South Florida beach

Florida: An Affordable Alternative to Drug Rehab Centers in California

Are you looking into alcohol and drug  rehab centers in California? Before you commit to a California substance abuse treatment facility, take a moment to consider Florida for rehab instead. Florida is a perfect alternative to the west coast; similar weather, beautiful beaches, and quality treatment — at a more affordable price. 

The Cost of Drug Rehab in California

The cost of living in California is high, and the often outrageous price tag for drug rehab centers in California is a huge stumbling block for many people. Southern California is especially well known for its luxury treatment centers that roll out the red carpet for Hollywood celebrities, star athletes, or titans of the business world. California has the highest number of posh treatment centers in the country, many of which are located in trendy SoCal cities like Malibu, Laguna Beach, andHollywood Hills. 

Unfortunately, unless  you’re a person with money, power, and influence, the high price and exclusivity of many Southern California drug rehab centers may be out of reach. This severely lowers the available options for those looking to get into treatment quickly. In contrast, Florida has a large number  of treatment centers, and many rehabs in the sunshine state specifically focus on providing high-quality treatment at a price that won’t make you gasp.

Are Florida Treatment Centers as Good as Southern California Drug Rehab Centers?

The quality of substance abuse treatment isn’t always connected to the cost. Many Southern California drug rehab centers are notoriously expensive, not because the treatment is better, but because they offer a resort or spa-type experience. For instance, higher-priced rehabs offer an array of amenities such as personal chefs, private suites, gourmet dining rooms, horseback riding, or tennis. It isn’t unusual for a California substance abuse treatment facility to freely advertise its roster of celebrity clients.

All the perks are nice, but an expensive treatment center won’t get you on the path to recovery any faster than a moderately priced drug addiction treatment. Drug addiction treatment in California may be out of your price range, but if you’re committed to your recovery, a reasonably priced rehab in South Florida may offer precisely what you need. 

You Won’t Be Giving Up Sunshine and Beautiful Beaches

People love Southern California for the warm, sunny days, spectacular vistas, and sandy beaches, but if you’re looking for the best weather, Florida’s tropical climate is hard to beat. You may need to pack a sweater or light jacket during the winter, but be ready for plenty of balmy days all year round.

California vs. Florida for Drug Rehab: Questions to Ask No Matter Where You Go

How can you tell which rehabs are good, and which are substandard? The best way to do this is to ask a lot of questions. Whether you decide to travel to Florida, or attend a California substance abuse treatment facility, here is a list of several factors that you should consider when you’re choosing a rehab for yourself or a loved one.

Vetting Substance Abuse Treatment Centers

Staff at a quality rehab is knowledgeable, compassionate, and willing to freely share information. If they are unwilling to answer all of your questions, even if you make multiple phone calls, it’s probably not the right place for you. 

  • Find out if the treatment methods evidence-based, which means they have been carefully tested and backed by solid scientific research. Be careful about treatment providers that make lofty promises or offer miracle cures. Similarly, beware of gifts or other inducements, which may indicate some shady business is going on.
  • What types of drug detox programs does the treatment center offer? Will you be carefully monitored during withdrawal? Is a physician on staff? If the center doesn’t provide medical detox, can they refer you to a detox clinic or hospital if necessary? 
  • Does the rehab offer dual diagnosis treatment? This is an essential factor if you need help with conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder, or PTSD in addition to substance abuse. Staff at a dual diagnosis center should be educated, experienced, and able to help you with both issues together, not separately. 
  • Does the center offer medically-based treatment (MAT)? Medically based treatment, which involves traditional therapy in addition to certain prescribed medications, has proven to be effective for many people. 
  • Will your treatment be carefully planned with your needs and goals in mind? Beware of cookie-cutter treatment plans. Recovery isn’t a one-size-fits-all situation, and what works for one person may not work for you.
  • Does the center offer complementary or alternative therapies that are important to you, such as outdoor therapy, yoga, massage therapy, mindfulness meditation, or fitness? 
  • Ask if treatment length is flexible if your needs change. Research over the last few decades has proven that longer stays in rehab, often lasting at least 90 days or even longer, offers a higher chance of long-term recovery. The standard length of 29 days isn’t enough for many people.
  • Inquire about the price of treatment in Florida, then compare it to the cost of drug rehab in California and ask what insurance companies they each accept. If you aren’t insured, ask about payment plans or financial assistance programs. Be sure to let them know if you live out of the local area, as some insurance companies won’t cover treatment centers that are “out of network.”
  • Find out what types of programs are available; for instance, does the center offer gender-specific treatment or co-ed programs? If a 12-Step, spiritually-based program or family therapy is important to you, don’t hesitate to ask about them. Programs may also be geared toward specific populations such as adolescents or LGBT individuals. 
  • Will the treatment center guide you through the creation of an aftercare or relapse prevention plan? Some centers offer counseling sessions after completion of treatment, or they will contact you via phone if you live outside the area. Others have regular alumni events.
  • Ask about living conditions. While they don’t need to be fancy, the environment should be clean and comfortable. Many Florida treatment centers offer virtual tours on their websites, but an actual visit, if possible, is the best way to determine if conditions are suitable. 
  • What does a typical schedule look like? Will you have time for socializing with other clients? How about opportunities for solitude and quiet reflection? Does the center offer enjoyable group activities?

Learn More About 1st Step South Florida Rehab Center

Choosing a treatment center is an important decision that only you can make. First Step Behavioral Health in South Florida is a top-rated treatment center with a variety of program options and mental health services.

If you’re looking for help for you or a loved one, give us a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us here for more information. We’ll take the time to answer your questions and provide you any information you need that will help you in your search.  

Pompano Beach residential area

Why People Searching for Rehabs in Georgia Choose Florida Instead

A decision to enter treatment for substance abuse or addiction signals a major turning point in your life, and you understandably want to get started as soon as possible. Timing is critical, but don’t rush to enroll in the first drug rehab in Georgia that catches your attention. Treatment is a major commitment of time and money, so you must do everything possible to ensure the experience is positive and effective. 

If you’re looking at residential drug rehab centers in Georgia, don’t discount the possibility of traveling to a neighboring state like Florida. A treatment center in your area may be more convenient, and may also offer high-quality treatment, but that’s no guarantee that a local Georgia addiction center will be best for your particular recovery needs.

Treatment in Florida: A Fresh Start and a New Point of View

Substance abuse treatment isn’t easy, especially in the beginning, and unless you’re legally mandated to spend a specific length of time in treatment, you can walk away any time you choose. If you decide to enroll at a drug rehab in Georgia, the temptation to fall back into old habits may be too difficult to resist.

On the other hand, you’re more likely to stay engaged in treatment if you break connections and put a safe distance between you and the people and places that threaten your recovery — at least until you’re feeling more confident and secure in recovery. The urge to bend towards social pressures and unhealthy connections can be powerful, but once you’ve invested some time into addiction treatment, and the drugs and/or alcohol have left your system, you’ll be more clear headed. 

Traveling to a treatment center in Florida provides a fresh start in a completely new environment, while still maintaining a relatively close proximity to the comforts of familiarity. Comprehensive drug rehab centers like 1st Step will ensure you have an aftercare or relapse prevention plan in place before you go home. Chances are, you’ll be happy that you were able to achieve some space.

Space Can Help Preserve Personal Ties

Even the most loving and supportive relationships can bend and break under the pressure of addiction. If you’ve struggled with long-term addiction, you and your family are probably exhausted by chaos, anger, and disappointment. Your relationships may be hanging by a slender thread. 

Mending broken relationships takes time and commitment, and there are no guarantees that everything will magically be better once you complete treatment. However, getting away gives everybody time to heal and sort things out.

It isn’t necessary to sever connections with your family. You’ll be able to stay in contact via phone or email, if this is what you choose, and some form of family therapy can become part of your addiction treatment program. Family therapy may be in the form of casual family weekends or organized therapy sessions that will help you and your family establish healthy boundaries, rebuild trust, and break destructive patterns. 

The Importance of Privacy and Confidentiality

Dealing with the stress of a rumor mill or office gossip isn’t something you’ll want to deal with during your stay in treatment. If you enter into treatment at one of the many residential drug rehab centers in Georgia, there’s always a chance that you’ll bump into somebody you know. This is a common occurrence even in large, urban areas, and it isn’t easy to maintain a high level of privacy if you’re too close to home.  

Many Florida drug treatment centers offer programs specifically geared to working professionals. Keep in mind that you don’t need to tell your friends and coworkers you’re traveling for substance abuse treatment. They don’t need to know where you’re going or how long you’ll be gone unless you choose to tell them. 

Florida Offers A Wide Variety of Treatment Center Options

South Florida is famous for its beautiful weather and scenic beaches, but it’s also home to more than 600 of the nation’s top-rated addiction treatment providers. With a little research, you’re bound to find a rehab that fulfills your needs. For instance, instead of choosing an inpatient drug rehab center in Georgia, you may thrive in a rehab that offers the following options:

Dual diagnosis treatment

Specialized dual diagnosis treatment is essential if you need help with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or other mental health issues along with substance abuse. In the past, it was customary to treat mental illness and addiction separately, which often required more than one treatment provider. Research over the last few decades has proven that co-occurring disorders should be treated at the same time.  

Medical detox

You may need medical attention if your substance abuse is severe, or if you’ve been addicted for a long time. With medical detox, a medical team will monitor you around the clock, and you may receive medications that will help you get through the hardest stages of withdrawal.

Medication-assisted treatment

Also known as MAT, medication-assisted treatment combines standard addiction treatment with medications that work by blocking the effects of drugs or alcohol, or by curbing severe cravings or other withdrawal symptoms.

Varied length of stay options

Standard treatment of about a month may not be long enough to address your substance abuse or addiction. Since Florida has such a wide variety of treatment centers you’re bound to find one that offers a program for the length of time you need, and if necessary, will adjust.

Complementary (alternative) treatments

Florida treatment centers offer many alternative therapies that many people find helpful. For example, you may benefit from yoga, mindfulness meditation, biofeedback, art therapy, equine therapy, or exercise and nutrition education.

Treatment for specific addictions

Many Florida treatment centers treat a variety of addictions, and this works well for most people. However, some centers focus on a specific addictions, such as opioids, crystal meth, cocaine, benzos, or alcohol.

Got Questions? Call 1st Step Today

Located in Pompano Beach, Florida, 1st Step Behavioral Health is dedicated to providing quality care, and our staff is always available to answer your questions and concerns. Our substance abuse programs are based on tried and true, research-based treatment methods that give you the best chance of long-term recovery. If you’re looking for help for you or a loved one, feel free to give us a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us online for more 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.

anxious-person-depicting-xanax-abuse

Common Physical Signs of Xanax Abuse

If you’re concerned that you’re using too much Xanax, or if you’re worried about a friend or family member, it’s essential to recognize the common physical signs of Xanax abuse. Spotting the signs is tricky because Xanax abuse symptoms are similar to the effects of alcohol or narcotics. 

What is Xanax?

Xanax is the generic name for alprazolam. It is a type of drug known as a benzodiazepine, a class of sedative medications that includes Klonopin, Ativan, and Valium, although Xanax is much stronger. Physicians frequently prescribe Xanax for anxiety, panic disorder, and insomnia, and it provides relief for most people who take the drug. In fact, it works almost too well. 

Unfortunately, Xanax is very habit-forming, and it’s easy to get hooked. Nobody sets out to be addicted, but people enjoy the feelings of peace, calm, and relaxation so much that they take more Xanax than they should, or they keep taking the drug for long periods despite the many dangers. 

Most addiction experts agree that the potential risks of long term Xanax abuse may outweigh the benefits, yet many physicians continue to prescribe the drug for unsafe lengths of time. Xanax is intended for short periods, and a treatment period of three to four weeks is safe for most people.  

Xanax addiction develops quickly, however, and is common for people who take the drug for more than six weeks. In time, many people learn that the symptoms of long-term Xanax abuse are far worse than the problems that prompted them to use the drug in the first place. 

See 1st Step Behavioral Health’s article about spotting the general warning signs of Xanax addiction. 

3 Physical Signs of Xanax Abuse

Like most substance abuse addictions, there are some common physical signs of Xanax abuse that are easy to recognize. They include:

1. Changes in Appearance

Changes in appearance usually show up after a long-term Xanax abuse. At this point, finding and using the drug becomes all-important, and personal hygiene takes a back seat. 

Xanax addiction also affects self-confidence. A person who typically takes great care with her appearance may become sloppy and unkempt. You may notice bad breath or unpleasant body odor. 

Other noticeable physical signs of Xanax abuse may include bloodshot eyes and sudden weight gain or weight loss. Failure to brush and floss regularly may cause yellowing of the teeth. 

2. Breathing Problems

Xanax slows down impulses throughout the body and can slow breathing to the point of coma or death. The risk becomes much greater when the drug is used with other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol, or opiates like heroin, hydrocodone, or oxycodone. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), more than 30 percent of opiate-related overdoses also involve Xanax or other benzodiazepines.

People who have experienced respiratory depression associated with the use of Xanax report shortness of breath and feelings of being smothered or choked. Infections of the nose, throat, and lungs are also more common among Xanax users. People with emphysema or other lung problems are at even higher risk of respiratory problems. 

3. Dizziness and Drowsiness

Sleepiness is a common side effect when people start taking Xanax, but it usually wears off in a few days when the drug is taken as recommended. However, misuse of Xanax can cause dangerous dizziness and drowsiness. A person who is hooked on Xanax will probably seem tired, lethargic, and entirely uninterested in activities at work, school, or home.

The effects of Xanax are magnified when the drug is used with alcohol or drugs that cause sedation. If you use Xanax, it’s a good idea to avoid other substances, and never drive a car; you may be drowsy without realizing it.

If you use Xanax (without or without other substances), and you feel tired, weak, lightheaded, or drowsy, contact 911 immediately. 

Dangerous Signs of Xanax Use: What are the Effects of Xanax Abuse? 

Respiratory depression and drowsiness or dizziness are two severe signs of Xanax abuse. Other dangerous physical side effects of long-term Xanax abuse may include:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Severe headaches
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Speech problems
  • Painful rash
  • Heavy sweating
  • Swollen hands or feet
  • Menstrual problems
  • Constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, or other stomach problems
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Seizures
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Chest pain and increased risk of heart attack

Symptoms of Long-Term Xanax Abuse

The Science Journal of the Lander College of Arts and Science defines long-term use as lasting for more than two weeks. 

Tolerance, which occurs when the brain and body become accustomed to the drug, is one of the most troublesome effects of long-term Xanax abuse. When Xanax no longer works as well as it did in the beginning, the natural inclination is for people to take larger doses, or to take the drug more frequently. Tolerance can quickly turn into full-fledged addiction.  

People who take the drug for long periods, generally two years or more, may experience a variety of muscle problems, often severe enough to interfere with daily activities. Troublesome symptoms may include uncontrolled muscle movements (tics), fidgeting, pacing, impaired muscle function, clumsiness, lack of coordination, stumbling or falling, or muscle weakness.

Xanax Withdrawal Symptoms

When you stop using, you may experience a variety of Xanax withdrawal symptoms, such as diarrhea, stomach cramps, blurred vision, impaired concentration, muscle cramps, and seizures — which are associated with most benzodiazepine withdrawals

If you’re addicted to Xanax, detoxing by stopping “cold turkey” can be dangerous, or even life-threatening. Your doctor can help you devise a plan for stopping gradually, so the discomfort and danger of Xanax withdrawal symptoms are lessened. 

With Help, You Can Detox and Stop Using Xanax

Once you’re spotted the signs of Xanax abuse, it’s time to seek help before the problem gets worse. With quality detox treatment, you or a loved one can learn healthier ways to cope with anxiety, panic disorder, and insomnia. At 1st Step, we’re ready to help. 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.