Recovering from Alcohol Addiction

While alcohol is the most commonly used recreational drug in the U.S. and often innocent when used responsibly, problems that result from drinking too much, too fast, and too often are considered amongst the most significant public health issues of the nation.

This is because alcohol abuse and alcoholism are associated with a wide variety of medical, psychological, social, criminal, occupational, economic, and family issues. For example, alcoholism in one or both parents is the cause of many family problems such as divorce, mistreatment of spouse, abuse or neglect of children, need for social services and criminal behavior.

As many as 7% of American adults have an alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol abuse negatively impacts work and family relationships, and it can jeopardize the safety of you and everyone around you. Due to the small size of its molecules, it invades the blood and brain and can reach almost every cell in the body. The glia in nerve cells engages thoughts, emotions, and movement. Excessive consumption can damage or even destroy these support structures. When under the influence of alcohol you might, therefore, experience difficulty walking, slurred speech, blurred vision, slower reaction times, and impaired memory.

Long term alcohol dependency can also cause lasting effects on decision-making, behavior, and mood. The degree of change varies from person to person, but often involves aggression, self-destructive behavior, and impeded movement.

In addition to the psychological effects of alcohol misuse, there are a number of physical side effects from drinking as well. Long term dependence will breaks down the body and cause severe physical damage, including extensive liver damage (cirrhosis), pancreatitis, and destroyed brain cells.

When alcoholics are confronted with having an alcohol problem, they will usually deny that they have such problems.

Alcoholism is a diverse disease and is often affected by the alcoholic’s personality as well as other factors. Therefore, symptoms and signs will often vary from person to person. However, there are certain behavioral traits and signs that indicate that a person has an alcohol problem.

Symptoms & Signs of Alcohol Addiction

Early symptoms and signs include: anxiety, irritability, sleep problems, frequent falls, many blemishes, chronic depression, absence from work or school, loss of work, divorce or separation, financial problems, frequent intoxication, weight loss, accidents, injuries and car crashes.

Late symptoms and signs include: medical conditions such as pancreatic inflammation, non-organic upper digestive disorders (functional dyspepsia), alcoholic liver disease, nerve damage (neuropathy), anemia (anemia), brain injury, abnormal brain function (Wernickes-Korsakoff’s encephalopathy), ulcer and abdominal bleeding.

Risks of Alcohol Addiction

Children of alcoholics are themselves at increased risk of abusing alcohol, drugs, and developing poor behavior, anxiety problems and mood problems.

Alcoholics have a higher risk of psychiatric illness and suicide. They often experience guilt, shame and depression – especially when their alcohol problem leads to large losses, e.g. loss of work, friendship, girlfriend, status, financial security, or physical health. Many medical problems are caused by, or worse off, alcoholism. In addition, the alcoholic often lacks the ability to perform prescribed medical treatment.

Getting Clean from Alcohol

When an individual have reached a state of alcohol dependence (the physical half of addiction) they will likely experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms (strong physical and emotional discomfort) once alcohol is no longer in their system. Depending on the severity of the addiction, alcohol detox is a tough test for a sufferer and should not be solved without medical or professional supervision.

You should expect to see the first symptoms of alcohol withdrawal within the first 24 hours, however, heavy alcoholics may feel symptoms faster than this. Some of the most typical symptoms of alcohol withdrawals are:

  • Sweating
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • General discomfort and weakness
  • Psychological signs include (but are not limited to):
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Restlessness

Other Withdrawal Symptoms

Delirium tremens, or delir (in medical terms) is deemed the most serious form of alcohol withdrawal and can be fatal. Usually a delir occurs after a particularly long and powerful alcohol dependency and will typically, last 2-4 days after an addict stops drinking. The condition usually begins with irritability, sleep disturbance, restlessness, nightmares and anxiety. Then there are illusions and hallucinations. That is, the person gets visual impressions that are unreal.

These gradually become so clear and violent that the person gets scared and develops a panic reaction. Visual hallucinations are frequent. A person that is experiencing a delir is also disoriented and confused about time, place and own situation. Furthermore, a person who is suffering from this form of withdrawal symptom will also experience waves of heavy sweating, headaches, tremors, and sometimes seizures.

The severity of symptoms depends on a variety of variables and withdrawals can therefore be experienced different from person to person. Factors that may come in to play are: length of alcohol dependency, the frequency of substance abuse, the quantity of alcohol consumed, physiological and psychological makeup, and co-occurring disorders.

We highly recommend that you contact a treatment center or a medical physician right away if you feel any withdrawal symptoms after you stop consuming alcohol or if you suspect a loved one is suffering from alcohol withdrawals.

How to Treat Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol is a neurotoxin, which means that alcohol has the ability to interfere with the brains natural functions, disrupting the brains neurotransmitters. However, no matter how severe an alcohol problem may seem, recovery is possible.

Our detox and rehab (Residential Treatment Care) programs utilizes a multitude of treatment techniques such as: counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, life-skill training, management of health issues related to substance abuse and strategies for relapse prevention.

Recovering from Heroin Addiction

Heroin belongs to a group of drugs called opiates. They come from the opium poppy plant and can be very addictive. A heroin dependency can, therefore, develop very quickly without repeated long-term use.

The heroin rush gives the user a strong sense of warmth in the stomach and feelings of well-being and excitement. Addicts we have talked to have described this as: “a feeling of floating on clouds.” However, the use of heroin has a number of negative and in some cases dangerous side effects. Heroin use causes slurred speech, reduced motor skills, reduced immune systems, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, weight loss, skin problems, loss of sex drive in women and sometimes impotency in men, as well as an indifferent attitude towards other (non-usage) aspects of life.

The indifference in combination with the fixation to obtain more heroin means that an addiction to heroin often results in criminal activities and legal issues.

In some cases, heroin misuse can result in death from respiratory paralysis, from gnarly infections (which is highly common in heroin users), or from liver failure.

Luckily, treatment for heroin addiction is available and StepHouse Recovery have been helping heroin addicts overcome their dependency for many years – with great success.

Symptoms of Heroin Addiction

A number of symptoms might indicate heroin usage. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Reduced pupils, unfocused gaze, slow response time
  • Change in personality, routines and social circle
  • Reduced energy levels
  • Impaired memory
  • Unclear or incoherent speech
  • Coordination difficulties, unsteadiness
  • Uncritical behavior
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Strong fluctuations in weight
  • The person forgets or fails to make appointments
  • Findings of user equipment, powders, tablets
  • Unconsciousness, respiratory arrest (at high doses)
  • Sores after injection in the skin (if injected heroin)

Individually, these symptoms might not necessarily indicate anything dangerous, but the more symptoms are present, the greater the reason to suspect that they are caused from heroin or other opiates/opioids.

It is worth noting that the symptoms exhibited as a result of ingested heroin or opiates/opioids may differ from person to person. Furthermore, some of these symptoms may also be typical of drugs other than heroin or opiates/ opioids.

The Risks of Heroin Addiction

The use of heroin entails a significant risk of overdose. Life-threatening overdose symptoms include respiratory arrest and unconsciousness, which can ultimately lead to death.

Former heroin addicts are at particular risk of overdosing if they have a relapse. The reason for this is that the tolerance previously developed by heroin abuse will quickly decrease as you stop taking it. Thus, one can risk overdosing if, after a break, one takes a dose of drug that is the size of what was normally done before the rest period.

The danger of overdosing is considerably greater if one injects heroin rather than smoking it. In addition, the risk of a number of other health hazards associated with heroin injection is bigger.

Signs of Heroin Overdose

If a person has bluish lips and fingers as a result of ingested heroin, medical attention should be sought immediately, as this may be a sign of oxygen deficiency in the blood, which could potentially be life threatening.

Check for a heart rate and breath. If the person is breathing, place them in a stable sideways position. If not, perform first aid. If you are unsure of how to preform first aid, contact someone who can do so or get guidance from the emergency telephone.

WARNING! Do not try to give fluids or water to someone who is unconscious.

When the ambulance arrives, tell them exactly what kind of substance the person has taken. Do not leave the person even if you are afraid of being involved in something! The paramedics have a duty of confidentiality.

Getting Clean from Heroin

Due to its high toxin levels, heroin is considered by many experts to be one of the worst drugs to get clean from. The withdrawal symptoms from heroin intoxication are severe and the addict often feels very ill, suffering from, flue like symptoms, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, diarrhea, muscular and joint pain, and difficulty sleeping. These symptoms are felt shortly after the substance leaves the users body and is experienced as very intense, uncomfortable, and scary for those who go through them.

Withdrawal symptoms usually start to decline after a few days and after about 10 days they are mostly gone. Nevertheless, the road to recovery has at that point only just started and the path to long-lasting sobriety and re-engagement with society can often be long and difficult.

The fear of withdrawals coupled with a lack of confidence, prevents a high number of heroin users from making the decision to get clean and seek help, however, for those who do, the reward is life changing.

How to Treat Heroin Addiction

If you or a loved one have used heroin repeatedly over time, you will need detoxification and perhaps more prolonged and extensive help from addiction treatment specialists.

StepHouse Recovery has been helping addicts quit heroin, without lingering discomfort, for many years.

Quitting can be excruciating, but it doesn’t have to be. Many who attempt to quit by themselves experience symptoms like cravings, obsessions, and compulsions.

Recovering from Methadone Addiction

Methadone is an opioid that acts as a pain reliever and can cause intoxication. It has similar effect to heroin but works longer and gives less intoxication. Methadone has been used for decades for drug-assisted maintenance treatment for heroin addicts, but also as pure pain medicine.

Acute effects from methadone use include: pain relief, a sense of euphoria, a sense of calmness and sleepiness. Methadone, if misused, can also lead to a number of side effect such as nausea /vomiting, itchiness, reduced motor skills, and sweating.

With prolonged and uncontrolled use, a methadone dependency can develop and users will suffer from withdrawals when the substance leaves their bodies.

Symptoms of Meth Addiction

Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • Reduced pupils, unfocused gaze, slow response time
  • Sweating
  • Change in personality, routines and social circle
  • Reduced energy levels
  • Impaired memory
  • Unclear or incoherent speech
  • Coordination difficulties, unsteadiness
  • Uncritical behavior
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Strong fluctuations in weight
  • The person forgets or fails to make appointments
  • Findings of user equipment
  • Unconsciousness, respiratory arrest (at high doses)
  • Itchiness (sores on face and body from scratching)

The Risks of Methadone Overdose

Death caused by an overdose can occur with the use of most opioids, including methadone. The danger increases greatly with unregulated abuse, especially when opioids are combined with tranquilizers or with alcohol. Tolerance for high doses may decrease rapidly if methadone are discontinued and former addicts are, therefore, more susceptible to overdose when “relapsing”.

A larger dose of methadone can paralyze the brain’s breathing center, which can lead to a life-threatening condition and the risk of death. People who have taken too large of a quantity can be become unresponsive. The skin becomes cold, pale, and bluish and snoring sounds may appear as a sign of reduced breathing. Death can occur shortly after ingestion, but it can also take several hours.

If someone collapses, call 911 immediately!

Signs of Methadone Overdose and What To Do

When the body is no longer given methadone, the user gets withdrawal symptoms. The most pronounced withdrawal symptoms are usually seen after 36-72 hours, depending on the type used. After 2-3 days, the symptoms decrease.

The most common withdrawal symptoms resemble a flu with a feeling of discomfort, muscle pain and chills. Nervousness and restlessness may, in some cases, be combined with a sense of anxiety. In rare cases, former users may experience more serious symptoms such as blood pressure problems and diarrhea/vomiting that last more than two to three days, if so, the individual may require hospitalization.

If a person has bluish lips and fingers as a result of ingested methadone, medical attention should be sought immediately, as this may be a sign of oxygen deficiency in the blood, which could potentially be life threatening.

Check for a heart rate and breath. If the person is breathing, place them in a stable sideway position. If not, perform first aid. If you are unsure of how to preform first aid, contact someone who can do so or get guidance from the emergency telephone.

WARNING! Do not try to give fluids or water to someone who is unconscious.

When the ambulance arrives, tell them exactly what kind of substance the person has taken. Do not leave the person even if you are afraid of being involved in something! The paramedics have a duty of confidentiality.

Treating Methadone Addiction

Acute overdoses are treated with an “antidote” (naloxone). Naloxone works by blocking the opioid from the opioid receptors. This will save a person’s life, but the administration of such medication will at the same time give the same symptoms as in the case of acute withdrawals.

A long-term abuser may need long-term rehabilitation. This may involve psychiatric care, medically assisted treatments and “social medicine” measures such as structured residential treatment.

StepHouse Recovery offers an extremely effective and exceptionally comfortable, safe medically assisted detox program for individuals suffering from a drug addiction. With nearly ten years of experience in the matter, we have developed a very effective Methadone Withdrawal Treatment Program that enhances your recovery process using buprenorphine therapy. Buprenorphine therapy is medication-assisted treatment used to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms of methadone.

Recovering from an Addiction to Prescribed Pain Medication

Opioids such as Vicodin, OxyContin, Percocet, and Codeine are most commonly used as powerful pain relievers and produces a sense of euphoria in users. This form of painkiller is known to be extremely habit-forming, sometimes even causing addiction in as little as three days. They are therefore supposed to be highly regulated and only prescribed by doctors when there is a genuine need for extreme pain relief. Nevertheless, misuse of powerful prescription drugs are rapidly becoming the nation’s biggest substance abuse problem.

At StepHouse Recovery, we are equipped to treat all types of opioid addiction. We use a combination of medically assisted treatments and “social medicine” measures such as structured residential treatment and therapy. To help clients overcome their substance abuse problem.

The Effects of Pain Medication

The painkilling effect of prescribed opioids will dominate if the user is suffering from severe pain. If one does not have pain prior to taking any of these prescribed pills, then the substances will primarily give a sense of intoxication, pleasure, and indifference that can turn into an escape from reality. However, the effect may also cause restlessness, fatigue, nausea, and impaired ability to be self-critical.

Most opioids can reduce a user’s critical senses, as well as affect the skills and responsiveness of driving and operating tools and machines.

If one ingests large doses, one will experience breathing difficulties, contraction of the pupils, and the skin becomes cold, moist and bluish. Breathing difficulties can be life-threatening.

When injecting substances where you do not know the strength of the substance, your tolerance, or the recommended quantity (or disregard recommendations from medical personnel), there is a high risk of overdose and death, this also holds true for prescription drugs.

After prolonged and high consumption, abusers will most often be characterized physically and mentally in poor shape. Among chronic abusers, there is a significant increase in morbidity and mortality compared to the rest of the population. Among women who abuse opioids during pregnancy, there is a higher incidence of complications. This includes miscarriage, infections, premature birth, low weight children and poor well-being, as well as infections. The newborns can have withdrawal symptoms after birth and have higher mortality than normal.

Getting Clean from Pain Medication

Addicts tend to avoid opioid and painkiller withdrawal at all costs because they are particularly unpleasant and potentially painful. The most common withdrawal symptoms felt after opioid abuse is agitation, anxiety, muscle cramps, diarrhea, insomnia and some flu like symptoms.

The duration of opioid withdrawal can be several days, or even longer depending on the person’s duration of use. Often times former addicts experience problems falling asleep and staying asleep for weeks.

Many of these withdrawal symptoms can be minimized with our professional services.

Treating Pain Medication

Through our medically assisted detox clients are given FDA-approved medication to ease the transition. With medically-assisted treatment, other recovery methods – such as therapy and counseling – are supplemented by an FDA-approved product. This often improves the quality of life, executive functioning, and stress coping mechanisms. Without the severe withdrawals and cravings, MAT allows patients to focus their energy on recovering faster and eventual reaching complete sobriety.

We also offer non-medical detox for patients who wishes to embrace full sobriety.

For more information on substance-specific addictions or treatment techniques, please call StepHouse Recovery Center at (855) 201-2832 and speak with one of our representatives.

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