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Nation's ER's Report: Abuse of Anti-Anxiety Drugs Up

drug treatment center pills addiction drug rehabThe number of drug-abuse related visits to hospital emergency rooms (ERs) involving benzodiazepine medications exceeded 100,000 in 2002, a 41 percent increase since 1995, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration's Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN). Nearly half of the emergency department (ED) visits involving benzodiazapines -- which include such psychotherapeutic sedatives as Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and Ativan -- were connected with suicidal ideation, gestures or attempts.

> Read the Nation's ER's Report

Prescription Drug Abuse in The Military

drug treatment center pills addiction drug rehabToday, some of the most pressing substance-abuse concerns in the U.S. military involve prescription and over-the-counter (OTC) medications. Some health officials contend that too many troops are being authorized to take antidepressants and sleeping pills, while others are worried about the illicit sharing of prescription drugs and the overuse of OTC meds by men and women in uniform.

> More on Prescription Drug Abuse in the Military

For Many, Stress Leads to the Use and Abuse of Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco...

drug treatment center pills addiction drug rehabSome of the Basic Facts
Stressful events can have a direct affect on the use of alcohol or other drugs. Stress is a major contributor to the initiation and continuation of drug addiction and alcohol abuse, as well as to relapse or a return to drug use after periods of abstinence.

Stress is one of the major factors known to cause relapse to smoking, even after prolonged periods of abstinence.

Children exposed to severe stress may be more vulnerable to drug use. A number of clinical and epidemiological studies show a strong association between psychosocial stressors early in life (e.g., parental loss, child abuse) and an increased risk for depression, anxiety, impulsive behavior, and substance abuse in adulthood.

> More on Stress Related Usage
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Methadone Addiction

What is Methadone and how is it used

Methadone is a (synthetic opiate) narcotic that when administered once a day, orally, in adequate doses, can usually suppress a heroin addict's craving and withdrawal for 24 hours. Patients are as physically dependent on methadone as they were to heroin or other opiates, such as Oxycotin or Vicodin. Each time an addict uses heroin, there is a cycle of consisting of intoxication, initially, followed by a period of normal mental functioning which then yields to the discomfort of withdrawal and craving (flu-like symptoms with pain, anxiety and depression).

The cycle that repeats every 4 to 8 hours with heroin is eliminated by expert methadone maintenance treatment. This is possible because methadone is released more slowly into the system and lasts much longer than heroin and most other opiates. Short acting opiates, like heroin, hydrocodone and morphine perpetuate and/or create abnormal processes in the brain, which interfere with feeling normal and functioning normally. Taking methadone, instead, stops most aspects of this destructive process while normalizing important neurobiological functions. After stabilization on the proper dose, methadone does not produce the rush or “high” associated with heroin abuse.

What are the side effects of Methadone

The most common side effects of Methadone are:

  • drowsiness
  • lightheadedness
  • weakness
  • euphoria
  • dry mouth
  • urinary retention
  • constipation, and
  • slow or troubled breathing

Some occasional side effects are:

  • allergic reactions
  • skin rash
  • hives
  • itching
  • headache
  • dizziness
  • impaired concentration
  • sensation of drunkenness
  • confusion
  • depression
  • blurred or double vision
  • facial flushing
  • sweating
  • heart palpitation
  • nausea
  • and vomiting

The least common side effects of Methadone are:

  • anaphylactic reactions
  • hypotension causing weakness and fainting
  • disorientation
  • hallucinations
  • unstable gait
  • tremor
  • muscle twitching
  • myasthenia gravis

The risks include kidney failure and seizures.

What are the signs of a Methadone overdose?

  • marked drowsiness
  • confusion
  • tremors
  • convulsions
  • stupor leading to coma
  • cold and clammy skin
  • hypotension
  • bradycardia

Detoxification from Methadone

For detoxification treatment, methadone is administered under close supervision. During detoxification a patient may receive methadone when there are symptoms of withdrawal. Such symptoms are sneezing, yawning, tearing of eyes, runny nose, excessive perspiration, fever, dilated pupils, abdominal cramps, nausea, body aches, tremors and irritability. After several days of stabilizing a patient with methadone, the amount is gradually decreased. The rate at which it is decreased is dependent on the reaction of the individual . . . keeping withdrawal symptoms at a tolerable level is the goal.

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Source: National Institute of Health

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