As a parent, of course you want the best for your children, and it can be heartbreaking to see them putting themselves at risk. Fortunately, there are several common signs of drug use in teens that you can watch out for. It is important to note that these indicators are not guarantees that your teen is doing drugs, nor is the absence of them a guarantee that your child is drug-free.
If you do notice any of these warning signs, though, there is a good chance that there is something going on in your child's life that may require greater attention from you. Read on to learn some of the most common signs that your teen is experimenting with drugs or alcohol.
When your teen comes home after a night out with friends, take a few minutes to have a conversation face to face. If your teen has been drinking, you'll be able to smell the alcohol on their breath. Similarly, you'll be able to smell cigarette or marijuana smoke on their clothes or in their hair. With the smoke odors, you don't necessarily need to jump to the conclusion that your teen is smoking; it could be that they were just around others who smoke. Keep an eye out for other warning signs to verify your concerns.
Changes to the Eyes
When your teen is under the influence, you may notice changes to their eyes. The whites of the eyes could become bloodshot or the pupils could become dilated or constricted. Your teen's eyelids may look a bit droopy and they could have difficulty staying awake in a manner that is inappropriate for the time of day. Finally, your teen might have trouble focusing or they might make a point of avoiding eye contact.
Evidence of Reckless Driving
If your teen has his or her own car or drives yours from time to time, watch out for any new dents or scratches that you cannot explain, as this could be a sign that your teen is driving unsafely. If your vehicle has a teen driving monitoring feature, watch for sudden changes to the way your teen drives, like speeding where they usually drive normally, heavy braking or rapid acceleration. Of course, it could just be that your teen is feeling more comfortable behind the wheel with more experience and, thus, is willing to take more risks while driving, but if these behaviors seem to happen after a certain point in the day or after hanging out with certain friends, drugs or alcohol could be the culprit.
Sudden Change in Grades
If your teen was once a straight-A student and is suddenly bringing home Cs, it could be that drugs or alcohol are taking them away from their studies. This could be true if their grades have suddenly gone up as well. Prescription medications for attention deficit disorders have become popular among students seeking more energy and focus to help them study. Be sure to check in with your teen to ensure they aren't pushing themselves too hard with classes that are more challenging than they can handle. If the difficulty level of their classes has remained constant, a sudden change in their grades could indicate drug or alcohol use.
If your teen is using, you may notice that their moods fluctuate from one extreme to another, like laughing hysterically, seemingly at nothing, or suddenly breaking down in tears for no apparent reason. In many cases, these mood swings may seem to be completely unrelated to what is going on at the time. Of course, teens are notorious for being moody and irritable, even when they are not on drugs, so watch for other signs to corroborate your suspicions.
If your normally chatty teen suddenly becomes reserved and withdrawn, it is possible they may be hiding something from you. If every question you ask is met with complaints that it's "none of your business," you may need to probe more deeply. As a parent, your child's behavior IS your business, no matter what your teen believes.
Watch for discrepancies between what your teen tells you and what you see on their social media feeds as well. Other possible warning signs could include hanging up the phone or closing a laptop the moment you walk into a room, covering their phone screen whenever you walk by or showing increased concern for personal privacy.
Overuse of Scented Products
Perhaps your teen just discovered perfume or cologne and hasn't yet learned that less is more when it comes to fragrance. In this case, all your teen may need is a simple lesson from you as to how to properly apply these types of products. However, it is also possible that your teen is using scented products, like incense or air freshener, to mask the smell of smoke or alcohol. Take note of whether this overuse of scents is a constant issue or if it only happens at certain times of the day or after your teen returns from being out with friends.
Presence of Drug Paraphernalia
This is one of the easiest ways to identify that your teen may be using drugs. Depending on your parenting style and relationship with your teen, you may or may not feel comfortable searching their bedroom. However, you don't necessarily need to conduct a full-on search. Pay attention to any unusual smells when you are putting their laundry away, and listen for sounds of scrambling when you knock on the door. This could be a sign that your teen is trying to hide something before you enter. When checking prescription bottles for expiration dates, watch for anything unexpected, anything not in your child's name or for different types of pills in the same bottle.
It is not just the drugs themselves that you need to be on the lookout for; look for drug-related paraphernalia as well, like rolling papers, short straws or rolled up dollar bills, burnt teaspoons, syringes and other items. People who don't use drugs typically do not have these types of items, so the presence of them is a strong indicator that your teen is using.
Change in Circle of Friends
The high school years are some of the most formative in a teenager's life, so it is common for teens to make new friends and lose touch with old ones as they forge their own identities. These changes typically do not happen overnight, but rather, gradually over the years. However, if your teen is suddenly running with a completely different crowd and has zero interest in spending time with friends from their younger years, it could be that those old friends don't approve of the way your teen has changed, possibly due to drugs or alcohol.
If your teen once had friends over frequently and now never brings anyone around, this is another possible warning sign that these new friends may not have the best influence on your teen. Your child likely knows that you wouldn't approve of their new crew and so wants to keep you separated from their friends.
When under the influence, many people find that they have less control over their bodies than they usually do, resulting in stumbling, walking into things, and even falling. If your teen is coming home with unexplained injuries, it could be that they injured themselves while taking drugs or alcohol. Of course, it is also possible that your child is being bullied at school or purposefully harming themselves, so don't ignore these possibilities as well.
When asking your teen about their injuries, make sure they know that you are coming from a point of compassion, not accusation. Let them know that you just want to make sure they aren't in any danger at school, at a friend's home or in other locations they frequent.
Unless your teen has a steady job, which is unlikely if they are using drugs or alcohol on a regular basis, he or she will need an ongoing supply of money to pay for their habit. Although it is common for teens to ask you for money fairly frequently, take note if you find money missing from your wallet. While it is not uncommon for teens to sneak a bit of money here and there, you need to be aware of how much and how often. Frequent theft could signal that your teen needs more and more money to fund a burgeoning addiction.
Drastic Weight Changes
If your teen is using drugs or alcohol, they may skip meals in favor of doing drugs, and many drugs, especially those in the "upper" category, diminish appetite. This could cause your teen to lose a lot of weight in a short period of time. At the other end of the spectrum, marijuana often gives people "the munchies," making them more likely to gorge on snacks, most commonly the unhealthy ones, possibly causing your teen to gain weight.
Weight changes in the teenage years are common, as your teen is growing into their adult body, so weight change alone is not necessarily an indicator of drug use. However, if the weight change was drastic and sudden, drugs could be playing a role. Of course, check with your teen's doctor first to ensure that the weight change isn't the result of a medical condition.
Start by Talking to Them
If you have suspicions that your teen is using drugs or alcohol, your first recourse should be to sit down and have an open, honest conversation with your teen. Do your best to remain calm and not to yell, as you want your teen to feel as comfortable as possible opening up to you. If you have used drugs or alcohol in the past, you may wish to share a bit of your own experience to show your teen that you are not as out-of-touch as they might think. Use your experiences to educate them about the dangers of using drugs and offer to help them get clean if they wish to.
Don't worry if your teen doesn't open up to you right away. Your teen may feel more comfortable discussing sensitive topics with a school counselor or therapist than with a parent, so don't be shy about utilizing these options. Also, don't be surprised if your teen denies using drugs until faced with incontrovertible evidence that they are, in fact, using. It may take several attempts before you get positive results, if at all.
Get Your Teen the Help They Deserve
If you have tried to help your teen quit using drugs to no avail, it may be time to take more drastic measures. Here at Pemarro Recovery Center, we offer inpatient rehabilitation services for individuals of all ages, including teens. Our compassionate rehab programs focus not just on helping your teen get clean, but also on addressing any problems in their life that may have led them to drugs or alcohol in the first place.
From the moment your teen arrives at our facility, they'll be treated in a manner that is caring, compassionate and understanding. We recognize that no two cases of addiction or drug use are alike, just as no two users are alike. Although we do conduct group therapy sessions, we also work with each patient on an individualized basis as well, helping to get to the root of their unique needs.
We welcome you to get in touch with us to learn more about our rehabilitation programs. Our associates will take the time to answer your questions about our facility and treatment philosophy, and we'll take you on a tour of our facility. We want you to have all the information you need to make an informed decision about choosing us for your teen's care. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help your teen beat addiction and live a drug-free life.
When most people think of addiction, they conjure up images of people using drugs or drinking alcohol to excess. However, there are many other types of addiction besides substance addiction. Addictions fall into two primary categories: chemical and behavioral. Each class of addiction requires a different approach to treatment. Here's what you need to know.
This category encompasses addictions to a variety of substances, including illegal drugs like cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin and more. It also includes legal drugs like prescription medications, whether prescribed or purchased illegally. Alcohol and tobacco also fall into this category. Chemical addictions even include common substances that are popular for everyday use, like caffeine.
When a person is suffering from a chemical addiction and they take the substance, their body undergoes physical changes, including things like feelings of euphoria, reduction in pain and other enjoyable effects. However, once the substance has left the body, the person typically experiences physical cravings for the substance. In some cases, the aftereffects are so strong, as with heroin use, that it seems like the only recourse is to get high once more.
This vicious cycle of getting high, feeling worse afterwards and getting high again to counteract the negative side effects plays a major role in what makes certain substances so addictive. In the most extreme cases, withdrawal symptoms can even be deadly. Of course, ingesting these substances can sometimes be fatal as well so it is important to seek treatment as quickly as possible when you are in the throes of a chemical addiction.
Many believe that a genetic component comes into play in chemical addictions, meaning that if someone else in your family suffered from substance addiction, you are more likely to fall into a similar pattern of behavior. This is not to say that everyone who has a history of chemical addiction in their family will become an addict, but rather that certain individuals may be more at risk than others. Those who have no history of addiction in their families can become addicted to drugs or alcohol just as easily as those who come from a family of addicts.
Treatment for Chemical Addictions
The treatment for most chemical addictions typically starts with a period of detoxifying the body, ridding it of any foreign substance that remains. For many, this is the most challenging part of the treatment process as the body goes through withdrawal symptoms. As previously mentioned, withdrawal can sometimes lead to a person's death, so it is crucial to go through this process under the watchful care of a professional, like a doctor or addiction specialist.
Once the substance has left the body, the focus of treatment shifts to the mind. In this phase, the patient typically goes through some form of therapy, either in a group or individual setting, often both. The goal of this process is to identify the underlying triggers that drive a person to use in the first place. Individual therapy is great for getting down to the root of the problem, while group sessions are helpful in learning how to communicate effectively with others. Hearing the personal stories of others can help the patients to reevaluate their own behaviors and learn from their past mistakes.
After the trigger points have been identified, the patient can then move on to learning more constructive ways to deal with stress, pain, loneliness, boredom and other common triggers. By replacing negative actions, like substance abuse, with more positive alternatives, like exercise, spending time with loved ones and learning new skills, the patient learns how to manage their emotions and urges in a healthy way.
Following treatment, the patient may continue to attend therapy sessions to help maintain their progress or they may join a support group to keep them on track. Many options follow the 12-step program pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous. Throughout the program, participants are asked to evaluate their lives, make amends to those they have wronged in the past and shift their focus to their spirituality. Although these types of programs don't necessarily work for every addict, many individuals have found great success with them.
Behavioral addictions encompass those activities that people can grow to perform compulsively. Typically, these actions generate some form of pleasure for the practitioner, either mentally or physically. In many cases, the feelings that people get when they engage in their addictive behavior closely resemble those of substance addiction, including feelings of euphoria and excitement.
Many of the behaviors that can become addictions are not harmful in and of themselves, like exercise, eating, sex and shopping. It is when these behaviors are taken to such an extreme that they become disruptive to a person's life that they warrant the classification of behavioral addiction. When a person is suffering from a behavioral addiction, they will continue to engage in a certain behavior, even if it is causing problems in their career, health, personal relationships and other areas of their life.
This type of addiction is psychological, rather than physical, so you won't see the physical withdrawal symptoms that you would with substance addictions. You can, however, notice psychological signs of withdrawal, including irritability and stress when unable to perform a particular action or behavior.
In many cases, behavioral addictions coincide with other mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. In some cases, the addiction triggers the mental health issues, while in other cases, the effect is reversed. In still other cases, the two are not directly related, but instead, combine to create a person who is incapable of escaping their dysfunction without help.
Treatment for Behavioral Addictions
Because there is minimal risk for health complications during the "withdrawal" period, treatment for behavioral addictions focuses on the mental aspects of recovery. As with chemical addiction treatment, much of the treatment for behavioral addictions concentrates on identifying trigger points for the behavior and replacing unhealthy actions with healthier alternatives.
Treatment for behavioral addiction can be done in both inpatient and outpatient settings, and, like treatment for chemical addiction, can incorporate both individual and group therapy. Support groups are common in this type of treatment as well, including 12-step programs and other similar methods.
Because behavioral addictions often go hand in hand with mental health disorders, many treatment programs incorporate psychology or psychiatry as well in an effort to combat other conditions that may be exacerbating the problem. If you, like many others, suffer from multiple conditions, you would do well to look for a treatment facility that can accommodate your needs.
Many patients prefer to start with an inpatient treatment program before moving on to an outpatient program. A key benefit of going this route is that inpatient treatment takes you out of your normal environment, helping you to avoid many of the triggers that contribute to your addiction. This way, you'll be able to focus on your recovery in a controlled environment that prevents you from going back to your addictive behaviors.
By the time you make the transition to outpatient treatment, you'll be armed with a variety of tools and techniques to help you stay the course on your own. Of course, with outpatient treatment, you'll still have to attend therapy sessions or support groups, but the focus will have shifted from eliminating the addictive behavior to maintaining your adherence to your new lifestyle.
Choosing the Right Treatment Facility
Each addict's needs are different, so the best treatment facility for one person may not be suitable for another. In choosing a treatment facility, whether inpatient or outpatient, it is important to find the one in which you feel most comfortable. Each treatment facility has its own philosophy as to how to treat various addictions, so you need to find the one that makes the most sense for you.
For example, if you are the type of person who thrives under adversity, you would likely do well with a boot camp-style treatment program. If, on the other hand, you tend to be more sensitive, a compassionate treatment program would likely be better for you. However, you may also find that a program that forces you to get out of your comfort zone may be more effective. Think about your personality and preferences to decide which style of treatment is right for you.
You'll also want to take the location of the facility into consideration. You may wish to get as far away from your usual environment as possible or you may prefer to stay close to home. Also, some treatment programs allow family to visit during the course of treatment so you'll need to take that into consideration as well. If you don't wish to see your family during treatment in order to allow you to focus on your recovery with minimal distractions, be sure to communicate your wishes to them in advance. However, seeing your family may help motivate you to work even harder to conquer your addiction.
Finally, you'll need to evaluate the specific addictions that a facility specializes in treating. Some rehabilitation centers take a general approach that can be applied to many different addictions, while others offer a more narrow focus, treating only addictions to specific substances or behaviors, for example. In a general setting, you'll learn techniques and strategies that can be applied to any addiction, while in a more specialized facility, you'll be surrounded by others in similar situations to your own.
If you suffer from mental health conditions alongside your addiction, be sure to choose a facility that offers mental health care services as well. With multiple conditions, you'll need more specialized treatment. Make sure that the facility you choose can accommodate these needs.
Before you check yourself into a treatment facility, take the time to meet with the care providers to get a better sense of how they approach treatment. During this time, you'll also have the opportunity to tour the facility and get a better sense of what your life will be like for the duration of your treatment period. Pay attention to how you feel while at the facility; you'll be spending a fair bit of time there and you won't be able to fall back on your addiction if you are feeling less than comfortable. Take your time in evaluating your options to find the best fit.
Get the Treatment You Need
Here at Pemarro Recovery Center, we have helped countless individuals on their quests to recover from their addictions, and we can help you too. Our caregivers are highly trained in helping patients get through the difficult early stages of substance withdrawal. This prepares them to transition to an inpatient or outpatient treatment program later on.
In addition to providing the medical care needed during withdrawal, we also provide individual and group counseling to get our patients started on the path to recovery. Our caregivers are compassionate and work with each patient on an individualized basis, creating a personalized plan for their ongoing treatment and recovery.
We welcome you to get in touch with us to learn more about our facility and the care that we provide. Our caregivers will be happy to answer your questions and take you on a tour of our recovery center. Reach out to us today to schedule an appointment for a tour.
Experts have learned a lot about the impact alcohol, tobacco, and drug use during pregnancy has on the unborn fetus. While most of us might think that tobacco and alcohol use poses the biggest threat today, drug use during pregnancy is a serious problem that is increasing. More than half of all pregnant women either take prescription or nonprescription drugs or use social or illicit drugs at some point of their pregnancy.
Many women will require some kind of medication during their pregnancy. It is up to the woman and her doctor to weigh the benefits against the potential risks to determine what she should take. Not all drugs enter the body through the same channels. While some are capable of crossing the placenta and reaching the fetus, others do not. Those that do can affect the baby directly, leading to birth defects, health conditions, and even fetal or maternal death.
Doctors must determine the advantages and disadvantages of all kinds of drugs. Even seemingly harmless medications like over-the-counter medicine can present some risk to the well-being of the woman and the fetus depending on what is in them. The obstetrician caring for the mother-to-be has in-depth knowledge about these medications and when to use them in any situation.
Why Drug Use During Pregnancy Is So Dangerous
It isn’t just the mother who is at risk from drugs. Many of the most popular illicit drugs cross the placenta and impact the health of the growing fetus. During pregnancy, the placenta contains little hairlike projections called ‘villi’ which extend into the wall of the uterus. The villi contain some of the fetus’s blood vessels. The placental membrane provides a thin barrier between the mother’s blood and the fetus’s blood contained in the villi. When a drug is in her bloodstream, it crosses the membrane and enters these blood vessels before passing through the umbilical cord and into the fetus.
The effects of the drug on the fetus depend on what the drug is, how strong it is, the fetus’s stage of development, and how much of the drug is passed from the mother to the fetus. The latter depends on the mother’s genetic makeup and how her body processes the drug.
When it comes to the use of illicit drugs due to addiction or misuse for recreational purposes, the risks become much greater. Some examples of drugs that pose a risk in pregnancy today include:
While tobacco and alcohol are not considered “illegal or illicit” drugs, some experts consider them to be more dangerous than many of those that are. They are also addictive substances that cause well-known problems when used to any degree during pregnancy. We already know that tobacco increases your risk of different types of cancer and other health conditions; but it is even more dangerous when used during pregnancy.
Another concern with the use of tobacco is that someone who smokes cigarettes is more likely to become addicted to drugs if they try them. Nicotine causes changes in the brain that make it easier to become addicted to other substances.
Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth, birth defects, and is associated with a higher incidence of infant death. It increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, which occurs after birth. These problems occur because the carbon monoxide and nicotine in the smoke reduce the amount of oxygen that gets to the baby by narrowing the blood vessels.
Like tobacco, alcohol reaches the fetus through the umbilical cord. Although the risks of drinking small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy aren’t known; experts recommend eliminating its use during pregnancy altogether. Drinking alcohol results in a higher incidence of miscarriage and stillbirths.
Drinking any amount of alcohol during pregnancy can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. FASD includes a number of behavioral, physical, and intellectual disabilities that last throughout the child’s life. The condition can include physical symptoms, such as small head size and abnormal facial features as well health issues such as hearing and vision problems or conditions involving the heart, kidneys, or bones.
The legal use of marijuana in some states has softened the drug’s reputation in recent years. Even so, there is still plenty to worry about when it comes to using the drug during pregnancy. Like other addictive drugs, marijuana crosses the placenta to the fetus. The smoke from smoking it contains toxins that interfere with the delivery of oxygen to the baby.
What is known is that marijuana increases carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide levels in the blood, reducing the volume of oxygen in the blood. What isn’t as well known is exactly how much of a risk the drug poses. The reason that research has been less conclusive is that many women who smoke pot also use alcohol and tobacco. The decrease in oxygen is likely to cause the same problems including an increased risk of miscarriage, premature births, developmental delays, low birth weight, and learning problems later on.
When a pregnant woman uses cocaine, the drug crosses the placenta to enter the fetus’s circulation. Fetuses eliminate the drug slower than adults do, meaning that it is present in the fetus’s body for a longer period of time. Cocaine causes a number of problems, depending on the stage of pregnancy during which the woman uses the drug. Early on, it may result in miscarriage. Later, it can cause placental abruption, resulting in severe bleeding, early birth, and death of the fetus.
Experts believe there is a greater risk of birth defects when women use cocaine frequently throughout their pregnancy. Frequent use is also linked to smaller head size and general growth restriction. When cocaine use occurs during the later stages of pregnancy, babies may be born with a dependency to the drug. They can suffer from withdrawal symptoms including muscle spasms, tremors, and feeding difficulties. Drug use during pregnancy also leads to defects of the organs and learning difficulties later on.
Heroin is highly addictive and it crosses the placenta to the fetus when used during pregnancy. As a result, the baby can be born addicted to the drug. In addition to causing potential premature birth and low birth weight like other drugs already discussed here, heroin can also cause breathing difficulties, bleeding in the brain, low blood sugar, and infant death.
Babies born addicted to the drug often suffer withdrawal symptoms including convulsions, diarrhea, irritability, joint stiffness, and problems with sleeping. Pregnant women who inject heroin are also at a greater risk of contracting HIV and potentially passing it to the fetus.
Treatment for heroin addiction in pregnant women is especially challenging. Often, healthcare providers use methadone treatment to reduce the impact of the detox process. In spite of the challenges in treating heroin addiction during pregnancy, it is always a better option than waiting until after the delivery of the baby.
Some common street names of methamphetamine include meth, crank, speed, and glass. By any name, methamphetamine causes many of the same problems that occur with cocaine. It reduces the amount of oxygen delivered to the baby, leads to low birth weight, premature labor, miscarriage, and placental abruption.
Babies are sometimes addicted to meth at birth and suffer the symptoms of withdrawal. Experts believe that taking meth during pregnancy leads to learning disabilities later on.
Why Pregnancy Often Accompanies Addiction
Under normal circumstances, pregnant women make choices that they feel will be best for their growing babies. There are two situations that usually lead to drug use during pregnancy:
Research has not proven the effects of most drugs when used once during the first trimester of pregnancy. Certainly, the greatest risk comes from repeated use throughout the pregnancy. If you used a drug once before learning you were pregnant, the risks of side effects are much lower.
The second situation is the one that causes the greatest risk to the fetus. As you can tell from the descriptions of potential effects from the drugs listed here, the fetus can pay for the drug use for the rest of their life or with their life!
Of course, the best course of action is to get treatment for addiction before getting pregnant. However, many women engage in risky behavior because of their addiction, resulting in unplanned pregnancy.
The only alternative is to go through detox to flush the drug from your system as soon as you realize you are pregnant. It is imperative that you find an experienced treatment center to oversee the detox process for the comfort and safety of you and your baby.
What To Do if You're Pregnant and Have an Addiction
Pregnancy is an exciting time in any woman’s life. For the addict, it is often more emotional and worrisome than normal. You have more choices to make, each of which could have a serious impact on you and your baby. You need to be your healthiest in order to ensure the health of your baby now and long after birth.
Although overcoming tobacco addiction is difficult, your physician can help you determine the tools that are safe and effective to help you stop. Every cigarette you smoke while pregnant puts your baby at a greater risk of the effects of nicotine and carbon monoxide.
Alcohol, opioid, and narcotic dependence require professional treatment starting with detox. Don’t let the potential risks of the detox process keep you from seeking help to quit your addiction. Medical supervision reduces the risk to you and your baby. At the same time, failing to get help and continuing with drug use is much more likely to lead to complications or side effects.
Your healthcare provider will discuss your options with you and recommend the safest course of treatment. Make sure you tell your doctor that you are pregnant and be honest about the extent of your drug use. The best treatment plan is one that an experienced medical provider designs specifically for you and your needs.
Finding a Treatment Center
Detox is the first step in treating substance abuse and addiction. The idea of going through detox and the symptoms of withdrawal is scary under any circumstances. The fear is only stronger when you face the prospect of detox during pregnancy. The treatment center you choose should offer flexibility in the types of support and treatment they provide.
Who do you want to help you with the process? Do you want to rely on yourself for the outcome of your treatment? Is there a friend or family member that you rely on for support? The emotional support you receive is just as important as the education and experience of each staff member.
Making the decision to get treatment is probably one of the hardest ones you will make during your lifetime. Every detail matters from the setting to the attitudes of the staff members. You want a facility that treats your addiction as an illness and a team that treats you with respect and compassion.
Going through detox is the right decision for you and your baby. Professional, medically supervised detox is the only choice to ensure the well-being of you and your baby. Any addiction has potential risks. Don’t let your addiction lead to problems for your baby or for you.
Pemarro Recovery Center is a medically managed detoxification center located in a natural, peaceful setting. We provide the initial stage of physical healing from addiction in preparation for your continued treatment. Detoxification is the first step in the treatment of addiction disorders. We provide evidence-based treatment methods and expert medical supervision for safe detox and stabilization.
If you are pregnant and have an addiction to drugs or alcohol, contact Pemarro today. Every day that you spend with your addiction puts you and your baby at a greater risk. We understand what you’re going through. You can count on our team to treat you with compassion, kindness, and respect throughout your time with us. Drug use during pregnancy is never the right choice.
We often hear of methadone clinics opening to help treat drug addiction, but many people wonder: “What is methadone and why is it used?” The simple answer is that methadone is a drug that helps people get over their addiction from other drugs. The method by which it works requires a more complex answer.
What is Methadone?
Methadone belongs to the group of drugs known as “opioids.” This group also includes heroin, oxycodone, codeine, and morphine. The drug is used in powder, liquid, and tablet form. All opioids interact with receptors on the nerve cells in a person’s body and brain.
Doctors prescribe opioids to relieve acute pain. In addition to being effective painkillers, the drugs also produce a sense of euphoria. This quality is what often leads to misuse and addiction. The fact that methadone, an opioid drug, is used to treat addiction to other opioid drugs such as heroin or prescription painkillers makes it an even more confusing drug to many people. Many have very real concerns that the process is simply substituting one addiction for another.
While methadone produces a similar effect to other opioids like heroin, it causes a milder effect. This prevents the addict from going through withdrawal during the addiction treatment. Sometimes methadone treatment is referred to as “replacement therapy.” The methadone replaces stronger drugs with a milder one that helps control their symptoms.
Some common side-effects of short-term use include:
Methadone is commonly used with a treatment program to help patients addicted to heroin and other opioids through the detox phase. When the addiction is to methadone, methadone may be tapered off gradually, or a different opioid may be used.
Withdrawal from opioid drugs often causes excessive tear formation, runny nose, aching muscles, muscle and abdominal cramps, nausea, and malaise. These symptoms can progress to much more dangerous and life-threatening ones. Drug cravings are often prominent even after the physical symptoms of withdrawal subside.
Once they become stable, they may be permitted to take the drug at home between program visits. Depending on the cause of the addiction, a person may require months to years of treatment. Once treatment is complete, the doctor reduces the drug gradually to prevent symptoms of withdrawal.
People are often concerned when a “drug clinic” moves into their neighborhood. Failing to understand “what is methadone?” and why the clinic is providing it to patients makes them feel they are at risk.
Many medical professionals are more concerned about meeting the needs of the patient. Methadone is not a cure for addiction. It is merely a tool that helps patients manage their symptoms better during recovery. It provides the comfort and stability needed during long-term treatment.
A key factor in the successful use of methadone treatment is medical supervision. The potential for addiction to the drug and for dangerous side-effects makes it imperative that the patient uses the drug according to the prescriber’s instructions.
Detox: The First Step
Detoxification is always the first step in addiction treatment and recovery. This is the process of getting the addictive substance out of their body and reaching physical stability. During the initial step of addiction treatment, the person no longer takes the substance of use. The toxins are flushed from the body, resulting in the accumulation of symptoms known as “withdrawal syndrome.”
Opioid addiction is an epidemic in the United States today. The highly addictive nature of these drugs, combined with the euphoric sensations they produce, has led to extensive drug misuse. Some addictions result from drug misuse while others begin with prescription drugs for pain treatment.
In either case, the addiction occurs with repeated use that causes changes in the behavior of neurons in the brain. Once addicted, their brain can only function normally when the drug is present. Once the drug is taken away, the brain must adjust to a sudden change in levels of biochemicals it produces. This is what causes the symptoms associated with withdrawal syndrome.
Every addiction treatment plan begins with detox. It isn’t until the person has the drug flushed from their bodies that they can begin to work through the physical and mental issues that caused the addiction in the first place.
The detox phase is the one that presents the greatest physical danger to the patient. This is when medical supervision is the most important. An experienced and devoted medical team will work to keep the patient safe and as comfortable as possible throughout the detox process. Methadone can help make withdrawal a more comfortable process for the individual.
Residential vs Outpatient Treatment
The setting makes a world of difference to the person trying to overcome addiction. The recovery begins with detoxification during which time their safety is at risk. Depending on the substance, the person may have any of a broad range of symptoms including everything from appetite changes to strong drug cravings to seizure or coma.
Recovering from addiction is not just a matter of willpower. It’s the process of taking something away from your body that it has come to depend on. Before you can live your life without drug cravings, all of the substance must be eliminated from your body. It’s always best to have supervision during detox in case any complications arise.
In addition, during outpatient treatment, the person remains in the same setting and with the same people who were part of their addictive lifestyle. Sending the person home with methadone only adds to the potential complications. It puts the responsibility of taking the right dosage at the right time into the hands of the person who may not realize the dangers involved. Some tips recommended for home use of methadone include:
It is easy to see that the responsibility of taking methadone on your own is a huge undertaking. Although outpatient treatment is the only option available to some patients, residential treatment offers a number of advantages.
In residential treatment, trained caregivers provide the appropriate dosage of methadone and any other drugs used in your treatment program. Experienced medical personnel will oversee your treatment and be available in case of complications.
Every drug causes different effects and each person responds differently to methadone treatment. Symptoms are often mild. If you develop rare symptoms that are life-threatening, you want to know someone is there to get your back.
More people have a successful recovery when they receive treatment in a residential facility. It places them in a peaceful setting among others in the same situation as them. If self-help is the only option for you, then you need a treatment facility that works with you and provides support.
What Is Methadone Used For? Misuse vs Addiction
Methadone is one of the opioids being misused in this country, sometimes by children as young as twelve years of age. Some users misuse the drug for purposes other than those prescribed. People often buy synthetic methadone for use as a recreational drug in order to achieve the euphoric feeling it produces.
Misuse simply means using the drug differently than prescribed. Methadone use or misuse might include taking prescription methadone in a larger dosage or more frequently than prescribed. The person might want to increase the pleasant feeling they get from the drug. The signs of methadone abuse are the same as those experienced with its use during detox including nausea and vomiting, constipation, and increased pain.
Addiction occurs with repeated use of the drug that leads to changes in the brain. Potentially, unsupervised use of methadone during detox can result in misuse of the drug. Signs of methadone addiction include using the drug in higher quantities and/or more frequently. People often seek out multiple doctors to get more prescriptions for the drug.
Sometimes methadone addicts “stockpile” their doses and take them together in a single dose later on. Those who become addicted through prescription use will look for alternate sources, including other people who use methadone or other opioids. Methadone addiction often causes the person to give top priority to their drug use while neglecting every other aspect of their lives.
What Are Methadone Treatment’s Known Risks?
Methadone treatment is often an effective method of making patients more comfortable during the detoxification process. Even so, it is not right for everyone. Those with the following conditions may not be good candidates for methadone treatment. Tell your doctor if you have:
You should also tell your doctor if you take sedatives or any drug that makes you sleepy or slows breathing. Methadone can also react with drugs used to change serotonin levels such as antidepressants or other narcotics. In order to use the methadone safely and effectively, tell your doctor everything that could make the use of methadone dangerous for you.
Choosing an Addiction Treatment Center
As explained here, methadone treatment is primarily used for additional safety and comfort during the detox process. The first step in opioid addiction recovery is always detoxification of the addictive substance from the body.
The most important factor in choosing a detox center is experience. The doctor and the entire staff need to have training and hands-on experience treating people with the same issues as you. Often, a treatment center’s website provides a great deal of information. You can learn about the staff, the services offered, and the general attitude of the facility.
Many people choose outpatient treatment because they don’t feel they can afford a residential program. Talk with the facility of choice about the types of insurance they accept. Many insurance policies cover the cost of addiction treatment today.
If you make the choice to enter into residential treatment, make the setting of the facility a part of your decision. A peaceful setting away from the noise and responsibilities of everyday life can make the detox process an easier one for your needs.
If you go to a facility that deals primarily in detoxification, ask what they offer as support throughout the rest of the recovery process. Once you make the decision to overcome your addiction, you need a clear plan to help you get to the end of your personal road to recovery.
Contact Pemarro Recovery Center for experienced detox services in a peaceful country setting. Our facility is located in the tranquil foothills of Ramona, California. Our clients benefit from the expert supervision of one of the foremost addiction treatment specialists in the country. Our competent, qualified team offers compassionate care to make your detox experience as comfortable, safe, and pleasurable as possible.