Alcoholism Symptoms: Are You Into Alcohol Dependency Or Alcohol Abuse?

Alcoholism can impact people in many ways. There are those who can drink a glass of wine with their food and even drink in moderation during social settings without causing harm on their bodies. Too much or too often consumption of alcohol as well as the inability of the drinker to control his consumption are often signs of a bigger problem.

There are individuals that have the tendency to develop alcoholism or alcohol dependency and alcohol abuse. Often used interchangeably, these terms are actually a lot different.

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers moderate drinking as having one or lesser drinks a day for women and 2 or lesser drinks a day for men.
  • Those who abuse alcohol usually drink copious amounts in social events or show risky behavior and poor judgment.
  • Alcoholics generally feel that they need alcohol just to live each day.

It really is not easy to become objective when trying to figure out your or your loved one’s problem with drinking as emotions can run high. A lot of rationalizations, as well as denials, can lead to confusions. Therefore, it would appear difficult to draw the line between acceptable and too much.

The boundaries could be fuzzy. The issues you may have with drinking can further be classified into alcohol dependence and problem drinking, but the latter is not a full-fledged addiction to the substance. However, their drinking could begin to affect their daily lives and put them at risk of becoming dependents later on.

So while technically some of the warning signs of the disease are the same as problem drinking, there is a lot of overlap. Take a look at the 10 important red flags to watch out for:

Hiding your drinking or lying about doing it.

One common thing that people who have problems with alcohol have is denial. Both alcoholics and problem drinkers often resort to drinking in secret or else lying about the amount of alcohol they consumed and making it seem like a trivial matter. It may not be easy to spot this person due to the very nature of it, but denial is seen as an important sign that there is an underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

Drinking to feel better or to relax.

Most of those who struggle with addiction, abuse addictive substances due to emotional reasons; most of the time could be stress, anxiety, or depression. Alcohol is often used to ease the negative feelings of an individual; however, this can be risky as alcohol can only provide temporary relief and may make things worse over time. So if you find yourself drinking more alcohol after a stressful day at work or when you feel like drinking to really relax then that is a sign that you are consuming alcohol as your emotional crutch.

Regularly “blacking out.”

Drinking too much of alcohol that you can no longer remember what happened when you were drunk is another sign that you have a problem with alcohol. This means that you have drunk too much. Next time around you have to ask yourself why you are drinking excessively. Then, remember that you do not have to black out just to have fun.

Inability to stop once you’ve started.

You always have to finish that bottle of wine when you open it or drink all of the beer you can find in your house. This is a tell-tale sign that you are no longer in control of your drinking and that you could have a problem with alcoholism.

Drinking in situations that may be dangerous after.

You drink when and where you should not be like before going to work or driving somewhere. You could also be going against doctor’s orders not to consume alcohol when on medication. Although nothing may go wrong just yet, each time you think of doing something similar, you run the risk of getting more complicated consequences each time.

Neglecting responsibilities.

You are now having problems in school, at work, or at home. Alcohol has already crossed the line from occasional indulgence to a problem with drinking that seriously affects your everyday functioning.

Showing problems in relationships.

If you find that your drinking is already causing issues with you and your friends, significant other, and family, then that means you have a problem with drinking.

Drinking a lot more than you previously did.

Another tell-tale sign of an addiction developing is tolerance. You may find that you have to increase your consumption to feel any effects of the substance. This is also a strong indicator that you are already becoming an alcoholic. Your body becomes exposed to the substance regularly that it is already able to cope with its existence inside your system more easily.

Withdrawal symptoms start to show.

Different from your usual hangover, your body now reacts to the lack of alcohol instead of too much of it. You are often tired, irritable, nauseous, anxious, or depressed when you cannot drink. Other withdrawal symptoms include losing your appetite, experiencing trembling or shakiness and having trouble sleeping.

Trying but unable to quit.

You may have already realized your problem with drinking in the past and have already decided to change. Later you may notice that you have become unsuccessful in your attempts. Quitting alcohol shows that you understand alcohol’s impact in your life but you are also able to recognize that since you are unable to quit by yourself, you could be struggling with an addiction to alcohol.

You should know that experiencing one of the aforementioned signs does not immediately mean that you are an alcoholic or a problem drinker. However, if you experience several of them, it is highly possible that your consumption of alcohol has reached way beyond its limits. It could be difficult but you should know that it is possible to seek treatment and recover from this medical condition just as with any other disease.

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How Do You Make Cocaine? Australia Says No, Absolutely

Cocaine is a very expensive drug in Australia because of its distance from other places. All contraband needs to be shipped in or flown, usually from South America, which is not close at all. However, a business analysis of this suggests that it need not be this way. Cocaine is derived from the coca plant, so why is it that traffickers don’t grow it in Australia?

  • A gram of cocaine in Australia costs about $300 AUD which is approximately $214 USD.
  • Cocaine is taken from 4 different versions of the South American shrub Erythroxylaceae.
  • Their ancestors used to chew on coca leaves before the Europeans settled there.
  • Friedrich Gaedcke was able to isolate its active alkaloid called the benzoylmethylecgonine, which eventually increased cocaine’s popularity as a powerful anesthetic in Europe.

Sigmund Freud once said that cocaine can be used as a therapeutic tonic for curing depression and even sexual impotence.

The growing recognition birthed an industry of cocaine and many colonial powers sought for regions where coca can be farmed. Coca plants were later made available in Europe, Southeast Asia, India as well as in Australia.

In 1920, Java became the leader of cocaine manufacturers in all the world. The then-Dutch colony exported tons of the plant in Netherlands. However, in 1925, the Geneva Convention banned the substance because it causes addiction. Dr. John C. D’Auria of the Texas Tech University did multiple studies on the coca plant and revealed just how important cultivation is when it comes to cocaine. While marijuana and another illicit plant can grow everywhere, it is not the same for coca.

Dr. D’Aura noted that while the Cannabis sativa is herbaceous, the Erythroxylum coca is a woody plant which explains why cultivation is different. In the humid Amazon, coca can grow up to 4,950 feet due to high moisture and the low atmospheric pressure.

While it is not impossible to grow coca elsewhere, the process is extremely challenging.

As per cost effectivity, smaller barons choose to grow weed.

Dr. D’Auria further explains that one, two or ten coca plants may not be adequate to purify cocaine from the coca leaves and yield a high profit. It is also regarded as a tedious process to extract cocaine from the plants which Dr. D’Auria notes require chemistry knowledge and skill, not all people are willing to do.

The Australian drug barons, therefore, decided to import coke instead of producing the drug locally. However, in Australia, a cocaine shrub known as the Erythroxylum australe can be found in Queensland and in New South Wales although it is technically illegal to grow it in NSW.

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How Cocaine Is Made?

Cocaine is a by-product of the coca plant’s leaves. Technically, it is the alkaloid component uniquely found in the leaves. While there are some 300 families of the plant, there are only two which contain sufficient amount of cocaine for the purpose of refinement. Found in only Central and South America, this alkaloid component is an extremely powerful stimulant that has been used for years before becoming a popular illicit substance.

  • The cultivation of cocaine started 8, 000 years ago.
  • Back then, people just chew the leaves for both spiritual and religious purposes.
  • The individuals who regularly consume the plant later realized that it has pain relieving and energy boosting elements, especially beneficial to those who are into farming.
  • For easier consumption, people learned to dry the leaves, which later on was considered a delicate process since rotting could easily take place even with little moisture.

Processed cocaine produces impure component as leftovers can be traced like alcohol and solvents.

Through the use of varying substances for drying and processing the cocaine, its overall purity is also modified. The specific effects of these additives on cocaine have not been discovered until now, but several types of research have been dedicated towards the full understanding of its presence in processed cocaine. Meanwhile, the most common substances used to process cocaine, include:

  • Acetate
  • Acetone
  • Benzene
  • Methyl Ethyl Ketone
  • Methylene chloride
  • Processing solvents
  • Industrial cleaning chemicals
  • Toluene

Is processed cocaine the same as synthetic cocaine?

Synthetic cocaine is different in that it is only a mimic of the processed kind. Not originating from the organic coca plant, synthetic cocaine manufacturers make them possible through hidden labs across the globe. While there are synthetic cocaine products specially made for illicit purposes, the incidents are actually rare as most of this kind is incorporated in soft drinks as a flavoring agent and even in hospitals as a potent pain reliever.

The synthetic products have both legal and illegal versions, but are manufactured with common ingredients as alcohols and amino acids. Most of the synthetic formulas, however, are kept secret due to patents and copyright issues.

Colombia has become the second dominating providers of cocaine within the US.

Second to Mexican Cartels, Colombian mafia is presently exploring possible markets like Asia, Europe, Argentina, and Brazil. Several large Colombian groups have been disintegrated since 1980, during the Medellin Cartel heyday. The coca crops reduction has also been a big factor in lessening the profits, which in turn has also affected the magnitude of smuggled cocaine products by crime syndicates.

Cocaine has often been glamorized in television shows and movies. While the dangers have already been made known to the public, it has remained extremely popular and one of the drugs of choice for recreational users. According to statistics, 14% of the entire adult population in the U.S. has tried this drug at least once in their lives.

The effects of cocaine use are not only obvious amongst rehab centers and medical professionals. Remember, there is no other illegal substance that has driven more people to emergency rooms that cocaine. It is not only mentally and physically addictive; it is extremely harmful in hundreds of ways.

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High-Functioning Alcoholic: The Issues Will Come Out Eventually

Most of the time, the world “alcohol” paints a picture of a person whose life is in complete disarray because of drinking too much. However, not all alcoholics may be categorized into such a stereotype. There is, in fact, another kind of alcoholic known as high-functioning alcoholics.

  • High-functioning alcoholics often appear to have everything going smooth sailing.
  • They may be drinking copious amounts of alcohol, but they simultaneously excel in their work and academics and also have good relationships with their family and friends.
  • Often, their success works against them by making them believe that their drinking is under control.
  • However, after a few months or years, the alcoholism can catch up with them.

It may be very challenging to deal with high-functioning alcoholics.

Often, they are in deep denial concerning their problems with alcohol. After all, they were able to manage an appearance of success despite their impending addiction. Also, many high-functioning alcoholics have loved ones who act like their accomplices by covering up for the consequences of their habits. These people unconsciously enable or encourage the behavior of their alcoholic friend by allowing him to continuously be destructive.

A high-functioning alcoholic is often educated and middle-aged, possibly married with a good family and has a successful career.

Contrary to the stigma of a lonely, desolate and destitute alcoholic, family members and friends may not be able to recognize that a drinking problem even exists.

All day these high-functioning alcoholics stay productive by going to work, going to the gym, and then go home and slug two bottles of wine or other liquor in excess. Often, family members consider this as their normal behavior since the person is still keeping up with his obligations.

High-functioning alcoholics may not be drinking every single day but they may engage in several episodes of heavy drinking or binging every few days. High-functioning alcoholics may not recognize their drinking problem. It is what leads to a double life separating personal and professional life with drinking life.

Although it may seem that this person has his life in order and on the surface does not appear to suffer from alcohol use disorder, high-functioning alcoholics are likely to have developed a tolerance to alcohol. Hence, the need to take in more amount each time just to get drunk.

Other warning signs you should watch out for are:

  • The inability to stick to limits on their drinking successfully.
  • The need to drink alcohol to relax or relieve stress.
  • Frequently jokes about alcoholism or alcohol use.
  • Engaging in hazardous behaviors when drinking such as driving under the influence or going for risky sexual encounters.
  • Show periods of sobriety with restlessness, mood swings, agitation, and irritability.
  • Justifies the drinking as a form of reward.
  • Drinking in secret or by oneself.
  • Periodic blackouts and memory lapses

Also, the person may go through withdrawal symptoms and feel hungover when they remove drinking alcohol from their habits. Many highly functional alcoholics are able to train themselves to be able to function normally despite the negative effects of alcohol on their body. This will also be made possible with the help of addiction treatment center.

Often, the signs of addiction are the loss of productivity in school or at work and the inability to fulfill work and family obligations consistently. However, a highly-functional alcoholic may not show similar signs. Over time, alcohol affects the brain negatively eventually making the person non-functional. As such, it may get more difficult to get tasks done through time.

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Is Cocaine an Opiate | West Palm Beach

Definition of Cocaine

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant drug that comes from the coca leaves. For centuries, South America people chewed and ingested the coca leaves to get the extra energy needed for farm works. The drug also helps them breathe in thin air in high altitude mountain areas.

Currently, the US government labeled cocaine as a Schedule II drug, meaning that the drug contains addictive properties. However, doctors can still use cocaine in their medical procedure as a local anesthesia in surgeries for the eye, ear, and throat. The drug typically sold in the black markets as a fine, white and crystalline powder.

Some of the street names of cocaine include:

  •    coke
  •    C
  •    snow
  •    powder
  •    blow

Drug dealers often mix or (‘cut’) cocaine using readily available materials like talcum powder, cornstarch, flour, baking soda to increase their profits. Some users even mix cocaine with another drug like heroin and call it a ‘Speedball’.

History of Cocaine

The purified form of cocaine, cocaine hydrochloride was first extracted from the plant more than a century ago.  During the early 1900’s, purified cocaine was used as the main ingredient for various elixirs and tonics. These so-called ‘medicinal’ tonics believed to treat several diseases. Cocaine was even the main ingredient in the early recipe of the famous Coca-Cola drink.

Before the discovery of local anesthetic, the medical community used cocaine to block pain in some surgical procedures.  However, several types of research emerge indicating that the potent stimulant can cause damage in the brain functions and its structures.

How Cocaine is consumed

Users usually snort, smoke and inject cocaine. It is a fast acting drug which can immediately felt within 2 seconds to minutes after the last dose. It usually lasts between five minutes to ninety minutes. This can result in mental effects such as:

  •    loss of contact with the real world
  •    the intense feeling of happiness
  •    agitation
  •    fast heart rate
  •    sweating
  •    dilates pupils

In higher doses, the drug can cause:

  •    high blood pressure
  •    high body temperature
  •    anxiety
  •    sleep disorders
  •    paranoia
  •    tremors and muscle twitches
  •    nausea and vomiting
  •    rapid and weak pulse
  •    chest pain
  •    heart attack
  •    kidney failure
  •    seizures
  •    convulsions
  •    brain hemorrhage
  •    stroke

What are opiates?

Opioids are a group of drugs derived from the Asian poppy plant. They affect the central nervous system and the spinal cord. Experts designed these drugs as chemically similar to interact with opioid receptors in the brain.

Some of the drugs that belong to this class are:

  •    heroin
  •    fentanyl
  •    oxycontin
  •    hydrocodone
  •    codeine
  •    methadone
  •    morphine

These type of drugs are used as pain management medications and generally safe if taken for a short period of time. Doctors often prescribe the drugs after a surgical procedure to help them deal with the pain. However, even when prescribed legally the drugs can still produce tolerance and euphoria. Some users manage their way misusing the drug, either taking it longer or in higher doses. Drug overdose and deaths are common in opiate abuse.

How opioids work

Opioids bind the opioid receptors in the brain that controls pain, digestion and other bodily functions. Once these drugs flooded the brain’s receptors they weakened the person’s perception of pain. However, they also affect the reward system of the brain, producing euphoria which the users seek. Some people fall pray into this euphoric feeling and eventually get addicted to opiates.

It somehow leads in taking the prescription drug longer and in higher doses as the addiction develops. This put the users at a higher risk of serious health problems, drug overdose even death. The best way to avoid opiate addiction is to follow the strict prescription of doctors and take it only as needed.

Opiates statistics

Opioid addiction is on the rise, and opioid overdose deaths are a common scenario in emergency rooms nowadays. These drugs can repress the breathing process of the user, in an overdose scenario, the heart completely stops beating.

  •    Around 200,000 people die from prescription drugs like opiates annually.
  •    About 75% of those people are just teenagers.

Differences of Cocaine and Opiates

To sum it up and for the information of those who are in drug detox, cocaine does not belong to opiates as it acts as a stimulant. Opiates, on the other hand, bind receptors in the brain to dull pain, in some opiates it acts as a sedative. There are several more differences between the two drugs.

Here are some of them:

  •    Cocaine contains more addictive properties than any other drugs.
  •    This drug can kill users through cardiotoxicity, an extreme condition of the heart. Meanwhile, opiates repressed or decrease the breathing process of the user.
  •    Since cocaine directly affects the heart it can cause immediate death, but opiates like in heroin, some of the effects are reversible using naloxone.
  •    Cocaine came from the leaves of coca plant while opiates are derived from poppy plants.
  •    Opiates often regarded as ‘downer’ it slows the user’s movements. Users often feel more relaxes and subdued. These drugs are often used a medical management for moderate to severe pain.
  •    On the other hand, cocaine gives a stimulating effect referred to as ‘upper’. The drug can produce extreme happiness, elated and overly active.
  •    Thus cocaine is a stimulant while opiates are depressants.

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How Much Is A Gram Of Cocaine?

Growing cocaine elsewhere can be a challenge, but it is possible. Also, cocaine needs a high level of industrialization to be produced. It has been estimated that around 297g of dry coca leaf can yield a gram of cocaine, which explains why its cost is more expensive than most other illicit drugs. By comparison, 297g of dried marijuana can yield the same amount of smokeable marijuana. As such, small-time barons opt to grow pot instead.

  • Cocaine is derived from 4 variations of the Erythroxylaceae shrub that hails from the South America.
  • Indigenous tribes were known to chew on the leaves of the plant for a long time pre-European settlement.
  • By 1855, the German chemist Friedrich Gaedcke isolated benzoylmethylecgonine, its active alkaloid.
  • The substance became widely known as an anesthetic in Europe.

Sigmund Freud was known to encourage the use of cocaine in 1884 as a therapeutic tonic.

Freud argued in his paper Uber Coca that cocaine has the ability to cure sexual impotence as well as depression. Due to its growing recognition from well-known individuals, the cocaine industry was formed and colonial powers began to scout for regions where they can farm coca.

The plants, then, were brought over to Europe, Australia, India, and the rest of Southeast Asia. By 1920, the previously Dutch colony of Jana became the leading manufacturer of coca worldwide, exporting tons of coca leaves to companies in Netherlands. In the year 1925, this ended with the Geneva Convention that banned cocaine use for its addictive nature. However, as the people already knew that coca can grow outside of South America, they later reverted to Australia.

An Asst. Professor at the Texas Tech University in the Dept. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Dr. John C. D’Auria conducted several studies on these plants and later revealed the intricacy of its cultivation.

While other illicit plants like marijuana can grow anywhere, coca is not as easy to grow. Dr. D’Auria revealed that the woody plant Erythroxylum coca is unlike the Cannabis sativa that is herbaceous. This difference is due to how they are cultivated. Coca has the capacity to grow 1,650-4,950 ft. in the humid Amazon forest giving its unusual proclivity for low atmospheric pressure and high moisture available in only a number of places outside of Andes.

Dr. D’Auria pointed out that growing tens of coca plants can be enough for occasional chewing or for making tea but may not be enough to get the purified form of cocaine from the coca leaves expecting high-yield from illicit sales.

He further exclaimed the difficulty of extracting a useful amount of the substance from the leaf of coca revealing that the process takes chemistry knowledge on top of skill. Because of this, Australian drug barons opted to import coke rather than to manufacture it themselves. However, there’s another way that has been overlooked.

The Australian cocaine shrub Erythroxylum australe native to the North Territory of Queensland and in the Northern New South Wales, contains 0.8 percent of medetomidine, the alkaloid comparable to cocaine although it is illegal to grow the plant in New South Wales.

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Side Effects of Methadone

If used properly following under strict supervision methadone is an effective medication for severe pain. As a long-lasting drug, experts use it for Methadone Maintenance Treatment or MMT. For users who have been addicted to opiates such as heroin, MMT can ease the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms. The medication also helps the user’s chance of recovery in preventing relapses, a common occurrence during rehab.

Even during this MMT, health care providers need to meticulously monitor administering the drug to prevent overdose and further withdrawal symptoms. Methadone contains a long-lasting drug life which stays in the system for as long as 56 hours. If another dose is taken too soon, it can lead to a fatal drug overdose.

Quick facts about Methadone

  •    Between the year 2001 to 2007, methadone abuse drastically increased seven-fold when doctors begun prescribing it as a pain reliever.
  •    In a report about drug overdose in Florida that spans over five years, methadone ranks as the second cause of death. Cocaine still tops the list for drug overdoses fatalities.
  •    In the US, methadone overdose fatalities increased about 400% from the year 2001 until 2004.
  •    The most common effects of methadone are addiction, drug overdose and death.
  •    Users typically combine methadone with other drugs and alcohol which lead to drug overdose.
  •    Any substance that contains the following can increase the dangerous effects of methadone, these are:

o    antidepressants

o    alcohol

o    anti-anxiety medications

o    antihistamines

Prolonged use of methadone can result in tolerance to the drug. Once tolerance develops, addiction sets making the situation even more dangerous for users. In controlled condition, methadone is relatively safe but in other instances, it can provide a long list of health hazards as long as users abusing the drug.

Methadone Side Effects

  •    Weight gain
  •    Nausea
  •    Intolerance to heat
  •    Low blood pressure
  •    Vomiting
  •    Irregular heartbeat
  •    Insomnia
  •    Loss of sexual interest
  •    Loss of appetite
  •    Difficulty urinating
  •    Swelling of hands and arms, feet and legs

A separate study conducted in New Zealand added health hazards which include:

  •    Abscesses
  •    Sleep disturbances
  •    Dental problems
  •    Sweating
  •    Headache
  •    Fatigue
  •    Depression
  •    Hay fever

Several symptoms of methadone users

  •    People who abuse methadone suffers from poorer health condition than the other group of population.
  •    42% of methadone users also suffer psychological problems like depression.
  •    Users tend to have the poor diets, skipping meals for days and have cravings for sweet foods.
  •    Methadone users also have difficulties falling asleep or staying asleep because of nightmares.

Effects of Methadone in Pregnancy

When a woman takes methadone during her pregnancy, her newborn suffers. The baby may suffer withdrawal symptoms that of adults after birth. However, the mother may not suffer from the withdrawal symptoms.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms include:

  •    weight gain or weight loss
  •    irritability
  •    over activeness
  •    seizures

If a mother who used methadone during pregnancy and breastfed her baby, the drug can make its way into her milk feeding it to her baby. Babies may show these symptoms:

  •    vomiting
  •    nausea
  •    itchiness
  •    poor appetite
  •    trouble sleeping

The increasing number of drug abuse factors in for overdose cases in the country. Watch out for these methadone overdose symptoms:

  •    Constipation
  •    Nausea
  •    Stomach or intestinal spasm
  •    Small pinpoint pupils
  •    Nausea
  •    Dizziness
  •    Fatigue
  •    Drowsiness
  •    Blue lips and fingernails
  •    Vomiting
  •    Muscle twitches
  •    Limp muscles
  •    Weakness
  •    Cold, clammy skin
  •    Difficulty breathing
  •    Stopped breathing
  •    Shallow breathing
  •    Slow breathing
  •    Disorientation
  •    Coma
  •    Sudden death

In a suspected drug overdose, bringing the user to an emergency room is the safest thing to do. Ignoring to do so could lead to more fatal results and possibly death of the user.  Upon arriving at the emergency room, doctors may administer several things such as:

  •    Activated charcoal medication
  •    Fluids via intravenous
  •    Breathing tube
  •    An antidote to reverse the effects of the drug
  •    A tube inserted through the mouth into the stomach to wash it out (gastric lavage)
  •    Induced vomiting

Doctors may also treat other methadone overdose symptoms as they arise. For severe cases, they administer appropriate medication for heart or kidney problems.

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What is Fentanyl Patch?

Fentanyl

Fentanyl belongs to a group of drug called opioids, sometimes referred to as a narcotic. These drugs are derived from the Asian Poppy Plant. Doctors use fentanyl as a part of anesthesia to prevent pain after surgery or other medical procedures.

The Food and Drug Administration considered the drug as a Schedule II prescription drug. Fentanyl helps people who suffer from severe pain who otherwise cannot be treated with other drugs. Some people develop tolerance to other opioids, fentanyl serves as their last chance of treatment for pain.

Branded names of Fentanyl include:

  • Nasalfent
  • Subsys
  • Actavis
  • Sublimaze
  • Durogesic
  • Duragesic
  • Fentanyl citrate
  • PriCara
  • Lazanda

However, fentanyl goes a lot of names in the street such as:

  • Apache
  • China girl
  • Drop dead
  • Goodfella
  • Jackpot
  • Murder 8
  • TNT
  • Percopop
  • China white
  • Serial killer
  • Shine

Different kinds of pain need various types of treatment. In relation to this, fentanyl comes in several forms like:

  • oral tablets
  • nasal sprays
  • injections
  • lozenges
  • lollipops
  • patches

Fentanyl Patches

Fentanyl Patches is a form of fentanyl medication used to treat moderate to severe pain.  As a narcotic pain medicine, using the patches may become habit-forming leading to addiction. Doctors commonly prescribe fentanyl transdermal patches for cancer patients suffering from severe chronic pain due to the disease.

In such occasions, patients need continuous drug treatment for their pain. The patches adhere to the skin and releases fentanyl constantly for a long period of time. Once applied, fentanyl patches can release chemicals lasting about 48 to 73 hours. Even when removed, fentanyl still has an effect around 13 to 24 hours.

Typically, doctors and addiction treatment centers prescribe low dose of fentanyl and gradually increase dosage as needed. The recommended dose is not more than once every three days or not more than once every six days.

Slowly increasing dosage or tapering off, ensure the safety of patients. An individual who suffers moderate pain will not be prescribed more than what they need to avoid drug dependence. Slowly tapering off from fentanyl patches will avoid any withdrawal symptoms that users may experience. In opiate drugs, abruptly stopping from medication can result to intense withdrawal period. Doctors need to carefully watch for any dependence, tolerance, and misuse of the drug to prevent addiction.

How fentanyl patches are abuse

Users sometimes choose to obtain patches because of its availability.  The patches can still produce ample amounts of fentanyl. Users remove the gel substance, abusing it by:

  • eating the gel
  • sticking it under the tongue
  • smoking it
  • snorting the drug
  • preparing it for injection

If use against its intended prescription, it can lead to tolerance resulting to addiction and overdose.

Side effects of Fentanyl Patches

Just like other opiates, fentanyl patch can cause severe and serious breathing problems. The risk increases when patients first started using the drug or in higher doses.

It is important to always follow medical prescription when using fentanyl patch. Do not use the drug if:

  • when users already develop tolerance to other narcotic pain reliever
  • right after surgery
  • if the pain is mild, or use as-needed pain relief
  • For long-term use.

Taking other medication can greatly increase fentanyl’s potency as well as its adverse effects. Medications that may escalate the risk of fentanyl include:

  • amiodarone
  • amprenavir
  • aprepitant
  • carbamazepine
  • clarithromycin
  • diltiazem
  • erythromycin
  • fluconazole
  • fosamprenavir
  • itraconazole
  • ketoconazole
  • nefazodone
  • nelfinavir
  • phenytoin
  • rifampin
  • ritonavir
  • troleandomycin
  • verapamil

Fentanyl Side Effects

Fentanyl can cause respiratory problems like decreased breathing or slow heart rate. Transdermal patches can produce several skin reactions particularly in the site of application. Redness and swelling may occur which can last for 6 hours after the removing the patch.

Other side effects of fentanyl include:

  • dry mouth
  • abdominal cramps
  • loss of appetite
  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • headache
  • hallucinations
  • nervousness
  • anxiety
  • depression

Other severe effects include:

  • respiratory depression
  • fainting
  • severe low blood pressure
  • seizures
  • slow heart rate
  • paralytic ileus
  • cardiac arrest
  • difficulty in breathing
  • death due to drug overdose

Other risks involved when using fentanyl patches:

  • Improper disposal of the patches can lead to accidental ingestion or exposure to fentanyl.  It can result serious adverse reactions especially in children.
  • Exposing fentanyl patches to heat can cause immediate and concentrated release of the drug into the skin. This can cause serious fatal effects including overdose.
  • Using fentanyl patches during pregnancy can cause drug dependence of the fetus to the drug. Newborn babies can immediately suffer life-threatening fentanyl withdrawal symptoms once born.

Things to avoid when using fentanyl patches

Heat may trigger rapid release of fentanyl into the skin causing serious adverse effects. It is important to avoid activities and exposure to:

  • electric blankets
  • heat lamps
  • saunas
  • hot tubs
  • heated waterbeds
  • heating pads
  • sunbathing
  • long hot showers
  • other activities that may increase body temperature

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What does Fentanyl do? | Okeechobee

What does Fentanyl do to the body?

Fentanyl greatly affects opioid receptors in the brain. It also alters the spinal cord functions to lessen the sensation of pain. The opioids receptors found in these brain areas also controls breathing rate.  In higher doses, the drug can completely shut down the respiratory system which could lead to lead.  Fentanyl also controls and dictates how an individual will responds to pain.

Some of the most common side effects of Fentanyl include:

  •    It also overstimulates opiate receptors in the brain
  •    Affects how the brain process pain
  •    Alters pain perceptions and emotions
  •    Depresses respiratory system
  •    Produces erratic or rapid heart beat
  •    euphoric feelings

Similarly, the drug increases the dopamine levels, producing extreme euphoric feelings the ‘high’. Users commonly seek this sensation when using the fentanyl. As the drug produces intense ‘high’, Fentanyl also affects major bodily functions.

Fentanyl Addiction

Prolonged use of Fentanyl often leads to psychological and physical dependence. In such conditions, addiction may develop even if an individual follows a medical prescription. Fentanyl can effectively cure various health problems, but it also has a high potential for abuse.

Drug dealers who sell fentanyl on the street mix the drug with cocaine or heroin. The mixture amplifies fentanyl’s potency, providing a great risk of overdose.

When taken in excess and long-term use, fentanyl can:

  •    drug overdose
  •    depressed the respiratory system
  •    stop breathing
  •    brain damage
  •    death

Users usually seek the euphoric sensations that fentanyl produces. Addiction can happen anytime even when users are following a direct medical order from their physicians. Unfortunately, various illegal channels sell fentanyl to users who consume the drug recreationally.

Those addicted to fentanyl displays several signs like:

  •    stealing prescriptions
  •    going from a doctor to another to get prescriptions
  •    buying fentanyl from illegal channels like street dealers and illegitimate online pharmacies

Other severe symptoms include:

  •    showing withdrawal symptoms if they do not take the next drug dose
  •    poor decision making sometimes resulting in risky behaviors
  •    several health problems
  •    accidental drug overdose
  •    coma
  •    death

Natural and synthetic opiate is usually measured against morphine when analyzing the drug’s strength. Measured against morphine, fentanyl is about 50 to 100 times more powerful. The Food and Drug Administration warn the medical community about administering fentanyl and its dosage. The drug needs a precise and careful formulation to avoid addiction and overdoses.

How fentanyl is abused

Fentanyl comes in several forms and users take the drug using various ways. Usually, doctors administer the drug via injection in a hospital setting. However, users found more way to abuse the drug like:

  •    users often put fentanyl gels found in  transdermal patches under the tongue
  •    they stuck fentanyl capsules between their teeth and cheek for continuous drug release
  •    most of the times users will squeeze the liquid or gel from the patches to either smoke or ingest the drug extract

Fentanyl is also available as a lollipop sold under the brand name of Actiq. For cancer patients, a sublingual spray can offer as a pain reliever. The drug is marketed under the brand names of:

  •    Abstral
  •    Duragesic
  •    Fentora
  •    Lazanda
  •    Onsolis
  •    Subsys

Doctors usually prescribe fentanyl in forms of:

  •    injection
  •    lozenges
  •    tablets
  •    transdermal patch
  •    lollipops

Other forms of fentanyl produced in illegitimate laboratories can result in a drug overdose. Because they often mix fentanyl with other illicit substances with no regards of the dosage. They sold fentanyl in various forms such as:

  •    powder
  •    mix with heroin or cocaine
  •    combined with other less powerful opioids
  •    smeared on blotted paper

Fentanyl users often take the drug by:

  •    snorting
  •    injecting
  •    ingesting
  •    or putting blotted paper in their mouths (this will allow the mucous membrane to absorb the drug)

Side effects of fentanyl

As an opiate drug, side effects of fentanyl are similar to other opiates like drowsiness and euphoria. But the exceptional strength of the drug makes it unusual for building tolerance for opiates.  Some users who used fentanyl for their severe pain may not be able to get pain relief from other opiates. For the reason, that fentanyl has a fast tolerance building effect.

Fentanyl users may experience two kinds of side effects from the drug, one for the drug and other from withdrawal symptoms.  Because Fentanyl is a powerful drug, its effects can also be very intense. But with the help of the best rehab clinic in your area these effects can be minimized.

Side effects of Fentanyl include:

  •    Nausea
  •    Vomiting
  •    Dizziness
  •    Drowsiness
  •    Lethargy
  •    Tiredness
  •    Body weakness
  •    Shortness of breath
  •    Difficulty breathing
  •    Swelling of  extremities (hands, feet, and ankles)
  •    Headaches

Effects of Fentanyl withdrawal:

  •    Extreme restlessness
  •    Stomach cramps
  •    Insomnia
  •    Nausea
  •    Vomiting
  •    Yawning
  •    Sweating
  •    Watery eyes and runny nose
  •    Chills
  •    Muscle and bone pain
  •    Anxiety
  •    Irritability
  •    Weakness
  •    High blood pressure

Fentanyl side effects could cause severe discomfort and pain to users.  To avoid going through such experience users need to continuously take the drug, builds up tolerance resulting to drug overdose. Somehow, these users are stuck in cycle, unable to break free.  They make irrational decision which could lead to dangerous situations, not just for them but for their loved ones as well. Seeking medical help to quit fentanyl addiction is imperative. The sooner it get treated, the better for the users to regain their lives back.

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How Long is the Withdrawal from Fentanyl

Fentanyl is a very powerful opiate use as a medical treatment for pain. The drug contains addictive properties similar to illegal drugs like heroin. However, fentanyl is 100 more times potent than heroin and cocaine. This makes the side effects of the drug more intense and deadly. There are several forms of fentanyl sold in the market, these are:

  •    injectable form (Sublimaze)
  •    transdermal patches (Duragesic)
  •    lollipops (Aqtic)

In recent years, fentanyl abuse increased drastically according to The Drug Enforcement Administration or DEA. Experts noticed the increased in several instances like:

  •    emergency department visits
  •    drug seizure cases
  •    drug overdose related incidents

Fentanyl Abuse

Users who use fentanyl for a long time are at risk of developing tolerance and dependence. They may experience withdrawal symptoms whenever they attempt to stop using fentanyl. Unfortunately, because of the high potency and severe intensity of fentanyl, withdrawal symptoms can be more severe compare to other opiates.

Undergoing ‘cold turkey’ remains as the top reason why users do not want to stop using fentanyl.  Because of the difficulty quitting the drug, users are stuck  crash and use cycle.

However difficult it may seem, quitting the addiction is still possible. Some the things that may help users quit fentanyl addiction include:

  •    understanding withdrawal symptoms
  •    the process involved during withdrawal
  •    aftercare to avoid any possibility of relapses

Tapering off Fentanyl

Tapering means gradually decreasing the dosage of fentanyl until the body re-learns to function without the drug. In doing so, it can reduce the discomfort of the withdrawal symptoms. Slowly removing fentanyl from the body is also referred as weaning off from the drug. Tapering off from fentanyl needs careful monitoring and precise medications from medical practitioners. This will ensure:

  •    the drug leaves the body gradually to avoid painful withdrawal symptoms
  •    Withdrawal symptoms may manage to avoid any possibilities of relapses

This method varies from an individual to anther and doctors may utilize different approaches. Several factors play an important role when tapering off from fentanyl, these include:

  •    The dependence level of users (the heavy the user is, the slower tapering needs)
  •    Severity of the addiction
  •    Co-existent disorders like mental disorder or other medical problems
  •    the duration of fentanyl abuse
  •    Other occurring substance abuse (other substances can hinder and interact with fentanyl)

Detoxification

Detoxification means removing all traces of fentanyl from the body safely. A detox program will eliminate all toxic substances from the body.

A detox program can either be done in an inpatient or outpatient depending on the user’s condition. However, for fentanyl users, detox is usually done in a health care facility to ensure the safety of the user. Medical practitioners need to monitor several things like:

  •    physical aspects of addiction and the mental health of the users
  •    vital signs
  •    medications needed to ensure gradual fentanyl excretion
  •    manage the physical and emotional withdrawal symptoms

The process usually lasts around 5 to 7 days and can extend for more than 10 days depending on the severity of the addiction. Some people need more time compare to other users. A meticulous evaluation can help determine the most appropriate detox time process for each individual.

Fentanyl Withdrawal Symptoms

When users choose to stop using fentanyl the body goes into withdrawal process. Opioid withdrawal symptoms usually start within 12 to 30 hour from the last drug intake. Fentanyl transdermal patches take longer to leave the body. It can last up to 72 hours after removing the patch. The drug has a half-life of 17 hours and withdrawal can start at least a day after removal.

Withdrawal symptoms of fentanyl include:

  •    Restlessness
  •    Tearing up
  •    Runny nose
  •    Chills
  •    Backache
  •    Stomach cramps
  •    Pain in joints
  •    Muscles Pains
  •    Goosebumps
  •    Muscle weakness
  •    Nausea
  •    Vomiting
  •    Anorexia
  •    Diarrhea
  •    Elevated heart rate
  •    Hypertension
  •    Increased respiratory rate
  •    Insomnia
  •    Anxiety
  •    Pupil dilation
  •    Yawning
  •    Sweating

Fentanyl withdrawal timeline

Because of the short-acting half-life of fentanyl, it takes about three days to leave the body. Withdrawal symptoms usually last for 14 days to a month but some psychological symptoms may linger for a while. Depression and problems feeling any pleasure along with cravings may last several months to a year.

Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms peak in the first few days and fade within a week or so.  The withdrawal timeline of the drug is as follows:

1 to 3 days

Within several hours of stopping fentanyl intake, withdrawal symptoms will start. Some of the initial withdrawal symptoms include:

  •    muscle and joint pain
  •    headaches
  •    stomach cramps
  •    shaking
  •    restlessness
  •    sleepiness

3 to 7 days

The symptoms may continue to peak but include some more withdrawal symptoms like:

  •    nausea
  •    vomiting
  •    diarrhea
  •    runny nose

8 to 21 days

Withdrawal symptoms will begin to fade but psychological problems may start to surface like depression and anxiety.

Beyond 21 days

Other symptoms that may arise and need to properly address to ensure full recovery of the user. Proper aftercare can also avoid cravings and relapses.

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