Detox Protocol for Opiate Withdrawal

Facing off the opiate detox process is a formidable barrier for many to overcome, regardless of how much they desire to break free from opioids or heroin. While admittedly unpleasant, the detoxification phase of recovery is a necessary first step that will allow the individual to transition safely to the treatment phase, which is where the real work of recovery is encountered. But to get there one has to first complete the detox and withdrawal process.

It often helps reduce the anxiety around anticipating detox to have a basic understanding of the detox protocol for opiate withdrawal. Just knowing that this is a fairly predictable process made manageable with proven interventions can relieve stress and help the individual move closer to initiating this important step.

Understanding Opiate Addiction

According to the government’s Health and Human Services (HHS) website, more than 2 million Americans had an opiate use disorder in 2016, and over 130 people died from opiate-related deaths in 2017. In late 2017 HHS issued a public health alert to increase public awareness and guide individuals toward appropriate treatment. Clearly, the U.S. is in the midst of an opiate crisis that has been slowly building for the past decade.

Opiate addiction directly impacts the opioid receptors in the brain, blocking the feelings of pain, and producing a euphoric, deeply relaxing state. The brain registers this pleasant state as a positive experience and one to be repeated, and thus the neural pathways and brain chemistry begins to become altered. Over time, increased tolerance to the drug leads to higher, more frequent dosing, and the brain stops producing dopamine as a result.

Synthetic prescription opioids were initially said to be non-habit forming by the medical community and the pharmaceutical companies who manufactured the drugs. This has, obviously, turned out to be patently false, as millions have found themselves psychologically and/or physically dependent on these medications. In many instances, once they are unable to secure the opioids legally, individuals may turn to heroin or illicit sources for the opioids, increasing their exposure to fentanyl, which has been seeping into the drug market in recent years. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than morphine and deadly when the user is unaware that the drug they purchased contains the drug.

What is the Detox Protocol for Opiate Withdrawal?

When it is time to enter rehab, the first step will be securing a medical detox. The trained detox team will provide the detox protocol for opiate withdrawal by the use of medications, such as methadone or buprenorphine, which help step the addict down to a less potent opioid that also helps block cravings for the drug of abuse.

These medications work by attaching to the brain’s opioid receptors and tricking the brain into thinking it has received the drug of abuse. The drugs are strictly regulated and monitored and may be prescribed for at least one year following detox. This helps the individual transition into recovery with a reduced risk of relapse. After a period of time, some can shift over to naltrexone, which is non-narcotic and also helps reduce cravings and relapse.

The Benefits of a Medically Supervised Detox

It is never advised that an individual seeking to become clean and sober attempt to detox without medical supervision. This is due to the highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that, when left untreated, can derail the detox and send the individual right back to using. A medical detox program is able to provide the medical interventions that will dramatically reduce the suffering and help safely guide the individual through the detox process.

In addition to medical interventions, the medical detox staff is also trained to provide psychological support as needed. Many of the withdrawal symptoms are psychological in nature, and can be just as unpleasant. By providing this emotional support, the individual is more apt to stay on course and complete the detoxification successfully.

Transitioning to Opiate Addiction Treatment

Detox alone is not sufficient for achieving a sustained recovery. This is because, while the body may have been detoxified the reflexive addictive behaviors are still hard-wired into the brain. To truly achieve long-term sobriety it is necessary to make fundamental shifts in thinking and subsequent behaviors. This is accomplished via an extended stay at a residential addiction recovery program.

Rehab will involve an integrated program of therapeutic activities and therapies that compliment each other as a comprehensive approach to treating opiate addiction. These treatment elements might include:

  • Psychotherapy. Modalities may include cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, motivation enhancement therapy, solutions focused therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and contingency management.
  • Groups. A therapist leads discussion topics that allow the participants to share their personal stories, challenges, and successes as they travel the recovery journey together.
  • Classes. Learning about how addiction works and how the opiates impact brain functioning can help deter future drug use. The classes also provide opportunities to create carefully considered relapse prevention planning, as well as to acquire recovery skills such as conflict resolution, communication and interpersonal relating skills, anger management, and stress reduction.
  • Holistic therapies. These experiential activities foster relaxation, introspection, and self-empowerment. Holistic activities might include mindfulness training, meditation, yoga, equine therapy, art therapy, massage therapy, and gardening therapy.
  • Aftercare. Rounding out a comprehensive rehab program are aftercare services. These might include 12-step meetings like N.A. or SMART Recovery, sober living housing, and ongoing outpatient therapy.

Quest 2 Recovery Adheres to Detox Protocol For Opiate Withdrawal

Quest 2 Recovery is a Los Angeles-based private recovery program that offers comprehensive medical detox, treatment, and continuing care services for helping individuals overcome opiate addiction. Our intimate and serene treatment environment provides a sense of comfort and security while clients transition through the phases of early recovery. By creating an integrated program that includes traditional evidence-based therapies, medication assisted therapy, and holistic therapies, all facets of the individual are addressed and treated. For more information about our family-like program, please reach out to Quest 2 Recovery today at (888) 453-9396.

Preventing Overdosing on Pills

According to the Centers for Disease Control, each day about 130 individuals in the U.S. suffer an opioid overdose death, including prescription pain medications and heroin. Overdosing on pills has been an ongoing problem for decades, especially after the introduction of drugs like OxyContin and Vicodin. Initially, the dangers associated with these opioids were not clearly understood, which only became crystalized in the past decade. Overdosing on pills or illicit drugs like heroin or fentanyl has doubled since 2010, with more than 72,000 deaths in 2017 alone.

While overdose deaths may result from the recreational misuse of opioids, a certain percentage of victims are overdosing on pills due to the powerfully addictive nature of the drugs, or by not heeding the warnings stated on the labels, especially regarding alcohol use. Combining alcohol and pills is an often lethal combination. When discussing how to prevent overdosing on pills, including opioids, benzodiazepines, or any prescription pills, understanding how alcohol impacts the effects of the drug is key.

How to Prevent Overdose

Accidental overdose kills thousands of people every year. In most cases, these fatal events can be avoided by following precautions. Some of the ways to prevent drug overdose include:

  • Read medication labels carefully and heed them. This means to only take the drugs as prescribed and to not take with other drugs unless the doctor has prescribed certain safe combinations. Keep the packaging for future reference to the drug precautions.
  • Refrain from drinking alcohol while using prescription drugs
  • If you have a history of overdose or addiction, inform your doctor
  • Take any unneeded drugs to the pharmacy for safe disposal. Do not stockpile
  • Inform the doctor if you suffer from depression or anxiety
  • Keep all prescription and over-the-counter drugs out of the reach of children

What Are the Signs of a Drug Overdose?

Prior to actual overdose there will be signs that someone has taken too many pills. The symptoms of excessive dosing include:

  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Nodding off, in and out of consciousness
  • Scratching due to itchy sensation
  • Muscles are slack
  • Speech is slurred

Opiate (OxyContin, Vicodin, Norco, Demerol) and benzodiazepine (Valium, Ativan, Xanax) overdose symptoms include:

  • Shallow breathing or no breathing
  • Unresponsive
  • Severe disorientation if conscious
  • Snoring or gurgling sounds
  • Vomiting
  • Pulse is slow and erratic
  • Skin is pale and clammy
  • Blue finger tips or lips

What To Do in the Event of a Drug Overdose

If you suspect someone has overdosed on pills, it is imperative to take quick action. This constitutes a medical emergency so do not panic. Instead, take the following action:

  • If the individual is not conscious and breathing is shallow or not present, the first thing to do is to firmly rub your knuckles over the sternum (chest bone) and shout their name. If they do not respond, immediately call 911.
  • While awaiting the first responders, employ CPR (rescue breathing) on the person. This entails tilting the head of the individual back, lifting the chin, and pinching the nostrils. With your mouth over theirs, give two quick breaths and one long breath. Repeat every five seconds.
  • When first responders arrive they will likely administer Naloxone to resuscitate the individual.

What is Naloxone?

The opioid reversal drug, naloxone (brand names Narcan and Evzio) has been instrumental in saving hundreds of lives. Police officers, paramedics, and fire fighters are increasingly trained and equipped with naloxone injectables or nasal sprays for a rapid reversal of respiratory failure. Naloxone is a safe and well-tolerated drug that may induce nausea, vomiting, sweating, or tremors. Compared to the alternative, certain death, these adverse effects are inconsequential.

Getting Treatment for Drug Addiction

Opioids and benzos can quickly lead to addiction. This is a problem that many individuals, who simply took the drugs as directed, have realized when attempting to discontinue using them. Due to highly unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, the hallmark sign of addiction or chemical dependency, the individual may choose to continue using the medication to avoid the painful experience of getting off the drug.

The best way to avoid accidental overdose is to seek treatment for addiction once it becomes evident that a problem has developed. The sooner one reaches out to get help the faster and easier it is to overcome an addiction to opioids or benzodiazepines.


Initially, the individual will need to undergo the detox process, during which a drug-tapering schedule will help ease the individual off the drug safely. As withdrawal symptoms arise, the trained detox staff will intervene with various medications to ease pain and discomfort. Detox can take 7-14 days depending on the length of time using the medication and the usual dosing levels.


After detox is completed, the client will begin to address the various behaviors and underlying psychological issues associated with the drug use and addiction. They may have acquired certain thought patterns that have resulted in reflexive drug use behaviors, such as “I can’t handle this stress,” “I won’t be able to handle the pain,” or “I cannot sleep without the drug.” Through cognitive behavioral therapy, this negative self-messaging is shifted towards positive and constructive self-messaging. In psychotherapy, the client will examine any unresolved emotional issues that may be contributing to the drug use. The therapist will guide the individual toward expressing emotions about the issue and toward healing.

Other aspects of treatment for drug addiction include learning how to cope better with stress or difficult emotions, how to communicate more productively, how to resolve conflicts better, and how to avoid relapse back to drug use.

Quest 2 Recovery Offers Comprehensive Addiction Treatment in Los Angeles

Quest 2 Recovery is a leader in the field of addiction recovery. Getting the individual into treatment is only the first step on a recovery continuum that will include medical detox, addiction treatment for making fundamental changes in behaviors, learning recovery skills to reinforce sobriety, and aftercare services such as outpatient rehab and sober living housing. For more information about our program, please connect with Quest 2 Recovery today at (888) 453-9396.

Getting Off Opioids Safely

No one enjoys experiencing pain. Pain is to be avoided at all costs, right? We humans have sought and developed medicines and other analgesic tools and methods to reduce or eliminate pain for thousands of years. One of the key sources for these medical miracles is a particular poppy plant, the opium poppy, from which morphine, heroin, and other pain relievers were derived. Morphine is the foundation of all future prescription opioids, including Dilaudid, Demerol, and OxyContin. Amazingly, heroin was used as a cough suppressant for children as recently as the 1890s!

The powerfully addictive properties of the opiate products became widely known by the early 1900s, so heroin was reclassified as an illicit, illegal narcotic and efforts to rein in the effects of morphine abuse and addiction have continued to this day. It seems that pharmaceutical companies delude themselves to the addicting properties of the drugs they concoct until reality shines a bright light on the subsequent devastation and forces them to retrace.

Opioid-related deaths have taken over 217,000 lives in an eighteen-year period between 1999-2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Now that it is impossible to deny that the U.S. has a serious opioid epidemic on its hangs, the focus now shifts to helping people with getting off opioids safely. Medical detox programs, tapering schedules, and medication-assisted treatment are all making inroads for getting off opioids safely, and offering hope to individuals held captive by opioid dependency.

How Opioids Become Addictive

It is easy to understand how someone might become addicted to opioids. A doctor prescribes the pills to assist with pain management after a surgery or sustaining an injury. The opioids attach to the opioid receptors in the brain, spine, and other organs, blocking pain messaging. With the sensation of pain now gone, the patient experiences a deep sense of relaxation and euphoria.

The brain imprints the positive effects of the drug into the reward system, something to be remembered as a desirable experience, and to be repeated. The patient continues to rely on the opioid as they continue to heal from the medical event, and the brain becomes accustomed to its presence. Because the drug floods the bloodstream with dopamine and endorphins, the feel-good chemicals, the brain cuts back on producing these neurotransmitters naturally. Over time, the brain stops producing dopamine altogether.

Tolerance to the drug increases as the individual continues to diligently take their pain medication. This translates to a need to take ever-increasing amounts of the drug to enjoy the original effects of the opioid. This eventually leads to opioid dependency.

Warning Signs of Opioid Addiction or Dependency

In addition to increased tolerance and using more and more of the drug to get the desired affect, there are other signs that dependency is forming. These might include:

  • Obsessing over acquiring the drug, having enough on hand, looking forward to next dose
  • Doctor shopping when primary doctor discontinues refills
  • Buying opioids from strangers
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Stealing pills from others
  • Chronic constipation
  • Increased anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Decreased appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Agitation
  • Experience withdrawal symptoms when attempting to quit or cut back

Getting Off Opioids Safely

Detoxing from opioids can be very uncomfortable, with withdrawal symptoms arising within 12 hours of the last dosing. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Chills, fever
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cold sweat
  • Muscle aches and pain
  • Insomnia
  • Shaking
  • Agitation
  • Bone pain
  • Watery eyes
  • Goose bumps
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Excessive yawning

To get off opioids safely it is important not to go cold turkey and stop suddenly. Instead, a medical detox program will set up a tapering schedule so the body can slowly adjust to incrementally lower levels of the drug over a period of about two weeks. Other features of a supervised medical detox include:

  • Monitoring vital signs throughout the detox and withdrawal process
  • Providing medications to aid in gastrointestinal distress, headache, fever, constipation, muscle aches
  • Providing psychological counseling and support

Opioid detox usually lasts about one week, with withdrawal symptoms peaking on days 2-3.

Medication Assistance for Opioid Addiction

Using a replacement drug in opioid recovery is becoming much more common. These medications are not considered to be taken permanently, but focus more on the first year of helping to sustain recovery and prevent relapse. The drugs, including methadone, Suboxone, naltrexone, and buprenorphine, are also opioids, but they act as opioid agonists or antagonists, which can reduce cravings.

Individuals on medication-assisted treatment should be closely monitored, as the drugs can also be abused, too. Methadone is very highly monitored, and the other drugs managed through a primary care provider.

Treating Addiction Behaviors

It isn’t enough to simply detox from an opioid drug; detox is only the first step of the recovery process. Deeply ingrained reflexive addictive behaviors have become habit, and these behaviors will need to be identified and replaced with healthy responses in recovery. This is accomplished through a combination of approaches, such as using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and motivation enhancement therapy. During both individual and group sessions, recovering addicts are guided through examining their disordered thoughts and behaviors, and then reframing the self-messaging to elicit positive, constructive behavioral responses. Therapy can also help individuals identify their recovery goals and take ownership of them.

Holistic and experiential activities compliment the evidence-based therapies and promote a deeper dive into personal insights by contemplating contributing psychological factors. These activities might include mindfulness meditation, yoga, art therapy, equine therapy, gardening therapy, journaling, or massage therapy. These activities also help reduce stress and promote a sense of peace and relaxation, which can be helpful throughout recovery.

Quest 2 Recovery Provides Effective Opioid Addiction Treatment

Quest 2 Recovery is a residential addiction treatment program in an intimate home setting outside Los Angeles. The extensively trained addiction specialists at Quest 2 Recovery understand the importance of helping their clients with safe, effective strategies for getting off opioids safely. Without the compassionate support of a caring detox staff, most who attempt to quit opioids will quickly return to the drugs to avoid the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. In a dedicated medically supervised detox program the individual is guided safely through the detox and withdrawal process and offered medications that help alleviate discomfort. For more information about the tapering detox program at Quest 2 Recovery, please contact us today at (888) 453-9396.

Understanding the Heroin Detox Stages

One of the most looming barriers to getting treatment for a heroin addiction is the anticipation and fear around the detox and withdrawal process. Most addicts will have already experienced a taste of the highly uncomfortable symptoms if the drug was unavailable at some point. Once the body has become chemically dependent on heroin it can be a painful experience trying to break free of it. In the absence of the drug the body will, within hours, begin to exhibit the signs of distress as it attempts to stabilize.

Without medical detox support, most individuals would simply give up and return to the drug as the withdrawal symptoms mount and intensify, never making it into treatment. While detox and withdrawal are difficult regardless, through medical monitoring various interventions can be provided to minimize the suffering and usher the individual through the process safely.

By understanding the heroin detox stages it can help prepare the individual for how the process will unfold and what medical interventions will be offered to assist them. Detox is never a pleasant experience, but with medical oversight by trained detox professionals both the physical and emotional discomfort can be managed. This support allows the individual to enter the detox phase of recovery feeling prepared, confident, and reassured.

About Heroin Withdrawal

When someone enters into detox and withdrawal as the initial step of recovery from a heroin addiction they will first meet with clinical staff to share with them their history of heroin use, how long, how much of the drug is consumed on a daily basis, if there is a history of rehab and relapse, if there is a co-occurring mental health disorder, and physical health status. From this information the clinician can determine the best course of treatment, and approximate how long the detoxification phase will take.

The severity of the detox and withdrawal process will vary between individuals based on these details. The heroin detox stages can be longer or the symptoms harsher for individuals with a long history of extensive heroin use. Also, post-acute withdrawal symptoms can linger for a month or two afterward in many cases. Once this is understood as something to be expected it can help the individual gear up and accept the effects of the heroin detox stages. Generally, heroin detox lasts anywhere from 5-10 days.

What Are the Heroin Detox Stages?

Heroin detoxification processes predictably through three distinct stages. A professional detox team will usher the client through the difficult middle stage using a variety of medical interventions that help mitigate many of the uncomfortable symptoms.

Stage One: Early phase

Withdrawal symptoms begin to appear within 12 hours of the last heroin dosing and may include the following:

  • Sweating
  • Chills and fever
  • Muscle and joint aches
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Drug cravings
  • Excessive yawning
  • Tearing eyes
  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure

Stage Two: Peak phase

Withdrawal symptoms peak on the third day and may include:

  • Goosebumps, shivering
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Abdominal cramping and diarrhea
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle spasms
  • Low mood
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Impaired respiration
  • Tremors
  • Intense drug cravings
  • Suicide ideation

Stage Three: Subsiding phase

During the final few days of detox symptoms begin to dramatically subside, although psychological symptoms may persist for some time.

Medication Support for Heroin Recovery

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is available to assist with early recovery. These FDA- approved drugs are also opioids, but are classified as partial opioid agonists. These longer acting opioids, such as Suboxone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone, replace the heroin while also reducing cravings for the drug. In many cases, the drugs can begin to be dispensed at a specified stage of detox, which helps ease withdrawal symptoms as well.

MAT is carefully monitored and is provided in tandem with a rehab program, not as a substitute for addiction treatment. The drugs themselves have the capacity to be abused, which is why clients using MAT should be monitored closely with a timeline for tapering at some point in the first year of recovery. MAT can be very effective in helping to prevent relapse and sustain recovery.

Heroin Addiction Treatment

After successful completion of a medical detox the client is ready to being treatment for overcoming the heroin dependency. This process requires commitment and patience, as heroin addiction is a challenging disease to manage. The best outcomes are experienced through residential rehab programs where the client will reside for a few months. That is the length of time it takes for brain chemistry to normalize, for health and wellness to be restored, and for new recovery skills to be reinforced before returning to one’s home community. It also allows client to remove themselves from unhealthy environments and relationships that would undermine their recovery efforts.

Treatment will involve a multi-faceted integrated approach, with treatment elements selected specifically for the individual client. This customization is important if the treatment will be relevant to the client and effective in the long run. Core treatment elements include:

  • Individual psychotherapy. During these one-on-one sessions a clinical psychotherapist will work with the client to explore life issues or past traumas that may be contributing factors to the addiction.
  • Group therapy. Clients benefit from meeting in small groups and discussing their personal stories or challenges under the direction of a clinician.
  • Acquiring recovery skills. During treatment a great deal of attention is directed toward providing clients various recovery tools. These include coping skills, interpersonal skills, stress-reduction techniques, and life skills.
  • 12-step programming. The Alcoholics Anonymous method of incrementally reaching benchmarks in recovery also includes recovery group meetings.
  • Relapse prevention planning. Clients will be educated about how addiction develops, the dangers of relapse, and to strategize about preventing relapse.
  • Holistic activities. To compliment the traditional psychotherapy, certain experiential activities or therapies are utilized. These include yoga, massage therapy, acupuncture, journaling, art therapy, and mindfulness meditation.

Quest 2 Recovery Leading Provider of Heroin Addiction Treatment

Quest 2 Recovery is a Los Angeles-based residential treatment program that offers medical detoxification and fully individualized heroin treatment plans. Set in a comfortable, serene home setting, Quest 2 Recovery helps clients quiet their minds and restore health and vitality. For more information about the program, please contact us today at (888) 453-9396.

Self Medicating Depression With Opiates

People are depressed in this day and age. The prevalence of depressive disorder in the United States hovers around 16 million, or about 6.7% of the adult population according to the National Association of Mental Illness. Women are nearly twice as likely to suffer from depression, and young adults have the highest rates of all the age groups, with 11% affected by depressive disorder.

Sadly, a large percentage, about 37%, of individuals who battle depression, do so without getting professional help from a doctor. Barriers to treatment might include feelings of shame or stigma associated with mental health disorders, a sense that it would signify weakness in character to ask for help, and cost constraints for individuals without adequate insurance coverage.

Among those who chose to tough it out, a tendency to self-medicate the debilitating symptoms of depression with drugs or alcohol is common. By using a substance, the individual hopes to numb the difficult feelings that accompany a depressive disorder, such as feelings of despair, sadness, shame, and guilt. Self medicating depression with opiates is one such solution, while others may favor alcohol or another drug.

When it comes to self medicating depression with opiates, or any drug, it can be a two way street. Some individuals may have become addicted to opiates, such as OxyContin or Vicodin, following an injury or surgery where these prescription pain medications were used long enough to create a dependence on them. In other cases, the individual may have become addicted to an illicit type of opiates, such as heroin. Addiction to opiates can lead to depression, especially for individuals who use opiates for chronic pain for a certain duration of time. In fact, a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine reported that about 12% of patients who used opioid pain medications for 30 days or more developed depression. As for heroin use, the life-altering consequences of the drug can result in major depression.

Effects of Self Medicating Depression With Opiates

For those who have existing depression but seek the use of a substance to help hide the highly unpleasant symptoms of depression, they may lean on opiates. The reason for choosing an opiate, either a synthetic opioid or heroin, is due to the deep relaxation and sense of euphoria that the opiate provides. The individual virtually escapes from reality, meaning they escape from their depression symptoms.

Sadly, the effects of self medicating depression with opiates are short-lived. As the individual develops a higher tolerance to the drug, their need for more of it increases. Over time, opiate addiction can develop, creating long-term effects that are much worse than the initial struggle with depression alone.

Signs of Opiate Addiction

When someone begins self medicating depression with opiates they may initially enjoy the effects of the drug on their mental health. Opiates can alleviate pain, anxiety, and enhance relaxation in addition to masking the depression. However, once the brain’s neurotransmitters are impacted, and brain chemistry shifts to accommodate the influx of the drug’s dopamine response, the individual will begin to experience negative symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of opiate addiction include:

  • Needing to take higher or more frequent doses
  • Constipation
  • Impaired vision
  • Slowed thinking, cognitive issues
  • Ignoring obligations and responsibilities
  • Insomnia
  • Drug cravings
  • Memory impairment
  • Anoxia
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Doctor shopping
  • Obtaining the opiates off the street or Internet
  • When attempting to quit using the opiate withdrawal symptoms commence

These symptoms of the opiate abuse or addiction only compound the distress caused by the depression, creating a complex dual diagnosis.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Depression and Opiate Addiction

When someone has been self-medicating depression by using opiates, or any substance, that has resulted in a substance addiction, they will need expert dual diagnosis treatment. Successfully treating someone with co-occurring disorders requires a specialized program with both psychiatric and addiction professionals available to treat both disorders simultaneously.

Depression treatment follows a conventional protocol of combining antidepressants with psychotherapy. The antidepressants aim to regulate brain chemistry, namely serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, but the effects take about a month to be noticeable. Many times, the initial prescription, selected from about 25 types of antidepressants, may need to be adjusted or switched to another antidepressant if the individual doesn’t experience relief by the 6-week point.

Psychotherapy is useful in treating both the depression and the addiction. Psychotherapy is a core treatment element for both disorders, helping individuals communicate their underlying emotional issues, past traumas, or difficult life circumstances with an objective therapist. In addition to assisting the client in processing these sources of pain, a psychotherapist can also point out a client’s distorted thought patterns—“I can’t function without Oxy, I can’t handle life without it—that lead to a reflexive behavioral response to reach for the drug. Using cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) the therapist can suggest replacement thoughts—“I am feeling sad today so I will take a brisk walk and feel better”—leading to positive and more constructive behavioral results.

To further treat the addiction piece of the dual diagnosis, there are various additional treatment elements provided in a dual diagnosis program. These might include:

  • Addiction education. Classes that teach clients how addiction develops in the first place can be effective in deterring future use of drugs, as well as assisting in relapse prevention planning.
  • Experiential activities. Because a dual diagnosis impacts all aspects of one’s being it is helpful to augment therapy with holistic therapies such as mindfulness meditation, journaling, art therapy, music therapy, equine therapy, yoga, and acupuncture.
  • Medication-assisted treatment. Some individuals may benefit from a drug that is designed to reduce cravings and improve recovery outcomes. For opiate recovery, this might include buprenorphine, Suboxone, or methadone.

Individuals struggling with both depression and opiate addiction can greatly benefit from dual diagnosis treatment, going on to enjoy a fulfilling and productive life.

Quest 2 Recovery Offers Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Los Angeles

Quest 2 Recovery is unique among addiction treatment providers. At Quest 2 Recovery, we have created a comfortable, intimate home setting for individuals struggling with depression and a co-occurring substance use disorder, including opiate addiction. Our dual diagnosis program is holistic in scope, treating all aspects of the client—mind, body, and spirit. Situated in a serene location, Quest 2 Recovery offers new hope to those who need a quiet respite from the stressors of daily life in which to heal and restore overall wellness. For more information about the program, please contact Quest 2 Recovery today at (888) 453-9396.

Struggling With Addiction and Depression

When someone is struggling with persistent feelings of sadness and despair, it isn’t surprising that they may initially attempt to lift their mood or soften the pain of depression using drugs or alcohol. Recognizing the prevalence of self-medicating depression symptoms by using a substance, it could be said that depression is a gateway for substance abuse or addiction.

Unfortunately, using drugs or alcohol to mitigate symptoms of depression sets up a vicious cycle, as the use of the substance can exacerbate the symptoms. Over time, as tolerance builds and the drug use or drinking escalates, the risk of addiction becomes real. A dual diagnosis, or the co-occurring substance use disorder with a mental health disorder, can create a steeper treatment hurdle to clear.

For some individuals, however, the depression arrives as a consequence of drug or alcohol addiction, not the cause of it. As problems mount due to the consequences of addiction, depression can result. Maybe a relationship failed or a job was lost due to the drug or alcohol addiction, which could spark a major depressive episode. Whichever order it occurred, struggling with addiction and depression is extremely difficult.

Signs of Depression

Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a complex mental health disorder that impacts more than 16 million adults each year in the U.S., according to statistics provided by the National Institute of Mental Health. There are many known factors that can cause depression, but even so, depression remains a mysterious and difficult mental health disorder with much still to be learned. Some of the known factors that contribute to MDD might include a genetic component, if there is a strong family history of depression, brain chemistry, temperament or personality traits, trauma, grief, and stressful life events.

Signs and symptoms of MDD include:

  • Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and despair
  • Fatigue, slowed motor skills
  • Changes in eating habits, weight gain or loss
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and activities usually enjoyed
  • Withdrawing from family and friends
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Irritability
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

When someone has five or more of the above symptoms that last for at least two weeks, he or she should be seen by a doctor.

Signs of Addiction

It may come as a surprise when the substance someone is leaning on to help them manage the symptoms of depression becomes a secondary problem that only enhances their suffering. Addiction can sneak up slowly, depending on the substance of choice, as tolerance to the effects begin to increase leading to ramped up use of the drug or alcohol.

Signs that an addiction is developing include both behavioral and physical symptoms:


  • Needing increasingly higher dosing to achieve desired result
  • Obsessing about drinking or using drugs, keeping an ample supply on hand
  • Lying about the drug use or alcohol consumption levels, in denial about encroaching signs of addiction
  • Being isolating from family and friends, or hanging out with new friends associated with the drug use
  • Impulsive actions, poor judgment, risky behaviors
  • Continue to use alcohol or drugs regardless of mounting consequences
  • Cannot stop using the substance, even if it is desired to do so
  • Withdrawal symptoms emerge if the substance is not available

Physical—these will differ depending to the substance, but some symptoms include:

  • Insomnia
  • Constricted or dilated pupils
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of interest in personal hygiene
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Bloated face or abdomen
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Constant sniffing
  • Nodding off

Effects of Struggling with Addiction and Depression

When both addiction and depression are present it can make daily life very difficult. As tolerance builds and drug or alcohol use escalates, the individual will only feel physically worse on top of the depression. The consequences related to this dual diagnosis can upend an individual’s life, such as getting a DUI, enduring the breakup of a relationship or marriage, losing a job, experiencing financial hardship, or mounting legal problems. As the consequences compound, depression only worsens, and the addiction becomes entrenched.

How to Treat a Dual Diagnosis

It has been demonstrated that a dual diagnosis should involve both disorders being treated simultaneously once detoxification is completed. This will require a treatment program that specializes in dual diagnosis programming, which includes psychiatric expertise on the premises. Someone recovering from alcoholism who also battled depression will be attempting to now live without the crutch of alcohol, which can be a challenging process.

Managing the recovery of someone with a dual diagnosis takes special training, as unpredictable issues may arise during treatment.

In rehab the depression piece of the diagnosis will likely be treated with antidepressants. Antidepressant drug therapy takes 4-6 weeks for noticeable changes to emerge, so it requires patience. Meanwhile, the psychotherapy sessions will allow the therapist to guide the individual toward examining and processing any underlying emotional issues that might be contributing to both the depression and the addiction. Cognitive behavioral therapy is helpful in changing the distorted thought patterns and reflexive self-destructive behaviors that have fueled the addiction and/or the depression.

Dual diagnosis programs that incorporate holistic and experiential treatment elements compliment the psychotherapy by encouraging self-exploration, stress reduction, and relaxation. These types of activities might include mindfulness meditation, yoga, art therapy, or journaling. With professional dual diagnosis intervention, it is absolutely possible to overcome addiction and depression.

Quest 2 Recovery Treats Co-Occurring Addiction and Depression

Quest 2 Recovery is an integrated dual diagnosis addiction recovery program serving greater Los Angeles, California. Being well aware of the difficulties associated with co-occurring disorders, Quest 2 Recovery has strived to create a soothing, tranquil setting where our clients can heal and reclaim their lives. By offering an intimate home setting with a family-like therapeutic approach, clients struggling with addiction and depression will feel comfortable and cared for. At Quest 2 Recovery, we combine important evidence-based therapies with complimentary holistic and experiential activities to help clients explore the underlying causes of their emotional pain, and process it. Only then can recovery from addiction and depression take place. For more information about the program, please contact Quest 2 Recovery today at (888) 453-9396.

Parents Seeking Help: What To Say to an Alcoholic Son or Daughter

In the first step of Alcoholics Anonymous the addict admits a sense of powerlessness over alcohol and acknowledges that life has become unmanageable. Honestly, this step can be just as pertinent to the parents of the alcoholic, as those words ring profoundly true for them, too. Nothing is so disheartening than to find oneself the parent of an alcoholic young adult. After painstakingly raising your child, doing the very best parenting job you could muster, you now witness your grown child’s life going up in smoke as it becomes clear that he or she has an alcohol problem.

At this juncture the knee jerk response is often one born of frustration and anger. Parents simply cannot understand why their child has chosen to drink so excessively that consecutive negative consequences are quickly piling up. Parents find themselves feeling exasperated and lost, not knowing how to help their son or daughter right the ship. Learning what to say to an alcoholic son or daughter that will result in positive action, versus rejection or denial, is key to them taking the first important steps toward recovery.

Helping Versus Enabling

As a parent, it is natural to want to help mitigate the fallout from a child’s alcoholism. Parents only want the best for their son or daughter, and may instinctively make grandiose efforts to rescue their grown child from the consequences of the disease. These reflexive actions are fueled out of fear—Will he have any food to eat?; Where will he live if he loses his apartment?; What if he doesn’t pay that ticket he got?; How will he keep the lights on?—fear that their child may suffer. The conundrum for parents is that they must allow the alcoholic to fall down and experience the consequences of their disease and allow them to own their recovery. Through suffering they may be more inclined to get the help they need, versus parents constantly bailing them out and providing a soft landing.

Enabling behaviors involve the steps that parents take to do the things that their son or daughter should be, and can be, doing for themselves. Enabling behaviors might include:

  • Giving your son or daughter money. While it is tempting to offer them some cash for food or to help pay rent or utility bills, in reality that cash will often be used to buy alcohol instead. Or, just having the parents taking care of the essentials allows the alcoholic to not feel the need to work or be productive and fuels the addiction.
  • Covering for them. A parent may contact their child’s employer or professor to make excuses for an absence. By trying to cover up the alcoholic’s behaviors, the parent is only teaching their child how to manipulate them in the future, and also deters them from being accountable for their actions.
  • Taking over for their responsibilities. Parents may feel tempted to step in and help when there are young children involved when the alcoholic is neglecting their parental responsibilities. This can be true for other neglected responsibilities, such as cleaning their apartment, handling their finances, or arranging for appointments.

Become Educated About the Disease of Alcoholism

Before approaching your son or daughter about their drinking, it is helpful to become informed first. Alcoholism is a complex, chronic disease. It is wise to have a basic understanding of the signs of addiction and the trajectory that the disease takes. The alcoholic does not want you to be informed, as they can manipulate uninformed parents much more easily.

Also, prior to addressing the alcoholism, do some research about detox and treatment options so you will be prepared when/if your son or daughter agrees to get help. This will save a lot of time and allow the parent to be able to move quickly toward securing treatment for their child in a timely manner, giving the son or daughter less time to change their mind.

What to Say to an Alcoholic Son or Daughter

When wondering what to say to an alcoholic son or daughter, it is important to use certain tactics when approaching them. These include:

  • Alcoholics of all ages will recoil if the approach is forceful and anger-driven. It is much more effective to approach them with compassion and understanding. They hate that they are alcoholic. They feel ashamed, guilty, and weak due to this disease.
  • Have evidence of their alcoholism ready to present to them, as alcoholics love to deny and lie about their disease. Have a few concrete examples of how the son or daughter is exhibiting the telltale signs of alcoholism, and that they need to get some help for it.
  • Offer constructive ideas. To just accuse the son or daughter of being an alcoholic is ineffective. Gently reveal the things that you understand, from your research, are indicative of alcoholism, and then offer them solutions. This means specific treatment options to consider, types of rehabs, what to do about detox, and how to plan for treatment.
  • Consider an intervention. If the parent is not confident in their abilities to approach their child about the alcoholism, a professional intervention is a good option. These interventionists are trained to smoothly manage the group meeting where family members and/or close friends convey to the alcoholic how his or her disease has negatively impacted their life, and then guide the person towards treatment.

Preparing for Recovery

In the best-case scenario, the loved one will agree to enter treatment for the alcohol use disorder. This acquiescence may be due to the obvious deterioration of the young adult’s life that is attributed directly to the alcohol abuse. Maybe they have hit their bottom and sincerely desire to change their life. Whatever the reason, the fact that a son or daughter has agreed to get professional help is reason to celebrate.

Prior to the beginning of treatment it is helpful to begin preparing them for the recovery process. This may mean researching different rehab programs together before deciding which is the most appropriate level of care. If the adult child is employed, suggest that they get a medical leave of absence from the employer. They will need to also inquire about their insurance benefits so they can be aware of the out-of-pocket costs of treatment.

Medical Detox Process

The first important step in recovery involves the process through which the body will expel all toxins and chemicals related to the alcoholism. Alcohol detox and withdrawal is a challenging aspect of early recovery, one that often deters many from even entering treatment. However, the benefit of a medically monitored detox program is that a trained team of detox specialists will attend to their needs throughout the process.

During a medical detox, the body struggles to regain equilibrium without the usual alcohol consumption. Brain pathways have adapted to the alcohol, so when it is withheld it causes intense physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol detox can be perilous, which is why a medical team is always important. These experts will consistently monitor vital signs and withdrawal symptoms, allowing them to offer medical interventions as needed to help minimize health risks and the symptoms themselves. The detox specialists, who help keep the individual focused on the end game—recovery, also provide important psychological support.

Comprehensive Addiction Treatment

After detox and withdrawal, the individual will transition to active recovery treatment. This can be obtained in either an outpatient or residential treatment setting, which is largely determined by the severity of the alcoholism. The outpatient option allows for the individual to remain living at home while participating in outpatient therapy for anywhere from 9-25 hours per week. A residential setting provides housing and involves a 24-hour support during an extended stay. The residential option offers the higher level of care, with a more intensive daily saturation of therapeutic activities.

Treatment elements for alcohol addiction recovery include:

  • Psychotherapy. Getting to the root of the addiction behaviors and transforming them is key to overcoming alcoholism. This is accomplished through individual psychotherapy sessions using evidence-based therapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and short-term psychodynamic therapy.
  • Group therapy. Individuals in recovery tend to enjoy hearing from peers during group therapy. These sessions allow participants to share personal experiences and offer mutual support.
  • Family therapy. Family members are encouraged to participate in the recovery process by engaging in family-focused group therapy sessions.
  • Medication. Some individuals in alcoholism recovery benefit from medication assisted treatment (MAT) through the use of naltrexone. In some cases, a co-occurring mental health diagnosis may necessitate medication as well.
  • 12-step meetings. Many rehabs will integrate A.A.’s 12-step programming into the treatment plan, involving 12-step meetings (or similar type recovery community) and guest speakers.
  • Complimentary activities. Various activities will enhance the recovery process, such as participating in holistic therapies like yoga, acupuncture, meditation, or art therapy, and recreational activities. Nutritional counseling also falls under this category.

Quest 2 Recovery is a Residential Alcohol Treatment Program in Los Angeles

Quest 2 Recovery understands the needs, both emotional and physical, of someone recovering from alcoholism. The compassionate staff at Quest 2 Recovery considers themselves partners with the client, walking the journey toward renewal and healing right along with them. The intimate and family-like treatment setting provides a sense of warmth and comfort to clients at a difficult time in their lives.

At Quest 2 Recovery, our program is base on proven therapies that work in tandem to help clients make important behavioral changes that will support long-term sobriety. As part of the therapeutic process, our therapists also help clients explore any underlying emotional issues that may be factors in the addictive reflex to drink. If you are wondering what to say to an alcoholic son or daughter to get them into treatment, contact our admissions desk for guidance and support. Contact Quest 2 Recovery today at (888) 453-9396.

Freeing the Elephant in the Room: I Need Help With Drinking Problem

You know the drill. You show up to the office gathering and can actually feel the looks you are getting from your coworkers. How many times have you attended such events and allowed your drinking to get away from you? Each time this happens, you hear about your raucous antics the next day at work, or see the sidelong glances directed your way. By now it has become apparent that you have an alcohol use disorder… to everyone but you.

Why not finally free the elephant it the room? Before any more damage is done to your career or reputation, why not admit, “I need help with drinking to excess?” Now is as good a time as any to just humbly admit that your use of alcohol is harming you in multiple ways, and get the help you need.

While that may seem like practical advice to those who care about your wellbeing, to someone with an alcohol problem it is likely to be met with resistance. Denial is a handy technique that problem drinkers employ to protect their ability to continue on as usual. But when your excessive alcohol use has reached a point that people are uncomfortable around you in situations when some level of decorum is expected, it is time to get real.

How Alcohol Use Disorder Impacts Your Life

In the example above we touched on the impact that alcohol abuse has on your professional life. In addition to feeling ostracized due to drunken antics at office parties, alcohol abuse can have far deeper consequences at work. Work performance will begin to deteriorate, absenteeism escalates to nurse hangovers, withdrawal symptoms may begin to show up at work, and, ultimately, one can be terminated.

There are many other ways that alcoholism can negatively impact one’s life. Here are a few examples:

  • May cause legal problems, such as getting a DUI or in a car accident
  • May cause abusive or violent behaviors at home or in public
  • May lead to isolating behaviors, drinking alone, social withdrawal
  • May cause you to stop participating in the activities you once enjoyed
  • May disrupt significant relationships
  • May cause financial problems, due to spending too much on alcohol, neglecting to pay bills, losing your job
  • May cause serious physical or mental health issues

There are ample reasons to free the elephant in the room and get the help you need.

What is the First Step to Change Problem Drinking?

Just saying the words, “I need help with drinking too much,” is the first big step toward recovery. Admitting there is a problem and then moving forward toward seeking professional help will launch recovery from alcohol abuse or addiction.

Some people may need to go through alcohol detox before they begin treatment. These are individuals with moderate to severe alcohol use disorder, and should always obtain detox through a medically monitored detox and withdrawal program.

Finding the Best Treatment Fit

Not all rehabs are alike. Although most will offer the basic treatment elements for addiction recovery, there is a very wide spectrum of niches within the rehab landscape. For example, there are faith-based rehabs, couples rehab, pet friendly rehab, non 12-step rehab, 12-step rehab, luxury rehab, and holistic rehab, to name a few. Rehabs can be small and intimate or a highly populated facility. It is important to select the rehab that is most closely aligned with your personal preferences and worldview.

Medical Detox for Alcohol Use Disorder

When a detoxification is required prior to treatment it is important to understand that alcohol detox can be tricky. While most people undergoing detox and withdrawal for alcoholism will suffer mild to moderate withdrawal symptoms, a small percentage will experience unpredictable and serious withdrawals, including the delirium tremens, which can be fatal.

A medical detox provides ongoing supervision by a trained detox team whose mission it is to safely guide the client through the detox process and into treatment. The detox team will monitor vital signs throughout the duration, and administer medical interventions as needed for controlling the withdrawal symptoms. In addition, the detox specialists provide psychological support as well, helping to quell feelings of anxiety or depression that can arise.

Rehab for Alcohol Use Disorder

Getting treatment for an alcohol use disorder begins when you admit, “I need help with drinking issues.” Addiction treatment involves multiple types of therapies and activities that are designed to work together towards rebuilding confidence, creating healthy thought/behavior patterns, and restoring wellness. The rehab environment should be relaxed but organized, offering a daily schedule of classes, group therapy sessions, individual therapy sessions, and recovery group meetings.

In addition to the basic treatment elements, some rehabs offer additional services and activities. These may include experiential activities, such as yoga, meditation, or art therapy. Some rehabs offer adjunctive therapies, such as biofeedback, acupuncture, or EMDR. Recreational therapies, involving outdoor activities such as hiking, swimming, sports, or fishing, are also included in some rehab programs.

In the end, the purpose of rehab for alcohol treatment is to help an individual overcome the maladaptive behaviors that led to excessive drinking by unraveling the underlying issues that may have contributed to it. Processing these emotional pain points and learning new, productive responses to triggers will result in a new lease on life.

Quest 2 Recovery is a Comprehensive Alcohol Treatment Program in Los Angeles

Quest 2 Recovery is there for you when the moment arrives that you say “I need help with drinking problem.” The compassionate team at Quest 2 Recovery understands all about the elephant in the room, when everyone sees the trouble someone is in except the problem drinker. In the quiet, mellow setting, this homelike rehab setting allows individuals to come to grips with the underlying issues that are contributing to the alcohol problem, and to make significant behavioral changes during treatment. The client will leave the program feeling equipped and confident, with multiple recovery tools at their fingertips. For more information about the program, contact Quest 2 Recovery today at (888) 453-9396.

Treating Heroin Addict’s Behaviors and Addiction

A sense of urgency about treating heroin addiction has been recently fueled due to the spike in deaths attributed to heroin cut with fentanyl for sale on the street. The synthetic fentanyl, usually manufactured in clandestine labs in China, is enormously potent and deadly, and is responsible for the recent spate of overdose deaths in the U.S. The problem is that, once addicted to heroin, individuals desperate for their next fix are often not careful in sourcing their drug, and can unwittingly purchase fentanyl-laced heroin.

Recognizing the behavioral changes due to heroin addiction is key to an early intervention in treating the disease. Individuals who have developed a heroin addiction change in significant ways, in their behaviors, appearance, physical health, and their mental state. A heroin addiction is a horrific existence where everything you once valued is abandoned or destroyed through the addiction. Understanding what a heroin addict’s behaviors look like is imperative to identifying addiction in your loved one and getting them timely help.

What Are a Heroin Addict’s Behaviors?

In most cases, noticeable changes in behaviors become evident fairly early in the addiction process. The behaviors will vary in severity based upon how advanced the disease of addiction has become, as a singular focus—the next fix—becomes obsessive. A heroin addict’s behaviors may include:

  • General malaise and apathy, loss of interest activities once enjoyed
  • Mood swings
  • Decline in academic or work performance
  • Lying
  • Stealing
  • Excessive sleeping
  • Avoiding eye contact
  • Avoiding physical contact
  • Withdrawal and isolation
  • Secretive behaviors
  • Hanging out with sketchy people
  • Slurred speech
  • Nodding off
  • Jittery movements
  • Deceptive or illegal acts
  • Appears disoriented
  • Hostile mood

The loved ones of the addict are hurt deeply by the lying and deception, and the theft of money and possessions, which the addict engages in as a means of finding resources to buy more heroin. The need to acquire and use the drug becomes compulsive.

Other Signs of Heroin Addiction

In addition to the behavioral signs of heroin addiction, there are other telltale red flags:

Physical changes

The physical changes of the addict may include:

  • Loss of interest in hygiene or general appearance
  • Loss of weight
  • Grayish, pale complexion
  • Sunken eyes
  • Raspy voice
  • Marks on arms, wearing long-sleeves in attempt to hide them
  • Constricted pupils
  • Constant sniffing
  • Nosebleeds
  • Runny nose, sniffing
  • Burns on mouth or fingers

Other indicators of possible heroin addiction

  • Missing painkiller prescriptions
  • Missing shoelaces
  • Missing spoons
  • Finding paraphernalia such as foil, rubber bands, wax paper, small baggies, bottle caps, straws, razor blades, half-empty water bottles, rolled up pieces of paper or dollar bills

Treatment for a Heroin Addiction

Rejoice if you have managed to convince your loved one that they need help. Many addicts remain ambiguous about getting clean, not yet ready to give up their drug. If your loved one has agreed to get help, this is the typical three-pronged recovery process:


Initially, it is imperative that all the residual drug toxins and chemicals are purged from the body through the detox process. A medical detox provides supervision throughout the detox and withdrawal, which usually lasts about a week. During the detox, a detox team will provide medical interventions to assist with the withdrawal symptoms in order to provide the highest level of comfort possible. In some cases, Suboxone or methadone may be utilized in detox and early recovery.

Active treatment

The treatment phase of recovery involves a coordinated and customized treatment plan that includes psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication management, addiction education classes, recovery group meetings, inspiring guest speakers, relapse prevention planning, and adjunctive therapies such as yoga, mindfulness exercises, art therapy, and other complimentary therapies. Residential programs allow for an extended treatment period of one month to a year.

Continuing care

Continuing care is the important after care component of recovery, which includes sober living housing, ongoing outpatient therapy sessions, and medication management.

Heroin addiction can be successfully overcome, and a fulfilling life is truly possible. Do not hesitate to begin treatment as early as possible for the best recovery outcome.

Quest 2 Recovery Offers Comprehensive Treatment for Heroin Addiction

Quest 2 Recovery is a residential drug and alcohol treatment center located in north Los Angeles county in the quiet, peaceful community of Lancaster, California. Our effective program offers an intimate, family-like setting that is very conducive to healing and recovery. Once you have recognized the heroin addict’s behaviors and desire to help them, finding a responsive, tailored approach like Quest 2 Recovery is key. At Quest 2 Recovery our treatment team is highly qualified and trained in helping someone navigate through the recovery process and acquire new, healthy behaviors and routines.

It takes time and patience to overcome a heroin addiction, but professional clinical treatment is the only way to succeed. It is not overstating to say that no one can recover from a heroin addiction without professional guidance and support. For more information about our customized treatment program, please contact Quest 2 Recovery today and begin your personal quest to a full recovery. Call us at (888) 453-9396.

Addiction Doctor Utilizing Suboxone for Detox from Opiates

Opiate addiction continues to be a national epidemic, with mounting loss of life occurring each day in the U.S. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 115 people die each day in our country due to opioid or opiate overdose. For individuals who are addicted to heroin or prescription painkillers, one of the barriers to getting treatment is an aversion to the intense discomfort of opiate detox and withdrawal. While true that the physical pain and the extreme drug cravings experienced in opiate detox are highly unpleasant, it is important to recognize detox as the lesser of the two evils, the other being an overdose death.

Addiction specialists are increasingly relying of medication-assisted treatment to help ease the withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate detox. Doctors, who have obtained a special waiver from the DEA to prescribe Suboxone for opiate addiction treatment, can use Suboxone for detox from opiates, as well as maintenance therapy. Much evidence is available to support the efficacy of Suboxone as an important tool to help individuals successfully complete detox and achieve a sustained and productive recovery.

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is a narcotic that is delivered via a sublingual film, containing two ingredients: buprenorphine and naloxone. The buprenorphine acts as a partial opioid agonist, mimicking the natural neurotransmitters in the brain and providing a mini-version of an opiate’s effects. The naloxone acts as a pure opioid antagonist, blocking and reversing the euphoric effects of the opioid. Suboxone replaces the heroin or opioid of addiction with a much lower opioid dosing that is gradually tapered off as recovery becomes stabilized.

Suboxone is, in many ways, supplanting methadone, which has been used for decades to treat opiate addiction. Methadone is a highly regulated drug requiring patients on methadone maintenance to physically obtain the drug at a dedicated methadone clinic. This strict regulation is inconvenient, but necessary in order to avoid abuse of the drug, where Suboxone can be dispensed at a regular pharmacy.

How Suboxone Works

Suboxone works by binding onto the opioid receptors in the brain, the same receptors that the heroin or opioids bound to. Even though the Suboxone contains a minimal amount of opioid, it is able to suppress pain. The naloxone component can block any pleasure response or euphoria, making other opioids inconsequential should the person relapse, whole also creating a deterrent for the Suboxone itself to be abused.

Using Suboxone for Detox from Opiates

Once the individual begins to experience mild withdrawal symptoms they will be able to begin Suboxone therapy. Suboxone will ease the withdrawal symptoms within eight hours, and if used only for detox, is administered for 3-4 days for most clients. Clients with a more acute opiate addiction may need the Suboxone detox assistance for up to two weeks. It is critical to wait until early withdrawal symptoms present before administering Suboxone, as given too soon can trigger intense withdrawal symptoms, the opposite of the desired effect.

When using Suboxone for detox from opiates, it is designed for opiates only, so if the individual has a polydrug dependency they could still experience the specific withdrawal symptoms associated with those drugs. This situation would indicate the need for additional medications.

Suboxone in Early Recovery

There are varying opinions among addiction specialists about the value of long-term Suboxone maintenance therapy. Because Suboxone is itself an opioid, it is felt by some to only prolong the opioid addiction instead of aiming for abstinence from all opiates. These professionals see the benefit of Suboxone for detox from opiates, as it helps individuals overcome their fear of detox and withdrawal so they can begin the recovery process.

However, other addiction professionals believe that, because the brain chemistry has been so impacted by the opiate addiction, to try to function without any form of the drug at all leads to relapse, mostly due to unchecked drug cravings. By using Suboxone for three months or six months post-treatment, it is felt that the recovering addict can adjust better to the daily demands of work, school, or family. The tapering process should begin no later than one year post rehab.

Precautions About Suboxone

When using Suboxone for detox from opiates, there are some common side effects cited, including:

  • Fainting or light headedness
  • Constipation
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Concentration problems
  • Back pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Stomach distress
  • Drowsiness
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Swollen or painful tongue

However, most of these side effects will resolve spontaneously with continued use of Suboxone. The opiate withdrawal symptoms peak on day three, and then slowly subside. At the end of two weeks, both the psychological and physical withdrawal symptoms will likely be completed, although drug cravings can persist. For this reason, to help prevent relapse, Suboxone is often prescribed in the early months of recovery.

Using Suboxone as a replacement drug in a medically assisted treatment program is not without its critics. Although it is generally considered to be a helpful step-down drug in recovery from opiates, it does nothing to treat the actual addictive behaviors. When someone is placed on Suboxone as a maintenance drug, but does not address and get treatment for the maladaptive behaviors that feed addiction, they could begin to abuse Suboxone as well. There is also a risk of acquiring an addiction to Suboxone.

Quest 2 Recovery Provides Suboxone for Detox From Opiates

Quest 2 Recovery is a highly regarded leader in the addiction recovery field, serving the greater Los Angeles region. The doctor at Quest 2 Recovery, who is authorized to prescribe Suboxone, may determine that some clients will benefit from this medically-assisted treatment. For those recovering from an opiate addiction or dependency, Suboxone is considered the gold standard in the addiction treatment industry, helping those in recovery successfully complete detox and withdrawal.

Suboxone may also be prescribed to help reduce drug cravings in the early months of recovery. After a certain time period, the doctor will begin the tapering schedule to wean the client off of the Suboxone. For more information about our program, please contact Quest 2 Recovery today at (888) 453-9396.