Practical solution for Drug addiction
Nowadays, you don't have to look far before you hear the health news updates on the ravaging effects of drug addiction in our society. The unfortunate thing is that drug addiction is no longer an "illicit street corner" fad. Prescription pain relief drugs are now a dangerous contender to the opioid crisis sweeping the nation.
Can the opioid crisis be AVOIDed?
The opioid crisis of the country is only getting worse.
This revelation comes from the Dr. Debra Houry who said that this is one of those health problems that is getting worse instead of getting better. This is quite alarming as she serves as the director at Central of Disaster Control (CDC).
The drug addiction stories and stats are also quite grim as more than 2.5 million people are now suffering from opioid addiction and related disorders which has led to an approximate 28,000 deaths in 2014 alone.
Opioid addiction has become a serious concern and someone suffering from it needs to be given full support along with medical and psychological help. It shouldn’t be considered a mental or moral weakness and needs to be taken as seriously as any other chronic condition.
It’s not easy to treat prescription drug addition:
Dependence of drugs can alter various parts our brain. They directly focus on the areas that are responsible for our responses to reward and what mood we have. So when someone is treated for opioid prescription drug, there are various opiate withdrawal symptoms that can include:
Withdrawal symptoms can last for few hours to several days and in some cases can go on for weeks as it depends on the level of consumption.
Once opioid withdrawal subsides, care givers have to focus on making sure the patient doesn’t relapses and continues living free of them. To assist, care givers rely on medications that help managing withdrawal symptoms and help the patient in curbing their dependences on drugs. Let’s look into these medications now:
Methadone Effects: Used due to its success with patients suffering from opioid addiction, Methadone is a long acting treatment that helps in activating the same opioid receptors that narcotics trigger. This helps the patient in their withdrawal phase.
Methadone dosage: Administered once a day, it helps victims till 36 hours, allowing them to ease through the tough opiate withdrawal and reducing the chances of relapsing.
Methadone works well if the patient is supported morally and psychologically. It is important to inquire from methadone clinics on the programs they offer as it might vary slightly from location to location.
This is why research and studies have pointed out that methadone treatment should be combined with group counselling, one or one care or by integrating the patient into a socially conducive environment like being employed in a place that allows them to return to active social and work life.
Another option for treating opioid addiction, Buprenorphine is a synthetic medication with a different mechanism of action to methadone. It works on reducing the symptoms and doesn’t focus on the opioid receptors that bring about the sensation of “high” or euphoria.
Care givers have two options when they choose Buprenorphine as the medication of choice to treat patients:
The first is in its purest form, and the second option, is in the form of a combination of buprenorphine with an opioid antagonist known as naloxone.
Buprenorphine and naloxone:
Buprenorphine and naloxone treatment combination serves as a deterrent for the people dependent on opioid. The mechanism of action of the combo drugs prevents opioid drug abuse as they cause a decrease in the craving and withdrawal for opioids. At the same time, they also reduce the chance of relapse and this is the reason why the combo drug is the preferred line of treatment
Buprenorphine is available in the market as Bunavail, Zubsolv and Suboxone and is usually offered by care givers that have been allowed by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
It can be offered in an office based settings or given to patients in the form of a 30 day prescription they can take to the pharmacy.
This medication is more cost effective and is by far more accessible to those suffering from drug addiction.
Buprenorphine dosage varies and ranges from patient to patient. The doctor determines the best buprenorphine dosage after a careful assessment of the patient.
Buprenorphine hydrochloride is formulated in different forms. Two of the most commonly prescribed forms are the buprenorphine patches and buprenorpine tablets.
Known primarily for its use in blood pressure treatment, the medication basically effects the brain and decreases the human body’s natural “fight or flight” reaction.
Opioid consumption tends to increase this reaction.
Doctors sometimes use Clonidine as another form of "add on" therapy to help patients suffering from addiction by including it the drug treatment regimen.
By doing so, they reduce the heart rate and manage the blood pressure that comes along with the opioid withdrawal symptoms. Clonidine also helps patient by decreasing sweating and maintaining the body temperature that can fluctuate during withdrawal episodes.
The detox process can be painful and tough for the patient but with medications and adequate support, patients can live a healthy life.
It should be mentioned here that doctors agree that though medications that have long term effects like methadone and buprenorphine are incredibly helpful, they should be used holistically with social drivers like support, care and helping the patient come back to their regular life.
There are quite a number of drug addiction articles that support these drug addiction treatment approach.
Any triggers like stress or negativity that can lead the brain to desire the drug’s relief and pleasure should be avoided.
Drug cravings are very strong and medications help patients to beat them down. If you know someone who needs help and support, consult with your doctor before proceeding to treat them.