Intense anxiety. Persistent vomiting. Profuse Sweating. Insomnia. These are just a few of the symptoms people recovering from opioid addiction experience as they go through withdrawal. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that 40 – 60 percent of those afflicted with addiction relapse and turn back to drug and opioid use as a form of self-medication.
What is Medically-Assisted Treatment for Opiate Addiction?
Medically-assisted treatment for opiate addiction is a form of therapy utilizing FDA-approved medications to improve a person’s success of recovery. Cravings can be very intense for individuals and are often large obstacles that prevent the person from staying sober. To help reduce the risk of a relapse, therapists use a combination of medications to curb cravings from volatile opiates.
Recovery should not be a one-size-fits-all approach. Unique treatment options are critical to the long-term success of those battling opiate addiction and striving for a better life.
What are the Benefits of Medically-Assisted Opiate Treatment?
One of the main advantages of medically-assisted treatment is that it can fulfill an individual’s craving, but cannot be taken to achieve the full effect of an opioid — this makes it difficult to abuse. In addition, this method can be used to slowly wean a person off of opioids, to increase their chances of a successful recovery and exhibits only mild opioid effects.
What are the Different Types of Opiates?
The most common types of medications used in this form of therapy include:
Common side effects of these medications may include nausea, vomiting, constipation, and irritability. It’s also important to note that the patient must undergo behavioral therapy to ensure they are making the most of this treatment.
Is Medically-Assisted Treatment Trading One Addiction for Another?
Medically-assisted opiate treatment programs transition people from pain killer drug dependence or heroin addiction to a safer, long-term maintenance of opiate addiction. Sure, some users are able to overcome their addiction without medication. But for some, including those who have tried and relapsed, medically-assisted treatment with Suboxone (or buprenorphine) provides new hope. Research from the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has proven that medically-assisted treatment with buprenorphine (the active ingredient in Suboxone) at least triples rates of opioid-abstinence outcomes, thus decreasing the use of illegal drugs, reducing overdose mortalities and resulting in a much higher retention rate for treatment.
Some opponents say medically-assisted opiate treatment substitutes one drug for another, but the truth is that this treatment option doesn’t rely solely on medication — supportive counseling options are included in the treatment plan. The result? Treatment with Suboxone and counseling allows someone to return to normal day-to-day functions and greatly reduces the risk of overdose mortality. When users stop “cold turkey,” their tolerance starts to drop for opiates, which in turn reduces the quantity the brain can absorb without overdosing. When an individual recovering from addiction relapses and returns to using opioids, they have a high mortality risk because they may use the same quantity they did before their tolerance dropped and could overdose and die.
Like all drug dependence treatment options, medically-assisted treatment for opiates doesn’t provide a fail-safe process for recovery, but it has been proven to provide a more reliable and sustainable option for true recovery.
While the road to recovery is often long, find a team of experts dedicated to guiding, supporting and encouraging patients every step of the way.
Dr. David Kushner, Medical Director
BRIGHTSIDE Clinic [https://www.brightsideclinic.com]
BRIGHTSIDE treats addiction to heroin, opiates & suboxone with rehabilitation clinics in Northbrook, Tinley Park and North Aurora, Illinois.