Home » Blogs » Opioid addiction is a serious and debilitating condition that can have potentially disastrous effects on an individual’s physical and mental wellbeing. It also causes problems like relationship difficulties, social withdrawal, financial stress, and more. In addition, the actual process of battling addiction can be a long and stressful one. But before we delve into withdrawal treatments and outpatient detox programs, let’s first understand the issue in a little more detail.
A wide range of drugs are classified as opioids. Some of them are medically prescribed, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and codeine, to name just a few. Certain illegal substances like heroin or fentanyl also fall into this category. In simple terms, opioids primarily block pain signals to the brain and are widely used for pain relief. However, they can also induce a feeling of euphoria, often referred to as a “high.” As a result, they are extremely addictive and are often exploited to create different kinds of street drugs. They come with a range of side effects and can be very harmful if abused. In the case of prescribed opioids, overdose is a major risk.
The good news is that the issue of opioid addiction has gained significant awareness in the past few years, and there are a number of proven strategies to help wean addicts off their debilitating habit.
Suboxone, or Buprenorphine with Naloxone, Treatment
When it comes to dealing with opioid addiction, suboxone (a brand of generic buprenorphine with Naloxone added) is an extremely important drug. Interestingly, suboxone is also based on opium but they work rather differently from, say, oxycodone or heroin. Suboxone is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. You can think of buprenorphine as a partial agonist, which does not provide the high, or euphoria, that pure opioids provide, but address withdrawal symptoms and cravings: it provides individuals suffering from an addiction to opioids relief from cravings. The naloxone in the medication provides a line of defence against overdose in case the individual tries to get high by using opioids. Together, this combination has been more successful that other options tried before when it comes to weaning patients off opioids.
Of course, quitting cold turkey is not an option when it comes to opioids, due to severe withdrawal symptoms. Suboxone helps individuals addicted to opioids take the first step. However, some treatment providers view medication assisted treatment as substitution of one drug with another. This is a false statement as Buprenorphine, or Suboxone does not provide the euphoria provided by heroin or fentanyl. At the end of treatment, individuals have to be weaned off of Suboxone, as it may sometimes elicit withdrawal symptoms such as mild nausea, fever, chills, sweating, headaches, and irritability. It also makes the person anxious as they are giving up the medication that has kept them sober and aided their recovery. Experts advice that the best way to deal with this is by working with an experienced medical professional or detoxification facility. The clinical team will be able to chart out a detailed plan to taper off the dosage so that the body experiences minimal withdrawal symptoms, while addressing anxiety.
Drug Rehab or Detoxification Centers
Drug rehabilitation or detoxification centers are recommended for more serious cases of addiction. The primary goal is to put the addict in a safe space where they can get all the help and support they need. A number of treatment strategies are employed, including medicine-assisted detox (through suboxone and other alternatives), therapy, and counseling. However, the efficacy of drug rehab centers is often under-appreciated. A good drug rehab center will not only focus on treating its patients but also helping them shape a stronger, healthier and more action-oriented lifestyle while living in their home environment. If you are looking for a center for drug rehab, NJ (New Jersey) has a range of different centers that cater to addiction to all substances. Many of them provide their patients with customized care that is tailor-made to suit an individual’s needs. In general, most of them focus on helping individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol detoxify their bodies, work on their mental health, and build a healthier lifestyle. Along with medication assisted therapy and counseling, patients are also given the tools to reintegrate themselves into society. Studies indicate that while individuals suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol manage to deal with their addictions well in rehab, the pressures of the real world can often cause them to backslide. As a result, it is important to engage in detoxification and other follow-up treatment in an outpatient setting, so that the patient does not have to adjust back to the home environment after treatment in an isolated inpatient setting.
Getting admitted to an inpatient rehab facility is not the only option. A number of detox centers have now started offering what is known as an outpatient detox program for all substances. This gives patients the opportunity to continue to live with their families while dealing with their addiction problems. In general, outpatient detox programs are usually a good option for individuals with a strong and stable family environment to help deal with the withdrawal process. Outpatient treatment is more well covered by private health insurance providers.
In summary, battling an opioid addiction need not be a lonely struggle. Individuals with addiction issues need a strong support system along with quality professional care in the form of medication, therapy, and counseling. Approaching a treatment facility is the first step – along with a strong personal commitment to beat the addiction.
Dr. Cidambi is a leader in addiction treatment and innovator of safe and effective ambulatory (outpatient) detoxification level of care for alcohol, benzodiazepines, opiates, and suboxone. Prior to founding the Center for Network Therapy, she completed her residency in Psychiatry at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn and an Addiction Medicine Fellowship at NYU/Bellevue Hospital in New York. Due to the successful detoxification program, Dr. Cidambi was featured frequently by media outlets, including NPR, CBS, NY Times, and Wall Street Journal.