Author: Justin Mckibben
As someone who struggles with anxiety, I can understand the desire to find something that can help protect yourself from haunting feelings of dread that cripple your peace of mind. Anxiety is a complicated condition that can creep in from the most unexpected places, and people experience it in many different ways. While some may think it’s based in fear or weakness, the reality is far more complex. Those people may say all you need to overcome anxiety is a more grounded and positive outlook. But the truth for most people with an anxiety disorder is that battling anxiety goes a lot deeper than promoting optimism. Especially when your condition convinces you that all levity is just you lying to yourself. Sometimes, you need a little outside help, and anti-anxiety drugs can be very useful when a physician and an individual decide on the right route to take.
However, anti-anxiety medications can also be dangerous. These anti-anxiety drugs may not be in the spotlight the way opioids are, they are commonly abused, extremely addictive and can be just as lethal.
With recent reports showing a rise in deaths associated with anti-anxiety medications, some experts are saying there is a hidden epidemic being overshadowed by the opioid crisis.
Anti-Anxiety Drugs Underestimated
It is true that opioids are doing massive damage all across the country, but that doesn’t mean the death rates due to anti-anxiety drugs should be ignored. While focusing on prescription opioids, heroin and synthetic opioids is important, we should also keep in mind the other dangerous medications out there.
The usual suspects are benzodiazepines, which include drugs like:
While these anti-anxiety drugs may be useful in helping some people, they still carry their risks, which can be devastating and even lethal.
According to the director of the Scripps Mercy Hospital emergency department Dr. Roneet Lev, benzodiazepines are responsible for more drug deaths in San Diego County than people may expect. She says,
“That comes from people who come into our trauma center from car accidents because they’re on benzodiazepines, people who come in because they’re falling down because that affects their balance and coordination on benzodiazepines,”
“We’ve seen terrible withdrawals, when they’re used to having it, with seizures, that end up in the ICU.”
And it isn’t just people who are buying these drugs off the street. Concerning drug-related deaths by legal prescriptions, benzodiazepines are not as far behind opioids as people may think. Dr. Lev adds that while oxycodone is the number one prescribed drug associated with death, hydrocodone is second, and benzodiazepine is in third place.
But San Diego County is definitely not the only area experiencing a surge in benzodiazepine-related deaths. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), deaths involving these anti-anxiety drugs have more than quadrupled between 2002 and 2015.
Something that does make these medications even more treacherous is when they are mixed with opioids.
Mixing Meds Causing More Deaths
As if opioids or anti-anxiety drugs weren’t hazardous enough on their own, the fact that many people mix these two medications makes them even more deadly. The San Diego County Medical Examiner has concluded that 83% of benzodiazepine-related deaths also involved opioids. Nathan Painter is an associate professor in pharmacy at UC San Diego. He explains how the chemicals interact with the body, and how mixing them only amplifies these effects.
“The benzodiazepines themselves can cause respiratory depression, or your breathing slow down, and so can opioids. So when you combine them, especially in the case of not using them on a regular basis, or being new to the benzo or the opioid, if you give too much, or combine it with other things like alcohol or other medications, then it can cause that breathing to slow down, or even stop.”
What could make this even worse? Well, many of the people mixing these medications may have just been following instructions as prescribed by their doctor. Painter notes that sometimes the prescribing physicians aren’t necessarily aware of all the drugs that someone is taking, and may not be as conservative or as slow in starting the medicines as they could be. So some people may be unknowingly consuming dangerous amounts of these drugs.
Sadly, there are areas of our current culture that put people at elevated risk of death by anti-anxiety drugs.
One of the more vulnerable populations is our veterans. In fact, the Veterans Association Healthcare System has to deal with the issue of mixing medications in particular, as many veterans end up using both benzodiazepines and opioids. Dr. James Michelsen is a physician at the VA. According to Michelsen,
“Anxiety related to their combat time, problems with sleep, post-traumatic stress disorder. And traditionally these conditions benzodiazepines have been used to treat. Additionally, many of our veterans came back with physical wounds, as well.”
This becomes a serious issue when there is a lack of communication between networks of doctors, which can happen if a veteran visits a non-VA doctor and receives a prescription.
It’s not just veterans and hospitals that have problems with benzodiazepines. In fact, benzodiazepines are some of the most prescribed medications in the United States. But it has gone beyond that and even made it into pop culture.
Drugs have always been part of the music industry. History shows us how hallucinogens like LSD influenced rock like the Beetles, and how cocaine coexisted with disco, or how heroin lingered along with jazz and blues over the years. It’s still hard to find a country song that doesn’t glorify good ol’ boys with whiskey and beer. Now, pill-popping in hip-hop and pop music is so mainstream it can be unsettling.
Along with that spotlight came greater influence. Some musicians try to paint that pretty picture with abusing anti-anxiety medications, but these drugs have taken the lives of some of the great artists of a generation. In the last several years alone we lost:
There are even others like Chris Cornell, who’s wife believed that the anti-anxiety medication he was taking is partly to blame for his suicide. Even with all the death caused by these drugs, some still glamourize prescription drug abuse in our culture. Not to mention the issue of mental health and substance use disorders already growing across the country.
Fighting Anxiety and Addiction
Personally, the risks involved with anti-anxiety drugs is troubling because a lot of my anxiety is rooted in health. It manifests at times in the side-effects of even the most mundane of medicines. Some days I can’t take an Aspirin without a secret part of me wondering if my kidneys will shut-down (which is ironic considering the years I spent polluting my body with hard drugs and excessive drinking). So while everything is going fine on the outside, my inner dialog is trying to measure and analyze every muscle movement or twitch as an indication of a terminal illness.
In reality, anti-anxiety drugs can be the difference between an everyday struggle to endure the rush of nameless terror and a window into serenity and stability. For people who can take advantage of the opportunity, it can be life-changing.
However, these drugs are nothing to take lightly, and plenty of people develop severe addictions to these drugs. Anti-anxiety medications can be fatal. Some might think they are an easy way to get a rush, they can be just as lethal as opioids. Just because they are not painkillers doesn’t mean we should underestimate their capacity to do harm.
Fighting anxiety is extremely important for people with anxiety disorder. But we have to remember the risks that come with these drugs and find a way to stay safe. This is especially true for those of us in recovery from addiction. Dual diagnosis treatment is a way to create comprehensive and holistic recovery that addresses both anxiety and addiction simultaneously in order to help people overcome their anxiety in the healthiest way possible.
If you or someone you love is struggling with anxiety, or any mental health disorder, please seek help. If you struggle with substance use disorder, drugs or alcohol is not the answer. There is real help out there. Please call toll-free now.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
With drug abuse being a major issue facing the nation, education is extremely important. Any hope of winning the fight against rising overdose rates and the spread of drug-related illness and death starts with making sure we have as much information as possible to make a difference. On that note, explaining prescription drug abuse is critical because prescription drug abuse is a key contributor to the state of the country today.
If we want to help people avoid prescription drug abuse, or recognize the signs and know there is help, it is important to explain the reality and the risks.
What is prescription drug abuse?
Simply put- prescription drug abuse is one of two things.
- When someone takes a medication that is not their prescription
- If someone takes their own prescription in a way not intended by a doctor or for a different reason
When you take prescription drugs properly they are usually safe. It requires a trained health care clinician, such as a doctor or nurse, to determine if the benefits of taking the medication outweigh any risks for side effects. But when abused and taken in different amounts or for different purposes than as prescribed, they affect the brain and body in ways very similar to illicit drugs.
These drugs have a close relation to morphine, or the street drug heroin. Opioids are typically for pain management. Opioid addiction has become one of the biggest problems facing the country today. Drugs such as:
These drugs are also known as “downers”. You can divide the category can be up into:
Drugs such as Zyprexa, Seroquel and Haldol are meant to reduce symptoms of mental illness.
- Benzodiazepines (Benzos)
Prescription drugs like Xanax, Klonopin, Valium and Librium.
Amytal, Numbutal and Seconal are included in a class of depressants intended as sedatives or sleeping pills.
These kinds of prescription drugs are also called “uppers” or “smart drugs” because of the increase alertness, attention and energy. They also increase heart rate and respiration. Many of these medications are used to combat conditions such as ADHD, including:
Prescription drug abuse has become a big health issue because of the various health hazards. This risk is particularly true of abusing prescription pain medications.
Who abuses prescription drugs?
When asking who are most likely to abuse prescription drugs, the answer may vary depending on the substance. Some people end up participating in prescription drug abuse due to an injury or legitimate health reason, but the “high” they can experience may lead to more frequent use and ultimately a physical dependence.
Recent studies have indicated that prescription drug abuse impacts young adults most; specifically age 18 to 25. In regards to teens, after marijuana and alcohol, prescription drugs are the most common substances of abuse by Americans age 14 and older.
Prescription drug abuse is present across all demographics, relevant to every social and economic class. Many believe this rise has largely contributed to the heroin addiction epidemic and the overdose outbreak in the past few years.
Prescription Drug Addiction Treatment
The Palm Partners Treatment Program has a design for prescription drug abuse intended to address people of all walks of life who are suffering. Personalized recovery programs are meant to work with each individual’s circumstances and symptoms to create a blueprint for the future.
Some of the signs of addiction range in severity and can affect each people differently, especially depending on the specific prescription drug. Increased tolerance is a clear cut sign of progressive physical dependence. Some indicators of prescription drug addiction may be:
- Excessive sweating
- Swelling in the arms and legs
- Chronic constipation
- Respiratory distress
- Slurred speech
- Poor concentration
- High body temperature
- High blood pressure
Treatment for prescription drug addiction includes a detox period to help combat the uncomfortable symptoms of prescription drug addiction, as well as withdrawal.
For all those who are struggling with prescription drug abuse, or even abusing other drugs or medications, there is a massive community of recovery all over the country to help you get the care you need. Treatment for prescription drug abuse can be the first and most important step, so be sure to step up.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
Author: Justin Mckibben
Between 1/3 and 1/2 of all Americans have some level of insomnia and complain of poor sleep, and many of them have opted to the quick fix and looked into sleeping pills to solve that problem. While these medications may be effective at ending your sleep problems, this solution should definitely be only considered short-term. It is important to make sure you understand everything you need to know about sleeping pills, because it is very possible to become addicted to sleeping pills. That includes knowing about sleeping pill side effects. Most sleeping pills are labeled as ‘sedative hypnotics’. That’s a specific class of drugs used to induce or maintain sleep. Sedative hypnotics include benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and various hypnotics.
Benzodiazepines include anti-anxiety medications such as:
While these drugs may be useful short-term, all benzodiazepines are potentially addictive, so it is especially easy to become addiction to sleeping pills of this category.
Barbiturates is another drug credited to this sedative-hypnotic class. These medications depress the central nervous system and can cause sedation. Short or long-acting barbiturates can sometimes be prescribed as sedatives or sleeping pills, but more commonly these hypnotic drugs are limited to use as anesthesia. Side effects of prescription sleeping pills can include:
- Burning or tingling ligaments
- Changes in appetite
- Constipation and/or Diarrhea
- Dry mouth or throat
- Stomach pain or tenderness
- Uncontrollable shaking of a part of the body
- Unusual dreams
If you have been relying on sleeping pills long enough, it is very possible you have become addicted to sleeping pills. While some may just feel like it becomes a habit that can be easily stopped but excuse it as a minor inconvenience, they are only ignoring a real problem and prolonging a possibly painful recovery. Being addicted to sleeping pills is a struggle, in every waking moment for most addicts. To help identify the problem, here are 9 signs you’re addicted to sleeping pills.
- You find it hard to cope without sleeping pills
Like any addiction, when the substance is removed the coping skills go right out the window. This is just as true with sleeping pills as with any other illicit narcotic.
- You experience withdrawal symptoms
There is a possibility of having serious physical withdrawal once you have stopped using sleeping pills. Like most drugs, a physical dependency on the chemical develops after a period of using long enough.
- You have an obsession for trying to obtain these drugs
It is no secret that when you are addicted to sleeping pills, like every other addiction, you will develop an obsession with getting more of the drug. Whether you excuse it with seeking out sleep, experiencing withdrawal, or just need it to feel OK.
- Increased tolerance to the drug
After using sleeping pills for long enough and becoming addicted to sleeping pills, your tolerance for the effects of the medication will increase. Your body will get used to the chemical reaction, and you will require more and more of the substance to get the desired effect.
- Loss of interest in hobbies
One of the most underestimated characteristics of any addiction is how it effects the things we are most passionate for. When you are addicted to sleeping pills, you lose interest in your hobbies and the things in life that make you happy. Your attention will focus on those pills, how to get more, and sleeping them off in between using.
- Deterioration of hygiene
Drug addicts tend to stop taking care of ourselves when we give all our focus to chasing and abusing drugs. Being addicted to sleeping pills also does real damage to hygiene and grooming.
- Defensiveness or denial
Drug addicts are notorious for not wanting to admit to our problems. We often fight back and become overly defensive or protective of our drug use, and can spend a decent amount of time in denial that there is even a problem. With those who are addicted to sleeping pills this may be especially true because they believe it is a necessity to get rest, and these pills are the only way to do so. This denial will hold them back from getting real help.
- Lack of Responsibility
Letting hygiene and hobbies fall apart is one thing, but letting everything that you are personally and socially responsible for suffer as a result of you being addicted to sleeping pills is a definite sign you need to seek help. When you are risking your job, your home, or especially your family over sleeping pills, it has crossed a line and getting help is vital.
- Inability to reduce dosage
When you are unable to stop taking as much as you have gotten used to, or even lower the dosage a little bit without suffering from painful and troubling withdrawals, than you need to seek medical help, and more specifically substance abuse treatment. This shows that you are physically as well as mentally addicted to sleeping pills and the physical dependence can be even more dangerous.
Newer medications help reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. These sleep-inducing drugs are said to be non-habit forming. They work quickly to increase drowsiness and sleep. There are also more natural methods of sleep-aid that are available, and if you seek treatment for being addicted to sleeping pills you will most likely be educated on more health and sustainable alternatives. Sleep is an important part of life, but if you are addicted to sleeping pills, it might be time to wake up to the dangers your exposing yourself to. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
Matt Cardle has apparently entered himself into rehab after becoming addicted to prescription drugs. It was reported that he was struggling with an addiction to valium and temazepam, as stated by The Sun. A source close to the star has said that he has been struggling to deal with the strain of making his last two albums self-sufficiently.
The singer has decided to clean up his act in a 28-day program in the Priory Rehab in London before his tour in the UK starts in April. On The X-Factor, Cardle impressed the judges with his first audition and went on to win the show, defeating Rebecca Ferguson and One Direction. During the show, he split from his then girlfriend, Lauren Cutmore, and was said to be linked with show stylist Grace Woodward. His ex-girlfriend finally opened up and said that Matt was a sex addict.
Matt Cardle went on to win The X-Factor and after making the hit song ‘When We Collide,’ he was signed a record deal. He ended up eventually being let out of his record deal with Sony and decided to take time to be selfish with his music. He has since created 3 hit albums that have all done well in the charts and has even been said to have been linked to Melanie C (former Spice Girl) after they did a duet together for an album. The amount of work he has put in has been incredible and it all started to be too much for him.
Like most addicts and alcoholics, in order to relieve stress and calm down he started taking Valium and then temazepam, but eventually things got so bad that he couldn’t get out of bed in the morning without taking pills. Cardle finally realized he had a drug problem and decided to do something about it before his tour begins. He realized he needs to get clean and sober.
Once again, another star is coming out in the spotlight about his drug addiction issues. Clearly, at least in my opinion, all these stars opening up about their addiction seems to have been having a sort of ripple effect. Yes, Matt Cardle may have been left out of the promo film for X-factor this year but in the long run I think he will turn out to be someone that people can look up to. Opening up and saying you have a problem and need help is a big deal that a lot of people (myself included) can have trouble doing.
In my sobriety, I’ve learned that if I don’t put my sobriety first then I will lose anything I put before it. I’ve also noticed that when I put my sobriety first and am always doing the next right thing, everything else seems to fall into place just the way it should. Going to drug treatment and getting help could end up being the best thing that Matt Cardle has ever done for himself. Hopefully he is able to get clean and sober and maybe help a few other alcoholics and addicts along the way. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.
Does this apply to you? You drink or use drugs – that are prescribed to you or not, and have found that when you try to stop, you experience uncomfortable, even painful side-effects that may even frighten you. What you are experiencing is called withdrawal syndrome and it is a medical condition that results from another medically-recognized condition: physical dependence (also called substance dependence or chemical dependence). What this means is that you have become both physically and psychologically dependent on alcohol or other drugs. And detox centers in Richmond can help.
Detox Centers in Richmond Treat Withdrawal Syndrome
Research shows that the main obstacle to quitting drugs and alcohol is the fear of the withdrawal symptoms. Not only can withdrawal be extremely uncomfortable, it can be potentially life-threatening. Detox centers in Richmond specialize in treating substance abuse and physical dependence so that you can begin to live your life without the crutch of drugs and alcohol.
Detox Centers in Richmond: Two Phases
The first step at detox centers in Richmond is known as the evaluation. Upon entering the drug detox, you will first be tested to see which specific substances are presently in your system. The clinicians at detox centers in Richmond also evaluate you for potential co-occurring disorders, also called dual diagnosis, such as mental or behavioral issues as well as other physical ailments.
The second step at detox centers in Richmond is known as stabilization. During this stage, you will be guided through the process of detoxification by staff and most likely with the use of certain medications. This is done so as to lessen the withdrawal symptoms and increase both your comfort and safety so that your detox goes as smoothly as possible. Another part of stabilization is learning what to expect during treatment and the recovery process.
Detox Centers in Richmond: Alcohol, Benzos, and Barbiturates
If you have been abusing alcohol, benzodiazepines, like Xanax and Valium, or barbiturates then choosing among detox centers in Richmond is a necessity. This is because going cold turkey can be dangerous and even fatal. Withdrawal from alcohol, benzos, and barbiturates includes symptoms such as sweats, anxiety, hallucinations, tremor, seizure, coma, and cardiac arrest.
Detox Centers in Richmond: Opiates
If you have been using painkillers, such as oxycodone (Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin), methadone or other opiates such as heroin, kicking cold turkey can be quite impossible to do. The withdrawal symptoms are so severe and uncomfortable that people usually wind up going back to their drug of choice or using other drugs because they cannot endure it. Opiate withdrawal, also called dope sickness or being dope sick, is like an extreme flu but with insomnia and restlessness (“the jimmies”). The medical staff at detox centers in Richmond is well-versed in the treatment for opiate withdrawal and is also sympathetic to your condition. You will be given medication to alleviate your symptoms in a caring and nurturing environment. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse or addiction and is looking for detox centers in Richmond please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.