It is well know that our nation is experiencing an opiate epidemic. It is estimated that more than two million Americans have become dependent on or abused prescription pain pills and street drugs. Chronic pain and its a debilitating effects with its treatment utilizing narcotic (opiate based) medications has offered many patients therapeutic relief from pain. Unfortunately, the negative results of chronic (opiate based) pain medications is the increased risk of addiction.
Opioids have a high potential for causing dependence and addiction in some people, even when the medications are prescribed appropriately and taken as directed. Opioid dependence is the physical and psychological reliance on opioid medications which occurs as the brain adapts to regular use of opioids over time. Opioid dependence can cause the patient to become susceptible to withdrawal symptoms when the drug is reduced or discontinued. Opioid addiction is the uncontrollable use of opioids despite negative, adverse consequences. Key features of addiction include compulsive drug taking, pronounced drug cravings, obsessive thinking about the drug, and inability to control efforts to refrain from drug use. Opioid addiction can cause life-threatening health problems, including the risk of overdose.
If you or a loved one is suffering from substance abuse/opioid addiction, please contact Spectrum Neurology Center to schedule an appointment with our Neuropsychiatrist, Dr. Angela Traylor. Dr. Traylor can perform an appropriate evaluation to address addiction related issues and recommend additional alternatives such as buprenorphine products (Suboxone) in combination with behavioral therapies to provide a comprehensive approach to the treatment of substance abuse disorder.
Suboxone and other related medications is an oral medication that is approved for the treatment of opioid addiction and may ease the path to recovery. This medication can reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms and restore balance to the brain circuits affected by addiction. It is prescribed as part of the drug detoxification program and also for maintenance therapy. Suboxone contains two active drugs: buprenorphine and naloxone. Buprenorphine partially binds to mu-opioid receptors in the brain which helps with craving and withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist which acts as a deterrent if the medication is injected. It has a “ceiling effect” which means that the medication effects plateau with higher doses. Suboxone has a low abuse potential and is not addictive. Suboxone will not create a new addiction, rather it assists patients in managing the physical aspect of their addiction.
Behavioral therapies also play a significant role in recovery by addressing the mental component of addiction. With in the substance abuse program at Spectrum Neurology Center patients are able to actively engage and participate in their treatment and recovery. Therapy sessions focus to review cessation strategies, modify behaviors and attitudes related to drug use, reinforce positive behaviors and provide coping strategies. Treatment with medication along with counseling and support can be an effective way to treat opioid addiction.
Other options include: