Most Common Misconceptions about Addiction

Most Common Misconceptions about Addiction

Although we now know more about addiction than ever before, there are still many misconceptions about substance use disorders even among informed people.

There have been significant advancements in understanding the disease of addiction, addiction treatment and research, but a lack of understanding of the chronic disease of addiction creates barriers, preventing individuals suffering from substance use disorders from accessing treatment in a timely manner. Additionally, many of these antiquated preconceptions about addiction continue to stigmatize the disease and make people from addiction ashamed of their condition.

Let’s take a look at a few of them:

1.  Addiction is a behavioral or moral issue:

One of the most common misconceptions about addiction is that it is essentially a behavioral problem or a moral failure. Consequently, it is assumed that people who use drugs or alcohol can stop if they really want to. Addiction is a chronic brain disease, and quitting drug or alcohol use on your own is not only extremely tough, but could also be dangerous!

Addictive substances stimulate dopamine production in the brain at ten times the rate of other pleasurable activities such as eating food, indulging in hobbies or engaging in sex. After a period of substance use, the brain’s reward system is altered – the brain stops producing dopamine in response to regular stimuli and instead waits for cues from drugs or alcohol to release a rush of dopamine. This creates dependence as the individual may not feel normal due to the lack of release of dopamine. Many individuals with addiction issues  also suffer from mental health issues, which can exacerbate their addiction. The best way to overcome addiction is to seek effective treatment by consulting with addiction therapists in NJ.

2.  Medications prescribed by a physician is not addictive :

Among the fallacies about drug or alcohol addiction, those involving prescription medicines are the hardest to correct. The myth is that medications prescribed by doctors are harmless and cannot lead to dependence because they are legal and prescribed by a doctor for a genuine ailment. Tragically, that’s not true, as evidenced by the opioid epidemic caused substantially by prescribed pain killers. Prescription medications are highly addictive and, if misused, can be lethal.

In 2014, an estimated 1,700+ young Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 overdosed on prescription medications, with prescription medicines having the highest overdose rate of any drug for that age range. Not only can these substances be highly addictive if overused, but stopping prescription painkillers can be dangerous, as relapse after a short period of abstinence could lead to overdose. Consequently, it is highly advisable that stopping use of prescription painkillers should only be attempted under the direction of medical professionals or detox facilities as other medications, such as buprenorphine, Suboxone or Subutex can be introduced to address withdrawal symptoms and cravings, which help prevent relapse.

3. Alcoholism is less severe than drug addiction

People assume that alcohol abuse is not as dangerous as drug addiction, as it is socially acceptable to drink alcohol. Alcoholism may take over a person’s life and have significant negative consequences on physical health, finances and mental health. In 2015, 15.1 million adults in the United States suffered from alcohol use disorder, and 88,000 Americans died each year from alcohol-related causes. Alcoholism should not be treated lightly, and individuals who are addicted to alcohol should get help as soon as possible.

Also, it is not advisable to quit drinking alcohol after a period of heavy use without medical supervision. Alcohol withdrawal can be severe and with negative medical consequences. Alcohol withdrawal could lead to seizures, stroke, or even death.

4. SUD Patients Aren’t Productive Members of Society

Conventional stereotypes of individuals suffering from addiction paints a picture of a dysfunctional individual who does not possess the qualities of an ideal employee! They are believed to have low morals and questionable behavior. They are also believed to be criminals, as frequently portrayed on television and in films.

While some people do fit this picture and are unable to work or perform basic daily duties, most individuals suffering from addiction work, support their families, and even have lively social lives. Most themselves do not believe they are addicted, and some that do, find it tough to speak about their dependence. Consequently, they are ambivalent about accessing addiction treatment, which serves to intensify their addiction.

5. Medication Assisted Treatment, or MAT, is Drug-for-Drug Replacement

Research shows that medication assisted treatment, or MAT, saves lives and improves outcomes. Despite that fact there are many, including addiction treatment professionals, that MAT is just drug-for-drug replacement and not treatment. Many individuals believe that those who want to overcome addiction must quit “cold turkey” and maintain their recovery by a “white-knuckling” strategy or by using their will power to resist cravings. This has been proven to be a dangerous strategy, as even a short period of abstinence lowers tolerance levels and increase the chances of overdose in the event of relapse.

6. There is Only One Treatment for Addiction.

What worked for one person, may not work for another. Multiple options are needed in order to offer individualized treatment. Each person requires a unique treatment plan. While the incumbent inpatient detox model may work for some, outpatient detox is preferred by most people who need detoxification from drugs or alcohol. The need for customized treatment to suit individual needs cannot be overemphasized as it increases compliance and leads to better outcomes.


Rehabs in NJ offer help if you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, whether it’s to prescription painkillers, heroin or fentanyl. Those struggling with opioid use disorder can receive medication-assisted treatment, as well as counselling and other assistance. If you’re thinking about talking to a loved one about their addiction, reach out to us right away to learn more about our treatment options that are more flexible and lowers resistance to treatment from individuals suffering from substance use disorders.


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How Methadone Can Affect Your Emotional Health?

How Methadone Can Affect Your Emotional Health?

Methadone is a synthetic opioid that was first developed and used by the Germans during the Second World War. It acts similarly to narcotic painkillers, such as Oxycodone, Oxycontin or Percocet, and is used to relieve acute pain. It relieves pain, makes the user feel drowsy, and delivers mild euphoria.
Methadone is available in as tablets, in powder form or as a liquid. It either dispensed daily in methadone clinics, where therapy is also provided or can be obtained through a prescription at pharmacies. There are various Methadone clinics in NJ that not only provide treatment for addiction to opiates, the New Jersey methadone clinics also can help you to learn about methadone’s side effects and possible methadone addiction.

Methadone is contraindicated for people suffering from asthma or stomach/intestine blockage, as it could escalate the conditions. It is also advisable to not use methadone along with other CNS depressants – drugs that cause drowsiness like alcohol or benzodiazepines – as it may slow down the breathing of that individual. If pregnant women have been on methadone for a long period of time, it elevates the risk of neonatal withdrawal syndrome in infants.

Methadone Uses and How it Works 

Methadone provides “replacement therapy” for individuals suffering from an addiction to opiates. Methadone is only part of the treatment for these individuals. In order for any addiction treatment to be successful, it must be combined with talk therapy, so that lifestyle changes can be effected and coping mechanisms learnt. Methadone is addictive and the longer the use and the higher the dosage, the more severe the dependence.

There are other medications such as clarithromycin and telaprevir, that increase or decrease the impact of methadone. Whenever consulting a doctor, the patient needs to inform the physician of any drug allergies they may have or any other prescription or non-prescription drug/medication use. Injecting methadone increases the chances of overdose, which could put the patient at serious risk.

Initially, Methadone was developed to be used as a painkiller because it can provide long-lasting pain relief. It acts upon the brain and nervous system, which provides relief from pain. But it is easy to overdose on methadone, which can lead to respiratory- or heart-related problems.

Methadone is used as a replacement to narcotic drugs as it gives the same physical effects without providing a similar ‘high’ as drugs like heroin, hydrocodone and morphine. It helps in reducing withdrawal symptoms and addresses cravings. Withdrawal is basically the body’s response to lack of opioids it has become dependent on, and it may include anxiety, irritability, sleeping problems, watery eyes, chills, tremors, vomiting and nausea. When a person becomes dependent on a substance, stopping usage abruptly causes withdrawal symptoms. Methadone clinics in NJ can help individuals to understand the effects of Methadone better.

Side-effects of Methadone

Methadone decreases control and impairs judgement and driving under the influence of methadone can be dangerous. Other side-effects Methadone can cause, mild or severe, include:

Mild side effects of Methadone:

  • Restlessness
  • Vomiting
  • Heavy sweating
  • Constipation
  • Dry mouth
  • Mood swings
  • Vision problem
  • Appetite change

Some severe problems, which may require medical assistance, are:

  • Breathing issues
  • Drowsiness
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Chest Pain
  • Teary eyes
  • Dilated pupil

Effects of Methadone on emotional health

Along with physical problems, Methadone also has psychological effects on the patient.. The extent might be less than compared to other heavier drugs like heroin or fentanyl, but they do exist. Some effects of Methadone include:

  • Flat affect:

Methadone is used by many people to amplify their moods, but it might also backfire upon them. Excessive methadone in many cases can dampen emotions. According to a study published in the journal Addiction, “Methadone may blunt emotional reactivity following an increase in plasma methadone concentration,” which came from an experiment performed on 21 opioid-dependent patients whose moods were recorded at different times.

  • Psychological dependence:

Although methadone can help to elevate moods and cure depression, it can also increase the individual’s dependence upon the drug. He or she might start to believe that methadone is an essential part of his day-to-day life and a need for his body, rather than just seeing it as a supplement.

  • Mood swings:

As discussed above, one side effect of Methadone is that it causes mood swings. It acts upon the brain by changing its neural chemistry, which causes mood swings. It might act as a temporary solution for depression, but in the longer course, it can cause serious mood swings.

  • Increased anxiety:

Patients who use tranquilizers to manage their anxiety or panic attacks might find it difficult to use methadone along with it. The interaction between tranquilizers and methadone affects your Central Nervous System (CNS) and could lead to sleepiness, slowed breathing or coma.

  1. Withdrawal:

Just like any other drug, Methadone primarily affects the brain. It is used in replacement therapy as a substitute for other heavier drugs, but it doesn’t mean that methadone by itself does not have any psychological effect. If a patient abruptly stops using Methadone, he might face extreme mood swings, physical withdrawal symptoms or just start feeling anxious or depressed.

  • Depression:

We know that Methadone is used as an antidepressant, but its excessive and long-term use could slowly start to reverse that effect. Your body might start feeling reliant on it to uplift your mood, and its unavailability may lead to irritability or anger issues.

Should you use Methadone or not

Just like any other drug, Methadone has its advantages and disadvantages. But if taken as prescribed under supervision, the negative effects can be mitigated. Methadone was developed to be used as a pain reliever, but with time its uses increased. And as they say, “Each coin has two sides.”, it also has its disadvantages. Excessive use might lead to severe health problems like breathing issues, nausea, vomiting and in some cases even death.

However, there is always a silver lining. For a lot of people Methadone has been a blessing. From effectively treating addiction to opiates to having antidepressant properties, methadone has a wide range of uses, when used appropriately. Get immediate assistance from top methadone clinics in Monmouth County NJ, Ocean County NJ or Mercer County NJ to overcome addiction to opiates utilizing methadone.

Detox from Methadone:

After a period of use, an individual utilizing methadone to treat addiction to opiates may want to come off of methadone and attempt a medication-free recovery. It is possible but it is advisable to attempt it only under medical supervision. The Center for Network Therapy, offers detox from methadone that is covered by health insurance.


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Drug Addiction Trends in New Jersey

Drug Addiction Trends in New Jersey

Abuse of substances has plagued humanity since history was recorded. However, the current torrent of addiction is unprecedented. The ill-effects of being addicted to drugs or alcohol is widely disseminated – educational and prevention programs,  lectures informing students of its consequences, and myriad movies that have portrayed the negative impact of addiction on celebrities.

Despite increased awareness, over 36 million people worldwide reportedly suffered from substance use disorders in the last year, as per the 2021 World Drug Report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Substance abuse status in New Jersey

Within America, New Jersey in particular has been impacted by the widespread drug use of its citizens. This is likely due to the easy availability of illegal substances such as heroin as well as legal painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone in the state due to it being on the route to New York City from the south. Many Drug treatment centers in NJ provide treatment to individuals struggling with addiction, but addiction is a chronic disease and, quite often, the journey from addiction to long-term recovery takes a jagged path.

According to surveys, the current status of the prevalence of substance use disorders in New Jersey are reflected in the following ways:

  • 9 opioid prescriptions in New Jersey were written for every 100 people in 2018, with the rate being the lowest it had ever been since data could be accessed in 2006
  • 1% of men and 11.7% of women were reported to have an episode of excessive alcohol consumption in 2018
  • 42% of individuals admitted for drug abuse treatment in 2019 were afflicted with heroin addiction
  • New Jersey Substance Monitoring System (NJ-SAMS) revealed that there were 98,479 admissions for addiction treatment in 2019 with 68% of individuals suffering from substance use disorders being male and 32% female. The counties of Camden, Ocean, and Essex were the ones with the highest number of admissions.

Effects of Covid-19 on drug addiction trends

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to increase in drug and alcohol use across the world, with local, outpatient treatments rising in popularity due to government restrictions on public movement. Stress due to social isolation, difficulty accessing treatment, and worsening mental health were the key reasons.

Deaths due to alcohol or overdose in New Jersey reached a high of 3046 lives in 2020, as compared to the 2,914 deaths in 2019. Most of these were caused by opioid overdose. This can be directly linked to relapse or vulnerability to addiction as millions of people lost their jobs as well as loved ones to Covid-19 in the last two years. Drug rehab centers in New Jersey also faced hurdles during the pandemic, keeping afflicted individuals from receiving addiction treatment.

Impact of substance abuse

Besides causing thousands of deaths every year, substance abuse also affects day-to-day functioning. It affects an individual’s ability to perform regular functions or keep up with responsibilities. Furthermore, substances such as tobacco, alcohol, or drugs lead to health complications such as chronic liver disease, cardiac problems, as well as respiratory diseases.

Moreover, many accidents that hurts individuals who did not abuse drugs or alcohol are caused by individuals driving under influence; suicides have also been associated with both drug and alcohol use. Drug or alcohol use during pregnancy can lead to birth defects and improper development of the fetus. This is because drugs like cocaine permeate the placenta and limit blood flow to the embryo.

Drug’s, such as cocaine are easily available in all corners of New Jersey, be it Livingston or Monroe, Union or Phillipsburg, Somerset or Manalapan, Colts Neck or Toms River. Other drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine also being at low prices. Such easy availability has led to casual consumption of drugs across the state.

  • 3,888 individuals in New Jersey aged 18-21 were admitted for substance abuse treatment in 2019
  • 13,423 users resorted to Methadone to cope with meth and heroin addiction in 2018

Habitual consumption affects parts of a user’s brain, hindering their judgment and decision-making skills. Moreover, constant consumption also creates withdrawal symptoms that cause users to become stressed when a particular drug is not available.

Many users continue consumption as a way to gain relief rather than for pleasure. It has also been found that substance abuse is initially formed as a result of genetic and environmental factors, and not from the drugs themselves.

Measures taken in New Jersey to combat substance abuse

To combat the public health issue of substance abuse, Governor Murphy’s administration in New Jersey has implemented comprehensive measures across the state. This includes increased accessibility to drug rehab clinics in New Jersey, medication assisted treatments, or MAT, harm reduction, and increased prevention efforts.

Collaborative and data-driven programs such as Prescription Drug Monitoring, Drug Take-Back days, Drug-Free Communities, and National Anti-Drug Campaigns have been actively set up on the state level to facilitate recovery, and modern treatment programs aimed towards supporting recovery and reducing probability of relapse and preventing addiction offers hope for a better future wherein residents can lead safer and better lives.


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Ketamine is a drug of abuse and is classified as a short-acting (30-60 minutes) dissociative anesthetic with hallucinogenic effects. It is known as a “club” drug and is popular among teens and young adults. It distorts perceptions of sight and sound and makes the user feel disconnected and not in control. Street names of ketamine include Cat Tranquilizer, Cat Valium, Jet K, Kit Kat, Purple, Special K, Special La Coke, Super Acid, Super K, and Vitamin K.

However, ketamine has legitimate medicinal use as an anesthetic, mainly in a veterinarian setting. Recently, FDA approved the use of a controlled dose of ketamine to provide relief for humans from treatment resistant depression. The ketamine-based medication to treat depression is sold under the brand name Spravato.

Street ketamine is produced in liquid form or as a white powder. Ketamine is often snorted or smoked with marijuana or tobacco products. In some cities in New Jersey, such as New Brunswick, Howell or Plainfield, ketamine has been reported to be injected intramuscularly.

Low-dose ketamine intoxication leads to impairment in attention, memory and learning ability. Large dose reactions include dream-like states and altered perceptions or hallucinations. These are similar to those associated with phencyclidine, or PCP. High-dose ketamine can also result in delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood pressure, depression and, potentially, fatal respiratory problems.

Ketamine Withdrawal

When an individual who abuses ketamine regularly stops abusing the drug abruptly. He/she could suffer withdrawal symptoms. On the psychological side, ketamine withdrawal symptoms include aggressive or violent tendencies, psychosis, schizophrenia-like behaviors and suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety and paranoia. Physical ketamine withdrawal symptoms include confusion, loss of coordination, delirium, hallucinations, difficulty focusing, irregular heartbeat, changes in blood pressure, sleep and speech disturbances.

Fortunately, New Jersey has plenty of options for ketamine withdrawal treatment, whether you live in Monmouth County or Ocean, Somerset or Union, Hunterdon or Morris, Sussex or Essex.

Preventing Relapse on Ketamine

It is all about people, places and things!

The first thing to do is avoid risky places. Do not hang out with the same people you abused ketamine with. Find new activities that will keep you from getting bored. AA/NA groups are a great place to find new friends who are on the same sober path as you. Together you can plan activities that keep you sober.

Have a support structure in place. Identify individuals who are supportive of you and provide an uplifting ambience. Life is sometimes tough and triggers and stressors will come at you from all directions. You cannot cope with them alone, especially when you are vulnerable directly after finishing treatment. Definitely find a sponsor in the self-help group you attend. Luckily, AA/NA meetings are held all across NJ – Marlboro, Marlton, Cherry, Hill, Middlesex, Patterson, Howell, New Brunswick, Westfield, Livingston, Newton, etc.

Keep busy. Sometimes finding a job is not easy when you are in recovery. There may be charges incurred while using that is marring your otherwise clean record. Other time DUI and other charges may be causing a limitation in mobility. In most situations, volunteer your time makes sense as it provides you with a clean start. Remember, an idle mind is a devil’s workshop!


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Cocaine is made from the leaves of the coca plant that is native to South America. Cocaine is an stimulant and it is addictive. Cocaine has valid health care uses, as a local anesthesia for some surgeries, however, recreational use of cocaine is illegal. Cocaine is sold on the street as fine, white crystal powder. Street dealers usually mix it with other similar looking substances, such as talcum powder, corn starch, or all-purpose flour in order to dilute the potency of cocaine and increase profits. Drug dealers may also mix it with other substances of abuse, such as stimulant amphetamine, synthetic opioids, fentanyl, or natural opioids, heroin. Mixing substances increases the potency of the drug and could result in overdose or even death, as the user is not aware of the “cocktail” in the product he/she is buying. Sometimes, cocaine is process by drug dealers to make a rock crystal (also called “freebase cocaine” or “crack cocaine”). The term “crack” refers to the crackling sound of the crystal rocks when they are heated.

Cocaine can be snorted, dissolved and injected into the blood stream or rubbed onto the gums. Crack cocaine is heated to produce vapors that are inhaled. Some users also inject a combination of cocaine and heroin, called “Speedball.”
Individuals who abuse cocaine often indulge in binges – abusing the drug repeatedly within a short period of time and in increasingly higher doses. Such rapid intake of cocaine helps to maintain the high.

Like most other substances of abuse, cocaine sharply increases the levels of dopamine in brain circuits, delivering euphoria. Usually dopamine recycles back into the cell that released it, which helps to shut off the signal between nerve cells. But, cocaine blocks this from happening. As a result, large amounts of dopamine builds up between two nerve cells causing a flood of dopamine in the brain’s reward circuits. Such an intense high, drives a strong addiction. Like other drugs of abuse, tolerance to the drug builds and increasingly larger doses of cocaine are needed to achieve a similar high.

The addiction can be both physical and psychological. Short-term physical effects include sharply increased happiness and energy, mental alertness, hypersensitivity to sight, sound and touch, irritability, paranoia (unreasonable distrust). Psychologically it could lead to higher self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment.

Individuals suffering an addiction to cocaine can potentially overdose on cocaine. So accessing treatment for cocaine dependence is highly recommended. On the positive side, individuals who suffer from cocaine addiction in New Jersey have plenty of treatment options. Whether they live in Marlton or Cherry Hill, Long Branch or Monmouth Junction, New Brunswick or East Brunswick, Sayreville or Montville, Union or Bridgewater, Califon or Phillipsburg access to treatment is fast and easy. International Day against Drug Abuse. Young human hand trying to reach cooked heroin spoon on grungy concrete floor. Drugs addiction and withdrawal symptoms concept. Copy space.

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms

The initial signs of cocaine addiction are rather mild as you may not realise that you are becoming addicted until it turns serious. The severity of the addiction depends on the amount of cocaine ingested and frequency of abuse.
As always denial in the initial stages of addiction is common. Signs of addiction include:

● Over excitement
● Dilated pupils
● Irregular sleeping patterns
● Risky and dangerous choices
● Major mood swings
● Paranoia and anxiety

Individuals who abuse cocaine regularly at frequent intervals may exhibit cocaine withdrawal symptoms such as:

● Problems in breathing and frequent chest pains.
● Borderline serious depression and including suicidal ideation.
● Isolating behaviors.
* Fatigue.
● High body temperature and high blood pressure.
● Dilation of pupils and septum damage.
● Nausea and seizures
● For pregnant women, excess usage of cocaine can also lead to serious complications in the baby and may result in a miscarriage.
● Unstable thoughts and poor decision making.
● Heart problems or stroke.
● Financial issues.

Although it is not easy, addiction to cocaine can be overcome, with treatment.

Treatment for cocaine addiction

Unlike opiates such as fentanyl, heroin or opioid pain pills, there is no medication to directly address cocaine withdrawal symptoms or cravings. Treatment for addiction to cocaine is focused on managing the “crash” and support medications that may provide a level of comfort from cocaine withdrawal. Such treatment provides considerable relief to individuals suffering from an addiction to cocaine.


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Coping with COVID-19 and Alcohol Abuse

Coping with COVID-19 and Alcohol Abuse

Covid-19 has brought on many new stressors, some of which most people have not experienced before – boredom, isolation and fear of health in addition to more commonly experienced stressors such as anxiety, depression, job loss and financial uncertainty. Many people turned to abusing alcohol or drugs in order to address some of these stressors. Government policies have not helped – classifying liquor stores as essential businesses and arming citizens with free cash to indulge in their weaknesses, whatever that may be!

Alcohol abuse during the pandemic sky rocketed as people used alcohol to cope with stressors and while away their time. Also, the confluence of stressors impacted people in recovery and resulted in relapse.

A big factor in the sharp increase in alcohol consumption is isolation, which severely restricted access to health care and AA/NA meetings. Even if an individual who started abusing alcohol heavily or relapsed on alcohol wanted to access treatment, it is not easy to do so due to Covid-related restrictions. There are many alcohol rehabs in NJ who were accepting patients through the pandemic to address alcohol use disorder, but people were under the impression that they were not accepting patients. Whether you lived in Manalapan or Colts Neck, Sayreville or Perth Amboy, Westfield or Mendham, Marlboro or East Brunswick, you had access to addiction treatment in New Jersey.

With being locked up at home deemed safe, the motivation to venture out was minimized. No doctor, no gym, no restaurants, no hanging out with friends, and, of course, no workplace!. The isolation was complete and boredom imminent, persistent and chronic!

Alcohol rehab facilities in NJ could have been availed of even during the pandemic. Also, technology played a big part in bringing treatment to the patient, no matter where in New Jersey they were located. Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams and other similar technologies have brought interactive care to patients’ homes.

Mental health issues + Addiction:

Depression and anxiety were big reasons behind the increase in alcohol consumption and relapse. People tried to self-medicate themselves for mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety through alcohol or drugs. However, they do not think their abuse of alcohol or drugs through! Persistent alcohol abuse can lead to addiction when one’s brain gets used to stimulation from alcohol to release the pleasure neurotransmitter, dopamine. The brain stops releasing dopamine in response to regular, milder stimulants such as hobbies, food or sex, and waits for stimulation from alcohol or drugs before releasing dopamine. This leads to addiction because the body becomes dependent on stimulation from drugs and alcohol in order to feel normal.

While alcohol abuse may provide temporary relief from mental health issues, it is not treatment. Accessing and utilizing the services of an appropriate mental health care giver is crucial to addressing the issues.

To the contrary heavy consumption of alcohol will only amplify your miseries in the long run as you will be stuck in an infinite loop of mental health issues and substance abuse. Avoiding your issues will only magnify the problems over a period of time. Therefore, it is imperative that individuals seek assistance from alcohol rehab facilities in NJ in order to get the help they need coming off of alcohol.

Ideas to Stop Alcohol Abuse During the Continuing Pandemic due to the Delta variant:

Quitting alcohol is not easy, but it is not impossible either. It is always easier to do it with supportive therapy in a therapeutic setting, as you will benefit from the help of addiction treatment professionals. Luckily, there are many alcohol treatment facilities in New Jersey in Summit, Berkeley Heights, Rumson, Red Bank, Middletown, Union, Holmdel, Tinton Falls, Edison, Clinton, Whitehouse Station, Somerset and Highbridge.

Restrictions imposed by COVID make it difficult to manage your environment, a primary relapse prevention technique for those in recovery, to get away from certain triggers.
So, here are other strategies to stay sober:

Stay Active: Being bored will feed into the negativity of the situation. Remember the things you always wished you had the time to do – color code your clothes, get your financial documents in order, etc. – get these done. It will help to keep you distracted, and reduce stress in the future.

Get Moving: Exercising is a good way to kill time, reduce stress and stay healthy. Exercise, yoga, and meditation regimens are available online. Pick one that is suitable to your living situation and practice daily.

Stock Medications: Line up your doctor appointments in advance, online or in person, as they are more restricted, and pharmacies are not fully stocked – you don’t want to run out of buprenorphine or naltrexone that help you stay sober.

Leverage Support System: AA and NA groups are accessible through Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams or other online platforms. Use them and also talk to your sponsor by phone regularly and process your triggers and feelings. This will reduce stress and provide you with tools to cope with people and situations around you.

Utilize Telehealth: Access your therapist or other health care providers through telehealth platforms, as health insurance providers have eased reimbursement restrictions during the crisis. Call your provider for details.

Stop Smoking: As per some recent research, smokers who contract COVID19 are 2.4 times more likely to face severe outcomes – ICU admission, need for mechanical ventilation or death. It may be time to think seriously about quitting smoking. FDA approved smoking cessation products, such as Nicorette are safe and effective and you may want to consider them.


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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.


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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 26th 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.


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.


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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.


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.


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