Addictions Treated by Wellness Center of Palm Beach

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Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism, is a chronic, progressive and potentially fatal disease.  Alcoholics experience an incessant craving for alcohol, and have a physical dependence on alcohol.

Alcoholism is caused by a combination of several factors, including genetic, environmental, psychological, environmental, and social factors, including frequency of use, the user’s age, gender, and genetic background, if the individual has a family history, prenatal exposure to alcohol, and general health conditions.

Alcoholism can lead to hypoglycemia, hypertension, brain damage, heart damage, liver damage, and other health problems.  In addition, alcoholism can lead to birth defects if a female consumes alcohol during her pregnancy, not to mention, an elevated risk of many types of cancers, and serious nutritional deficiencies.

Treatment for alcohol addiction usually includes therapy, counseling, support groups and education.  At Wellness Center of Palm Beach many benefit from joining our self-help groups or 12-Step program, while others seek out our outpatient treatment programs.  With the right help, alcohol addiction can be overcome.



Opiates, which are made froOpiatesm the poppy plant, are powerful painkillers.  Examples of opiates include Vicodin, OxyContin, and codeine, which are manufactured as analgesic pharmaceuticals.  Others, like heroin, are used primarily as illicit drugs.  All opiates, however, can cause dependence and are highly addictive.

Heroin and opiate addicts often have total relaxation and intense euphoria.  Feelings of euphoria are accompanied by warm skin and heavy limbs.  Short-term effects occur after a single dose and fade after a few hours.

Heroin is also known as “smack”, “h”, or “junk”, and is processed from morphine.  Like all opiates, it is a depressant that inhibits the central nervous system.  Heroin is administered in three ways: smoking, snorting, or shooting (injecting).  Since it enters the brain quite quickly, heroin is very addictive; each time a user administers heroin, more is needed to get the same high.

Long-term effects of heroin and opiate use include collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining and valves, abscesses, cellulitis, and liver disease. Often various types of pneumonia, arise from heroin’s depressing effects on respiration.

Furthermore, heroin can clog the blood vessels that lead to the lungs, liver, kidneys, or brain problems.  This can cause infection or even death of small patches of cells in vital organs.  Other infectious diseases, such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, may also result from consuming the drug intravenously.

Finally, the use of opiates and heroin with other central nervous system depressants, like alcohol, sedatives, and antihistamines, increases the risk of respiratory failure.  Occasionally, when opiates are consumed in large doses, breathing can be suppressed to the point of death.

At Wellness Center of Palm Beach treatment for heroin and opiate addiction usually begins with medically assisted detoxification, and drugs like methadone or buprenorphrine are administered to help prevent relapse and ease withdrawal symptoms.  Holistic treatment plans also include counseling and maintenance programs, as detoxification is merely a first step in overcoming an addiction to opiates.

Prescription Drugs

Whilprescription_drugse many prescription drugs are highly beneficial for a variety of health problems, the abuse of prescription drugs can pose serious health risks, and, in some cases, addiction. The most commonly are opioids (used to treat pain), central nervous system depressants (used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders), and stimulants (used to treat ADHD and narcolepsy).

Abuse of prescription drugs increases the risk of overdose. The risk of side effects when abusing prescription drugs is increased because abusers often take improper doses or change the route of administration flood the system with large amounts of drugs all at once.  In addition, prescription drugs are accompanied by their own set of side effects, but abusers often take them in combination with prescription-drugother substances, like alcohol or other drugs, which may increase the side effects and can potentially be fatal.

Chronic abuse of prescription drugs causes physical dependence, tolerance, and, eventually, addiction. Similar to the abuse of illicit drugs, physical dependence of prescription drugs will result in withdrawal symptoms if use of the drugs is abruptly reduced or stopped.  At Wellness Center of Palm Beach we take into account the type of drug and the needs of the individual. Successful treatment programs may include detoxification, behavioral counselling and interventions to ease withdrawal symptoms and lower the chances for relapse.



Cocaine, also known as “blow,” “coke,” “crack,” and “snow” is a stimulant drug that is derived from the processed leaves of a coca plant.  Cocaine it does not produce physical dependence, but cocaine increases the amount of dopamine in the central nervous system.  While users report feelings of supremacy and euphoria, cocaine is a highly dangerous drug, regardless of frequency of use.

cocaine (1)Three methods are used to administer cocaine: snorting, injecting, or smoking.  While each leads to addiction, smoking is thought to increase compulsive use.  The intensity and duration of cocaine’s effects are dependent on the method of administration; the faster the cocaine is absorbed into the bloodstream and reaches the brain, the more powerful the high.

Injecting and smoking cocaine produces an intense high and lasts a short amount of time than snorting where the high is weaker, but the high lasts longer.  Consequently, cocaine is often abused in “binges,” during which repeated, increasingly higher doses are taken in a short period of time.

Cocaine makes the user feel euphoric, energetic, and powerful, but also increases blood pressure, body temperature, and heart rate.  Users experience abdominal pain, nausea, aggression, irritability, depression and anxiety.  Cocaine addicts are at an increased risk for heart attacks, strokes, respiratory failure, and seizures, all of which can result in sudden death.

Cessation of cocaine use can cause depression, which makes addiction even harder to overcome.  At Wellness Center of Palm Beach we understand that the treatment of cocaine addiction is complex and needs to address a variety of emotional, behavioral, and medical problems.  During the beginning stages of cessation antidepressants are often used to counteract the depression experienced during early cessation.


MethamMethamphetaminesphetamine, also known as “speed” or “meth” is an extremely addictive stimulant.  This white powder is administered orally, by snorting, by injecting, or by smoking and adversely affects the central nervous system, perhaps permanently damaging the nerve terminals in the brain.

Methamphetamine users report feelings of increased alertness, concentration, self-esteem, libido, and energy, and many feel euphoric. In the short-term, methamphetamine users experience a variety of side effects, including hallucinations, obsessive behavior, and paranoia.

The long-term effects of methamphetamine abuse are quite serious.  Users experience mood disturbances, exhibit violent behavior, feel anxious or confused, have difficulty sleeping, and consequently methamphetamine addicts suffer from depression, suicide, psychosis, and heart disease.  Often nerve receptors in the brain are damaged and some are never restored, even after several years of abstinence.

At Wellness Center of Palm Beach we believe most effective treatment for methamphetamine addiction involves comprehensive cognitive-behavioral intervention in addition to with monitored pharmacological withdrawal management.

 Because treatment for methamphetamine addiction takes time, Wellness Center of Palm Beach offers support groups and other provisions to prevent relapse.


BenzodiazephinesBenzodiazepine, also known as “benzos,” is a depressant, psychoactive drug, which are commonly called tranquilizers. Often, benzos are prescribed to relieve anxiety and muscle spasms, induce sedation and prevent seizures.  Occasionally, it is also used before dental and medical procedures.  The prescribed dose of the drug determines its effects. Low doses produce sedation and are often used to manage insomnia and anxiety.  Moderate doses prevent seizures, and high doses induce sleep.

Prolonged daily use or abuse of benzodiazephins can result in a variety of negative side effects, including amnesia, drowsiness, blurred vision, and hostility, and result in physical dependence.  Withdrawal symptoms are typified by anxiety, sensory distortion, headaches, muscle aches, depression, hypersensitivity to touch and pain, and, in some cases, psychosis or epileptic seizures.  In addition, withdrawal has been linked to suicide, particularly in young people.  Therefore, treatment for benzodiazepine dependence requires detoxification followed by a recovery phase during which the user learns how to live drug free.

Synthetic/Designer “Street” Drugs

designerstreetdrugsDesigner street drugs are often sold on the Internet and marketed toward teenagers, are usually synthetic derivatives or modifications of existing illicit drugs, and they are designed to produce similar effects to the illegal drugs.  These drugs are created or marketed to evade existing drug laws.  Designer drug names are often not known by one name, depending on the manufacturer and place in which they are sold.

Designer street drugs are dangerous they are easy to obtain, made without regulation and created in illegal laboratories, so the potency, and potential side effects are difficult to determine.  In addition, the constant changing of drug names can cause harmful mix-ups for users and makes it difficult for authorities to keep track of and warn people about the dangers of the drugs.  Designer street drugs are powerful, dangerous substances.  Their unknown ingredients, potency, and lack of regulation make them another hazardous addition to the list of illicit recreational drugs.


marijuanaMarijuana, also known as “pot,” “weed,” “grass,” and “dope,” is a green, brown, or gray mixture of the dried parts of the Cannabis sativa hemp plant.  The main active chemical in marijuana moves quickly through the bloodstream and to the brain, causing mild hallucinogenic effects.  Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, and more teens are in treatment with a primary diagnosis of marijuana dependence than for all other illegal drugs combined.  Marijuana is usually rolled up into cigarette form and smoked (a joint) or smoked through a water pipe (bong).  It can also be brewed or mixed with food, such as brownies.

The short term effects of marijuana include but are not limited to skewed coordination, impaired sensory and perception, difficulty with problem solving, and euphoria.  Long-term users often experience lowered motivation, and some can experience anxiety, panic attacks, respiratory illnesses, and increased heart rate and risk of heart attack.

Chronic marijuana use can lead to addiction.  When withdrawing from the drug, chronic users typically experience irritability, sleeplessness, nervousness, changes in appetite, and anger.  Various treatment options, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication to treat withdrawal, and motivational incentives are available, and treatment for marijuana addiction is highly effective.

OTC Medications

OTC_MedicationsOver the counter (OTC) medications are drugs that are available at grocery, convenient, and drug stores.  Children and teens are the primary abusers of OTC medications; these drugs are easily accessible and generally perceived to be less dangerous than illicit or prescription drugs.

The most commonly abused OTC drugs contain the ingredient Dextromethorphan (DXM), which is used to treat cold and flu symptoms.  When taken in high doses, DXM produces a feeling of euphoria, but it can be extremely dangerous.  Short-term effects include but are not limited to nausea, vomiting, impaired judgment, numbness of extremities, abdominal pain, irregular heartbeat, increased blood pressure, anxiety, seizures, hallucinations, and psychosis.  Long-term abuse can cause restlessness, insomnia, coma, and, in some cases, death.

In addition to the abuse of drugs containing DXM, OTC drug abuse also occurs with laxatives, diuretics, and diet pills.  While these drugs are initially taken to lose weight, dangerous and addictive components, such as ephedrine and caffeine can eventually lead to dependence and addiction.

All weight loss products have stimulant effects on the central nervous system, even “natural” herbal diet pills.  Pain relievers, motion sickness pills, sexual performance enhancers are other types of OTC drugs.

When taken in excess these cause side effects of weight-loss drug abuse include hair loss, insomnia, irregular menstruation, urinary tract infections, anxiety, diarrhea, vomiting, and blurred vision.

Parents and family members should be on the lookout for the warning signs of OTC drug abuse, which include missing medications, negative performance in school or at work, changes in hobbies and interests, and changes in appearance and hygiene. If abuse is suspected, immediate intervention and possible treatment for addiction will prevent long-term health consequences.  Contact Wellness Center of Palm Beach today to talk to our specialists.


Legal household ingredients or industrial chemicals are often used as inhalants, but a certain inhalants are specifically intended to be used as recreational drugs. Inhalants can be classified according to their chemical structures:

  • Aliphatic hydrocarbons – generally petroleum products, such as butane, gasoline, kerosene and propane.
  • Aromatic hydrocarbons – industrial chemicals such as toluene and xylene.
  • Haloalkanes – include many aerosols and propellants, such as chlorofluorocarbon, hydrofluorocarbons, trichloroethylene and 1,1,1-Trichloroethane.
  • Ketones – Acetone is a common inhalant found in nail polish remover.
  • Nitrites – Nitrites include nitrous oxide, which is commonly used in dentistry as a general anesthesia, while amyl nitrite is a recreational drug that’s typically inhaled.

InhalantsThe primary effect of inhalants depends on the specific substance. A small amount of paint thinner or rubber cement can produce an intoxicating effect similar to that of alcohol.

Other inhalants can produce hallucinations, distortions in time, and radical emotions.  The inhalant can cause harmful effects by itself, but other chemicals in the product can also produce adverse effects.

Treatment for inhalant abuse depends upon several factors, such as age and gender of the individual, the length and severity of the individual’s addiction, the types of inhalants being abused, along with other substance abuse, and the presence of any other health issues.

Tobacco & Nicotine

Tobacco & NicotineAn estimated 46.5 million adults in the United States smoke cigarettes even though this single behavior will result in death or disability for half of all regular users. Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 400,000 deaths each year, or one in every five deaths. Additionally, if current patterns of smoking persist, over 5 million people currently younger than 18 will die prematurely from a tobacco-related disease. Source: CDC

Nicotine found in cigarettes and chewing tobacco is absorbed through the skin and mucosal lining of the mouth and nose or by inhalation into the lungs. Cigarette smoking, for example, results in rapid distribution of nicotine throughout the body, reaching the brain within 10 seconds of inhalation. Smokeless tobacco, cigar and pipe smokers, on the other hand, typically do not inhale the smoke, so nicotine is absorbed more slowly through the membranes of the mouth.

ChewTobacco490x300A typical smoker will take 10 puffs on a cigarette over a period of 5 minutes that the cigarette is lit. Thus, a person who smokes about 1-1/2 packs (30 cigarettes) daily, gets 300 “hits” of nicotine to the brain each day. These factors contribute considerably to nicotine’s highly addictive nature.

Smoking tobacco is the chief avoidable cause of death in our society. Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to contract heart disease, in addition to lung, larynx, esophageal, bladder, pancreatic, and kidney cancers. Chronic, obstructive lung diseases such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis are 10 times more likely to occur among smokers than among nonsmokers.

When individuals stop smoking they may experience withdrawal symptoms like irritability, nervousness, and difficulty concentrating.  At Wellness Center of Palm Beach we offer a comprehensive plan to fight tobacco and nicotine addiction with a combination of counseling, medication, and various therapies to ensure recovery.