Opioid addiction is one of the more challenging substance use disorders to confront and manage because of its physical dependency characteristics. Once the process of physical addiction has taken hold, avoiding daily withdrawal becomes a high hurdle.
Because of this daily dilemma, it becomes difficult to remain focused on other aspects of recovery. It’s the law of “first things first” that applies when tackling any problem. There is a natural order and sequence which must be followed when trying to solve a complex task. Opioid addiction recovery is no exception.
Obtaining relief from opioid withdrawal symptoms is a very important first step in addressing opioid addiction. This is why medication-assisted treatment is specifically identified as a medical best practice. Science and years of exhaustive research have proven (not just suggested) that treatment coupled with medication-assistance offers the greatest probability of long-term success when trying to overcome moderate to severe opioid addiction.
Fortunately, more people are becoming aware of the need for buprenorphine, methadone, and other medications that can play a vital role in stabilizing an opioid addicted individual at the onset of their personal recovery.
Historically, efforts to come off of opioids in a detox setting have been often unsuccessful because many detoxes used insufficient medications to alleviate withdrawal symptoms. Consequently, patients would typically begin to get sick in 1-2 days with their withdrawal symptoms becoming intolerable. This can lead to patients abandoning the detox effort and a quick return to illicit opiates.
However, the tide is turning. As the American opioid crisis continues to impact families and U.S. society, many more physicians, lawmakers, and government representatives are gaining a quick education on the enormous value of medication-assisted treatment. Methadone is at the forefront of this new awareness as is buprenorphine-based products like Suboxone.
Appropriate medications used responsibly and under a doctor’s supervision provide stability, hope, and opportunity.
Posted in Addiction Recovery, Buprenorphine, Medication Assisted Treatment, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Maintenance, Opiate Addiction, Recovery, Recovery Support, Relapse Prevention, Suboxone, Suboxone Clinics, Suboxone Physicians
Tagged medication-assistance, relapse prevention
Drug and alcohol addiction are treatable illnesses. They can be successfully managed and “arrested” such that they do not continue to harm a person’s life or compromise their health. Just as with any progressive illness, a patient should commit to a course of treatment that has been proven to eradicate their illness or reduce its impact. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, morbid obesity, alzheimer’s – all of these have established medical treatments which can increase a person’s chance of survival and/or quality of life.
Addiction is both a physiological and behavioral illness. With opioid addiction in particular, there is a strong biological/physical basis as well as a highly significant psychological component. When both of these are adequately addressed, a patient has a new opportunity to recover.
For most individuals with a severe opioid addiction, is critically important to receive physical relief from the discomfort of opioid withdrawal symptoms. But this must also happen in conjunction with behavioral health counseling. Counseling addresses the emotional & psychological factors that contributed to the development of addiction in the first place, and counseling teaches the skills necessary to remain drug free over the long-term and to hopefully avoid future relapses.
Many people find that if they neglect one of these two key areas, then they are more vulnerable to relapse and rapid deterioration. When opioid detox is not a viable option for a particular patient, methadone and suboxone are clearly the medications of choice for addressing opioid withdrawal. Counseling provides the other half of the equation. All methadone programs across the country (as well as all suboxone-approved physicians) are required to insure that their patients are receiving some level of addiction counseling.
The essential ingredient is this mix is patient commitment. Having a genuine desire for a drug free life is as important as anything else. Becoming ready for change is a process in itself and varies from person to person. It is true that many people find their way into recovery because of a recent crisis in which things get so bad they hit a new low, or bottom. This does not have to happen though.
Sometimes hitting “bottom” brings with it dire consequences. If you have been contemplating making a change, please remember that it is not too late. There are many advantages to acting today as opposed to waiting another day. Addiction loves procrastination. Recovery begins now with your commitment to doing something about your problem!
Posted in Addiction Recovery, Addiction Treatment, Buprenorphine, Medication Assisted Treatment, Methadone, Methadone Clinics, Methadone Maintenance, Methadone Success, Methadone Treatment, Opiate Treatment, Recovery, Recovery Support, Suboxone, Suboxone Doctors
Tagged recovery process, relapse prevention
A new mobile phone app for recovering people was released last month by Elements Behavioral Health based out of Long Beach, California. The app is called Cassava and it provides a number of nifty features such as a daily reflection, a support group meetings finder based on your location, and a personal sobriety tracker that measures one’s number of days drug free.
In addition to days sober, the app allows users to record in a personal journal format their moods, daily nutrition, and even sleep patterns. An important part of growth in recovery is following new disciplines and remaining aware of self-care needs. The Cassava app can function as a useful toot for recovering people aiming to feed their recovery on a daily basis.
Another potentially helpful feature of the app is the inclusion of “recovery tips”. These function as reminders and suggestions for ways to cope with relapse risks. Addicted people, particularly in the early phase of recovery, are more vulnerable to sudden urges to use and often need a means of redirecting their thinking in order to sidestep a build-up of thoughts that feed the urge to use. Reading recovery literature has always been a potentially useful action step that helps to short circuit urges and cravings.
The app is free and can be downloaded from the Apple website. While it is designed for Apple iPhone 5.0 and above, I was able to install the app on version 4.0 and it worked well.
Posted in Addiction Recovery, California Drug Treatment, Drug Rehab Programs, Methadone, Methadone Clinics, Opiate Treatment, Recovery, Recovery Support, Suboxone
Tagged Cassava, Elements Behavioral Health, Recovery App