Painkiller Alternatives: What Options Do I Have?

In the age of an opioid epidemic, many people are trying to find an alternative to the dangerous drugs. With such a high addiction rate, the risk of becoming dependent is high no matter who you are. So, what can I take to ease the pain, but also keep my mind at ease? There are plenty of painkiller alternatives out there for you. While they might not offer the same level of pain killing, they offer a safer alternative which will still lessen the pain.

Painkiller Alternatives: What Options Do I Have?

Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

While NSAIDs are stronger than other pain relievers, you can still get them over the counter. In addition to fighting pain, these medications such as ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin, all help to reduce swelling and lower fevers. For the most part, you’ve probably heard of the brand name forms such as Advil, Aleve, Bayer, and Motrin. In addition to these, you can also get them in prescription strengths.

While these may be a suitable painkiller alternatives, they do have some downsides. For example, long term use may cause stomach issues and bleeding in your gastrointestinal tract. In addition, they can increase risk of kidney and liver failure in older patients.

Corticosteroids

In some cases, corticosteroids– or more commonly called, steroids– can serve as painkiller alternatives. By restraining those injured nerve cells, these steroids can provide pain relief. In addition, they can also work as an anti-inflammatory. However, they do tend to cause further joint damage in some cases. Also, they can cause stomach issues similar to some NSAIDs.

Antidepressants

Within a certain group of antidepressants, they can serve as a pain reliever. This group, called tricyclic antidepressants, can help treat nerve pain. In addition, some reuptake inhibitors can also help with chronic pain. But studies show that these do not work for everyone.

Anti-epileptic

It is becoming more and more common for doctors to prescribe these types of drugs as pain relievers. For the most part, they can treat nerve pain and chronic pain. In some cases, patients find them very effective with little side effects. However, for some people, they notice nearly no reduction in their pain. Much like antidepressants, the results can vary.

CBD

Cannabidiol is a federally legal compound found in industrial hemp plants. It is essentially holistic medicine, and it is federally legal. You can get it in pill form, gummy, skin cream, or tincture. Ultimately, this provides a non-invasive, all-natural approach to treating your pain. Depending on the method, the onset time is quite fast and the relief is undeniable.

Since some of these drugs can treat the same pain with effectiveness, they may be suitable painkiller alternatives. In most cases, it is a personal preference and something only you can decide. But if you are looking to stay off addictive painkillers, look to some of these painkiller alternatives. But remember, we are just scratching the surface on it. There are plenty of different methods, depending on your preferences. So, do your research, find your method, and get some relief!

Vitamins for Opioid Withdrawal Relief

When you’re going through opioid withdrawal, any sort of relief is welcome. For decades, we have been experimenting with different ways to help sufferers of withdrawal to reach their goal— full detox and a new outlook on life. The process is grueling, and going through it is no fun— but there are a few ways to help your body cope with the side effects of withdrawal and feel a little better too. One method you might not have considered? Getting in your vitamins. While this is a therapy not a treatment, it can provide some welcome relief to the side effects as you march bravely through this battle. Remember, you’re doing this for a great reason. Don’t lose hope.

Vitamins for Opioid Withdrawal Relief

Your first question is probably reminiscent of: how are vitamins supposed to go head for head with withdrawal symptoms? And the truth is, they aren’t going to solve your problems. Ultimately, a withdrawal is something you’re going to have to feel and work through to reach that end. But, vitamins can help you regain energy, subdue your symptoms, and relax that anxiety that comes along with withdrawal. Multivitamins are an option, but they are also an easy out to take. They have a little bit of everything, but not a whole lot of anything in particular. What really helps is to focus in on what is affecting you.

Withdrawal symptoms getting to be too much to bear? Try Vitamin C!

When you’re going through withdrawal, your endorphins are extremely low and vitamin C can help to boost those up. While it might seem hokey, research is arising that shows promise for vitamin C as a booster for those endorphins. This supplement has also been shown to lessen the side effects of withdrawal on your body and mind.

Drained of your energy? Try Vitamin B!

Vitamin B helps to generate energy which is helpful when it comes to those achey, sluggish feelings you’re having. Vitamin B is also a great supplement to take if you’re suffering from anxiety or depression. Think about it, your body needs vitamins and nutrients to keep it regular and to balance out some of the different things we put it through— like detox, for example. Vitamin B specifically has a ton of different functions within your body, and in a sense— they help restore the balance within your body that it was missing during your addiction.

Suffering from severe anxiety? Try Magnesium and Calcium!

Anxiety in some degree is to be expected when you’re going through withdrawal, and magnesium and calcium are great for combatting that. They both work to relax the central nervous system, as well as to help with cramping and twitching of muscles. You can find these two in a number of veggies, dairy products, and grains— or you can take a supplement—that’s up to you!

Everyone will use different methods to help them make it to the end of this process. But if you’re struggling— maybe give this a shot. You can find any of them in your every day fruits and veggies. So if you’re not big on taking supplements, try using them as your excuse to eat healthier as well. Your vitamin intake shouldn’t plummet once you’ve detoxed anyway. You should continue a proper balance of all of these, and other vitamins. They help to regulate your body, no matter how it might be feeling.

vitamin c https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10836211

Gift Cards and Opiates: Opiate Crisis Taking Advantage of the Holidays

The opiate crisis has a new enemy, and it’s coming from an unlikely source. Gift cards. Yep, you read that right, fraudulent and stolen gift cards have become the newest acquisition for those looking to buy drugs on the black market. The process is seamless for some and, at this point in time, the process of eliminating the threat is pretty difficult. So, what is to be done? And how is it happening?

From Gift Cards to Opiates: How the Opiate Crisis Marches On

It starts pretty simply. Someone will be browsing a store, innocent as all get out. Then, next thing you know they’ve tucked a few items into their bag or jacket and walk on out. Most of the time, no one really notices. It’s not a victimless crime, but it sure is easy to miss— especially with the holiday rush hitting the stores. But it’s what happens next that is really the kicker. These stolen items will be returned for a gift card, which is then either traded to the dealer, sold at a cheaper price to a pawn shop, or sold to the highest bidder for cash to buy the drugs.

The bigger the retailer, the better the chances

Big box stores are seeing the worst of it. Imagine it. Especially during the holiday season when stores are full to the brim with people, and products are flying off the shelves. When it comes down to it, often it is just plain hard to keep track of what goes where and who bought what. Theft protection services are there, and employees do their best. But, sometimes things just slip through the cracks.

But, when they do— those items turn into a larger deficit for the retailers. They are left to cover the cost of stolen goods, ramp up security, place new employees, and take their focus off of active customer service and engagement. In short, this gift card scam has been a top priority for retailers who are losing money at their expense.

$9 to $15 billion a year in losses

A survey conducted in 2017 by the National Retail Federation tracked down the losses of a number of companies. In doing so, they found losses of $9-15 billion a year and fraudulent gift cards and store credit at a minimum of one location.

So, what does this mean for the opiate crisis?

It means that users are upping their game. They’re finding new ways to obtain the funds they need to further the epidemic. The whole process from start to finish will eventually be crippling to retailers— especially small retailers who cannot balance the loss and the fraudulent charges financially. In short, the opiate crisis has found a new and unlikely victim. And they are suffering quite a loss.

Opioid Free Analgesics: Low Risk Pain Management

A main problem with many painkillers is that they are highly addictive for the users. And oftentimes, the people who need them can get hooked on them because of their addictive properties. But what you might not know is that there is a whole classification of painkillers, or analgesics, that skip the opioids altogether. In doing so, they reduce opioid-related side effects, dependency risks, and high-cost. And the good news is— no matter your ailment or illness, there are likely a few, quality opioid free analgesics built for managing your pain.

Opioid Free Analgesics: An Opioid-Free Way of Healing

The benefits

I don’t need to tell you that there is an opioid crisis in the United States. The numbers are in the millions and climbing. The cost of ‘handling it’ on a national scale is immeasurable. And every day, someone is either facing addiction or losing their battle to it. So what can we do to still manage pain, but also tackle the opioid epidemic? The answer just might be opioid free analgesics. They are not addictive. You can buy small doses over the counter of most of them. Not to mention, the cost is much lower— both literally and physically.

A 2013 study observed people who were using opioid analgesics to manage chronic pain. They were monitored over the course of five years, while continuing opioid use. In this study, they found that the subjects were suffering from a lower quality of life, dependence, a lack of pain relief, and lack of functions. In short, opioids were not fixing the problem— but, perpetuating them.

Doctors have found that opioids don’t have to be the answer

Think of opioids as the new age solution to an age old problem. That of needing a way to ease your pain. As the general population expressed a need for better solutions to pain management, stronger alternatives became the go-to. But, the fact is, these opioids pack a bit too much punch for your average pain. Especially when you’re using them over an extended period of time.

Opioid Free Analgesics are a great alternative for a number of reasons, many of which we discussed up above. But all in all, the lasting effects are much more low-risk. These opioid free options go under the common names of aspirin, ibuprofen, Tramadol, or Keterolac. These medications as alternatives give you a lower dose and less side effects. By using these, you might reduce your overall long-term pain, as well as reduce your chances of developing dependence.

Opioids use can often lead to opiate abuse, such as heroin abuse, because after a while— the prescription stops coming. This can lead someone with a dependence to search for a similar feeling. This is why the alternative is much safer. It does not provide those kind of ‘psychoactive’ effects that most people find when they take a higher dose of opioids or opiates.

In the end, your pain management techniques are you prerogative. But it is important to know the risks associated and make the best choice for you!

Synthetic Marijuana: The Potential and the Bad

States across the nation are looking to make marijuana legal. In fact, more than half of the states already have. But others are not quite on board. And some people believe this is because of large pharmaceutical companies. You see, legal marijuana means less of a dependence on pharmaceuticals for some. A large number of Americans are beginning to consider the possibility of a more holistic approach to medicine. One that focuses on overall well-being, and ways to achieve that without using multiple different medicines and chemicals to achieve it. So, the natural progression for some? Marijuana. But, the natural progression for pharmaceutical companies is to try and replicate in form of synthetic marijuana. But, so far, they have been nothing short of harmful.

Synthetic Marijuana: Dangers and Potential Uses

The belief is that big companies fear what legalizing marijuana will do for their business. Many small growers and operations are on the scene now, slowly gaining more and more business as each state legalizes. Large pharmaceuticals had no business in the game while it was not legal on a big scale. Or so we thought. But as more states work to make it available to the public, big companies are looking for a way into the world of creating a medical marijuana alternative.

One company received permission from the U.S Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to begin creating a synthetic marijuana. This could be a game changer for small growers. As this company works to produce the drug, they will have the business and support of big medical groups behind them, which is something that medical marijuana lacks. They will have access to an entire medical system. And it could potentially be the drug doctors within that system prescribe. After all, they will be able to mass produce on a time line determined in a lab instead of a field. That is, if they can start creating a product that is not harmful to the public.

The dangers of synthetic marijuana

When creating this new ‘bigger, better’ version of marijuana, they made a few missteps. The thing about natural cannabinoids is that the potency stays within a certain range. Typically the highest strains being around 30% THC. This makes dosing and picking your potency much easier. But, when they started to create this synthetic marijuana, mainly for testing, they forgot to observe this important factor. And in doing so, they created a product that was tenfold the potency of your every day marijuana. Which, in turn, introduced an entirely new drug with effects that were extremely different than that of natural marijuana. From psychosis, self-harm, and violent outbursts— the effects of synthetic marijuana severely outweigh those of natural cannabis and cannabinoids.

Where does the future lead for synthetic versus natural?

Some people believe this is causing the hold up in legalizing marijuana. There is an idea that officials want to wait until there is a big company producing a successful synthetic version that is backed by large medical systems before they make a decision on the green rush. This threatens existing and potential medical marijuana industries. Think about it, if big pharma is able to replicate medical marijuana— while pushing their own interests and increasing revenue, they will find a way to do so. And ultimately, the fight against big pharma would be a nasty one. Small growers possess none of the same resources and not nearly the same amount of income.

So, for most growers, the plan is to hope that people can see the benefits of a medicinal substance that is not made of different chemicals. The main attraction to marijuana for most is that it is entirely natural. To create a synthetic version would undermine the entire purpose of choosing marijuana as your medicine. In the meantime, as labs fight to try and replicate the true effects of marijuana, not the effects of past synthetics, prohibition is ending in many places. Even Canada, which has found their niche in corporatizing marijuana. So, what does the future hold? Only time will tell.

Women Use Sleeping Pills More Often: Here’s Why

Women use sleeping pills more often than men. So, while roughly nine million people use sleeping pills in the United States, the majority of them are women. In fact, studies show that middle-aged women, in particular, are more likely to use sleeping medications than any other demographic.  Although there is no obvious reason for this, many studies show that it is true. Therefore, some researchers have began speculating as to why women may have more trouble sleeping.

Women Use Sleeping Pills More Often: Why Falling Asleep is Tricky

Kids

While studies show that women are far more likely to use sleeping pills, one researcher noticed that this is not true for nuns. As this study began, the researchers started to compare. What they discovered is something that a lot of middle-aged women have, that nuns don’t have–kids. As women begin having children, they often loose a drastic amount of sleep. It starts off when they have a baby. She goes from getting a normal amount of sleep, to a very small, interrupted amount of sleep on a daily basis. However, as a child grows they develop a sleeping routine and the mother gets back to a more regular sleep pattern. But some studies suggest that a mother’s sleep cycle never returns to what it was before she was a mother.

Menopause

Another common belief for why women have more trouble sleeping is menopause. Menopause is a stage of life that most women experience around middle age. It causes a moderate change in hormones that can affect a person’s ability to fall and stay asleep. Many women experience increased brain activity and anxiety during this time which are both common triggers for a development in sleeping problems.

Work related stress

Studies also show that women who use sleeping pills also tend to come from higher education. Since this is true, it may be possible that they possess jobs with a strong mental demand. This can lead to more stress and anxiety that disrupts their ability to fall asleep. Women also tend to multi-task regularly. So while men have jobs that require a mental demand, they may only focus on that demand. But women will feel the demands of work, while also thinking about other things. This multi-tasking can keep the brain active when it is time to go to sleep.

So, we’ve learned from this that there are many factors which can influence a middle-aged woman to have trouble sleeping. In short, women use sleeping pills more often because they face a variety of obstacles in their lives that can amount to heavy stress and a heavy demand for their time. These factors, combined with the studies above, are strong indicators of the ‘why’ behind this particular theory.

Oxy and Hydrocodone: How They differ

Oxy and Hydrocodone both fall under the same group of drugs called opiates. Most opiates either come from the opium in poppy plants or mimic its properties. Both of these drugs treat pain in a similar way. In fact, many people assume these drug are the same. However, there are some differences that are important to understand.

Oxy and Hydrocodone: How They Differ

Despite having similar names, these two drugs actually contain different ingredients. Hydro comes from codeine while oxy consists of thebaine. However, both of these drugs have a similar chemical make up. The codeine in hydrocodone allows it to treat a cough and act as a decongestant. Furthermore, doctors may combine both of these drugs with milder pain relievers. In fact, doctors most commonly combine hydro with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.

Of these two drugs, oxy is best at treating severe pain. That is because oxy is slightly more potent than the same dosage of Hydro. For this reason, doctors prescribe it more for injuries or cancer patients. In addition, oxy also presents a higher rate for abuse. Which means that people are more likely to become addicted to oxy than to hydrocodone. For this reason, oxy is a Schedule II drug while hydro carries less weight as a Schedule III.

Furthermore, since oxy has a higher risk for abuse and is Schedule II, a doctor must write a prescription. For some drugs, such as hydrocodone, a doctor may just “call it in”. But in the case of oxy, a patient must see a doctor and obtain a written prescription.

What is my safest option?

In regards to which drug may be safest, both drugs prove moderately safe when taken the right way. However, hydrocodone does have a lower abuse rate than oxy, which would make it a safer option in that respect. Furthermore, studies suggest that hydrocodone can also be the better option for pregnant woman. This is because it appears to present less risk to the fetus. Likewise, since it has a lower abuse risk, the baby is less likely to become dependent while in the womb.

Ambien Side Effects: Common Problems

Burning and tingling hands and feet are common Ambien side effects. Ambien serves as a sleep aid for many people who have trouble falling or staying asleep, depending on their type of insomnia. While it helps many sleep-deprived night owls get a full night’s rest, it can also cause some troubling side effects. For people who experience the burning, tingling, or numbing sensations, these can be worse than not sleeping.

Ambien Side Effects: Common Side Effects

Many people report a burning and tingling feeling in their limbs after they begin taking Ambien. These particular ambien side effects most commonly takes place in women, particularly those over sixty years old. The sensations can occur in either the hands or, most commonly, in the feet. In some cases, the feelings may extend to the lower part of the leg and calf. Furthermore, most people report experiencing these feelings after about a month of taking the sleeping pills. Furthermore, these sensations can last throughout the day.

Fighting the Sensations

Most people describe these sensations as either a burning, tingling, or numbing of the hands or feet. In the case of burning, it can feel much like pins or needles poking at the skin. Numbing can feel like when your feet “fall asleep” and you shake them to get the feeling back. Tingling can be similar to burning but in some cases, may be more itchy. Most users report that trying to function normally while experiencing these feelings can be maddening.

When It Becomes Too Much

If the user cannot cope with the burning and tingling sensations, it may be best to talk to their doctor. Depending on how severe the symptoms, he may want to switch sleeping pills. Whatever the next plan, the user should not stop taking the medicine abruptly. Allow time to taper off of the pills rather than stopping cold turkey.

Lunesta Hangover: Next Day Drowsiness

‘Lunesta hangover’ has become a common way to describe the drowsy feeling some users have after taking this drug. Lunesta is a common sleep aid most doctors prescribe to people who are having trouble falling or staying asleep. In fact, it is the most common sleep medication on the market. However, many users report some harsh side effects. One of those side effects includes the drowsiness now called the Lunesta hangover.

Lunesta Hangover: Fighting Next Day Drowsiness

Many users report experiencing extreme drowsiness after taking this sleeping aid. In some cases, people feel as if they are having a brain fog. Due to grogginess, users can become sleepy and fight sleep while at work or other demanding places. Since they are drowsy or sleepy, it becomes difficult to think clearly. Some people have trouble remembering daily things and tasks. In this state, most people feel they cannot work and go about their daily routine well. Furthermore, some people may experience a headache along with this next day drowsiness as well.

Why Does It Happen?

There may be several reasons causing the drowsy or dizziness that come with taking Lunesta, First of all, this medicine contains sedative properties that slow down brain activity. While this can help for sleeping during the night, it can also cause a rollover effect. This means those same sedative properties carry on into the next day. One reason for this may be that Lunesta contains a fairly lengthy half life.

A drug’s half life refers to how much of the drug remains in your system for a certain time span. In the case of Lunesta, the amount drug in your body cuts in half every six hours. Therefore, a large amount of the drug remains in the body for a lengthy amount of time. This can lead to drowsiness and cause that Lunesta hangover.

Just as with an alcohol hangover, dangers are present when drowsy from Lunesta. Studies show that car accidents are twice as likely to take place in users experiencing drowsiness due to Lunesta.

Sleeping Pill Options: What Works For You

The range in sleeping pill make up a large group. Because there are several different sleeping issues to be treated, several different medicines have been created. The best sleeping pill for you may depend on what issues you are having when trying to sleep. In short, insomnia can come in different shapes and sizes. Depending on what form of trouble you are having, you may need a certain pill to suit your needs. Therefore, its important to know how common sleeping pills treat common forms of insomnia and which is the best for your sleeping health.

Sleeping Pill Options: the range in options by type of insomnia

Acute Insomnia. This type of insomnia occurs when someone who doesn’t have sleeping issues begins to have them. It is usually temporary and short lived. In most cases, it is the result of stressful life events or changes.

Chronic Insomnia. This type of insomnia takes place over a long period of time. The standard measure of time is when someone has trouble sleeping at least 3 times a week for 3 months or more.

Onset Insomnia. Onset insomnia means the person has a hard time falling asleep. Despite feeling tired, they may lie down and be unable to go to sleep.

Maintenance Insomnia. Maintenance insomnia occurs when a person can fall asleep but is unable to sleep through the night. This means a person may go to sleep quickly but wakes up through out the night. In most cases, after a person wakes up they have a hard time going back to sleep.

Common Pills to Treat Your Insomnia

Ambien best treats maintenance insomnia. This means Ambien works best for people who have trouble falling asleep. This drug is fast acting and can help users fall asleep quickly. However, Ambien may not help users stay asleep throughout the night.

Lunesta best treats onset insomnia because it works to help users fall asleep quickly like Ambien. However, users should plan on getting a full 7-8 hours of sleep. Lunesta can make a person feel groggy the next day so it is best to be able to get a full night of sleep.

Rozerem works well for people suffering from chronic insomnia. Because it shows no signs of abuse, users can use it for as long as they need to.

The point of all this is that when it comes to sleeping pill options, you have a few. Everyone’s sleep health requires different things, so do your research and be aware of the risks. Talk to your doctor, and maintain a plan to help you get your best night’s rest. Sleep tight!