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Monthly Archives: June 2021

what does heroin look like

What Does Heroin Look Like and Other Heroin Facts

Currently, the United States is in an opioid epidemic. This is primarily because doctors have been overprescribing patients prescription opioids to help them manage their pain. It also doesn’t help that opioids are highly addictive. While many people end up abusing prescription opioids, others choose to abuse the illegal opioid known as heroin. Many of the people that abuse heroin and/or prescription opioids end up developing an opioid addiction. Once that happens, they must attend detox followed by rehab to get sober again. To understand why people abuse and develop an addiction towards the illegal opioid that’s known as heroin, in particular, one must understand some heroin facts. One should also understand what does heroin look like, and what are street names for heroin

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is an opioid drug from morphine. Morphine is a natural substance that comes from the seedpods taken from the opium poppy flower grown in Southeast and Southwest Asia, Mexico, and Colombia. It is the fastest-acting, and one of the most abused opiates.

A chemist at The Bayer Company of Germany in 1895 created heroin and introduced the substance for medical use in 1898. At the time, the chemist was trying to create a less addictive substitute for morphine

He gave the new drug the name “heroin” for its hoped-for heroic qualities. Unfortunately, the chemist discovered later that heroin is actually two to three times more potent than morphine and absorbs into the brain more rapidly. This makes heroin extremely easy to develop an addiction towards. 

Street Names for Heroin include:

  • Smack
  • Horse
  • Brown sugar
  • Dope
  • H
  • Junk
  • White horse
  • China white
  • Mexican black tar

What Does Heroin Look Like?

What does heroin look like, you ask? Well, the appearance of heroin can vary depending on the color and type of heroin it is in. Below are some of the different answers to the question, what does heroin look like. 

In its purest form, what does heroin look like? A fine white powder. White Heroin

In its purest form, what does heroin look like? A fine white powder. But it is usually “cut,” or mixed with other substances which makes it hard to identify. This mixing of substances also makes heroin change to colors such as rose gray, brown, or black. Additives are used to dilute heroin to give the dealer more product and therefore more profit. 

Heroin is often cut with:

  • flour,
  • sugar,
  • powdered milk,
  • painkillers, or
  • starch.

Brown Heroin

What does heroin look like when it’s brown? Brown heroin isn’t as pure or strong as white heroin because it hasn’t been refined as much. Brown heroin comes from the first stage of purification of the drug. This means that brown heroin is easier to produce and cheaper than white heroin.

Asian Heroin

What does heroin look like when it’s from Asia? Southeast Asian heroin is usually white, powdered, and easy to dissolve. Southwest Asian heroin is a brown coarse powder that doesn’t dissolve well. The color can vary though depending on the substances it’s cut with before it’s sold on the streets.

Black Tar Heroin

What does heroin look like when it’s a black tar-like substance? Black tar heroin is dark brown or black and has a sticky tar-like feel because of the cheap way it’s processed, which is different than the powder form. Once again, the color of heroin can vary depending on the additives. 

You can melt, inject, or smoke black tar heroin. This type of heroin has a low percentage of pure heroin, but it is faster and easier to produce. This, in turn, makes black tar heroin cheaper than other forms of heroin.

A Few Words About Cutting Heroin

You can cut street heroin “cut” with strychnine or other poisons. These additives don’t completely dissolve so when they are injected into the body, they can clog the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, kidneys, or brain. This can lead to infection or the destruction of vital body organs.

Increasingly, heroin mixed with fentanyl increases the potency and the possibility of overdose. The person buying heroin on the street never knows the actual strength of the drug until he or she uses it.

The most popular way to use heroin is to inject it because the effects are felt the quickest that way. How Is Heroin Used?

Heroin can be injected into the veins, smoked, sniffed, or snorted. High-purity heroin is usually snorted or smoked because it is difficult to dissolve. Heroin can be smoked in a pipe, mixed with a marijuana joint, or a regular cigarette. The smoke can also be inhaled through a straw or known as “chasing the dragon.”

The most popular way to use heroin is to inject it because the effects are felt the quickest that way. When it is mainlined, the effects of heroin can be felt within seconds. Studies suggest that injection is the method used by about half of people who use heroin. When heroin is smoked, the peak effects are usually felt in 10 to 15 minutes.

What Are Some Signs of Heroin Use? 

Early on, people may not always be able to detect when others are using heroin. This is particularly true if people are going to great lengths to hide their heroin use. The more people use heroin though, the harder it is to hide.

Signs of heroin use can include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Problems with memory
  • Needle marks (if injecting heroin)
  • Sores or runny nose (is snorting)
  • Constipation
  • Lack of personal hygiene (change in appearance)
  • Aggressive or secretive behavior
  • Money problems
  • School or work problems
  • Dangerously risky behaviors

Who Is Most At Risk for Developing a Heroin Use Disorder?

Anyone who uses heroin is at risk of developing a heroin use disorder. However, there are some factors that increase the risk. Some of these factors include:

  • A personal or family history of substance addictions
  • Heavy use of tobacco
  • A history of severe depression or anxiety
  • Unemployment
  • Frequent contact with high-risk surroundings and people
  • History of risky behavior

If you or your loved one shows one or many of the risk factors above, it doesn’t necessarily mean that a heroin use disorder will happen or has happened. Addiction has many facets. Thus,  there are genetic, psychological, and environmental factors that can impact whether or not a person that abuses heroin develops an addiction to the substance. 

How Does Heroin Affect You?

People who develop heroin addictions describe the high that the drug causes as a feeling of “being covered in a warm blanket, where worries are gone” (Bhandari, 2018). Injecting heroin is the most popular way to used it because it’s the quickest way to feel the high. Sadly, it’s also the most dangerous way to use it because the risk of overdose is higher as well as the danger of developing an infection from using a dirty needle.

Regardless of the method by which heroin gets into a person’s body, the substance will reach the brain immediately. After using heroin only one or two times, it may be difficult to keep from using it again. In fact, most users are aware of the risks involved but are still unable to stop using. Why? Because heroin addiction is extremely powerful and usually requires professional medical treatment to successfully treat and manage the addiction.

How Heroin Affects Your Brain

If you want to know some biological heroin facts, you should learn that heroin attaches to and activates specific receptors in the brain called mu-opioid receptors (MORs). Our bodies have naturally occurring chemicals called neurotransmitters, or “chemical messengers”  that bind to these receptors throughout the brain and body. 

Once the heroin binds to the mu-opioid receptors in the brain, the substance will do the following things: 

  • Regulate pain
  • Release hormones, and
  • Feelings of well-being.

MORs stimulate the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This causes reinforcement of drug-taking behaviors. MORs stimulate the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This causes reinforcement of drug-taking behaviors. Your brain is wired to increase the chances that you will repeat pleasant actions. Dopamine is central to this. 

When you activate the reward circuit by a healthy pleasurable experience, a rush of dopamine signals to your brain that something needs to be remembered. Thus dopamine changes your neural connections. This makes it t easier to repeat the pleasurable activity over and over without thinking about it. 

This is how habits are formed. Large surges of dopamine caused by heroin teach the brain to choose drugs at the expense of other healthier activities.

Short-Term Effects and Long-Term Effects of Heroin Use

If you want to learn more about what does heroin look like and other heroin facts, you should know that heroin is a potent drug that changes the chemicals in the brain. Heart rate, sleeping, and breathing are also affected. People who use heroin say there is a surge of pleasure commonly called a “rush.”

Short-term effects of heroin use include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Warm flushing of the skin
  • Heavy feeling in the arms and legs
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Severe itching
  • Cloudy mental functioning
  • Going “on the nod.” (a back and forth state of being conscious and semiconscious)

Long-Term effects of heroin use include:

  • Insomnia
  • Collapsed veins
  • Heart infections
  • Kidney and liver disease
  • Mental disorders such as depression and antisocial personality disorder
  • Sexual dysfunction for men
  • Irregular menstrual cycles for women

Over time, the use of heroin changes the physical structure and normal functions of the brain. For example, it creates unevenness in neuron and hormone systems that are hard to reverse. 

Research has even shown deterioration of the brain’s white matter. In some cases, the heroin addict’s mind actually loses the ability to give off euphoric effects on its own. Heroin is then used only as a way to avoid or relieve the symptoms of withdrawal.

Heroin Withdrawal Symptoms

When an individual first stops using heroin, that person will experience withdrawal symptoms that may be quite severe. During this detoxification phase, medications can be used to ease cravings and other painful symptoms that cause people to relapse

Some heroin withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Restlessness
  • Extreme muscle and bone pain
  • Sleep disturbances

Heroin Overdose 

A heroin overdose occurs when a person uses enough heroin to cause a life-threatening reaction or death. Heroin overdoses doubled between 2010 and 2012. Statistics from 2018 show that every day, 128 people in the U. S. die after overdosing on opioids.

When a person overdoses, his or her breathing slows or stops, cutting down the amount of oxygen that gets to their brain. If the victim doesn’t die, this experience can have short- and long-term effects on the nervous system including permanent brain damage. 

Is There Treatment for Heroin Addiction?

Yes, there is heroin addiction treatment. Although there is no single perfect cure for heroin addiction, there are many effective treatments that can help a person get into long-term successful recovery. 

The type of heroin treatment use depends on:

  • The individual addicted
  • The addictive substance
  • Any co-occurring medical or mental conditions

Detox

A medically supervised detox is the best way to begin treatment for heroin addiction. The severe symptoms of heroin withdrawal make it vital to have medical professionals nearby. 

The method of self-detox known as “cold-turkey” doesn’t include medical support and can lead to death in some cases. Another serious complication of quitting substances such as heroin cold turkey is the relapse factor. During detox, the body loses its tolerance for heroin, and if it is reintroduced at the previous level of use, there is a higher risk of overdose.

Recovery Treatment

After detox, individuals enter addiction treatment. Two important components of any recovery program are behavioral (therapy) and pharmacological (medication). Used together, these therapies help build some amount of normalcy to behavior and brain function. Scientific research has shown that combining both interventions is the most effective method when used under the supervision of medical professionals.

Pharmacological Treatment

The medications used to treat heroin addiction work through the same brain receptors as the drug. They are just safer and not likely to cause addictive behaviors when used properly under medical supervision. 

Medications are chosen based on the patient’s needs and other factors. There are three types of medications:

  1. Agonists–Agonists such as methadone activate the opioid receptors in the brain. They are long-acting opioid agonists that replace the shorter-acting opioids that people are addicted to. Agonists help with withdrawal symptoms and eliminate cravings for heroin without causing people to get high.
  2. Partial agonists–These activate the opioid receptors but cause a limited response. Buprenorphine is a partial agonist that eases drug cravings without the side effects of an opioid agonist.
  3. Antagonists–Antagonists block the opioid receptors and prevent the reward effect of opioids. Naltrexone is an example of an opioid agonist.

Behavioral Therapy

There are many effective behavioral therapy methods available to help treat heroin addiction. They can be used in both residential and outpatient programs. The most frequently used behavioral therapies are:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)– CBT is designed to adjust the patient’s behavior and expectations as they relate to drug use. It is a goal-oriented, short-term therapy that helps people learn new skills in coping with life’s stressors.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)–DBT is a cognitive behavioral therapy that is more focused on managing negative emotions. 
  • Contingency Management (CM)–CM uses a voucher system in which patients earn points for clean drug tests, therapy attendance, etc. Points can be exchanged for things that encourage healthy living.

Treatment Programs

  • Residential Treatment–While heroin addiction treatment patients are attending counseling and therapy sessions, they may be living in a residential facility with full-time supervision and support. 
  • Outpatient Programs–There are several levels of outpatient treatment, each requiring a different time commitment. Outpatient patients attend therapy at the treatment facility and are able to go home at the end of the day.

Recovery From Heroin Use Disorder is Closer Than You Think

At Florida Center for Recovery we know that although heroin use is a serious addiction, it doesn’t have to be permanent or even long-term. No one starts out to be an addict. Don’t let yourself hit rock bottom before receiving help.  

Here at Florida Center for Recovery, we can offer you a number of effective therapies and treatment programs. That way, we can design individualized addiction treatment programs. Don’t wait and don’t attempt this on your own. Contact us now and get your life back on track safely.

References:

blackout drunk

What Happens to Your Body When You Get Blackout Drunk? Understanding this Problem

When a person becomes addicted to alcohol, it can have devastating effects on his or her health and well-being. In fact, binge drinking can cause emotional problems along with long-term health issues. Oftentimes, heavy alcohol consumption leads to risky behaviors and negative consequences, especially blackouts. Essentially, these types of actions are not normal and can lead to damaging ramifications. If you repeatedly find yourself getting blackout drunk, it is essential to seek help. At the Florida Center for Recovery, we are willing to offer support and therapies in a comfortable environment so that you can prevent further drinking issues. If you are dealing with an alcohol misuse problem, we will help you to regain long-term sobriety.

As the central nervous system is affected, a person may slur his or her speech and experience poor coordination Effects of Alcohol on the Body

Alcohol affects many parts of the mind and body. In particular, a person’s behavior may be altered. Since alcohol interferes with the neurotransmitters in the brain, a person’s mood and actions change. Oftentimes, a person is unable to think clearly. Inhibitions are lowered as well. As the central nervous system is affected, a person may slur his or her speech and experience poor coordination. Also, a person may feel numbness in his or her hands and feet.

Alcohol Effects on the Heart

Certainly, the heart is one of the most important organs of the body. Unfortunately, it is most likely to feel the effects of alcohol consumption.

Some of the effects of alcohol on the heart include:

  • Enlarged heart muscles
  • Arrhythmia
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased risk of stroke

In fact, long-term drinking in large quantities can be fatal.

Alcohol Effects on the Liver

Chiefly, alcohol has damaging effects on a person’s liver. Commonly, cirrhosis results from information and scarring of this organ’s tissues. This condition prevents the liver from cleaning the blood and fighting infections properly.

Alcohol Effects on the Digestive System

From the top of the system, alcohol affects a person’s mouth. For example, an individual may experience damage to his or her gums, tongue, and salivary glands. In fact, heavy drinkers often experience high levels of tooth decay. 

Next, esophageal issues result from ulcers caused by alcohol consumption. At the same time, blood vessels in the esophagus may become enlarged due to decreased liver function. 

The pancreas is also affected by alcohol. This organ may become inflamed and lead to other endocrine disorders.

Alcohol Effects on the Reproductive System

Alcohol affects both the male and female reproductive systems. Women’s menstrual cycles may be disrupted. In fact, extreme cases can lead to birth defects or complete infertility. On the other hand, men may experience lower levels of testosterone. As a result, they may experience erectile dysfunction, prostate problems, and low sperm count.

Significance of Alcohol’s Effects on a Person’s Body

Again, alcohol can cause many negative effects on a person’s body. Various organs and systems are affected. In the short-term, a person may experience minor issues that go away when the alcohol exits his or her body. Long-term effects can be drastic. As the body is overloaded with alcohol on a regular basis, frequent blackouts are possible, which can lead to a multitude of diseases and life-threatening conditions.

binge drinking raises the chances of suffering from alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal What is Binge Drinking?

Specifically, the Substance Abuse and Medical Health Services Administration defines binge drinking as the consumption of four or more alcoholic beverages within a period of two hours. When a person drinks this much alcohol, he or she may find himself or herself blackout drunk. Also, binge drinking raises the chances of suffering from alcohol poisoning, which can be fatal.

Effects from Binge Drinking

Studies show that 15 percent of adults binge drink once a week. This activity can cause numerous health problems.

  • Stroke, heart problems, liver disease, cancer, and high blood pressure
  • Violent outbreaks
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Memory problems
  • Alcohol misuse disorder

Signs of Binge Drinking

Some people may not be aware of their binge drinking habits. Therefore, it is essential to recognize the symptoms before it is too late.

  • Being tired and irritable after a night out
  • Setting limits for drinking that you constantly break
  • Blacking out from drinking on a frequent basis
  • Extreme guilt or worrying about drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Experiencing health problems from alcohol consumption
  • Always binge drinking
  • Experiencing professional or legal problems due to drinking

Even though binge drinking is not always a daily problem, it can affect a person’s daily activities. In fact, a person may be suffering silently. Since binge drinking may indicate an alcohol misuse disorder, it is essential to seek help.

What Getting Black Out Drunk Entails

When a person gets blackout drunk, it means that he or she has a rapid increase in blood alcohol content. As a result, he or she does not remember the events at the time of the drinking. In other words, a person suffers from alcohol-induced amnesia, which is usually linked to binge drinking.

After a blackout, an individual has difficulties making new long-term memories. Notably, a person does not need to binge drink to experience these issues. In fact, blackouts may occur after a few drinks as well. However, as a person drinks more and more, there is a higher likelihood that this impairment will result.

How Do Blackouts Happen?

To clarify, when a person is sober, his or her memories from after sensory input has been processed in the short-term memory. In other words, memories are encoded and moved to long-term memory. 

When an individual tries to remember an event, his or her brain retrieves this memory from long-term storage and places it in short-term memory. Scientific research has proven that drinking alcohol interferes with this transferal process.

Various Kinds of Blackouts

Markedly, there are two types of blackouts. A person either experiences a complete or a partial blackout. By and large, a complete blackout brings total memory loss. For the most part, an individual cannot recall anything. On the other hand, a partial blackout is more common. In this situation, a person does not immediately remember an event, but triggers can make the memory return at a later time.

Getting Blackout Drunk Versus Passing Out Drunk

Surprisingly, getting blackout drunk is different from passing out drunk. In fact, when a person passes out, he or she loses consciousness. Similarly, it is like being asleep. He or she does not respond to any stimuli. 

On the other hand, a blackout drunk person may appear to be conscious but will not remember a specific time period. Therefore, it can be extremely dangerous. An individual may try to drive home, have unprotected sex, or participate in other risky behaviors while blackout drunk.

Females are more likely to become blackout drunk after drinking alcohol. Who is at the Highest Risk of Experiencing an Alcohol Blackout?

Females are more likely to become blackout drunk after drinking alcohol. Also, younger people are at higher risk. This is based on hormones, bodily composition, and size. These items affect the ways that alcohol is distributed and metabolized. Frequently, individuals who take antidepressant drugs may experience persistent blackouts as well.

In general, teens and young adults are more likely to binge drink. Therefore, blackouts are more common in this age group. One study uncovered that half of the college population who drinks alcohol has reported getting blackout drunk at one time or another. With this in mind, these people may experience academic failure, legal troubles, sexual assault, physical violence, or worse.

Fatal Effects of Blackouts

When a person drinks alcohol, his or her gag reflex and autonomic responses become disrupted. As a result, a person can experience fatal results during a blackout. For example, a person may mix certain drugs with alcohol. If this person goes to sleep and vomits, he or she may suffocate and die. Also, blackouts on a frequent basis may lead to heart problems, liver issues, or certain types of cancer.

Are Binge Drinking Episodes and Blackouts Signs of Alcohol Addiction?

Even though binge drinking is not identical to an alcohol misuse disorder, there are certain connections. For one thing, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol raises the risks of developing a debilitating problem that leads to addiction. In fact, blacking out from alcohol may be a warning sign that a person has a problem with drinking. It is highly likely that an individual that is blacking out from alcohol is in the early stages of alcohol addiction.

we help patients stay on the path toward long-term recovery How the Florida Center for Recovery Can Help

If you or a loved one is blackout drunk it is essential to seek treatment for an alcohol problem. At the Florida Center for Recovery, our trained staff is waiting to help patients achieve fresh starts with sobriety. 

Our Fort Pierce facility offers a calming atmosphere for individuals who want to complete detox and rehabilitation for alcohol misuse. We help patients identify and avoid triggers that lead to unhealthy behaviors. Equally important, we help patients stay on the path toward long-term recovery. 

It is not worth damaging your health by blacking out from alcohol. To make the first step towards addiction recovery, contact us today.

Resources:

https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/interrupted-memories-alcohol-induced-blackouts 

https://www.alcohol.org/effects/blackouts-dangers/ 

http://sciencenetlinks.com/interactives/alcohol/ebook/pages/blackouts.htm

Stimulants and depressants

Mixing Stimulants and Depressants? Think Again.

Abusing one drug is dangerous enough, therefore mixing two more drugs can be deadly. Some people who do choose to mix substances though have preferences for the type of drugs that they like to mix. For example, many people like to mix stimulants and depressants. Others like to mix multiple stimulants or multiple depressants.

This drug increases the amount of dopamine in the brain and causes a euphoric high What Are Stimulants?

Stimulants are drugs that speed up the body’s systems. They may be prescription drugs, but stimulants can also be those that you purchase on the black market. These drugs cause you to feel more alert, increase your attention span and provide you with more energy. These are positive effects for people experiencing attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, but many people are abusing these drugs. Many people also abuse depressants. Thus, it’s important to learn all there is to know about stimulants and depressants and fatal drug combinations that involve them.

Methamphetamine is an example of a stimulant that people acquire illegally. People ingest it in pill form, smoke it, snort it or inject it. This drug increases the amount of dopamine in the brain and causes a euphoric high. It is also a weight loss aide and is highly addictive. Stimulants, in general, cause several side effects, such as an increased heart rate, an increased rate of breathing, hypertension, depression, anxiety, and fatigue.

What Are Depressants?

Stimulants and depressants both interact with the central nervous system but in different ways. Stimulants speed up the central nervous system, while depressants slow the central nervous system down. Depressants go by the names of “tranquilizers,” “downers,” “sedatives” and “hypnotics.” Since these drugs slow the brain’s activity down, doctors prescribe them to treat sleep disorders and anxiety or panic attacks.

Depressants work by increasing the activity of a neurotransmitter that slows brain activity down. Known as GABA or “gamma-aminobutyric acid,” this neurotransmitter causes people to feel drowsy and calm. These medications are known as “benzodiazepines,” and they include Xanax, Klonopin, and Valium. The medical community also has non-benzodiazepine versions of this drug, and one example is “Ambien.”

When misused, depressants cause the following side effects:

  • Slower breathing
  • Hypotension
  • Memory and movement issues
  • Dry mouth
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Confusion
  • Lack of concentration
  • Slurred speech

Is Alcohol a Stimulant?

Alcohol is not a stimulant; it’s a depressant. This is confusing to some people because alcohol stimulates the body slightly. Mostly, it acts as a depressant. Therefore, alcohol lowers your blood pressure and decreases your heart rate. When you mix alcohol with a stimulant, this causes severe side effects.

Is Marijuana a Stimulant or a Depressant?

Marijuana is a stimulant, but it is also a depressant and a hallucinogen. The THC in marijuana is the chemical that alters your brain chemistry when you ingest the drug. You can smoke, eat or vape marijuana. 

Marijuana can have a different effect on people, especially depending on how much marijuana they use and how they use it. For example, some people become very sleepy after consuming marijuana, and others do not.

Marijuana enters the body through the lungs or the stomach. Then, it enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain. In the brain, marijuana causes stimulating effects, depressive effects, or hallucinogenic effects. A person may experience a relaxing feeling along with a euphoric feeling that also increases their sensory perceptions.

When you take a stimulant and a depressant at the same time, these two drugs work against each other. What Are the Potential Consequences of Mixing Stimulants and Depressants?

There are numerous potential consequences of mixing stimulants with depressants.  As was mentioned above, stimulants stimulate the central nervous system, and depressants suppress the central nervous system. When you take a stimulant and a depressant at the same time, these two drugs work against each other. It doesn’t matter whether the stimulus or the depressant is a prescription drug or an illicit drug.

Stimulants and depressants together can be fatal drug combinations. This is because mixing stimulants and depressants can increase the concentration of each drug in your body.  This, in turn, causes the side effects that were listed above to be even more pronounced, which is highly unpleasant for the user. 

When you mix the two substances, you also increase the concentration of each drug in your body. Mixing stimulants and depressants can even increase the chances of overdosing. 

Polydrug Use

Polydrug use is taking more than one drug at the same time. Taking more than one drug at the same time is dangerous, especially if it’s not done under the supervision of a physician. Oftentimes, the drugs that people choose to misuse when performing polydrug use can be fatal drug combinations. 

Physicians don’t ordinarily prescribe stimulants and depressants for the same patient because these drugs are at opposite ends of the drug spectrum. When people take it upon themselves to take these two substances at the same time recreationally, their bodies receive messages that are requesting opposing things. Because these messages are contradictory, the body cannot function as it is supposed to function.

Polydrug use places a tremendous amount of pressure on the body. The central nervous system, the respiratory system, and the cardiovascular system go off in different directions oftentimes during polydrug use of stimulants and depressants because these bodily systems receive messages that tell them to increase and decrease their activity. This amounts to very serious consequences, including the following:

  • Death
  • Overdose
  • Heart failure, heart attack, or cardiac arrest
  • Slower breathing or stopped breathing
  • Coma

Fatal Drug Combinations

The following are particularly dangerous polydrug combinations.

Alcohol and Stimulants

When you take a stimulant at the same time that you drink alcohol, the stimulant makes it so that you don’t feel the effects of being drunk. This causes people to drink more alcohol because they don’t know that they are intoxicated because of the stimulant. When this occurs, it leads to alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol poisoning occurs when there is too much alcohol in your bloodstream. As a result, your breathing slows down and your heart rate also slows. 

Alcohol also has toxins that your liver ordinarily keeps from entering your bloodstream. If you drink a lot in a short amount of time, the liver cannot remove as many toxins as it ordinarily would. The result of alcohol poisoning or alcohol overdose can be death or brain damage.

Alcohol and Cocaine

People combine alcohol with cocaine a lot of the time. You risk sudden death already when you drink alcohol or ingest cocaine on your own. When you combine these substances though, the risk goes up 20 times higher. This combination also increases the chances that you will become violent.

Cocaine also decreases the negative effects that you experience when you’re drunk. The result of this is that people tend to drink more alcohol. This can be dangerous for the reasons mentioned above. 

Another dangerous situation is when the liver is forced to metabolize both cocaine and alcohol at the same time. This creates a chemical compound that causes you to feel extremely happy.

Unfortunately, the combination doesn’t do anything good for your cardiovascular system and your liver. Simultaneous alcohol and cocaine use can also cause you to think violently, exercise poor judgment, become aggressive, and experience hypertension. This combination of stimulants and depressants is also linked to sudden death.

Alcohol and Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is a very dangerous drug. When you mix it with alcohol, the danger increases. Methamphetamine causes psychosis, delusions, and hallucinations. Alcohol also affects people’s moods. 

If you take methamphetamine with alcohol, the crash that methamphetamine causes will be much more severe. In addition to that, the fatal drug combination can also cause you to experience depression and suicidal thoughts.

Mixing alcohol with methamphetamine also causes you to lose track of how much of either substance you have taken. This could eventually cause you to overdose on the substances.

Alcohol and Heroin

Mixing alcohol and heroin is particularly dangerous because they are both depressants. Heroin is an opioid drug, so it is a very strong depressant. Alcohol and heroin both produce the effect of suppressing breathing and lowering your blood pressure. Thus, combining the two can suppress breathing and lower blood pressure to a point of death.

Cocaine and Heroin

One of the popular fatal drug combinations is cocaine and heroin. In fact, this fatal drug combination even has its own name, “speedball.” 

Cocaine is a stimulant while heroin is a depressant. Mixing stimulants and depressants such as cocaine and heroin can be dangerous in its own way. Still, many people intentionally mix stimulants and depressants because of the way it makes them feel when they do. 

Cocaine causes people to feel agitated and jittery, but heroin combats this feeling and allows the person to enjoy the high without those agitated feelings.

In contrast, heroin causes you to feel sleepy. Cocaine combats this effect though by causing you to feel more alert. Therefore, combining cocaine and heroin makes coming down from a high much more enjoyable. Mixing some stimulants and depressants such as cocaine and heroin also increases the euphoric feelings that you get from the high.

Still, because combining cocaine and heroin causes you to be more intoxicated than you would be if you only took one substance, combining the two can cause overdose or death.  

Cocaine and Ecstasy

Cocaine and ecstasy are both stimulants. Therefore, they cause you to experience a greater rush when you take them together. Cocaine and ecstasy together can also cause you to have a heart attack or a stroke. At the very least,  the combination of cocaine and ecstasy will cause your heart rate to accelerate.

When your heart beats too fast, it prevents the rest of your body from receiving enough blood. The result of this is that your other organs and tissues do not receive a sufficient amount of oxygen. This condition is known as “tachycardia,” and it can lead to the following:

  • Death or sudden cardiac arrest
  • Stroke
  • Heart failure

Gray Death

One of the latest fatal drug combinations is known as “gray death.” Gray death is the street name for a combination of opioids. Gray death often looks like the mixing powder used to create concrete. 

This fatal drug combination may come in a form of a fine powder or a chunky substance. Drug dealers create gray death concoctions from different ingredients. Gray death may have various types of opioids within it. For example, gray death can include fentanyl, heroin, or even a synthetic opioid. 

Gray death is much more potent than heroin. Still, people can purchase grey death for a very inexpensive price. The fact that gray death is potent and inexpensive makes it one of the fatal drug combinations. 

Florida Center for Recovery offers a wide variety of renowned inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs that are specialized by substance. Getting Help for Substance Use

It’s a very good thing to ask yourself, “What are the potential consequences of mixing stimulants and depressants?” This is because once you ask yourself this question, you’ll discover that the consequences are extremely negative. This doesn’t mean that there is no hope for you or your loved one if you are having trouble with an addiction to stimulants and depressants though. At the Florida Center for Recovery (FCR), we can help you overcome your addiction to stimulants and depressants. Florida Center for Recovery is a nationally renowned drug addiction treatment center in Fort Pierce, Florida. 

Both stimulants and depressants have the potential to cause withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, individuals detoxing from stimulants and depressants must attend medical detox. Once people complete drug detox, they can begin addiction treatment. 

At Florida Center for Recovery, you or your loved one will have the opportunity to enter into several different inpatient or outpatient treatment programs. If you are concerned that you cannot live a drug-free life on your own, the inpatient treatment program may be the form of rehab that’s best for you. If you have children to take care of and/or you need to continue attending school or work while also attending rehab, an outpatient treatment program may be the best rehab program option for you.

Florida Center for Recovery offers a wide variety of renowned inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs that are specialized by substance. Thus, whether you need to attend rehab for an addiction to stimulants, depressants, stimulants and depressants, or some other substance, you can do so at FCR. If you are ready to leave drugs in your past, contact us here at the Florida Center for Recovery. We will help you get your life back on track.

hypnosis to stop drinking

Does Using Hypnosis To Stop Drinking Really Work?

About 50% of the people in the United States have cognitive damage or impairment because of alcohol abuse.[1] The cognitive damage that these people experience ranges from severe to mild. From amnesia to dementia, the effects can vary widely. Some people that abuse alcohol may experience more than one negative cognitive effect. Many people with alcohol use issues try hypnosis to stop drinking. 

It’s important for people who struggle with alcohol addiction and those who know someone who does to understand the effects of alcohol on the brain. It is also important to understand why alcohol treatment is critical and how hypnosis to stop drinking can help. Although the outcome of any treatment cannot be guaranteed, research shows that hypnosis to stop drinking is effective. Since hypnosis helps people overcome obstacles that commonly hinder long-term recovery, it can be an effective addition to a treatment plan.

How Alcoholism Affects the Brain and Body

The effects of alcohol on the brain and body can be long-term or short-term. In some cases, how long a person abuses alcohol relates to how long the effects may last. Although it is better to get treatment for alcohol abuse as soon as possible, even short-term alcohol abuse can have lasting effects for some people.

alcoholism Short-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

The severity of short-term effects of alcohol abuse often depends on how much a person drinks.[2] These are some of the short-term effects of alcohol abuse:

  • Slowed or impaired movement and body function
  • Reduced ability to concentrate and reduced attention span
  • Lowered perceptions and sensations
  • Disruption of sleep patterns or excessive sleepiness
  • Reduced body temperature
  • Increased urine production and output
  • Uncontrollable urination or defecation
  • Poor memory function or short-term memory loss

In excessive amounts, alcohol can cause loss of consciousness, vomiting, shortness of breath, coma, and even death.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol Abuse

Chronic abuse of alcohol has long-term effects on both the brain and body.[3] These are some common long-term effects of alcohol abuse:

  • Liver disease or damage that may be irreversible
  • Dysfunction of the brain
  • Inflammation of the pancreas
  • High blood pressure and an increased risk of stroke
  • Damage to the nervous system
  • Weakened immune system
  • Irregular heart rhythm or weakening of the muscle
  • Mood disorders and psychological dependence

Long-term abuse of alcohol also increases the risks of developing breast, liver, esophagus, mouth, and throat cancer.[3] Women who abuse alcohol while pregnant can experience negative long-term effects on their own bodies. The babies of women who abuse alcohol while pregnant can also develop lifelong behavioral problems and developmental deficiencies.

Studies show that alcohol abuse in adolescents leads to long-term biological development problems on top of negatively affecting their physiological processes. One study showed that teens who abused alcohol had poorer overall brain development as they reached adulthood. Such teens also saw notable negative effects on their bone and endocrine development.[4] Studies reported by the National Cancer Institute even show that people of all ages who smoke and drink have a significantly higher risk of developing multiple types of cancer.[5]

Why Alcohol Addiction Is a Disease

According to the CDC, excessive alcohol use is tied to more than 88,000 deaths every year.[6] It also costs the country over $250 billion annually. People can even develop chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer from long-term abuse of alcohol. Plus, it’s important to remember that alcohol addiction itself is a disease. SAMHSA has a categorized list of resources that fully explain why addiction is a disease and why it is so important for people to understand it.[7]

The reason why health professionals and scientists recognize addiction as a disease today is because of its effects on the brain. Thanks to modern technology, the effects of alcohol on the brain are visible. 

Brain scans of people who binge drink show abnormal white matter, which is the substance that helps transmit important signals.[8] This can lead to impaired judgment and other detrimental effects.[9] 

With signal disruption, reactions in the brain can lead people to excessively seek the reward sensation of the substances they use. Since the bodies and brains of people who excessively drink develop a tolerance to alcohol, such people must use more to achieve the same rewarding feeling.

Alcohol addiction leads people to crave and seek alcohol even after it is cleansed from their bodies. It also often includes cycles of people deciding to get treatment and no longer drink only to relapse again from the alcohol use’s long-term effects.10]

Alcohol Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders

Another important point to understand with alcohol addiction is that it often stems from or leads to a mental illness. The same is true with other addictive substances. 

In 2020, the CDC reported that at least 7.9 million Americans were living with both a mental illness and a substance use disorder.[11] Treating both issues simultaneously is critical for reducing the risk of relapse and helping the person beat addiction. 

There are several therapeutic tools that treat addiction and several that treat mental health issues. Some, such as hypnotherapy, can treat both.[12] In fact, people can use hypnosis to stop drinking. 

What Is Hypnotherapy?

Man in therapy Hypnotherapy is a tool that therapists use to help people identify triggers of bad behaviors. Once identified, hypnotherapy then helps people change such behaviors. 

Hypnotherapy is a state of waking awareness, in which a person’s mind is detached from the surrounding environment.[13] In this hypnotic state, the individual can freely express imagery, feelings, and thoughts. The brain may also uncover memories during hypnosis. 

In hypnosis, the high level of focus on what the person is thinking causes imagery and feelings to seem real. Clinicians aid people in addressing thoughts, feelings, or memories in this hypnotic reality.

Think of hypnosis as a narrated reality. Although the hypnotized individual is seeing, feeling, and experiencing what she or he sees, the therapist is a guide. The hypnosis therapist makes suggestions that the individuals can accept or reject. 

Hypnotherapy is not an overnight cure to addiction. Hypnotherapists try to help people develop healthier habits as they guide them through sessions, and this can take weeks or months. Even after a person develops a new and healthier habit due to hypnosis, it may take additional therapy to maintain.

How Hypnosis To Stop Drinking Can Help

In a narrated structure, the therapist tries to help the individual face and overcome issues that relate to the addiction. For example, many people with addiction have a history of past abuse or PTSD.[14] When this happens, the past trauma is often what compels a person to drink. 

By addressing the past issues and helping the person heal and cope, a therapist is more likely to see the person stay in recovery. Some emotions and memories are hard to uncover without hypnotherapy.

However, hypnotherapy is not only about uncovering past abuse or repressed memories. Many people who use hypnotherapy for alcohol addiction treatment do not have a history of physical or emotional abuse. 

When hypnotherapists uncover memories or abuse, it is often to identify triggers. People can also use hypnotherapy to uncover other triggers that may be connected to emotions, co-occurring disorders, or something else. Because there are often underlying issues to addictions, they require a multi-faceted treatment approach. 

People may be resistant to a therapist’s suggestions during hypnotherapy at first. Contrary to popular myths though, hypnotherapists do not completely control people’s minds or behaviors. The individual is still in full control and may accept or reject suggestions. 

How people respond to hypnotherapy varies from one person to another. However, as time passes, most people become more receptive or cooperative and accept the therapist’s helpful suggestions.[15] 

Ultimately, hypnotherapy helps individuals develop new habits and behaviors in response to triggers. By replacing alcohol consumption with new and healthier responses, a person can reduce the risk of relapse and work toward beating the cycle of addiction.

Benefits of Hypnotherapy for Alcohol Addiction

In addition to helping people discover triggers and develop healthier habits, hypnosis can provide several supporting benefits.[16] These are some of those benefits:

  • Improved management of chronic pain
  • An agreeable choice for people who prefer natural, alternative, or non-medicated treatment
  • Improved sleep quality and ability to relax

Also, hypnotherapy has very few or no side effects. Some people may feel dizzy or drowsy after therapy. However, these effects typically subside quickly.

Using Hypnotherapy to Stop Drinking At Florida Center for Recovery

Recovery Florida Center for Recovery is located in Fort Pierce, Florida. Our Fort Pierce facility welcomes locals and people from nearby areas in Florida. 

Here at Florida Center for Recovery, we support the use of hypnosis to stop drinking. We also support the use of hypnosis as a therapeutic tool for addiction. By combining other therapies, we treat the entire person and any co-occurring disorders that he or she may suffer from. 

Florida Center for Recovery believes in a customized treatment approach for each person.  Thus, when deciding what addiction treatment programs and therapies that each patient should be a part of, we consider the patient’s lifestyle, health history, family, and all other applicable factors.

Our team of experienced and trained professionals provide compassionate support for addiction treatment with a goal of helping people permanently beat the cycle of alcohol addiction. Living a fuller life free of addiction is a rewarding experience that we want everyone to achieve. 

To learn more about the different forms of treatment and therapy that we use here at Florida Center for Recovery and to learn more about hypnosis to stop drinking contact us today!

References:

  1. https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-2/125-133.htm 
  2. https://www2.courtinfo.ca.gov/stopteendui/teens/resources/substances/alcohol/short-and-long-term-effects.cfm 
  3. https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/alcohol-use-disorder/ 
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6601665/ 
  5. https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/alcohol/alcohol-fact-sheet 
  6. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/about/costs/index.htm 
  7.  https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/programs_campaigns/02._webcast_2_resources.pdf 
  8. https://archives.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/binge-drinking-matters-your-brain 
  9. https://www.nhtsa.gov/document/alcohol-and-driving 
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3625994/ 
  11. https://www.hsrd.research.va.gov/news/feature/alcohol_use_disorders.cfm 
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5406678/ 
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6357291/ 
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3051362/ 
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4465776/

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