The Addiction Trap – A Graphic View

The Addiction Trap – A Graphic View

Individuals suffering from addiction always wonder how they got addicted in the first place. They almost always feel that they slipped into addiction inadvertently. It seemed to them that they were just having some fun with drugs or alcohol at a few parties or used them a few times to cope with some stressors and, suddenly, their bodies had become chemically dependent on drugs or alcohol and they had to use them at higher doses so that they could function and feel normal. While genetics is definitely a factor in addiction, dependence, sometimes, develops quickly with repeated use. Below is a graphical representation of how people usually slip into addiction, which should help you visualize how addiction “happened” stealthily!

Addiction does not discriminate based on race, color, ethnicity or sexual orientation. Every community in New Jersey, rich or poor, is faced with the drug and opioid epidemic. Be it Middlesex or Somerset, Manalapan or Marlboro, Toms River or Forked River. Mendham or Morristown, Plainfield or New Brunswick, Sayreville or Old Bridge addiction is a serious issue.

Women, however, are more at risk of getting addicted relative to men due to physiological differences. Women’s bodies have less water than men, so substances stay in the body at higher concentration levels. Also, they have less of the enzymes that process drugs and alcohol which means substances stay in the body longer. Consequently, they are prone to getting addicted faster for the same levels of use. Another factor that is unique about women who are addicted is that a majority of them have experienced some form of trauma – physical, sexual, verbal or emotional – earlier in their lives. So, addiction treatment for women has to incorporate this variable.

No one sets out one fine morning to get addicted! While genetics is a predisposing factor, there are external factors involved in driving initial use of licit or illicit substances. For some women it is an attempt to self-medicate for mental health issues, as they are more prone to suffer from depression and anxiety relative to men. For other women drugs or alcohol helps them deal with the ghosts of the past – abuse. For the young adults, experimentation with drugs and alcohol likely happened in high school due to peer pressure coupled with increased availability. For young men it is likely that strenuous physical activity resulted in an injury that required opiate pain pills for an extended period of time that drove them to addiction. For some suffering from major depressive disorder, or MDD, none of the antipsychotics in the market worked and they were forced to try and self-medicate through street drugs or alcohol so that they could go about their daily lives. For others with mental health issues, their addiction was induced due to lengthy use of a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, usually prescribed to treat insomnia and anxiety. While the paths to addiction are many the end result is the same: increased tolerance and dependence.

The graph above depicts how addiction slowly, stealthily and inadvertently seeps in when a substance is abused repeatedly. First use of a substance at a certain dosage delivers a high that probably cannot be achieved with the same dose again, as the body develops tolerance for the substance when used repeatedly. After the high wears off, the “low” follows, but it does not cause much discomfort the first few times, although the low intensifies slowly with repeated use. After repeated use of a substance the brain begins to change. It stops producing enough of the pleasure neurotransmitter, dopamine, in response to usual pleasure stimuli such as hobbies, food or sex. The brain waits for a stimulus from drugs or alcohol to even produce enough dopamine for the person to feel normal and function! When this happens, the person is said to have developed dependence for the drug or alcohol. At this point a person abusing substances is doing it just to bring up his or her mood to feel normal so that he or she can function in their daily lives.

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking

International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking

The ill effects of Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking have been steadily increasing in human society over the past few decades. The use of chemicals or other naturally produced mind-altering substances to produce pleasurable effects on the brain is commonly referred to as drug abuse.

Over 190 million people, or about 2.5% of the world’s population uses drugs, and addiction has grown at alarming rate over the past two decades, especially among young adults under the age of 30. First, we need to understand the terms “drug abuse” and “illicit drug trafficking.”

In North Eastern part of the United States, New Jersey has been at the center of drug trafficking operations due to its location as the entry point to New York City, busy seaports, access to two international airports, and miles of highways connecting to different parts of New York City.
Newark, Jersey City, Elizabeth, Camden, New Brunswick and Paterson, have all witnessed a substantial increase in drug trafficking operations.

 

international drug abuse and drug trafficking day

What is Illicit Drug Trafficking?

The illegal trade or smuggling of various types of mind-altering drugs is known as illicit trafficking. The global drug trafficking market is constantly changing, undermining social development programs, harming the economy through lost productivity, contributing to crime, and causing loss of life through drug overdoses.

What are the causes of drug abuse?

  • Drugs of abuse are mind-altering drugs that are used by individuals for a variety of reasons – peer pressure, experimentation, genuine medical reasons or for fun.
  • Some individuals, especially women use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate for mental health issues such as depression or anxiety.
  • Opioid prescription medications that were meant to be used for acute pain relief have evolved into products commonly used to escape reality or numb feelings.

Why is the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking important?

June 26 th has been designated as the International Day against Drug Abuse, and Illicit Trafficking, or “The World Drug Day.” In 2020, The International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking day focus was on the importance of enhancing awareness of the global drug crisis.

It also emphasized the importance of spreading awareness about drug abuse and the impact on budgets and governance worldwide. Social issues that lead to drug abuse were to be highlighted so that unified action to solve these problems could be initiated. However, the problem is not just illicit drugs! Licit medications such as opioid pain pills to treat acute pain and benzodiazepines to treat insomnia and anxiety were also to blame.

The abuse of heroin, fentanyl, Oxycodone, Percocet, Oxycontin, Valium, Xanax, Klonopin has increased in New Jersey over the past 2 decades. In recent years, fentanyl, a synthetic opiate, has been fingered as the most deadly drug due to its potency. The cost of addiction, including
treatment cost, productivity loss and criminal justice costs cannot be underestimated and could well top $1 trillion in the United States of America.

Luckily, criminal justice costs are being reduced by recognizing that addiction is a disease and not a behavioral issue. Courts in New Jersey, whether it be in Freehold or Middlesex, are increasingly mandating treatment instead of imposing a prison sentence, incentivizing
individuals afflicted by the disease of addiction to access treatment and enter recovery.

Over the past few years, access to addiction treatment has expanded as more addiction treatment providers have entered the market, new drug treatment models such as ambulatory detoxification have been initiated and acceptance of medication assisted treatment, also known as MAT, has made addiction treatment access easier. New Jersey has also increased reimbursement rates for Medicaid providers. As a result, addiction treatment is easily accessible in New Jersey, no matter where you live – Eatontown or Middletown, New Brunswick or East Brunswick, Manlapan or Somerset, Bridgewater or Edgewater.

How Addiction Treatment Works at a Rehab Center or Addiction Treatment Facility?

In the past, addiction was viewed as a behavioral issue and the focus was on correcting behavior. Therefore, individuals afflicted by the disease of addiction were isolated from society and confined to a facility for months in the hope that they learnt to live drug free. Cravings and withdrawal symptoms were largely ignored and the focus was on keeping individuals in treatment until they went away or were minimized. This was a brutal form of treatment as withdrawal symptoms can be severe and could be dangerous or even fatal.

With the advent of new medications to assist in addiction treatment and recognition that addiction was disease, the approach to treatment changed. While the use of medications increased, the dominant modality of treatment continued to be inpatient, which still favored the behavioral model. Only with the recent introduction of the Ambulatory, or Outpatient Detox model for all substances of abuse – opiates, benzodiazepines, alcohol, and anesthetics – did addiction treatment truly move fully to the disease model of treatment where all levels of care became available on an outpatient basis.

The initial focus of addiction treatment today, whether inpatient detox or outpatient detox, is on addressing withdrawal symptoms and cravings through medications and mitigating the risk of adverse medical events such as seizures and stroke for alcohol withdrawal and benzodiazepine withdrawal. Also, co-occurring psychiatric issues have to be addressed in order to deliver favorable outcomes.

After physical stabilization, the focus is on therapy in order to effect lifestyle changes in order to remain sober and prevent relapse. This can be initiated through follow through treatment in the Partial Care and Intensive Outpatient, or IOP, levels of care.

What is Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

Drug rehabilitation is the continuation of recovery support and psychiatric care post addiction treatment. The facilities that offer this service are called as drug treatment rehab. It also includes one-on-one therapy.

What are the Benefits of Drug and Alcohol Rehab?

It essentially makes it easier to say on the path to sobriety in the face of life triggers due to continued support. It allows the individual to access a structured support system readily when triggers and life stressors occur.

Conclusion

Addiction is a chronic disease and long-term treatment is needed in order to effectively address the condition. It is unacceptable to link an individual’s behavior while in active addiction to his or her moral values or character. The brain changes due to repeated use of substances, as it stops producing the pleasure neurotransmitter dopamine in reaction to previously pleasurable activities such as sex, food or hobbies, and it takes years for the brain to change back to producing enough dopamine to release appropriate amounts of dopamine in response to pleasurable activities without stimulation from drugs or alcohol.

Dispelling Myths About Suboxone Withdrawal and Suboxone Treatment

Dispelling Myths About Suboxone Withdrawal and Suboxone Treatment

Suboxone is a medication that has been approved by the FDA to treat addiction to opiates – prescription pain pills such as Oxycodone, Oxycontin,
Percocet, Vicodin and heroin and fentanyl. Buprenorphine is a long-acting, high-affinity partial agonist at the mu opioid receptor. It prevents withdrawal symptoms and craving and stabilizes the opioid receptors. It blocks other opioids from binding to the opioid receptors preventing abuse of other opioids. It also does not intoxicate the user. Fortunately Suboxone withdrawal management and Suboxone treatment in New Jersey are
available at many locations: Warren county, Middlesex county, Essex county, Bergen county, Monmouth county, Somerset county, Ocean
county, Hunterdon county, Union county, Hudson county, Salem county, Mercer county, Passaic county, Morris county, Sussex county, Atlantic
county, etc.

While the primary ingredient in Suboxone is buprenorphine, it also contains a small amount of naloxone. Buprenorphine directly mitigates opiate withdrawal symptoms and cravings, while naloxone prevents an overdose in the event that the patient being treated with Suboxone for opiate dependency relapses on opiates. The role of naloxone in the medication cannot be overemphasized. When a patient who is dependent on opiates stops its use and instead utilizes Suboxone (or other variants) to eliminate withdrawal symptoms and cravings, their tolerance for opiates decreases quickly. In the event the patient relapses on opiates and uses the same quantity or dosage of opiates as before starting treatment, they could overdose due to reduced tolerance for the drug. The Naloxone in the Suboxone sharply reduces the probability of overdose by preventing the opiates from binding to the opiate receptors.

As per the National Institute of Health, buprenorphine significantly lowers the risk of mortality and adverse outcomes. Buprenorphine is superior to methadone for tolerability, but equivalent in effectiveness. Patients on maintenance buprenorphine after detox, also known as MAT, had lower
rates of HIV and hepatitis transmission.

Buprenorphine can be abused when used intravenously or intranasally. The buprenorphine + naloxone combination, such as in Suboxone, ensures that buprenorphine is not abused. Despite the proven efficacy of buprenorphine in treating addiction to opiates, it is not a panacea.
Medication assisted treatment, or MAT utilizing buprenorphine needs to be combined with therapy so that needed life style changes can be effected in order to facilitate long-term recovery. Buprenorphine molecules bind with the same receptors in the brain as opium and other intoxication inducing drugs like heroin, fentanyl, morphine, and oxycodone. Therefore, there are many misconceptions about Suboxone and buprenorphine, the main one being that it is a “drug-for-drug” substitution, so it does not really address the addiction.

Here are some misconceptions about Suboxone:

Medication Assisted Treatment or MAT, utilizing Suboxone or buprenorphine is substituting one drug for another

Suboxone and buprenorphine are FDA approved medications, and, if used, as prescribed, it is not a substance of abuse. They are stable, safe, long-
acting medications with a ceiling effect. They do not deliver a high.

Utilizing Suboxone or buprenorphine is so much safer than just using willpower because it reduces cravings and fully addresses opiate withdrawal symptoms, significantly lowering the probability of a relapse.

Utilizing Suboxone or buprenorphine is equivalent to capitulating

Addiction is a disease and not a moral failure or a behavioral problem. Changes in the brain caused by addiction take years to repair leaving the individual afflicted by addiction susceptible to relapse. Medication Assisted Treatment, or MAT, utilizing Suboxone or buprenorphine provides the physical comfort and stability needed to effect lifestyle changes needed to maintain long-term recovery.

Suboxone or buprenorphine are incompatible with self-help groups

Self-help groups have come a long way in terms of accepting approved medications taken as prescribed. The renowned Hazeldon Betty Ford Foundation has pioneered the integration of partial agonist therapy with 12-step, self-help groups. Despite progress there is some resistance within AA and NA to accept buprenorphine and suboxone maintenance treatment.

The Center for Network Therapy is a premier addiction treatment provider in New Jersey and provides Suboxone withdrawal management and Suboxone treatment at all of its locations in New Jersey: West Orange, Middlesex and Freehold.

Suboxone and buprenorphine can deliver a high

Buprenorphine and Suboxone have a ceiling effect and cannot deliver a high. Some patients have reported feelings of mild euphoria, but it is not
substantiated. These are FDA approved medications and patients are safe to drive and operate machinery while on these medications and patients’
cognitive function is likely improved compared to other opioid users. A ‘high’ can only be obtained when patients combine Suboxone with other
substances or use it to medicate withdrawal between episodes of abusing opiates such as heroin, fentanyl or prescription pain pills such as Percocet, Oxycontin, Oxycodone, or other opiates.

Suboxone has a cash market on the street

While it is true that Suboxone is a valuable commodity on the street and can be exchanged for food, sex or drugs, diligent monitoring of suboxone
consumption through urine testing can deliver optimal results. Prescriptions need to maintained at 2 weeks in the initial stages and lengthened to no more than 4 weeks after the patient has proven to be serious about his or her recovery. Also, the rates of diversion for Suboxone has been similar to that of antibiotics.

Suboxone Treatment, A Net Positive

Suboxone treatment in New Jersey is easy to access. The Center for Network therapy has a location in Middlesex in Middlesex County, West Orange in Essex county and Freehold in Monmouth county. Suboxone treatment in New Jersey and other parts of the country have been proven to deliver better outcomes for those suffering from an addiction to opiates – the benefits far outweigh any risks associated with Suboxone. Some people do develop a physical and psychological dependence to Suboxone, but the real physical withdrawal symptoms are mild and can be addressed easily.

The good news for residents of New Jersey is that management of Suboxone withdrawal and treatment utilizing Suboxone are available in several location in New Jersey: Marlboro, West Orange, Far Hills, Short Hills, Warren, Freehold, Manalapan, Middlesex, Union, Westfield, Livingston, Chatham, Madison, Hackensack, Jersey City, Bridgewater, Bedminster, Morristown, Newton, Pine Brook, Montville, Nutley, Ridgewood, Montclair, Toms River, Lakewood, Cherry Hill, Trenton, Newark, East Orange, Mendham, Chester, Metuchen, Edison, New Brunswick, Matawan, Paramus, Upper Saddle River, etc.

Conclusion

Suboxone and buprenorphine remain one of the most optimal treatment for opioid addiction. They are FDA approved medications that are safe and effective and do not deliver a high as wrongly assumed by many. However, Suboxone therapy has to be combined with therapy such as CBT or DBT in order to achieve the best possible results. Fortunately, over the years, resistance to this medication has fallen from self-help groups such as AA and NA helping more people addicted to opiates to utilize suboxone maintenance therapy and still access self-help groups that are so critical to maintaining long-term sobriety.

Identifying Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

Identifying Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

Opiates are often called the lion of drugs. This is not only because of their potency, but also because they cause the most severe withdrawal symptoms when their use is stopped. Severe opiate withdrawal symptoms, although not dangerous by themselves, can cause the individual suffering from it to go back to the drug in order to obtain immediate relief from the opiate withdrawal symptoms. Oftentimes this leads to overdose as abstinence for a certain period of time lowers tolerance. Management of opiate withdrawal in New Jersey is available at several locations: Salem county, Ocean county, Essex county, Atlantic county, Middlesex county, Bergen county, Monmouth county, Somerset county, Hunterdon county, Hudson county, Union county, Morris county, Passaic county, Sussex county, Warren county, Mercer county, Burlington county, etc.

Individuals addicted to opioids find it extremely difficult to stop use because of the severe opiate withdrawal symptoms. While not life threatening, it can cause acute physical distress. Hence, stopping opiate use must be coupled with medical detoxification so that the physical symptoms can be alleviated or eliminated. Opioids such as oxycontin, morphine, heroin, methadone etc. are used widely due to the euphoria and relaxation it provides. It can be dangerous to stop opiate use abruptly as the severe withdrawal symptoms could cause the individual suffering from opiate dependence to go back to opiate use after their physical tolerance level has fallen and consumption of the same dosage of opiate as before could now lead to overdose. Some studies on the etiology of opiate withdrawal suggest that they are related to adenylyl cyclase super activation based central excitation, caused due to three types of opioid receptors namely, mu, delta, and kappa, out of which, the mu receptor heightens actions of opioids. The locus coeruleus of the brain is the site that triggers the opioid withdrawal symptoms. With optimal, medicated assisted treatment, MAT, withdrawal symptoms can be fully addressed.

Opiate Withdrawal Could Cause Psychological Issues

Opioid drug users could experience psychological issues during the withdrawal phase. These include dysthymia, depressed mood and opioid-induced depressive disorder. However, diagnostic investigation is required to identify opioid withdrawal symptoms which are different from general opioid-induced disorders.

Primary Signs of Opiate Withdrawal

Some of the commonly found signs and symptoms of opioid withdrawal include the following:

  1. Lacrimation or rhinorrhea
  2. Piloerection or Goose Flesh,
  3. Myalgia
  4. Diarrhea
  5. Nausea/vomiting
  6. Pupillary dilation and photophobia
  7. Insomnia
  8. Autonomic hyperactivity like tachypnea, hyperreflexia, tachycardia, sweating, hypertension, hyperthermia
  9. Chills
  10. Tremors
  11. Upset stomach

There are certain sedative-hypnotic withdrawal symptoms that are quite similar to opioid withdrawal symptoms, but the latter is defined by lacrimation, rhinorrhea, and pupillary dilation. Similarly, pupillary dilation can be caused due to Hallucinogen and stimulant intoxication, but when it comes to opioid withdrawal symptoms, the person may also experience nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, lacrimation, and rhinorrhea. During diagnosis, symptoms of alcohol intoxication, hypnotic, or anxiolytic intoxication, should be carefully studied and ruled out.

In most cases, urine toxicology can determine which kind of drugs the person has consumed as it turns positive for most opioids like morphine, heroin, codeine, oxycodone, propoxyphene for 12 to 36 hours after use. One must note that most urine opiate tests do not detect the use of Methadone, buprenorphine, and LAAM and hence a special test needs to be conducted for this. Electrolyte abnormalities can be checked through ECG, complete blood count (CBC), and basic metabolic panel (BMP).

The severity of opioid withdrawal is identified generally by the Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale assessment, or COWS, which ranges from 0 to 47. It has 11 items of common symptoms of opiate withdrawal. When the reading is between 5 to 12, it’s considered to be mild, 13 to 24 is moderate, 25 to 36 is moderately severe, and greater than 37 is considered to be severe.

Detox treatments to recover from withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the type and severity of these symptoms.

Opiate detox treatment in New Jersey, to recover from opiate withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the type and severity of these symptoms. The Center for Network Therapy has three locations in New Jersey to treat opiate withdrawal and perform Opiate detoxification. CNT has locations in Freehold in Monmouth County, West Orange in Essex county and Middlesex in Middlesex county. CNT is an expert at addressing Suboxone withdrawal in New Jersey.

Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Suboxone Withdrawal

Step-by-Step Guide to Overcoming Suboxone Withdrawal

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is essentially a branded version of buprenorphine, the medication proven effective in eliminating opiate withdrawal symptoms and mitigating cravings in individuals suffering from opiate addiction and wanting to stop use. Suboxone is a little different from pure buprenorphine in that, in addition to buprenorphine, it contains naloxone, the drug used to reverse overdose from opiates. Suboxone, is therefore a safer form of buprenorphine in that it can prevent overdose in individuals who are utilizing Suboxone to stay off of opiates, but suffer a relapse. Suboxone withdrawal can be managed in New Jersey itself at several locations: Atlantic county, Middlesex county, Essex county, Bergen county, Monmouth county, Somerset county, Hunterdon county, Ocean county, Hudson county, Union county, Salem county, Mercer county, Passaic county, Morris county, Sussex county, Warren county, etc.

Buprenorphine, the primary ingredient in Suboxone, has several desirable clinical properties: lower abuse potential, lower level of physical dependence (which means lower withdrawal discomfort), a ceiling effect at higher doses, and greater safety in overdose compared with opioid full agonists such as methadone.

Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist, as opposed to methadone, which is a full agonist. Buprenorphine, the main ingredient in suboxone, eliminates withdrawal symptoms and relieves drug cravings by acting on the same opioid receptors in the brain as other opioids: heroin, fentanyl, morphine, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Percocet, Vicodin, and other opioid pain medications. Although buprenorphine occupies and activates the same opioid receptors, it does so much more mildly than full agonists such as methadone. Consequently, it doses do not usually produce euphoria when consumed orally as per physician orders. When injected (abused), however, it does produce euphoria.

Research has found that buprenorphine to be as effective as methadone in treating Opioid Use Disorder. Users have reported that they feel much less sedated and tired relative to methadone.

Symptoms

Suboxone is an effective medication that can help with addiction to opiate, but it can cause psychological dependence. It is a partial opiate agonist, so Suboxone does not produce a high like opiates, but it can produce some similar withdrawal effects.

Suboxone withdrawal or buprenorphine can last for as long as a month, and symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, sweating, irritability, digestive distress, insomnia, lethargy, headaches, depression, muscle aches, anxiety, cravings, difficulty concentrating and shivering. However, withdrawal from Suboxone or buprenorphine is much milder than that from opiates. The danger is the anxiety associated with not taking the medication to minimize cravings – now anxiety kicks in, as the individuals starts to wonder if they will relapse on opiates since they are not taking suboxone or buprenorphine any longer to suppress cravings.

Suboxone Withdrawal Timeline

Normally, the withdrawal symptoms are more prominent in the first week, and then they start to reduce gradually.

New Jersey Treatment Facilities for Suboxone Withdrawal

While many addiction treatment centers in New Jersey claim to provide detox from suboxone, few really address the issues surrounding stopping medicinal use of suboxone or buprenorphine. Detox from Suboxone or buprenorphine involves more than physical treatment. The anxiety associated with coming off of a medication that has helped them stay sober has to be effectively addressed. Sometimes it may involve medication, but it also needs to be addressed through therapy. The Center for Network therapy is adept at these processes and has locations in Middlesex in Middlesex County, West Orange in Essex county and Freehold in Monmouth county. CNT is an expert at addressing Suboxone withdrawal in New Jersey.

Most facilities that provide detoxification from suboxone or buprenorphine do so in an inpatient setting. While inpatient detox may be necessary for some due to a dysfunctional home environment, outpatient suboxone detox delivers better outcomes. Besides, many inpatient treatment facilities ask the patient to sign a contract which states that the patient will not be given back their personal belongings, such as their phone, car keys or wallet, for 3 days if they choose to discontinue treatment at any point. Consequently, patients have to stay in the inpatient program until the facility decides that their treatment has been completed.

Outpatient suboxone detox of buprenorphine detox delivers better outcomes as it integrates the patients’ real-life environment into treatment. Also, the patients get to home at the end of each day and face their real environment for some time before coming back to treatment the next day. This not only helps them to put skills learnt in therapy to test, it also assures them that it is possible to live sober in their home environment without the help of suboxone or buprenorphine.

Therapeutic Support and Suboxone Detox

The key to maintaining sobriety for a long-term is therapy and self-help groups such as AA or NA. Support is needed to increase probability of staying abstinent, longer-term. The therapeutic choices involved in a personalized treatment plan may vary from person to person. A treatment plan to address the addiction to Suboxone should include:

  • Evaluation and assessment: A directed and effective treatment plan is formulated for the affected person. Behavioral changes and mental disorders, such as trauma or depression are assessed.
  • Unique treatment plan: Depending on the patient’s living conditions and comorbid conditions, a customized suboxone or buprenorphine protocol is initiated and a personalized plan formulated.
  • Therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, or DBT and Motivational Interviewing, or MI are utilized to provide therapeutic support to the patient.
  • Psychiatric Care: As related earlier, psychiatric symptoms such as anxiety surface when patients come off of suboxone or buprenorphine. While therapy can address some of it, medication may be needed and a psychiatrist should be available to prescribe appropriate medications.
  • AA/NA: Self-help, 12-step groups such as AA or NA are an important support system in recovery. They last a life time while the treatment cannot.

The good news for residents of New Jersey is that Suboxone withdrawal management and Suboxone treatment is available in several location in New Jersey: Middlesex, West Orange, Far Hills, Short Hills, Warren, Freehold, Manalapan, Marlboro, Union, Westfield, Livingston, Chatham, Madison, Bridgewater, Bedminster, Morristown, Newton, Pine Brook, Montville, Ridgewood, Montclair, Toms River, Lakewood, Cherry Hill, Trenton, Newark, East Orange, Mendham, Chester, Edison, New Brunswick, Matawan, Paramus, etc.

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

WHAT IS METHADONE?

Methadone is a pain-relieving drug that is used to alleviate acute bone and muscle pain. It is also very effective in mitigating opiate withdrawal symptoms in individuals recovering from abuse of heroin, opioid pain pills, morphine, or fentanyl. It is administered orally or as an injection. Methadone treatment in New Jersey is not hard to find and they are located in almost every part of the state: Middlesex county, Essex county, Bergen county, Monmouth county, Somerset county, Ocean county, Hunterdon county, Union county, Hudson county, Mercer county, Passaic county, Morris county, Sussex county, Warren county, etc.

Methadone is a synthetic opioid agonist that effectively mitigates withdrawal symptoms and relieves drug cravings by acting on opioid receptors in the brain, in a similar fashion as that other opioids such as heroin, morphine, and opioid pain medications. However, it does so more slowly than the above-mentioned opioids. Consequently, an individual addicted to opioids, methadone treatment doses not produce euphoria. It has been used successfully for nearly six decades to treat opioid use disorder. It is available through specialized opioid treatment programs.

While methadone maintenance treatment should continue for at least 12 months, people on Methadone maintenance should be aware of the longer-term consequences of staying on methadone and explore pathways to come off of the medication when they feel that their recovery has been firmly established. The primary risk with prolonged use of methadone is becoming dependent on the medication and being unable to quit taking it, or increasing use as tolerance builds.

Long-Term Methadone Use May Result In:

  1. Trouble concentrating
  2. Negative impact on the liver, nerves and brain
  3. Cardiovascular problems
  4. Sexual/Menstrual dysfunction

Methadone is a full opioid agonist and it metabolized slowly. Methadone poses a greater risk of overdose than buprenorphine. Methadone is abused by consuming or injecting higher than prescribed quantities, snorting it or smoking it. In 2010, abuse of methadone caused 65,945 Emergency Room visits. However, due to established controls, the methadone dispensed for substance use disorders was not the source of this diversion. It came from methadone that was dispensed for use as a pain reliever.

Physical Symptoms of Methadone Abuse

  1. Poor reflexes
  2. Unusual sluggishness
  3. Weakness
  4. Trouble concentrating
  5. Vision problems
  6. Clammy skin
  7. Dry mouth
  8. Sweating
  9. Depressed breathing.
  10. Constipation
  11. Sexual dysfunction or irregular menstruation
  12. Increasing tolerance for the drug
  13. Withdrawal symptoms
  14. Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep during the night

Behavioral Symptoms of Methadone Abuse

  1. Stockpiling of methadone
  2. Aggressive behaviour when confronted about abuse
  3. Frequent doctor visits to get increased supply
  4. Lying about or hiding methadone use
  5. Avoiding attending self-help or support groups

Overuse or Abuse of Methadone

Like other opiates, methadone is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant. Overuse or unprescribed use of methadone hydrochloride tablets (the form most preferred for pain control) can lead to life-threatening respiratory depression, especially when co-abused with other opiates such as heroin or opiate pain pills, benzos or alcohol. Misuse of methadone could lead to severe addiction, overdose, and even death. Methadone should never be combined with other medications that could lead to slowed breathing.

This medicine should also not be taken while pregnant or breastfeeding. New-borns who are under the effect of this medication may need medical treatment for several weeks after birth. This medicine transferred from a mother to the baby through breastmilk can cause drowsiness, breathing problems, or death.

Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

Methadone withdrawal symptoms can be excruciatingly painful. Methadone withdrawal can set is anywhere between 24 and 48 hours after last use depending on the quantity ingested. Withdrawal symptoms include: flu-like symptoms, diarrhoea, vomiting, agitation, anxiety, insomnia, sensitivity to sound and light, shivering, chills, and goose bumps. It is advisable not to try to quit methadone use cold turkey without medical supervision. It should always be undertaken at a licensed detox facility under medical supervision, because some of the withdrawal symptoms can be effectively addressed through medication at a detox facility. The danger with trying to come off of methadone at home is the risk of relapse on opiates when the withdrawal becomes unbearable. Not only would it be a psychological setback, it is also dangerous as the risk of overdose increases when an individual relapses on the his/her substance of choice after a break.

Help for Methadone Withdrawal

There is no dearth of methadone clinics in New Jersey. However, these clinics usually are not equipped to detox a person off of methadone, although they can help by tapering methadone doses to lower levels in consultation with the patient. Licensed methadone detox facilities like the Center for Network Therapy are fully equipped for methadone detox. They have the requisite detox- related medications, including buprenorphine, suboxone or Subutex, on hand to alleviate methadone withdrawal symptoms and ensure that the individual seeking to quit methadone is successful in doing so by decreasing discomfort during the detox process.

Drug Treatment for Methadone Withdrawal

Buprenorphine, naloxone, and clonidine are drugs that can be used to mitigate the withdrawal process and relieve some of the medical issues and methadone withdrawal symptoms.

Therapy to Address Psychological Methadone Withdrawal Symptoms

The importance of receiving therapy, group and individual, during the methadone detox process cannot be overestimated. Anxiety is a major issue
when methadone use is stopped and so is depression. While medication to address these issues can be prescribed, therapy plays an important role in
building longer-term coping skills to deal with these issues.

Emotional Support During Methadone Detox

Methadone treatment in New Jersey is a rarer find. Methadone Detox is now available on an outpatient basis at facilities that are licensed by the State of New Jersey, but not all of them detox individuals off of methadone. CNT provides Ambulatory, or Outpatient Methadone Detox is safe and more effective than inpatient treatment. The beauty of outpatient methadone detox is that the therapy received at the facility can tested in
the home environment every day and adjustments made while in treatment. No matter which CNT facility you go to – West Orange, Freehold or Middlesex – you will find high-quality care that makes coming off of methadone a less inhibiting process.

Consequently, clients at CNT’s New Jersey facilities find that Outpatient Methadone Detox delivers better outcomes than inpatient treatment.

Fortunately for New Jersey residents methadone withdrawal management is available in several locations in New Jersey: Far Hills, Warren, Marlboro, West Orange, Short Hills, Freehold, Manalapan, Union, Middlesex, Scotch Plains, Westfield, Livingston, Chatham, Madison, Hackensack, Bedminster, Jersey City, Bridgewater, Toms River, Morristown, Newton, Pine Brook, Montville, Nutley, Ridgewood, Montclair, Lakewood, Cherry Hill, Newark, Trenton, East Orange, Mendham, Chester, Fords, Metuchen, Edison, New Brunswick, Matawan, East Brunswick, Paramus, Upper Saddle River, HoHoKus, etc.

The Negative Consequences of Addiction

The Negative Consequences of Addiction

As per the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 19.7 million Americans aged 12 years and over were battling a substance use disorder. Addiction is a complex disease that changes brain functioning in a way that compels the use of alcohol or drugs just to feel normal, despite the negative. Drug addiction, substance abuse and alcohol abuse negatively impacts lives by distorting lifestyles to an extent where all other priorities in life are de-emphasized. Besides health, addiction also affects the social network of relationships, family and friends, of the person addicted person.

How Drug Addiction Affects Health

  1. Loss of appetite which often leads to a drastic loss of weight
  2. Drug addiction could lead to malfunction of organs – lungs, liver, heart and sometimes, the brain.
  3. Drug addiction could affect kidney functioning and could possibly lead to kidney failure
  4. Alcohol and tobacco addiction increases the probability of developing cancer
  5. Drug addiction and alcohol dependence increases the chances of risky behaviour – sharing of needles of impaired driving – could lead to acquiring communicable diseases or increase chances of inury or death
  6. Addiction to multiple drugs increases chances of blood toxicity and sepsis, which could lead to organ damage or death.
  7. Drug addiction leads to increased mental health issues and a person could suffer from anxiety or depression and experience psychotic episodes
  8. The immune system is compromised, which increases the chances of contracting communicable diseases, such as COVID-19
  9. Drug addiction can lead to hormonal imbalance – men could suffer from decreased testosterone and it could cause infertility in women
  10. Unstable body functioning could lead to physical injuries

How Addiction Affects Brain Functions And Social Relations?

  1. Higher risk tolerance and impaired decision-making skills could lead to participation in criminal or illegal activities
  2. Obsessive addiction to drugs can lead to withdrawal from social relationships – getting more distant from family and friends. Profesional relationships may also be affected.
  3. Drug addiction leads to reduced empathy and sensitivity and could lead to apathy toward others and, sometimes, lead to  mental or physical abuse of others.
  4. Destructive behaviour could lead to the isolation
  5. Impulsive behavior and lack of self-control
  6. Drug addiction can lead to engagement with the law – reasons could be driving under the influence (DUI), domestic violence, criminal activities, theft, etc.
  7. Drug addiction can make people paranoid and lead to them experience out-of-body episodes. It could also lead to onset of schizophrenia due to the hallucinogenic effects of certain drugs
  8. Drug addiction can reduce pain perception in human beings, which can be detrimental as it is one of our defense mechanisms to health, internal and external

How Can Addiction Affect New Born Babies

Pregnant women, addicted to drugs or alcohol can cause severe harm to the unborn child leading to birth defects or giving birth to an infant who is born suffering with withdrawal symptoms. Lack of proper nutrition of the mother can cause neo-natal defects, premature births, and even miscarriages. Even in cases of normal births, children can develop certain physical and mental disorders later in life.

What Are Withdrawal Symptoms?

Withdrawal symptoms are prevalent in regular drug users who do not have access to their drug or alcohol of choice or try to quit using voluntarily. Withdrawal symptoms could include, fever, chills, insomnia, aches, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, anxiety, depression, tremors, shakes, acute cravings, etc. It is hard for an individual suffering from addiction to deal with these symptoms on their own and they should seek treatment. Sometimes, withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous – withdrawal from alcohol and benzodiazepines can lead to seizures, stroke or even death. It is important for people experiencing withdrawal symptoms to access to proper medical help and treatment.

The list of negative consequences of becoming addicted to alcohol, tobacco, and drugs is extensive and affects all aspects of a person’s life. It is important to realize that withdrawal symptoms and addiction can be treated and a full recovery is possible. Drug rehabs, addiction therapy and addiction treatment are established by licensed facilities to help people recover from addiction and start living a productive life.

Drug addiction and alcohol dependence can be treated. However, the individual afflicted by the disease of addiction needs to recognize that they have a problem and be willing to enter treatment. With the stigma around the disease of addiction still high, people suffering from addiction are generally more resistant to seek treatment in an inpatient setting. Luckily, addiction treatment has evolved over the past several years and now all addiction treatment, including detoxification for alcohol, benzos and opiates, is available in an outpatient setting. Please go to RecoveryCNT.com to learn more about treatment options.

Coping with Stress and Addiction During the Pandemic

Coping with Stress and Addiction During the Pandemic

During these challenging times, every third person is dealing with mental health issues like anxiety, depression and stress, which are triggers for relapse for people in recovery. Changing precautionary measure and constant news feeds about the Covid-19 pandemic, isolation and inner turmoil during seem impossible to master. In addition to individuals suffering from mental health or addiction issues, even people who were functioning normally during regular times are feeling the pressure. People are using social media and even turning to pornography to deal with stress, anxiety and loneliness.

The COVID-19 crisis appears to be be spiralling out of control with every passing day. But it is important to realize that getting stressed and anxious will not make the situation any better. One has to incorporate a few lifestyle changes to add structure to dismantled routines that have become the new normal. It will also help to cope with mental health issues that crop up and avoid relapse triggers.

  • Develop an everyday routine

Routine delivers normalcy and adds a sense of purpose and meaning to everyday living. While it is tempting to let schedules remain scattered and chaotic during this pandemic, it does make you feel disoriented and lost. Creating a well-defined daily routine can help you take control of your actions and make sure you meet your goals on time without falling prey to the infinite triggers that come uninvited throughout the day.

  • Keep yourself engaged

Staying secluded within four walls surely stimulates negative memories and causes you to relive and regret negative things that happened in your life. When you find yourself falling into a web of endless contemplation, you need to distract yourself before it consumes your entire day. Maybe you could read the book that has been gathering dust on your book shelf, or maybe you could also learn a new language or try your hand at painting. Overcoming stress sometimes requires you to indulge in activities that require focus and creativity. And a little bit of fun too!

  • Stay connected

While people have to stay apart in the current scenario, technology can be extremely handy to stay connected with loved ones. Depriving yourself of the warmth of relationships during this pandemic is only going to accelerate the feelings of loneliness in unexpected ways. When isolation hurts, reach out to a friend or loved one.

  • Ditch the screen

All of us have been conditioned to check the phone the minute the screen lights up with a new notification! It is hard to ignore the phone and putting it away is a difficult task. During the current pandemic, news feeds constantly deliver bad news about the spread of the epidemic. Although it is not easy, staying “technology free” for a certain period of time every day will help in overcoming stress and focusing on what is important.

While it is a good thing to keep yourself on the loop with all the current happenings, hitting the stop button for a fixed period of time will serve to reduce anxiety and stress.

  • Seek help

Anecdotal evidence suggests alcohol use has surged and relapse rates have spiked during the pandemic, as a way of coping with stress.

When you find yourself coping with loneliness, stress, anxiety and depression by abusing alcohol or drugs, it is time to seek professional help from a reputed addiction treatment facility in New Jersey. Addiction treatment professionals can help you to recognize the underlying issues causing you to abuse substances or alcohol. But it is up to you to reach out to the right programs and avail of Addiction Treatment in New Jersey. Many programs are effective and provide medically monitored detoxification services.

  • Love yourself everyday

You are the most important person in the world to yourself! Always remember that. You need to stay nourished, physically, mentally and emotionally. Overcoming stress will become easier if you focus on loving yourself.

Stock up your kitchen with nourishing fruits, vegetables and healthy snacks. It will help build immunity and fill your mind and soul with positive energy.

Surround yourself with positive people who uplift you. It is indeed hard to stay in touch with anyone during the pandemic. But make an effort to have a core set up of positive people who you touch base with often. One of them could be your AA/NA sponsor. If you have one.

Have an exercise routine you can follow inside your home. Maybe partner with like-minded people and all of you can exercise together over a Zoom call!

  • Reach out for help

The loneliness the pandemic has brought has felled many a strong person. Recognize that you are not super human and do not expect perfection from yourself. The loneliness and isolation caused by the pandemic can trigger a relapse even in the strongest of people.

If you have a slip-up, do not beat yourself up. Seek professional help at the earliest and do not let the issue fester and intensify. Many people feel stigmatized by addiction and are generally more resistant to seek treatment in an inpatient setting. Luckily, addiction treatment has evolved over the past several years and now all addiction treatment, including detoxification for alcohol, benzos and opiates, is available in an outpatient setting. Please go to RecoveryCNT.com to learn more about treatment options.

Understanding Alcohol Dependence

Understanding Alcohol Dependence

Overview

Alcohol withdrawal is a big deal! Hundreds of thousands of men and women suffer from Alcohol dependence all over the world. They have been dependent on alcohol for so long that alcohol withdrawal, when consumption is stopped, is acute and dangerous, as it can result in seizures! In high-quality, trusted Alcohol Rehabs in New Jersey, patients go through time-tested treatment protocols to help them mitigate withdrawal symptoms, address cravings and enter recovery. Entering treatment for alcohol dependence is the surest way to enter recovery.

  • Dependence on alcohol is physical as well as psychological. Alcohol can change brain functioning by altering dopamine reward systems in ways that leave the person chemically dependent on alcohol. Also, alcohol is used as a coping mechanism and people become psychologically dependent on alcohol to deal with stressors.
  • As with all addiction, cravings for alcohol is progressive in nature. As with other substances, tolerance develops over time – a higher quantity of alcohol is needed to achieve the same high.
  • While anyone can get addicted to alcohol, genetics is a pre-disposing factor.
  • Over 14 million adults in America suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder, or alcohol dependence.
  • One in 14 adults suffering from alcohol use disorder received treatment for alcohol withdrawal and alcohol dependence.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

After a period of heavy alcohol abuse, the body becomes chemically dependent on alcohol. Stopping alcohol use abruptly can lead to severe acute withdrawal symptoms, including seizures and stroke. Consequently, an individual afflicted by an addiction to alcohol must seek medically monitored detoxification when they stop consuming alcohol.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be treated effectively at many Alcohol Rehabs in New Jersey. Some milder alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Headaches and/or migraines
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Anxiety

More acute alcohol withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Extreme fever
  • High blood pressure
  • Delirium Tremens, or DTs
  • Inconsistent heartbeat and/or heart-related issues
  • Confusion and/or disorientation
  • Seizures

Alcohol Dependence and Genetics

An addiction to alcohol and alcohol dependence have a genetic component. As per WebMD, a person’s risk of becoming dependent on alcohol is 3-4 times greater if a parent has an issue with alcohol. Other factors, such as peer pressure, mental illness, etc., also play a role.

A thorough psycho-social evaluation, coupled with the quantification of withdrawal using withdrawal scales leads to determination of treatment. Oftentimes, withdrawal levels are serious enough to raise the risk of seizures or stroke.

That is why an individual suffering from alcohol dependence should seek treatment immediately. Sadly, most individuals addicted to alcohol go through a denial phase where they do not see their alcohol use as a problem.

Identifying Alcohol Use Disorder

Tolerance to alcohol increases over time and most individuals refuse to acknowledge that alcohol use is a problem. Use of alcohol has crossed over from casual social drinking to alcohol dependence when a person is unable to stop alcohol consumption despite negative consequences. Alcohol use is a problem is it:

  • Negatively impacts relationships
  • Is used to cope with stress
  • Leads to financial distress or job loss
  • Causes an increase in risky behaviour
  • Produces tremors when consumption is stopped abruptly

Talking About Alcohol Abuse in a Non-Judgemental Manner

If your loved one has issues with alcohol, it is important to broach the subject in a non-judgemental manner. Instead fof saying. “You are an alcoholic!” try, “You may have issues with alcohol.” Do not conclude that the individual has a problem with alcohol on your own. The individual affected by alcohol may also be more open to suggestions from an objective third party. The goal is to not make the person defensive but encourage him or her to engage with treatment professionals. Try to get a substance abuse treatment professional involved so that they can do a professional assessment.

Conclusion

Nobody plans to get addicted. Dependence on alcohol may develop due to many reasons. The recent Mental Health Day opened up dialogues about alcohol dependence, alcohol withdrawal and alcohol treatment in the context of individuals using alcohol to self-medicate for mental health issues.

Addiction is a chronic disease and there should be no stigma associated with the disease. Addiction is not a moral shortcoming or a behavioural problem. The functioning of the brain changes and keeps the cycle of addiction going. A non-judgemental approach and utilization of outpatient treatment modalities will help to vastly reduce the stigma around addiction and enable more people to access treatment in a timely manner. Most alcohol rehabs in New Jersey have professional staff that view addiction as a disease and facilitate access to treatment in a non-judgemental manner.

So, don’t wait! Reach out NOW!

A Step-by-Step Guide to Benzodiazepines: Benzo Abuse, Benzodiazepine Withdrawal, Benzodiazepine Detox, Benzodiazepine Treatment and Benzodiazepine Rehab

A Step-by-Step Guide to Benzodiazepines: Benzo Abuse, Benzodiazepine Withdrawal, Benzodiazepine Detox, Benzodiazepine Treatment and Benzodiazepine Rehab

What are Benzodiazepines?

Benzodiazepines, or benzos, are a class of drugs used to treat some mental illnesses such as anxiety and panic attacks and also medical conditions such as insomnia, epilepsy, tremors, acute seizures and muscle spasm. More than a dozen benzodiazepines are available as medications and are prescribed by doctors to treat legitimate conditions. Benzodiazepines include household names such as Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax and Valium. The chemical name for Ativan is lorazepam, for Xanax it is alprazolam, for Klonopin it is clonazepam and for Xanax it is diazepam. Xanax and Ativan are shorter acting benzodiazepines. Klonopin and Valium are long acting benzodiazepines. Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax and Valium are prescribed widely and are also the most abused types of benzodiazepines.

How Do Benzodiazepines Work?

Benzos work by increasing activity at receptors for the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). This transmitter inhibits the activity of neurons, slowing down the brain and nervous system – they act as central nervous system depressants. Benzos are relaxing and calming and promote sleep. The difference in benzodiazepines  is primarily in how quickly they are absorbed, how long their effects last, and how long they take to leave the body. Like opiates, benzos provide a dopamine surge that delivers euphoria and other pleasurable sensations.

What Medical Conditions are Benzos Used For?

Benzodiazepines are prescribed by physicians for legitimate medical conditions. They include, acute anxiety, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias (social, simple), insomnia, obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD and post traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. They are also used for convulsive disorders.

How are Benzos Consumed?

Benzodiazepines are usually taken by mouth and are uniquely effective. Benzos are administered intravenously for rapid relief from acute anxiety or agitation. They can also be used to calm a person facing surgery or a person panicky about the prospect of an airplane ride.

In patients with panic disorder, they reduce anticipatory anxiety and the resulting tendency to avoid places and situations that might provoke a panic attack. They are also used to keep a patient calm before surgery or relax an anxious person before a plane ride.

Are Benzos Addictive?

All classes of benzodiazepines are addictive and physical dependence can develop after just a week of daily use. The short acting benzos are more addictive than long acting benzos and dependence to short-acting benzos, such as Klonopin and Xanax, can develop in as little as a week! However, developing physical dependence to long-acting benzodiazepines like Valium or Librium could take 2 months. Like all other drugs of abuse, an individual regularly abusing benzodiazepines can develop tolerance to the drug – tolerance means the usual dosage becomes less and less effective and larger doses are needed to achieve the same high. Not only do benzos provide a high they also cause withdrawal symptoms when stopped abruptly.

Do Benzos Provide a High?

Benzos deliver the same effects as opioids in that they deliver euphoria because they cause a dopamine surge. Benzodiazepines are abused alone and they are also abused along with opioids in order to spike the opioid high. Co-abuse of opioids and benzos is dangerous as both of them are CNS depressants. The National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, quoted a study where overdose death rates among people abusing opioids and benzos was 10 times higher than among those abusing only opioids.

Benzodiazepine Abuse Potential and Benzo Abuse Prevalence

As per the National Institute of Drug Abuse, or NIDA, 12.5% of the population, or over 30 million people in the US used benzodiazepines. Over 1 in 6 of benzodiazepine users, or over 5 million people, misused benzodiazepines but fewer than 2.5%, or less than 6 million were diagnosed with a benzodiazepine use disorder. This suggests that millions of people abusing benzodiazepines are not even diagnosed as having a benzodiazepine use disorder! It is important to note that benzo abuse through the illicit drug market is not counted in these statistics. Consequently, millions of people who are in dire need of benzo detox are not even accessing addiction treatment.

Benzodiazepines are rarely abused alone – that is, they hardly ever are the drug of choice. It is estimated that 80% of benzodiazepine abuse is part of polydrug (more than on=e drug) abuse. Benzodiazepines are most commonly abused along with opiates in order to spike the high derived from opiates. As per the National Institute on Drug Abuse, or NIDA, 15% of heroin users also abused benzodiazepines daily and 73 percent abused benzodiazepines more than once a week. Research also showed that many methadone users regularly abused benzodiazepines at high doses.

Studies have indicated that individuals suffering from alcohol use disorder often abused benzodiazepines at some time in order to spike the high they felt or to mitigate alcohol withdrawal symptoms. It has been found that individuals under the age of 30 suffering from alcohol use disorder abuse multiple drugs – nearly 80% of them have been addicted to at least one other drug.

Chart: Number of Benzo and Narcotic Pain Reliever Combination Admissions


Source: SAMHSA – Treatment Episode Data Set

Can an Individual Develop Tolerance to Benzos?

The short answer is, Yes! After a period of daily benzo use/abuse the individual will need higher doses to provide the same sedative effect. This is the case with all substances of abuse.

Side Effects of Benzos

The most common side effects of benzodiazepines are grogginess or drowsiness. Some short-acting benzos may cause rebound insomnia the night after they are used. Other benzos can negatively impact the ability to learn and can impair memory. When consumed at higher doses, benzodiazepines may negatively impact physical coordination and balance. This raises the risk of falls and other accidents. Patients using benzodiazepines should avoid consuming alcohol as alcohol intensifies the side effects.

Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms

Benzodiazepines are addictive and an individual can build tolerance to the medication. When the use of benzos is stopped abruptly, it can cause benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms, which can be serious.

One of the immediate and most noticeable benzo withdrawal symptoms after abrupt stoppage is anxiety. In addition, increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, trembling or quivering, excessive sweating, insomnia and sensory hypersensitivity are not uncommon. The most dangerous acute withdrawal symptoms are seizures and delirium tremens, which have a high probability of occurring when elevated levels of benzodiazepine use is stopped abruptly. Delirium Tremens is the rapid onset of confusion caused by benzo withdrawal. It usually occurs 3 days after the onset of benzo withdrawal symptoms.

The above mentioned benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms occur between 24 and 96 hours after last consumption. Different benzodiazepines have different half-lives and the occurrence of benzodiazepine withdrawal symptoms depends upon which benzodiazepine was abused. The severity of benzo withdrawal symptoms depends on amount of benzo abused and the length of time benzos abuse.

Treatment for Benzo Withdrawal, Benzo Dependence and Benzo Abuse

Benzodiazepine withdrawal can be serious and have dangerous medical consequences. Therefore it is highly recommended that individuals abusing benzodiazepines wanting to stop or individuals dependent on benzos and facing benzo withdrawal enter treatment at a medical detox facility. Benzo detox should never be attempted at home. The risk of seizures due to benzodiazepine withdrawal is too great.

Center for Network Therapy Provides the Safest Benzo Detox

The first and most acute phase of treatment for benzo dependence and benzo withdrawal is medically monitored detoxification. Benzo detoxification is a complex process whereby withdrawal symptoms have to be managed, cravings addressed and potential for seizures mitigated. It takes an experienced detox team of physicians and nurses to complete benzo detoxification successfully. So it is important to find a detox facility with deep experience. The Center for Network Therapy is America’s leading provider of ambulatory, or outpatient detoxification for benzodiazepines and has the world’s leading safety record – zero cases of seizures during benzo detox.

Benzodiazepine detoxification involves the utilization of multiple medications. While some medications mitigate withdrawal symptoms, others are used address anxiety and eliminate the risk of seizures. Usually a Librium or chlordiazepoxide protocol is primarily used to detox individuals from the abused benzo. It is important to understand that Librium is also a benzodiazepine, but it is long acting and does not provide a high like most other abused benzos. Due to dependence risks explained earlier, the goal is to use Librium to detox only for a short period of time.

Outpatient Benzo Detox Delivers Better Results

A complete and individualized benzo detox usually takes between 14-16 days to deliver the best results. Usually only outpatient detox facilities are authorized by health insurance payors to provide detox for this length of time, so that the individual undergoing benzo detox does not have to pay out-of-pocket for the treatment. Health insurance providers usually approve only 5-6 days of detox at inpatient facilities. Such short detoxes off of benzodiazepines, usually produce less than optimal results – significant withdrawal symptoms are likely to remain at the end of shorter detoxes of between 6 and 8 days. Benzo withdrawal symptoms are extremely uncomfortable and individuals suffering from withdrawal from benzos are highly likely to revert to benzo abuse in order to relieve the physical discomfort.

Importance of Medical Monitoring in Benzo Detox

The importance of medical monitoring cannot be over emphasized during benzo detox. Withdrawal symptoms are acute and medication titration has to be customized in order to make the individual undergoing detox to feel physically comfortable. Usually, “one-size-fit-all” protocols do not work well from the patient’s perspective. Also, vital signs have to be closely monitored in order to anticipate seizures so that appropriate medication can be introduced to head off seizures. To add to these variables, individuals withdrawing from benzodiazepines usually experience severe anxiety and/or depression. In order to achieve optimal results these also have to be addressed to make the patient physically comfortable. Achieving physical comfort is paramount so that these individuals can engage in therapy in order to effect the lifestyle changes they need to make in order to enter recovery and achieve long-term sobriety.

Benzo Detox is Only the Beginning

Detox is not the end of treatment, it is only the beginning! Detox allows an individual to become physically comfortable so that they can engage in therapy to effect the lifestyle changes they need to enter recovery and maintain sobriety. Therapy and engaging in self-help groups such as AA or NA is the key to longer-term sobriety.

Benzo Rehab After Benzo Detox May be Needed

Inpatient Rehab after detox may be needed in some situations. Rehab is needed only in situations where the individual who underwent benzo detox has a living situation that is detrimental to his recovery. Some people do not have a stable living environment – either their family is highly dysfunctional or someone else in the family is abusing drugs or alcohol. Other follow-through treatment such as Partial Care or IOP can be accessed on an outpatient basis for individuals with the above constraints.

Insurance

In-network with:

Aetna
AmeriHealth
Anthem BCBS
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GHI
Empire BCBS
Horizon BCBS (EPO, HMO, PPO)
Oscar
QualCare
United Health/Optum/Oxford
Emblem GHI*
Humana*

 

* If the QualCare logo is on the
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