Opiate Detoxification Program in New Jersey
Opiates are highly addictive and they are the base of many narcotic prescription drugs. These narcotic medications should be taken only under strict medical supervision and as prescribed.
As per NIDA, opioids look like chemicals in your brain and body that attach to tiny parts on nerve cells called opioid receptors. Scientists have found three types of opioid receptors: mu, delta, and kappa (named after letters in the Greek alphabet). Each of these receptors plays a different role. For example, mu receptors are responsible for opioids’ pleasurable effects and their ability to relieve pain.
Opioids act on many places in the brain and nervous system, including:
- the limbic system, which controls emotions. Here, opioids can create feelings of pleasure, relaxation, and contentment.
- the brainstem, which controls things your body does automatically, like breathing. Here, opioids can slow breathing, stop coughing, and reduce feelings of pain.
- the spinal cord, which receives sensations from the body before sending them to the brain. Here too, opioids decrease feelings of pain, even after serious injuries.
Whether it is a medication like Oxycodone, Vicodin, Oxycontin or a street drug like heroin, the effects of opioids (and many other drugs) depend on how much you take and how you take them. If they are injected, they act faster and more intensely. If opioids are swallowed as pills, they take longer to reach the brain and are much safer.
How does someone become addicted to opiates?
Opioids activate reward regions in the brain, essentially flooding the brain circuits with dopamine causing euphoria—or high—that underlies the potential for misuse and addiction. Long-term opioid use changes the way nerve cells work in the brain. This happens even to people who take opioids for a long time to treat pain, as prescribed by their doctor. Most people who abuse opiates increase intake as more of the drug is needed to achieve the same “high.” This is known as “tolerance.” While the amount of time varies for each person, over time individuals who use/abuse opiates become “dependent” on it.
What are Withdrawal Symptoms?
When usage of opiates is stopped, the person using/abusing opiates can have intense unpleasant physical reactions. These are known as withdrawal symptoms. Have you ever had the flu? You probably had aching, fever, sweating, shaking, or chills. These are some of the withdrawal symptoms of opiates, but they are much more severe and may also include insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramping. The intensity of these symptoms depends on the duration and frequency of drug intake. The common psychological side effects of stopping usage could include depression, irritability, anxiety, impulsiveness, and psychosis in some extreme cases. Withdrawal symptoms, though severe, are often not life threatening (unless the person has ingested other drugs along with opiates).
How to address withdrawal symptoms?
After stopping use, opiate withdrawal can start within 6 hours or may take more than 24 hours depending on the type of opiates used/abused and quantity. Opiate withdrawal can be addressed through the administration of medications – usually buprenorphine or methadone. It is not advisable to try to last out the withdrawal symptoms without medical intervention. While the withdrawal by itself may not be dangerous, the danger comes from the person seeking instant relief from withdrawal by ingesting a large quantity of opiates. This could result in overdose or even death. It is highly recommended that the person enter a detoxification program so they obtain relief from withdrawal symptoms and wean off of opiates in a safe and effective manner.
How Can Detox Help?
Detoxification is the acute phase of treatment, where the withdrawal symptoms and cravings are addressed through medication and the patient is first physically stabilized and then weaned off the medications gradually, while ensuring the patient is comfortable at all times. It is preferable to seek treatment on an outpatient basis as it allows the individual to learn to remain sober in their living environment while in treatment itself. There are a couple of outpatient, or ambulatory detox programs in New Jersey, but Center for Network Therapy (RecoveryCNT.com) is generally considered to be at the top of the heap. Our medical director is a nationally acclaimed addiction specialist and highly sought after by the media. She pioneered the outpatient detoxification model and the Center for Network Therapy follows a unique “network therapy” approach, where, with the patient’s permission, the immediate family is also brought into treatment. Physicians and nurses conduct a detailed assessment and provide non-judgemental support throughout the program.
For more details on opiate detoxification, please call us today.