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Addiction Treatment: Alternatives to Methadone

Posted on :  July 22nd, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

As the fight against addiction continues, researchers are always looking for new ways to end this growing problem. Right now, methadone is one of the most commonly used treatment protocols for deathly addictions to heroin and other opioids. This treatment remains effective, which is why it is repeatedly used, but researchers would like to find another one that can work for those who prefer to avoid methadone.

Treating drug addiction with other drugs creates chemical reactions with the chemical reactions of the drugs users are abusing. In some cases, those treatment drugs can cause negative effects on the body. One is Antabuse, which causes those who are fighting alcohol addiction to become sick to their stomachs if they imbibe. By causing the user to want to vomit while taking Antabuse and drinking alcohol, the road to recovery is success because the mind associates alcohol with the feeling of vomiting. Now, researchers who are searching for working medications for heroin addicts have found a drug called Naloxone. In a few studies, researchers have seen interesting outcomes.

Naxolene appears to work by getting involved with the receptor in the brain that is tied to heroin addiction. This receptor is called the Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4). Naxolene also seems to work by blocking cocaine, too. The TLR4 receptor is responsible for creating the sense of euphoria that comes with using opioids. The receptor appears to make a response that is known as pro-inflammatory, which is an unhealthy reaction that can cause problems like fevers, nausea, inflammation, and tissue loss. When it comes to opioid and cocaine addiction, this pro-inflammation seems like a reward to the human brain, which is why the drugs are so addicting.

When Naxolene is tested, researchers and scientists noticed that opioids were unable to connect to the receptor. This deadens the effects of the drug, so that the user no longer experiences the rewards like euphoria and stoppage of pain. If the drug no longer works, the user should no longer want it; this is the goal of researchers.

The addict’s brain enjoys the feeling from heroin or cocaine use. They often call the experience a “rush” and this occurs when the TLR4 is activated with the molecules of the drug. Once that first rush occurs, the user has no idea that rush will be the best one that he or she will experience. Then, the user tries to recreate the perfect rush with every other use, but to avail. The user will need more drugs to get close. This is what is known as tolerance as the user builds up something like an immunity to the drug. The desire is that the user will eventually stop because of the lack of rush, but many users just keep abusing with the hopes that a rush will occur. Eventually, users overdose trying to get high when their brains will no longer allow it. With Naxolene, the users will be able to stop using before they get to the point of desperation that eventually results in death by overdose.

With researchers finding that TLR4 is responsible not only for the rush from opioids, but also from cocaine, they are closer to making Naxolene a reality for treatment centers. Researchers are hoping to be able to use Naxolene with other addictive substances like methamphetamine and with alcohol. They are hoping that the discovery will be easy to find so that they can simply use Naxolene or another substance that will block a receptor like TLR4. Maybe the discoveries relating to Naxolene will help researchers find the solution to every danger addiction.

If you have any questions or you want to visit Towards Recovery Clinic, please contact us at our head office at 905-527-2042.


Methadone Maintenance Therapy: What are the Pros and Cons?

Posted on :  July 14th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Methadone Maintenance Therapy or MMT is commonly used by clinics in North America. This therapy uses either methadone or Buprenorphine, because both work to help fight opioid addictions. Those who are addicted to opioids, like heroin or some prescription painkillers are prescribed this therapy. It is recommended that patients who are preparing for this type of treatment should educate themselves about the treatment and the pros and cons of it, too.

What Happens in the First Week

Those who go through this treatment become familiar with it after the first week. Most physicians recommend that you should take the first day of treatment off from work, because you will spend a few hours at the clinic. Physicians will usually prescribe at anywhere between 8 and 15 milligrams on day one. Before you enter the clinic for your first dose, you should also already be in withdrawal from your addiction drug, especially because your treatment drug is stronger than the opiates you are addicted to and the treatment medication will exacerbate your addiction. If you have not created withdrawal for yourself, the medication will do it, which will trick you into thinking that the medication is not working properly. Your self-prescribed withdrawal will also give your physician a better idea of what dosage you need.

What Your Physician Expects During Week One

During the first week, you will see your doctor at least two times. This is so your physician can see that you will actually follow your instructions and take your medication when and how it is prescribed. Your physician will also order lab work and counseling time, too. You can expect to have urine testing to be sure you are following your prescription instructions. If you continue to abuse opiates, you will feel strange because the medication will not be able to properly work to help you fight the addiction. But, if you do take your MMT medication, you should be able to feel “normal” and as if you never started taking drugs.

Why MMT is a Good Choice

Before you decide whether or not to involve yourself in MMT, there are several pros and cons to consider. First, MMT has been used successfully for over 30 years to treat men and women with addictions to opioids. The therapy does involve daily structure, which helps patients find success. It has a cost that is usually put on a sliding scale to make it affordable for everyone who wants the help. There is a support system built in, because of the counseling component and many addicts are able to get support from other addicts through group counseling. The medication used to fight the opioid addiction is an opioid itself, which ends withdrawal symptoms and the medication lasts for more than 24 hours. Doses can be adjusted and increased as needed.

The Challenges of Methadone Therapy

There are a few different reasons to look for other possible treatment options. The first is that people who are involved in MMT can still abuse opioids, even though it is discouraged. There are also many people who are involved in this treatment who feel that they have no say in what is happening, because their physicians and the protocol dictate the meds and therapy sessions. Employers who ask employees to take urine drug tests can see the MMT drugs. Most clinics require patients to come in daily for treatment and this can be difficult for some patients to schedule; it can also make vacation and work-related travel difficult to schedule. Some patients also have problems with the stigma that can be attached to the fact that they need to come in to a methadone clinic on a regular basis.

If you have any questions about methadone treatment, contact Towards Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042.


Nutrition, Addiction, and Recovery

Posted on :  June 29th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

The old adage, “You are what you eat,” seems to be especially timely in 2015. Social media, blogs, and traditional new outlets have been inundating readers with the importance of making good food choices. From buying locally grown produce and organic produce to avoiding foods that are heavily manufactured, nutrition is a hot topic right now. Nutritionists and food experts know that eating a diet of unprocessed food can help people fight disease and when good nutrition is paired with regular exercise, health only seems to improve. People who are recovering from their addictions to drugs and alcohol can help themselves by making wise food choices.

Poor Food Choices Create Health Problems

The choices we make with food can help fight addiction, and it can help fuel it, too. One of the most common triggers for addicts in recovery is anxiety. Unfortunately, most people who have anxiety are not diagnosed until they have lived with it for a long time. When anxiety and addiction are paired, it is more likely that addiction will become the salve for anxiety. Interestingly, anxiety can be triggered by certain foods, too. Men and women with anxiety should avoid drinking caffeinated beverages and eating foods with caffeine. This commonly used drug will create more anxiety, increase irritability, and change moods.

People with anxiety should also avoid drinking any alcoholic beverages. While they might seem calming at first, they will cause more irritability as the alcoholic beverages are digested. An anxious person will appreciate the calming sensation at first, then will want more of it once the irritability increases.

Avoiding Self-Medicating by Drinking Water

Instead of self-medicating with alcohol, caffeine, and other drugs, it is better to look at the foods that can actually help with anxious feelings. Experts found that the best beverage for people with anxiety is actually water. Along with drinking plenty of water, anxiety can be calmed by eating complex carbohydrates, like quinoa and oatmeal, as well as healthy proteins, too.

Good Foods to Fight Anxiety and Speed Up Recovery

When people who are fighting addiction and/or anxiety eat simple carbohydrates, they are likely to have mood swings and irritability. These sensations are caused by the glucose spike that occurs after eating refined sugars and grains. While foods like pasta, sandwich bread, and candy taste good, they do not help the body in any way other than providing calories. The last thing that anyone who is working to fight addiction needs is food that can create more problems, especially with mood. Simple carbohydrates can actually cause more cravings that can lead to physical problems like diabetes due to obesity along with heart and/or gastrointestinal issues.

Work with a Nutritionist

What you eat can either help or hinder your addiction recovery. Since anxiety often comes hand-in-hand with addiction, it is helpful to create a nutritional program that will ease both problems. Working with a nutritionist is the best way to develop a healthy eating program that will help you avoid falling into unhealthy traps. A low glycemic diet will ease anxiety and help prevent relapse. The proper diet will reduce cravings, balance brain chemicals, and create healthy sleep and wake cycles. Along with eating good, clean food, many nutritionists will suggest supplements that will help with digestion.

Add Exercise and Meditation for More Benefits

Succeeding in addiction recovery does take more than just clean eating. It takes a clean lifestyle. Along with a healthy diet, it can be helpful to meditate and exercise regularly. The physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of meditation and regular exercise will help end anxious feelings and provide a positive outlook on life.

If you have any questions about the benefits of diet with your recovery, contact the addiction counselors at Towards Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042.


Are You Addicted to Work?

Posted on :  May 26th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

When people are fighting one addiction, it can be easy to develop another one in its place. One way that people who are addicted to substances can help themselves is developing an addiction to something like work or gambling. Working might not seem like a common addiction but with the ease and popularity of the Internet work addictions are easier than ever to develop. People can work all of the time – which is a sign of addiction.

Working Hard to Keep Your Job

In the United States and Canada, workers are often concerned with losing their jobs. Instead of being replaced, employees will take the work with them on vacation and they will work long after they officially left the office for the night. One of the first signs of addiction to working is not being able to relax and enjoy leisure time.

Time is Money

Since work is directly correlated to money, workers will spend all the time they can, earning money (or trying to earn money). They do not enjoy leisure time because they feel like they are missing out on the opportunity to earn more money. The idea of ¨Time is Money¨ has made workaholism one of the most common addictions in North America today.

Break Down the Issues

Being able to distinguish between people who work hard and people who are addicted involves a few simple questions. A group of researchers created a workaholics scale so they can analyze whether or not the employee would benefit from interventions from therapists. These are statements that people need to agree or disagree with in order to determine if they have an addiction or not. Here are a few of the statements:

  1. You can find ways to release more free time so you can work harder.
  2. You are working on things more often than you are actually in class.
  3. Working keeps you busy so you do not have time to focus on negative emotions like fear, guilt, nervousness, and anger.
  4. Friends, family, and colleagues tell you not to work so much.
  5. Working keeps you from feeling stressed out.
  6. Work gets in the way of your favorite social activities.
  7. Your health suffers because you work so much.

These seven statements are simply part of the battery of statements that help therapists determine whether or not their clients are working too much. People who are always or often feeling these emotions need help breaking them. Most countries report that nearly 10 percent of their population has issues with working too much.

Addiction is Addicting

People who are addicted to working tend to have similar personality traits. Those who are quick to agree tend to be modest, giving, and compliant. Those who are a bit neurotic tend to be angry and hostile when addicting to work becomes real. People who are imaginative dreamers use down time to create ideas to make their workplaces better. Young workers are usually the most likely to get influenced by work so they can develop an addiction.

Creating Unnecessary Emotions

Developing an addiction to work can create excitement and nervousness. New employees might try to impress their new employers by working harder than everyone else. When you work over 50 hours each week, you can rest assured that your addiction will develop and can have both physical and mental problems stem from the quick out.

Don’t Hide From Your Addiction

Being a workaholic might sound like a fairy tale way to experience the world. Instead, you consistently think about work, so you are constantly thinking about work and making money. You probably check your email, call clients, and work online to get work done after hours. Many times, workaholism comes with poor communication, too. The problems come from lack of communication – which can be the quick death of any large employment organization.

Let Toward Recovery Clinics Help

If you are starting to feel stress about how much work you do, one of the best things you can do is find a self-help group or a good counselor. A self-help meeting will help you work through any of the issues you have with addiction. If you do have other questions or comments about developing a replacement for your addiction to drugs and medications, Towards Recovery Clinic can be reached by phone at 905-527-2042.


Addiction Recovery: How to Break the Habit

Posted on :  March 17th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Towards Recovery Clinics are dedicated to helping people who are struggling with addictions recover so they can enjoy a healthy and happy life.

During our talks with patients, we frequently discuss the differences between habits and addictions. We understand the difficulty of breaking an addiction, especially those to opiates and other narcotics. We also understand that habits can be difficult to change, too. Fortunately, there are several steps that people can take to change habits so they can improve their lives.

  • The first step is to pick one habit to change. If you try to tackle more than one, you will most likely fail.
  • Begin with something small. We want to see success when we try to break a habit, so we need to pick one that we can really change. Maybe you want to exercise every day. Instead of trying to get 90 minutes in everyday, you can start with 10 or 15 minutes.
  • Try a challenge. For many people, it takes between 14 days and 30 days to change a habit. This is one of the reasons why there are so many 30-day challenges all over the Internet. If you can commit to doing something, like drinking a fresh fruit smoothie, everyday, you are more likely to stick to habit after the challenge is complete. Many people will post their daily progress on a blog or a challenge chat room as a way to keep themselves honest.
  • Start writing. When you can write your commitment down and look at it, you are better prepared to be successful. Share your written commitment with people who will support you.
  • Create a plan. It is better to prepare yourself in advance rather than dealing with setbacks as they occur. Think about your triggers and obstacles. Think about who you want to support you and what you will do each day.
  • Pick a start date. It is best to think about your plan and pick a day to start. If you really want to make a change, you need to be serious about it and not just start willy-nilly. You will develop motivation through anticipation if you force yourself to set a start date.
  • Look at your triggers. Everyone has triggers. If you are trying to stop eating late in the evening, you should look seriously at what makes you want to eat. Are you bored? Are you thirsty? Do you just want something to do? Once you identify the triggers, you can create an alternative plan, like getting a glass of water, or reading your favorite book to take your mind off of wanting to snack.
  • Ask your family and friends to help. Let them know what you are doing and when you plan to start so they can truly be there for you. Give them ideas to help support you and help you recognize your triggers. For example, if you are trying to avoid snacking at night, your loved one could stop buying your favorite snacks.
  • Watch your inner dialogue. You can be your own worst enemy, so be prepared to stop your negative thoughts. If you can have a mantra, you can use that to stop thinking about snacks.
  • Give yourself rewards. The rewards should not be related to the habit you are trying to break. If you go a week without snacking, you could buy yourself a new piece of jewelry or something else that you really like.
  • Realize that failure does happen. If it does, learn from it. Take a short break and then try to break the habit at another time. If you really want to break it, you will do it when you really are ready.

Contact us at 905-527-2042 with any questions about drug addiction and recovery.


Dual Diagnosis: Treatment Choices

Posted on :  February 27th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Living with drug addiction and a mental health disorder can be debilitating. With a dual diagnosis, recovery from drug addiction becomes more challenging when a mental health disorder is also diagnoses. Recovery professionals have to work with both diagnoses, and in many cases, the dual diagnoses can vary greatly from one patient to the next. If you have been given a dual diagnosis, you might wonder what your recovery program will hold. Fortunately, there are several options that work well for co-occurring disorders and they are usually successful.

Get a Full Evaluation

The first step to treating a dual diagnosis is to fully evaluate the disorders. Your diagnoses will be tested so the treatment procedures can be properly chosen. Without tests, which could include medical tests like blood tests as well as psychological evaluations, your treatment might take longer than it should.

Your Own Individualized Treatment Plan

After the tests, the team at Towards Recovery will be able to craft a plan that will be only for you and your diagnoses. The treatment plan will be chosen to stabilize your mental health issue and your drug addiction and as you move through the steps of the plan, you will get closer to your goal of full recovery from your addiction and management of your mental health problem. This personalized treatment plan could change as you move through the progression of the plan.

Psychiatric Care to Manage Mental Health Diagnosis

A dual diagnosis usually involves some psychiatric care that is created just for you. Depending on the diagnosis, you might need to have regular therapy sessions with a licensed psychologist. You might also need to take prescription medication to manage your mental health disorder. No matter what psychiatric care is recommended, you can trust that it will be individualized just for you.

Support Groups Provide Strength in Numbers

Support groups can be suggested as a treatment option, too. If you need to spend some time in an inpatient facility, you could be required to attend group meetings. Support groups can help people with drug addictions with the success of their recovery; there is a sense of strength in numbers. At Towards Recovery Centers, we can help you with decisions about support group meetings as well as help you keep your drug addiction recovery moving in the right direction.

Medication Will Monitored and Adjusted as Needed

With a dual diagnosis, monitoring medication is vital to the success of the recovery program. It is important to keep the mental health diagnosis stable in order to be successful on the addiction treatment plan. With your individualized treatment plan, your medications might be adjusted every so often so you get exactly what your mind and body needs. It is important that you keep your healthcare team abreast of any issues you have with your medications.

Regular Check-ins Show Commitment to Success

Check-ins with your healthcare team will help your treatment plan work properly. Our case managers at Towards Recovery Clinics are dedicated to your recovery, but they need you to be involved in your recovery, too. Your check-ins are vital so that your treatment plan can continually be evaluated for success.

Get Your Family Involved in Your Treatment

While support groups will help with the social aspect of your treatment plan, your family will play a more important role: regular, daily support. Successful treatment plans integrate family support programs, like education, support groups, and counseling sessions for the people who were with your prior to the program and who will continue to be with you throughout the treatment program.

Aftercare Support Prevents Relapses

Once your treatment program is declared successful, you still might not be finished working with your healthcare team. There will be obstacles that develop after you return to a functional lifestyle and aftercare support will be necessary. It is important to accept aftercare support to prevent relapses.

The professional team at Towards Recovery Clinics can help you or your loved one with a dual diagnosis. Contact us at 905-527-2042 with any questions about drug addiction and recovery.


Cocaine Withdrawal – Symptoms, Timeline & Treatment

Posted on :  February 25th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

When heavy drug users try to cut back on drug use, drug users feel the extreme sensations relating to withdrawal. Some drugs have more painful withdrawal symptoms than others, but cocaine is one the few drugs that can causes withdrawal symptoms after the very first use. Those who use cocaine call the withdrawal symptoms a crash and for several good reasons.

How Cocaine Causes Addiction

Cocaine works similarly to heroin, by affecting the cells in the brain. While heroin works by attaching to the morphine receptors in the brain, cocaine triggers the dopamine to be released. The morphine receptors reduce the sensation of pain and the dopamine release causes a feeling of euphoria. Once the dopamine is released, cocaine blocks the brain from receiving dopamine back into the neurons. This causes the dopamine to fill the spaces between the neurons in the brain. While this is occurring, the body continues to feel euphoria – the high that causes the user to feel energetic and talkative. It also causes the heart rate to increase which also increases blood pressure. These bodily changes can be quite dangerous.

The High with Fall

Just like the laws of gravity, the high will eventually fall. Cocaine users experience a crash that is just as painful as the high is euphoric. The crash usually comes with the desire for more cocaine to get back to the energetic state of euphoria. During the fall from the high, cocaine users experience many symptoms that can interfere with daily activities. They include problems like insomnia, despite serious fatigue and sleepiness. Once users fall asleep during withdrawal, they can experience vividly troubling dreams. When they are not trying to fall asleep, users can also experience slow psychomotor actions as well as irritability and anxiety. It is common to experience depression along with paranoia and suspicion. It is also common to experience cravings and a strong appetite, but the food often does not offer the joy that users expect it to give.

Physical Symptoms Relating to Withdrawal

Cocaine withdrawal has several other painful symptoms that affect the body physically. The effects are different from the shaking and vomiting that come with withdrawal from alcohol and heroin. Cocaine withdrawal causes problems with mood and energy. During withdrawal, users can experience fatigue, depression, malaise, agitation, and lack of energy. While these may not sound like a horrible experience, the effects of withdrawal can create problems at work and at home. The tired and irritable feelings are also accompanied by serious cravings, because the users know they will experience bouts of energy by using again. Once users realize how fleeting the high really is, they can also become suicidal – which is a very serious withdrawal symptom.

Time Period for Withdrawal

Withdrawal from cocaine can take several weeks, or it can be as short as one week. During the period of withdrawal symptoms, the cravings will spike and fall several times, anxiety will also increase and decrease, too. It is common to see varying states of paranoia, disorientation, bradycardia (slow heart rate), as well as hunger and apathy. While heroin users can use methadone and other prescription medications to control their withdrawal symptoms, cocaine withdrawal cannot be treated with any medication. It is important for users who are working on quitting, to work closely with a physician or psychotherapist.

Dual Diagnosis

Some of the withdrawal symptoms are similar to psychiatric symptoms and users with dual diagnoses of drug abuse and psychological disorders can exacerbate the symptoms. The way that cocaine is put into the body can also affect any pre-existing psychiatric disorders, especially if cocaine is taken intravenously or by freebasing. It is wise to work closely with a team of physicians if you are working through drug abuse and with psychiatric symptoms.

If you have any questions about cocaine addiction or any other drug addiction, please contact our professional staff at Towards Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042.


Anxiety and Addiction Recovery

Posted on :  January 20th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

Many people who fight their addictions often experience symptoms of anxiety. You might feel like you are the person who is feeling anxiety, it is important to know you are not the only person who experiences these emotions. Nearly 20 percent of adults experience anxiety and the related disorders and fewer than 50 percent of those adults actually seek out treatment. When you add opioid addiction into the mix, the chance of anxiety increases; anxiety and addiction go hand in hand.

We Can Help You Stay on the Path to Recovery

At Towards Recovery Clinics, we understand that your recovery is important. When you are using methadone to fight your opioid addiction, you cannot mix methadone with other medications, like the ones that used to combat anxiety and other psychological disorders. This means that other therapies might be necessary, because it can be dangerous to mix methadone with other medications. Fortunately, there are several alternative therapies to treat anxiety and many of them can be life changing in positive ways.

Learn to relax. When you feel anxious, you might feel like relaxation is impossible. Fortunately, relaxation is a skill that can be learned. Some people will relax by engaging and relaxing their muscles. Others will use guided breathing. If you want to be able to relax when you are feeling anxious, you have to learn to recognize your triggers and what to do when those triggers come to fruition.

Guide yourself out of anxiety. Another way that many people relax is by using guided imagery. This is when you choose an image, symbol, word, or phrase that brings you out of the feelings of stress into feelings of comfort. With guided imagery, you can help yourself recover and stay healthy at the same time.

Look to meditation. Like guided imagery and relaxation, meditation takes practice. You will need a quiet and comfortable place to sit or lay down. Many people begin practicing meditation with audio instructions. Fortunately, meditations can be found online for free and some written for people who are recovering from addictive substances.

Become a mindful person. Anxiety arises when you experience stress about future events. Depression happens when you are looking back to negative events from the past. When you are mindful, you are in the present moment and not allowing things that have or have not happened to affect you. One of the best ways to learn about being mindful is to listen to a mindfulness meditation; many of them work on guiding listeners through a meditation through the parts of the body as a relaxation technique. Just listening to the voice of the meditation and ignoring all other thoughts will help you stay in the present moment and stop feeling anxious about the future.

Give hypnosis a try. Hypnosis will not make you bark like a dog or screech like a monkey. It will make you relax and feel less anxiety. This deep form of relaxation is achieved through repetition of words and images so your mind can stay calm. There are many therapists who have experience with hypnosis, but you will not be able to fully relax and appreciate the experience until you trust the therapist.

Learn about your behaviors. One of the best ways to avoid feeling anxious is to understand how to recognize the triggers and find a positive solution. Some people will journal about their feelings of anxiety and use the reflection to adjust their reactions. This type of therapy is called cognitive behavior therapy because it involves thinking about your experiences and making a conscious effort to improve your reactions and behaviors.

At Towards Recovery Clinics we are dedicated to helping individuals, like you, get control of their addictions and help them rebuild their lives and careers. Give us a call at 905-527-2042 for more information.


How to Tell If You Are an Addict

Posted on :  January 5th, 2015  |  By :  towardsrecovery

If you or someone you love abuses opioids, you might not know what to do about it. Without help, addiction can wreak havoc on families and individuals. Once you know what to recognize, you can help yourself or your loved one. You might be afraid that admitting to an addiction might be construed as a weakness, but it in actuality it is extremely courageous. The professionals at towardsrecovery.com can help you fight the addiction and win. Here are a few tips to help you recognize signs of addiction that you might not consider:

  • Using drugs to treat minor discomfort. If you need to use pain pills to help you sleep, you could be headed toward addiction. It is also a sign of potential addiction if you use drugs prescribed for one reason for an unrelated purpose. You should not try to cover your bad feelings with drugs, especially if you are trying to avoid your feelings.
  • Some addictions can actually fed by physicians. If you think that your physician or a family member’s physician is unscrupulous, then it is in your best interest to report that physician to the state medical board. They can investigate if the physician is feeding an addiction or not and take care of the problem.
  • Addicts know how to shop for doctors. If you have never heard of doctor shopping, it is a way for addicts to move from doctor to doctor to get several prescriptions for controlled substances. Doctors now use prescription databases to see if patients are shopping for doctors to get extra meds. If you notice that a loved one is spending more time at doctor’s office appointments than seems normal, then you should ask about doctor shopping.
  • Mental illnesses need to be treated by licensed physicians. All too often, people who are suffering from mental illness self-medicate with any type of drug they can find. The prescriptions that actually treat mental illness are not addictive. If you are worried about yourself or a loved one, it is important to get the right type of treatment.
  • It is not appropriate to share prescription medications. You may not realize that sharing prescription medications is a crime because it happens so often. If those medications are controlled substances, like pain pills, then you could be feeding an addiction. Some people will even sell other people’s controlled substances if they can get their hands on them. Prescription medications can cause allergic reactions or other serious problems, especially if the dosage is too much for the person who is ‘borrowing’ the medication.
  • Another sign of potential addiction is using slang for the names of drugs. If you find that your loved ones are referring to China white, smack, coke, meth, or even cocaine, then it is worth your time to pay attention. Those who are not in the drug scene usually do not know the slang lingo.

You do not have to remain silent. If you are worried that someone in your family is abusing opioids or other controlled medication, then you should make a phone call to our professional counselors and physicians at Towards Recovery for help. If you are worried about whether your suspicion is real, you can keep track of what you see in a journal. With privacy laws, the doctor cannot share information about patients, but you can share information with the physician.

Nonmedical prescription drug use has not changed much over the past few years, but opioids usage has increased. The expert staff at Towards Recovery understands the problems that come with opioid addiction and they are ready to help in any way possible. Our progressive counselling team will guide you through the first steps toward success. Contact us on 519-579-0589 if you have any questions.


Heroin Vaccine: It Could Be Coming Soon

Posted on :  December 31st, 2014  |  By :  towardsrecovery

While we at Towards Recovery enjoy helping people with opioid addictions recover in a safe and supportive setting, we do look forward to the day when no one ever has to suffer from an addiction to a debilitating substance like heroin. That day could be closer than we think, now that researchers have released information about a preclinical vaccine that prevents opiates from getting to rodents’ brains.

Preclinical Vaccines for Opioid Addiction

A researcher from the University of Minnesota shared this vaccine with the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists at their annual conference in November 2014. Marco Praveloni, from the University of Minnesota called the preclinical vaccine 60XY-KLH. He revealed the vaccine could eventually help people who are addicted to opiates like heroin, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. He also revealed that creating an anti-opioid vaccine is difficult, especially because the vaccine needs to work with both chemistry and immunology in the human body.

How the Vaccine Needs to Work

Since many people with addictions take different types of drugs, the vaccine needs to be able to versatile. The vaccine needs to work with, not against, methadone treatments. It also needs to help people manage the pain that comes with their opioid addiction, since the opioid receptors in the brain do affect pain in the body. Praveloni is hoping to find funding to keep working with the preclinical vaccine. You can read more about the vaccine here.

Changing the Way Addiction is Perceived

It is fascinating to think of a world where a simple vaccine can help people with addictions. Now we only think of vaccines as tools to prevent us from developing serious illnesses like diphtheria, polio, and whooping cough. With a vaccine that will help prevent addictions, the way that we view addictions could seriously change.

Current Injectable Treatments

There are already injectable treatments for addictive drugs like cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, and nicotine. These are not vaccines, but they do help fight addiction by getting the body to produce antibodies that fight the drug’s attempt to infiltrate the brain. When drugs are ingested, the molecules get into the brain and create the high by affecting the receptors in the brain. The injected treatments alter the molecules so they cannot create the high, thus voiding the typical behavior of the drug. The molecules attach to the antibodies so they are removed from the body before they can hit the brain.

Removing the Chance of Dangerous Overdoses

When antibodies work against the drug, the person taking the drug no longer has a chance to overdose. The body’s immune system is not overtaxed and brain chemistry remains the same. Respiratory failure is often the result of an overdose, but with the injected antibodies, this is no longer a worry. Researchers have seen the injected antibodies work on laboratory rats. They are first given a deadly dose of heroin after they have been injected with the antibodies. The rats show no signs of being high from the heroin.

Exciting News for Addicts

This exciting news will not only affect heroin addicts, but cocaine and nicotine addicts, too. Researchers have tested a cocaine antibody that has prevented the drug from reaching the brains of primates. Cigarette smokers have been asking for a vaccine, but researchers have not yet found one that works in humans.

How Vaccines Work

Even though addictions are different than diseases, the vaccines for both work in relatively the same way. Any vaccine relies on a protein or other molecule. When that protein or molecule enters the body, the vaccine goes to work. It notices the pathogen and attacks it. Long-term vaccines are capable of doing this several times, so the immune system can constantly win the war against pathogens. The only difference between vaccines for addictions and vaccines for diseases is that the addiction vaccines need to work on the brain because that is where addiction develops.

With all of the work that researchers are doing, we at Towards Recovery are hoping for another beneficial treatment for anyone who has been traumatized by the dangerous addiction to opioids. If you have any questions, contact Towards Recovery Clinics at 905-527-2042.




Who We Serve ?

  • Individuals using/abusing street narcotics (e.g. heroin).
  • Patients abusing prescription narcotics(i.e., Codeine, Talwin, Percocet/Percodan, Dilaudid, Morphine or Demerol, et cetera).
  • Individuals displaying any of the following behaviours: Compulsive drug use or drug seeking/craving.
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