Fentanyl Withdrawal: Symptoms, Dangers, Treatment

Hand with pen drawing the chemical formula of fentanyl

Fentanyl Withdrawal: Symptoms, Dangers, Treatment

Hand with pen drawing the chemical formula of fentanylFentanyl is rapidly becoming one of the most common recreational opioid drugs on the market. That’s both because it’s commonly sold as a strong and cheap alternative to opioid painkillers and because it’s used in counterfeit and cut versions of other drugs. Fentanyl is found in everything from heroin that’s cut to reduce costs to faux Xanax pills – meaning that millions of people are using fentanyl even when they aren’t aware of it. It’s also used as a prescription painkiller after surgery, where you might have a patch or a slow-release pill or even fast-acting pills after significant surgery and advanced-stage cancer treatment. In any case, fi you’ve been using fentanyl more often, it will have a withdrawal phase, and that withdrawal phase can be significant and even dangerous.

Fentanyl is currently considered to be one of the most dangerous opioids on the market. It’s responsible for about 70% of all opioid-involved overdose deaths. And, at up to 100 times the strength of morphine, it’s easy to overdose on because even a tiny amount is too much. This means that withdrawing from it and getting clean can be critical to ensuring your safety. However, getting clean can be dangerous in and of itself and it is important to approach fentanyl withdrawal and detox carefully.

What Happens When You Withdraw from Fentanyl?

Fentanyl withdrawal starts within 6-12 hours after your final dose of the drug, or about 24-48 hours if you have a slow-release formula. Here, symptoms largely map to those of regular opioid withdrawal, but can be somewhat more severe as fentanyl is one of the strongest opioids you can take.

Here, you might not notice a difference between fentanyl withdrawal and a severe case of the flu. All of your symptoms will typically start out light and then will increase in severity. In addition, they may come with symptoms of anxiety, panic, and distress, which don’t come with a normal cold or flu. Here, you can expect symptoms of:

  • Sweating
  • Shaking or tremors
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea and vomiting
  • Cravings for more fentanyl
  • Abdominal cramping and stomach problems
  • General malaise/muscle pain
  • Agitation
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Fatigue and lethargy

These symptoms start out light and can increase to be very severe over the 1-2 weeks of symptoms. It’s also important to manage side-effects, as leaving them alone can result in increased risks of dehydration, choking, and even seizures. This means ensuring that you drink enough, putting in effort to sleep on your side, and ensuring that you’re investing in health at the same time.

man having fentanyl withdrawal symptoms

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How Long Does Fentanyl Withdrawal Take

thoughtful manWithdrawing from fentanyl typically takes anywhere from 14-20 days. However, if you are taking a slow-release version of the drug, it can take much longer. In addition, many of the mental side effects and symptoms can take significantly longer to go away. This means you’ll have to manage your mental health and treatment over the longer term.

If you’re withdrawing from fentanyl in a treatment center, you’ll typically receive medication to speed up this process and to reduce the symptoms and the severity of the symptoms.

3-24 Hours – Early onset withdrawal means that withdrawal symptoms kick in. This normally happens in 3-6 hours with normal fentanyl. However, if you have a slow-release version of the drug it can take much longer. Therefore, you’ll have to adjust your timeline based on what kind of fentanyl you’re using. Early withdrawal typically starts out with anxiety, cravings for more of the drug, and the start of early cold and flu feelings. Here, you’ll most likely want to invest in self-care and either go back to bed, ivnest in light exercise, and ensure that you drink enough water.

Day 1-4 – Withdrawal symptoms normally kick in fully after the first 24 hours although it can be as long as 48 hours if you have a slow-release version of the drug. Fentanyl withdrawal symptoms normally start with sweating, chills, runny nose, and sometimes a cough. Most people will also start to experience nausea and potentially diarrhea or vomiting right away as well. Your mood will drop and you’ll feel anxious, low, and cravings will intensify. For most people, this means you’ll want to ensure that you have good social and emotional support in place. You’ll also want to ensure that you are taking care of yourself, drinking enough water, eating well, and getting light exercise. After the first few days, you’ll also be at risk of respiratory problems and breathing difficulties, you might have muscle shaking and spasming, and tremors. Most people do need medical attention here and having a nurse or a doctor to monitor your condition is important.

Day 5-22 – In most cases, your symptoms will plateau and then start to balance out after the first 5 days. If you’re on a slow-release version of fentanyl, it may take up to 14 days to reach this phase. From there, you’ll need another 10-15 days for symptoms to gradually go away. Here, your existing symptoms should stay the same but should gradually fade over time, meaning you will feel physically better every day. However, mental symptoms may not fade and you may require therapy and counseling to deal with those symptoms before they actually fade.

In most cases, fentanyl withdrawal will take about 15-24 days total no matter what kind of fentanyl you are using. This means you can expect symptoms to last about 2 weeks on average.

Dangers of Fentanyl Withdrawal

Fentanyl is one of the strongest opioid drugs on the market. Often, this means that you’ll face two major risks when withdrawing from the drug. The first is that side-effects can be dangerous. Here, you might face tremors, potential seizures, and muscle shaking which can cause medically significant risks. You might also experience risks of dehydration and the significant danger to your organs and your health that go with. People can also risk choking when vomiting, nutritional deficiencies, and other potentially severe side-effects of normal flu symptoms. Anyone who withdraws from fentanyl also faces the significant risk of relapse, where you are at risk of giving in to cravings. This puts you at increased risk of overdose, because your tolerance can drop significantly even in a very short amount of time. This means that the same dose you used before withdrawing can result in an overdose after withdrawing. Therefore, you might be putting yourself at risk just by using your normal dose.

Getting Treatment

people during group therapy for fentanyl treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with fentanyl use, it’s important to get help. Here, you can get treatment and assistance during the detox and withdrawal phase. This very often means that you’ll receive a medication assisted treatment program, where you get methadone or suboxone to help you manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce their severity. These drugs also reduce the risk of relapse, which significantly reduces the risks associated with withdrawing from fentanyl. Professional treatment for fentanyl addiction also means getting behavioral health support, counseling, and group therapy for drug addiction, all of which will work to give you the tools to manage life without fentanyl so you can stay clean over the longer term.

Fentanyl is one of the most dangerous opioids on the market. If you or a loved one is using it, you’re putting yourself at risk. At the same time, withdrawing from fentanyl without medical support is also dangerous, because symptoms and side-effects can be severe and because the risk of relapse can be significant. It’s important that you get treatment and support to ensure you stay safe. Good luck with getting clean from fentanyl.

How to Successfully Detox from Alcohol

two clients during counseling for an alcohol detox program

How to Successfully Detox from Alcohol

two clients during counseling for an alcohol detox programIf you’re struggling with alcohol, you’re not alone. Today, 29.5 million Americans have an alcohol use disorder. That often means you have tolerance, chemical dependence, and difficulty quitting or cutting back when you do try to stop. For many of us, alcoholism doesn’t take the form of constant drinking. Instead, we binge drink on weekends and do so uncontrollably. Then, withdrawal symptoms might be so bad the next few days that it feels like being sick. Others drink nearly constantly, and often to the point of using alcohol to function. Wherever you are in that, quitting can improve every part of your life, your health, and your mental health. It can give you the tools to rebuild your life, to have mental stability, and to invest in the relationships that add value to your life. And, it means you’ll be investing into yourself and your future.

At the same time, detoxing from alcohol isn’t easy. It’s not just about deciding you want to do it and going for it. Alcohol detox can be difficult and dangerous. For many people, it has setbacks and those include health complications, high risk of relapse, and emotional and mental trauma while detoxing. It’s important that you treat alcohol detox as a serious and medically important thing. For most people, that means medical supervision and potentially medication.

Talk to Your Doctor

The first step to quitting alcohol is to have a plan in place so that you can do so safely. Here, it’s generally a good idea to talk to your doctor to go over your options and potential scenarios. For example, you might move into a detox clinic to get the help you need to quit without putting yourself at physical risk. Here your options are:

  • Cold turkey / social detox – This means that you quit right away with no crutches or aids. It’s the thing that most people do when trying to quit alcohol on their own. It’s also the highest risk option, as about 1 in 10 people getting off alcohol in this way experience long-term complications like delirium tremens.
  • Tapering – If you’re drinking too much your doctor may ask you to taper off of alcohol before going cold turkey. That can make it possible to safely cut back from alcohol on your own. However, most people asking for help to quit alcohol are too sick to taper off of it, so this isn’t always an option.
  • Medically supported detox – Here you detox in the same style as going cold turkey, but in a clinic, with people to monitor your symptoms and how you’re doing. If you start to develop more symptoms or complications, you’ll receive medication to reduce risks and to ensure you recover more quickly. This means you can get treatment right away if you’re facing delirium tremens or other complications.
  • Medical detox – Here you receive a prescription medication such as disulfiram, acamprosate, or naltrexone. These prevent a withdrawal phase and mean that you can immediately move into focusing on recovery and therapy and learning the skills to stay sober. In some cases, you might be on a maintenance dose for as long as months after detox. However, you’ll often begin to taper off of prescription medication when you leave rehab.

Here it’s also important to keep in mind that detox is just the first step of getting sober. It doesn’t matter how many times you quit drinking if you don’t deal with the behavioral addiction and the underlying problems that drive you to drink in the first place.

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Choose an Approach to Quit

male client during counseling about alcohol detoxOnce you know the options you can make an informed decision about your treatment. Your doctor can help you to reach that decision. They may also want to involve an alcohol detox specialist to help you come to a decision based on your specific history, alcohol use, and drinking patterns. The more often you drink, the harder detox will be. That often means creating a detox plan around your lifestyle and your habits, so you can figure out a way to quit alcohol that is safe for you.

That will likely also involve evaluating your risk of relapse, assessing how many times you’ve tried to quit before, and then building a custom detox plan around your specific needs.

Take the Time You Need

Detoxing from alcohol is going to take time. That’s true if you’re doing it at home or in a clinic. The actually physical withdrawal will typically take about 1-2 weeks. However, if you end up with complications, you might need up to three months to fully physically recover. That’s without considering the time needed for behavioral treatment, counseling, and recovering from the underlying causes as well as the traumas of addiction.

Alcohol withdrawal can be severe. You’ll probably feel like you have the worst case of flu you’ve ever had in your life.

That normally means taking at least 2 weeks off work. You may want more especially if you’re going into a rehab program afterwards. Luckily, you can also do so even if you have a full-time job. You’re legally allowed to take up to 90 days (unpaid) off work for family and medical reasons without disclosing why or losing your job. However, your boss may want to have a note from your doctor that you need it. Just keep in mind that they aren’t even legally allowed to ask what your medical problems are, let alone force you to disclose them. 

Make Sure You Have Accountability

Quitting alcohol is about more than putting it down once. It’s about consciously choosing, every single day, to not pick it up. That means building routines, finding accountability, and finding social accountability to stay clean and sober. If you’re detoxing at home, you need accountability to stick with it at home. If you’re detoxing in a clinic, you need accountability there and accountability for when you leave treatment. That often means:

  • Finding personal motivation and realizing how much you want to be sober. Then, checking in with yourself, reaffirming this is still what you want and why, and putting in the work to hold yourself accountable.
  • Keeping track of yourself so that you have a visual milestone of progress. For example, marking off days in a calendar so you always know when you had your last drink and exactly how well you’re doing.
  • Finding social motivation of people to hold you accountable. For example, friends and family to check up on you, a self-help or support group, or regular visits to a counselor or a treatment center.

Any of those steps can help you to find accountability, to hold yourself to staying on track, and to ensuring that you have someone to check up on you, including yourself. That will help you to stay in detox and, over the long term, in recovery.

Eventually, an alcohol use disorder is a lot to deal with on your own. You shouldn’t have to. It’s important that you take steps to ensure you can detox safely and without endangering your physical or mental wellbeing. Often, that will mean getting detox support and medical treatment to ensure you can withdraw from alcohol safely and in comfort. Here, you should also start counseling and therapy, to ensure you have the emotional support you need to get through treatment as well. Good luck detoxing from alcohol.

How Effective is Suboxone for Fentanyl Treatment?

Suboxone

How Effective is Suboxone for Fentanyl Treatment?

SuboxoneSuboxone is an FDA-approved prescription drug most commonly used to help people maintain abstinence from opioid drugs. As a result, suboxone is one of the most prescribed medications for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) programs. It’s also listed as a life-saving drug by the World Health Administration as an essential drug. At the same time, there’s a lot of controversy around Suboxone – both for use with opioids and also for extra strong opioids such as fentanyl.

Here, many people are concerned that they’re replacing one drug with another. Others are concerned that Suboxone also has a withdrawal period. And, in some cases, individuals are concerned about the potential of precipitated withdrawal, which means that you suddenly go into withdrawal from a very strong drug, which can result in hospitalization. At the same time, Suboxone is considered one of the most important drugs for helping people maintain recovery – so you don’t run the risk of overdose when you go back to fentanyl. What are the factors that impact this? And, how effective is it?

What is Suboxone?

Suboxone is an FDA-approved combination drug composed of Buprenorphine and Naloxone. It’s typically orally administrated and is primarily used in maintenance programs to help individuals stay clean during recovery from opioid use disorder. The drug has been shown to greatly improve outcomes for individuals by preventing relapse, reducing cravings, and reducing the length and severity of the detox phase. It’s also comprised of two of the most important drugs in opioid use disorder treatment:

  • Buprenorphine – Buprenorphine is an opioid drug with a light side effect profile and a lower addiction profile than those used recreationally. In light doses, buprenorphine causes no euphoria or sedation, meaning that it doesn’t have a driver for individuals to abuse it recreationally. However, it does bind with the same opioid receptors in the body and brain as fentanyl, meaning that while you’re taking it, you don’t experience physical cravings and you don’t go into withdrawal. This drug is sold on its own as Subutex. Here, it’s an important and lief-saving drug. However, it still carries the potential of abuse as buprenorphine can cause euphoria in high doses and when injected.
  • Naloxone – Suboxone also contains Naloxone, which is known as a the opioid overdose withdrawal reversal drug. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist which causes opioids to stop binding with receptors in the brain. This can pull individuals out of an overdose. It can also cause sudden onset withdrawal which means that someone taking Naloxone suddenly will almost certainly require hospital care and treatment. However, it’s poorly digested orally. This means that while you are taking the Suboxone orally or according to prescription, it won’t have an effect. However, if you take more than the prescribed dose or attempt to inject it, the Naloxone will take effect – and you will go into withdrawal.

In short, Suboxone is buprenorphine, an opioid drug with an anti-abuse mechanism built in. That makes it safer for people to take home and use on their own, even during early stages of addiction.

When taking it, you should mostly feel normal, but without cravings or withdrawal symptoms associated with quitting opioid drugs like fentanyl.

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Is Suboxone Effective?

Editorial License_Vial of Naloxone drug which is used for opiate drug overdoseSuboxone is one of the most-recommended drugs for medication assisted treatment. That recommendation comes from the fact that it works, it has a very low risk of abuse, and the safety mechanism of Naloxone means that patients can more easily use it unsupervised at home. That allows more freedom to individuals to live their lives rather than going to a doctor’s office or clinic every day for a dose of buprenorphine.

Suboxone is also fully FDA approved. It’s consistently pointed to as greatly improving outcomes in opioid use disorder treatment. However, it is not a treatment on its own. Suboxone does not help you overcome behavioral addiction. Instead, it reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms, allowing you to go about living your normal life while getting treatment for substance use disorder. Without dealing with cravings, you’re more likely to be able to get through treatment without risking relapse and potential overdose on fentanyl. This means it greatly reduces risks of accidental death while also reducing risk of relapse to begin with. At the same time, you still need behavioral therapy to recover from a behavioral substance use disorder. For this reason, any substance use disorder treatment program offering medication assistance with Suboxone will pair it with therapy and counseling.

Overall, Suboxone is a very safe and effective drug that can function as a crutch while you learn the skills to stay clean. It reduces the impact of quitting right away, reduces cravings, and lowers the threshold to staying clean. As a result, people who use it are significantly more likely to stay in recovery than those who are not in a MAT program.

What’s are the Concerns of Using Suboxone with Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is widely known as one of the strongest opioid drugs on the market. It’s also increasingly finding its way into dozens of drugs, including faux prescription pills, drugs sold as heroin, and even directly sold as fentanyl. At 10,000 times the strength of morphine, fentanyl is extremely strong and has a very high risk of overdose and accidental drug death. In fact, more than 74% of opioid drug deaths are linked to fentanyl. When you use Naloxone to treat fentanyl overdose, it causes significant and immediate withdrawal symptoms which can require medical attention. This is known as precipitated withdrawal. Persons taking suboxone run a risk of precipitated withdrawal as well. However, according to a study published in 2023, about 1% of fentanyl users taking suboxone will go through precipitated withdrawal. This means that it is important to start using suboxone in a clinic if you’re a fentanyl user. However, risks are extremely low.

In other cases, people are concerned about using one opioid to recover from another. However, buprenorphine has an extremely low addiction profile. This means it’s very unlikely that you become addicted to the drug. You will become dependent on the drug, which means you’ll have to taper off it in order to quit. However, it also means you can safely quit opioids, with low risks of strong withdrawal symptoms, and low risk of relapse. As a result, Suboxone is associated with improved recovery rates, reduced risk of death, and decreased cost of treatment.

Seeking Out Medication Assisted Treatment

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, it’s important to look into getting help. If that substance is fentanyl, withdrawal and recovery are difficult and can be dangerous. Medication assisted programs with Suboxone can greatly reduce those risks. However, it’s important to discuss your options with your doctor and your rehab facility. Both should help you to look at your options, associated risks, and how those risks come into play for your recovery, your long-term health, and your short-term treatment. Chances are very high that you’ll be recommended into a tapering program to reduce fentanyl usage or directly into a detox clinic where you can start suboxone under medical supervision and then directly into a behavioral mental health treatment program.

Eventually, the right treatment for you depends on your mental health, your addiction, and what you want for yourself. Suboxone can be life-saving, it can reduce risks, and it can help you to stay in recovery. Either way, good luck getting treatment.

How Scripture Can Help a Christian in Recovery

a man recovering from addiction reading his Bible

How Scripture Can Help a Christian in Recovery

a man recovering from addiction reading his BibleIf you’re recovering from a substance use disorder, you’re likely moving back into life one-step at a time. Here, God and your spirituality should be an important part of that. That’s so much true that more than 70% of all addiction recovery centers in the United States rely on Christian-based programs to help guide patients into recovery. As you graduate those programs and move back into life on your own, you’ll still need God to help you. And, what better guidance than his Word in the form of Scriptures.

Here, it’s also important to keep in mind that it’s not enough to have a copy of the Bible. You need to invest, you need to go to church, attend your meetings, read from the Bible, and take steps to actively live in the right way. When you do, you might find that the Scripture is a powerful and motivating force, a comfort that you can turn to when you’re uncertain, and a source of wisdom you can look to again and again. You can find your favorite verses, take time to read chapters, and find time to spend with God every day through those verses.

Inspiration

The Bible is full of beautiful verses that are often extremely relevant to those of us struggling with addiction. The Bible even talks about recovering from addiction. In those verses, you can find inspiration, empowerment, and the realization that you are not alone.

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.” _ 1 Corinthians 10:13

You will take inspiration from things that matter to you. However, the Bible is a wealth of inspiration, stories of people who succeeded against terrible circumstances, and the ongoing reminder that God is there. Taking time to find inspiration, to remind yourself that you are walking paths that others have walked before you, and to remind yourself that you can do this will give you inspiration to keep going.

Motivation

Motivation is not how you make it through rehab and recovery. At the same time, it can be a powerful force in getting you started and keeping you on track. The Scripture can offer that motivation, reminding you of what you are fighting for, giving you reasons to fight, and reminding you of how good life can be when you’re healthy and whole.

“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.” _ 1 Corinthians 6:12

Here, you can look for reasons to keep going, you can find scriptures that talk about who you are, that represent you, that represent who you want to be, and you can continue to find motivation in those, even as you grow and change in your recovery.

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Comfort

a woman recovering from substance abuse getting comfort from reading the scripture in the BibleMaking space in your life for daily prayer, reflection, and reading the Scripture can be meditative, calming, and a good way to find peace. It’s important to take time to Talk to God. But, it’s also important to take time to Listen. That means taking time to read his Word, even if it’s a few verses per day.

For example, it’s often a good idea to sit down and have a heart-to-heart talk with God before bed or when you wake up. Following that with reading the Scripture gives you a way to calm down, to find peace, and to find comfort before moving to bed or before starting your day. Taking 15 minutes a day to read through the Scripture will give you insight and food for thought over the day, it will mean you’ll be in touch with God, and it means you’ll have a space of calm to look forward to every day.

Taking that time and space to listen to God also means you’ll be feeling more in touch with yourself, more able to experience gratitude, and better able to see the good things in your life. The perspective of the Scripture can shift your view of the mundane to one of gratitude, calm, and peace at what you have, and that can be a powerful part of recovery.

Guidance

Figuring out who you are as you move into recovery can be a challenge. For many of us, moving out of addiction means feeling line a sinner, like we are unworthy, and like we must earn our place at God’s side before we can call ourselves a Christian. The Bible is full of sinners and from Eve to Ruth to Saul on the Road to Damascus, who would later become one of the greatest of the Apostles, it’s full of redemption.

That can be an extremely important part of your recovery. That’s especially true if you’re looking to frame your past, to find a place to fit yourself in your faith, and to figure out how you can be Christian despite your past. The Bible will offer you that peace

That will help you find peace and find quiet, to find meaning, and to come to terms with yourself and with the world around you.

Getting in Touch with God

For many of us, the scripture is a way to talk to God, not to say things to him, but to listen. That means opening your mind and your heart to experience wonder, to acknowledge the higher power of God, and to recognize yourself in His plan. The Scriptures are the closest we have to directly listening to the Word of God, and making time to listen to read, to talk about, and to understand it is an important part of finding ourselves again as Christians. That will help you to feel connected, like you’re part of your community, and like you get the guidance and support you need from God, even though most of that support will come in the form of the people he puts into your life.

Moving Forward

As you move into recovery, your faith, your ability to dedicate time to it, and your acceptance of God as part of your life will be an important part of your recovery. Making time to read the Scripture, to find motivation in it, to find inspiration in others who have pushed through, and to find new ways to connect with God will give you the help you need in that recovery.

Eventually, recovering from a substance use disorder means taking care of yourself, mind, body, and spirit. That means going to rehab and getting mental health help and counseling, it means taking care of your body and eating well and exercising, and it means investing in your spirituality by connecting with God, talking to him, and setting aside time to Listen and read the Scripture. Of course, none of that will ever replace going to treatment, connecting with your Christian community, and being part of it, but all of it will help you as you move towards Recovery and building a new life for yourself.

Benefits of Faith-Based Recovery Treatment

Faith-Based Recovery Treatment at 10 Acre Ranch

Benefits of Faith-Based Recovery Treatment

Faith-Based Recovery Treatment at 10 Acre RanchIf you’re moving into recovery, you’ll have a choice of faith and non-faith-based recovery centers. This means you’ll have to make a choice between what kind of recovery center you choose. And, if you want God to be a part of your recovery and your return to health, you’ll have to actively choose that – now, or in the future. Today, some 73% of all recovery centers in the United States use a faith-based approach. Some of those do so fairly lightly, with access to 12-step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. Others directly integrate service, prayer, and talking to God into treatment. So you’ll have options even inside of faith based recovery.

While you can choose whatever you want, there are plenty of reasons you’ll want to look into faith-based recovery.

Evidence-Based Treatment

Most non-faith-based treatment programs try to advertise based on the fact that they are evidence-based. However, faith-based treatment also uses evidence-based treatment including medication as part of treatment. The difference is that faith-based care adds spirituality, prayer, and faith on top of your treatment, so you get that extra level of care and support. It’s not instead of the evidence-based treatment, it’s in addition to it. That means you don’t lose anything by choosing faith-based treatment and instead get to incorporate spirituality and work on healing at an even deeper level.

Talking to God from Day One

Most people find that faith is an important part of their recovery and their life. Getting to talk to God gives you insight into who you are, who you want to be, and where you’re going. It gives us motivation, peace, calm, and acknowledgement of the fact that we are loved. Incorporating that into your treatment from day one means that you will benefit from that from day one. Many of us in recovery are resistant to God and to faith. Yet, the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll be able to acknowledge God and His presence in your life. For many people, that becomes a powerful reason to choose a better path.

Finding Motivation

Faith-based recovery treatment puts the focus on you, your future, your spirituality, and your relationship with God. It’s not asking you to get better for physical goals. It’s asking you to evaluate yourself in God’s eyes and to take steps to work on that. It’s asking for self-evaluation, honesty, and acknowledgement that although you have strayed you can always take steps to re-find the path and to welcome God into your heart. For many of us, that’s more powerful of a motivator than any amount of information about how we will be healthier, better able to hold a job, or that we’ll live longer. Of course, your family and your friends should still play a role, they are part of you. But getting to honestly acknowledge who you are and how you feel about yourself and honestly acknowledge where you need help is an important part of recovery for many people.

Experiencing Gratitude

A large element of finding yourself in recovery is realizing that you can appreciate the little things, that you can realize you can be happy with things that don’t matter, and that you can experience joy at things. It means switching focus away from and things that happen and towards good things that happen. That attitude of gratitude will help you to find positivity and joy in your daily life. And, faith actively asks you to look for it, it gives you tools to look for it, and it helps you to look for it by sharing it with others. It’s hard not to find things to be grateful and thankful for when you’re sitting down with a group every day to share the good things that happened, to talk about them, and to help each other recognize them. That act of practicing gratitude can be immensely helpful to feeling better about yourself, your life, and where you’re going. And that’s important for rebuilding your self-esteem, your confidence in yourself, and your knowledge that you don’t need drugs or alcohol.

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Getting Guidelines and Guidance

Faith-Based Recovery Treatment at 10 Acre RanchOne of the hardest things about recovery is that we’re expected to find ourselves. We’re expected to find a new path. We’re expected to find motivation, gratitude, things to love. We’re expected to rebuild our sense of self and our sense of responsibility – after drugs and alcohol took those things away. Faith gives you a framework, a structure, a moral guideline to work from. It gives you steps to follow, people to talk to, help with your goals, people to lean on. The simple act of having real guidelines around your recovery can be an immense step in helping you to make it into recovery and stay there. Having guidelines on what it means to be a good person, where to go when you’re struggling, who to talk to when you need help, where to ask for help and how to do it can all be lifesaving. Most importantly, that’s not just directly talking to God but also to your pastor, to your congregation, and to your peers. You have people who are following the same guidelines as you and many of them are experienced enough to offer guidance, assistance, and care while you get there.

Understanding You’re Not Alone

Struggling with a substance use disorder alienates you from everyone. It disengages you from your body, from your social life, from your relationships, and from everything you love. It can make you feel entirely alone. Moving into a group of your peers, a group of people who have been to the same lows you have, can help with losing that feeling. But getting to talk to God, getting to feel loved, and getting to feel like you are part of the greater whole of your congregation will do so much more. You’ll have someone to talk to whenever you need to, you’ll have someone to have obligations to whenever you need them, you’ll have someone to be accountable for, and you’ll have a friend who will be there with you however you progress through recovery. For many people, that realization is one of the most important aspects of choosing a faith-based treatment center. You’re not alone because God is always there with you – no matter what.

Getting Help

Most treatment centers offer some form of faith-based recovery. However, many of them offer simple 12-step additions to their treatment. If you want a more in-depth faith-based program you’ll have to look for it. Often, that will mean choosing a program that offers a Christian approach to addiction treatment alongside cognitive behavioral therapy, counseling, and group support. That means you get the best of both worlds, with medical treatment and support and full emotional and spiritual support from your new congregation.

Choosing to move into a faith-based program means you’ll get help and you’ll talk to God from day one of your treatment. The people around you will be as invested as you are. And, that’s an important part of getting help and taking steps to improve your life. Good luck with your treatment and your recovery.

If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our alcohol rehabdetox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.

What are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders?

Diagnosing FASD

What are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders?

What are Fetal Alcohol Spectrum DisordersFetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders or FASDs are a group of conditions that occur in people who were exposed to alcohol before birth. Typically, that happens when a pregnant person drinks. It can result in physical development disorders, learning development disorders, and behavioral disorders, and often a mix of all three. All of these disorders are also lifelong, including physical development, coordination, learning ability, problems with hearing and sight, and much more.

Today, almost 1 in 1,000 children in the United States are born with some level of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. In children 7-9 years old, it’s prevalent in 1 in 3,000. And, in all children of a school age in the United States, it’s 6-9 out of every 1,000 children, depending on region, location, and poverty levels.

What Causes Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder?

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder is caused by exposure to alcohol before birth. This normally means the mother drinks during the pregnancy. In addition, higher rates of alcohol consumption lead to higher risks of FASDs or to worsening symptoms. At the same time, some 13.5% of pregnant adults in the United States report current drinking. Some 5.2% reported binge drinking during the last 30 days. This means that 52 in 1000 children are at high risk of developing FASDs because of exposure to alcohol before birth and 135 in 1,000 are at risk.

Alcohol use required to result in an FASD diagnosis is also lower than many people would think. For example, having consumed 16 beers over the course of 30 days during a pregnancy or more than 2 alcoholic beverages in a single sitting is enough to meet qualifications for FASD during diagnosis after birth.

Signs and Symptoms of FASDs

Diagnosing a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder can be extremely difficult. There’s no blood test or conclusive way to say that a baby has been born with FASDs. However, there are some physical symptoms that can be extremely obvious in strong cases. In addition, many of the symptoms overlap with other disorders, which can make it difficult to give a conclusive diagnosis.

However, symptoms include:

  • female doctor discussing FASD symptoms to male patientCentral nervous symptom problems
  • Small head size
  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip
  • Lower than average height
  • Lower than average weight
  • Prenatal alcohol exposure
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactivity
  • Poor memory
  • Difficulty in school
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech or language delays
  • Intellectual disabilities
  • Poor reasoning
  • Sleeping problems
  • Sucking problems
  • Organ problems
  • Bone problems

Unfortunately, many of these symptoms can overlap with ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, and physical disorders like William’s Syndrome. Therefore, it can be difficult to conclusively say that your child has FASD, although your doctor may give this diagnosis even without proof of consuming alcohol while pregnant.

All of these symptoms are lifelong. Adults will need special care and attention for the rest of their lives.

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Diagnosing FASDDiagnosing FASD

FASD is typically diagnosed before the age of 6. It’s rarely diagnosed as an infant. However, if an infant shows extreme physical deformities, they may be diagnosed very early. Later in life, FASD is typically diagnosed into one of four categories, with many children receiving all multiple diagnoses:

  • Fetal Alcohol Syndrome – This diagnoses means that the individual has a mix of all problems. This includes mild facial feature distortions, mild growth problems, and mild central nervous system problems (poor coordination and motor controls). They can have problems with learning, memory, attention span, vision, hearing, and behavior. Often this results in difficulty socializing and means having a hard time in school and learning and later with work.
  • Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders – Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders mean that the individual has significant difficulties with learning, especially math. They might have attention with memory, attention, judgement, impulse control, and learning in general. They may also be intellectually disabled.
  • Alcohol-Related Birth Defects – These include problems with the heart, kidneys, hearing, or with the bones.
  • Neurobehavioral Disorder Associated with Prenatal Alcohol Exposure – This diagnosis means that the child has problems with thinking and memory, behavior, and day-to-day living. This can result in problems like difficulty with planning, easily forgetting things, irritability, difficulty shifting attention from one task to another, problems dressing, problems playing with others, and tantrums or mood issues.

If you have an child and you think they’re struggling with development or behavior, it’s important to take them to a doctor. Most states have early intervention programs, where you can raise issues of past alcohol use and alcohol use during pregnancy. However, your doctor will still likely review for other problems such as birth defects, autism, ADHD, and William’s Syndrome before offering a diagnosis.

It’s Never Safe to Drink While Pregnant

There is no safe time to drink while pregnant. In addition, there’s no safe amount to drink. While higher levels of alcohol increase the risk of FASDs in infants, any amount of alcohol can result in symptoms. Therefore, if you are pregnant or could be pregnant and intend to carry the child to term, it is important to stop drinking alcohol. However, even if you’ve been drinking (even heavily) over the first four to six weeks of pregnancy, before realizing you’re pregnant, it’s still important to stop drinking and that can prevent damage.

Studies show that having just two drinks in a single sitting while pregnant can result in lifelong harm for an infant. That happens because alcohol crosses the blood brain barrier in the infant and interferes with development, which can cause significant problems later in life. In addition, with no treatment, only mitigation measures, there is no way to reverse the damage after it’s been done.

Getting Help

If you’re planning or expecting to be pregnant or are already pregnant, it’s critical to stop drinking and immediately. Even if you’ve already been drinking while pregnant, stopping now can prevent or minimize harm done. Today, over 20 million Americans struggle with alcohol abuse and quitting on the spot often isn’t an option. Behavioral disorders mean that relapse is very likely. In addition, most people drink to cope with emotional turbulences, high stress, and mental health problems. Pregnancy is highly likely to exacerbate all of those issues. For that reason, women with alcohol use disorders are recommended to seek out medication assisted treatment for the duration of pregnancy. Medication will reduce cravings and the effects of alcohol, making it easier for you to stay sober to protect the health of your infant. In addition, you should seek out treatment for mental health and emotional support during pregnancy, even if you’re not getting help with alcohol use disorder and learning skills to help you cope with things without alcohol.

Often, having children will make many of the problems behind alcohol use disorder worse. Therefore, it’s always a good idea to seek out treatment, to learn coping strategies, and to get as much help as you can while pregnant. Quitting alcohol can be extremely difficult. Luckily, you don’t have to do it alone and there are people to help at every step of the way.

If you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our alcohol rehabdetox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.