Arizona Addiction Recovery Center https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org Phoenix & Scottsdale, AZ Thu, 20 Feb 2020 16:47:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3.2 https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/cropped-aarc-icon-32x32.png Arizona Addiction Recovery Center https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org 32 32 Handling Anxiety During Recovery https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/handling-anxiety-during-recovery/ Tue, 18 Feb 2020 16:36:36 +0000 https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/?p=15686 Nearly everyone deals with anxiety at some stage in their lives which can be manipulative and cause a person to develop negative thoughts. Sometimes, people may not realize they struggle with anxiety until they experience something like a panic attack.

Substance abuse is a seemingly quick and easy fix for people that struggle with this anxiety. What often happens with these people is they start to rely on substances in order to cope with their anxiety and if they try to quit, their anxiety may even worsen. This only encourages them to steer clear of recovery and stick with substance abuse. Today, we’re going to talk about anxiety and what to do about it during recovery.

Types of Anxiety Disorders 

Anxiety may represent itself from a profound sense of constant fear to a specific, paralyzing fear in many ways. A variety of forms of anxiety disorders are found and each requires a multipurpose care strategy. Some of the most severe disorders are as follows:

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

The person suffers from an almost constant, unspecific sense of dread in this form of anxiety. With GAD, problems shift without any apparent connection from one subject to another. GAD individuals may reject their attachments as “typical concerns,” but in reality, their fears are much stronger and more pervasive than the fears we all regularly have. However, these fears often have little or no basis in reality, regardless of how powerful they might be.

Social anxiety disorder (SAD)

Individuals with a social anxiety disorder – often called social phobia – avoid communicating with others. About 15 million Americans are affected by this disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. These people often develop negative emotions towards crowded places, taking part in social activities, performing to crowds, and anything involving a lot of human interaction.

SAD may go hand in hand with other anxieties, such as panic disorders which can trigger episodes of intense fear or agoraphobia in public places, the fear of places or circumstances that make the person feel helpless or out of control.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Personal experiences may contribute to a person’s likelihood to have a disorder. It could be a natural disaster, seeing a violent crime, or sexual assault. Anxiety disorders are common for veterans who encountered severe combat experiences. Around 8 million veterans who suffer from PSTD regularly experience hallucinations, delusions, irritability, insomnia, and anxiety, as reported by The Department of Veterans Affairs of The United States    

Panic disorder

The characteristics of panic disorder are periods of intense and relentless fear. While panic attacks are rarely fatal, a person with one of them can suffer an overwhelming feeling of doom and dread. Physical symptoms can include hyperventilation, fast heartbeat, swelling, dizziness, diarrhea, vomiting, chest pain, freezing, etc. Such panic attacks, like other fear responses, are not typically based on a real source of risk.

Psychology today says that about 1 million individuals experience panic attacks daily and that each event lasts an average of 10 minutes. In reality, apprehension of panic attacks is one of the most common causes of these episodes.

Causes of Anxiety

Research suggests that an individual is more than likely to develop an anxiety disorder through biological, psychological and environmental factors. Among genetic reasons, often people with these disorders react differently to stress than the general population.

Researches reveal an abnormally high sensitivity to stress and unfamiliar situations of the brain which processes fear in people with anxiety problems. In brain disorders, chemicals are known as neurotransmitters also play a major role. In particular, serotonin and cortisol seem to be linked to depression and anxiety sensations.

Genetics and family history are important risk factors. Around 50% of panic-affected people and 40% of individuals with acute anxiety have a family history of the diseases. Substance abuse can lead to disturbances in anxiety. 

Research shows that changes in fear and the use of substances arise at higher rates than average. Gender and age are additional risk factors for anxiety disorders. Women are twice as likely to develop anxiety disorders when compared to men. Signs of OCD, phobias, and fear over separation emerge in young people and signs of hysteria and social phobia occur in younger years.

Intense responses of body and mind are triggered by anxiety. Anxiety responses can never be identified and may not be treated. Anxiety, physical and psychological, is manifested in two ways.

The symptoms of physical and psychological manifestations are similar to the symptoms of drug and alcohol withdrawal. A dependent automatically looks for substances to soothe anxiety. Avoiding unpleasant physical agitation and painful emotions are some components of addiction and anxiety. The more the person continues to use drugs and/or alcohol, anxiety and addiction become stronger.

Treatment During Recovery

Dual diagnosis is the treatment of mental disorders and substance abuse disorders. A compressive drug treatment scheme will have a dual diagnostic pathway that simultaneously addresses these two problems.

A collaborative team of doctors, nurses, therapists, and behavioral counselors should be involved in addictive treatment, who can support the addicted through the detox and therapeutic process. When a person is addicted to alcohol and/or medication detox, the number of anxieties will inevitably increase. As a result, an addict either avoids symptoms of retirement through continued use or is highly at risk of recurring after detox.

Both symptoms need to be treated simultaneously because of the similarity of drug withdrawals and the symptoms. It is appropriate to seek alcohol and/or drug detox treatment center and a drug abuse treatment program under one roof. 

Drugs do not treat anxiety, but can alleviate symptoms. The combination of medication with therapy is often more effective. Cognitive therapy can help people to adapt their response to circumstances that can cause it or change their way of perceiving threats and treating them. If patients are prepared they may be subjected to concerns that they might desensitize them or help them to handle them. Only when a patient is comfortable and ready is exposure therapy done.

Exercise is essential to treat stress hormones produced by the body in response to anxiety. The advantages include boosting the sensation of good chemicals and a long relaxation state, the perfect answer to these disorders. Keep in mind always that you have never been alone, especially when dealing with anxiety. Continued self-care habits can enhance the impact of life to enhance its control.

]]>
Is Kratom Dangerous? https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/is-kratom-dangerous/ Wed, 12 Feb 2020 20:22:12 +0000 https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/?p=15682 You may have learned about kratom (Mitragyna speciosa), a herbal medicine commonly used to relieve pain and soreness in southeast Asia. From a kind of evergreen is a tree-like Southeast Asian plant belonging to the same plant family as coffee and gardenias. For several hundred years, Kratom has served as a herbal remedy for a number of illnesses in Thailand and the neighboring countries. The stimulant and opium-like side effects are dose-dependent.

What is Kratom?

Kratom is easily bought on the market. It can sometimes be marketed as a green paste, in the containers labeled “not for human consumption.” It sometimes called by the following names, Biak, Ketum, Kakuam, Ithang, and Thom. 

Mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine are believed to lead to pain control through the use of proteins known as opioid receptors and to decrease pain perception. A liquid substance can be made with kratom extract. The liquid type is often used for muscle pain management or for reducing appetites and avoiding cramps and diarrhea. 

Kratom is also marketed as a stress medication. Many people prefer kratom to prevent heroin withdrawal symptoms and because kratom can be obtained cheaper than prescription drugs. Usually, people chew kratom leaves or brew dry or dried leaves like tea, some people like a smoking individual or consume them together with their meals.

Is Kratom dangerous?

While some people are using kratom as an alternative to prescription pain killers, including opioids, few trials have studied the impact of the body. It has not been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Kratom may lead to adverse reactions, especially at high doses. These are convulsions, tremors, hallucinations, and other inflammatory reactions. Medical patients and those taking medication may be more likely to experience adverse kratom reactions. Note that the dose or purely of kratom supplements can not be controlled by the FDA or restricted.

Studies have found over 20 biologically active chemicals in this medication, including several in the human brain that binds opioid receptors and potentially leads to physical attachments and addiction.

Eventually, certain kratom-contained chemicals interfere with medicinal enzymes in the liver and may cause severe interactions with other medicines or drugs. In users who have taken it in mixture with other medicines, overdose-some of them fatal-has been reported.

Effects of Kratom in the body

Kratom may trigger both opioids and stimulants to have similar effects. In kratom leaves, mitragynine and 7-α-hydroxy mitragynine, two compounds interact in the brain with the opioid receptors to produce sedation and fun and reduce pain, particularly when users eat large quantities of the plant. Mitragynine also associates with other brain receptor structures for calming results. If small amounts of kratom are taken, users report increased energy, sociability and alertness rather than sedation. Nevertheless, kratom can also induce often harmful and unpleasant side effects.

The health effects of use have been revealed:

  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Itching
  • Sweating and Dry mouth
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Seizures and Hallucination
  • Symptoms of psychosis

Kratom Overdose

Several death claims have been reported in those who have ingested kratom, but most other substances are involved. The FDA studies indicate that many kratom-related deaths have tended to be attributed to adulterated medications or other active pharmaceutical items, including illicit drugs, antidepressants, benzodiazepines, marijuana, gabapentin and over-the-counter drugs, such as cough syrup.

Several records of kratom bundled with other death-inducing compounds have been described as dietetic products or nutritional ingredients. The efficacy of combining kratom with other medications should be tested with health care providers.

Is It Addictive?

Kratom, like other opioid-like medicines, can cause reliance, meaning that the user feels symptoms of physical withdrawal after stopping the medication. Some users reported that they are addicted to kratom. The symptoms of withdrawal are: 

  • Muscle pain
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability and aggressiveness
  • Mood swings

Many people who regularly used it told them that, after they quit using it, they had discomfort, sleeping problems, diarrhea, and fever. Others said that when they didn’t take kratom they felt nervous, stressed, angry and sad.

Why do people use kratom?

Kratom has no protection or advantages; however, in Asia it has been used for decades to relieve cough, nausea, opiate retract and chronic pain and to improve vitality and sexual impulses. The DEA claims Kratom has no protection or value. 

In the US, people who treat their own chronic pain, sudden medication overdose, and are looking for alternatives to prescription drugs have recently increased their use of kratom. Given the influential population and much anecdotal evidence of effectiveness, kratom therapies have not been rigorously tested as secure or efficient.

A patient who decides to use kratom to prevent pain or to reduce symptoms of withdrawal will pose many issues not all linked to kratom’s intrinsic properties alone. Furthermore, the DEA threatens to turn it into a controlled substance, under Schedule 1, of the same categories as heroin or ecstasy which makes the supply, in general, more dangerous and difficult to access. It is potentially dangerous for the total lack of monitoring or quality control in the production and sale of it.

The use of kratom for one of the uses that its proponents claim has not been well studied, although as it says, the lack of proof of benefits is no evidence of lack of advantage. One last problem is that kratom does not appear on drug screens and it can be argued that the broader adjustment in the middle of an opioid epidemic is the last thing that we need of another possibly addictive opiate substance.

Treatment Addiction

Therapy for drug abuse and overdose generally followed three phases: clinical health, medical treatment, and rehabilitation. The physical stabilization often includes the safe clearance of the drug by detox. To achieve this, medicines and medical supervision are available in a medical detox facility.

Therapy and guidance are part of the clinical process and can be given in a residential or outpatient setting. Residential treatment means that a person remains in the professional counseling facility in a secure and safe place to improve and recover continuously. Activities contain workshops, classes, educational facilities, lunch and sleep hours, as well as natural or alternative therapies such as meditation or massage, which are planned for days. 

Outpatient services are usually divided into two major categories. Intensive outpatient care is generally similar to a rehabilitation facility. Specific outpatient programs can be more versatile and tailored to the specific needs of an individual on a timetable.

In general, whatever treatment you obtain you should always remember that with perseverance everything is attainable. Even if you think the world is turning its back to you that you have to strive to be better for you and the people whom you wish to spend your whole life with.

]]>
How Dangerous is Fentanyl? https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/how-dangerous-is-fentanyl/ Tue, 11 Feb 2020 03:43:43 +0000 https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/?p=15684 One of the most potent illegal drugs being abused by many people today is the drug fentanyl. It is a highly-addictive opioid that is more potent than heroin or morphine. There is a big risk of overdosing from fentanyl which is why it is considered to be very dangerous. Long-term health problems, as well as complications that could lead to infections, are also among the consequences that fentanyl addiction can lead to. But how dangerous is fentanyl? Can you still reverse its effects?

Fentanyl Addiction

By description, Fentanyl is an opioid drug that is a synthetic substance that is based on the natural compound of morphine. It is used as a prescribed opioid for patients to help manage pain and is usually given to those who have moderate or chronic pain. It is also a very potent drug and is 100 times more potent compared to morphine. It is usually given to manage severe pain for patients in need of pain management.

Fentanyl is usually abused because of its euphoric effect. The person taking this drug usually feels relaxed and if repeatedly taken, fentanyl can lead to addiction. Addiction to fentanyl is often characterized by the overuse of the drug. It can also cause tolerance to the user so there is a need to take in more to produce the same effect over time.

When fentanyl enters the body, it crosses the blood-brain barriers and binds with the opioid receptors. This will result in a numbing and euphoric effect. The quicker the binding process is, the more euphoria one feels. This makes fentanyl a powerful drug compared to heroin and morphine. Even a small dose of fentanyl can cause these euphoric sensations. On the other hand, fentanyl can also result in physical reactions since the experience is intense. Usual side effects of this drug are mostly unpleasant since it can cause one to:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sedation
  • Respiratory impairment or respiratory arrest

Due to its analgesic effect, opioids can impair the lungs and cause it to stop performing. That is why even a small dose of fentanyl can be fatal to a person and can cause the lungs to stop functioning. Over time and repeated use of this drug, the brain’s natural release of endorphins slows down in order to compensate. Short-term use can cause a number of side effects however, these are not dangerous. The only problem is that it can be uncomfortable and can cause distress as well as other health problems. These include:

  • Anxiety and depression
  • Difficulty in urination
  • Drowsiness
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of concentration or impaired memory
  • Stomach pain or gas
  • Blurred vision
  • GI bleeding
  • Back and chest pain
  • Swelling of the arms, legs, and feet
  • Insomnia
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dry mouth
  • Weight loss
  • Disturb thinking or nightmares

Overdosing on Fentanyl

Opioid drugs can cause overdose and fentanyl is no exception. In fact, it is one opioid that has proven to be fatal. Since opioids suppress the central nervous system, it causes the brain and spinal cord to slow down. When this happens, the heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure also slows down until the person eventually stops breathing. If this condition is not reversed, it can lead to fatal results. It has been reported that fentanyl has more risk of overdose compared to other opioids because of its elevated potency. In 2016 alone, fentanyl-related deaths in the United States increased 540% within the three-year period. Here are the most common signs of fentanyl overdose:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Decreased breathing or difficulty in breathing normally
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Extreme drowsiness

Overdosing on fentanyl is considered a medical emergency. If not treated right away can lead to death. This is why the immediate reversal of its effects must be done in order to save someone’s life.

Dangers of Combining with Other Drugs

There are plenty of cases where fentanyl is combined with other drugs. Most of the time, drug addicts will combine this with cocaine or other opioids to obtain the desired effects at an intense rate. Combining this drug with other depressants, alcohol, and opioids is especially dangerous since it can cause severe depression on the respiratory system. If the person is not aware of the dangers, they might use a combination of drugs with quantities large enough to cause an overdose. They might not realize its fatal effects until it is too late.

Long Term Effects of Fentanyl

Besides overdosing from fentanyl, the long-term use of this drug can also cause severe complications in all areas of a person’s well-being. Health problems due to repeated and heavy use of fentanyl can also damage the major organs of the body. The lungs and heart are often the most common parts of the body that is affected by long-term fentanyl abuse. Slowed breathing puts makes the users at risk for sleep apnea and even to stop breathing while sleeping.

Infectious diseases are also very common for people with drug addiction. This is due to shared needles among users. The risk of getting HIV, Hepatitis B and C are also very common among drug addicts. Not only that, collapsed veins, as well as bacterial infections, are also experienced by long-term users of fentanyl. This can lead to damaged organs like liver and kidneys too.

Besides damaged organs, mental illness can also develop. The most common forms are depression and anxiety disorders. Any underlying mental illness can also be triggered by the use of fentanyl. Not only that, but fentanyl addicts can also cause a strain on their personal relationships as well as other people. This condition could eventually lead to:

  • Broken relationships
  • Homelessness
  • Legal and financial troubles
  • Jail time
  • Physical harm due to risky behaviors
  • Sexually transmitted disease
  • Unemployment
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Inability to perform well in school or work

After learning all the risks and complications involved in Fentanyl addiction, we can truly say that this is a dangerous drug. In fact, all opioids are dangerous. That being said, it is important to take it only when prescribed or as prescribed by the physician. If you or anyone you know is addicted to fentanyl, getting immediate help can reverse the effects of the drug. Not only are you saving your life but you can also help save others.

]]>
Benefits of Lifetime Therapy https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/benefits-of-lifetime-therapy/ Mon, 10 Feb 2020 19:54:56 +0000 https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/?p=15680 Most people who undergo a one-month procedure or drug withdrawal plan end their medication unexpectedly. Patients may be safe after the study, but it doesn’t mean therapy will end. Long-term therapy is not covered by most health insurance companies. Most patients, therefore, avoid seeking help not because they do not require extra treatment but because their insurance provider persuaded them that there is no further medication required.

Some rehabilitation institutions invest heavily in lifetime drug treatment services. Acknowledging the rehabilitation does not come to an end when an individual is discharged, and lifetime treatment requires a wide range of services that provide strategies as diverse as an individual’s life.

The following list contains some of the benefits of lifetime treatment.

Outpatient Treatment

The outpatient group therapy sessions are at the heart of lifetime therapy programs. Participants are involved to learn about themselves and others within a therapeutic group. Everyone in the community seeks to improve their lives and so they acknowledge the tough road ahead.

Benefits of Outpatient Program

  • The group provides a convenient environment where shared experiences and objectives can be shared. 
  • The recovery programs are also used as a support network
  • In general, it is cheaper than an inpatient treatment program.
  • Outpatient programs offer their participants greater freedom, but this might be a drawback in some situations.
  • Outpatient treatment offers patients the ability to maintain their jobs, families, education or other essential tasks.

Individual Counseling

Individual counseling is all about thinking about yourself through personal treatment services. Sessions concentrate extensively on personal problems, particularly substance abuse, which may impact patient decisions. It is important to understand how previous and current problems affect our daily lives.

Professional and experienced pharmaceutical and alcohol therapists work with patients to uncover and address such problems. The responsive approach allows doctors an opportunity to learn what issues, feelings and circumstances can influence behavior. And patients can change their behavior for the better with this knowledge.

Access to Physicist

Abuse in substances and the recovery process are of great importance to the human body. Just because people have cleaned up the drug problem or alcohol, their body does not return to normal health.

There are so many things that require medical attention right after the recovery process but sometimes these are often neglected by an individual undertaking a rehabilitation treatment. Some of which are weight gain and loss, muscular atrophy, and other disorder.

Medical doctors provide access to lifetime treatment services. Even after entering a treatment center, patients receive regular checks. The check-ups allow doctors to control improvements in weight, blood pressure and other authentication to help keep patients on board with regular drug-free living.

During life, physicians are also available to answer medical and drug queries. Patients can help to avoid medications that may contribute to relapse through consulting on the possible effects of medical items. Also, doctors advise on treatment-assisted medication options long following rehabilitation.

Access to the Psychiatrist

It is as important to treat the mind as to treat the body. Exposure to registered therapists can be part of lifelong treatment services. Those who have the authority to administer lifetime therapy programs are specially trained in drug and alcoholic drug-related diagnoses and treatments of psychiatric disorders. Long-term recovery means that we face many obstacles.

Licensed psychiatrists provide an opportunity of listening and learning about our mental state in many ways along the treatment route. Patients and their support staff will also regularly evaluate the counseling personnel and prescribe recovery methods. Psychiatrists play a key role in the long-term success of medical sobriety by recognizing the link between drug abuse and psychiatric conditions.

Treatment for Trauma

Trauma happens when someone has an insufficient ability to cope. Such incapacity will cause recurrence for people recovering from drug and alcohol dependency. Psychological traumas experienced before drug and alcohol abuse will cause recovery. Trauma therapy can eliminate these triggers by combating infancy and other negative traumas.

The first step is to determine the goal of the treatment when seeking trauma therapy. Desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) of the eye movement is one of the proven and effective methods for achieving patient objectives. It helps to break the recovery process. An unusual therapy erases the possibility that people are recalled by causes. The key to long-term sobriety recovery may be stress counseling.

Wellness Programs

Patients who have undergone recovery have come a long way. While the body has purged harmful contaminants internally, both the mind and body need the chance to reconnect and restore.

Wellness programs based on recovery have been designed specifically to do so. You can improve your self-consciousness through yoga classes, meditation clinics, and drum circles. The ability to calm the mind and the body is facilitated by increasing self-awareness. The improved discipline will increase the chances of sobriety over the future.

Undergo test for sobriety

Regular drug or alcohol screenings provide a structured approach to remaining sober. You should assume a hundred percent accountability for yourself or your loved one. If a person has a recurrence, screenings are often the first notice of use and a way of dealing with the recurrence fast.

Some screening tests are protected by certain private health insurance policies. Lifelong rehabilitation centers will check up to twice a week for those without the service. Urine and blood analysis are both available to give family members peace of mind by holding those responsible for their recovery.

Lifelong Sobriety

Whether a patient needs more help or more intensive care, the remedy is permanent counseling. The motives for using a therapy program for life are as diverse as its participants. Lifetime counseling can be tailored to the desires of people from young adults needing group support and executives who need responsibility.

Strong services are emerging throughout the world for rehabilitation programs. If you or a loved one have a drug rehabilitation program completed and are looking for ways to maintain sobriety for a lifetime do not hesitate to contact your medical providers for assistance.

Just as a life coach will help you develop a plan to make a major difference in your life, therapy can help you create a plan for coping with current difficulties. The question is, are you willing to do it? If yes, then do not waste time and start fixing yourself towards a new life and healthier body.

]]>
Why You Should Never Do Solo Recovery https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/why-you-should-never-do-solo-recovery/ Tue, 04 Feb 2020 17:57:52 +0000 https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/?p=15663 An estimated 23 million Americans suffer from addiction today which makes it one of the most alarming conditions in health crises in United States history. About 10% of these numbers are able to get the needed treatment which is why this makes sobering statistics look bleak. If you or someone you know is seeking treatment for addiction, good job for doing so. Detoxing is the most important step for recovering from addiction; whether you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, recovering alone can be ineffective and dangerous if done solo.

Solo Recovery

The term “solo recovery” is nothing new as there are plenty of people who practice this. It is used to describe the person or people who have received help during their initial recovery but decided to later do it alone. One of the best examples of this is when recovering addicts attend rehab then later decide that they don’t need any help. Overall, solo recovery refers to individuals who were able to stop their addiction without any help involved. But is solo recovery the best option to take? Does it really work 100% all the time?

The Dangers of Recovering Solo

While recovering on your own sounds a bit “independent”, it is not always ideal to do this on your own. In fact, there are plenty of dangers involved in recovering alone. Here’s what you need to know:

Symptoms of withdrawal can be severe 

The withdrawal symptoms of a person may vary depending on the substance they have been addicted to. Some can begin a few hours and can become very uncomfortable or worse, deadly. Generally, withdrawal symptoms of drugs or substances include restlessness, anxiety, muscle aches as well as insomnia and fatigue. In some cases, individuals may experience gastrointestinal issues like abdominal cramping, nausea, vomiting and even diarrhea. An increase in blood pressure, as well as increased heart palpitations, can also be experienced by the person. In some cases, dilated pupils and blurring of vision may cause alarm and must be attended by a physician right away. 

If the person is withdrawing from alcohol addiction, withdrawal symptoms can be fatal. These complications can include seizures, delirium tremens and acute withdrawal syndrome that could kill an individual if they are not treated immediately. Erratic psychiatric behaviors may also be exhibited by the person suffering from withdrawal symptoms. These can last for hours to a few days or weeks depending on the degree of the abuse and the substance they have taken. This is also the reason why recovering addicts must to go through rehabilitation facilities and have proper medical detox programs supervised by trained professionals to help them (or you) manage the process of withdrawal in a safe way. 

Recovering solo does not offer emotional support and counseling

Recovery is an emotional journey for many addicts. As you recover, you will experience all kinds of emotions from anger, self-pity, self-doubt and the likes. With these emotional roller coasters, the help of the professional and support of loved ones are very important. This is even more important for individuals who have used alcohol or drugs to numb their emotional pains or those who have been self-medicating to mask their mental health problems. That being said, counseling and group therapies are included in many treatment plans as the patient goes through recovery. This is not present in recovering alone. In fact, not all of those who recover alone truly recover from their addiction because they lack the support group and care that they need the most during the most crucial stage of their lives. 

Relapse is likely to happen among individuals who plan on recovering alone

According to statistics, relapses fall between 40-60% but for individuals who are recovering alone, the percentage could be higher. Relapse can happen due to many reasons and among these include the discomfort of the withdrawal symptoms. Some people break away from their recovery due to the emotional torture that comes with mood swings associated with detoxing or in some cases, simply because no one is there to help and support them during this stage. That being said, it is important that you have professional help and support when you are in recovery otherwise all your efforts will be in vain. 

Success Stories

In some cases, there are individuals who have been successful with solo recovery. However, this solo recovery DOES NOT APPLY TO ALL. In very rare situations, there are individuals who prefer doing it alone as there are plenty of things that could help increase their chances of success. 

  • It is recommended that people get help in the early months of their recovery as this is the best time for them to relapse. That is why group support and therapy can be very beneficial. 
  • It is also important to know the exact motives for choosing to recover solo. If you are there to avoid people and other things then this is not the best way to deal with recovering from addiction. 
  • Some recovering addicts do attend rehab to learn the skills they need in order to recover solo. It can be helpful for their first year of recovery and can reinforce their learning and boost motivation to get better.
  • People who do it alone may seek help in case they feel that their sobriety is at stake. Solo recovery does not necessarily mean that they have to close doors to any help when needed. 

There is help available for those who want to recover from their addiction. Recovery from drugs or alcohol can be a hard task but if you focus on getting your life back together then there are people who are willing to help you out. Going through the best rehabilitation facility is the best way to get started with the process. 

Staying sober is a tough challenge that any former addict goes through. But if you have the right people to help you, have the family and friends who love and support you, then you don’t have to do this alone. Addiction can be defeated, as long as you have the right mindset and the will, you can do anything that needs to be done. 

]]>
Xanax: The Latest and Most Dangerous Drug Craze https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/xanax-the-latest-and-most-dangerous-drug-craze/ Tue, 04 Feb 2020 03:20:07 +0000 https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/?p=15674 Addiction to any type of drug and/or alcohol is one of the reasons why people have had many serious illnesses. In general, some drugs are meant to treat illnesses of some kind, misuse could put an individual in a more complicated situation. It is best to know more about drugs before use to minimize the risk that it will be abused. Today, we’re going to talk about a drug that has recently become widely abused and sought after by people looking for a “fix”. This drug is Xanax.

What is Xanax?

Xanax is a potent benzodiazepine that is often used for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorders and insomnia. It is highly addictive to long-term applications. It is the top psychiatric medicine prescribed in the United States.

It takes less than an hour to feel the effect of Xanax in the body. Xanax includes an alprazolam compound. The symptoms come on rapidly and disappear quickly. Many individuals take the drug on a regular basis for its calming effects.

Unlike some drugs, such as ecstasy, which create a high or euphoric sensation, people who use Xanax experience more calm, quiet, and exhausted feelings. Such emotions can contribute to falling asleep or passing out for a few hours.

Effects of Xanax on the Body

Xanax is an FDA approved drug that is used to treat specific forms of anxiety such as GAD. It can treat symptoms such as high levels of anxiety, restlessness, and stiffness of muscles. Xanax is a depressant of the central nervous system categorized in the benzodiazepine class, a group of drugs that slow down the central nervous system.

This function by enhancing the influence of a brain chemical called GABA that promotes calmness and relaxation. The drug reduces the excitement level in the brain to relieve anxiety and panic. The misuse of the medication is deemed more than the prescribed dose or the use of Xanax without a prescription. Nevertheless, Xanax may continue to be addicted to those following the prescription

Xanax Abuse

There are several ways people have abused Xanax. This involves taking several pills, injecting, snorting, using blotter paper to administer the drug, and using Xanax with a variety of other products.

Xanax is usually abused because it causes calmness and a relaxing feeling for the user. It is used to be taken in high doses and combined with other medicines or alcohol to reach the desired level by some individuals.

What Happens If You Use Xanax With Other Drugs?

You should avoid mixing Xanax with other drugs, particularly oral contraceptives, antifungal drugs, antidepressants, antibiotics, and opioids as it may lead to a toxic buildup and eventually overdose.

Also, avoid combining Xanax with medicines – including over-the-counter – to make you sleepy, slow breathing, and fatigued. The combination of these drugs with their combined effects may be dangerous and cause health problems or death.

Addiction to Xanax

Xanax tolerance increases quickly and allows the patient to ingest more medicines to achieve the desired results. Those who are addicted  can take up to 20 or 30 pills per day. A warning that a physical dependence has formed is the start of withdrawal symptoms. Tolerance growth and withdrawal are symptoms of dependence.

When Xanax dependency is taken over, daily activities, including classes, jobs, or the family, are neglected as attention is diverted into an activity that seeks drugs. There are other behavioral symptoms of addiction such as

  • Continued use of Xanax despite leading to personal problems
  • Unable to stop abusing Xanax despite the desire to do so
  • Loss of interest in your daily activities
  • The eagerness to acquire the pill
  • The inability to control oneself in taking a higher dosage of Xanax
  • Legal problems such as driving while in the influence of Xanax

Risk Factors of Addiction to Xanax

Xanax can be used to slow the normal function of the brain, which could lead to slurred speech, shallow breathing, exhaustion, disorientation, and lack of coordination. Some may become violent at some point, and irritable experiences paranoia and impaired memory, and having the urge of taking their own life. Prescribed tranquilizers may also slow breathing or both heart and breathe and can potentially lead to death by using other substances — in particular alcohol.

Continuous use can lead to physical dependence and symptoms of withdrawal can arise when the use is diminished or stopped abruptly. Since all remedial calms function by slowing down the activity of the brain, when a person stops taking these, a rebounding effect can occur, which can lead to convulsions and other harmful effects.

Tolerance to the effects of the drug can also occur, which means that larger doses are necessary to achieve similar effects. This may result in users getting higher doses and risk an overdose.

How Would it Affect a Person Who is Coming Off Xanax?

If Xanax is consumed rapidly by the body, its effects are faster than other benzodiazepines. Xanax has a short half-life too, so its influence quickly goes away. Such features boost their capacity for addictions.

The body becomes accustomed to the substance after taking Xanax for a long time, allowing people to experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop. Slowly decreasing Xanax reduces the severity of these symptoms over time. Xanax can include withdrawal symptoms:

  • Feeling of dissatisfaction
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal and Muscle Cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Tremors and Convulsion

Several scientists have documented other symptoms of withdrawal that seem to be more prevalent with alprazolam than other benzodiazepines, including delirium, hallucinations and anxiety rebound.

Often doctors prescribe another benzodiazepine in its stead to relieve withdrawal symptoms when Xanax is stopped. You may prescribe a long-lasting form like diazepam. This is not always a successful strategy. When you take Xanax for a long time and you want to get out of it, talk to a healthcare provider to find a healthy way to stop the medication.

Treatment for Xanax Addiction

The removal of alprazolam and other benzodiazepines in some instances may constitute a medical emergency. Those who take or use the substance at a high dose should never suddenly stop using the drug without having been consulted by a medical professional beforehand; this can lead to seizures, coma or death. Before starting a drug abuse treatment process, it is highly recommended to consult a toxicity treatment or medical professional.

For the above-mentioned withdrawal hazards, a period of supervised detox services to stop Xanax will be needed to ensure that the patient passes this difficult process safely. The status shall be monitored during this period to prevent negative consequences. Due to the seriousness and duration of the symptoms of Xanax withdrawal, this drug should be detoxified by trained medical professionals at a reputable treatment center.

After the detoxification process, monitoring is essential to stay sobriety, to adapt to life without the drug and to improve overall well-being. Addiction is a chronic problem and it is often important that progress made during the initial treatment process is consistently maintained in the long-term.

]]>
Commonly Abused Prescription Drug https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/commonly-abused-prescription-drug/ Mon, 03 Feb 2020 17:48:22 +0000 https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/?p=15660 The use of a prescription drug in a manner not meant by the prescriptive practitioner is prescription drug misuse. Prescription drug abuse or complications include everything from snorting and swallowing ground-up drugs to high-grade suffering for a friend’s prescription. Although the consequences are detrimental, drug abuse can become chronic.

A growing problem will impact all age groups, including teenagers, with the use of prescription drugs. The most popular medications consumed by prescription are painkillers with heroin, drugs against fear, sedatives, and stimulants. The problems could be prevented by early identification of prescription drug abuse and early intervention.

Commonly abused prescription drugs 

Many abused medicines can alter people’s minds and judgments and lead to health risks such as addiction and infectious diseases. The list laid out below describes some of the most commonly abused prescription drugs.

Opioids

Opioids are a class of drugs that usually occur in opium poppy. Some opioids are manufactured directly from the factory, while some are produced by researchers in laboratories that use the same chemical structure. The use of opioids is for treating patients with chronic pain, but some drugs treat cough, diarrhea, and other illnesses that can be cured by the opioid. Also, opioids will make a person will a euphoric sensation when taken.

This can be dangerous since opioids can be highly addictive and death and poisoning are normal. Heroin has never been utilized as a medicine in the United States and is one of the most dangerous opioids worldwide. Examples of opioids are oxycodone, hydrocodone, and meperidine.

How people misuse opioids

Opioids used for pain relief are probably safe but might be misused if used for a short time and as recommended by the doctor. It could have been by:

  • Taking prescription drugs beyond its required dosage
  • Taking prescription medicine of someone else
  • Taking the medicine for the impact that it induces

Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressants

Depressants of the Central Nervous System are pharmaceutical drugs like a sedative, tranquilizing and hypnotic prescription items. Such medications will delay brain activity, helping people overcome fear, nausea, severe tension and sleep problems.

CNS depressants cause drowsiness; sedatives are often administered for sleep disturbances such as depression and sleep-induction hypnotic therapy, whereas sedative medication is indicated for agitation or muscle spasms. Several descriptions of CNS depressants in their drug classes include phenobarbital, diazepam, and alprazolam.

How do people use and abuse CNS depressant prescriptions? 

Some CNS depressants process tablet, gel, or liquid that a person takes in his or her mouth. CNS depressants implied misuse by prescription:

  • Taking medicine in a different way or dose
  • Taking medicine from someone else
  • Taking medications to improve the impact it induces

When a person misuses a CNS depressant drug, he or she may swallow the medication as usual or crush pills or open capsules.

Stimulants

Stimulants widely used for the diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy are drug improving the prescription stimulants – uncontrollable periods of deep sleep. Common stimulants that are abused by many include dextroamphetamine, a combination of dextroamphetamine/amphetamine, methylphenidate. 

How do people use and abuse prescription stimulants?

Many prescription stimulants are found as pill, medication or vapor, and a person’s mouth accepts them. Misuse of a stimulant by medication means:

  • Take medicine in a completely different way or dosage than recommended
  • Take medicine from someone else
  • Taking medicine just because of its impact, getting high

If a prescription stimulant is misused, people can swallow the medicine as normal. They can also squeeze tablets or open capsules, dissolve the powder into water and inject the liquid into a vein. Some may snort or smoke the powder as well.

Dangers of abuse

When that person takes drugs, there is a higher likelihood of someone committing a crime, being a victim of a crime or an incident. As with any drug abuse, the use of prescription drugs raises serious health risks.

Opioids abuse

The failure of the individual to understand (cognitive function), including a decrease of respiratory function, coma and death may cause vomiting or changes in mood. This risk is higher when other drugs like alcohol, antihistamines and CNS depressants are used with prescription drugs such as opioids.

CNS depressants abuse

Even more dangerous are DNS depressants. A sudden pause or decline will lead to seizures. CNs depressants can slow down and even kill a person’s heartbeat and breathing using other medicines such as prescription painkillers, some allergies, and over-the-counter cold medications or alcohol.

Stimulant abuse

It can lead to heart failure or convulsions. Such hazards are raised as stimulant drugs such as cold medicines are combined with other medicines. If a stimulant is taken too much, the body temperature or pulse can be dangerously high. High doses will make anyone aggressive or nervous over a short time. Stimulants may not lead to physical dependence and addiction, but medications can be used so often by users that it is difficult to break.

Whether individuals take medicines in situations that they are not supposed to use, the hazards of prescription drug abuse can even become stronger. Ritalin can appear innocuous, as even for small children with ADHD, it is recommended. Addiction is probably the most frequent risk of prescription drug abuse. Those who are using drugs can become as easily addicted as if they used street drugs.

Prevention of Prescription abuse

When your therapist gives you a list of prescription drugs, stimulants, and depressant you should follow it accordingly. Also, you may consider following the list below.

  • Maintain your visits to your specialist. The doctor will want you to return frequently to see how well the medicine works for you and change the dosage or modify the product if required.
  • Note the impact that the medicine has on the body and emotions, particularly in the first few days you get used to it. Consult these with your psychiatrist. Make all details on any drugs or things the pharmacist is supposed to keep open when your drug is being processed.
  • Consult your doctor if you have trouble with the effects of the drugs.

In the end, never use someone else’s medication. And don’t let anyone use yours, too. Not only are you placing others at risk, but you could also suffer: pharmacists may be prohibited from accepting a prescription if a drug has been used until it should be used.

]]>
Withdrawal (What To Expect and How To Handle It) https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/withdrawal-what-to-expect-and-how-to-handle-it/ Thu, 30 Jan 2020 20:51:25 +0000 https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/?p=15648 Without a doubt, people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol are much happier when they quit. Many survival tales demonstrate how amazing life will be when you place your dependency behind you. When you change a daily pattern, you will have to modify it to help your body work differently. You need to learn to work without the substance of choice if you regularly used drugs or alcohol and if are prepared for sobriety, you can experience a series of symptoms of withdrawal.

Patients who have been using drugs and alcohol only for a short time or who have had just small doses may not suffer disagreeable withdrawal, but could easily develop an addiction if they continue. In this article, we’re going to discuss what withdrawal looks like for someone trying to abstain from substance abuse and what they can do to cope with it. 

Identification of Signs of Withdrawal

Identifying withdrawal can be difficult at times because it is unique to certain substances. Withdrawal from alcohol may be slightly different when compared to withdrawal from drugs.

The effects from withdrawal usually peak after a few days but can sometimes like up to a month. The severity will range from moderate and severe in terms of age, physical and mental characteristics, amount of time a substance has been used, and the form of medication. Let’s discuss some common withdrawal symptoms we see between all different forms of substances.

Common Signs of Withdrawal

Anxiety

Anxiety is often worse after withdrawal than during daily nervousness, and often more like the experience with anxiety disorders, but typically doesn’t last as long.  Unlike depression, other anxieties are anticipated during withdrawal. This will make your body change when withdrawing and become anxious if you have taken or drunk to help you calm.

People who use drugs or alcohol with their self-medication may also be afraid of what happens without their regular coping process. Anxiety can be painful both physically and mentally.

The respiration and cardiac velocity may increase, sometimes to the point that people don’t feel able to catch their breath. Your imagination will play tricks, with every excuse why you should be scared. It is important to remember to know that you are healthy for all of the people around you, and the anxiety you have is just the body undergoing a natural process of healing.

Mood Swings 

It is not unusual for people to withdraw to go back and forth between anxious emotions. You may be sick one minute, without any motivation and as if you don’t want to live, and you may want to get off in the next minute because there is something terrible about it. It is important to keep in mind that life has value, that life gets much better after you have quit and that you have nothing to lose if you put your addiction behind you.

If your mood changes to the point you cannot relax, see your doctor if you are not still supervised you can administer short-term medicine to support you throughout withdrawal. A therapist can also aid since you can use a range of psychological techniques to relax the nervous system and counter the negative ideas that interfere with depression and anxiety.

If you have serious mood swings that last longer than other signs of withdrawals, seek assistance straight away.

Fatigue

Just as with anxiety and depression, fatigue among people withdrawing from drugs and alcohol is common and normal. Your brain needs to recover from the adverse effects of drugs, alcohol, and drinking habits, such as sleep loss and sleep disturbance, over-stimulation, and organ injury.

Fatigue is also a typical symptom of depression and an anxiety after-effect. You will also feel tired from the many thoughts that can confuse you if you are not familiar with alcohol or drug overdose. Such sensations of tiredness transfer with relaxation and time. Allow your body to heal from these tips before fatigue, like rest and eat nutritious food, take a couple of days off from your work, and isolate yourself from your usual routine.

What can I expect from withdrawal?

Symptoms of withdrawal may vary from mild to severe in different people. Symptoms may include lack of sleep, irritability, mood swings, depression, anxiety, pain and ache, exhaustion, hallucinations, and nausea. The person can feel cold or hot, goosebumps or having a runny nose. Symptoms vary according to:

  • Substance form and how long it has been used
  • Physical, mental, and biological attributes of an individual

Serious withdrawal symptoms, especially with drugs and alcohol, can include fear, confusion, shaking, and disorientation. The symptoms may take a few days or weeks, but they will finally stop.

Preparation

Talk to a doctor

Physicians will inform you what to do and how the consequences can be handled. Until contemplating withdrawal, specialists recommend talking to health care professionals.

Put everything into writing

Make a list of advantages and disadvantages to offer your preference. This can keep you focused and inspired while things are tough.

Predict potential setbacks

It may be tempting to go back to old unhealthy habits during difficult periods, you may want to slip back into it. It is important to understand the process of withdrawal before abstaining from substances; what helps you succeed or what needs to be done in the future to prevent relapse.

Eat nutritious food

Junk foods may be appealing, but a healthy diet can reduce many symptoms, including mood swings. Nutrition is an important part of the restoration, especially for those who have for many years neglected all aspects of their health.

Stay Productive

Staying busy will prevent you or at least will prevent you from living on the feelings. It could prove helpful to jog, read, socialize or volunteer.

How to treat symptoms of withdrawal

It can be difficult to overcome addiction, but it is important to start the cycle. You can talk before you proceed with a particular physician (you may locate a doctor here in your area), another health professional, or a drug and alcohol program. Only through proper addiction treatment programs can a person overcome severe withdrawal. This will help a person reinforce their walk through sobriety.

]]>
Impact of Long-term Drug & Alcohol Abuse https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/impact-of-long-term-drug-alcohol-abuse/ Tue, 28 Jan 2020 07:14:22 +0000 https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/?p=15649 Drug abuse not only impacts the individual but also its associates, relatives, employers and everyone else. This breaks the interactions between the user and those they need, rendering seeking assistance much harder for the consumer.

Every behavior an individual does has an effect on them and their life. Repeated and persistent behavior, like substance abuse, can have severe effects on their life and their health. In this blog post, we’re going to discuss the horrible impact that substance abuse can have on a person’s life.

Impact of drugs and alcohol on an individual’s life

Abuse of substances can have a major impact on your life. Legal problems can also arise from illegal substance use. A person convicted of a drug offense will have a criminal record which may lead to problems with obtaining a job, a loan, or a visa on an international trip.

The cost of abusing drugs or alcohol can create financial difficulties and social/emotional problems that impact family, friends, and other relationships. Below are the areas of life affected by the long-term abuse of drugs and alcohol.

Yourself

Addiction is a harmful disease that has an impact on the mind, body, sensations, and activities of the user. They are not the same people when they are consumed by addiction. They are very different in their priorities and demands.

Health risks

The results of substances depend on:

  • Mood, physical characteristics, weight, ethnicity, previous drug use, drug preferences, temperament, whether the individual had food and if other substances were used.
  • The kind of medicines that have been used, their quantity, their potency, their frequency and how they are used.
  • Whether the user utilizes with friends, alone, and in a social environment or at home, or works.

Physical Issues

A person’s appearance is based on what they’re putting in their body. You are what you eat, after all. Nutritious food keeps the body lively and healthy, whereas drugs and alcohol do not. Several specific results on people with regular substances abuse are as follows:

  • Heart diseases
  • Respiratory diseases (difficulty in breathing)
  • Nausea
  • Kidney failure
  • Liver disease
  • Abnormal eating habits that lead to unintentional weight loss or weight gain
  • Insomnia
  • Unexplainable body odors
  • Dry skin and poor grooming

Tolerance and dependence

Daily use may contribute to tolerance. This means that a person requires the drug more than before to produce the same results they would normally get with smaller doses. Daily use may also lead to addiction. This means that the substance is integral to a person’s life and they find that without it, they can’t live life normally.

Withdrawal

Withdrawal symptoms may occur when regular substance use is reduced or stopped. Such signs may be exhaustion, nausea, stress, reduced motivation, irritability, restlessness, sleeplessness, fear, violence, anxiety, and cravings.

Overdose

An overdose happens when the substance’s degree of toxicity reaches a point where physical or psychological harm begins to develop.

Not only does drug and alcohol usage impact one’s internal organs and consciousness, but it also influences one’s image and performance.

Mental Issues

There is a common link between substance use and issues of mental health. People with problems regarding their alcohol consumption are also at higher risk of mental health problems relative to the general population. Often, people with mental health problems in the group have a higher rate of difficulties involving alcohol usage.

Perhaps the most influenced part of life is the personal health of one’s drug and alcohol consumption. The varying chemical responses mess up with the normal operation of the brain, particularly when various kinds of drugs and alcohol have specific effects on the brain.

Some of them are depressants, some stimulants. Excessive consumption of the same type or a large, regular amount of different types also has severe consequences.

Anxiety

Anxiety is something that most people experience somewhere in their life, typically when in a different, complicated or stressful circumstance. Anxiety is associated with battle for survival instinct that increases adrenaline and then alarm, allowing you to respond in life-threatening situations.

You may dread everyday tasks such as going to work, leaving the house or socializing with your buddy while you feel anxious. Some symptoms include, panic attacks, getting tired easily or irritable, worrying all the time, feeling dizzy, and experiencing pain in the body.

Depression

Depression is also a medical condition. Depression is caused by chemical brain imbalances and is a serious condition that has a significant impact on people’s lives. Depression symptoms include feeling tired all the time, feeling down (life is not worth living), trouble in concentration, restlessness and worthlessness, and loss of interest in usual activities.

Psychosis

The word psychosis identifies an affected understanding of reality by a human. Stimulants of an amphetamine-type are often correlated with them. Psychosis may include symptoms such as:

  • Unorganized or odd behavior.
  • Auditory disturbances, visions or strange feelings that come and go.
  • Experiencing or seeing something that is not there or self-harm.

Financial issues

Depending on market trends and availability, the price of illegal drugs changes in the street. The cost of buying medicines can have an impact on both sometimes and regular users and cause financial problems.

Impact on Relationships

Substance use can contribute to emotional and social issues and can impact interactions between families and friends. The use of substances has different consequences for individuals. Many may be sad, furious, aggressive, tired, anxious, or depressed when interacting with people they have a relationship with. These responses affect relationships with certain people including, family and friends.

Problems with the law

A drug offender can obtain a criminal record that may lead to problems with obtaining a job, health insurance, credit rating or overseas travel visas.

Drugs and alcohol impact a person emotionally, psychologically, socially and personally, which are all massive aspects of our existence. The rest of life is also imbalanced if these parts are affected, so take hold of it all. Just like addiction gradually settled into your body, you can also eliminate it out step by step.

The best addiction treatment helps you to cure little by little the effects of substance abuse. With the strong motivation that is already in you, you will reclaim control of your life. The best addiction therapy will completely rid any desires you have to use. Get help today!

]]>
Medicare Open Enrollment: Do I Need It? https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/medicare-open-enrollment-do-i-need-it/ Mon, 27 Jan 2020 19:26:07 +0000 https://arizonaaddictioncenter.org/?p=15644 Due to the various enrollment windows that Medicare has, most people tend to get confused about whether they need to do anything during them. The Medicare Open Enrollment Period starts on January 1st and ends on March 31st each year. Don’t confuse this enrollment period with the Annual Election Period, which starts on October 15th and ends on December 7th each year. Although people conflate the two, the Medicare Open Enrollment Period is not the same as the Annual Election Period. 

The purpose of the Medicare Open Enrollment Period

The Medicare Open Enrollment Period is one of the few times beneficiaries can change or drop their Medicare Advantage plans. Unlike the Annual Election Period, only beneficiaries who already have a Medicare Advantage plan can use the Medicare Open Enrollment Period. If you don’t have a Medicare Advantage plan, then the Medicare Open Enrollment Period doesn’t apply to you. 

During the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, you can drop your current Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in a new one, or you can drop your plan and pick up a Part D plan which switches you back to Original Medicare. However, you can’t switch from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan during this time. Also, you can’t change Part D plans during this time. 

To help you remember what you can do during each period, here is a breakdown:

During the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, you can:

  • change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
  • drop a Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in a Part D plan and Original Medicare

During the Annual Election Period, you can:

  • change from one Medicare Advantage plan to another Medicare Advantage plan
  • change from one Part D plan to another Part D plan
  • drop a Medicare Advantage plan and enroll in a Part D plan
  • drop your Part D plan and enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan
  • enroll in a Medicare Advantage plan
  • enroll in a Part D plan

Examples of people who might use the Medicare Open Enrollment Period

You may wonder why the Medicare Open Enrollment Period is so close to the Annual Election Period. If you can change Medicare Advantage plans during the Annual Election Period, then why would you need the Medicare Open Enrollment Period? 

Well, sometimes people enroll in one Medicare Advantage plan during the Annual Election Period, and once the plan goes into effect on January 1st, they quickly find out that the plan isn’t what they expected. If this happens to you, you can either change back to Original Medicare and try for a Medigap plan, or you can switch to a completely different Medicare Advantage plan that you may like more. 

Another example of someone who might use the Medicare Open Enrollment Period is someone who misses the Annual Election Period altogether. Because the Annual Election Period is only about two months, you may miss it. In this case, you will have a second chance to edit your Medicare Advantage plan.

What it is NOT for

One thing that the Medicare Open Enrollment Period and the Annual Election Period have in common is that neither are open enrollment windows for Medigap plans. You can apply for a Medigap plan anytime throughout the year. However, unless you are within your one-time six-month Open Enrollment window that starts the day your Part B is effective, then you will likely have to answer health questions to be considered for a Medigap plan. 

Therefore, you can certainly use the Medicare Open Enrollment Period to drop your Medicare Advantage plan, enroll in a Part D plan, and at that time, try to enroll in a Medigap plan, but you are not guaranteed approval. But before deciding on a plan during the Medicare Open Enrollment Period, be sure to make extra sure that that’s the plan that is most cost-effective for you. 

]]>