The Truth About Cocaine Addiction & Recovery

Cocaine

In 1986, an American music group by the name of General Kane released a song describing the painful and consuming nature of drug addiction. The fictional Nathan “Applejack” Lewis came from a loving, two-parent home, but after being exposed to drugs, his life was turned upside down. He stole and even prostituted his wife … and himself … to maintain his drug addiction. There is nothing glamorous about cocaine … in any form. There is no grey area or silver lining when it comes to cocaine usage. It is a dangerous, illegal drug that should be avoided at all costs. Let’s jump straight in and get to the facts.

What is cocaine?

The USDEA categorizes drugs into a number of categories according to the potency and potential for addiction. Cocaine is listed as a Schedule II drug, which is defined as a drug which has the potential for abuse and physical dependence.

Cocaine can appear as a fine, white, crystal powder or as a solid, rock crystal. It can be snorted through the nose, injected into the bloodstream via a needle, smoked, or rubbed into the gums to induce a high that involves feelings of increased energy and alertness. It is an extremely addictive and destructive drug. Cocaine increases the arousal activity in the brain, resulting in feelings of invincibility, loss of appetite, and sexual arousal.

Methadone: Treatment, Withdrawal, Abuse, Uses, Side Effects & Dose

Methadone

What is Methadone?

Methadone is a prescription medication that seems to have received more attention in recent years. According to experts writing for the Western Journal of Medicine, methadone belongs to the opiate class of drugs, and it is comparable to morphine. This prescription medication does have legitimate medical uses and is safe and effective when people use it as a doctor prescribes it, but for some people, it may become addictive and dangerous.

Medical Uses of Methadone

What is methadone used for? One of the most common uses of methadone is for the long-term treatment of addiction to opiates like heroin. Methadone is used as a maintenance medication to help people remain abstinent from heroin and other opiates. It promotes abstinence because it has long-lasting effects and stops the unpleasant symptoms of opiate withdrawal; methadone also reduces heroin cravings and stops people from feeling high if they do take heroin, per the authors writing for the Western Journal of Medicine.

Drug Dependence vs. Drug Addiction

Drug Dependence vs. Drug Addiction

There are many terms thrown around in relation to drug abuse, and it can be difficult to discern what they mean. Drug addiction is an already misunderstood disease, and the confusion regarding terminology only adds to the problem. While drug dependence and drug addiction are often related, they do not mean the same thing. Keep reading to learn more about the difference between drug dependence and drug addiction.

What is drug dependence?

Drug dependence involves a physical condition. Repeated exposure to a drug or frequent usage causes the body to adapt to the drug. The easiest way to identify drug dependence is through withdrawal symptoms when the drug is no longer used.

Suboxone Withdrawal: Symptoms & Treatments

Suboxone Withdrawal

Suboxone is a medication used to treat addiction to opiates like heroin, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Suboxone contains both buprenorphine and naloxone, and doctors prescribe it to people in addiction treatment to help alleviate opiate withdrawal and cravings.

That being said, buprenorphine itself is a partial opiate, meaning that it can create euphoria, much like heroin, although to a lesser extent. While the effects of Suboxone may not be as strong as with heroin, people still may abuse this medication and become addicted to it. After all, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), labels Suboxone as a Schedule III Controlled Substance, indicating that users can become highly psychologically dependent upon it and develop low to moderate physical dependence upon the drug.

Unfortunately, with dependence comes withdrawal, which means that people may experience uncomfortable symptoms when detoxing off of Suboxone, whether they are using it legally as a doctor prescribes or abusing it in some fashion. Learning more about Suboxone withdrawal can help you to understand this condition better.

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal: Symptoms, Dependence, Treatment, Timelines and Types

Benzodiazepine Withdrawal

According to Harvard Medical School, benzodiazepines are a class of medications primarily used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and seizures. They work by increasing the activity of a neurotransmitter, or brain chemical, called GABA, which slows activity in the nervous system and produces a calming effect. These medications can be useful for treating anxiety and related issues, but with long-term use, people may become addicted to them and undergo withdrawal if they attempt to stop using benzodiazepines. It is critical to understand the risk of addiction and withdrawal that comes with benzodiazepine use in order to make informed choices about the best course of action for treating conditions like anxiety.

Benzodiazepine Dependence

Before learning about benzodiazepine withdrawal, it is first important to understand why these drugs are addictive and lead to dependence. The reason for benzodiazepine dependence is that the brain and body adapt to the presence of these drugs, and they become accustomed to increased GABA activity. This means that over time, the body cannot produce enough GABA on its own, and it becomes dependent upon benzodiazepines to increase GABA activity and calm the body. Once the body becomes dependent on benzodiazepines, if a person stops using these drugs, there will not be enough GABA activity to maintain normal functioning. This causes the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms associated with benzodiazepines.

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS): Symptoms, Treatment & Types

Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS)

When most people think of drug and alcohol withdrawal, they probably picture the initial withdrawal symptoms that occur when a person stops using drugs or alcohol and undergoes the detox process. While these initial withdrawal symptoms can be unpleasant and intense, another form of withdrawal comes later. According to the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA, a second form of withdrawal, called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), includes symptoms that occur for several weeks or even months after a person stops using drugs and alcohol. Other names for this condition include post-withdrawal syndrome, prolonged withdrawal syndrome, or protracted withdrawal syndrome, and it most often occurs with alcohol, benzodiazepine, and opiate abuse.

Symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal

Post-acute withdrawal symptoms may vary based upon the substance from which a person is withdrawing. According to a report in CNS Drugs, post-acute withdrawal syndrome for alcohol typically involves the following symptoms:

Identifying Signs of Addiction in a Loved One

Identifying Signs of Addiction in a Loved One

Has it ever seemed to you that something wasn’t quite right with your loved one? Were you unsure what the problem was? There are many possibilities in life when things are off with a person, but if you suspect addiction, the following can help you identify signs of addiction in a loved one so that help can be attained for them.

First, it’s essential to define what addiction is. People with addiction engage in compulsive behaviors, such as alcohol and drug abuse, that can be harmful to them in many ways. Damage can come in all forms. Physical, emotional, mental, and financial. This lifestyle can cause their relationships to fall apart, even with the ones they care about the most. Addiction is a chronic state of desire for a substance or action that they must have, at the expense of all else in life. All people are susceptible; no one is exempt.

Support Groups for Families of Addicts & Alcoholics

Support Groups for Families of Addicts & Alcoholics

Being a pillar of strength, hope, and guidance for someone else is a very exhausting task, even for the most capable person. Support groups for families of addicts & alcoholics provide a much needed safe space to cope with the on-going strain they endure with this problem, so they don’t lose themselves in the process.

An addicted person is not just changing and negatively affecting their own life, but their attitudes and actions greatly affect those around them. Because of the ripple effect addiction has on loved ones, it is often called a ‘family disease’. Having an environment in which the loved ones can go and express concerns is needed for the overall long-term recovery of everyone involved.

A Guide to Benzodiazepines: Types, Side Effects, Use & Abuse, Overdose, Tolerance & Withdrawal and Treatment

Benzodiazepines (Benzos)

Benzodiazepines are a relatively common class of prescription drugs. Pharmaceutical companies introduced benzodiazepines to the market at the start of the 1960s as a safer alternative to a class of sedative drugs called barbiturates. Benzodiazepines do have legitimate medical uses, but they are not without side effects, and some people may abuse them.

Medical Uses of Benzodiazepines

According to Harvard Medical School, the main use of benzodiazepines is the treatment of anxiety and sleep problems. Some doctors may prescribe them to alleviate drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms or to treat muscle spasms, seizures, or tremors.

Benzodiazepines may be useful for anxiety and sleep disorders in several situations. For example, a doctor may prescribe a few benzodiazepine pills to a patient to use for occasional insomnia as needed. People who have generalized anxiety disorder may also benefit from taking benzodiazepines, and some people may use these drugs to treat temporary anxiety, such as that which occurs before boarding a plane, having a surgery, or during an agitating situation. For people with panic disorder, benzodiazepines can reduce the anxiety that triggers a panic attack.

A Guide to Helping Someone with Addiction & Depression

Helping an addict

How do you help someone with addiction and depression? Everyone’s circumstance will be different, but knowing what you’re up against will be a great start. The phrase “Knowledge is power” is certainly true in this case. Facing the battle well-armed, you will be of more assistance to that person.

Drug addiction and depression often go hand in hand. This dual diagnosis makes everything more complicated because one may affect the other. If a depressed person is left untreated, they may find themselves reaching for coping mechanisms and self medicate to help them deal with this issue. Their depression brings the possibility of an addiction of some kind; drug addiction is a common one. When an individual is addicted to drugs, it can affect their mental and emotional stability and cause depression. What they are doing to soothe themselves can escalate their issues and even trigger new ones.

Benzo Detox at Home: Is it Safe?

Benzo Detox at Home - Is it Safe

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), benzodiazepine or “benzo” drugs are depressant medications that treat anxiety, muscle spasms, and seizure disorders. Benzodiazepines may even be used in treatment and detoxification from alcohol. They are legal when a doctor prescribes them, but some people may abuse these prescriptions or buy benzos illegally. While benzos do have legitimate medical purposes, when people misuse them, they may develop a tolerance and become dependent upon them. This means that when they stop using benzos or reduce their doses, they will experience withdrawal. According to a report in Emergency Medicine News, some patients may even experience withdrawal symptoms when taking benzos under a doctor’s supervision.

What is Alcohol and Drug Detox?

Alcohol and Drug Detox

A substance use disorder is a clinical term used to describe addiction to drugs or alcohol. According to guidelines set forth in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, withdrawal is one of the diagnostic criteria for a substance use disorder. Withdrawal, which occurs when people with addictions stop using drugs or alcohol, involves unpleasant symptoms as a result of the substance of abuse no longer being active in the body.

When a person enters withdrawal, he or she may experience painful symptoms, making it difficult to permanently stop using the substance of abuse. In fact, people may return to drug or alcohol use to avoid withdrawal symptoms. In cases where a person wants to stop using drugs and/or alcohol but withdrawal symptoms are making the process more challenging, an alcohol and drug detox program may be necessary to manage symptoms and begin the journey toward lasting recovery. Detox programs can also provide life-saving medical treatment in cases where withdrawal becomes dangerous.