(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
When it comes to overcoming a serious drug addiction it is crucial to start your recovery strong and with a healthy and stable foundation. Long lasting and sustainable sobriety often means consistent work on not just healing physically, but also psychologically. After-all, drugs and alcohol are not the only symptom to addiction; it is often far deeper than the surface.
So when it comes to the question many people may ask- how to detox from drugs at home- the best answer we can think of is pretty straight forward… just don’t.
You may wonder why, especially if you think it is all just a matter of white-knuckled will-power to get through the initial shock to the system that comes without the substance. Maybe you are a parent or family member who just wants to help your loved one any way you can.
However, the truth is that trying to detox at home isn’t just an unnecessary risk, it can also be incredibly dangerous or even life threatening.
How to Detox from Drugs at Home: Withdrawals
Due to the withdrawals, which can go from modern to overwhelming, many people want to find a way to detox comfortably. Therefore, many people trying to figure out how to detox from drugs at home do so because they want to avoid the physical discomfort while still working towards getting clean.
Then depending on pre-existing conditions or adverse health effects of drug abuse, there can be other medical complications during the detox process that most cannot diagnose or treat at home.
There are also drugs that are so potent and damaging that if someone tries to detox at home “cold turkey” they may do far greater harm to the body and vital organs. Some drug withdrawals can actually kill. If you are to ask how to detox from drugs at home with a primary concern about withdrawals, it is probably not a good idea in the first place.
How to Detox from Drugs at Home: Maintenance Drugs
The physical dependence on the substance that develops from extended use and increased tolerance can be a nightmare. The detox process can be incredibly difficult for most people. Some people have used medication maintenance programs like methadone or Suboxone to try and get off illicit drugs, but often times these methods are also unsustainable in the long-term. Usually, these medications also have side-effects of their own.
Suboxone, for example, is often used as a maintenance drug for opioid addiction. The problem is, there is a lot about Suboxone that most people don’t know.
If you want to read more download our free E-book “5 Things No One Tells You about Suboxone”
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With methadone people find themselves visiting a clinic to receive doses of a maintenance drug that has become infamous for its own horrible withdrawal symptoms.
In the end, recovery experts consistently insist that these drugs are only really useful when accompanied by cognitive behavioral therapy or comprehensive addiction treatment.
How to Detox from Drugs at Home: Relapse Prevention
Another crucial part of drug detox that a lot of people forget about is the importance of relapse prevention. While most people think of detox as just the first stages of trying to get clean, the reality is that there is still an incredibly high chance for someone trying to detox at home of relapsing. Not just because they aren’t removed from the environment in a secure facility, but also because they are struggling with withdrawal while also not getting the strong support and treatment.
Truthfully, most addiction treatment professionals and experts agree that detox should always be done with the supervision and support of medical professionals. Behavioral therapy and other forms of treatment are also critical components of shaping the foundation for recovery from drugs and alcohol. Beyond medication or even natural remedies to combat withdrawal, people also need to develop coping skills to prevent relapse.
Instead, Choose Safe Medical Detox
It is true there are cases of some detox attempts done from home, but at the end of the day it is still an unnecessary level of discomfort and risk. Because people do also die from trying to detox from dangerous drugs at home. There is no need to kick and scream on the couch when there are so many resources that provide safe medical detox.
Ultimately, the specific substance, the length of use and the severity/frequency of use will determine how difficult the detox process will be. A combination of volatile substances can also create a whole new danger.
So instead of giving you a list of supplies, which will be incomplete or insufficient, or giving you a few cliff notes on how to detox from drugs at home, we thought it was important to stress why event though it may be ‘possible’ it can also be harmful, and in the end can even be counterproductive.
The Palm Partners detox facility has a 24-hour medical and addiction professional staff to continuously evaluate individual progress, administer the appropriate levels of medications and provide unlimited support during this process. Our highly qualified specialists genuinely strive to make recovery possible for everyone who needs help. If your or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Suboxone is a medication meant to treat opiate and opioid withdrawal. It is one of two forms of the medication buprenorphine, which is an opiate agonist originally developed to treat pain problems. Suboxone works by binding to opiate receptors in the brain, which are the same receptors that morphine, heroin and other opiates bind to.
Is Suboxone Safe: How Suboxone Works
In order to better understand the risks of Suboxone use, it is important to understand how this medication works. Let us be clear, Suboxone is a narcotic. It is a semi-synthetic opioid made from a combination of two drugs:
This compound is intended for the treatment of pain, as well as for combating opioid addiction. However, what many people don’t realize it that buprenorphine is itself an opioid.
DEA reports show that the substance can be 20-30 times more potent than morphine as an analgesic; like morphine buprenorphine can create a dose-related euphoria. Like other opioids commonly abuse, buprenorphine is capable of producing a significant “high” and thus has been abused in various ways.
Now, all products containing buprenorphine are controlled substances. Given the nature of this powerful opioid, the other primary compound of Suboxone is added.
Naloxone is a pure opioid antagonist medication used to block the effects of opioids. It works by reversing the depression of the central nervous system and respiratory system. Narcan is a brand name for the medication that is commonly utilized as an overdose antidote.
But beyond being used to reverse overdoses, the addition of naloxone to products like Suboxone is with the intention of blocking the euphoric high resulting from the abuse of opioids by injection, like buprenorphine.
So when a drug like Suboxone is taken orally, just the opioid has affect. Naloxone blocks the impact of the opioid when it is injected. The primary purpose of naloxone in Suboxone is to deter intravenous abuse.
Is Suboxone Safe: How is it used?
Suboxone acts as a partial opioid agonist and diminishes cravings as well as prevents other opioids from reacting to the brain’s receptors. The drug has become a frequently utilized substance for trying to combat opioid addiction. Suboxone can come in tablet form, or in the form of a film taken sublingually, meaning dissolved under the tongue.
When taken orally or sublingually as directed, the naloxone is not absorbed and the buprenorphine acts uninhibited. However, the formulation still has potential for abuse. Published data has shown that the opioid receptor’s binding affinity to buprenorphine is higher, so the opioid typically overrides the antagonist, causing many reports to argue that naloxone is an insufficient deterrent for the injection of Suboxone for recreational abuse.
Serious dangers of Suboxone
While Suboxone may have become a mainstream tactic for combating opioid addiction, the question has become if it is as safe and effective as producers would have us believe. So when presented with the question of ‘is Suboxone safe?’ must look at a few factors.
Is Suboxone Safe: Adverse side-effects
The fact remains that Suboxone is an opioid narcotic. Therefore, the side-effects of Suboxone are essentially the same as other opioids.
Most common minor side-effects include:
- Mild dizziness
- Stomach pain
- Redness, pain or numbness in the mouth
- Trouble concentrating
Most common major side-effects include:
- Cough or hoarseness
- Feeling faint or lightheaded
- Feeling of warmth or heat
- Fever or chills
- Lower back or side pain
- Painful or difficult urination
Major side-effects suggest the individual should check with their doctor immediately.
Is Suboxone Safe: Withdrawal symptoms
The irony is that Suboxone is typically used because people are trying to stop abusing other illicit or prescription opioids but want to have something to curb the withdrawal symptoms. Yet, Suboxone is known to have its own withdrawals, and for some they are even worse.
Symptoms of Suboxone withdrawal can include:
- Body and muscle aches
- Difficulty concentrating
- Drug cravings
- Digestive distress
The physical withdrawals can peak in the first 72 hours after the last dose, and some of the more psychological symptoms can last much longer.
Is Suboxone Safe: Interactions with other drugs
Taking other drugs while on Suboxone, especially other opioids or sedatives, can actually be fatal. Combining Suboxone with other drugs can cause a very dangerous reactions that many also ignore. Drugs that are particularly dangerous with Suboxone are:
- Benzodiazepines (Benzos) such as Xanax
- Older Antihistamines
- Antipsychotics such as Zyprexa
Cocaine is also an extremely hazardous drug to combine with Suboxone because they are opposites on the spectrum of stimulant vs depressant. When you combine cocaine with Suboxone, it actually reduces the amount of buprenorphine that is in your bloodstream. With less buprenorphine in the body the effects of opioid withdrawal symptoms can be felt.
Combining cocaine with Suboxone also increases the risk of overdosing on cocaine.
If you would like more information on Suboxone, download our free E-book: 5 Things No One Tells You about Suboxone.
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Is Suboxone safe?
Suboxone may be a legal and popular alternative to some other opioids, but that doesn’t necessarily make it all that ‘safe’ to rely on. It is of course possible to overdose on Suboxone. As we said before, Suboxone combined with other drugs can also be incredibly dangerous. And at the end of the day, you can still become psychically and psychologically dependent on the drug.
In truth, Suboxone has been useful to some who have tried to get off of drugs like heroin and other dangerous opioids by providing a buffer and some method of harm reduction. But the often overlooked aspect is that Suboxone is only intended for short-term use and not long-term maintenance. When individuals use the substance for long periods of time, they become dependent on it just like any other potent narcotic. Experts insist that Suboxone and similar drugs are only effective in combination with comprehensive treatment or cognitive behavioral therapy.
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A safer and far more healthy and sustainable approach to recovery from opioid addiction is with holistic treatment that offers much more than an opioid substitute with its own adverse effects. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
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(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Addiction is not an easy problem to address. It is a complex issue with many variables, so of course there is no simple answer to fix it. There is no one-size-fits-all solution; no monopoly on the right kind of treatment. It is understandable that there is a degree of effectiveness with utilizing any medical means available to try and address addiction, but are maintenance drugs really the answer?
Surely medication assisted treatment is useful, and it helps a lot of people. Most inpatient treatment programs utilize some form of medication to ease withdrawal symptoms and other side-effects of long-term drug use. The detox period of treatment usually focuses on medically assisting someone struggling with drugs in this transition.
However, is getting people off of one drug by making them dependent on another really the best case scenario? It seems now insurance companies are putting more effort into using maintenance drugs to treat addiction. Is this really a better strategy?
Firstly, let us make a clear definition of what maintenance drugs are. Typically, the definition of maintenance drugs is along the lines of prescriptions commonly used to treat conditions that are considered chronic or long-term. These conditions usually require regular, daily use of medicines.
Examples of common maintenance drugs are medications such as:
- Fluticasone and salmeterol (Advair Diskus) which is used to treat asthma
- Insulin glargine (Lantus) used to treat diabetes
If you consider these examples the point is that people use these medications to “manage” their illness, not to overcome or remedy it. So looking at the issue of addiction, there are some well-known maintenance drugs, specifically concerning opioid addiction.
These medications can be effective, but they also present a level of danger themselves. Even though doctors prescribe them to combat withdrawals, they actually can create their own devastating withdrawals, especially with long term use.
Aetna Aims for Maintenance Drugs
Aetna is one of the nation’s largest insurance companies. In a recent Aetna report, the company is prepared to remove a major restriction for patients seeking maintenance drugs for opioid addiction. The change is set to begin this coming March. Aetna is the third major health insurer to announce such a shift in policy in recent months, now in league with Anthem and Cigna insurers.
To be more specific, this insurance company will stop requiring doctors to seek approval before they prescribe particular medications that are used to combat withdrawal symptoms. One of these medications is suboxone, a well-known medication that many people use to fight opiate addiction.
The common insurance practice is known as “prior authorization”. The reason they are seeking to eliminate this policy is because it sometimes results in delays of hours to days before a patient can get the medications.
This new approach to regulation of maintenance drugs impacts all its private insurance plans, an Aetna spokeswoman confirmed.
Advocates of Maintenance Drugs
Addiction treatment advocates to support having expanded access to maintenance drugs. Dr. Corey Waller, an emergency physician who chairs the American Society of Addiction Medicine’s legislative advocacy committee, states:
“It’s a first-line, Food and Drug Administration-approved therapy for a disease with a known mortality. [For] every other disease with a known mortality, the first-line drugs are available right away.”
Essentially, the idea that parity laws require insurers to cover addiction treatments at the same level as other kinds of healthcare means these kinds of medication should be available for immediate access. This should be the same for all forms of addiction treatment.
Opinion: Treatment over Maintenance
While many would argue that maintenance drugs are a form of treatment, it is still a relevant argument that maintenance drugs are also imperfect and could actually be harmful if they become the cookie-cutter answer implemented by most insurers.
While harm reduction is understandable, and maintenance drugs can help people struggling with heroin or other dangerous opioids avoid other serious risks, the fact is many maintenance drugs include their own side-effects. Some often become subject to abuse themselves.
For instance, suboxone can be useful as a harm reduction tactic, but it can also be abused. Many people who have used suboxone as a long-term solution have found themselves battling suboxone withdrawal symptoms. The dangers of suboxone are very relevant.
The same, if not worse, has often been said about methadone maintenance drugs. While they may keep someone alive to get treatment, there should still be a strong emphasis on treatment itself. Maintenance drugs are most effective when part of a program. They are not a substitute for a treatment program.
Treatment should focus on finding solutions, not prolonging the suffering. Drug and alcohol addiction treatment should come from a holistic approach that addresses more than just physical ailments. Holistic treatment focuses on providing extensive and personalized therapy, combined with physical and emotional heal. If insurance companies want to focus on combining rational medical resources with comprehensive treatment, then this could be a great thing. However, if the focus becomes a quick-fix drug option opposing a full recovery through treatment, it only adds to the danger.
Maintenance drugs have support from the recovery community, but typically they must be accompanied by therapy and other means of treatment. Maintenance drugs are just that- drugs. They are often powerful narcotics, and are true to their title- “maintenance,” not a permanent solution.
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Sponsorship is essential in 12 Step fellowships as part of contributing to the sober community, helping others, and maintaining personal sobriety. At least that is how my sponsor explained it to me. If your sponsor says different you should listen to them, but in my belief being a sponsor is something that you must definitely do if it has been done for you, because it is explained in the 12 Step fellowships that we can only keep what has been so freely given to us (sobriety) by giving it away- sponsoring someone through the steps.
Now the question presented is one that pertains to what are commonly referred to as ‘maintenance drugs’. There are so many narcotics out there that are specifically designed to assist with the withdrawal effects of drug addiction such as methadone or suboxone. These medications are designed to help individuals who have struggled with prolonged and severe substance abuse to be able to regulate their symptoms. But many of these medications are narcotics.
Then there are also medications that are prescribed to an individual based on another condition. Some people have to take medications for severe health issues, or mental and behavioral health disorders such as depression. So the question is where do you draw the line when sponsoring people who take narcotics? Is it the right thing to not sponsor someone based on the medications they take? Are these people clean and sober?
Sponsoring People on Dual Diagnosis Drugs
Now some 12 Step fellowships specifically state they have no opinion on the issue of medications that are properly prescribed to control the symptoms of a psychiatric illness. When asked about this issue such Fellowship Services have noted that the question of prescription medication should be decided between the individual who is struggling, their personal doctor, and their relationship with their Higher Power. It has been highly recommended that telling the history with substance abuse or addiction to your doctor can ensure that when prescription medications are completely necessary, that the doctor can prescribe it knowing that the individual is a recovering addict or alcoholic.
Very few recovering alcoholics and addicts in fellowships of recovery are mental health and treatment professionals. And many don’t fully understand the difference between the usual depressions and anxieties most recovering people can expect to experience in early sobriety and any psychiatric illnesses.
Some people may falsely think that antidepressants are ‘mood elevators’ much like the other street drugs, but these are understandable misconceptions. Unfortunately such misconceptions can lead to poor advice or sponsorship suggestions.
No one but a licensed physician or psychiatrist should play doctor, so it is not up to you as a sponsor to decide what they should or should not be taking. Some addicts or alcoholics seeking sponsors in 12 Step groups must consider the potential sponsor’s attitude and understanding concerning medications and psychiatric illnesses.
The attitude of acceptance toward the nature of dual diagnosis and properly prescribed medications plays an important role in a relationship between a sponsor and the individual. Experience has shown many members of 12 step fellowships over time that honesty is the basis for successful sponsorships.
Here are a few suggestions for sponsoring people in need of medications for serious health issues or behavioral disorders, most have been taken directly from 12 Step pamphlets.
- No member of recovery should play doctor. All medical advice and treatment should come from a qualified physician.
- Actively working a program of recovery is a major safeguard against relapse.
- Suggest that the person you sponsor be completely honest with the doctor and themselves about the way they take the medicine.
- They should let you and doctor know if they skip doses or take more medicine than prescribed.
- Explain to the one you sponsor to tell the doctor that they no longer drink alcohol or use drugs, and they are trying to live in recovery. Perhaps see about alternative treatment.
- Let the person you sponsor know to speak with the doctor at once if they have a desire to take more medicine or have side effects that make them feel worse.
- Be sensitive to warnings about changes in behavior with new medication or dose changes.
- If you feel that your doctor does not understand your problems, consider making an appointment with a physician who has experience in the treatment of alcoholism.
Sponsoring Someone on Maintenance Narcotics
Now the question of sponsoring people on maintenance drugs is a little tricky, because these medications are not only easily abused to create a high, but they are also frequently addictive narcotics themselves, and in some peoples opinion should not be necessary at all as long as the person has been through a proper detox process or treatment program and is now ready to work through the program of action.
Here we enter into what I often refer to as a ‘Grey Area’. I wanted to clarify in my own mind my program is very clear. I don’t have a vast ‘Grey Area’ as to what I believe will and will not work for me. I call this the ‘Grey Area’ because I don’t believe I can speak on behalf of anyone else’s program, inventory or opinion. I am not an authority, and it is not my place- this ‘grey area’ is simply where I step into the opinion and when I do not dare tell others what to believe.
I believe that the 12 Steps, sponsorship, and service to the community of recovery to be the most effective process for achieving sobriety outside of medical detox and treatment. Maintenance drugs like suboxone or methadone can be very harmful when used too long, methadone withdrawal is often more harmful than the drug it is used to treat. It is my thought with the ideas passed down to me through sponsorship that I must be willing to be free of all intoxicating substances that bring unmanageability into my life, even those some may insist are there to help their substance abuse or addiction be manageable.
The program has taught me that I can rely on a High Power, the spiritual principles, and the sober community and that I do not need to rely on maintenance narcotics to keep me stable. I think some people feel they need these medications, and that is OK with me. As long as they can have a happy life they are welcome to it, and I am happy for them. However, I personally would discourage anyone I sponsor from taking any form of maintenance narcotics for their symptoms.
Sponsorship and working a 12 Step program is an incredible experience and one way to practice a permanent and fulfilling lifestyle in sobriety. There are those who believe also in programs of maintenance and abstinence. The best way to ensure that you get the best treatment is to be educated on the different programs available, while getting a head start on your personal health and the foundation that could help you build an amazing recovery of your own. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135