Although scare tactics are a lousy way to start a conversation, the fact is that the opioid problem in the US is a deadly one — claiming 130 lives each and every day. And the numbers surrounding opioid misuse don’t seem to be improving — two million people are in the throes of addiction. The reason behind these large numbers is largely because of the fact that opioid addiction and dependence are incredibly difficult to break.
At Revolution Psychiatry and Addiction Treatment, under the expert care of Dr. Richard Repass, our team understands the devastating impact that an opioid use disorder can have on the sufferer and their loved ones. To do our part in reducing the awful numbers that surround opioid misuse, we offer a unique detoxification (detox) program that helps the opioid user break the chains of addiction and dependence, setting them on a path toward freedom.
How did we get here?
The reason behind the current number of opioid use disorders can be placed largely at the feet of prescription painkillers. During the 1990s, these painkillers, which include hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, and fentanyl, were prescribed with abandon, helping patients overcome painful medical conditions. Unfortunately, users and prescribers didn’t fully understand the highly addictive properties of these opioid-based medications.
To put some numbers to the problem, between 21 and 29% of those who are prescribed opioids end up misusing them, and up to 12% develop an ongoing opioid use disorder.
Of course, there are other avenues to an opioid use disorder, including the use of heroin, but prescription painkillers played an undeniable role in the increasing numbers.
Thankfully, better controls are being put in place for prescribing these medications, which should help bring down future numbers. In the meantime, we need to do what we can to address the current opioid misuse problems.
How opioids hijack your brain
If you or a loved one is dealing with opioid use disorder, it’s important to recognize that the problem is a disease that hijacks your brain. More specifically, opioids attach themselves to opioid receptors in your brain, and, after some time, your brain’s neurotransmitters begin to act irregularly and rewire your brain to receive more of the drug.
As the opioid use leads to addiction and dependence, you or your loved one may experience:
- An uncontrollable urge to use opioids
- The inability to stop use and withdrawal symptoms when you do
- Increasing isolation
- Prioritizing drug use over all else
- Sleep issues
- Anxiety and depression
And the list goes on. An opioid use disorder affects every aspect of your life, including your physical, mental, emotional, and social wellbeing.
Trying to quit
One of the biggest indicators that you may have an opioid use disorder is the presence of withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking the drug. These include a nasty laundry list of unpleasant side effects, including:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Body aches and muscle cramping
- Extreme anxiety
- Sleep issues
- Intense cravings
In fact, withdrawing from opioids is one of the biggest hurdles to breaking the chains of addiction and dependence. The withdrawal can be so awful that many users turn back to the drug to find much-needed relief. And that’s where we can help with our innovative detox program.
How we can help break the cycle of opioid misuse
At our practice, we offer 10- to 15-day detox programs in which we rely on nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) to relieve many of the withdrawal symptoms. Using a therapy called BR+NAD™, which we administer intravenously (IV), we’re able to control cravings and restore brain function as quickly as possible.
For those who do not wish to do BR+NAD IV therapy, or who do not tolerate it, we may use more standard detox methods and medication-assisted treatments, such as Suboxone®, to provide improved stability and function for life.
We also recommend complete support during this time, including group therapy and counseling, to address the underlying mental issues that may have influenced your opioid use.
If you’d like to free yourself from the clutches of an opioid use disorder, please give us a confidential call at (425) 243-5764.