When Do I Intervene in a Loved One’s Drug Use?

When Do I Intervene in a Loved One’s Drug Use?

When it comes to intervening in a loved one’s drug use, sooner is better. The longer the use continues, the more likely it will become a serious addiction. As long as the addiction continues, the addict’s work and family life will suffer, her health will deteriorate, and when she finally does get treatment, detox will be more difficult. It’s better to say something while you think there might be a problem rather than wait until there is obviously a serious problem. The worst that can happen is she’ll deny having a problem but there is a chance she’ll listen and get help.

Obviously, visible drug use is cause for concern, especially if you see her using addictive drugs like heroin or meth. More often, addicts try to hide their use and you may have to look for subtler signs. Sudden behavioral changes are a big warning sign, especially if she has suddenly become aggressive, defensive, or secretive. Borrowing money or stealing are warning signs too. Her appearance my change and she may be sick more often. She may have problems at work or school. Each of these alone may have some other explanation, but taken together they suggest addiction.

For some addictions, it may be hard to know when legitimate drug use has become a problem. Alcohol, for example, is common in our culture and most people drink without becoming alcoholics. Similarly, many people are prescribed prescription painkillers for a specific purpose and stop when they no longer need them. On the other hand, some people gradually drink more, or take more painkillers until they become dependent and can’t quit. There isn’t so much a hard line–as you might see in heroin, for example–as a gradual slide. If you could compare her behavior now to her behavior before the drinking or pills, a problem may be obvious, but sometimes the change is gradual and we forget.

Most of us are uncomfortable being the person who decides whether our loved one’s drug use in an addiction. Unfortunately, we may have to make that decision because the addict is incapable of seeing it. There are some signs, in addition to those above, that she has become addicted. If she suddenly gets angry or defensive, especially when you confront her about her drinking or drug use, there is a problem. Maybe she has neglected responsibilities in order to use. Then, when that negligence catches up with her, she blames you. She may get angry when she is forced to deviate from her normal routine, as her normal routine is built around drug use and drinking.

If you think there is a problem, start keeping a record of ways drug use interferes with her life or yours. Be specific. When you start keeping track instead of overlooking offences, you may realize the problem is worse than you thought. Don’t feel like you’re being peevish or vindictive in recording these incidents, because you are doing it to help her. These items can help convince her that she has a problem and needs treatment.

When you do decide to intervene, enlist the help of an experienced intervention counsellor as well as several other people close to your loved one. Have them create similar lists, and discuss your intervention strategy with the counsellor. Always remember you’re doing this out of love and your goal is to get her into treatment.

Finding a good treatment center that offers expertise and support is crucial to recovery. At Gardens Wellness Center, we offer a variety of therapeutic approaches in a supportive, comfortable environment. To learn more about our individualized approach to treatment call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com.

Courage Gives You Confidence

Courage Gives You Confidence

Getting clean can be a scary time. First, you have to admit you have a problem. Then you have to go through detox, which might be awful. After that, the long road of recovery begins. You might have to spend some time in an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar people, talking about uncomfortable subjects. When you get home, you may have to clean up a lot of messes you made during your addiction. Through it all, you will be afraid you might relapse. It’s a lot to handle, but if you want to stay in recovery, you have to deal with each challenge as it comes. Sometimes you will have to do things before you are sure you are ready. It’s those moments you should remember that courage gives you confidence.

If you rely on courage, the confidence will follow. The reason for this is simple: you feel afraid because you are facing a new challenge. When you engage with that challenge, you will see that even if it didn’t go extremely well, neither was it a total disaster. You see you are a little closer to your goal and you know the next time will be better. For example, if you are making amends as part of the 12 Steps, the first time is likely to be awkward and uncomfortable. The second time is also likely to be awkward and uncomfortable but at least you will have a better idea of what to expect. It will take slightly less courage because you will have a little more confidence.

The question of confidence is likely irrelevant anyway. If you are an addict, you have probably done things you are not proud of. You may be used to people you love being disappointed in you. In these circumstances, you are probably not overflowing with self-confidence. It’s not something you can rely on. You need a different approach.

It’s better to accept that you don’t have confidence and instead rely on courage. If you are trying something new, especially something that could affect the course of your life, it’s perfectly reasonable to be afraid, and it would actually be strange if you weren’t. If you want to get better, you have to accept that fear and move forward. You have to have courage.

If you don’t quite feel like you can muster the courage, here are some things to keep in mind. First, you aren’t blazing a new trail here. You aren’t looking for a water route to India. Fear is meant to keep us safe and the safest thing you can possibly do is enter treatment and do the steps to recovery. You are entering a time-tested program of treatment, aided by professionals with years of experience. Millions of people have successfully fought addiction. It’s new to you but others have gone before.

Second, you aren’t alone. If you don’t already have people who care about you and support you, you will find some in treatment. Rely on your family and your fellow recovering addicts when you feel your courage is inadequate.

At Gardens Wellness Center, we offer support through detox and recovery so you don’t have to do it alone. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com.

How Many People Have Died of Overdose?

How Many People Have Died of Overdose?

About 64,000 people died of drug overdose in 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This number includes overdoses from all drugs the CDC tracks.

Deaths from overdose have been increasing since 1999. In that year, fewer than 20,000 people died from overdose. This number increased steadily until 2011, when more than 40,000 people died of overdose. Between 2011 and 2017, the increase in overdose death has been exponential.

Most of these overdoses are from opioids, or, more accurately, opioids plus something else. Opioids lower the heart rate and suppress breathing. An opioid overdose alone is enough to be fatal but the risk is even greater when opioids are used in combination with something else, especially if used with benzos or alcohol, which also suppress heart rate and breathing.

Part of the increase in overdose death in recent years is due to fentanyl overdoses, which began a sharp rise in 2013. In 2013, there were about 4000 deaths from fentanyl overdose, but by 2016, that number had risen to 20,000. Pure fentanyl can be lethal if it comes in contact with the skin. It is sometimes abused by itself, often in the form of a patch, and it is sometimes added to heroin, greatly increasing the risk of overdose.

Overdoses are most common among experienced drug users, usually addicts who have been using for two years or more. Overdoses often happen when the user combines drugs or when he relapses after a period of being clean. Tolerance to the drug declines during the clean period and if the user tries to resume using at the level he was accustomed to at the height of his addiction, it may be too much and cause an overdose.

Men are more likely than women to die of overdose for all drugs, but especially for heroin. Most overdoses are accidental, and not an attempt at suicide.

Overdoses are not always fatal. If someone drops and stops breathing, he might be saved if he gets help right away. Call 911 immediately. Most states have good samaritan laws that protect people from arrest and prosecution for drug possession if they call 911 to report an overdose. The exceptions are Arizona, Idaho, Wyoming, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Iowa, Missouri, South Carolina, and Maine. Generally speaking, paramedics are only interested in saving lives, not busting addicts. Don’t waste time trying to revive the person with water or anything else unless the operator explicitly tells you to. If it’s available, administer Narcan, or naloxone, and, if necessary, help the person breathe until the Narcan kicks in or help arrives.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, don’t wait for an overdose before getting help. Gardens Wellness Center can help with detoxing from multiple addictions safely. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com.

Dangers of Synthetic Drugs

Dangers of Synthetic Drugs

One strategy drug makers use in pursuit of profit is to stay one step ahead of legislation. They will make a drug and sell it until it causes enough damage to be outlawed, then they will change the chemical structure slightly so it’s not technically illegal and usually not identifiable by drug tests. The cycle repeats endlessly. As a result, there are hundreds of thousands of different compounds floating around under various names and no one is really sure what effect those compounds will have on users.

Although the frequent chemical alteration is meant to stay ahead of law enforcement, it also stays ahead of medical care. Products sold as “synthetic marijuana” may be any one of dozens of compounds, most of which are not remotely similar to cannabis or THC. One such compound is actually very similar to THC, but it is hundreds of times more potent. Someone might show up in the emergency room behaving strangely and doctors may not be able to figure out what she had taken or what to do about it.

Perhaps the most infamous synthetic drug is bath salts. Bath salts were sold openly in convenience stores and head shops until bizarre and violent episodes apparently caused by bath salts attracted media attention leading to the drugs ban in most states. Bath salts and similar drugs are often sold as meth or cocaine substitutes. They typically cause euphoria, alertness, anxiety, and muscle tension. Their more extreme and newsworthy effects include hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and psychotic behavior. People in the grip of these kinds of drugs are frequently described as zombies. In one recent video from Brazil, a man evincing this zombie-like behavior cracked a bus windshield several times with his head.

Other common effects of synthetic drugs might be seizures, delusions, aggression, paranoia, heart attack, overheating, sweating, heart palpitations, or inability to speak. As the chemical formulas continue to multiply, the specific symptoms will likely change as well. Generally speaking, these drugs will affect the nervous system, distorting the user’s perceptions, actions, and autonomic nervous system, which controls things like blood pressure, hormones, and heart rate. They are also toxic substances that tend to affect the liver and kidneys.

Some drugs are not replacements for other, well known drugs, but are all synthetic themselves. These include PCP, LSD, MDMA, and fentanyl. Although LSD and MDMA have recently garnered attention for their therapeutic potential, and MDMA, in particular, is not very dangerous when taken at appropriate doses, most of what is sold on the street as LSD or MDMA is actually a synthetic substitute and may have same unpredictable effects as any other synthetic drug.

If you or someone you love is having trouble with synthetic drugs, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We make detox as comfortable as possible while treating illnesses or injuries caused by synthetic drugs. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com.

Will Suboxone Get Me High?

Will Suboxone Get Me High?

Suboxone, buprenorphine and naloxone, is a drug used in treating opioid addiction. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means, like methadone, it acts on the brain’s opioid receptors. Buprenorphine and methadone, because they are partial opioid agonists, don’t kill pain or cause euphoria to the extent of other opioids but they do prevent cravings and block the effect of other opioids, so that if you take buprenorphine or methadone and then take heroin, you only feel the effect of the former.

Unlike methadone, buprenorphine effects have a ceiling. That is, after you take a certain amount, you will not feel more effects from taking more buprenorphine. Some people say they can feel the effect a little bit, but for most people it’s not really noticeable. This has two major advantages. First, it limits the potential for abuse, which makes it safer to prescribe and easier to get. Second, if you do take too much, there is less risk from death by overdose.

Not only do the effects of buprenorphine have a low ceiling, making large doses pointless, but naloxone is added to Suboxone specifically to prevent people from attempting to get high on buprenorphine. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist. If you attempted to dissolve Suboxone and inject it, the naloxone would block the opioid receptors in your brain, preventing the buprenorphine from working at all.

Suboxone is known to be dependency forming. People can become reliant on suboxone for their sobriety from heroin and other opiates, though many argue whether or not being on suboxone constitutes recovery. If you are abusing suboxone or feel as if you have become reliant upon suboxone, you will have to safely taper off the drugs in order to prevent a relapse on a more dangerous substance.

Human dignity has value. When a loved one chooses detox, they should be comfortable and treated with respect. Struggling with addiction is not something punished. Recovery should be supported with empathy and acceptance. Gardens Detox stands out, changing the way the industry approaches detox. Call us today for information on our programs:  (844) 325-9168

Detox Will Help You Stay Sober

Detox Will Help You Stay Sober

Detox will help you get sober, which is the first step in staying sober. Withdrawal symptoms can be painful or even dangerous and they often drive people to relapse even before recovery has really started. Detox will get you through the difficult initial stage in which your body is getting rid of the drug. This treatment can include medications to make symptoms less severe and counselling to help you better understand your addiction.

The goal of detox is really only to address the physical aspect of addiction. When you have been using for a long time, your body has adjusted to accommodate the drug. That is, you physically need the drug to function normally and when you don’t get it, the result is withdrawal. That can include anxiety, nausea, confusion, elevated heart rate, fever, headaches, and more, depending on the drug. These are all things that happen to your body when your chemistry is out of balance. Detox is designed to get your through this part as safely and as comfortably as possible.

Detox is meant to address the physical part of addiction, not all the other parts. During detox, you may begin to address the other factors causing your addiction, such as trauma, habits, and relationships, but detox is relatively short–a week, more or less. You may be able to meet with a counsellor a few times or go to a few meetings, which are a great start. You may get a bit of exercise or try painting. Make full use of the options available to you during detox but keep in mind that just as you can’t get in shape in a week or become a great artist in a week, you can’t master addiction in a week. It’s just the start of a process that will take time and practice.

Detox is necessary to get sober but probably not sufficient to stay sober. Everyone is different, of course. If you have been using a very short time, you may be able to go to detox to get you through the rough part and then stay in recovery through some minor life changes and maybe some therapy. In that case, detox will have been a big factor in staying sober. For most addicts, this would not be enough. Even with months of therapy, a long recovery isn’t certain. Expecting detox to keep you sober is asking for trouble. Detox is for getting the drugs out of your system; it’s not a cure for addiction. Addiction has to be fought every day and on many fronts.

START your recovery at the Gardens Wellness Center in North Miami. Our comfortable environment offers the highest luxuries in detox, making sure you are safe and encouraged to make it through withdrawals. Changing the way we approach detox, our program is focused on holistic care in order to create a foundation of recovery. For information, call:  (844) 325-9168

Can We Prevent Addiction in Our Family?

Can We Prevent Addiction in Our Family?

Addiction is never completely avoidable. Even loving, conscientious parents can fail to notice an issue that might lead to addiction. Sometimes circumstances are just beyond your control. There are, however, some ways to limit the chances that someone in your family will become addicted.

Set a good example. If you don’t want your kids to abuse drugs or alcohol, then don’t abuse drugs or alcohol yourself. Your behavior creates their standard for what’s normal. You may think you drink you drink responsibly, and statistically, that’s probably true, but if you frequently feel quite bad because of drugs or alcohol, consider whether you would want your kids to feel that way. If not, consider quitting because they will probably follow your example.

Educate your children early. You might think a child of seven or eight is too young to know about drugs, but some kids start experimenting with drugs around the age of nine or 10. The earlier a child starts experimenting with drugs, the more likely he is to become an addict. If you wait until he is 12 or 13, you’ve already missed your best shot. By then, he is more likely to listen to his friends and resent lectures from his parents. Although he seems young, he may have already started experimenting with drugs. Children of seven or eight will understand and take seriously an honest warning about the dangers of addictive drugs.

Be supportive. One of the best protections against drug abuse and addiction is to be supportive and involved in your child’s life. Take an interest in his activities and know who his friends are. Reinforce his good behavior with sincere appreciation. Remember that part of being supportive is setting firm boundaries and making sure there are fair but certain consequences for bad behavior. Having a supportive relationship with your child is good in itself and it will also let you respond more quickly and effectively if something goes wrong.

Know the signs of drug abuse. Don’t assume that just because you’ve tried to be a good parent and your child is a good kid that addiction can’t happen. Watch out for warning signs that your child is using drugs and deal with it right away. Warning signs may include sudden changes in behavior, especially aggressive behavior, sullenness, avoiding eye contact, or being secretive. He may suddenly have different friends. Paraphernalia, such as pipes, lighters, rolled up paper, or burnt foil is a definite sign.

Watch for signs of sexual or physical abuse. Addiction often begins with some kind of trauma or abuse. The addict feels intense shame and uses to relieve the pain. If your child is acting strange around someone or trying to avoid that person, it might be a sign of abuse. Your child is not likely to tell you about abuse because abusers often threaten their victims or make them believe the abuse is their own fault.

Be careful during transition periods. Pay special attention to your child after you move or after he has changed schools, including transfers or graduations. Entering middle school or high school can be stressful and children often feel pressure to fit in.

Addiction sometimes happens despite our best efforts. If someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com.

Be Sensitive to your Senses in Early Sobriety

Be Sensitive to your Senses in Early Sobriety

Perhaps the most important part of recovery is figuring out what your triggers are and how to deal with them. A trigger can be almost anything–a place, such as a favorite bar, certain people you used to get high with, or any situation that causes you stress or anxiety. Sensory triggers can be very strong, especially smells. Your sense of smell is different from other senses in that it is hardwired directly into the parts of your brain responsible for fear, emotions, memory, and learning. It is the most primitive sense, strongly connected to food and sex. The smell of hamburgers on a grill, even from a mile away, can make you hungry.

Consider, then, the danger certain smells can pose during recovery. How many distinctive smells are associated with addiction? The smells of beer, tequila, and gin are unmistakable and they can fill a room. The smells of marijuana, meth, and crack are just as distinctive and disburse more widely when smoked. Even cigarettes can be dangerous. The smell of cigarette smoke is closely associated with drinking and drug use and although smoking is not as common as it used to be, you are likely to catch a whiff of cigarette smoke while strolling through any random neighborhood.

Smells can evoke powerful memories, sometimes things we’ve completely forgotten about. Sometimes these memories are bad and evoke stress and anxiety. We may hardly be aware of why we suddenly feel a bit rotten. Being suddenly confronted with a difficult memory may lead to cravings and wanting to escape.

All of this may be compounded by a period of sobriety. If you have been in a treatment center away from all alcohol, drugs, and cigarettes, you have probably gotten used to their absence. Just as your tolerance to drugs and alcohol have gone down with abstinence, you are no longer used to the smell. When you find yourself in the world again, you will probably be extra sensitive to the smells you have been away from for so long. Even faint smells may have a big effect on you.

It’s important to pay attention to what you are experiencing–sounds, smells, images, people. They all have some effect on your emotions. Most of them are neutral or good, but some of them may be difficult. They may be stressful and strongly associated with your addiction. If you aren’t aware of what caused a craving or a feeling of anxiety, it can make you even more anxious. You might feel maybe you’ll never escape cravings and relapse is inevitable. If you notice the stimulus that caused the craving, though, you have a little more control over the feeling. You can say to yourself, “Oh, it’s a warm day and I smell cigarette smoke. This reminds me of that time my friend and I got drunk on his porch,” or whatever. Being aware also helps you avoid sensory triggers until you feel more able to manage them.

If you are struggling with addiction or relapse, Gardens Wellness Center can get you back on track and help you find ways of dealing with stress and triggers. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com.

Will My Detox Center Offer Other Forms of Treatment?

Will My Detox Center Offer Other Forms of Treatment?

Much of the treatment you receive in a detox center will be standard medical treatment. You give a medical history when you are admitted. You get get IV fluids and vitamins to stabilize you. You get prescription medications to treat your anxiety and other withdrawal symptoms. You will talk to a therapist. All of these are well-established medical practices and most of them work directly on your physiology in clinically-proven ways.

There are, however, other forms of treatment that might help you feel better faster. Many of these have existed for a long time–thousands of years, in the case of acupuncture–but have only recently begun to get attention as legitimate forms of treatment. Many detox centers have begun to realize that it’s important to treat the whole patient and so they may offer more than the standard bedrest, medication, and counselling.

These other forms of treatment might include acupuncture, massage therapy, meditation, yoga, art or music therapy, and exercise. While the goal of mainstream interventions is to get you stabilized and counteract the symptoms of withdrawal, these complementary forms of treatment take a longer view toward restoring health.

Acupuncture, for example, has been practiced in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. The goal of acupuncture treatment is not only to treat symptoms, but also rebalance your body for optimal health. Research shows that certain acupuncture techniques, like the NADA protocol can reduce your withdrawal symptoms and reduce your risk of relapse.

Other complementary treatments, like meditation, yoga, art, music, and exercise are activities you can keep doing for the rest of your life. Meditation, yoga, and exercise can all form the basis of a healthier lifestyle, while art and music can be a new form of self-expression. All of these help you manage stress and maintain a positive outlook, which is vital to staying in recovery.

Different facilities offer different treatment options. Some may offer a broad range, some may offer a few specific things. Some will be rather spartan. It’s important for you to consider the options a detox center offers before committing to one. Alternative or complementary therapies work best in combination with more regular medical treatment.

Human dignity has value. When a loved one chooses detox, they should be comfortable and treated with respect. Struggling with addiction is not something punished. Recovery should be supported with empathy and acceptance. Gardens Detox stands out, changing the way the industry approaches detox. Call us today for information on our programs:  (844) 325-9168

Why Four Loko Was Banned and Where it Isn’t

Why Four Loko Was Banned and Where it Isn’t

Four Loko was originally an alcoholic energy drink. It was malt liquor that contained caffeine, taurine, and guarana and sold in a 24 ounce can. It first came on the market in 2005 and was banned in many states in 2010.

Several different concerns led to the ban of Four Loko. The first is that mixing alcohol and caffeine is dangerous. Caffeine masks the effects of alcohol, making you feel more alert than you normally would after drinking a certain amount. This can lead to drinking too much without realizing it, leading to blackouts and alcohol poisoning.

Alcoholic energy drinks are also associated with a greater likelihood of binge drinking. This is partly because of caffeine’s masking effect and partly because of the deceptively large quantity of alcohol in a can of Four Loko. A 24 ounce can contains about as much alcohol as four or five 12 ounce cans of beer. The caffeine also appeals to people who want to party longer, which is to say some of the negative effects associated with Four Loko are because people who were drinking it were planning to drink a lot anyway.

A final problem with Four Loko is that the company appeared to specifically target a younger demographic, promoting their products on social media and using young-looking models in their advertizing. That’s in addition to adding alcohol to a product–energy drinks–that is already popular among younger consumers. In a settlement with several states’ attorneys general, Four Loko was specifically prohibited from using these tactics to target younger consumers.

These three concerns–that caffeine masks the effects of alcohol, that caffeinated energy drinks are associated with binge drinking, and that Four Loko targeted younger customers–came together in a couple notable incidents leading to Four Loko’s ban. In one incident, nine students, aged 17 to 19, at Central Washington University were hospitalized with dangerously high blood alcohol levels. This led to Four Loko being banned in the state of Washington. In another incident, 17 students and six visitors at Ramapo College in New Jersey were hospitalized, leading to a Four Loko ban on its campus. After that, many other colleges banned the drink as well and soon it was banned by many states and many retailers stopped selling it.  

Four Loko and other varieties are back on the market today in 49 states, but it’s not the same drink originally banned in many states. It has been reformulated without caffeine, guarana, and taurine, so that it is no longer an energy drink at all and so no longer masks the effects of excessive consumption. Also, Four Loko is no longer allowed to use advertising targeted to consumers under 25 years old.

START your recovery at the Gardens Wellness Center in North Miami. Our comfortable environment offers the highest luxuries in detox, making sure you are safe and encouraged to make it through withdrawals. Changing the way we approach detox, our program is focused on holistic care in order to create a foundation of recovery. For information, call:  (844) 325-9168