If you or a loved one are going through painful episodes of withdrawal trying to detox from opioids, you are not alone. One of our country's biggest health challenges is the availability and use of addictive medications to treat pain. While helpful when used properly, people can quickly become dependent on increasing amounts to experience the same relief. Opioids are especially addictive, creating often painful symptoms when tapering off or stopping. Millions of people have recovered from drug misuse through detox clinics, drug rehabs and medically-managed treatment. To begin the process of recovery, it's important to first understand opioid use disorder.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids occur naturally in the poppy plant where opium is extracted, and they are contained in many medications. Heroin is created from the opium of the poppy plant. Other drugs in this class include codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Norcet), oxycodone (OxyContin, Percocet, Tylox, Roxicodone), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), oxymorphone (Opana), methadone (Dolphine), morphine (MS Contin, Kadian) and fentanyl (Sublimaze, Duragesic). Although these medications are effective at relieving pain, they have the additional properties of tolerance and withdraw. Tolerance is when one needs more and more medication to get the same effect. Withdraw occurs if one stops using the medication and experiences symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting, restlessness, chills, headaches, yawning and sweating.
What Is Opioid Use Disorder?
These medications can lead to addiction, which is the continued use of medication despite negative consequences (unfavorable alterations in social, family, job or spending unintended time acquiring, using or recovering from the use of these substances). People may become addicted for many reasons. Perhaps their physician prescribed medication in larger amounts or for a longer duration than the patient actually needed them. Or perhaps, someone tried theses substances out of curiosity. This curiosity can lead to continued use and, due to tolerance, using more and more of the substance.
Is There Hope for Recovery?
Recovery happens when one has determined they can no longer continue to use the opioids in the way they have been using them. It makes no difference whether these medications were prescribed by a doctor or a person became addicted after experimenting with substances that were not prescribed for them. It can take weeks to become addicted but years to make the decision to seek recovery. It can take decades! People who seek recovery may find many paths. Some people stop using the opioids on their own and go through withdraw symptoms at home. Here, the risk of relapse is high; most people who try this method eventually relapse. Relapse is a dangerous time because a person thinks they can use what they were using prior to stopping. This can, and frequently does lead to overdose and death. One can go to a detox center where medications are used to ease the discomfort of withdrawal. IV fluids might be helpful in the dehydration associated with diarrhea and vomiting. The problem with detox is that relapse rates after release are very high if a person doesn't have additional resources to support continued abstinence. These resources include counseling like intensive outpatient care or peer support groups like Narcotics Anonymous or Celebrate Recovery (church-based).
There are medications that can assist in the recovery from opioid use disorder. Buprenorphine, the active ingredient in Suboxone, is an effective treatment for opioid addiction. It can be prescribed by qualified physician in a specialized. Here, the patient comes in to establish safe use parameters and control of withdraw and craving. When one is doing well in this modality, they may only have to be assessed monthly — a much more convenient treatment modality. When using his type of treatment, it is frequently beneficial that a counselor follows along with the physician to assist the patient in continued progress in recovery from opioid use disorder. Methadone is also an effective medication used in the treatment of addiction. This modality requires daily attendance at a clinic that a patient can earn take home doses over a period of time based on improvement in their addiction.
At Advancing Forward Health, our business model is to provide low cost, compassionate and convenient care. We charge a fee that covers weekly visits for the first month of treatment. Subsequent treatment is based on progress. Fees for these visits cover all costs except for the cost of the medication. The patient will obtain the medication from their pharmacy of choice.
We will help assess when you are ready to taper off the medication, and assist you for however long that takes.
You don’t have to use another day.