Posts tagged "holistic"

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Opioid Alternatives: Kratom…? Let’s Find Out

November 28th, 2017 Posted by Awareness, Blog, Opioid Epidemic, Spiritual Experience 0 comments on “Opioid Alternatives: Kratom…? Let’s Find Out”

Kratom has been widely used as one of the “safe” opioid alternatives that are available and legal. Considered as one of the “millennial” drugs with the likes of Molly (MDMA) and such, kratom has been making headlines lately. In particular, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) warns that kratom is responsible for 36 deaths. Specifics on these deaths are not disclosed. However, some of the long-term side effects of kratom include liver damage and seizures. Regular kratom users, in response, have insisted that these claims are misleading and overstated. [1]

Is the truth somewhere in between? Let’s find out…

What exactly is kratom?

More scientifically known as Mitragyna speciose, kratom has a multitude of descriptions, reputations, and most of all opinions. This tropical evergreen tree is in the coffee family. Its origins are Southeast Asia, more specifically Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. Kratom can be ingested in powder, capsule, and tea, and there are different strains of this substance based on location. This can slightly vary its effects on the user.

And what exactly are those effects, now that we’ve got the formalities out of the way? This is where it gets interesting. In smaller doses, kratom creates a stimulant effect, much like a mild amphetamine, offering a jolt of energy, alertness, and euphoria. However, at higher doses, kratom provides a more sedating effect, similar to an opioid effect. This provides freedom from anxiety, stress, and a false sense of overall well-being, safety, and love.

The effects of kratom last around 5 to 6 hours, and the onset is about 30-40 minutes after ingestion on an empty stomach. With food in the stomach, this time doubles, although this is all an estimate as it depends on the user and the way they metabolize.

Kratom Facts

Kratom, with regular use, does, in fact, create a physical dependency and a withdrawal, although there are many claims that this withdrawal is “mild.” Regular users claim it is comparable to a withdrawal from coffee or tea after steady intake of caffeine, where other research seems to point more to a withdrawal similar to that of an opioid detox, which is quite different. The reported effects of kratom withdrawal are craving, muscle pain, yawning, nausea, fatigue, tremors, mood swings, runny nose, and hostility. These are, in fact, similar to an opioid withdrawal.

Long-term side effects are also similar to that of opioids/opiates: constipation, dependency, and addiction. In addition, reported long-term effects include liver damage, seizures, and hyperpigmentation of the cheeks.

Kratom has been reported to have been used since the 1900s for its “therapeutic effect.” Among some of the therapeutic effects are a natural painkiller, anti-diarrheal, and “increased sociability.” In addition, it is reportedly a natural anti-anxiety medication.

The Addict Perspective

Now that we’ve laid out some facts about kratom, or at least what the users report, let’s look at this from an addict’s perspective.

A drug addict needs to walk on eggshells when considering any substance he/she introduces into the body. There are many red flags in here regarding kratom use, both for the addict and anyone else contemplating use. In the interest of considering addiction, we will look at the addict. Kratom is described as having a “mild dependency syndrome.” I have never known a dependency syndrome to be “mild.” Dependence, by nature, is a terrible beast. There are, perhaps, some more horrific in nature than others. By default, dependence is going to cloud the mind and body, creating attachment, and haunting the user. This is all the more prominent for the drug addict, who will have a reaction to this dependence that is life-altering.

Kratom Capsules

With both the effects of the drug and the withdrawal echoing similar qualities of opioid use and withdrawal, the overall experience must be similar.

What we know of addicts is that there is not much choice involved with the amount of any given drug ingested. So if the preferred effect is the mild stimulant quality achieved in smaller doses, it is doubtful that the decision to manage the amount taken will be entirely in control of the user. When a good thing is presented, the immediate need is always “more.” As tolerance develops to any substance in both the drug addict and the average user, the amount needed increases, some quickly, others slowly.

Opioid Alternatives that are “Natural” or “Therapeutic”

Words such as “natural” and “therapeutic” are dangerous. We love to hear we are taking something natural or taking something for the right reasons, “therapeutically.” Let’s take hallucinogenics, for instance. Hallucinogenics have been experimented with, therapeutically, as a treatment for depression, spiritual experiences, clarity, perspective changes, mind expansion, etc. While this research is valid and results are positive, this is not valid proof that hallucinogenics are the right or safe choice for everyone. The term “therapeutic” legitimizes the use of substances to treat any condition, and this issue must be taken into careful consideration.

“Natural” holds a similar association. Natural does not always mean better, as many think. Opium is natural, as is poison ivy. The holistic approach is excellent, but that does not mean in any way natural will protect one from dependency or dangerous effects. This is another loophole used often by addicts to get away with substance use and/or abuse.

Supporters of kratom insist the medicinal use of kratom is safe, when used properly and in moderation. Many report long time use of kratom with success. Others insist it can be of use in these times of an opioid epidemic. It is being portrayed as a safe, herbal alternative that could potentially help those dealing with opioid addiction. This might be true to someone that is not an addict, and might be a reason why it was able to get the scientific backing necessary to gain DEA and FDA approval. However, in these times of a prescription drug and opioid crisis, FDA approval does not make a drug safe – not by a long shot.

So you make your own conclusion. Serenity Springs stance is this: if you are seeking opioid alternatives, kratom is not a safe choice and we will continue to firmly discourage the use of kratom!

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REFERENCES


  1. Hicks, Jesse. “FDA Warns People Not to Use Kratom, Citing 36 Deaths.” Tonic, 15 Nov. 2017, tonic.vice.com/en_us/article/ne3mdq/fda-kratom-warning-deaths.
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Opiate Withdrawal Finds Solution in Volusia County

September 18th, 2017 Posted by Blog, News, Opioid Epidemic, Treatment 0 comments on “Opiate Withdrawal Finds Solution in Volusia County”

Among the circles of recovery in New Smyrna Beach, Daytona Beach, and throughout Volusia County, Florida, you experience and watch life get really good, or really bad. It vacillates between weddings, graduations, accomplishments, celebrations, or funerals. As a person in long-term recovery, I have attended my share of funerals. With the opiate epidemic and opiate withdrawal sweeping the country, any innovative solutions are intriguing, one, in particular, being The Bridge.

The Bridge

The Bridge is nothing short of a lifeline. Worn behind the ear, and free of opiates, The Bridge is a small device that works as a peripheral nerve stimulator, blocking pain signals by targeting cranial nerves. With its effect on the brain functions of the hypothalamus and the amygdala, it stops withdrawal symptoms in its tracks.

The Mind of an Addict Through Opiate Withdrawal

Let me take you on a tour of the mind of an addict. As an ex-opiate/heroin addict, there were hundreds of times I did anything to evade opiate withdrawal. This is parallel to the hundreds of women I’ve assisted in getting sober as well over the last five years.

Why? Why do we evade? Logically speaking, and from the average, unaddicted Joe’s perspective, acute withdrawal is only a few days in duration. Who can’t get through a few days? Isn’t it like having the flu? And why should we get to evade suffering?

Because there’s no logic driving the unprecedented brain of an addict in withdrawal. Because the experience of withdrawal causes the brain to send signals to the system saying,

“We’re dying. We’ll do anything to survive.”

Because us suffering withdrawal with do little to nothing to imprint the horror of the experience in such a way that will teach us not to do it again. Experience shows us this. And it is not, in fact, like having the flu.

Bridging the Gap of Sobriety and Addiction

The Bridge aids withdrawal symptoms for the first five days of withdrawal, and let’s be clear; the sole purpose is to aid in these first five days. After that, the real work starts; the core of the insanity of addiction lies in the fact that, even after being fully detoxed, nothing clouding our system, we will pick up again, without treatment. Hence the imprint of suffering having no weight in us not using again.

Tragically, many of us do not reach this point of crossroads in choosing life rather than death and doing this work. We run from withdrawal again and again. Withdrawal does not inspire the logical decision to get through it once and not use again. For the addict, it inspires the opposite; keep using, at absolutely any cost.

If we can “Bridge” over the first five days (yes, pun intended), we have crossed a major hurdle. Those five days feel like five years to an addict. We have now reached an opportunity to do the work necessary for freedom, should we be willing.

Opiate Free Solution to Opiate Withdrawal

I tried every which way; both long-term and short-term Suboxone, Methadone, Vivitrol, complete obliteration with other substances, you name it. The Bridge is opiate free, with a less than 1% failure rate. At an out-of-pocket cost of $495, which opiate users generally do not have, this has caught the attention of insurance companies and funding is currently in the works. Perhaps your support can help.

The Bridge works with us, not against us. It is revolutionary, the first of its kind, and will save lives. Rates of death are soaring and overdose often happens in the throes of withdrawal; I have lived through four near-fatal overdoses myself from this exact scenario, not to mention the years I burned running from withdrawal altogether. According to the Chicago Tribune, there were over 50,000 overdose deaths in 2015.

opiate withdrawal can lead to opioid overdose - map of the overdoses in the US in 2015 - economist.com

You Can Detox Comfortably

Join Serenity Springs, one of the best rehab centers in Florida, and get through your withdrawal symptoms comfortably! Check out The Bridge which we can have placed by one of our licensed clinicians at our outpatient facility in New Smyrna Beach, FL. We also offer other holistic, drug treatment options for opiate/opioid withdrawal and substance abuse.

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