Texas Drug Intervention and Alcohol Intervention in Texas
Wondering if you are in need of a Texas Drug Intervention? We’ve created this page to help provide you with a better understanding of why intervention is necessary and how it works. Most important is that you take the time to reach out. Your loved one’s freedom and very life could depend on it.
Texas is a massive state, with over 26 million people as of a few years ago. Considering it’s proximity to the Mexican border, it’s no surprise that drug use is a real problem here. Consequently, the long 1,254-mile border is one of the main entrances that drug trafficking organizations use to bring marijuana, meth, cocaine, and heroin into the United States.
Just because Texas is closer to the source to where the drugs are coming from, doesn’t mean that they are any purer. Heroin overdoses are at an all-time high because dealers cut it and other drugs with deadly substances to make them cheaper.
Alcohol is also prevalent in Texas. With almost half (49.6%) of Texas residents who have reported consuming alcohol in the past month, it’s also socially acceptable. With numbers like these, it’s not surprising a significant portion of the population also has a problem with it. In any case, most people who do have a problem accepting it.
To reach out and receive 100% confidential help 24/7, don’t hesitate to reach out to our addiction hotline. We’d be happy to assist you and your family with the support you need.
Texas Drug Intervention
Addiction is a severe problem, one that hard to deal with. Many addicts and alcoholics try to quit on their own or fail to admit they have a problem. For the most part, people suffering from this disease are only able to get better with the right help. So long as the intervention and treatment center is carried out in the right way, the addict can move past the addiction phase and on to a happy, healthy life.
Warning Signs Of Addiction – Do I Need Texas Drug Intervention?
Terrible cases of insomnia
Uncontrollable mood swings
Sudden financial or legal issues resulting from substance abuse or alcohol abuse
Becoming distant from persons and activities that you once enjoyed
Severe weight loss
Loss of appetite
Feeling unable to function as an average person unless under the influence
Addicts and alcoholics are masters of hiding their secrets from the ones closest to them. If you have any level of suspicion that they might have a problem, it’s best to contact the experts who have seen it all before. Asking the addict or alcoholic if they have an issue will probably not do any good.
Understanding Texas Drug Intervention
When an intervention takes place, the family comes together under the guidance of a professional who specializes in helping people get sober. At first the addict or alcoholic is often defensive against getting help. However, the process is designed to be a loving and compassionate approach that opens the eyes of the affected person. Because the interventionist knows what it’s like to suffer from substance abuse problems, they can relate to the feelings of the addict or alcoholic. In view of a better chance at life as presented by someone who has walked in their shoes, interventions are almost always successful.
Methamphetamine use has increased in the United States since the 1980s 1, and today is the most commonly used drug behind alcohol and marijuana in a large number of states 1. The 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that 1.6 million people reported using meth in the past year and that 569,000 people were currently using meth at the time of the survey 2. One of the reasons meth is so prevalent is because it can be made with relative ease from legal (yet toxic) ingredients, such as Freon® and paint thinner 3.
One study of meth-related emergency room visits found that more than 400,000 reproductive-aged women reported using meth in the prior month.
As use of the substance continues to rise, so do treatment and hospital admissions. In 2012, meth ranked first in drug-related treatment admissions in Hawaii and San Diego 4. Females have also been found to start using meth at a younger age and intake higher amounts of meth compared to men 5.
With increasing numbers of methamphetamine users, meth abuse during pregnancy is a growing public health concern 6. One study of meth-related emergency room visits found that more than 400,000 reproductive-aged women reported using meth in the prior month 6. Another study found that meth was the primary substance requiring treatment during pregnancy between 1994 and 2006 6.
As a stimulant, meth is extremely potent 7. When a person uses this substance, they may experience a range of feelings, such as 8:
Increased energy levels.
The negative health effects that may occur from meth use include 1,8:
Tachycardia (abnormally rapid heart rate).
Hypertension (high blood pressure).
Hyperthermia (high body temperature).
To date, the medical community’s knowledge of meth’s effects on a child in utero is limited. Conclusive evidence about the potential effects of methamphetamine use during pregnancy is lacking, as much of it comes from animal research or from studies with difficult to control variables such as the presence of polysubstance use in the maternal population being examined. While we cannot draw definite conclusions about how meth affects a baby’s development, there is evidence to suggest that meth is harmful to a developing fetus 9.
Meth is a dangerous substance that can harm a woman’s body and put her at risk for maternal complications. For example, women who abuse meth tend to have a significantly lower body mass index (BMI). This can make her pregnancy riskier. One study found that lower BMI increased a woman’s chance for pregnancy complications, including more frequent hospitalizationsand longer hospital stays10. The anorectic effects of meth can also result in intrauterine growth retardation (poor growth of the fetus in the womb) 11.
Using meth during pregnancy can also reduce a woman’s placental blood flow. This can cause fetal hypoxia, an insufficient amount of oxygen to the fetus 12.
Since 2003, meth has been the most common substance that women are admitted with for treatment at US federally funded health centers. To complicate matters, meth is often used in combination with other substances 6, such as prescription painkillers, marijuana, cigarettes, and alcohol 11. These substances can have additional devastating effects on the fetus. For example, alcohol consumption can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, which is irreversible.
Effects of Methamphetamine on a Baby
How many pregnant women use meth?
There is limited data on the prevalence of meth use during pregnancy. National estimates range from 0.7% to 5.2%12.
Meth use during pregnancy can harm the way a child develops in utero. Meth use can put a woman at risk for having a baby that has 1:
A low birth weight.
Small size for gestational age.
An increased risk for neurodevelopmental problems.
Most of what we know about the effects of meth on a developing fetus come from animal studies. In rats, prenatal exposure to meth caused 11,13:
Increased mortality in the mother and her child.
Malformations of the ribs.
Slowed physical growth.
Delayed motor development.
There are few studies on humans that allow us to draw conclusions about the effects of meth on a fetus. However, from the handful of studies available, meth is associated with adverse health outcomes.
These include 11,14:
Higher rates of preterm birth.
Smaller head circumference.
Fetal growth restriction (at rates similar to those for pregnant women who use cocaine).
One study found that only 4% of babies exposed to meth were treated for withdrawal after birth. However, the study was unable to control for a mother’s use of drugs other than meth 7.
There are reports that meth can lead to long-term adverse health outcomes. These include negative impacts on a child’s behavior, cognitive skills, and physical dexterity.
In a Swedish study, children who were exposed to meth in utero were tested at birth, at 1 year, and at 4 years. Researchers found that females exposed to meth were significantly shorter and lighter than the males.
At age 8, there was a significant correlation between how much meth a fetus was exposed to in utero and the level of aggressive behavior and social maladjustment. When the children were tested at age 14 and 15 years old, they performed significantly worse than their peers on math tests. However, this study was also confounded by variables outside of the researchers’ control, such as maternal polysubstance use, stress levels, environment, number of siblings, and foster care placements 11.
Some studies suggest that the use of meth during pregnancy can result in fetal abnormalities 8.Other studies have reported that meth use during pregnancy can increase the risk of cleft lip in babies 8. A case control study found that mothers who used drugs during the first trimester had over 3 times the risk of having a baby with gastroschisis8. Gastroschisis is a birth defect in which the baby’s intestines stick outside of the body from a hole near the belly button 15.
When babies are exposed to meth for at least two-thirds of the pregnancy, certain brain structures were more likely to be smaller than those in non-exposed fetuses 8. It is important to note, however, that overall, exposure to meth during pregnancy is not consistently associated with birth defects. More studies are needed in order to control for confounding variables such as maternal polysubstance use, small sample sizes, and recall bias. It is important to note, however, that overall, exposure to meth during pregnancy is not consistently associated with birth defects. More studies are needed in order to control for confounding variables such as maternal polysubstance use, small sample sizes, and recall bias 8.
Quitting Meth While Pregnant
There is a common trend of women experiencing “turning points” during pregnancy. Being responsible for the life of another human helps many women stop using drugs.
Being responsible for the life of another human helps many women stop using drugs.
If you are currently using meth and you are pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant talk to your doctor about your options for meth addiction treatment. Your doctor may recommend entering a treatment facility.
The two main types of treatment you will encounter are outpatient and inpatient treatment.
Outpatient treatment is an option for women who have less severe addictions and who aren’t additionally contending with serious medical or mental health issues. In outpatient treatment, you will periodically check in with your doctor and counselor for medications and therapy, while still being able to live at home.
Inpatient treatment programs offer an immersive treatment environment, with 24/7 supervision and access to medical services, when needed. In inpatient treatment, you will be free of distractions and able to focus fully on your journey to recovery. As a pregnant woman, you will be monitored closely to ensure the health of you and your baby.
In treatment, you may participate in group and individual counseling. Some examples of therapy may include:
Group and individual counseling. You can engage in group and/or individual counseling as part of your treatment. Counseling can offer you support throughout your recovery.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT can help you understand the triggers and situations that contribute to your use meth. People who struggle with addiction often have underlying issues that drive their addictions. CBT can help you address these issues in a healthy and productive way. In CBT, you can learn how to cope with life’s challenges without meth.
Family involvement. Family is important to the recovery process. As a pregnant woman, you may or may not have a partner with whom you would like to engage in therapy with. No matter what your situation is, involving your family in your recovery can help you get sober. Family members can offer invaluable support, often providing encouragement and motivation. Note that some individuals do not have healthy relationships with members of their family, so it’s important to do whatever feels right to you and invite those who are positive forces in your life to be part of your treatment.
Addiction support groups. 12-step programs are available to help you receive peer support. Groups can help you create a community of people going through the same situation as you. Having this type of support can help prevent relapse. Attending support groups can help ensure a woman’s long-term success.
Contingency-management: This is a strategy used to enforce positive and healthy behavior change. When you meet treatment goals, your therapist may give you a tangible reward in exchange for maintaining sobriety. Incentives could include money, vouchers, or special privileges.
Overall, there are many tools that can help you turn your life around. Pregnancy can present a window of opportunity to improve the health of you and your baby. Call us today at 1-800-980-3927
He, J., Xie, Y., Tao, J., Su, H., Wu, W., Zou, S., … & Guo, J. (2013). Gender differences in socio-demographic and clinical characteristics of methamphetamine inpatients in a Chinese population. Drug and alcohol dependence, 130(1), 94-100.
Terplan, M., Smith, E. J., Kozloski, M. J., & Pollack, H. A. (2009). Methamphetamine use among pregnant women. Obstetrics & Gynecology,113(6), 1285-1291.
Hudak, M. L., Tan, R. C., Frattarelli, D. A., Galinkin, J. L., Green, T. P., Neville, K. A., … & Bhutani, V. K. (2012). Neonatal drug withdrawal. Pediatrics, 129(2), e540-e560.
Viteri, O. A., Soto, E. E., Bahado-Singh, R. O., Christensen, C. W., Chauhan, S. P., & Sibai, B. M. (2015). Fetal Anomalies and Long-Term Effects Associated with Substance Abuse in Pregnancy: A Literature Review. American journal of perinatology, 32(05), 405-416.
Denison, F. C., Norwood, P., Bhattacharya, S., Duffy, A., Mahmood, T., Morris, C., … & Scotland, G. (2014).Association between maternal body mass index during pregnancy, short‐term morbidity, and increased health service costs: a population‐based study. BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 121(1), 72-82.
Wouldes, T., LaGasse, L., Sheridan, J., & Lester, B. (2004). Maternal methamphetamine use during pregnancy and child outcome: what do we know. NZ Med J, 117(1206), 1-10.
Derauf, C., LaGasse, L. L., Smith, L. M., Grant, P., Shah, R., Arria, A., … & Liu, J. (2007). Demographic and psychosocial characteristics of mothers using methamphetamine during pregnancy: preliminary results of the infant development, environment, and lifestyle study (IDEAL). The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse, 33(2), 281-289.
Smith, L. M., Diaz, S., LaGasse, L. L., Wouldes, T., Derauf, C., Newman, E., … & Della Grotta, S. (2015). Developmental and behavioral consequences of prenatal methamphetamine exposure: a review of the infant development, environment, and lifestyle (IDEAL) study. Neurotoxicology and teratology, 51, 35-44.
Hudak, M. L., Tan, R. C., Frattarelli, D. A., Galinkin, J. L., Green, T. P., Neville, K. A., … & Bhutani, V. K. (2012). Neonatal drug withdrawal. Pediatrics, 129(2), e540-e560.
When a woman uses drugs during pregnancy, it can result in a slew of negative health effects for her and her baby—alcohol is no exception. Drinking during pregnancy can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs) and a number of other birth defects.
Using alcohol during pregnancy is the leading preventable cause of developmental disabilities, and it is estimated that as many as 2-5% of first grade students in the United States might have FASDs 3.
If you are addicted to alcohol and you are pregnant or you are thinking about getting pregnant, it is not too late to get help. Give us a call today at 1-800-980-3927 to speak with a rehab placement specialist about helpful treatment options.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is more common than you think: In a survey done by the CDC, 10.2% of pregnant women drank alcohol in the past 30 days and 3.1% of pregnant women reported binge drinking (drinking more than 4 drinks per occasion) during that time frame 3.
Pregnant women report binge drinking more frequently than nonpregnant women: Among binge drinkers, pregnant women reported binge drinking 4.6 times in the past 30 days compared to nonpregnant women who reported binge drinking 3.1 times in the past 30 days. Additionally, the survey found that, among binge drinkers, pregnant women consumed more than nonpregnant women with 7.5 versus 6.0 drinks 3.
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is associated with high health care costs: The United States spends an estimated $5.5 billion dollars in health care and related costs related to drinking during pregnancy every year 9.
An estimated 3.3 million women ages 15 to 44 years old are at risk for unintentionally exposing their unborn child to alcohol: Many women drink alcohol while they are sexually active and not using birth control to prevent pregnancy 8. Additionally, over half of the pregnancies in the United States are unintended: an unintended pregnancy is either unplanned or planned but not monitored so that women continue drinking through the beginning of their pregnancy before discovering they are pregnant 10.
3 in 4 women do not stop drinking alcohol when they stop using birth control: When a woman wants to get pregnant she will usually stop taking birth control, yet according to a report by the CDC, 3 in 4 women reported that they still drank alcohol after going off their birth control. This is worrisome given that the majority of women do not know they are pregnant until they are 4-6 weeks pregnant, meaning their baby could be exposed to alcohol during this critical stage of development 10. Pregnant women are typically motivated to change their drinking behaviors to ensure that their child is born healthy: One survey found that 87% of women who drank prior to becoming pregnant quit during pregnancy, 6.6% reduced the amount they drank, and about 6.4% reported not changing the amount they drank 11.
Effects of Alcohol on the Mother
Any amount of drinking is considered at-risk alcohol use during pregnancy.
Alcohol consumption among women of childbearing age in the United States is a public health issue. When a woman drinks during her pregnancy she increases the risk of harming her unborn baby as well as her own body.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, any amount of drinking is considered at-risk alcohol use during pregnancy. In consensus with this recommendation, the U.S. Surgeon General advises that pregnant women should not drink any alcohol while they are pregnant 1. Excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for miscarriage due to damage to the developing cells of the baby.
Aside from miscarriage risk, drinking during pregnancy is associated with negative health outcomes for the mother, that include both maternal psychosocial risks as well as physical risks of potential harms for both mother and developing fetus 1,2.
Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) which, depending on the infection, may harm the pregnancy.
Injuries, such as falls, which may lead to miscarriage.
Cancer of the breast, liver, mouth, and esophagus.
Conflicts with a spouse or partner.
Child neglect or abuse.
Driving under the influence.
Trading sex for drugs.
For women who want to get pregnant, alcohol abuse can also harm fertility. If you or a loved one is currently pregnant or hoping to get pregnant and is abusing alcohol, it is important to talk to your doctor immediately. Your doctor can help you take the steps to reduce the possibility that your child is further exposed to alcohol in utero.
Effects of Alcohol on a Developing Fetus
Alcohol crosses the placenta and results in the fetus receiving nearly equal the concentration of alcohol as the mother 12. In addition, fetal metabolism of alcohol occurs more slowly than it does in an adult—the result being that fetal blood alcohol levels (BAC) can become more elevated than their mother’s BAC, and persist in that manner for a longer period of time 13.
Excess alcohol consumption can abruptly result in miscarriage. For many, however, the risks don’t end there. A developing baby, carried to term after in utero exposure to alcohol, is subject to a number of negative effects described below.
Credit: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD)
When a fetus is exposed to alcohol it can disrupt their development and increase their risk of developing FASDs. FASDs is the umbrella term for a range of disorders caused by fetal alcohol exposure. FASDs include 14:
FASDs are completely preventable if the mother does not drink during pregnancy.
Credit: SAMHSA FASD Center for Excellence
The CDC estimates that up to 1 in 20 school children living in the United States may have FASDs 9. When a child is born with FASDs they can experience a range of unwanted problems, and these are outlined below 9.
Low birth weight.
Intrauterine growth retardation.
Problems with vital organs like the heart and kidneys.
Damage to the brain.
These physical issues can manifest as behavioral and intellectual disabilities as the child grows up and progresses through certain developmental milestones.
Impaired judgment and reasoning skills.
These types of disabilities can create lifelong problems for an individual. A person born with FASDs may face broader challenges for the rest of their life. Social Problems
Problems with social interactions.
Increased risk of using substances such as drugs and alcohol.
Difficulties keeping a job.
Problems with the law.
Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS)
Fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS) is one of the most severe types of FASDs. FAS presents with specific facial abnormalities, including 14:
Narrow eye openings.
Smooth area between lip and the nose.
Thin upper lip.
In addition to facial dysmorphology, features of FAS also include:
Central nervous system (CNS) abnormalities, e.g., a small head circumference and/or CNS dysfunction.
Growth deficiencies either in utero or post-natal.
Research shows that a few factors play a major role in how severe the effects of alcohol are on a developing fetus. These risk factors include 4:
Amount: the number of drinks a pregnant woman has per occasion.
Rate: how often a woman drinks.
Timing: when the mother drinks. (When considering distinct points in time throughout fetal development that drinking occurs, the timing of alcohol use could have particular effects on the development of a specific brain region or physical feature.)
In addition to how often a woman drinks and how much she drinks, other factors may affect the risk of a child being born with FASDs. These risk factors include 4,5,6:
History of multiple pregnancies.
Low body mass index (BMI).
Whether the mother smokes cigarettes and/or marijuana.
Getting into treatment can help you learn healthy ways to address some of these risk factors. For example, women who are addicted to alcohol may choose alcohol over other things, such as eating a healthy diet during her pregnancy. In fact, many individuals addicted to alcohol are deficient in a number of essential nutrients—some of which may be crucial to a developing fetus 7. This may also make her more prone to becoming hypoglycemic or nutrient-deficient 8. Given that a mother’s eating habits during pregnancy can affect the severity of fetal alcohol impairment, it is important to address nutrition, in addition to all aspects of your health, during addiction treatment.
Quitting Alcohol While Pregnant
If a pregnant woman attempts to withdraw from alcohol without medical help, she can place herself and her baby at risk. Women who are dependent on alcohol may need specialized counseling and, potentially, vigilant medical supervision while they withdraw. Accordingly, treatment should be managed by doctors and nurses who are experienced in treating pregnant women with substance abuse disorders. Depending on a woman’s level of alcohol use, her doctor may recommend specialized inpatient detoxification treatment or outpatient treatment.
Inpatient detoxification treatment may be recommended if a pregnant woman is 6:
Physiologically dependent on alcohol.
Drinking 5 days a week or more.
At risk for alcohol withdrawal, which can be dangerous to both mother and baby.
Withdrawing from alcohol during pregnancy is a threat to the brain of a developing fetus. One potential damaging effect is that withdrawal can activate the brain’s NMDA receptor. NDMA plays a major role in brain development, learning, and memory 15. When this receptor is activated excessively, which occurs during withdrawal, it can cause neuronal cell death in the baby 16.
Newborns can experience withdrawal after birth if their mothers have used alcohol or other substances during pregnancy. Not every baby born to a mother who used alcohol will experience withdrawal, and researchers are still examining why this is the case. However, many newborns who were exposed to alcohol in utero will experience symptoms that are mild or severe as they adjust to life outside the womb.
Signs of withdrawal in an infant include 17:
Trouble with feeding, such as having a weak suck.
Poor sleeping patterns.
Hyperphagia (increased appetite).
Medical providers will assess your newborn’s withdrawal symptoms after birth in order to make a proper diagnosis. In some cases, your baby may need medication and/or frequent check-ups to help manage their withdrawal symptoms.
After the baby is born, many women who stopped drinking alcohol during pregnancy may begin to drink again. If this happens, it is important to tell your doctor during your next follow-up visit. Your doctor may recommend inpatient or outpatient treatment to help you resolve your addiction issues. Getting the help to become alcohol-free postpartum could significantly impact not only your health, but the health and wellbeing of your entire family.
Studies have shown that children raised in a household where the parent(s) abuse alcohol are increasingly prone to having adverse childhood experiences that negatively impact them throughout development and their entire lifetimes, such as abuse or neglect 18. Finally, if you unintentionally became pregnant, it may be an opportunity to talk to your doctor about long-term reversible contraception such as an IUD or other method of birth control to prevent future pregnancies.
Treatment for Alcohol Addiction
Inpatient programs usually last 30 to 90 days and individuals are required to live at the facility for the duration of the program. Inpatient programs will provide a combination of:
Depending on the facility, inpatient programs may offer other amenities such as individualized case management services as well as postpartum support. Some treatment centers, such as those offering dual diagnosis treatment, will be able to effectively address any concurrent mental health issues that may be present such as mood, anxiety, thought and affective disorders.
Outpatient programs offer a pregnant woman the flexibility of living at home while she receives care. In many cases, outpatient programs are less expensive than inpatient programs. Individuals who receive treatment at an outpatient program will often attend group therapy for several hours each week.
In addition to therapy and case management, doctors may prescribe certain medications during treatment to help a woman withdraw from alcohol safely. While these medications are sometimes prescribed, it is important to note that there is a limited amount of data on how safe the following medications are for a pregnant woman to take 19,20:
Naltrexone: Used during pregnancy because it does not have any known, harmful effects.
Disulfiram: Although this drug is sometimes used during pregnancy, it may cause harm to the fetus by increasing levels of acetaldehyde. Because of the potential danger with this drug, it is not used regularly in pregnancy.
Acamprosate: According to animal studies, this drug is a teratogen, which means it could negatively affect pregnancy. Today, there are not enough studies to conclude whether it is safe to take during pregnancy and will only be used if the benefit justifies the risk to the fetus 21.
Topiramate: Sometimes used as an off-label adjunct treatment for alcohol dependence, this drug has been found to be teratogen in animal studies. Its safety for use in human pregnancy is unknown 22.
Before considering going through withdrawal, detox, and/or rehab for alcohol use, it is best to first talk to your doctor about your current alcohol use. Your doctor can complete an assessment and direct you to the proper resources.
If you or a loved one is looking for treatment give us a call today at 1-800-980-3927. We are available 24/7 to answer your questions and help you find a treatment center that’s right for you.
Knudsen, A. K., Skogen, J. C., Ystrom, E., Sivertsen, B., Tell, G. S., & Torgersen, L. (2014). Maternal pre-pregnancy risk drinking and toddler behavior problems: the Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study.European child & adolescent psychiatry, 23(10), 901-911.
Young, J. K., Giesbrecht, H. E., Eskin, M. N., Aliani, M., & Suh, M. (2014). Nutrition implications for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. Advances in Nutrition: An International Review Journal, 5(6), 675-692.
Carter, R. C., Jacobson, J. L., Sokol, R. J., Avison, M. J., & Jacobson, S. W. (2013). Fetal Alcohol‐Related Growth Restriction from Birth through Young Adulthood and Moderating Effects of Maternal Prepregnancy Weight.Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research,37(3), 452-462.
Nykjaer, C., Alwan, N. A., Greenwood, D. C., Simpson, N. A., Hay, A. W., White, K. L., & Cade, J. E. (2014). Maternal alcohol intake prior to and during pregnancy and risk of adverse birth outcomes: evidence from a British cohort.Journal of epidemiology and community health, jech-2013.
Murawski, N. J., Moore, E. M., Thomas, J. D., & Riley, E. P. (2015). Advances in diagnosis and treatment of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders: from animal models to human studies.Alcohol research: current reviews, 37(1), 97.
Thomas, J. D., & Riley, E. P. (1998). Fetal alcohol syndrome: does alcohol withdrawal play a role?.Alcohol Health & Research World, 22(1), 47-54.
Hudak, M. L., Tan, R. C., Frattarelli, D. A., Galinkin, J. L., Green, T. P., Neville, K. A., … & Bhutani, V. K. (2012). Neonatal drug withdrawal.Pediatrics,129(2), e540-e560.
Anda, R. F., Whitfield, C. L., Felitti, V. J., Chapman, D., Edwards, V. J., Dube, S. R., & Williamson, D. F. (2002). Adverse childhood experiences, alcoholic parents, and later risk of alcoholism and depression. Psychiatric services.
Rayburn, W. F., & Bogenschutz, M. P. (2004). Pharmacotherapy for pregnant women with addictions.American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology,191(6), 1885-1897.
Mason, B. J., & Heyser, C. J. (2010). Acamprosate: a prototypic neuromodulator in the treatment of alcohol dependence.CNS & Neurological Disorders-Drug Targets (Formerly Current Drug Targets-CNS & Neurological Disorders), 9(1), 23-32.
Hunt, S., Russell, A., Smithson, W. H., Parsons, L., Robertson, I., Waddell, R., … & Craig, J. (2008). Topiramate in pregnancy Preliminary experience from the UK Epilepsy and Pregnancy Register. Neurology, 71(4), 272-276.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) publishes that between 26.4 million and 36 million people around the globe abuse opiate drugs, which includes prescription pain relievers and the illegal drug heroin.
Opiates change the way the brain responds to pain stimuli and can also produce a “high” feeling by disrupting the reward and pleasure centers in the brain.The central nervous system, which includes the brain, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, has opioid receptors that receive opiate drugs, and these drugs bring a variety of physical and emotional effects. Heart rate, respiration, blood pressure, and body temperature are lowered while pleasant feelings are increased.
Opiate withdrawal symptoms may range from mild to severe, depending on how dependent the individual is on an opioid drug. Dependency can be directly tied to the length of time taking a particular drug, dosage amount, which drug was taken, how the drug was taken, underlying medical conditions, the co-occurring presence of a mental health issue, and certain biological and environmental factors, such as family history of addiction, previous trauma, or highly stressful and unsupportive surroundings. Withdrawal from an opioid drug may roughly adhere to the following timeline, although it can vary from person to person.
Early Withdrawal Symptoms
These usually start within 6-12 hours for short-acting opiates, and they start within 30 hours for longer-acting ones:
Trouble falling and staying asleep
Late Withdrawal Symptoms
These peak within 72 hours and usually last a week or so:
Nausea and vomiting
Some of the psychological withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioid drugs may continue longer than a week in some cases. Therapy and psychological support provided by a mental health professional as a part of a complete substance abuse treatment program can decrease the symptoms and side effects of withdrawal.
There are several treatment and detox options for the removal of opioids from the body, and some may provide a more comprehensive model than others. Medical detox, for instance, encompasses both pharmacological and psychological treatment methodologies while under close supervision of both medical and mental health specialists in a safe and comforting residential setting, while standard detox may be performed in an outpatient basis.Opiate withdrawal symptoms can be very uncomfortable, and medical detox may provide the safest and smoothest way to detox. Vital signs, such as blood pressure, respiration levels, body temperature, and heart rate, can all be closely monitored in a medical detox center that may utilize medications to regulate brain and body functions.Mental health professionals can also evaluate and stabilize individuals during medical detox. While there is no specific timeline for detox, as each individual will likely experience withdrawal from opiates differently, medical detox usually lasts 5-7 days.
Medical Detox as Part of a Whole Treatment Plan
Since addiction is a chronic and relapsing disease, with both physical and emotional side effects and symptoms, treatment needs to be comprehensive. Medical detox is relatively short and can provide the stepping stones for a more stable recovery. Relapse is common for individuals struggling with addiction as it may seem like a return to drug abuse may offer relief. After a period of not using drugs, tolerance to certain levels of drugs may be reduced, however, and relapse after detox can be especially dangerous as it may increase the risk for a fatal overdose.
Drug overdose is the leading cause of injury death in America. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) estimates that 100 Americans die of a drug overdose every day, and 46 people in the United States die daily due to prescription opioid overdose. The New York Times reports that opioids are responsible for more deaths than any other medication or drug. Medical detox may help smooth out withdrawal, reducing side effects, preventing serious complications, and reducing drug cravings. This can provide a good start toward recovery and help to maintain sobriety long-term.
Detox followed with counseling, education, family and individual therapy, and support groups can help an individual stop using drugs and maintain sobriety.
About 52 million Americans older than 12 have used prescription medications non-medically at some point in their lives. Many become addicted, and that process happens slowly. Some people don’t notice the moment at which they shift from recreational abuse to intense addiction, but when an addiction takes hold, it can be serious. Medical detox, followed by intensive therapy and support group work, can deliver relief.
Prescription medications are designed to treat diseases and/or the discomfort that diseases can bring.
For people with medical conditions like asthma or cancer, and for people with mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, prescription medications can mean the difference between a healthy and happy life or an upsetting and painful illness.
But some people use prescription medications for reasons that have very little to do with illnesses. These people take prescription medications recreationally, and there are a lot of people just like this in the world. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 52 million Americans older than 12 have used prescription medications nonmedically at some point in their lives.While people who abuse prescription medications might think that their habits are harmless, those pills can deliver serious consequences. Sometimes, people who abuse these drugs need the help of professionals in order to recover.
The main drugs of concern, when it comes to addiction, fall into three categories.
Every drug within these categories may have its own brand name and its own fan base, but all drugs lumped into a category tend to work in the same way and deliver the same kinds of benefits. These are the three types addiction experts keep close tabs on.
Medications in this class are designed to treat pain, but they don’t reduce inflammation, combat infection, or otherwise provide a real and tangible physical change that might make people feel better. Instead, these drugs tend to “trick” people in pain into ignoring their symptoms of discomfort. Their illnesses are very much in place, but they’re just a touch easier to overlook.Opioids perform that trick by tinkering with chemical levels inside the brain. Typically, brain cells release a boost of a specific chemical, dopamine, when something rewarding or pleasant is happening. Opioids prompt the brain to release a lot of dopamine, so a person taking the drug might feel happy, at ease, or rewarded, even though something very painful is happening.That same boost of reward can be terribly addictive, however, and people who take these drugs tend to need more and more of them to feel that same level of boost. As a result, opioids are terribly dangerous. Addicted people tend to take too much, and when they do, they suppress the urge to breathe. People can die due to this habit. In 2008 alone, according to NIDA, 14,800 overdose deaths were attributed to prescription opioids.
Specific Drugs of Concern
Understanding the different types of drugs out there is an important part of understanding how addictions to prescriptions come about. It’s also vital to understand how specific drugs work. After all, each different medication comes with different risks. Knowing how each drug works within the human body could help families to understand how addictions develop and how treatments progress.
These are the drugs most commonly abused, along with information on how these drugs are made and abused.
This prescription narcotic medication is designed to treat moderate-to-severe pain, and it contains both hydrocodone and acetaminophen. It’s one of the most popular drugs in its class, according to IMS Health, as 131 million prescriptions for the drug were written in 2011.When Vicodin is taken orally, changes tend to hit the user’s brain slowly. Some users crush the pills and snort the powder, or they mix the powder with water and inject the substance into their veins. These methods can be intensely dangerous, as they allow Vicodin to hit the brain in minutes.The acetaminophen in Vicodin doesn’t cause addiction, but it’s also dangerous, as it must be processed by the liver. People taking high levels of Vicodin on a regular basis can do lasting damage to the liver, and sometimes, that damage results in death.
This medication is also made to assist with moderate-to-severe pain, but it doesn’t contain an analgesic. This drug contains pure oxycodone, so it’s a pure narcotic painkilling drug. For people with serious pain that just can’t be kept under control, OxyContin is an ideal solution.Since OxyContin is made for severe pain, manufacturers have developed extended-release formats that deliver painkilling help over a long period of time. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, an OxyContin pill can deliver relief for up to 12 hours, which is a huge benefit for people with cancer or other terribly painful illnesses.Unfortunately, people with addictions exploit that function by sniffing or injecting crushed pills. They get all the power of the drug at once, overwhelming their brains with pleasure.
This prescription painkiller is sold under brand names like Duragesic, Actiq, and Fentora. Fentanyl is the active ingredient in these medications.Among prescription narcotics, fentanyl is one of the most powerful substances available. As a result, it’s used only in cases of very severe pain that haven’t responded to other forms of therapy. A person with cancer pain that isn’t touched by OxyContin, for example, might be transitioned to fentanyl in time.Fentanyl is typically prescribed in shot or patch form. Abusers can take these drugs in the formats in which they’re prescribed, or they can alter those doses just a bit. For example, it’s not unusual for people with a fentanyl habit to break apart patches made for transdermal application and inject or swallow the gel inside. According to NIDA, some dealers have developed clandestine laboratories that allow them to manufacture the drug without stealing it or otherwise working with official chemists.
This prescription painkiller is sold under brand names like:
The active ingredient in all of these medications is morphine, which is a synthetic narcotic drug. It’s typically provided to people with moderate-to-severe pain, and the strength and dosing directions for the drug can vary, depending on the type of prescription provided.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says morphine has a relatively short half-life, clocking in at just 1.5-7 hours. That means people who abuse this drug might binge on it, taking more and more and more to keep the high going.
This medication is a CNS stimulant that’s mainly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The active ingredient in Adderall is a form of amphetamine, mixed with other amphetamine variants.People taking Adderall in order to treat ADHD rarely abuse the drug. They follow their prescription instructions to the letter, and when they do, the drug delivers relief. This medication is also seen as a “cognitive enhancer” by people who don’t have ADHD, and they might be interested in buying and/or abusing the drug. It can be tempting for people with prescriptions to sell their pills.
Those with extended-release formulations of Adderall might be incredibly tempted to sell their doses, as these medications are highly sought after by addicts. By crushing the pills, they can get all of the drug’s benefits at once and get a huge high in the process. But pills with smaller doses can also be valuable, as users can just take more of them to get the same effect.
This prescription medication is also used to treat ADHD, and it also contains forms of amphetamine. According to CESAR, this medication comes in 5 mg, 10 mg, and 20 mg tablets that dissolve in water and are made for oral consumption, but people who abuse this medication often crush the tablets and either swallow or snort the powder.
Ritalin has a high abuse potential, as it can deliver feelings of both focus and euphoria. College students seem especially prone to Ritalin abuse, as the drug is often prescribed to young adults, and they often feel the need to stay awake for long hours and work on focused tasks during that time. These young adults might think they’re using the drug in a helpful manner, but an addiction can zap a student’s ability to succeed in school and handle the tasks of everyday life.
This medication is a CNS depressant, used to treat anxiety disorders. It’s one of the oldest medications in its class, and it’s been the subject of hundreds of articles and dozens of rock-and-roll songs. When writers reach for a word that encompasses casual drug use by housewives living in the 1960s, they reach for the word “Valium.”The active ingredient in Valium is diazepam, which is a benzodiazepine. Valium can hit the user’s brain in minutes, and it can stay active for a long period of time. That makes Valium very dangerous from an addiction perspective, as it delivers big changes in short minutes.Valium can also interact with a number of other substances, including painkillers, alcohol, and stimulants. People who abuse Valium may manipulate these interactions by mixing and matching purposefully. Some users stumble into life-threatening interactions without realizing the danger. An overdose can quickly take hold in people like this.
This is another benzodiazepine medication, designed to assist people with a panic-based disorder. The active ingredient in Xanax, alprazolam, is relatively fast-acting, which makes this an ideal drug to use in response to a panic disorder. That speed of action also makes Xanax dangerous from an addiction standpoint, as this drug causes big changes users can feel in mere minutes. That’s the sort of overwhelming feeling that can lead to an addiction in no time at all.Xanax is delivered in 0.25 mg, 0.5 mg, 1 mg, and 2 mg strengths, and according to Medical News Today, Xanax is 10 times more powerful than Valium of the same dosage. So people taking 1 mg of Xanax are going to feel much more than people taking 1 mg of Valium.
Like all other benzodiazepines, Xanax interacts with a number of other substances, including alcohol, stimulants, and painkillers.
This benzodiazepine prescription medication is typically provided in response to anxiety, but it’s also used as a therapy to combat insomnia. The active ingredient in Ativan, lorazepam, is fast acting, which again, makes this a drug of intense concern to experts. Anytime a medication can deliver big changes in a short time, it’s something that has the potential to cause an addiction.According to an overview article in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, lorazepam provides users with a rapid-onset high that they deem valuable, and lorazepam pills in the 4 mg range are worth about a dollar on the street. That means a lorazepam habit could get quite expensive in no time at all, as users might need to take dozens of pills every day to get the high they want.
This benzodiazepine medication is used to assist people with panic attacks. The active ingredient in Klonopin, clonazepam, is a fast-acting drug that produces significant changes in a very short period of time. That might explain why this particular drug is associated with a great deal of physical distress and harm.For example, Everyday Health reports that there were more than 76,000 emergency room visits were associated with Klonopin in 2011 alone. This seems to suggest that users are unaware of the power of Klonopin, or they might be mixing this drug with other substances like alcohol or painkillers, which can make Klonopin’s side effects much more severe.
This CNS depressant medication is designed to assist people with short-term insomnia. The active ingredient in Ambien, zolpidem, soothes electrical activity inside the brain while producing a sense of amnesia. That allows people to nod off fast, and when they do, they can enter a restful and dreamless sleep.However, some people taking Ambien feel a sense of euphoria on the drug, and they just don’t feel sedated or sleepy. People like this might use and abuse this drug in order to experience joy and relaxation, and they could develop an addiction in time.
Ambien is a relatively fast-acting drug, but it’s also a long-lasting drug. People who take it are at deep risk for overdose, as they might take new doses long before the old ones have worn off.
From Use to Dependence
There’s no bright light or bell flash when people move from drug use to drug dependence. It’s a process that happens gradually, without a lot of fanfare. But it’s an insidious process that can leave people feeling both physically and mentally unable to change the drug habits they’ve developed.Drug dependence occurs when the user’s brain becomes physically incapable of functioning at an optimal level unless the drugs are present. The use has caused persistent changes that can’t be ignored or explained away. A person like this feels a chemical need for drugs, and it’s that need that drives continued use, even if the person wants to stop using.
Tolerance: People with this issue must take more and more of a drug in order to feel effects that once came with smaller doses.
Withdrawal: When people attempt to stop taking the drug, they feel physically or mentally ill.
Loss of control: An inability to control when the use happens or how much a person takes characterizes a loss of control.
Inability to stop use: As much as a person like this might want to quit or cut back, it’s impossible to do so.
Continued use despite negative consequences: Arrests, medical crises, or other terrible life events can’t deter the use.
Intense focus: For someone like this, nothing is as important as the drug. Family, friends, pets, careers, and hobbies all pale in importance.
How Treatment Centers Help
Drug addiction treatment has the power to help people leave a prescription pill habit behind. Unfortunately, few people in the United States either know about or take advantage of the help that comes through an addiction treatment center. For example, according to NIDA, about 22.7 million Americans needed help for an addiction issue in 2013, but only 2.5 million people got help in a specialty facility.People with a prescription drug habit are among the drug users that most often need specialty help. That’s because they often need medical detox services. People abusing CNS depressants can experience seizures when they try to quit, while people who use prescription opioids may feel flu-like symptoms when they withdraw. A medical detox program can use medication therapies and alternative medicine techniques to soothe distress, which makes withdrawal both comfortable and safe.
Drug rehab programs for prescription drugs often combine medication therapy with behavioral therapies, per NIDA. That means people who enroll in these programs have the opportunity to work with therapists in order to understand how the issue came about and what might be done to keep it from coming back. Therapy allows people to practice their work, so they can emerge from the programs with skills that are honed and up to the relapse challenges the real world provides.
Relapse is a very real possibility. In a study of the issue, published in the Irish Medical Journal, 91 percent of people with a prescription painkiller addiction treated in a program reported a relapse, most within one week of leaving the program.
Relapse programs can help, as they provide people with knowledge about how the relapse process works. At the end of a program like this, people might know that they’ll be tempted to use again, and they’ll know to access touchup services after that first slip. That arrests the slide, and keeps a slip from blowing up into a full-blown addiction.
Relapse programs can also help people to spot their triggers, so they’ll be less likely to put themselves at risk in the future.
A prescription painkiller addiction doesn’t have to be permanent. With the right help and good followup care, people with persistent addiction issues can learn to keep things under control, so they can live healthy and happy lives in the future.
Kratom is a mind-altering substance that comes from the Mitragyna speciosa tree, which is indigenous to Southeast Asia.
The leaves and stems are dried and either chewed or brewed into tea for stimulant effects at low doses and opioid-like effects at higher doses, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction(EMCDDA) reports. Kratom is particularly popular in Thailand where it is sometimes mixed with iced-down caffeinated soda or codeine-containing cough syrup into a drink called 4×100 for its alcohol-like effects.
Kratom can cause euphoria, or a “high,” within 5-10 minutes of ingestion, the DEAreports, and that high may last for 2-5 hours. The active ingredient in kratom, mitragynine, increases energy and alertness at low doses and has sedative and pain-blocking effects when more of the substance is taken.
In the United States, kratom is not a controlled substance by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), although it is listed as a “drug of concern.” Bars in Florida are selling kratom for recreational use in the form of a drinkable tea. The drug may also be purchased in bars or stores in New York, Colorado, and North Carolina, although it is likely more commonly obtained online, Business Insider reports. Recent trends in America, which may indicate a rise in kratom abuse, have caused four states – Wyoming, Indiana, Tennessee, and Vermont – to ban kratom, USA Today publishes.
Some people claim that kratom is useful in helping to kick a heroin addiction; however, this claim is greatly disputed by experts. In addition to potential negative side effects like suppressed respiration, nausea, vomiting, itching, constipation, and loss of appetite, kratom may also lead to dependence and addiction much like opioid drugs themselves do, Fox News states.
Kratom may be marketed and sold as a dietary supplement. In 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued an import alert on the substance. In January 2016, the FDA placed a ban on imports of products containing kratom, detaining one marketed as RelaKzpro. The FDA decided that kratom does not have any legitimate use as a dietary supplement and banned products claiming otherwise from being imported into the United States. In addition, the FDA placed businesses selling known kratom-containing products onto a RED LIST, allowing blanket seizure of any form of kratom, including capsules, resins, leaves, and liquids containing the leaves.
Understanding Kratom Abuse
Kratom may be abused as a “legal” way of getting high and may therefore appeal to individuals who deem it safer than illicit drugs, such as younger adults and teens. Bars may sell kratom in powdered form or mixed into a drink. Kratom is also known by slang names, such as Thom, Ketum, Biak, Kakuam, and Thang. Kratom may not be detectable on drug tests either, even though it may behave much like other narcotics. Its abuse has been banned in Thailand for years, The New York Times reports.
Since this drug is relatively new on the recreational drug scene in the United States, its full mechanism may not be completely understood yet, although the general consensus is that it does have psychoactive effects and can lead to dependence and addiction.
When Abuse Becomes Addiction
Dependence and addiction are closely linked, but they are not actually the same thing. A dependence on a drug is when physical changes are made to brain chemistry due to regular drug use or abuse. Since kratom is thought to act like opioid drugs, this means that some neurotransmitters, which are the brain’s chemical messengers that signal pleasure, may be impacted. Since kratom may interfere with the natural production of “happy cells” like serotonin, when the drug leaves the bloodstream, the brain may have lower than normal levels of these neurotransmitters. As a result, withdrawal symptoms can occur that may include depression, fatigue, drug cravings, and trouble feeling pleasure.
The DEA reports that long-term kratom abuse may lead to weight loss or anorexia, a frequent need to urinate, constipation, dry mouth, skin discoloration on the face, and insomnia. Withdrawal side effects may also include hostility, uncontrollable jerky movements, muscle and bone aches, aggression, and runny nose. In some cases, psychotic episodes including hallucinations, confusion, and delusions may occur.The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) published a study that reported on psychiatric illness and significant withdrawal symptoms in Thai individuals who abused kratom for a long period of time, citing muscle aches, insomnia, and irritability as the most common symptoms. In addition, hallucinations, paranoia, trouble feeling pleasure, and decreased cognition were also reported.
Addiction is considered a brain disease. Drug dependence is one of the signs and potential side effects of the disease. However, NIDA reports that in order to be diagnosed with addiction, according to the most recent Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a person must exhibit compulsive and drug-seeking behaviors and continue to use drugs with no regard to the negative consequences that may result. Compulsive means that drug use is no longer in the person’s direct control and much of the person’s time is spent trying to get the drug, using it, and coming down from the drug’s effects. Drug abuse may even constitute an obsession, and other interests may go by the wayside.
Some of the behavioral, emotional, social, and physical changes to look for when trying to pinpoint addiction include the following:
Change in physical appearance: weight loss and decreased interest in personal hygiene
Irregular sleep patterns: sleeping at odd times, or sleeping more frequently
Mood swings: from excitability and euphoria when taking kratom, to depression, aggression, irritability, and even potentially suicidal thoughts when withdrawing from kratom
Increased risk-taking behaviors: lowered inhibitions when on kratom, encouraging users to potentially do things that may be out of character
Irresponsibility: unfilled obligations and decline in grades or work performance
Interpersonal relationship conflict: a shift in personality as well as increased secrecy and social withdrawal that lead to relationship problems
Financial strain: working less, job loss, or spending significant funds on kratom
Legal troubles: increased risky or even dangerous behaviors, leading to run-ins with law enforcement
In general, treatment for drug abuse and addiction typically follows three phases: physical stabilization, therapeutic treatment, and recovery. Safely removing the drug from the body through detox is often part of the physical stabilization. Medications and medical monitoring are provided in a medical detox facility in order to accomplish this.Therapy and counseling are part of the therapeutic treatment model and may be offered in a residential or outpatient setting. Residential treatment means that a person will stay onsite in a specialized treatment center to receive continual care in a safe and secure environment in order to heal and recover. Days are scheduled with meetings, sessions, educational opportunities, set meal and sleep times, and potentially holistic or complementary medicine offerings like yoga or massage.
Outpatient programs generally fall into two main categories. Intensive outpatient treatment generally follows a similar schedule to a residential program. General outpatient programs may be more flexible and tailored around a person’s specific schedule requirements.
Stress may be effectively managed with new coping strategies taught during group and individual CBT sessions.
Counseling may include family sessions, as well as individual ones, where communication skills can be explored and improved. Support groups and 12-Step programs may be part of continuing, or aftercare support services, and may be beneficial during recovery as they can provide healthy connections to peers in similar circumstances. Relapse is considered a normal facet of addiction, and support groups can help to minimize the duration and severity of relapse in recovery.
Detox and Withdrawal
DUE TO ITS SIMILARITY TO OPIOID DRUGS, KRATOM DETOX IS BEST HANDLED WITH MEDICAL DETOX IN ORDER TO ENSURE AN INDIVIDUAL’S SAFETY AND COMFORT.
Since withdrawal side effects may be significant and potentially dangerous, kratom may be slowly weaned, or tapered off, in order to minimize the symptoms. Medical detox usually lasts between 5-7 days, and medical professionals are available 24 hours a day to monitor vital signs, smooth out withdrawal symptoms, and ensure clients’ safety.As in opioid withdrawal, medications may be useful during medical detox from kratom as well. EMCDDA reports that antidepressants, anxiolytic drugs, anti-inflammatory medications, and other pharmacological agents may be useful to treat kratom dependence.
The duration and type of detox, as well as the intensity of withdrawal, may be influenced by specific factors related to a person’s dependency on kratom. The amount of drug taken each dose as well as the length of time abusing kratom can increase dependence, for example. Abusing drugs at a young age may increase the risk that the person will suffer from a substance use disorder later in life, NIDA publishes, since drugs like kratom may damage regions of the brain responsible for regulating emotions, making decisions, and controlling impulses before they are fully formed in adulthood. Abusing other drugs or alcohol in conjunction with kratom can increase the potential side effects and risks for a negative interaction between the substances, and may also influence detox and withdrawal timelines. Underlying medical or mental health conditions as well as environmental factors, such as chronic stress, childhood trauma, and other outside influences, may also contribute to a person’s level of dependency.
Mostly Legal but Not without Risks
In conclusion, plant-based kratom may appear harmless as a “dietary supplement” or herbal drug that is technically legal in the United States; however, this perception is false. Purchased over the counter at head shops, gas stations, and music stores, as well as over the Internet, kratom leaves may be chewed or ground up and dissolved in drinks such as tea for stimulating effects.
When taken in higher doses, kratom may have sedative and euphoric effects similar to opioid drugs, and when taken regularly, individuals may become dependent on it. This dependence may lead to addiction, as control over its use may become difficult or even not possible without professional help.
Treatment for kratom abuse, dependency, and addiction may include a combination of pharmacological and therapeutic methods in a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program. Detox may be the initial step in kratom addiction treatment to help individuals reach healthy physical balance, and medical detox may be useful for managing withdrawal side effects and drug cravings. Detox should be followed with a more complete drug abuse treatment program that may be done in an outpatient or residential setting, depending on the needs of the individual.Addiction is not the same for everyone. What works for one person may not be as helpful for someone else, which is why substance abuse treatment professionals should work directly with a person to determine what treatment model may work best. With proper care, individuals can leave kratom abuse in the past and move toward a healthy future.
Barbiturate Overdose: Symptoms, Effects, and Risks
What are Barbiturates?
Barbiturates are a group of depressant drugs that can have a wide range of effects on a person’s central nervous system. These drugs are most commonly used as sedatives, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, but have also seen use as anesthetics and anticonvulsants. Methods of use include ingesting in pill form and injecting in liquid form, though the former is significantly more common. Barbiturates have a sedating effect on a user, causing mild euphoria, drowsiness, and relaxation. Barbiturates range from Schedule II to Schedule IV under the Controlled Substances Act, depending on the specific drug.
Many barbiturates are prescription drugs and can be obtained legally. As is the case with most substances with similar effects, barbiturates see illegal use and abuse throughout the United States. Barbiturate abuse peaked in the 1970s and has been in significant decline since, but it has not disappeared completely. Barbiturates remain a dangerous class of drug when used improperly.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), nearly 3 million people in the United States reported using barbiturates for a nonmedical purpose in 2014 alone. It’s clear that barbiturate abuse remains a problem in the US despite its decline in the last four-plus decades.
A barbiturate overdose occurs when someone consumes too much of a barbiturate for their system to handle. Overdose is known to happen both accidentally and intentionally. Intentional overdoses are often suicide attempts. Accidental overdose is most common among those with a physical dependence on the drug. People who have obtained the drug illegally rather than through a prescription are more likely to abuse the drug and develop physical dependence.
Barbiturates are addictive, and prolonged use can result in a physical addiction to these drugs. Barbiturates are especially dangerous in regard to accidental overdose because a person often develops a tolerance to the mood-altering effects of a drug much more quickly than they do to the lethal effects, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. This means that a person with an increased tolerance will often seek a higher dosage in order to produce the desired mental effects, which puts them at a high risk for overdose.Women are more likely to overdose on barbiturates than men, as they receive more prescriptions for these drugs. This is because women are generally more likely to seek medical help regarding issues with depression and anxiety.
Polydrug use is commonly associated with barbiturate abuse, and this increases the risk for overdose significantly. Mixing barbiturates with substances like alcohol and heroin is common in cases of overdose due to polydrug use. These substances can increase the potency and potentially lethal effects of barbiturates, making them especially dangerous to consume in conjunction. Alcohol can have similar effects to barbiturates, and combining these two substances can have a compounding effect on some of the more dangerous outcomes of each drug, such as respiratory failure. Heroin and other opioids are very common in polydrug use involving barbiturates, and their potential for overdose when used alone makes mixing these drugs very unsafe.
Symptoms of Overdose
Barbiturate intoxication and overdose are usually accompanied by some of the following symptoms:
Slurring of speech
In more extreme cases dealing with certain powerful barbiturates, a user may exhibit various symptoms, such as memory loss, increased irritability, lack of alertness, and a general hindering of one’s ability to function. Many of these symptoms are very noticeable, which can allow for somewhat easy recognition by others. This can be key in alerting someone to the need for medical help.
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, one in 10 people who experience an overdose on barbiturates or a mixture of barbiturates and other drugs will die as a result of the overdose. This figure shows how dire the consequences of abusing this class of drugs can be. Death is usually the result of lung or heart issues.
Even those who survive a barbiturate overdose can suffer significant consequences. Due to the depressant effects of barbiturate intoxication, it is not uncommon for someone to experience a serious head or neck injury due to a fall of some kind. Neck and spinal injuries can cause temporary or even permanent paralysis, having a dramatic effect on a person’s quality of life going forward.
Pregnant women can do damage to the fetus they are carrying, and overdose can even result in miscarriage. This kind of event can have a devastating physical effect on a woman, but it can also have drastic mental and emotional effects as well.
Barbiturate overdose can also cause a person’s gag reflex to be depressed, which can lead to aspiration. In this event, an individual’s lungs fill with fluid due to the gag reflex being unable to stop the flow down the bronchial tubes. This can also lead to pneumonia.
There have been serious cases of muscle and kidney damage as well as a result of an intoxicated or overdosed individual being seriously incapacitated and remaining on a hard surface for a prolonged period of time.
Responding to an Overdose
In the event that someone suspects a barbiturate or mixed overdose involving barbiturates, they should contact 911 immediately, especially in the event of any breathing problems. The presence of medical professionals on the scene can improve the chances of surviving the overdose, which can be deadly. One can also contact the National Poison Control Center (1-800-222-1222) for further instructions.
Keeping a person suspected of an overdose immobilized on a soft surface is recommended to avoid injury. Knowing whether or not an individual mixed a barbiturate with an opioid can be helpful for professionals when they arrive on the scene, as naloxone may be a viable immediate treatment. This drug can help the person regain consciousness and reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. Those who experience a barbiturate overdose may need the assistance of a breathing machine until the drug exits their system completely.
The best way to prevent a barbiturate overdose is to avoid taking these drugs completely. Many people who overdose do not have prescriptions for the drugs and have obtained the substances illegally from someone with a prescription. Nonmedical use can be very dangerous, as it often leads to addiction and a dramatically increased risk for overdose.
For those with a prescription, an open line of communication with their doctor is key to avoid falling into abuse. All questions or concerns need to be voiced with a medical professional. Keeping the medication properly labeled and stored safely is a good way to avoid abuse by others, especially children. Mixing barbiturates with other substances, especially depressants and opioids, is incredibly dangerous for any user, whether they are using barbiturates legally or illegally.
For someone who is physically dependent on barbiturates, withdrawal can be a painful and dangerous process. Going “cold turkey” and abruptly cutting out the drug can turn life-threatening in severe cases. This means that detoxification done without professional assistance is especially hazardous.
Detox should be done in a designated facility that includes 24-hour monitoring by medical professionals. Residential rehabilitation facilities are often a good option for detox, and a client can remain there following this period to begin therapy.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Barbiturate Addiction
An inpatient residential treatment facility is often a viable avenue for someone who has experienced a barbiturate overdose. Treatment at these facilities is fulltime and usually last at least 30 days. In some instances, stays can last 90 days or more, but most clients are able to transition to outpatient treatment after a month or two. Sometimes transition into a sober living facility can be beneficial.
Even after the physical dependence on barbiturates is overcome, the addiction remains. This is more of a mental addiction to the substance that is accompanied by negative thinking and patterns of behavior. One of the most common forms of therapy to combat these factors is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. CBT examines the connection between feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, and how they influence each other.Changing beliefs that may lead to distressing thoughts is a key component of CBT. Thought patterns can become dangerous and result in triggers to use. CBT’s goal is to help people develop coping mechanisms for these occurrences and replace their old way of thinking with a new, healthier form.
Anxiety is often something that drives an addicted individual to relapse, and it can happen years into their recovery. CBT helps them to deal with these instances without the use of self-medication. Relaxation exercises, problem-solving techniques, and stress relief strategies are often part of the CBT process as well.
As depression and anxiety in the wake of barbiturate overdose are common, CBT becomes extremely useful in many cases. Medication may be used in conjunction with therapy in order to combat more severe cases. Some people may need CBT for a short time period while others require several months of therapy. One of the best aspects of CBT is that the strategies learned in therapy continue to help individuals long after their sessions have ended. This makes it extremely effective in aiding long-term recovery.