Sunday, July 17, 2016

Which Medications Are the Most Effective for Opiate Addiction Treatment?

There are three different medications available for opiate addiction treatment, and depending on your specific situation, one may be a more effective option for you than the others. It is always important to consider your needs as well as the severity of your condition and to consult a doctor before choosing any one type of opiate addiction medication.

Medications for Opiate Rehab and Their Effects

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most effective program for opiate addiction treatment utilizes one of three medications and behavioral therapies.

This provides patients with a well-rounded rehab program that minimizes withdrawal symptoms and cravings while also teaching better life and coping skills. The three medications approved by the FDA to treat opiate addiction include:

  • Methadone: An opioid agonist, methadone is an intensive pharmacological option that reduces cravings and withdrawal symptoms as well as reestablishes normal brain functions. The drug is also an opioid itself, which means, if used in high doses, it can cause the same addictive effects that other opioids cause. This is why one can only receive methadone at a licensed clinic.
  • Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist. While it causes very similar effects in treatment that methadone causes, it has a ceiling effect that keeps it from being as dangerous when abused in high doses. In addition, it is usually marketed with naloxone, which precipitates withdrawal in anyone who abuses it. As such, buprenorphine is available at doctor’s offices instead of clinics.
  • Naltrexone: Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist. It can only be taken after a person has gone through detox, and it causes withdrawal in anyone dependent on opioids. It also blocks the effects of any opiate abuse.
In general, naltrexone is considered the least effective of the three because patient tolerance for the drug is so low (Harvard Medical School). However, any one of the drugs’ effectiveness is based mostly on the patient who receives it and whether or not it caters to their needs.

Which Medication is Best for Me?

Depending on your situation, one medication will likely be better for you than the others. Naltrexone is often best suited for individuals who are highly motivated to stop abusing opiates, but those who are still struggling with dependence should consider a different option. Most individuals are best off starting methadone or buprenorphine maintenance.

If you have a mild dependence on opiates and your withdrawal symptoms are not too severe, buprenorphine could be very beneficial for your needs. You could receive your medication from a doctor instead of a highly regulated clinic, and treatment would not be as intensive.

However, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration states, “Because buprenorphine is unlikely to be as effective as more optimal-dose methadone, it may not be the treatment of choice for patients with high levels physical dependency.” In this case, methadone will likely be a better fit for you.

Treating Opiate Addiction with Medications

Opiate addiction treatment often involves the use of medications, and this choice can make your entire rehab program much smoother and easier for you to navigate. However, it is very important that you choose the right medication for your needs in order to reap its full benefits.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Recovery From Opiate Addiction

At one time, drug addicts were viewed as a creepy individual that inhabited alley ways looking to score drugs. Today, we realize that drug addiction affects people from every walk of life. Drug addiction or more precisely, opiate addiction might affect a housewife next door, a graduate student, a grandparent, a teacher, doctor, lawyer, celebrity, beauty queen, model, baby sitter, or the teen delivering the newspaper. Opiate addiction is a new phenomena that is slowly taking over the country. Just about everyone knows someone that has experienced a drug problem now or in the past. However, opiate addiction treatment has saved numerous lives.

Understanding Opiates

Most people who were prescribed opiates did not plan on becoming addicted to the pain killing drug. Usually, a medical professional prescribed the drug for a person that was experiencing unusually intense pain due to a physical injury or because of a recent operation. The fact is that the pain relieving ability of the opiate diminishes over time. The individual has to take more of the drug to receive the same euphoric, pain relieving effect. This leads to the individual becoming entirely depended on the drug. They find it difficult to function without the drug in their system. Soon, they develop withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms force the user to continue taking the drug to reduce the symptoms, reduce pain, and find euphoric relief. Clearly, the only way to find permanent relief is with opiate addiction treatment.

 Addiction Symptoms

Perhaps, you suspect that a loved one is suffering with opiate addiction. It is a good idea to recognize some of the addiction symptoms. The most identifiable opiate addiction symptoms include chronic need for the drug, uncontrollable cravings, strong personality changes, development of relationship problems with family and friends. It is critical to convince your friend or family member to seek opiate addiction treatment, if these addiction symptoms are apparent.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

A Better Way To Treat Opiate Addiction

Opiate addiction has become a serious problem in the United States. Thousands of people are overdosing on these drugs each day. The epidemic has become so serious that police officers are carrying Narcan, which is a drug that will reverse an overdose. The most common opiate that people overdose on is heroin. The people who make this dangerous drug are adding pain medications, such as Fentanyl to the drug, making it even more dangerous. There are also a variety of prescription opiates. The most common prescription opiates include:

  • Codeine
  • Vicodin
  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycontin
  • Percoset
  • Dilaudid
  • Fentanyl

Why are Opiates So Addictive?

When a person uses opiates, it gives them a feeling of well-being or euphoria. This feeling makes the user want to keep using, and they are always chasing the high. Most people who shoot heroin several times a day started out taking prescription medications. After getting off the meds, they were unable to stop wanting the drug, and they turn to heroin that they can buy on the streets.

Opiate Withdrawal

The thing that makes it so difficult for a person to quit taking opiates is the withdrawal symptoms. After an addict has gone just a few hours without taking drugs, their body can start to turn on them. There are several horrible, debilitating withdrawal symptoms that can last anywhere from a week to a month.
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Hot and cold sweats
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

Opiate Treatment

The withdrawal symptoms that an addict can go through can be very dangerous. The best way, and in most cases the only way for a person to get clean is to enter an inpatient rehab program. The first step to recovery is going through a detox program. The addict would be constantly supervised by medical personnel so that they are not in any danger while the drugs are leaving their system. There are also drugs available to help with the process. These drugs include Suboxone, Revia, and Methadone.

After the patient has detoxed from the drugs, they would go into inpatient treatment. They would learn about their addiction, and the things that led them to be an addict in the first place. The more the individual understands about themselves and their triggers, the better their chances are of getting clean and staying clean. The addict will also meet with other addicts in the facility, so that everyone can get a better understanding of what causes addiction. After the addict has completed their program, they will often enter a sober living facility and enter an outpatient program.

Whether a person is addicted to heroin or prescription opiates, they need to get help. Without a treatment plan, the chances of the individual living a long and healthy life are very slim.