How We Treat Opioid Dependency
Over the past 20 years, we have noticed a significant increase in opiate use in the United States and worldwide.
Percocet, Morphine, Heroin, and fentanyl are all highly addictive chemical variations of opiates. Chances are you know someone directly or indirectly that has felt the ripple effects of the opiate epidemic.
Opiates, when ingested, Bind themselves to the mu-opioid receptors in the brain. As a result, almost immediate effects of euphoria, lowered heart rate, and drowsiness often occur as increased dopamine levels are released.
Over some time, the brain Creates more mu-opioid receptors to allow for Increased frequency of the ingested opiates. But unfortunately, the brain also stops producing as much of its natural dopamine due to its increased consumption.
The brain then requires a higher volume or potency of the ingested opiate to produce the same desired effects once achieved through the first use.
Increased opioid receptors send signals throughout the body as a physical response to let the person know more of this substance is needed.
Withdrawal symptoms include physical pain, achiness, restless leg syndrome, diarrhea, nausea, increased anxiety, and other symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms can be experienced anywhere from 24 to over 72 hours. Usually, the person seeks these substances to help alleviate the symptoms mentioned above.
Often, the physical withdrawal symptoms are so intense that The person depending on these substances begins to act in erratic behaviors. Unfortunately, this is when the person stops being the friend or a loved one you used to recognize.
Medications can be used to help opiate dependence.
The following few Paragraphs may be viewed as controversial in the addiction and mental health treatment space. Please do not take this as medical advice.
Healthcare and government agencies applaud drugs like Suboxone and Methadone to respond to the growing opiate epidemic.
We believe that using these medications is most effective in a controlled and short-term regimen.
The effects of long-term Suboxone and Methadone dependence are often not discussed.
Often, these medications have more substantial withdrawal effects than the substances they used to help stop in the first place.
We cannot overlook one of the main benefits of these medications – Harm Reduction.
Drugs like Suboxone and methadone are prescribed in controlled dosages that help minimize the potential for overdose.
Our approach to opiate addiction recovery
In most cases, we can prescribe Suboxone, a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine is a synthetic opiate, and naloxone acts as an opiate blocker or antagonist. The naloxone coats the opioid receptors in the brain to help prevent any external forms of opiates from entering the receptors.
Our medication-assisted detox usually ranges from 4 to 7 days. This is because we want to minimize the risk of dependence on this medication as quickly and safely as possible.
Other comfort medications are often prescribed to help minimize the intense withdrawal symptoms that are accompanied by opiate withdrawal. These medications can help with diarrhea, restless leg syndrome, insomnia, muscle aches, and more. Our goal is to make the client as comfortable as possible during this initial phase of opiate detoxification.
Now that we Have gone through the physical withdrawal symptoms of opiate dependency, we must address any ongoing psychological dependency concerns and mental health conditions.
Often, many destructive patterns are associated with the physical need to cease withdrawal symptoms. However, the mental health concerns are equally important to address in the early stages of opiate recovery. Often clients have experienced an increased sense of anxiety and depression without proper treatment, and relapse is common.
Our staff is actively trained in working with clients during the early stages of opiate withdrawal and understands the typical psychological effects during this period. Even though the physical symptoms tend to decrease in about ten days, the mental health concerns need to be addressed in the following days.