Why Will Mixing Xanax and Alcohol Make You Black Out?

Xanax is a brand name for alprazolam, a medication prescribed mostly for anxiety and panic disorders. It’s a central nervous system depressant that works by slowing down activity in the brain.

Like Xanax, alcohol is also a central nervous system depressant that slows down brain activity. Using the two together is extremely risky and can be life-threatening. Although there are many, blackouts are one of the most dangerous side effects of mixing Xanax and alcohol.

Why Will Mixing Xanax and Alcohol Make you Black Out?

When you use Xanax and alcohol together, the effects of both central nervous system depressants are significantly amplified. The term for this effect is “potentiation,” which means that both substances become much more potent when combined than they would be if you used them alone. 

Side Effects of Combining Xanax and Alcohol

Mixing Xanax and alcohol together, it’s easy to drink more alcohol than you realize, and you can become intoxicated very quickly. An alcohol and Xanax combination will make you feel uncoordinated, and you may stumble and fall. If you drive, you are at risk of car accidents, which can be fatal.   

Using both substances together can also make you feel nauseous, tired, dizzy, or faint, and you may have severe headaches. If you use Xanax and alcohol over long periods, you may develop stomach problems, or serious issues with your heart, liver, or kidneys. You’ll be more likely to think about or commit suicide, especially if you previously struggled with depression or other mental health issues.

According to the University of California San Francisco Medical Center, studies indicate that long-term use of Xanax and other benzodiazepines are linked with a heightened risk of dementia, and alcohol may increase that risk. 

Symptoms of a Xanax and Alcohol Blackout

If you’re mixing Xanax and alcohol, blackout is always possible. If you blackout, you won’t lose consciousness, but your brain can’t form memories, and you’ll be in a state of temporary amnesia. In other words, you’ll be awake, but you won’t remember what happens during the time you are blacked out, or you may remember only fragments.  

During a blackout, you may act normal, and your friends may not realize you are in the middle of a blackout. You may carry on conversations, dance, or drive a car. Also, you may commit crimes, drive recklessly, or be date-raped. A blackout can be short, lasting only a few minutes, or for several hours. 

How Many Xanax Does it Take to Black Out?

It’s impossible to predict how many Xanax it takes to experience a blackout. However, Xanax alone usually doesn’t cause this effect if you’re a healthy adult, although it’s possible if you take very large doses. You can have a blackout from drinking alcohol on its own, without taking Xanax.

You’re much more likely to blackout if you use Xanax and alcohol together, even if you use relatively small amounts. You don’t have to be addicted to either one to experience a blackout. 

Xanax Overdose: Can You Die from Taking Xanax and Alcohol?

Don’t kid yourself; mixing Xanax and alcohol is a risky practice. You may only feel a little dizzy and sick, or you may stop breathing, choke on your own vomit, or have a heart attack. The effects depend on many factors, including your age, size, and general health.

It’s also possible to die from alcohol poisoning if you forget how much you’ve had to drink. You may have seizures, a heart attack, or you may fall into a coma. Never get behind the wheel of a car if you’ve been using Xanax and alcohol. You may kill yourself or somebody else.

If you suspect someone you know has overdosed on Xanax or alcohol, or if they have symptoms of alcohol poisoning, call 911 immediately. Never assume they will “sleep it off.”

The Dangers of Fake Xanax

Fake Xanax looks identical to the real thing and will be labeled “Xanax.” However, it may be cut with substances that weaken the drug, such as talc or baking powder. Illegal sellers do this to make more money. 

On the other hand, fake Xanax may be much stronger than pharmaceutical-grade Xanax, or it may be laced with Fentanyl, a powerful opioid painkiller that is about fifty times stronger than heroin.  When you buy Xanax on the street, it’s impossible to be sure what you’re getting. 

Xanax and Alcohol Detox

Xanax withdrawal symptoms are challenging, but they usually aren’t fatal unless you’ve used very large amounts. However, Xanax and alcohol detox can be life-threatening. You may experience heart palpitations, high blood pressure, headaches, fever, and sweating, nausea and vomiting, weight loss, dizziness, insomnia, confusion, exhaustion, numbness in your arms and legs, electric shock sensations, delirium, hallucinations, seizures, and coma. 

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal will ease in a few days, but Xanax detox takes longer. You’ll feel better after a couple of weeks, but you may experience symptoms such as insomnia and anxiety for weeks, or even months. You may also experience rebound anxiety, which can be more severe than the original anxiety that prompted you to use Xanax in the first place. 

Typically, Xanax is tapered slowly, and a doctor can help you stop taking the drug gradually without major withdrawal symptoms. The safest way to stop using Xanax and alcohol is to enter a treatment center or medical detox facility, where you’ll be safe and as comfortable as possible. 

With medically-monitored detox, somebody will always be present to help, and your vital signs will be checked regularly. Medications can be prescribed to help with difficult symptoms. You may receive a safer short-term medication to help with severe anxiety.  

Treatment for Xanax and Alcohol Addiction at 1st Step

Seek treatment as soon as possible if you’re dependent on Xanax and alcohol; the longer you wait, the higher the risk that something bad will happen. Look for a treatment center that specializes in dual diagnosis, which means they have the experience and knowledge to deal with both addictions at the same time. A good treatment center will also help with anxiety and will provide support and direction throughout the entire process. 

Don’t go through withdrawal and treatment for Xanax and alcohol addiction alone. Give 1st Step a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information. We’ll answer your questions and help you explore various options for withdrawing from Xanax and alcohol safely. 

The Benefits of Going to An Out of State Drug Rehab for Treatment

Attending a substance abuse treatment center close to home may sound like a smart, convenient choice. However, consider an out of state drug rehab before making a final decision. Explore all of your options and weigh the pros and cons of treatment at home versus rehab out of state.

Closer Isn’t Always Better for Substance Abuse Treatment

The best addiction treatment center may not be located in your neighborhood or city. Even if your local rehab offers high-quality treatment, it isn’t best for you if it doesn’t provide the care you need. For instance, if you’re struggling with a dependence on opiates or meth, a treatment center specializing in alcohol abuse won’t be the best solution. Or if you prefer a gender-specific program and the treatment center in your town offers co-ed treatment, it isn’t a good fit. Look at out of state drug rehabs in order to expand your treatment options. 

You’re Likely to Stay May Stay in Treatment Longer at an Out of State Rehab Center

Substance abuse treatment is challenging, and if you’re close to home, you may be tempted to drop out when things get rough, especially during the early days. Leaving on the spur of the moment is much harder when you’re attending an out of state rehab center. You can’t easily give into impulses; like hopping on a bus, or calling a friend for a ride. Things get smoother if you can hang in there through the rough patches. 

The longer you’re able to stay in treatment, the higher the chances of long-term recovery. According to NIDA (the National Institute of Drug Abuse), treatment of less than three months is of limited effectiveness, while longer time in treatment is recommended for a more positive outcome. NIDA also notes that most people who remain in treatment for an extended period are able to stop using drugs, improve their mental health, and move forward with life.

Out of State Rehabs May Offer Better Treatment Programs & Specialties

Treatment programs and specialties offered by out of state drug rehab centers vary substantially, so don’t limit yourself to only looking at what’s nearby You may prefer a rehab that focuses on a particular religion or one that centers treatment around a 12-Step program. Alternatively, you may be looking for a non-religious treatment center or one that offers 12-Step alternatives. You may benefit from a treatment facility that caters to business executives, adolescents, seniors, or LGBT individuals. 

If you have depression, bipolar disorder, or another mental health issue in addition to substance abuse problems, it’s essential to find an addiction treatment center where the staff is trained and experienced in dual diagnosis disorders. Treating two disorders at the same time is complex, and not all treatment centers provide the necessary mental health services on-site . 

In short, you may be more likely to get the care you need if you’re willing to travel.

Other Benefits of Seeking Addiction Treatment Out of State

Aside from increasing your chance of finishing treatment and expanding your program options, there are a few other benefits to exploring out of state rehabs.

Out Of State Rehabs May Have Shorter Wait Times for Admission

The decision to enter treatment is enormous and life-changing, and it’s best to get started as soon as possible. Even if you’re lucky enough to find the perfect treatment center close to home, it won’t do you much good if the waiting list is long. You’re much more likely to find a place with an opening if you look into out of state drug rehabs. 

It Puts Distance Between You and Distractions

Friends and family are wonderful, and they can be essential for your recovery. On the other hand, the people you love can also distract you from focusing entirely on treatment, especially if things aren’t going well on the home front. The distance of an out of state rehab allows you to direct your attention to recovery without stressing about constant anger, tension, and resentment at home. 

Sometimes, your loved ones mean well, but they may not understand how they’re enabling your addiction or neglecting your needs and personal boundaries. Recovery is especially difficult if somebody at home is still using drugs or alcohol. 

Although you may want to include your family in your substance abuse treatment plan, it may be beneficial to wait and begin family counseling after you return home. You may be hesitant to spend so much time away, but sometimes, a little time apart can help everybody see more clearly. This is something only you can decide. 

Traveling to an Out of State Addiction Center May Save You Money

If you live in a city with a high cost of living, addiction treatment is probably going to be substantially more expensive than in other areas of the country. Even after you factor in travel expenses, you may actually save money by traveling to an out of state drug rehab.

In some cities, most substance abuse treatment centers are resort-like facilities that cater to people with healthy bank accounts. A high-end treatment center is great if you can afford it, and it’s nice to have perks like a private room, daily massages, or a professional chef. A hefty price tag may buy many perks, but it doesn’t necessarily equate to better treatment. 

Change is Good for the Soul

Traveling to a rehab out of state removes you from old friends, familiar neighborhoods, and favorite hang-outs that might tempt you, especially in the early days of recovery. At an out-of-state drug rehab in a new environment, you’ll meet different people and new friends that share your desire to get well. You may find it’s easier to discuss your experiences and feelings with people with similar experiences, or who don’t know anything about the difficulties in your past. 

If you’re entering treatment in the dead of winter, a warmer climate might be a very welcome change. If you live where summer heat is punishing, consider an escape to a treatment center in the refreshing coolness of the mountains. Addiction treatment offers an opportunity for a fresh start at recovery, and traveling may give you a whole new outlook.

Privacy Matters

There’s no reason to be ashamed if you have a problem with substance abuse; addiction is a chronic disease that can happen to anybody. You may feel okay about sharing your plans to enter addiction treatment, or you may prefer to keep it private, especially if there’s a possibility your job or reputation may be threatened if word gets out. 

Telling your friends or coworkers is totally up to you. The big problem, however, is that at local substance abuse centers it’s common to run into people you know, even in large urban areas. Traveling to an out of state drug rehab makes it much easier to protect your privacy and focus on recovery.

Get A Fresh Start at First Step Behavioral Health in Florida 

Traveling to an out of state drug rehab might be one of the best things you’ll ever do for yourself. Located in beautiful Pompano Beach, South Florida, our substance abuse and dual diagnosis specialists can help you explore your addiction treatment options. Give us a call today at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information

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What is Lean Syrup & What Are the Side Effects of Drinking Lean?

What kind of drug is lean? Also known by names such as purple drank, Texas tea, purple lean, sizzurp, purple jelly, and dirty sprite, lean isn’t a typical drug, but a sweet, syrupy beverage that may contain dangerous substances such as codeine or alcohol. Reportedly, the concoction is named “lean” because drinking it can make you lean or slump to one side. 

Lean is especially favored by underage kids looking for a cheap and easy way to get high, and it’s often a young person’s first experience with drugs and alcohol, Because the flavor is sweet and tangy, it’s easy to get carried away and drink too much. Although the side effects of lean aren’t usually deadly, it has been associated with several fatal overdoses in the last few years, especially among well-known singers and professional athletes. 

According to the U.S. Department of Justice, lean drink, which originated in the southern United States, has been around since the1960’s. In its early days, the drink was a combination of cough syrup and beer, and in recent years was adapted to its current form.

What is the Drug Lean Made of?

Although the mixture varies, lean typically consists of cough medicine, soda pop like Mountain Dew or Sprite, and hard candy such as Jolly Ranchers. Alcohol is often added to the mix. 

What Cough Syrup is used for Lean?

Usually, lean is made from cough syrup containing promethazine with codeine, a medicine prescribed by doctors to treat cold or allergy symptoms such as cough, runny nose, and sneezing. Codeine is an opioid, and although it’s weaker than heroin or morphine, the effects on the body are similar. It’s safe when used properly, but like all opiates, codeine is habit-forming and shouldn’t be used in excess or for long periods. 

If prescription cough medicines with codeine aren’t available, lean is often made of over-the-counter cough syrups that contain dextromethorphan (DMX). Dextromethorphan has a mild stimulant effect that produces feelings of euphoria. It is safe when used as directed, but it can cause hallucinations or out-of-body experiences when used in large quantities.

How Addictive is Lean?

According to the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), prescription cough syrups containing a small amount of narcotics, such as promethazine with codeine, are classified as Schedule 5 drugs with a low potential for abuse when used as directed. However, the cough syrups are highly habit-forming if misused. 

Over-the-counter cough syrups containing dextromethorphan (DMX) aren’t habit-forming when used as recommended on the label, but large doses can lead to addiction. Abuse of DMX is so high in some states that pharmacists are required to keep the products behind the counter, for sale only to adults over age 18.

If you become addicted to lean, you’ll need to drink larger amounts to capture the good feelings, or even to feel normal. If lean isn’t available, you’ll feel sick and will experience powerful cravings.

What are the Side Effects of Drinking Lean?

People who drink a lot of lean cough syrup may experience several unpleasant side effects, including: 

  • Loss of coordination
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Slurred speech
  • Anger and irritability
  • Respiratory depression
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Loss of coordination
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Seizures

Lean addiction is only one result of long-term use. If you drink large amounts of lean made with codeine cough syrup over long periods, you may also experience:

  • Weight gain
  • Tooth decay
  • Extreme agitation
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lack of energy
  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)
  • Brain damage
  • Sudden death

Other side effects of drinking lean can vary significantly depending on the contents of the drink. For instance, cramps, diarrhea, and loss of appetite are associated with cough syrups containing codeine.

Dextromethorphan (DXM) cough syrups may seem safe, especially since you can buy it over-the-counter in most states. However, drinking large quantities can trigger several dangerous and frightening side effects, including hallucinations, loss of contact with reality, loss of control, and momentary blindness. You may also experience severe anxiety, panic attacks, aggression, stomach pain, vomiting, slurred speech, lack of energy, memory loss, rapid breathing, and coma. 

Alcohol added to lean drinks significantly increases the risk of side effects, such as brain fog, delayed reaction, and problems with balance and coordination, mainly when the lean drink also contains codeine. The primary danger of lean drink containing alcohol, however, is respiratory depression. Car accidents are also a very real possibility. 

Side-Effects of Drinking Lean: Possible Overdose

It’s possible to overdose on lean or purple drank. If you think someone is overdosing, call for help immediately. Signs of overdose include:

  • Blue lips and fingernails
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Cold, clammy skin
  • Muscle twitches
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Breathing problems
  • Weak pulse

What to do if you are Addicted to Lean

Lean drink is easy to make, and most ingredients (except for cough syrups containing codeine) are readily available at any supermarket or convenience store. The problem is that too much can make you very sick, and a lean addiction can destroy your life. If you think you’re addicted to lean or purple drank, or if you’re worried about a friend or family member, it’s essential to seek help as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the higher the chance that something bad happens, or that you become very ill.

Drug treatment or rehab will help you cope with withdrawal symptoms when you stop using lean. With counseling, you’ll learn safer ways of dealing with stress, and you’ll identify triggers that may lead to relapse. 

Take the First Step to Recovery

Call our addiction specialists at 1st Step Behavioral Health at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information. We provide hope and help that will get you through the rough withdrawal period, and on the road to a healthier, happier life free of dangerous chemicals. 

Inpatient Drug Rehab Centers in Texas: Why Florida is a Better Choice

If you’re a Texan and you’re ready to address your substance abuse issues, it’s good to check out various drug and alcohol rehabs in your home state, but don’t rule out treatment beyond your borders. Keep in mind that even the best inpatient drug rehab center in Texas may not be the right choice for you, simply because it’s too close to familiar surroundings 

As an alternate option, Florida is home to many highly regarded rehab centers. Regardless of your price range or your specific needs and goals, you’re likely to find a suitable Florida treatment center. Closer isn’t always better, and many people find that a change of scenery and getting away from the worries and stresses at home helps them focus on distraction-free recovery. 

Long-Term Drug Rehab in Texas: 28 Days Isn’t Always Enough

The common complaint that treatment doesn’t work is a myth, as many people in long-term recovery will attest. Often, the reason rehabs fail isn’t a problem with the quality of treatment, but simply that the standard treatment length of 28 to 30 days isn’t enough. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), treatment of fewer than 90 days is of limited effectiveness, and many people require even more. Addiction is a chronic disease, and some people may need some form of support, such as medication or support groups, for years. There are no quick fixes for substance abuse and addiction. 

All too often, the result is a revolving door of expensive rehab stays followed by yet another heartbreaking relapse. The frustration, disappointment, and sense of failure are so great that many people give up on treatment altogether. If you are looking at inpatient drug rehab centers in Texas, make sure you find one that offers a variety of substance abuse program options.

Benefits of Traveling Out of State for Substance Abuse Treatment

A local drug and alcohol treatment center in Texas may be appealing because it is nearby , but staying close to all that is familiar may be a little too convenient. Unless you are mandated to spend a specific length of time in rehab, you can walk out the doors any time you feel frustrated or discouraged. When you’re close to home, you’re within shouting distance of familiar places and old friends, and the lure to fall back into your old ways are hard to resist. 

However, if you need to hassle over getting a plane ticket or bus pass, the idea of leaving treatment may not be quite so attractive. It’s normal to have ups and downs during treatment, and things typically get much better as time goes by, and you begin to feel more secure in your recovery program.

It can also be a tremendous help to put miles between yourself and unpleasant situations at home or work. If you can lay those stressful issues aside for a while, you can focus your energy on the difficult work of recovery.

Drug Addiction Treatment: Texas vs. Florida

Time is of the essence, and once you’ve made the all-important decision to enter treatment, you want to get started as soon as possible. The last thing you want is to be at the bottom of a long waiting list, but at the same time, don’t sign in to the first drug and alcohol treatment center that has an opening. 

The decision to enter treatment is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. Treatment isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition, so take time to think about your particular needs and wants, and then shop around. Here are a few things to consider

How About Those White Sand Beaches? 

Texas and Florida both have their share of sunshine, warm weather, and glorious coastline, but consider this: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that Florida is home to a whopping 8,436 miles of coastline — plenty of space for treatment centers and treatment communities. With only 3,359 miles of coastline, drug and alcohol treatment options along Texas beaches are more limited. 

With plenty of magnificent white sand beaches and crystal clear, turquoise water, Florida beaches are ideal for rest, recovery, and reconnecting with nature.

The Cost of Drug and Alcohol Rehab Centers in Texas

High-quality, reputable drug and alcohol treatment is expensive, no matter where you go. However, if you’re looking for an inpatient drug rehab center in Texas that is low cost, you may be surprised that rehabs in Florida are reasonably priced.

Most Florida rehabs work with major insurance providers, so if you have insurance, call to be sure your treatment is covered. If you are uninsured, don’t be afraid to ask about payment plans and other cost-effective options.

Thinking About Travel Expenses

Flights from Texas to Florida are usually reasonable, and you can save money if you dig deep into travel websites. Traveling by bus is also an option, but may not work if you need to get to treatment quickly. MostFlorida  treatment centers will ensure you are safely transported from the airport or bus station if you let them know ahead of time.

Most Treatment Centers are Reliable and Conscientious

One word of warning: Beware of treatment centers that offer free airline tickets or other enticements. This type of underhanded tactic may be illegal if unscrupulous treatment facilities are paying middlemen (brokers) to bring in clients. Fortunately, most Florida substance abuse treatment providers are legitimate and will be open and above board about their programs and prices. 

Don’t hesitate to ask plenty of questions, including how long the center has been in business. Be wary if a your Texas treatment center is brand new, as a well-established rehab is likely to be more dependable. Also, ask if the center carries proper certification, and inquire about the level of education and training required for addiction counseling staff. An honest treatment center will take time to answer your questions, and will refer you elsewhere if their treatment isn’t suitable for you.

Are You Ready to Get Started in Treatment in Florida?

We’re here for you! If you’re ready to get on the road to recovery, give 1st Step a Call at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information  We’ll take time to answer all your questions and help you sort through your various treatment options. 

pompano beach sunset

Looking for Drug Rehabs in New York? Consider South Florida Instead

If you’re tired of struggling, and you’ve decided it’s time to seek help for your substance abuse issues, pat yourself on the back because this is a monumental decision — probably one of the most important choices you’ll make in your entire life. However, before you look at rehabs in New York State, consider the potential benefits of traveling to South Florida for treatment. 

Inpatient drug rehab centers in New York are indeed closer to home and more accessible, but convenience shouldn’t be the driving factor when it comes to choosing the best treatment center. You may find it tremendously helpful to put a healthy distance between you and the old friends and familiar places. For many people, getting away from the responsibilities of work and home allows them to rest and focus on recovery. 

Why Treatment in South Florida may be a Better Choice over Going to Rehabs in New York State

There are several good reasons for traveling to South Florida over New York substance abuse treatment centers. Here are a few things to consider when making your decision:

The Weather in South Florida is Conducive to Healing

According to the Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota, spending time outdoors is restorative. It can help with a variety of physical and mental issues, including depression, stress, muscle tension, and high blood pressure. Time spent in nature can also boost the immune system, bolster self-esteem, and improve impulse control. 

In other words, spending time outdoors is essential for our overall health and wellbeing, and sunny South Florida is the ideal place to reconnect with the natural world. It’s not surprising that South Florida rehabs attract people from across the nation, especially those who reside in dark, chilly northern climates. If you happen to be specifically looking at rehabs in New York city, adequate access to nature is going to be difficult to secure. 

Unlike New York, where the weather is less than perfect for much of the year, South Florida is warm and sunny year-round. The environment is ideal for rest and renewal, and most South Florida rehabs will ensure outdoor time is built into your days. Many offer outdoor recreation, swimming pools, and time for quiet meditation and peaceful walks on the beach.

Vitamin D and Health

Vitamin D helps keep our bones healthy, but that’s only the beginning. Studies suggest that vitamin D, also known as “the sunshine vitamin,” may help significantly with depression, respiratory illness, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cancer. 

If you’re from New York, you may have a difficult time absorbing enough vitamin D. The Harvard Medical School says residents of northern climates, where the skin makes minimal vitamin D from the sun, are at relatively high risk for vitamin D deficiency. The experts at Harvard also advise that 10 to 15 minutes of sun a few times every week can generate sufficient levels of vitamin D. However, the ideal amount of sunlight can depend on several factors, including your age and skin color. 

According to Addictions: Indiana University, vitamin D deficiency is linked to negative emotions, increased pain, and addiction. Although more research is needed, there are indications that vitamin D supplementation may boost the effectiveness of addiction treatment. If you live where days are gloomy and sunlight is in short supply, a rehab in South Florida may be just the ticket. 

Why Getting into a Detox Center in New York State May Prove Difficult

Detoxification is the process of removing toxic substances from the body. Unfortunately, withdrawal symptoms can be so miserable that some people are hesitant to begin treatment, and detox from some substances, such as alcohol and benzodiazepines, can lead to cardiac arrest or seizures. Consequently, when people finally do make the decision to get help, they often need to get into treatment right away.

Inpatient Detox Programs in New York are in High Demand

If you’re considering detox centers in New York State, keep in mind that inpatient detox is often more comfortable and safer than outpatient detox, and you’ll have support throughout the entire process. Unfortunately, getting into an inpatient drug treatment program in New York state can be difficult, since they are in high-demand. According to a WalletHub report, New York, Maryland, and Connecticut are tied as the states with the most people receiving substance abuse treatment per 1,000 drug users. Florida made the “best states” list for this category, as one of the five states ranking for the fewest people receiving treatment per 1,000 users.   

South Florida has many highly regarded detox centers. If your addiction is severe, your detox may take place in a medical detox facility or hospital, where your vital signs will be monitored around the clock. If you’re fearful, keep in mind that a medical detox facility can provide medications to help ease uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms such as pain, headaches, anxiety, depression, nausea, and vomiting. 

Medication-Assisted Treatment in South Florida

Like New York drug rehabs, ,many South Florida treatment centers offer medication-assisted treatment (MAT), which involves the use of FDA-approved medications in combination with counseling and other traditional treatment methods. The medicines are marketed by various brand names and are available in various forms, including tablets or pills, patches, liquids, injections, or implants. 

Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are commonly used to treat addiction to opioid drugs. All have proven to be safe and effective. The drugs have various purposes but generally work by blocking the effects of other narcotics, or by staving off cravings and other withdrawal symptoms. According to the National Institute on Drug Addiction (NIDA), MAT for opioid addiction decreases transmission of infectious diseases, overdose deaths, and criminal activity. 

Disulfiram (Antabuse), introduced in 1948, is a useful medication for alcohol addiction. Drinking while taking disulfiram will trigger severe nausea, vomiting, hot flashes, blurred vision, headache, breathing difficulty, and other unpleasant symptoms. Newer drugs for alcohol addiction include Acamprosate, which reduces cravings; and naltrexone, which blocks the effects of alcohol while reducing cravings. 

Considerable research over the years has shown that medications can be highly beneficial for the treatment of alcohol dependence. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes that currently, medications are underused in the treatment of alcoholism.

Many people can engage in treatment longer with the help of medications, thus increasing the chance of long-term success. 

New York Drug Rehabs Aren’t Your Only Option 

If you’re exploring alternatives to entering a rehab center in New York, contact us if 1st Step Behavioral Health today.. We’re located in beautiful and tranquil Pompano Beach, and we welcome clients from across the United States. Take a virtual tour, or give us a call today at 855-425-4846 for additional information.

Asian guy sitting alone in corner of room, sadness, depressed, and life problems concept

Addicted to Angel Dust: Recognizing PCP Withdrawal Symptoms

Angel dust, also known as PCP,  is an illegal, mind-altering substance that poses a substantial risk to your physical and mental health. Addiction and dangerous PCP withdrawal effects are always a possibility, especially if you use large amounts, or if you take the drug for an extended period. Angel dust is an unpredictable drug, and it’s impossible to know precisely how it will affect you. Even first-time users can experience a variety of frightening and life threatening PCP side-effects. 

What is Angel Dust, Commonly Known as the Drug PCP? 

Angel dust is simply a street name for PCP (phencyclidine). Other names for PCP include wack, crystal, boat, hog, shermans, rocket fuel, DOA, peace pill, ozone, tic tac, supergrass, trank, kools, black dust, cliffhanger, and others.

History of PCP

PCP is a dissociative drug, which means it can make you feel detached from your body. The drug was discovered in the 1920s, introduced as an anesthetic for surgery in the 1950s, and was also used by veterinarians as an animal tranquilizer. Use of PCP was discontinued in 1965, after it became apparent that it triggered severe side effects, including agitation, psychosis, and irrational or violent behavior. 

Today, PCP is a popular, inexpensive street drug abused for its many mind-altering qualities. Currently, the most common way to use the drug is by smoking marijuana, tobacco, parsley, mint, oregano dusted with PCP, which is a white, crystalline powder. Alternatively, leafy substances may be soaked in a liquid consisting of PCP powder dissolved in water, alcohol, or some cases, formaldehyde or a flammable solvent. It can also be snorted or taken in tablet or capsule form, or more rarely, by injection.

Is PCP Addictive?

The Drug Enforcement Administration(DEA) has classified PCP as a Schedule II drug, which means it is a dangerous substance with a high potential for abuse, and that it can lead to severe addiction and withdrawal when the drug is stopped. PCP withdrawal symptoms may include diarrhea, sweating, chills, headaches, and tremors. 

PCP is entirely synthetic (manmade), unlike heroin and other drugs that originate with plants. It is manufactured in clandestine labs, and unsuspecting buyers may purchase PCP laced with LSD, ketamine, mescaline, methamphetamine, or other substances without knowing it. Similarly, drugs sold as MDMA (molly) or ecstasy may contain PCP.  

Angel Dust Effects on the Body

Angel dust side effects kick in within a few minutes when PCP is smoked, and generally last four to six hours. Tablets or pills generally take effect in an hour or less and last between six and 24 hours. According to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, traces of PCP can remain in your body for up to eight days if you use the drug occasionally, or up to a month if you are a chronic user.  

PCP Side Effects

PCP/angel dust side effects vary from person to person, and like most mind-altering drugs, PCP may act as a depressant, stimulant, or painkiller, depending on how it was used and how much was taken. PCP is also a hallucinogenic drug, but the effects are different than the visual hallucinations typically experienced by LSD users. PCP may cause pleasant sensations, relaxation, and drowsiness, but it can also result in distorted, terrifying body images. 

Short-term angel dust side effects may include:

  • Euphoria
  • Loss of balance and coordination
  • Sweating and flushing
  • Numbness in fingers and toes
  • Sensations of weightlessness
  • Distorted sense of time and space
  • Obsession with small, trivial details
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anxiety
  • Fear of immediate death
  • Increased pulse rate
  • Elevated temperature
  • Drop or rise in blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision, watery eyes
  • Staring into space
  • Slurred speech
  • Drooling
  • Dizziness
  • Severe muscle contractions
  • Feelings of incredible power and strength, 
  • Intense emotions and mood swings

Many long-term effects and PCP withdrawal symptoms may go away when you stop using the drug, but others can last several weeks or even longer. Effects of long-term PCP use may include:

  • Extended periods of sleeplessness, followed by long periods of deep, intense sleep
  • Rocking or other repetitive motions
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Speech difficulties
  • Hearing sounds and voices
  • Social withdrawal
  • Twitches
  • Eyes jitter back and forth
  • Flashbacks
  • Severe anxiety and depression
  • Impaired memory
  • Extreme agitation
  • Aggression, hostility, and violence
  • Paranoia
  • Delusions
  • High fever
  • Respiratory failure
  • Strokes
  • Coma
  • Death (often due to suicide or accidents that occur while under the influence of PCP)

Angel Dust/PCP Overdoses 

The extreme effects caused by use of PCP and/or PCP withdrawal, including violent or aggressive behavior, often lead to emergency room visits and legal problems. An overdose can result in death from hyperthermia, breathing problems, and failure of the liver and kidneys. 

How to Treat PCP Addiction

If you’re ready to stop using angel dust/PCP, the first step is medically monitored detox. It’s essential to have professional support during the detox process because PCP withdrawal symptoms can be frightening and dangerous. Stopping PCP isn’t something you should attempt on your own. 

Although there are no specific medications for PCP withdrawal treatment, a doctor can prescribe meds to help with symptoms such as headaches, nausea, severe anxiety, or depression. You’ll be monitored around the clock to ensure detox is as safe and comfortable as possible.

Once the toxins safely leave your body, generally after a few days, you can begin addiction treatment, which will help you learn new life skills, change negative behaviors, and cope with stressful situations. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, inpatient treatment can be a tremendous source of help and support.

Are You Ready to Make Some Serious Lifestyle Changes?

If you’re ready to stop using angel dust/PCP, we encourage you to seek substance abuse treatment as soon as possible. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information. We can answer any questions or concerns you may have about addiction, PCP withdrawal treatment, and the effects of angel dust on your body and mind. 

Is MDMA Addictive? Signs of Molly Addiction

Molly, a form of the drug ecstasy, was created more than a century ago by a German chemical company in hopes of making a safe and effective diet pill. Although it didn’t work as intended, molly’s psychoactive qualities were soon uncovered, and recreational use of the drug has become wildly popular at parties, nightclubs, and raves since the 1980s.

The effects of a molly addiction typically aren’t deadly, but certain molly withdrawal symptoms, such as increased heart rate, a spike in body temperature, and seizures, can be dangerous.

What is the Difference Between Molly, MDMA, and Ecstasy?

Some people think molly, MDMA, and ecstasy are separate drugs, but there are no significant differences between them. “Molly,” (or “molecule”), is basically just a simple term for the drug, which has an unwieldy chemical name — 3,4 methylenedioxymethamphetamine. 

The University of Buffalo’s Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions explains that molly is widely believed to be a newer, safer, purer form of ecstasy. However, both molly and ecstasy are frequently cut with fillers such as caffeine, or dangerous drugs like heroin, meth, cocaine, cough medicine, or ketamine (an animal tranquilizer). 

Most of the chemicals in molly originate in labs in China. Once it arrives in the United States, sellers often blend it with other substances to raise their profit margin. According to CCN Health, what is typically sold as molly may not contain any MDMA at all, but may be a toxic brew of other chemicals. Without a test, buyers can’t know what they’re getting.

Is Molly Addictive?

Can you become addicted to molly? Researchers aren’t sure about the addictive potential of molly, and studies have been inconsistent,  however, it appears that it can be habit-forming. 

The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), classified molly as a Schedule I drug, which means it has no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Molly is substantially more dangerous when used with other substances like alcohol.

Many regular users report common signs of addiction, including using the drug despite negative consequences, problems at school or work, and loss of interest in activities customarily found enjoyable. Cravings and withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped are also signs of molly addiction.

How Molly Addiction Affects your Mind and Body

The side effects of molly are unique because the drug has stimulant properties similar to meth or cocaine, but also hallucinogenic effects similar to LSD. Molly pills and capsules are usually converted to powder for snorting or smoking, but injectable liquids are also available. 

Molly users report feeling giddiness and euphoria, heightened energy and alertness, increased sociability, pleasure, warmth, enhanced sexual desire, happiness, and a distorted sense of time. 

Other molly side effects that aren’t so pleasant may include:

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Sensitivity to sound, light, and touch
  • A sharp increase in body temperature
  • Severe dehydration
  • Sweating or chills
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Jaw clenching and teeth grinding
  • Restless legs
  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Pain and stiffness in legs and lower back
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Coma

Side Effects of Long-Term Molly Use

Many regular or long-term molly users say they have experienced a hard letdown when the high wears off, including severe depression, anxiety, and irritability. Researchers aren’t yet sure if the effects are reversible when the drug leaves the body, or if some damage may be permanent.

Long-term side effects of prolonged molly may include: 

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Aggression
  • Severe panic attacks
  • Sleep problems
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Muscle cramps
  • Paranoia
  • Loss of motivation
  • Loss of sex drive

Although molly isn’t generally a deadly drug, users may experience an intense spike in body temperature, particularly at dance parties in hot rooms. There is considerable risk of heatstroke in such situations, with potential for heart, liver, kidney, or brain damage. Although it’s rare, death is possible.   

Signs of Molly Withdrawal

People who have a molly addiction may experience severe cravings for the drug when stopping or cutting back. Common molly withdrawal symptoms include: 

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Impaired memory
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Seizures

How Long do Molly Withdrawal Symptoms Last?

It’s impossible to say for sure how long the side effects of molly withdrawal will last because so many factors are involved. For instance, the length of molly withdrawal can depend on how long a person has used molly, the size of the doses, additives in the molly , whether it was used with alcohol or other drugs, and overall mental and physical health. 

Treatment for Molly Addiction

Unfortunately, there are no medicines specifically for molly withdrawal treatment. However, a medical provider may prescribe medications to help with withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, headache, insomnia, anxiety, or depression.

If you are a heavy user of molly, or if you’ve used the drug regularly for a long time, a substance abuse treatment program is your best bet for recovery. Counseling, both one-on-one and group support, will help you understand why you used molly in the first place. Through treatment, you will also learn better ways of coping with stress.

You may be tempted to try stopping on your own, but you are more likely to be successful if you have professional support. The risk of relapse is substantially higher for people who try to stop using molly without help.

Seek Help Today for Molly Use

Although molly isn’t addictive in the same way as heroin or cocaine, it can still be habit-forming, and the side effects of molly withdrawal can be challenging. The detox process is easier with the support of qualified addiction professionals who can also help you manage any depression, anxiety, or stress. If you or a loved one is struggling with a molly addiction, please don’t hesitate to call us as soon as possible at 855-425-4846, or contact us here for more information

Recognizing Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms and How to Detox

Tramadol is the generic name for an opioid drug prescribed for mild to moderately severe pain. Brand names include Ultram, Ultracet, and Zytram, among others. Although tramadol isn’t as potent as most opiates and is generally safe when used properly, misuse presents a significant risk of abuse and addiction.

When it comes to the side effects of tramadol withdrawal symptoms, they are much like heroin, oxycodone, and other opiates — meaning unpleasant and potentially dangerous. However, with treatment, you can recover from a tramadol addiction and get on the road to a healthier, substance-free life.   

Tramadol Classification 

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has classified most opiates, including oxycodone, methadone, and fentanyl, as Schedule II substances because they have a high potential for abuse and addiction. Tramadol is classified as a Schedule IV substance, defined by the DEA as having a lower risk of abuse and addiction. Many experts believe tramadol should be reclassified to Schedule II.

Since tramadol is less potent than most opiates, people tend to underestimate the risks. However, tolerance can develop when tramadol is used in large doses or for long periods, and you’ll need higher doses to feel the same results. Tolerance often leads to full-fledged addiction, including uncomfortable tramadol withdrawal symptoms when you stop.

Can Tramadol Get You High?

Everyone is different, but most people find that tramadol side effects make them feel drowsy, possibly with a mild sense of relaxation or well-being. To reach heroin-like euphoria, you would need to take a dangerously high dose which puts you at risk for a tramadol overdose. 

How Long Does Tramadol Stay in your System?

In general, tramadol usually leaves the body within about 72 hours. However, it’s impossible to know exactly how long the drug will remain in your system because it is affected by your age, metabolism, diet, body mass, overall health, genetics, and level of physical activity.

Retention time also depends on the type of tramadol, the size of the doses, and how long you used the drug. If you have kidney or liver disease, you have excess body fat, or if you’re over 75, tramadol will take longer to clear your body. 

What About Tramadol vs. Oxycodone?

Oxycodone is an opioid pain reliever sold by familiar brand names like Oxycontin or Roxicodone. Like tramadol, it is prescribed for moderate to severe pain. Oxycodone is safe when used properly, but it is one of the most abused drugs in America. Even though tramadol is less potent than oxycodone, both are habit-forming, and withdrawal symptoms upon stopping are similar. 

Tramadol Side Effects

Common tramadol side effects, which often go away after a few days of proper use, may include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Headache,
  • Dizziness
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting

Although they are less common, tramadol users may also experience:

  • Rash
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred vision
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Decreased appetite
  • High blood pressure
  • Weakness
  • Joint pain

Consult your physician if you experience the following tramadol withdrawal symptoms. They’re uncommon and usually not life-threatening, but they should be treated. They may also be signs of tramadol addiction.

  • Sleep disorders
  • Bloody urine
  • Chills
  • Bruising
  • Agitation
  • Nightmares
  • Menstrual problems
  • Mood changes
  • Muscle cramps
  • Muscle pain
  • Yawning
  • Sore throat
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Hives
  • Fainting
  • Painful urination
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Inability to have or maintain an erection
  • Sores in the mouth

What are the Bad Side Effects of Tramadol?

Although serious tramadol side effects aren’t common, they can be dangerous or even fatal. If you experience any of the following side effects, call for medical attention right away:

  • Severe allergic reaction
  • Blistering, peeling skin
  • Blood clots or fluid in the lungs
  • Inflammation or failure of the liver
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Anemia
  • Hearing loss
  • Low blood sugar
  • Trouble breathing
  • Seizures

What are Tramadol Addiction Symptoms?

Most side effects in the above list are also tramadol addiction symptoms. Other indications of tramadol addiction are missing work, serious financial problems, failure to keep up with responsibilities, loss of interest in activities typically found enjoyable, changes in friends, or neglect of personal hygiene. 

Most people who use painkillers don’t set out to become addicted, but occasional misuse can easily spiral out of control. 

Tramadol and Alcohol: A Dangerous Combination

Tramadol and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants, which means they work by slowing down activity in the brain and nerves. By using tramadol and alcohol together, you may intensify the effects to dangerous levels. 

Effects of combining tramadol and alcohol include drowsiness, dizziness, memory problems, and loss of consciousness. Severe repercussions may consist of life-threatening symptoms such as respiratory depression, liver damage, seizures, coma, and brain damage. Mixing tramadol and alcohol also increase the risk of a tramadol overdose.

Tramadol Overdose Symptoms

Although tramadol is weaker than most painkillers, using too much can still result in an accidental overdose, seizures, coma, and death. A person who is overdosing may be short of breath, or his breathing may be slow and shallow because the body isn’t getting sufficient oxygen.

In addition to severe respiratory problems, these are also common tramadol overdose symptoms:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Blurred vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slow heart rate
  • Clammy skin or sweating
  • Muscle weakness

If you feel like you may be having a tramadol overdose, or if somebody you love is showing symptoms, call for immediate help. 

Recognizing Tramadol Withdrawal Symptoms

Tramadol withdrawal symptoms are similar to the withdrawal symptoms of other opiates and include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
  • Uncontrollable tremors 
  • Muscle spasms
  • Aching muscles
  • Cough
  • Insomnia
  • Sweating and chills
  • Anxiety
  • Sneezing
  • Restless leg syndrome
  • Runny nose
  • Increased pain
  • Hallucinations or seizures (possible, but not common)

The Best Way to Detox off Tramadol: Recovery Begins With the First Step

The best way to detox from tramadol is to enter a quality drug treatment program. Tramadol withdrawal symptoms are challenging, but a treatment provider will ensure you detox safely, and that you have medications to ease the discomfort. Once tramadol detox is complete, counseling, education, and group support will help you understand the reasons for your addiction and triggers for relapse. 

If tramadol use has created problems for you or a loved one, reach out as soon as possible. Call 1st Step Behavioral Health at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information, and we’ll help you explore options for recovery and safer ways of managing pain.

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.