it’s essential that the drug detox center staff is trained in CPR and first aid, and that your vital signs are monitored. If you need a higher level of care, you’ll be transferred to a medical detox clinic or hospital. 

Why At-Home Detox is Usually a Bad Idea

At-home detox without professional help is risky. Detoxing from alcohol is unsafe because you may experience dangerous withdrawal symptoms like delirium tremens, high blood pressure, hallucinations, seizures, or heart failure. Similarly, benzodiazepines (benzos) should be tapered gradually with the guidance of a physician. Stopping cold turkey may lead to nausea and vomiting, panic attacks, hallucinations, racing heart, seizures, and other dangerous symptoms. 

Stopping stimulants on your own is also unsafe, mainly due to the risk of anxiety, mood swings, and severe depression. Stopping heroin and other opiates usually isn’t life-threatening, but withdrawal is extremely unpleasant. 

Also, keep in mind that severe withdrawal symptoms may derail your attempts at getting clean. You’re more likely to complete an alcohol or drug detox program if you have professional support.

How to Detox Your Body from Drugs: Detoxing at Home

If your addiction isn’t severe and you think withdrawal symptoms will be mild, talk to your health-care provider before deciding to try detoxing at home. She may prescribe medications to help with vomiting and other difficult symptoms, and will help you determine if gradual detox, or tapering, is safer in your particular situation. 

The following suggestions may help as you detox your body from drugs:

  • Arrange for treatment or rehab before you begin, then get started as soon as you feel able. 
  • It’s critical that you have support from friends or family, and that somebody is with you around the clock. Never attempt to detox alone. 
  • Eat light, healthy meals, especially if you feel queasy.
  • Stay hydrated, as dehydration can lead to heart failure and other serious health complications. 
  • Avoid caffeine and sugar as much as possible; both can worsen anxiety and insomnia.
  • Call for help immediately if withdrawal is harder than you anticipated. Remember that addiction isn’t a sign of weakness, and detox is challenging, even if you’re young, strong, and healthy.

If you’re deciding between at-home and medical detox, determining the severity of potential withdrawal symptoms is a good place to start.

Medical Detox: A Safer, More Comfortable Way to Get Clean

Detoxing from drugs and alcohol isn’t easy and there are no simple answers. However, medically monitored detox ensures the process is as safe and comfortable as possible. Call 1st Step Behavioral Health at 855-425-4846, or contact us here for more information, and we’ll help you decide your best course of action.  

IOP vs PHP: Comparing Treatment Types

A decision to enter treatment for drug and alcohol addiction will change life for the better, but figuring out the alphabet soup of program options and sorting through the various choices is always challenging. For example, IOP vs PHP. What is IOP treatment, what is PHP treatment, and what’s the difference? These two forms of substance abuse treatment share much in common, but the differences are significant. 

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) vs Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) and Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) are two types of outpatient substance abuse treatment options. Both offer higher levels of care than standard outpatient treatment, and both are less intensive than inpatient (residential) treatment programs. While standard outpatient treatment is typically the most expensive, IOP and PHP both tend to be less expensive than inpatient rehabilitation treatment.

What is PHP Treatment?

PHP stands for Partial Hospitalization Program, sometimes known as day treatment or rehab. PHP treatment isn’t right for everybody, but it often fills the bill for people who need more care than traditional outpatient treatment can provide. Depending on the specific PHP program, you may reside in community-based housing provided by the treatment center, or you may go home every evening.

PHP treatment is often a step-down for people who have successfully completed inpatient treatment but aren’t ready for the stresses and demands of regular day-to-day life. 

Because PHP treatment programs are flexible, they also work well for people with less severe addictions who don’t need intensive treatment or around-the-clock care.

What is IOP Treatment?

IOP stands for Intensive Outpatient Program. With IOP, the time commitment isn’t as significant as PHP, and participants go home every night. 

IOP treatment programs work well for people who realize they need substance abuse treatment but are unable to leave work for an extended time, or those who need to keep their treatment private. It can also be part of a gradual step-down approach to treatment, such as inpatient treatment followed by partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and lastly to standard outpatient. 

What’s the Difference Between Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient? 

The main difference between PHP and IOP is the number of hours and days spent in treatment. Although programs vary depending on the treatment provider, people who choose PHP receive treatment for 20 to 35 hours per week. For instance, a person might attend treatment for six hours per day, five to seven days per week.  

Typically, a person who chooses IOP receives approximately nine hours of treatment per week, generally three hours per day for three days per week, usually during the mornings or evenings, or on weekends. The flexibility of IOP is helpful for people who have family obligations, or who need to continue with work or school while still receiving a fairly high level of treatment. 

Detox Programs Vary between PHP and IOP

Partial hospitalization programs may include detox when withdrawal symptoms are mild or moderate. Medical detox at a specialized facility is more appropriate for people with severe addictions that must be monitored around the clock to prevent cardiac arrest or seizures. 

Most intensive outpatient programs require that you detox before beginning treatment, but they will refer you to a detox clinic or hospital if needed. 

Typical Addiction Treatments at PHP and IOP

Both forms of substance abuse treatment generally include various types of individual therapy, as well as addiction education, aftercare planning, and relapse prevention; however, PHP tends to be more demanding and in-depth. Both rely heavily on group treatment. 

Family and close friends are encouraged to be part of your treatment. You’ll also receive care for mental health issues, and you’ll have access to medical care.  

Some partial hospitalization programs include medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which combines counseling with medicines such as methadone, Suboxone, or bupropion that can help control cravings or block the effects of drugs. Although programs vary widely, IOP programs are typically less intensive and don’t usually include MAT. 

Otherwise, PHP and IOP treatment are much like residential treatment, and depending on the provider, may offer nutritional counseling, vocational counseling, or other specialized forms of treatment. You may be encouraged to take part in a 12-Step program. 

The length of treatment varies widely and depends on your needs, but a stay of 90 days is typical. 

PHP or IOP: Which is Best for Me?

Partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient may work best if:

  • You have a dependable network of supportive friends and family.
  • Your home life is safe and stable.
  • You are strongly motivated and committed to your treatment.
  • You are in good physical health.
  • You have no severe mental health issues.
  • You do well in group settings.
  • You don’t need medically supervised detox.
  • You can manage cravings on your own for part of each day.

IOP is suitable for people with less intensive needs, and may NOT be appropriate if:

  • You have experienced multiple relapses.
  • Previous attempts at PHP or IOP have failed.
  • You have severe depression, anxiety, or other serious mental health issues.
  • Your addiction is severe or long-term.
  • You require formal detox for severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • Your cravings are difficult to manage.
  • You’re worried about your ability to cope with stress and triggers.
  • You need medical supervision.

Choosing between IOP vs PHP

If you haven’t been to drug and alcohol treatment before, an addiction professional can assess your situation and help you determine the level of treatment that will work best for you. If your addiction is severe, if you’ve overdosed in the past, or have had frequent relapses, you may need inpatient or residential treatment. 

Similarly, if you’re “graduating” from inpatient treatment, an assessment will determine if you’re ready to re-enter your regular life, or if you need the more gradual, step-down approach from inpatient to PHP, to IOP, and then to outpatient treatment and/or a Twelve-Step program.

Most importantly, keep in mind that a decision to enter PHP or IOP isn’t a sign of weakness, but merely an admission you still have work to do. Both will provide essential support as you continue to cope with cravings and risk of relapse. 

Take the Next Step

At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we’ll connect you with experts that will determine the best substance abuse treatment option that will work best for you. The sooner you begin, the sooner you can get your life back on track. Give us a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information.

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms: Don’t Detox Alone

Methadone is an effective drug that has helped thousands of people stop using heroin and other opiates over the last few decades. Methadone helps with addiction because it works slowly, produces no euphoria, and effectively blocks the effects of narcotics. 

It may seem weird that a drug used to treat addiction can be habit-forming, but methadone is actually a milder, less intense type of opioid drug. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified methadone as a Schedule II drug, which means it has a high potential for abuse and addiction. This is why it is dispensed only in specialized clinics where use is carefully monitored. Unfortunately, methadone has found its way to the black market. 

If methadone has become a problem for you, you may be tempted to detox cold turkey. However, methadone withdrawal symptoms can be challenging, especially if you stop suddenly. Detox should be carried out gradually with the guidance of a physician or an addiction treatment professional.

The experts at 1st Step Behavioral Health can provide specifics about getting off methadone safely. 

Short-term Methadone Use for Opiate Withdrawal

Despite the potential dangers, methadone is relatively safe when used correctly, and many people continue to use it for years. However, methadone is sometimes used for short periods to block or reduce heroin withdrawal symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, bone and muscle pain, and chills. 

Short-term methadone use, usually about three weeks, is long enough to help with detox, but not long enough to develop an unhealthy dependence and usually not long enough to experience uncomfortable methadone withdrawal symptoms. 

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms Can Be Intense 

After stopping long-term use, methadone withdrawal symptoms generally start about 24 to 36 hours after the last dose and peak in four to six days. Symptoms of methadone withdrawal may include: 

  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Aching bones and muscles
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Stomach cramps, nausea, and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Trembling or shivering
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Backaches
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability

How Long do Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

Side effects of methadone withdrawal can last longer than withdrawal from heroin because methadone works slowly and remains in the bloodstream longer. As a general rule, severe methadone withdrawal symptoms diminish substantially in eight to ten days or less. You may, however, experience insomnia, restlessness, irritability, and fatigue for weeks, or even months. 

Stopping methadone in a step-down, or taper fashion can significantly lessen the severity of methadone withdrawal symptoms. Your physician may recommend that you reduce doses gradually for two or three weeks, or he may advise extending the tapering period.

Can Methadone Withdrawal Cause Death?

Although the effects of methadone withdrawal are rarely life-threatening, stopping the drug suddenly can lead to medical problems that may need immediate attention. For instance, diarrhea, vomiting, and excessive sweating can lead to severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. 

In severe cases, dehydration and electrolyte imbalance may lead to irregular heartbeat, muscle spasms, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, and sometimes seizures or coma. It’s also possible to aspirate vomit into the lungs, which may lead to serious lung infections. 

A physician will help you lower the dose gradually, which will lessen the severity of methadone withdrawal symptoms while preventing dehydration and other serious health problems.

Which Withdrawal Is Worse: Methadone Or Suboxone?

If you want to stop using methadone but you’re concerned about the side effects of methadone withdrawal symptoms, you may want to talk to your physician about switching from methadone to Suboxone. 

Methadone and Suboxone are both helpful in the battle against addiction, and one isn’t necessarily better than the other. Some people prefer Suboxone because it’s available by prescription, and you can take it at home. On the other hand, Suboxone is more expensive than methadone.

Your doctor can explain the pros and cons of switching from methadone to Suboxone, and they can help you devise a schedule for changing from one to the other. 

Methadone, Subutex, or Suboxone: What’s the Difference?

Methadone is a powerful opioid drug that helps by reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms without producing a rush. It remains in the bloodstream longer than heroin, which stabilizes people and eliminates rapid cycles of use and withdrawal. Unfortunately, getting off methadone is extremely unpleasant.

Suboxone, like Subutex, contains buprenorphine, which reduces cravings and withdrawal. The difference is that Suboxone also contains naloxone, which blocks the effects of opioid drugs, thus reducing the potential that Suboxone users will become addicted. 

While it’s still possible to become addicted to Suboxone, the risk is relatively low when it is used correctly.

Using Subutex For Methadone Withdrawal

Subutex is the brand name for buprenorphine, a medication commonly used to help with addiction to opioid drugs, including methadone. Although Subutex is an opioid with effects similar to methadone, any feelings of euphoria are milder and more manageable.  

The goal of Subutex therapy is to minimize cravings and other painful withdrawal symptoms so the addicted person can successfully engage in treatment. Once in treatment, it becomes possible to deal with compulsive behavior, stress, and loss of control. 

Subutex can help people wean off methadone, but it isn’t a perfect solution. Although the high created by Subutex is less pronounced, and the risk of misuse is lessened, the feelings of wellbeing can still lead to addiction. It’s also possible to experience withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe if you stop using Subutex abruptly. Tapering Subutex gradually, with the assistance of a medical provider, is preferable.

Methadone Withdrawal Help is Available: Call Today 

While getting off methadone is never easy, methadone withdrawal management is safer and more comfortable at an outpatient treatment center or rehab. At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we can help you or a loved one overcome a dependence on methadone. Our team of addiction professionals can come up with a gradual treatment plan, and counseling can reduce the risk of relapse. Give us a call today at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information. We’ll help you explore the various options for getting off methadone safely. 

Cocaine drug in resealable bag

3 Common Signs of Crack Cocaine Use

Although there are many signs of crack use, dramatically increased energy levels and noticeable facial changes are common red flags. Drug paraphernalia and a distinctive, unpleasant odor are also signs of a person using crack. 

What is Crack and How Is It Different From Cocaine?

Although crack and cocaine are both derived from the cocoa plant, cocaine is the drug in a powdered form. To make crack, cocaine powder is mixed with water and another substance, typically baking soda. The mixture is boiled, solidified, and broken into small, uneven chunks that pop and crackle when hot. 

Cocaine is usually snorted. While crack can be injected, it is typically smoked or inhaled. Both are dangerous, highly addictive drugs that ravage the mind and body very quickly, and both can lead to many serious effects, including stroke, seizures, and cardiac arrest.

Although crack is substantially less expensive than regular cocaine, it becomes very costly when the brain becomes accustomed (or tolerant) to the drug and increasingly larger doses of crack are needed to achieve the desired high. 

3 Common Signs of Crack Cocaine Use

We’ve talked about the three common signs cocaine use, but there are also three common signs of a person using crack that are easy to recognize:

1. Changes in Energy Level

Crack belongs to a class of drugs known as stimulants, which includes illegal drugs such as meth, ecstasy, and cocaine. Legal stimulants include prescription medications like Dexedrine, Adderall, and Ritalin, as well as tobacco, energy drinks, and caffeine. 

All stimulants dramatically increase energy levels and bring on behavioral changes such as hyperactivity, increased alertness, and nervousness. A surplus of energy may cause unusual shaking or fidgeting.

A person under the influence of crack may be more talkative than usual, and speech may be fast or rambling. Increased energy can also show up as irritability, anger, volatile changes in mood, and unpredictable, erratic or bizarre behavior.

2. Physical Signs of Crack Use: Facial Changes

General changes may seem relatively insignificant at first, but regular or long-term crack cocaine users may look puffy and bloated, or they may look pale, haggard, or emaciated due to rapid weight loss, poor nutrition, and lack of sleep. It’s common for regular users of crack to appear sick, worn out, and much older than their years.  

Dilated pupils are one of the most common physical signs of crack use, but you may also notice:

  • Puffiness
  • Muscle twitches and facial tics
  • Red, runny, or bloody nose
  • Inflamed nostrils
  • White powder around the nostrils,
  • Burns or blisters on the mouth or lips

When a person seeks treatment for a crack addiction and the drug leaves the body, overall health improves, and most outward signs of crack abuse are resolved. 

3. Recognizing Paraphernalia

The U.S. Department of Justice defines paraphernalia as “any equipment used to produce, conceal, and consume illegal drugs.” Items used to smoke crack can be challenging to identify because they are often commonly found around the house. 

Smoking crack delivers the drug to the lungs quickly. Smoking usually involves glass pipes with a bulb on one end, or simple glass tubes, often with a wad of steel wool to let the smoke filter through without burning the mouth. With use, crack pipes will have burn marks and smoke residue.

Also, look for makeshift devices with burn marks. For instance, if pipes or other paraphernalia aren’t available, a regular light bulb makes a good substitute. The inner workings of the bulb are removed. The crack is placed inside the glass bulb and then heated from the outside with a cigarette lighter. 

Freebasing crack

Freebasing is one of the most common ways of smoking cocaine or crack, producing an intense rush of pleasure. This method involves melting the crack to form a vapor, which is inhaled. People who freebase crack may place the crack on a piece of tin foil, heat it from below and inhale the vapors with a straw or hollow pen. Foil used for freebasing is often wadded-up, and will probably burn marks.

Injecting crack

Crack cocaine is usually smoked or freebased, but it can also be injected, often by heating the crack in the bowl of a spoon. A hypodermic needle is inserted into the warm liquid before it is injected.

Crack users are often creative when it comes to containers, which might include small plastic bags, empty lipstick containers, pill bottles, empty cigarette packs, or breath mint containers. 

What Does Smoking Crack Smell Like?

Does crack have a smell? If you’re concerned that somebody you love is using crack, this is likely one of your first questions. Crack has a distinctive smell, and it isn’t pleasant. 

Keep in mind that smoking crack smells nothing like smoking pot. Marijuana plants have an earthy, somewhat “skunky” odor that intensifies as the plant gets larger, and gets even stronger when it’s smoked. The aroma, which varies somewhat depending on the strain, has also been compared to the odor of burning rope. 

The odor of crack, on the other hand, is difficult to distinguish from meth. Many people say that crack smells like burning rubber. Others use even more descriptive terms to describe the odor of crack, such as burning chemicals, melted plastic, stale body odor, car exhaust, vomit, fingernail polish remover, or burning hair. The odor can cling to clothing and may cause the breath to smell sour. 

Hope and Help for Crack Abuse and Addiction

Crack cocaine is so potent and habit-forming that recreational or casual use generally isn’t possible. Even a single use begins the process of addiction in the mind and body. Behavioral and physical signs of crack use are dramatic and frightening, but the good news is that even long-term users can recover and enjoy a life free of crack and other drugs. 

If you or somebody you love is abusing crack, quality treatment offers the best hope of long-term sobriety and a return to overall health and wellness. Call 1st Step at 855-425-4846, or contact us here for more information.

meth-psychosis

Understanding Meth Psychosis Symptoms and Recovery

Crystal meth is a powerful drug that can bring on many dangerous side effects, including crystal meth psychosis. This severe mental disorder is characterized by delusions, hallucinations, and a loss of contact with reality. 

Although more research is needed, experts estimate that roughly 40 percent of users addicted to meth will experience meth psychosis symptoms. Although anybody who uses crystal meth can develop psychosis, chronic users are most at risk.

The good news is that with treatment, most people with meth psychosis can recover and move on with their lives. 

Why Does Meth Cause Psychosis?

Crystal meth travels to the brain quickly, triggering a sudden flood of dopamine, a neurotransmitter known as the brain’s natural “feel good” chemical. The result is a sudden rush of intense pleasure. 

When the burst of dopamine is depleted, the rush fades, and the brain wants more meth to recapture the good feelings. In time, meth begins to lose its effectiveness, and larger, more frequent doses are needed. 

When meth short-circuits the brain, the resulting chemical upset may cause crystal meth psychosis.

What is Meth-Induced Psychosis?

Crystal meth users are at risk of many dangerous side-effects, but psychosis is one of the most frightening. People with crystal meth psychosis may lose touch with reality, and it becomes difficult to determine what’s real and what isn’t. 

Meth psychosis typically occurs a few months after starting the drug, or after several years of chronic use. However, it’s possible for meth psychosis symptoms to show up the first time meth is used.

Who Is Most Likely to Get Crystal-Meth Psychosis?

People with a family history of schizophrenia or other serious mental health problems are more susceptible to meth-induced psychosis, and meth can worsen symptoms in a person who already has schizophrenia. However, anybody who uses meth can develop meth psychosis symptoms, including those with absolutely no history of mental illness.

Although more research is needed, several studies suggest that people who were abused as children may be more susceptible to meth-induced psychosis.

How to Recognize Meth Psychosis Symptoms

People displaying crystal meth psychosis symptoms may have hallucinations —hearing, feeling, or seeing things that aren’t there. They may find it difficult and confusing to sort out what is real and what isn’t. 

For instance, it’s common for people with meth psychosis to experience a sensation of bugs crawling under their skin (commonly known as meth bugs, meth mites, or crank bugs. They may develop scabs or sores from scratching at the imaginary bugs.

A psychotic person may have delusions or strong, implausible beliefs that aren’t based on reality. They may exhibit severe paranoia, and they may be convinced that someone is out to get them. They may think they’re being tricked, laughed at, spied on, or followed. 

Other common symptoms of crystal meth psychosis may include:

  • Increased energy
  • Uncontrollable rage, anger, or hostility
  • Aggressive or hostile behavior 
  • Erratic or unpredictable behavior
  • Agitation or jumpiness
  • Incoherent or nonsensical speech
  • Poor impulse control
  • An overblown sense of self-importance
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Early Symptoms of Meth Psychosis

Crystal meth psychosis doesn’t usually happen all at once, and symptoms tend to come on gradually. If you’re a meth user and you recognize the early signs of meth psychosis, timely treatment can help before symptoms are out of control. If someone you love is exhibiting meth psychosis symptoms, encourage them to seek treatment as soon as possible. 

  • Difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly.
  • Unusual or sudden decline in personal hygiene
  • Moodiness
  • Inappropriate or absent emotions
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Withdrawal from friends and family

How Long Does Meth Psychosis Last?

It’s impossible to predict how long crystal meth psychosis will last. Symptoms may occur during meth use, and they may resolve as soon the drug wears off. They are also a common symptom of withdrawal from crystal meth. 

Meth psychosis may continue for a few hours or days, or for weeks or months. Psychosis may be limited to a single episode with no recurrence, or symptoms may reoccur, even after years of abstinence, often as a response to severe stress.  

Treatment for Meth-Induced Psychosis

Inpatient or residential treatment is recommended for people with crystal meth psychosis. A suitable treatment center will have a team of professionals experienced with the assessment and treatment of psychosis. 

Medically-supervised detox with around-the-clock monitoring is usually the first step. Withdrawal symptoms can be difficult, but they will gradually subside as the body readjusts.

While there are no specific medications for meth addiction, antipsychotic meds such as Haldol (haloperidol), Seroquel (quetiapine), and Zyprexa (olanzapine) are often prescribed to treat the symptoms of meth psychosis. Other medications may be prescribed to help with depression or anxiety.

Behavioral therapy, typically consisting of one-on-one counseling and group treatment, is highly effective for meth addiction and psychosis. Both promote the development of coping skills, problem-solving, and management of harmful and destructive thoughts. 

Most treatment centers also offer treatment and education that helps families support their loved one. A well-developed aftercare plan will help prevent relapse and promote long-term meth psychosis recovery. Meth psychosis treatment usually includes assistance or referrals for people who need help with medical problems, housing, legal issues, or employment. 

If Someone You Know Experiences Meth Psychosis

Remember that the primary focus is convincing your loved one to seek treatment. Be encouraging, reassuring, and hopeful, and never critical or judgmental. Most importantly, be calm. If tempers rise, try again after you both have time to cool off. 

Offer to help your friend find a treatment center, or accompany him to a mental health center or emergency room. Don’t give up. Getting through may take several attempts.

Convincing a psychotic person to enter treatment is never easy. Sometimes, it’s wisest to ask for professional help from a counselor or addiction professional. People under the influence of meth are frequently unpredictable and may be angry, aggressive, or violent. Call 911 immediately if your friend is suicidal, or if you’re concerned about your safety. 

Get Help For Crystal Meth Addiction

Treatment offers the best hope of recovery from crystal meth psychosis and addiction, but please don’t wait. Our team of experts is ready to answer questions and discuss options for treatment. Give us a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information.

suboxone-opiate-replacement-therapy-label

How to Cope With Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms: Taper vs. Detox

With the growing prescription opioid epidemic, medications such as Suboxone are being used regularly as opioid replacement therapy (ORT) to combat some of the uncomfortable and challenging withdrawal symptoms. However, Suboxone is addictive too, so if the medication is misused or abused and a person tries to come off it, they may experience daunting Suboxone withdrawal symptoms.   

If you’re struggling with an addiction to Suboxone, it’ll help you to learn about what you may experience withdrawal-wise when you taper off the drug. Symptoms can be harsh, but they’re usually not dangerous – especially if you’re working with an addiction specialist when tapering off Suboxone.

What Is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a prescription medication that’s used to treat those who have become dependent upon or addicted to opioids, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, or morphine. It’s well known for reducing some of the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms associated with stopping the use of opioids – especially cravings.

What is Suboxone made of?

Composed of buprenorphine, which is also an opioid medication, and naloxone, which blocks the euphoric or relaxed effect of opioids, Suboxone makes it harder for someone to feel the opioid high in the brain that they’d typically feel.  

If used as a prescription for drug addiction, Suboxone can help people get their life back on track, especially if they couple the medication with effective counseling and a supportive network.

Common Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

If you’ve become addicted to Suboxone as a result of getting off an opioid or abusing the drug, you’ll likely face Suboxone withdrawal symptoms if you want to quit. The biggest obstacle when it comes to the effects of Suboxone withdrawal is the chance of relapsing. Though some experts believe that relapse may be a part of recovery, if you’re taking Suboxone as a maintenance drug for opioid addiction and relapse, you run the risk of overdose due to a decreased tolerance.

Therefore, it’s important that you stay committed to your treatment plan and work closely with your doctor in terms of your Suboxone treatment. Should you decide to stop using it, note that a Suboxone taper is recommended, as cutting it out cold turkey can be dangerous. 

Tapering off Suboxone

A taper is a gradual reduction of the medication.When tapering off Suboxone, you’ll likely experience various Suboxone withdrawal symptoms, such as:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Flu-like symptoms, such as chills, fever, runny nose, and body aches
  • Dilated pupils
  • Anxiety
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Nausea
  • Stomach cramps
  • Diarrhea and/or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Mood swings

How Long Does Suboxone Withdrawal Last?

When does Suboxone withdrawal start and how long does it last? The intensity and length of Suboxone withdrawal symptoms will vary depending on factors such as:

  • The dosage you’ve been taking
  • How long you’ve been using the drug
  • Your state of emotional or mental health
  • Level of support
  • Multiple drug use
  • Age

Symptoms may also depend on the taper schedule you and your doctor have agreed upon. By tapering off the drug, your withdrawal symptoms should be less intense.

Typically, you’ll start to experience some mild Suboxone withdrawal symptoms in the first couple of days of your taper, including flu-like symptoms. Your symptoms may peak around days four or five. Within a week to a week and a half, the physical symptoms may subside, but psychological symptoms of tapering off Suboxone can continue for weeks or perhaps months if the addiction was severe.

How To Taper Off Suboxone

The safest way to cope with Suboxone withdrawal is to work with a doctor to create a taper schedule. Again, tapering means to reduce the dose over time, as this can help reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms.

Short vs. long-term Suboxone taper

There are different opinions on whether a short or long Suboxone taper schedule is better. Some feel that the shorter, seven-day taper is best when it comes to getting through the brunt of Suboxone withdrawal symptoms quickly. Others feel that a 28-day taper is better for the patient in terms of a gentler withdrawal. Either way, it’s important to have your doctor monitor your vitals consistently.

You can taper off Suboxone in an inpatient or outpatient environment, depending on the level of care you need. When working with your doctor, you’ll likely create a tapering schedule that’s specifically designed for you depending on the level of addiction. Your doctor may also prescribe additional non-opioid medications that may help reduce Suboxone withdrawal symptoms.  

Tips For How To Cope With Suboxone Withdrawal Symptoms

In addition to working with a doctor or addiction specialist regarding a Suboxone taper schedule, there are other things you do to help reduce Suboxone withdrawal symptoms, including the following:

  • Stay connected with your doctor or counselor during your withdrawal period. Be open and honest with them about your symptoms and concerns.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Eat healthy foods that nourish your body.
  • Exercise regularly, such as brisk walking, yoga, bike riding, etc.
  • Try deep breathing, mindfulness, or meditation to help reduce anxiety.
  • Attend a support group regularly, such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
  • Start creating a new kind of life for yourself, including routines and hobbies.
  • Spend time each day encouraging and/or motivating yourself toward success. Listen to podcasts, watch videos, read books, etc.

Options for Long-Term Suboxone Treatment

The best way to cope with Suboxone withdrawal symptoms is to reach out for professional help from those who specialize in addiction treatment. Whether you enroll in a residential treatment center and receive around-the-clock care, or you commit to an outpatient program where you attend sessions and return home, know that there are addiction experts ready and willing to assist you in getting free from opioid addiction.

To help prevent relapse, create a long-term treatment plan with an addiction specialist or doctor. Discuss how you will continue to have support in the weeks and months ahead. Consider attending a support group or seeing a therapist to help with any lingering psychological withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety or depression.

If you’re struggling with Suboxone addiction or an addiction to another opioid, consider reaching out. Give us a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information.

picture of meth to illustrate long term effects of use

Short and Long-Term Side Effects of Meth Use and Addiction

Crystal meth is a powerful stimulant that increases levels of dopamine, a brain chemical associated with motivation and reward. Because the feelings of euphoria are so pleasurable, it’s natural for the brain to want more. The problem is that crystal meth is highly addictive and incredibly toxic. The short and long-term effects of meth use are extremely harmful — and can often result in death. 

How to Detect Meth Use

Behavioral signs of crystal meth use are usually easy to spot. Common signs of meth use may include sweating, dilated pupils, constant talking, paranoia, and erratic or fidgety behavior (“tweaking”). However, one of the most easily recognizable symptoms of crystal meth use is dramatic weight loss. Since meth is a stimulant, it speeds up both the heart rate and a person’s metabolism, causing them to burn fat and calories more quickly.

Side Effects of Short-term Meth Use

Some short-term side effects of meth can be deadly, even in small doses, while others may fade relatively quickly if meth is stopped. Symptoms of short-term meth use may include:

  • Increased energy and self-confidence
  • Irregular or rapid heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Confusion
  • Decreased appetite
  • Panic attacks
  • Irritability
  • Erratic or bizarre behavior
  • Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea

Long-term Side Effects of Meth Use

The long-term side effects of meth use can very, but most often include addiction, changes in appearance, and neurological damage.  

Increased Tolerance, Which Can Lead to Addiction

One of the dangers of meth use, especially long-term crystal meth use, is the development of a tolerance. Developing a tolerance means that each time the drug is taken, it loses effectiveness and doesn’t provide the desired high. Larger or more frequent doses of crystal meth are needed to get the desired results, or people may switch from snorting it to consuming it in a faster-acting method, such as smoking or injecting. This dangerous cycle usually doesn’t stop until the user overdoses, or until they’re able to get into some kind of treatment program.  

Crystal Meth tolerance, which typically builds up over weeks or months, often leads to a full-fledged addiction. A person who is addicted to meth is unable to stop or cut down despite serious negative consequences. 

Getting clean off crystal meth triggers unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, often beginning with extreme fatigue, anxiety, panic, stomach cramps, sweating, and severe depression. Early crystal meth withdrawal is typically followed by difficult symptoms like intense cravings, hallucinations, delusions, confusion, mood swings, aches and pains, tremor, agitation, increased appetite, and cravings for sweet or high-carb food. 

After three or four weeks, the majority of crystal meth withdrawal symptoms diminish. However, fatigue, anxiety, and depression may not subside for several months. 

Early Aging and Changes in Appearance

Scabs and skin sores are another common side effect of meth use. This happens when a user incessantly picks or scratches to stop the sensation that bugs are crawling under the skin. Hair may fall out or become patchy, and users may appear gaunt, old, or frail due to extreme weight loss and malnutrition.

Frequent or long-term meth use causes “meth mouth,” consisting of tooth decay, broken teeth, and tooth loss due to poor oral hygiene, dry mouth, teeth grinding, and consumption of sugary beverages. Meth users may also develop premature osteoporosis, which is associated with bone weakening and increased risk of brittle or broken bones.

Neurological Damage

Unfortunately, brain damage from meth use is all too common. Long-term meth use causes a decrease in the number of neurons in the brain, which results in symptoms similar to those of severe head injuries.  

The brain is resilient, and some damage is reversed after long-term sobriety, depending on the length and amount of meth used. However, heavy or long-term meth users — those who go on long binges or those with pre-existing mental illness — may experience more severe brain damage.

NIDA (National Institute on Drug Addiction) reports that as they get older, crystal meth users may be at increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, an incurable nervous disorder that causes muscle stiffness and trembling hands. 

Other neurological side effects of meth use may also include:

  • Severe psychiatric disorders, such as hallucinations, paranoia, or repetitive movements
  • Difficulty focusing, paying attention, solving problems, and remembering
  • Mood swings, depression, or loss of motivation
  • Irritability, aggression, and the possibility of suicidal or homicidal thoughts

Other Side Effects of Meth Use on the Body

Aside from the main three side effects of meth use described above, there are other health concerns to be aware of:

Cardiovascular system issues

Crystal meth places a great deal of stress on the cardiovascular system. Users may experience rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, chest pain, shortness of breath, and inflammation of the lining of the heart. Constriction of the veins and blood vessels can cause blood clots that may rupture. Heart attack and stroke are always possible. 

Organ damage

Smoking meth causes toxins to travel directly to the lungs, where reduced blood flow can cause severe lung damage. An extreme elevation of body temperature may cause the kidneys to shut down. The liver may be damaged as it works to break down toxic substances, often leading to liver disease and cirrhosis.

Weakened immune system

Long-term meth use weakens the immune system and makes it difficult for the body to fight off illness and infections. 

Dangers of risky behavior

A strong sex drive, paired with impaired judgment, often results in risky behavior such as unprotected sex or sharing of needles. Problems may include unwanted pregnancies, and sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, or hepatitis B and C. 

Overdose

Dangers of meth use include death from a sudden heart attack or stroke. An overdose may also trigger seizures and coma. 

Using Meth While Pregnant Can Lead to Birth Defects

Women who use meth during pregnancy are more likely to deliver infants with severe problems, including premature birth, low birth weight, delayed growth, heart abnormalities, or infections. 

Prenatal methamphetamine exposure may cause birth defects such as cleft palate, small head circumference, malformed ribs, or gastroschisis, a condition that causes the baby’s intestines to emerge from a hole near the belly button. 

As they mature, children may have trouble with sleep, anger, behavior, learning, or coordination. Outcomes for moms and babies are difficult to study because many pregnant women also use cigarettes, alcohol, or other drugs. 

A study by the University of Toronto, published in Science Digest, indicates that a single use during pregnancy may cause long-term problems for babies. Other studies, however, suggest that women who stop using meth at any point during pregnancy are likely to have a better outcome. 

Social Side Effects of Meth Use

People who use meth are typically talkative and energetic, but their bizarre behavior may cause problems with friends and family. Users may lose interest in their partner or children, and in time, users may socialize only with other meth users.

Get Treatment for a Meth Addiction Today

Addiction to meth is challenging, and some side effects of meth use can be long-lasting or even permanent. The sooner you seek treatment, the better the chance you can avoid harmful outcomes, including death. Addiction is a treatable disease, and with hard work, recovery is always possible.

At 1st Step Behavioral Health, our compassionate, experienced team of professionals is ready to help. Give us a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information.

Methamphetamine-definition

How to Recognize Crystal Meth Overdose Symptoms

Meth (methamphetamine) is an extremely potent, highly addictive drug that has wreaked havoc in rural and urban areas across the United States. The National Institute of Health (NIH) reports that in some regions, meth creates more problems than opiates. Learning how to recognize signs of meth use, and more importantly meth overdose symptoms, are some of the best ways individuals can help save lives. 

What Is Crystal Meth?

Although meth has much in common with cocaine and other stimulants, crystal meth is a neurotoxin that remains in the brain longer, where it can cause significant damage. The more meth a person uses, the faster the central nervous system functions, until the brain and body are dangerously overstimulated.

Can You Overdose on Meth?

If you’re using crystal meth, overdose is always a possibility. All too often, a drug overdose results when the body is unable to process the substance effectively. A meth overdose can lead to severe health problems, and in some cases, death.

Long-Term Crystal Meth Users

Experienced meth users sometimes fight through meth overdose symptoms because their systems have become so desensitized that they can take relatively large doses without immediate problems. On the other hand, long-term users can build a physical tolerance in which increasingly dangerous amounts of meth are needed to reach the same level of pleasure and euphoria — making a successful meth overdose more likely to be fatal.

New Crystal Meth Users

New users are more likely to use toxic amounts of meth because they haven’t developed a tolerance, and they tend to be unaware of how meth affects the body. Inexperienced meth users may take a dose equal to that used by an experienced user, or they may take a second dose before the first dose has worn off. 

Crystal meth overdose may occur when meth is cut with another substance such as caffeine, amphetamines, ketamine, or fentanyl, often without the buyer’s knowledge, or when meth is used with alcohol or other drugs. Sometimes, people overdose when they are unaware they have a health condition such as heart disease or diabetes. 

If you or a loved one is struggling with a meth addiction, give us a call at (866) 971-5531 or contact us online today

How Much Meth Does it Take to Overdose?

Several factors affect the severity of crystal meth overdose symptoms, which can impact survival rate. A heavier person may not be as likely to overdose as a person who weighs less, and a healthy person is less likely to overdose than a person with a heart condition or other physical problems. 

People who have developed a tolerance are typically less likely to overdose than newer users. The frequency of meth use also makes a difference. When meth is injected or smoked rather than snorted, it reaches the brain quickly and effects don’t last as long. Some people may use meth every few hours to stay high, which significantly increases the risk of overdose.

Purity of the meth is also a factor.

What Does a Meth Overdose Feel Like? Acute vs. Chronic

A crystal meth overdose may be either acute or chronic. An acute overdose, which occurs when a person uses a large amount of meth at one time, can be fatal. A chronic overdose refers to harmful effects that build over time. Both are devastating and potentially deadly. 

Common Signs of Meth Overdose: Symptoms of Acute Overdose

  • Profuse sweating
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Tremors
  • Loss of muscle control
  • Difficult, slowed, or stopped breathing
  • Hallucinations
  • High or low blood pressure
  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Dangerously high body temperature
  • Paranoia
  • Aggression
  • Extreme agitation
  • Panic
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures

The meth overdose symptom that is most commonly the primary cause of death is usually failure of the kidneys and other organs. Meth overdose can also lead to convulsions, stroke, heart attack, or coma.

Common Signs of Meth Overdose: Symptoms of Chronic Overdose

Chronic overdose involves side-effects that may occur when crystal meth is used over a long period of time. Many of these meth overdose symptoms are temporary, but some of them can become permanent:

  • Skin sores
  • Rotten teeth (meth mouth)
  • Insomnia
  • Heart problems
  • Muscle deterioration
  • Frequent infections
  • Severe weight loss
  • Psychosis 
  • Extreme paranoia
  • Decrease in mental functioning

Spotting Meth Overdose Symptoms: What to Do When Someone ODs

Rapid response is critical if you suspect somebody has overdosed on meth. Call 911 immediately, even if you aren’t sure. The longer you wait, the higher the risk of adverse reactions, including death. 

When you call, be prepared to provide as much information as possible, such as:

  • Is the person unconscious? Has breathing stopped? 
  • Were other substances used?
  • Are you aware of other medical problems?

How to Help Someone Who Has Overdosed on Meth

After you have called 911 there are a few steps you can take. While you’re waiting for help to arrive:

  • Tilt the person’s head to one side so she won’t choke on her own vomit.
  • If the person is having a seizure, hold his head carefully to prevent injury, but don’t restrict movement of the arms and legs. 
  • Don’t put anything in the person’s mouth.
  • Be careful if the person is agitated, aggressive, or paranoid.

Good Samaritan Laws

It’s critical that you stay with the person until help arrives. If you’re worried that you may be arrested if you call emergency services, most states have enacted Good Samaritan Laws that protect you, and the person who is overdosing on meth, from prosecution for offenses such as the sale or use of a controlled substance. Good Samaritan laws in many states apply even if you’ve violated probation or parole. Don’t allow your fear to prevent you from getting help immediately.

Meth Overdose Treatment 

While there may be ways to treat individual meth overdose symptoms, there’s no specific method of treating a person in the middle of a crystal meth overdose. First responders will likely perform a toxicology screening, administer intravenous fluids, and may take other necessary steps to stabilize the person.

If the crystal meth was taken orally and help arrives within an hour or two, responders may administer activated charcoal to prevent the toxins from moving from the intestines into the bloodstream.

Once the person arrives at the emergency department, doctors will treat specific meth overdose symptoms such as stroke, heart attack, severe agitation, or organ failure.

Meth Withdrawal Occurs in Two Phases

When undergoing crystal meth detox, it’s important to understand that meth withdrawal takes place in two phase:

Phase One

Phase one generally lasts up to 10 days and typically involves:

  • Intense cravings
  • Tremors
  • Aches and pains
  • Headaches
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Clammy skin
  • Irregular heartbeat 
  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of energy
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression — including the possibility of suicidal thoughts or behavior

Phase Two

Phase two, which lasts for at least two weeks, is usually the time when meth withdrawal symptoms begin to stabilize. However, withdrawal during this period may involve continued cravings, nightmares, mood swings, depression, and anxiety.

After three to four weeks, symptoms continue to lessen and sleep and energy levels begin to normalize. Cravings may continue for a few months, or they may begin to diminish after about five weeks.

Unfortunately, some meth withdrawal symptoms, such as paranoia and psychosis, may last several months, even with crystal meth addiction treatment. Others, like memory problems and sleep difficulties, may be permanent. 

Detoxing off Crystal Meth: Meth Addiction Treatment

If a person is experiencing any of meth overdose symptoms, that’s a clear warning that something is very wrong. If they survive an overdose, meth addiction treatment should begin as soon as possible. Even though this overdose wasn’t fatal, the next one may be a different story. Getting into treatment and detoxing off of meth should become a top priority.

The Importance of Quality Meth Addiction Treatment

If you’re concerned about your use of meth, or if you’re worried about somebody you love, recognizing the signs of crystal meth overdose may mean the difference between life and death. Meth addiction treatment is challenging, but quality treatment provided by an experienced, compassionate team of professionals offers the best chance of success. 

At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we’re ready to help, using effective, evidence-based treatments for meth addiction. Call us at (866) 971-5531 or contact us online today.

hand-holding-two-white-pills-hydrocodone

What Are Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms & What Can Help During Detox

Taking hydrocodone regularly over a long period, or using more than prescribed, can lead to the development of a tolerance — meaning the body has become accustomed to the drug. Increasingly higher doses are required to provide the same level of pain control, which adds to increased dependence. When stopped, hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms are difficult on the body as it works to adjust without the drug. If you’ve become dependent on hydrocodone, never attempt to quit “cold turkey.” Instead, educate yourself on the symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal addiction and how to detox yourself safely.

What Is Hydrocodone & What Are Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms?

Hydrocodone is an opioid painkiller sold as a combination of two medicines. Hydrocodone with acetaminophen is marketed as Vicodin, Lortab, or Norco; hydrocodone with ibuprofen is marketed as Vicoprofen, Reprexain, or Ibudone. 

The Most Common Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms

Hydrocodone is a powerful medication intended to relieve moderate to severe pain or to suppress coughs. Although it is one of the most commonly prescribed opioid painkillers in the United States, it isn’t meant for long-term use, and it can be habit-forming. Common side effects and symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal addiction may include:

Hydrocodone is a powerful medication is intended to relieve moderate to severe pain or to suppress coughs. Although it is one of the most commonly prescribed opioid painkillers in the United States, it isn’t meant for long-term use, and it can be habit-forming. Common side effects and symptoms of hydrocodone withdrawal addiction may include:

  • Severe cravings
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Aching muscles or joints
  • Headaches, chills, sweating, goosebumps, or other flu-like symptoms
  • Stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
  • Tremors
  • Racing heart
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Mood swings
  • Thoughts of suicide

What Can Help With Withdrawal From Hydrocodone?

It’s important to never attempt to stop hydrocodone on your own, as hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous. Medical detox is the safest and most comfortable way to get off the drug. 

A physician will help you determine which hydrocodone withdrawal treatment is the safest way to taper your body off the drug. The optimum schedule for tapering depends on several factors, such as the amount of hydrocodone you typically use, the length of time you’ve been using it, and the type and level of pain you experience.

Fast tapering involves stopping hydrocodone relatively quickly, and the body is free of the drug in a few days or weeks. This hydrocodone withdrawal treatment should take place on an inpatient basis where blood pressure, temperature, and pulse rate are monitored 24/7. Medications are available to help with severe hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms. You may receive IV fluids to restore proper hydration, and your doctor may prescribe safer, less addictive medications if pain is an issue.

For some people, gradually tapering over weeks or months may be safer and more effective. Inpatient treatment is often recommended for people who are tapering slowly, although outpatient treatment may be suitable in some situations.

What Helps Hydrocodone Withdrawal Symptoms During Detox? 

  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated during detox. If you are nauseated, take small sips, or try an electrolyte-replacement beverage such as Pedialyte. 
  • Avoid soda and other sugary drinks. If possible, skip coffee, as caffeinated drinks may worsen tremors and shaking. 
  • Ask your doctor if you can take acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help with muscle or joint aches.
  • Eat regular, nutritious meals. If your stomach is upset, try eating small meals throughout the day. Bland foods such as toast, crackers, rice, or broth may be easier to tolerate. Your doctor may also recommend nutritional supplements.
  • Ask your physician if exercise is safe for you. If she approves, light exercise may ease mild aches and pains, lessen depression and anxiety, and may also help you sleep better. Try deep breathing, gentle stretching, or short walks. 
  • Reading, listening to music, doing puzzles, or watching TV will keep you busy and may distract you from uncomfortable symptoms.

How Medication Assisted Treatment Helps With Hydrocodone Withdrawal

Aside from the tips listed above, there are also a few prescribed medications that help with hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms:

Buprenorphine

Approved for medical use in the United States in 1981, Buprenorphine has been proven to be a safe, effective treatment for opioid addiction, particularly when used in combination with behavioral therapy and counseling

Also known as “bupe,” buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist, which means euphoria and other opioid-like symptoms are limited by a “ceiling effect.” The potential for abuse is still present but substantially reduced.

Subutex & Suboxone

The FDA approved Subutex and Suboxone in 2002. Both contain buprenorphine, and both can reduce cravings, lessen withdrawal symptoms, and reduce the risk of relapse. The difference is that Suboxone also contains naloxone, (marketed as “Narcan”). Naloxone is a powerful deterrent that triggers sudden, acute withdrawal symptoms if the drug is smoked or injected.  

Vivitrol

In 2010, the FDA okayed the use of Vivitrol to help people with opioid addictions. While Subutex and Suboxone are taken daily, Vivitrol is administered via injection once every month. 

There are certain risks to medication-assisted hydrocodone withdrawal treatment, including possible overdose if the drug is misused. You must detox from hydrocodone 7 to 10 days before beginning any medication containing buprenorphine or naloxone. 

Drugs containing buprenorphine or naloxone should be used as part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program. While the medications can help with physical withdrawal symptoms, counseling is needed to address depression, anxiety, and other issues that often underlie addiction.

How Long Does Hydrocodone Withdrawal Last?

The intensity and length of hydrocodone withdrawal depend on the dosage, how long you used the drug, and how fast the drug is tapered. If the doses were small, withdrawal might not last long. However, hydrocodone withdrawal symptoms are likely to be more severe if you took large doses, and the drug has built up in your body.

Other factors, including age, weight, gender, and overall health, will affect the length and intensity of withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms usually begin six to 12 hours after the last dose, then peak at about 72 hours. Some symptoms, such as depression, anxiety, irritability, fatigue, and insomnia, may last a month or more.

The Importance Of Hydrocodone Detox Treatment

The physical withdrawal from hydrocodone is the first step to better health, but a strong substance abuse treatment program will increase your chances of long-term recovery. Usually, treatment begins as soon as your body is free of hydrocodone and other drugs. 

Hydrocodone withdrawal treatment involves various forms of therapy, such as one-on-one counseling, group therapy, or 12-Step groups. People never intend to become addicted, but trouble often begins when drugs are used to help them cope with painful thoughts or emotions. If you struggle with issues such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, or PTSD, counseling will help. 

Also helpful are intensive techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), or dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), which will help you recognize and change destructive thought patterns and replace them with more positive ways of dealing with stress. 

If you or a loved one are suffering from a hydrocodone addiction, please don’t hesitate to reach out. Contact us online, or give us a call at (866) 971-5531 today.

woman considering how to detox from benzos

How to Detox from Benzodiazepine Safely

The opioid crisis has captured the public’s attention for the past several years. Still, health officials in the United States are concerned that benzodiazepine addiction, often referred to as America’s other drug problem, are quickly becoming a serious threat. Problems can occur rapidly, and detoxing off benzos isn’t a matter of simply stopping.

If you’re ready to get off benzodiazepines, understanding how to detox from benzodiazepines safely, with the help of trained medical professionals, is the first step to recovery. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed; millions of people have been in the same boat.

What Are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines, commonly known as “benzos,” are powerful medications that slow down activity in the central nervous system. They are widely prescribed to treat problems such as anxiety, panic attacks, and insomnia. Although there are several types of benzos on the market, the most common include Xanax, Librium, Ativan, Klonopin, and Valium.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal Symptoms can Begin Quickly

There’s little doubt that benzodiazepines are useful medications, but they are intended for short-term use only. All types of benzodiazepines can result in tolerance relatively quickly — as soon as a few days for certain short-acting benzodiazepines, and a month or two for longer-acting benzos.  

When the body becomes addicted to benzos it develops a  tolerance, so increasingly higher doses are required to reach the same level of effectiveness. With continued use, tolerance can lead to physical dependence within a few days or weeks. At this point, it becomes difficult to cope without the drug and attempting to stop results in cravings and other challenging benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms. 

Benzodiazepine Detox: Withdrawal Symptoms

Research indicates that approximately 50 to 80 percent of people who have used benzodiazepines continuously for at least six months will experience some level of withdrawal symptoms when reducing use or quitting. 

The severity of withdrawal symptoms while detoxing from benzodiazepines varies widely depending on the individual and may range from mild to severe. Symptoms are unpredictable and can seesaw from day to day — mild or nearly nonexistent on some days, and extremely troublesome on other days. Eventually, the good days will outnumber the bad.

There’s no way to predict the intensity of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, but the following may occur:

  • Cravings
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Lack of concentration
  • Memory loss
  • Nightmares
  • Restlessness
  • Weakness
  • Muscle tension
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Heart palpitations
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Lack of coordination
  • Indigestion
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches 
  • Trembling 
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks, anxiety, or agoraphobia
  • Irritability
  • Lethargy
  • Rapid mood changes

Although they are less common, severe benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms can occur. People who stop suddenly, or those who have used benzos over a long period, may experience aching jaws or scalp, sinus pain, nosebleeds, changes in appetite, cravings for sweet foods, loss of libido, rashes or itchy, dry skin, depression, rage or aggression, and in some cases, hallucinations, paranoia, or even seizures.

The experts at 1st Step Behavioral Health can provide more information on benzodiazepine addiction and withdrawal.

Inpatient Benzodiazepine Detox is Safer Than Detoxing At-Home

Some people can detox off benzodiazepine safely at home, with the ongoing support and advice of a physician. You may be required to pick up your daily dose at a clinic or pharmacy, and you may need to have a friend or family member with you around the clock for the first several days. While at-home detox works for some people, the risk of painful side effects is high. Relapse is also more likely.

Inpatient benzodiazepine detox is the best way to ensure your safety, especially if you have used the drugs for a long time, if previous attempts to stop have been unsuccessful, or if you’re also dependent on alcohol, opiates, or other drugs. Inpatient benzodiazepine detox is also advised if you have mental health issues or medical problems, or if you’re pregnant. 

Benzodiazepine detox centers offer many benefits that increase the chance of long-term success, including group and individual counseling, education, stress management techniques, family support, and aftercare.  You may receive antidepressants to relieve depression, or safer medications to help anxiety while detoxing from benzodiazepines.

Tapering Gradually: Common Benzodiazepine Detox Protocols

Detoxing of benzodiazepine “cold turkey” is rarely a good solution, as withdrawal can be challenging both emotionally and physically. In some cases, seizures and other life-threatening symptoms may occur when withdrawal is unmanaged by a physician. 

If you’ve become addicted to benzodiazepines, the safest way to detox is to reduce the dosage little by little with the advice and guidance of a medical professional until you are drug-free. Slower withdrawal affects the intensity of symptoms significantly. Some people who taper very slowly experience mild symptoms or no symptoms at all.  

Benzodiazepine detox protocol will vary depending on several factors depending on the dosage, length of time you have used the drug, your age, and your overall health. Your medical provider may recommend that you take doses at regular intervals throughout the day rather than waiting for times of stress. This allows the level of drugs in your bloodstream to stabilize before lowering the dose, thus minimizing the severity of withdrawal symptoms. 

Your doctor may recommend that you remain on a reduced level for days or weeks before reducing your dosage again, or she may prescribe a shorter-acting benzodiazepine before adjusting the dose, depending mainly on how you’re feeling.  Keep in mind that you may experience a temporary increase in symptoms following each reduction.

How Long Does it Take to Detox From Benzodiazepines?

There’s no way to know how long it will take to detox from benzos, but it depends primarily on how long you’ve been taking the drugs. If you’ve used benzos for only a few weeks or months, the reduction in doses will probably occur relatively quickly.

On the other hand, reducing the dosage will take longer — several months or as long as two or three years — if you have taken the drug for a long time. Try to be patient with yourself; everybody moves at their own pace, and rushing the process will make the experience more difficult and complicated than it needs to be. 

Although you may not notice positive changes right away, you’ll soon begin to feel healthier and more confident.

Get Help Detoxing of Benzos Today: Reach Out for Help

No one has to struggle alone. If you or a loved one is addicted to benzodiazepine, we’re here to support you, and our team of addiction professionals will guide you through each step of your recovery journey. Call 1st Step Behavioral Health at (855) 425-4846 for more information about our effective inpatient benzodiazepine detox, or contact us here.