Safe, effective drug/alcohol treatment

All across this country in small towns, rural areas and cities, alcoholism and drug abuse are destroying the lives of men, women and their families. Where to turn for help? What to do when friends, dignity and perhaps employment are lost?

The answer is Palm Partners Recovery Center. It’s a proven path to getting sober and staying sober.

Palm Partners’ innovative and consistently successful treatment includes: a focus on holistic health, a multi-disciplinary approach, a 12-step recovery program and customized aftercare. Depend on us for help with:

Heroin Detox: What You Need to Know

Heroin Detox: What You Need to Know

Every day, thousands of men and women all over America lose their lives to heroin addiction. In every state, there are families and communities suffering from the loss of friends, neighbors and loved ones. Heroin addiction is more prevalent than ever before in our country.

At the same time, there are people every day trying to give up using heroin and other opioid drugs. Some people try to do it on their own, and very few of them succeed. Many end up relapsing due to the pain of withdrawal and the intense dependence on this life-threatening drug.

But there is hope. With professional help and safe, medically assisted heroin detox many people have the opportunity to build a strong foundation for recovering from their addiction.

Let us look at what you need to know about heroin detox when you reach out to get help.

Heroin Detox: Understanding Drug Dependence

Like most drugs, excessive and prolonged abuse of heroin leads to a medical condition called Substance Use Disorder (SUD). But a crucial part of the development of a SUD is drug dependence, and there are two particular kinds of dependence that people should understand.

  1. Physical Dependence

This is about how your body adapts to substances. When the cells of your body can’t function without a substance, that is a clear indication of physical dependence. The body gets used to the presence of a chemical over time, so when the chemical is no longer present the body is forced to regulate itself.

The body also stops producing certain chemicals in the brain naturally because it gets them artificially through drugs. However, once you stop using the drugs the body is no longer producing what it needs.

Physical dependency becomes pretty apparent when you try to stop using heroin without any medical help. When you try to stop using abruptly you experience extremely uncomfortable physical withdrawal symptoms because of the imbalance in the body.

  1. Psychological Dependence

Psychological or emotional dependence is a result of the changes a drug creates in the mind. It is defined as a compulsion or perceived obsession for the substance. So while the individual may not be experiencing intense physical withdrawal, they may be psychologically impaired by the abrupt absence of a substance they have adapted to.

Instead of developing healthy coping skills, most heroin users tend to rely on the drug for dealing with emotional or behavioral issues. If they suddenly remove the drug, they are left defenseless against their issues.

If someone relies heavily on drugs for feelings of pleasure and stimulation, removing the drug may cause them to feel they cannot be happy without it. This is impacted by the drugs chemical interaction with the brain.

And at the end of the day, physical addiction can have psychological side effects, and vice versa. That is why heroin detox should not only offer medical assistance, but also therapeutic resources.

Heroin Detox: Withdrawal Symptoms

Suddenly stopping heroin without any medical assistance is called going “cold turkey” and it throws you almost immediately into withdrawal. “Cold turkey” is not just uncomfortable, it is dangerous. These heroin withdrawals manifest both physically and psychologically, and the symptoms can range in severity and frequency. Some examples of heroin withdrawal symptoms including:

  • Sweating
  • Insomnia
  • Irritation
  • Depression
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Itchiness
  • Excessive yawning and sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Cold sweats
  • Chills
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Cramp-like pains
  • Involuntary spasms in the limbs
  • Severe muscle and bone aches

Trying to go through withdrawal from heroin without help is extremely difficult. Some people find it impossible due to the severity of their symptoms. Many people find themselves trapped in a cycle or relapse and attempts to recovery because withdrawal symptoms can be so hard to overcome.

This is why heroin detox is so important. This level of care can help ease you off of heroin and other opiates gradually with the use of medications specifically designed to assist with heroin withdrawal symptoms. Having a safe and experienced medical staff makes this process much more manageable. With a physically and emotionally healthy environment, you can start to establish a comprehensive recovery plan.

Heroin Detox: Safe, Medical Care

Heroin detox should always consist of two phases: evaluation and stabilization.

  1. Evaluation

During this first stage of heroin detox, the individual will be given an assessment in order to determine the best course of treatment. It will include obtaining information about:

  • What drugs they have been using
  • The presence of drugs in their system
  • What quantities of drugs have they been using
  • How long have they have been using these drugs
  • Other medications
  • Co-occurring conditions

This is done through a drug screen, along with any further information you provide during the assessment. Because programs for heroin detox are in a medical setting, the results of your drug screen and information disclosed during your assessment are strictly confidential just like any other medical information is.

  1. Stabilization

During a heroin detox program, the stabilization stage will utilize all the information you provide during your initial assessment to design an effective detox plan. Taper medications are often used in order to wean you off of heroin in both a safe and comfortable way. Detoxing from heroin and other narcotic opiates like prescription painkillers should always be done in a professional and effective manner.

There are many kinds of medication designed to help combat opioid addiction. Carefully consider your options with the medical addiction specialist to ensure you are getting the best possible care. Be sure to provide them with accurate health information for the best results.

Quality care during stabilization should also include providing therapeutic resources for the emotional and psychological side effects. Having support for your mental and emotional well-being is also extremely important for relapse prevention. It lays the groundwork for developing healthy and sustainable coping skills. With the right care, you can take this time to design a personalized recovery plan that is right for you and addresses all of your specific needs to help you be more successful in recovery.

Are you struggling with a dependence on heroin? Are you trying to quit but have failed on your own? Consider reaching out to the caring and compassionate professionals of Palm Partners Recovery Center. If you or a loved one is struggling with heroin abuse or addiction, please call toll-free now. We want to help.

CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Are the 12 Steps the Only Way?

Are the 12 Steps the Only Way?

By Cheryl Steinberg

As much as 90% of the drug and alcohol rehabs in America endorse the 12 Step approach to treatment and recovery and yet, research shows that there’s a better way: combining therapy and medication.

If you are a member of a 12 Step fellowship, you might know quite well the bias against the use of medications in recovery – and I’m not talking about narcotics. I mean things like antidepressants and medications designed to support abstinence, such as opioid blockers. The FDA has approved two different medications for use in the treatment of an alcohol use disorder.

So what are these FDA-approved medications and how effective are they?

The first medication is called acamprosate (brand name Campral) and it has been used for alcohol use disorder treatment since the 1980s in Europe; it was accepted by the FDA in 2004. The way Campral works is this: it stabilizes the initial depression as well as reducing cravings by quieting the feelings of being restless, irritability, and discontent that alcoholics experience when they first quit drinking. Acamprosate is meant to be taken daily for the first 12 months of abstinence.

The second medication is Naltrexone. Although Naltrexone is an opioid inhibitor, is has been FDA approved as a daily medication to be taken at a low dose for the treatment of alcohol abuse. Naltrexone is best if used as an emergency relapse drug. Alcoholics who take it prior to a relapse have reported significantly less negative impact of their relapse. For those who want to be abstinent, naltrexone works as a great emergency relapse drug in combination with acamprosate.

It also functions as a supplement to be taken prior to a planned drink. In fact, naltrexone works so well to reduce relapse that many alcoholics use it to successfully drink on a regular basis with very few reports of high binge drinking. Therefore, it might be entirely possible in the near future for alcoholics to simply carry a bottle of naltrexone with them for drinking occasions instead of attending an AA meeting when the urge to drink hits.

Putting It Into Perspective

If you think of these drugs being used to treat an ongoing disease like asthma, which alcoholism is, then it might make more sense. So, in this example, consider that the majority of asthma sufferers have both a daily inhaler and an emergency inhaler. Therefore, for people with alcohol use disorder, acamprosate is their daily medication and naltrexone is their emergency relapse drug.

Epidemiological Studies and Findings

Currently, clinical trials show that the combination of acamprosate, naltrexone, and cognitive-behavioral therapy have the highest rates of recovery of any system used in drug and alcohol treatment. In fact, this conglomeration of treatment approaches has been studied thoroughly over the past 10 years, revealing abstinence rates of greater than 65%. No other program, not Alcoholics Anonymous, nor SMART Recovery®, comes close to producing these rates of abstinence, and yet very few  treatment programs in the U.S. are engaging in this practice.

Treating Nicotine Addiction: A Case for Medication

Abstinence rates for nicotine are at an all-time high of 82% in the United States according to the CDC.  Nicotine addiction treatment has been the only drug treatment program to have significantly impacted drug use in recorded history.

So what’s happening in nicotine addiction treatment that isn’t happening in the drug rehabilitation industry?

The answer is pharmacological assistance in quitting addiction, which is to say, involving the use of medication(s) as a vital part in helping people overcome their addiction. First of all, it’s now widely known that nicotine is one of most addictive drugs in existence. Considering just how addictive this drug is, how then have smoking rates decreased so dramatically?

The answer to that is this: the use of a medical-psycho-social model of recovery. A comprehensive study from the Western Journal of Medicine in 2002 made two conclusions after scrutinizing over 6,000 articles on nicotine cessation. The first conclusion was that taking FDA-approved medication for the cessation of nicotine more than doubled success at quitting smoking. The second was that the likelihood of successfully quitting increased even further when anti-smoking medication was combined with evidence-based therapy for behavioral modification, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

In Conclusion

There is no study that exists showing that therapy or 12-step programs alone are as effective as a combined therapy and medication program. Knowing this, it’s safe to say that any program that does not prepare recovering alcoholics with the tools of both therapy and anti-addiction medication that can lessen the impact of a relapse is unrealistic and negligent.

Consider this: of those who are attempting life-long abstinence, over 99% will drink at least once within a 20-year period. Therefore, healthcare practitioners are ethically responsible to prepare their patients with alcohol use disorder by providing them with essential information on how to mitigate relapse if it occurs.

Are you seeking recovery for an alcohol or drug addiction? Do you need help finding out where and how to start? Our Addiction Specialists are available around the clock to take your calls and answer your questions. Let us help you. You are not alone.

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