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Vivitrol for Opiates Information

by James Heller 8. September 2010 07:27

One area of Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) proving to be effective at Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles is the use of non-narcotic medications for opiate craving reduction.  Qualified individuals seeking abstinence from opiates may begin using these post-detox when the body is free of opiates.  Vivitrol is one of these medications that has produced very good results and is helping many individuals on their journey to long-term recovery.

Vivitrol is Naltrexone that is taken by injection and remains effective for 30 days.  Opiate cravings are reduced by Vivitrol, which means that a major relapse trigger is removed.  This gives Vivitrol patients a much better opportunity to achieve long-term recovery, and helps them focus on drug addiction treatment.  Vivitrol can be taken once or on a monthly basis, depending on an individual’s needs, and can also be used for alcohol craving reduction.

If you would like more information about Vivitrol for opiate craving reduction, please contact us by phone or email using the information below:

Phone:        (818) 654-3939

Email:        vivitrol@tarzanatc.org

To learn about our other Medication Assisted Treatment options, please continue reading below or go to the MAT category page.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Alcohol Dependence and Drug Addiction -Tolerance

by James Heller 18. May 2010 13:48
Tolerance, as it relates to alcohol dependence and drug addiction, is often misunderstood by many in the general public.  In the manner that drug and alcohol tolerance functions, it can be a safety mechanism to the body and, at the same time, deadly.  This makes awareness of the subject critical for anyone who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse, as well as those in recovery.

It can easily be assumed that tolerance means that an individual can drink more alcohol without getting drunk, or handle drug use in a seemingly controlled manner.  With this assumption comes the belief that these “abilities” are an example of the natural differences that exist from one individual to another.  While this is partially true, the nature of alcohol and drug tolerance is much more complicated.

Alcohol tolerance is the example with which most people can relate.  Consider the amount of alcohol you need to drink before you feel the effects, or “buzzed”.  Let’s say this is 2 beers.  If you drink 2 beers every day, over time you will feel less of an effect.  If you want to feel the same effect, you must drink more alcohol.  The amount of alcohol needed for the same feeling will continue to increase as you add more alcohol.  

The same concept works with drugs.  Alcohol abuse or drug abuse can result from tolerance since individuals will chase that feeling by drinking or using more on each occasion.  If the cycle continues with regular daily alcohol or drug intake, the body can become physically dependent and alcoholism or drug addiction is the result.  

On this road to addiction that we just followed, the brain has protected the body from overdose, with tolerance, by adjusting to the higher levels of substance use.  This benefit of drug tolerance can become a dangerous consequence, though, for recovering individuals who relapse.  The addicted brain still needs a large amount of drugs for an effect, but the body returns to a lower tolerance of what is essentially a poison.

At the time of first use on a relapse, the brain will dictate the most recent amount of drugs used to get a desired effect.  If the formerly recovering addict is not careful, this amount can easily cause a drug overdose or even be fatal.  Many drug addicts are not aware of this fact, and will even ignore warnings from fellow drug users because they don’t realize the consequences they face.

While alcoholics are less likely to overdose on alcohol during first use on a relapse, they may experience what is known as a lack of tolerance.  At this point, a drunken feeling may result from only 1 drink.  Lack of tolerance can actually occur with anyone who drinks alcohol, but it is typically coupled with alcohol dependence.  Of course, that 1 drink will still not be enough to satisfy alcoholics and they can become a danger to themselves through inebriation and alcohol’s effect on the body.

This information is good to share with teens, friends in recovery, or anyone you may know who engages in alcohol abuse or drug abuse.  Too many see tolerance as a benefit both early in substance use and in addiction.  Tolerance is explained in effective alcohol and drug treatment as part of addiction education groups to prevent accidental overdoses among those who may relapse.  Bringing this awareness to the general public may save even more lives.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides youth alcohol and drug treatment and addiction education.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

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Prescription Drug Detox

by James Heller 22. September 2009 15:12
By Ken Bachrach, Ph.D., Clinical Director

The misuse of prescription medications has increased dramatically in recent years.  According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2006 there were 2.2 million persons aged 12 or older who initiated the use of pain relievers for nonmedical purposes in the past year, which is slightly more than new users of marijuana.  The same survey revealed that more than half a million adolescents aged 12-17 used stimulants non-medically in the past year.  These findings point out that with such an increase in use of prescription medications, more and more individuals will become addicted to them and need treatment, including detoxification.

There are three primary classes of these drugs of abuse. The first is opiates, such as Vicodin or Oxycontin, that are used to relieve pain.  The second is Central Nervous System (CNS) depressants that are used to relieve anxiety and assist with sleep.  They are also referred to as major and minor tranquilizers or sedative-hypnotic drugs, with the primary categories being barbiturates and benzodiazepines.  Barbiturates, such as Seconal, are rarely used these days; rather benzodiazepines, such as Ativan, Xanax, and Klonopin are usually prescribed.  The third class is stimulants, such as Ritalin and Adderall, which are usually prescribed for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).   

The determination as to whether a person needs detoxification should be made by a medical professional.  Most people will know when they are addicted, because they will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using these medications.  It is very important that detoxification be done under medical supervision, since many people incorrectly assume they should simply stop taking the medication.  Stopping suddenly can result in severe withdrawal symptoms.  Withdrawal symptoms for opiates include a variety of flu-like symptoms, including gastrointestinal problems and body aches.  For CNS depressants, a major medical concern is seizures when one is stopping their use.  For stimulants, there are fewer medical concerns, although the psychological withdrawal effects may be pronounced.

Detoxification is achieved by substituting the drug of abuse with a similar medication and slowly tapering the amount of medication over a few days.  For opiates, methadone and buprenorphine are most commonly used, although Clonodine, a blood pressure medication, may also be used.  For CNS depressants (i.e., sedative-hypnotic drugs), the barbiturate phenobarbital is frequently used.  At Tarzana Treatment Centers, we have over 35 years of experience detoxing individuals off these medications in a safe and comfortable setting.  

Medical detoxification is only the first step of the treatment continuum.  Once a person has stopped using a prescription drug, they must learn how to live their life without it.  How difficult this will be varies from person to person.  Many will need at least outpatient treatment to learn effective ways to cope with the symptoms that either caused them to start using the medication or to address the ongoing cravings to go back and misuse these medications.  Tarzana Treatment Centers specializes in meeting the needs of each person.  During drug detox treatment, staff will determine the most appropriate next level of care.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides prescription drug detox as part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare in alcohol and drug treatment.  If you or a loved one needs help with prescription drug abuse, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Living with your Liver

by James Heller 25. August 2009 08:05
Many people with chronic alcohol dependence or other drug addictions experience liver disease. This is no accident. The liver is used to digest food, absorb nutrients, and get toxic substances (like alcohol and drugs) out of your body. The liver is an important organ in the body; you only have one and cannot survive without it.  And with alcohol’s effects on the body, liver problems could just be the beginning.

Alcohol abuse is not the only way to damage your liver. Unprotected sex, sharing needles, prescription drug abuse and addiction, and getting tattoos or piercings from places that do not properly sterilize the needles also can put you at risk of liver disease and damage.

There are many forms of liver disease; the conditions listed below are most common among alcohol and other drug abusers.

Cirrhosis – scarring of the liver that is caused by having another liver disease (like Hepatitis), or by many years of heavy alcohol drinking. Cirrhosis is not curable, but there are treatments that can help slow the scarring.

Hepatitis C – a disease that is passed through blood-to-blood contact. It is caused by a virus that attacks the liver, causing the liver to become inflamed. There is a cure, but it takes months to complete treatment, has severe side effects, and does not work for everyone.

Hepatitis A – a disease that is similar to the flu.  You get Hepatitis A by eating food containing human waste. People rarely die from it, and there is a vaccine to prevent you from getting it.

Hepatitis B – a disease that is passed through body fluids during sex, through the breast milk of infected mothers, and through contact with contaminated blood. People can die from it, but there is a vaccine to prevent it.

The best way to prevent liver disease is to not abuse alcohol or use illegal drugs.  Only use drugs as prescribed by your doctor, or as indicated on over-the-counter packaging.  Never engage in unprotected sex (unless you and your partner are completely monogamous and have tested negative for all STI’s recently).

If you have not been vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B, talk with your doctor to see if it is right for you. There are treatments and some liver disease is reversible, so talk to your doctor about the choices that are out there.

For most information, check out the American Liver Foundation website: http://www.yourliver.org/learn.html.

If you or a loved one need help for alcoholism or drug addiction, and also suffer from liver disease, Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles can help.  As part of our commitment to integrated behavioral healthcare, our alcohol and drug treatment program includes primary medical care.  Please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Prescription Drug Side Effects

by James Heller 28. July 2009 10:26
All prescription drugs have at least one side effect.  It seems that the more a drug solves one problem, the more mild to serious side effects it can have.  And even though patients are warned of all side effects prior to taking prescription drugs, it rarely occurs to them that serious consequences can result.

Opiate based drugs that are prescribed for pain carry several side effects including the risk of dependence, dizziness, and possible liver damage.  But the “milder” side effects, like irritability, forgetfulness, and hallucinations, are usually waived off by patients as a necessary annoyance compared to the pain relief the drug provides.

Opiate addiction does not need to be present for these side effects to occur, although increased use enhances them.  When pain is severe or prolonged, use of pain killers can become a routine and individuals may not notice increased irritability and forgetfulness in themselves.  This can all happen within a couple of weeks after first use.

Often, family members, friends, and co-workers will comment on changed behaviors in individuals who use prescription painkillers.  Being made aware of reactionary anger and forgotten conversations is usually enough of a warning sign that those without history of addiction will cease use of a drug and find alternatives.

In some cases, though, the warning sign is something bigger than an uncomfortable conversation.  Negative behavior with those outside of an individual’s “inner circle” may cause legal, employment, or financial problems.  Normal daily occurrences can turn to tragedy.  At work, for example, an individual may forget key instructions given by a boss, angrily argue that they were never given, and get reprimanded or even fired for insubordination.

This is not to say that prescription opiates are bad.  In fact, they serve a useful purpose in the short term.  This is simply to bring awareness that the emergence of these side effects is a warning sign.  They can be frustrating at least and a sign of growing drug addiction at worst.  And, somewhere in between, they can mean serious legal, financial, and relationship problems.

Tarzana Treatment Centers provides drug treatment for prescription drug addiction and abuse.  Our services include prescription drug detox for any drug addiction.  If you or a loved one has seen the warning signs that lead to dependence, please call us at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

The paragraph below was taken from a news story posted on stltoday.com.  While we don’t know all of the facts, it is a good, real-world example of this topic.  The injury described is one that could lead a person to prolonged, continuous use of an opiate painkiller.  It is possible that the man who is the subject of the story would not be in jail if painkillers were not a part of his life.

-- Begin external content --

Tracie Papenfus said the outburst was unusual for her husband, who she described as "a cool-headed guy." However, she said, he hadn't quite been himself after taking prescription painkiller medication for a compound wrist fracture he received in a motorcycle accident a few days before the call occurred. Irritability can be one side effect from those drugs, Forsyth said.

-- Source: http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/D14DE98D380D1B73862575FA0008F3A8?OpenDocument

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County and Orange County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley, and in Santa Ana.