Why New Year’s Eve In Rehab isn’t a Bad Thing

Why New Year’s Eve In Rehab isn’t a Bad Thing

New Year’s Eve is the biggest party night of the year. It’s the one holiday predicated on staying up late and drinking a toast at midnight. New Year’s Eve celebrations around the world are televised and seems like the whole world is having a party. If you are in treatment, you might feel like you are missing out. You might imagine your friends are having a great time without you while you’re stuck in a treatment center.

There is, however, another way to think about it. New Year’s is a time to reflect on the previous year and think about how you want the next year to be better. For most people, this means joining a gym they never go to or starting a diet that lasts about a week, but for you, it could mean taking a decisive step toward sobriety.

While every day is a good day to quit, think of the significance of having spent New Year’s Eve in rehab. Every new year will a kind of anniversary of your sobriety. While everyone else is getting ready to party, you will think about what you were doing last year and how far you’ve come. It will be as if the whole world is celebrating your recovery.

Then, of course, there is the practical aspect. On a night when everyone is at a party, your willpower will be pushed to its limits. If you are in treatment, you won’t be partying. Instead, you will be among people with the same goal as you, offering each other mutual support. This can become a new tradition. Instead of spending New Year’s Eve with your friends in their cups, you can spend it with your friends in recovery. It can be a kind of yearly affirmation in defiance of the common trend.

Spending New Year’s Eve in rehab is a chance for you to reframe the holiday. Whereas it was once an excuse to party, it can now be an occasion to reaffirm your commitment to sobriety. In future years, you can attend meetings or sober parties and share your experience with others in recovery. AA, NA, and other recovery organizations often host “alcathons”–24-hour meetings so people have somewhere to go on New Year’s–or sober parties. Those can be opportunities to have a bit of fun while getting to know people outside of regular meetings.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help. Don’t let another new year pass without making a change. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com.

Can You Overdose on Meth?

You can overdose on meth. Meth is a powerful, long-acting stimulant that puts a lot of stress on your cardiovascular system. An overdose typically takes the form of a heart attack or stroke. The pulse increases and becomes erratic and the body becomes overheated. Sometimes a person overdosing on meth will go into a coma.

Symptoms of overdose include chest pains, convulsions, confusion or delirium, dehydration, hyperthermia and heavy sweating, rapid breathing, severe high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and stroke, characterized by numbness or loss of control in parts of the body.

If you or someone else experiences these symptoms, call 911 immediately. Tell them the person’s age and weight, how much he took, how he took it, and when he took it. While waiting for help, there are a few things to do. If the person is having a seizure, make sure he doesn’t hit his head or otherwise hurt himself. Hold his head gently and to the side to prevent choking in case he vomits. Try to cool the person down with ice or a cold compress on the forehead or neck. If possible, get the person to drink some water to combat dehydration.

Around 20,000 people die from meth overdose every year. In number, this is fewer than fatal overdoses from opioids but meth overdoses are more often fatal. While about 10 percent of opioid overdoses are fatal, about 15 percent of meth overdoses are fatal. This is because opioid overdoses typically cause death by suppressing breathing, which can be aided artificially until natural breathing is restored. Meth overdoses, on the other hand, typically cause death by heart attack or stroke, which are more sudden and more difficult to treat.

There is also chronic meth overdose, which is the long-term accumulated damage from meth use. Symptoms of chronic overdose include anxiety and paranoia, disturbed sleep, extreme mood changes, and violent outbursts. Long-term meth use also leads to secondary health issues like compromised immune system, bad teeth, and malnutrition.

 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to meth or other drugs, don’t wait for an overdose. By then, it may be too late. Addiction gets worse every day and as long as it goes untreated, there will be risk of adverse health effects, including fatal overdose. The sooner you get treatment, the better the chances of recovery. Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox and find the best plan of treatment. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

The Effect of Alcoholism on the Heart

The Effect of Alcoholism on the Heart

Moderate alcohol intake–meaning maybe one or two drinks per day–is not likely to damage the heart and some studies suggest it might actually have some benefit. Drinking a bit more tips the scale toward negative effects and heavy prolonged drinking can do serious damage to the heart.

In the short term, even one bout of binge drinking can negatively affect the heart. Binge drinking can disrupt the heart’s rhythm, making it beat irregularly. This can feel like a heart attack, with chest pain and shortness of breath. If you already have a heart condition, this arrhythmia can actually cause a heart attack, possibly a fatal one.

Regular heavy drinking can cause episodes of heartbeats that are too fast, too slow, or irregular. Occasional irregular heartbeat is not especially dangerous, but frequent episodes increase risk of blood clots, which can cause heart attack or stroke. One particularly bad sort of arrhythmia is atrial fibrillation. This is when the upper chambers of the heart quiver rather than beat. This allows blood to pool and clot in the atria. The clots leaving the heart can then cause an ischemic stroke by blocking arteries in the brain.

Heavy prolonged alcohol consumption can lead to high blood pressure, which is one the biggest risk factors for heart attack and hemorrhagic stroke. Drinking causes a temporary increase in blood pressure. If you drink often enough, the arteries begin to harden which causes a permanent increase in blood pressure. Excessive drinking can also lead to weight gain, which increases blood pressure and stress on the heart.

Heavy drinking eventually weakens the heart muscle, a condition called cardiomyopathy. The heart becomes enlarged and unable to pump blood adequately. This condition is called congestive heart failure.

The good news is that much of the heart damage caused by alcohol is reversible. When you stop drinking, blood pressure starts to drop, arrhythmias become less frequent, and arteries begin to heal. The extent to which you can recover depends on how long and how heavily you drank. If you reach the point of cardiomyopathy there might not be much you can do, but up to that point, improvement is possible, even if it requires some medical intervention. The sooner you quit, the better the chances you can recover from the damage.

Heart problems are only a small part of the damage alcoholism can do to your body and your life. If you need help quitting, Gardens Wellness Center can help you detox and make a plan for treatment. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

How Does Narcan Work?

Narcan, or naloxone, is an overdose antidote. It is a prescription drug typically carried by emergency responders and sometimes by private citizens trained in its use. It comes in the form of an injection or a nasal spray and usually brings someone out of overdose within five minutes.

Naloxone is an an opioid antagonist. That means it binds to the same opioid receptors as heroin or other opioids but has none of the effects. Naloxone is more strongly attracted to opioid receptors, which allows it to actually displace the opioid causing the overdose. Once the naloxone displaces the opioid, it occupies the receptor and prevents the opioid from reattaching. This allows the central nervous system to start functioning normally again and breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure can return to normal.

If you think someone is overdosing, naloxone should be administered as soon as possible. There is no harm in giving to someone who isn’t overdosing, although withdrawal will begin immediately. Naloxone is an emergency drug. It can bring someone out of overdose, but he will still need medical treatment.

Naloxone is not a magic cure. Someone who stops breathing for several minutes may still suffer damage to the brain or other organs. You may have to breathe for the overdosing person until help arrives or the naloxone starts working. Although naloxone starts working quickly, five minutes is a long time to deprive the brain of oxygen, especially if heart rate and blood pressure are depressed as well.

Extra potent drugs like fentanyl may require several doses of naloxone. Naloxone is a short-acting drug, which means it starts working quickly–which is essential–but it also stops working quickly, usually after about 20 minutes. Most opioids are depleted enough by this time that the immediate danger of overdose has passed but fentanyl and its analogs are so potent that what remains can still be dangerous. If this is the case, the overdosing person may need another naloxone shot.

 

Nearly 60,000 people died from overdose last year and most of those deaths involved opioids. Naloxone is a valuable medication that can save lives but it is an absolute last resort. If someone close to you might need naloxone, then she certainly needs treatment for addiction. Do what it takes to keep her safe now, but also do what it takes to keep her safe in the future–convince her to get help. Gardens Wellness Center provides medically assisted detox to make withdrawal as painless as possible. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

Depressant vs. Stimulant Addiction

Depressant vs. Stimulant Addiction

Depressants and stimulants are basically opposites. Stimulants wind you up and depressants calm you down. People who feel lethargic or fatigued tend to want stimulants to pick them up. People who feel stressed or anxious tend to want depressants to calm them down. These are broad generalizations but more or less true.

Common stimulants are caffeine, cocaine, meth, Adderall, and Ritalin. A stimulant is anything that increases your energy and focus. They often make you feel confident or euphoric as well. They also wear you down in the long run. Stimulants make it hard to sleep. The less you sleep, the more tired you feel, and the more you need stimulants. It’s a hard cycle to break.

Prolonged abuse of stimulants can lead to heart problems like structural damage or irregular heartbeat. It can also lead to anxiety, fatigue, and paranoia.

People recovering from stimulant addiction tend to feel depressed. They have no energy or focus and generally feel stuck in the mud. They might spend all day in bed. They feel like they’ll never be happy again. Stimulants are a productivity drug that people often start using to perform better at work or school, or just get through the day. Feeling stuck or exhausted is especially difficult because they are used to doing a lot and used to feeling like they have to do a lot. The reluctance to give up that feeling of being supercharged can be a challenge when it comes to getting treatment.

Common depressants are marijuana, alcohol, opioids, benzos, and barbiturates. A depressant is anything that calms you down and chills you out. People typically go for depressants when they feel they need to unwind or when they worry they won’t be able to sleep.

Depressants are more commonly abused than stimulants, possibly because anxiety disorders are one of the top mental health issues in the US. Most people in treatment are in treatment for alcohol addiction and marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug. Although overdoses of meth are more dangerous, overdoses of opioids are more more common.

Detoxing from depressants is also more difficult than detoxing from stimulants. Withdrawal from alcohol, barbiturates, and benzos can be fatal and withdrawal from opioids can feel like a really bad flu. While it is advisable to detox in a clinic for any serious addiction, it is particularly important for these drugs.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction to stimulants or depressants, Gardens Wellness Center can help. We can help manage the painful symptoms of withdrawal and get you started in treatment. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

What Causes Heroin Overdose?

Fatal heroin overdoses have risen sharply in the US over the past few years. Nearly 60,000 people died from overdose last year, most of them from opioid or the combination of opioids and other drugs.

Two main factors contribute to this trend. First, over-prescription of opioid painkillers led to widespread addiction. When this problem became apparent, opioids were regulated more heavily, and thus became harder to get. As a result, many people decided not to bother with painkillers at all and just buy heroin instead. Second, heroin is now commonly laced with fentanyl, which is cheaper and far more potent than heroin. The combination of these factors has created a huge increase in fatal overdoses in the US.

Opioids depress autonomic functions like breathing and heart rate. When someone dies of an overdose, he typically stops breathing because the sensation that reminds your body to breathe is suppressed. Opioids also suppress the gag reflex, so people sometimes die from choking on vomit. Normally, if you were to vomit in your sleep, you would wake up choking and coughing, but if the coughing is suppressed, you just suffocate instead.

Forgetting to breathe is not the only way to die of overdose. An overdose can cause your blood pressure to crash, which might cause your heart to fail. Injecting heroin also makes you much more likely to die from endocarditis, an infection of the heart. An overdose can cause pulmonary edema, a condition in which fluid fills the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe.

Most people who die of overdose are long-time heroin users. New users typically smoke or snort heroin instead of injecting it, which is much more potent. People also to adapt to the psychoactive effects of heroin more quickly than the central nervous system effects. That means at some point, an addict will need a potentially fatal dose to get high.

Most often, though, people overdose when they relapse after a period of not using. Their bodies are no longer used to the effects of the drug, but they try to use at their old level and it’s too much.

There is some good news though–heroin overdoses are not always fatal. Only about 10 percent of people who overdose die. Even someone who stops breathing can survive if he gets help soon enough, especially if Narcan is available to bring him out of the overdose quickly.

 

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, don’t wait for an overdose before getting help. Gardens Wellness Center can make detoxing from opioids as painless as possible and get you started in a treatment program that works for you. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

Addiction and the Central Nervous System

Addiction and the Central Nervous System

Addictive drugs mostly affect the central nervous system, which includes your brain and spinal cord. They typically work by changing the way neurons interact with neurotransmitters, which are the chemical messengers that tell neurons what to do.

Most of the effects drugs have on the body have to do with changing the function of neurotransmitters. Even effects like changes in heart rate and blood pressure are caused by change in neurotransmitters because the nervous system mostly controls those functions. There are long term effects of drug abuse that are not directly related to the nervous system. For example, if prolonged excessive drinking has caused structural damage in the heart or hardening of the arteries, those will cause irregular heartbeat and high blood pressure, respectively.

The addictive aspects of drugs have mostly to do with the central nervous system and they take place on at least two levels. The first level is the balance of neurotransmitters. When a substance changes the level of a neurotransmitter, or changes how that neurotransmitter interacts with neurons, it affects your feelings and perceptions, but it also forces your body to adjust to the change in levels. For example, opioids intensify the production of dopamine in the brain, causing the feeling of euphoria. If you use them frequently enough, your brain starts to realize it’s producing too much dopamine and so it starts producing less. Now you need the opioid to feel normal and that’s how physical dependence forms. When you stop taking the drug, you are stuck with the abnormal balance of neurotransmitters, which makes you feel awful until your brain readjusts to normal levels.

Behavior is the second level at which addiction affects the brain. This actually happens on several levels and it’s related to physical dependence, although addiction can happen without chemical dependence, as we see with gambling, for example. Addictive behavior is complex and variable but perhaps the most important concept is that of triggers. Addiction creates deeply ingrained behavioral networks, or clusters of cues and actions. Anything–a person, a place, a feeling–that is associated with using can trigger a strong craving and perhaps a relapse. Often, people are not even aware of their triggers or why they behave the way they do.

Treating addiction is a complex process. Treatment needs to take place on the physical, emotional, cognitive, and social levels to be effective. It’s not only a matter of willpower or medication. Depending on your addiction, you have to bring different treatments to bear on the different levels of addiction.

Gardens Wellness Center can help you with an individualized plan for recovery. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

Most Common Dual Diagnoses

Most Common Dual Diagnoses

Addiction is often precipitated or compounded by another mental health issue. This is known as a dual diagnosis and it may apply to half of people seeking addiction treatment. Dual diagnoses can be challenging and require special care. If you take medication for a mental health issue, for example, that may affect what medications can be administered during detox. Mental health issues complicate other areas of treatment and recovery as well.

In dual diagnoses, the mental health issue typically comes before the addiction. Overall, about half of people with mental health issues will also have problems with substance abuse. Addiction often worsens mental health issues, and in some cases, causes them. Prolonged cocaine, addiction, for example, can engender anxiety and paranoia. The following conditions are particularly common in people seeking treatment for addiction.

Depression. Depression is the most common mental health issue in the US. It presents a particular challenge to addiction recovery because someone in a depressive episode either doesn’t care about recovering or doesn’t think recovery is possible.

Anxiety. Anxiety disorders are also extremely common. People dealing with anxiety often have trouble with socializing or sleeping. They tend to prefer drugs that calm them down, like alcohol or benzos.

Post-traumatic stress disorder. Symptoms of PTSD include anxiety, obsessiveness, and intense nightmares. Like people struggling with generalized anxiety, people with PTSD usually want something to bring them down or help them sleep.

Bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by massive swings between depression and mania. Bipolar disorder is typically associated with alcoholism.

ADHD. The standard treatment for ADHD is stimulants, particularly Adderall, which is an amphetamine. People medicated for ADHD develop a physical dependence, which, ideally, remains carefully controlled. The medication often interferes with sleep and they may use alcohol to counter the effect.

Antisocial personality disorder. This undermines the formation of strong social bonds that can protect against addiction. Antisocial personality disorder often leads to alcoholism, which can make the condition worse.

Schizophrenia. As with other mental health issues, as many has half of people with schizophrenia may abuse drugs. Cigarette smoking is common and may actually relieve some symptoms.

It is sometimes true that people self-medicate, or that the addiction causes the mental health issue, but more often there is a complex interplay. They may have a common cause, as with PTSD, or they may erode protective factors, as with depression or antisocial personality. Mental health issues are typically complicated in themselves, so even these are overgeneralizations. It’s important to treat the mental health issue along with the addiction because an episode of depression or anxiety often leads to relapse.

Gardens Wellness Center has the resources to treat dual diagnoses. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com to learn more.

How Long Will Cravings Last?

A question people have at every stage of recovery is, “How long with cravings last?” It can be daunting to imagine a future dominated by a perpetual longing to relapse. It’s especially difficult in the early stages of recovery, when you are doing everything right–going to meetings, getting enough sleep, exercising, avoiding triggers, etc.–and you still find yourself thinking about your drug of choice.

If you are doing everything right, or even mostly right, and you still have cravings, don’t worry. Cravings are normal. For a long time, years, decades maybe, this one thing was incredibly important to you. Your brain rewired itself to figure out how to get more of it. That won’t change overnight and it probably won’t go away after a few months of treatment.

The good news is that cravings do fall off sharply after the first week or so. Cravings are most intense during detox, when you feel like you would do anything to make withdrawal stop. For most drugs, withdrawal peaks after a few days, after which the intensity declines quickly. At a certain point, the decline in intensity slows down and you’re on the long road of recovery. The cravings will continue to decrease, but at a frustratingly slow rate.

At this point, you just have to keep doing the things that have been working for you and take it one day at a time. In some ways, recovery is like a breakup with someone who is bad for you. You might miss the person a lot at first and continue to think about him for months or years. After all, that person was a big part of your life. You gradually go from actively resisting getting back together to not having any particular desire to see that person again but you will never forget about him completely.

Remember that a craving is just a feeling. It comes and goes. It may be intense for a few minutes, but if you pay attention, you will notice it never stays intense for long. You probably wait out many temptations every day already. You wait out a craving whenever someone irritates you and you don’t yell in his face, or when you’re running late but resist the urge to drive 100 miles per hour on the interstate. You have an extra challenging craving to manage but it will get easier with practice.

 

Don’t be discouraged by cravings. They are normal and they get easier to deal with. You also don’t have to deal with them alone. Recovery takes teamwork. If you or 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 to learn more.

Alcoholism in History

Alcoholism in History

People have consumed alcohol through most of human history, perhaps all of human history, as animals are sometimes observed intentionally eating fermented fruit. Despite this long history, alcoholism seems to be relatively new. While there have probably been alcoholics at least since the beginning of agriculture, alcoholism has only becoming a widespread problem in recent centuries. Broadly speaking, there are several factors that affect a society’s rate of alcoholism, or as it is usually called historically, “drunkenness.”

Wealth

Excess alcohol consumption doesn’t usually appear in a society until at least some of its members have excess money and time. If food is scarce, it doesn’t make sense to turn some of that food into alcohol. Of course, we see examples today of people buying alcohol at the expense of food, but that’s because the alcohol is already available. Someone else has made it and mass production makes it relatively cheap. Societies have to reach a certain level of wealth before widespread alcoholism is even a possibility, like Elizabethan England, for example.

Cultural attitudes

Ancient Greeks usually drank diluted wine after dinner. While they weren’t averse to occasional drunkenness–read Plato’s Symposium, for example–they more often praised moderation. Republican Romans were similar, drinking mostly at meals. Drinking later became more common as Rome became obscenely rich. Sulla drank himself to death in retirement and Mark Antony drank at the expense of duty and common sense. Some emperors are legendary for their parties.

Availability

In our age of worldwide distribution and unprecedented abundance, it’s easy to forget that famine was a constant threat to our ancestors. A plague or drought could ruin a harvest. Even a culture that celebrates drinking can’t make alcohol without wheat, honey, or grapes. This variability would slow addiction, as nature would impose dry periods every so often.

Potency

The more potent a substance is, the more quickly you become addicted. For thousands of years, alcohol was not particularly concentrated and even then it was often diluted. Even children drank alcohol with meals. When alcohol is more potent, it becomes a problem. For example, when the Romans first introduced wine to Gaul, the tribes there, who were accustomed to beer, didn’t know the wine was supposed to be diluted. This led to widespread drunkenness, which made them easier to conquer. Similarly, distillation turbocharged alcohol addiction in many countries, for example Gin in England and Vodka in Russia.

Drinking is sometimes defended as natural, cultural, or even healthy. This may be true in moderation, but like all good things, we’ve managed to turn alcohol up to 11. We didn’t evolve to drink vodka and whisky, and just as we now enjoy an overabundance of food, we also have an overabundance of alcohol, which even our poorest citizens can acquire. It’s no wonder so many people become addicted.

If you are struggling with alcohol addiction, Gardens Wellness Center can help. Call us today at 844-325-9168 or email us at info@tgwcdetox.com.