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A lot of people don’t understand why or how people can be so addicted to drugs or alcohol, even when it’s destroying them. Most even believe that these people probably lack the willpower and control over their consumption. However, the reality is that addiction is a complex disease, and in most cases, it takes more than a strong willpower to stop doing these things. Drug addiction reconfigures and changes the way the brain functions. This makes it difficult for the affected individual to stop. The good news is that drug addiction or alcohol use disorder can be treated. All the patient has to do is check himself/herself into a rehabilitation center for proper care, and also cooperate with the team of medical officers. It is difficult, and probably impossible to stop an addiction by yourself. Before going into the details, it is important to know the meaning of drug addiction, and alcohol use disorder.
What Is Drug Addiction?
09 is a disease in which an individual can’t stop oneself from consuming a certain drug. This condition is characterized by the drug seeking and use that is compulsive, and difficult to control, regardless of the serious dangerous effects. Drug addiction usually starts when an individual decides to take a drug, probably for the treatment of pain, or cough. However, the repeated consumption of this drug might lead to a tolerance in the system of the patient. This means that the patient would need to take more of the drug, to achieve the desired result. This continues until the patient can’t do without the drug. Patients usually find it hard to resist the urge of taking the medications. After doing this for a long time, the patient might develop withdrawal symptoms when they try to abstain, or stop using the drug. The most common drug that people get addicted to is opiates. These are drugs that are used for the treatment of pain. Opiates are one of the most addictive substances in the world, especially in the United States. A lot of prescriptions are administered every year, with patients getting addicted to these drugs.
Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder, is also one thing people get addicted to. Alcoholism is a term that is used for the heavy and frequent consumption of alcohol that it leads to a distortion of one’s mental capacity and physical health. Medically, this condition is said to exist when an individual consumes a large amount of alcohol, for a long period of time, and doesn’t have control over its rate and quantity of consumption. The consumption of alcohol in excess amounts leads to intoxication, which can lead to other problems. Alcoholism can lead to road traffic accidents, physical and sexual abuse, domestic abuse, medical conditions such as liver diseases, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, arrhythmia, cancer and so on. In addition, the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can lead to an abnormal development of the fetus. Lastly, alcoholism can lead to depression. Just like drug addiction, it’s difficult for alcoholics to quit drinking on their own. This is why it’s important for addicts to check themselves into a rehabilitation center. A lot of successes have been recorded in recovery centers. In fact, everyone recovers, as long as the patient would cooperate with the support team in the facility.
Alcoholism Recovery Programs
Alcohol rehabilitation is the most effective way of getting over alcohol addiction. Alcohol addicts are admitted into an alcohol recovery center. This can be done willingly by the person involved, and the families and friends can also make an addict check-in for the program. This usually takes from a month and above, although the duration of treatment depends on the severity of the addiction. Severe cases might take many months before the patient recovers. Longer duration of treatment is usually recommended for those with bad conditions. The longer the period of stay, the more the effective the treatment. Below are the steps involved in rehabilitation:
- Evaluation: Evaluation is the first step involved in the treatment procedure of the patient. Some information is taking from the patient. This includes the name of the patient, the name, allergies, family history, medical history, the amount of alcohol the patient consumes per day, how many days of the week the patient drinks and so on. After this is done, the patient is then assessed. This includes both physical, medical and psychological assessment. It’s important for the patient to open up completely to the physician, as the treatment plan for the patient would be based on the information gotten from him/her. The families and friends of the patient should also be interviewed for more information. However, the patient should be informed about this.
- Detoxification: This is the process whereby the patient is gotten off alcohol. The medical team doesn’t just take the patient off alcohol but does this gradually. The patient is fed well, and given medications to avoid any withdrawal symptoms.
- Therapy: Generally, people feel better when they share their struggle with someone that’s going through something similar. This is why recovery programs put patients together in support groups. The role of this group is to help the patients open up to each other, and share their struggles together. It has been observed that this method is very effective.
- Aftercare: Rehabilitation centers do offer aftercare. This is done to monitor the patient, and give administering medications and check-ups on him/her after the patient has been discharged. The purpose of aftercare is to ensure that the patient doesn’t relapse.
Although this method has proven to be effective, some patients would rather not talk to other people about their alcohol addiction. This is why some rehabilitation centers provide private counselors to this kind of patients.
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Alcohol dependence is a condition in which an individual is physically or psychologically dependent on alcohol. It can also be referred to as alcoholism. Patients have to present with three out of seven of the following criteria, within a year:
- Withdrawal symptoms
- The use of drugs for a longer duration than expected
- Inability to cut down on alcohol consumption
- The majority of their time is spent getting alcohol or recovering from the effects of alcohol.
- The excessive alcohol intake affects their work, social and recreational pursuits.
- They can’t stop consuming alcohol, even though they’re aware of the dangerous effects.
Alcohol dependence can be treated in several ways depending on the severity of the disease. Generally, the treatment of alcohol dependence involves support group, psychotherapy, relapse prevention and so on.
Studies have shown that there is a connection between alcoholism and depression. Observations have shown that those affected by depression, also have a drinking problem. In most cases, the depression comes first, before alcoholism. The explanation behind this is that people try to numb depression and anxiety with alcohol. In most cases, they keep drinking and increasing the amount of alcohol they consume. However, they wake every morning feeling lower than they were before taking alcohol, as alcohol itself is a depressant. In addition, it has been noted that teenagers affected by depression tend to have alcohol problems as they grow. Drinking a large quantity of alcohol for a long time can lead to depression.
Treatment centers are very vital in the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction. However, the success also depends on how cooperative the patient is. As explained earlier, rehabilitation centers make use of 4 steps in treating patients:
- Assessment: The first step in this program is to assess the medical and psychological status of the patient. In addition, they check for the extent and severity of the addiction. This is determined based on tests performed on the patient, and the history got from him/her. A treatment is made for the patient based on the information provided.
- Detoxification: The patient is cleansed from any form of the drug, in this case, opioids. Detoxification from opioid medication can be dangerous, as patients generally do present with withdrawal syndrome. This is why it’s done gradually until the patient can live totally without the drugs.
- Rehabilitation: The alcohol treatment center will create a plan that is specific for the patient by helping him/her recover. This includes counseling, therapies, support groups, and even alternative therapies. Drug rehabilitation centers provide hope and real results for those addicted.
- Aftercare: This is done before the patient completes his/her rehabilitation. This is done to prevent a relapse from occurring. The aftercare usually involves doctor/nurse appointments. The patient would also be tested periodically for the presence of drugs. The counselor might also be dedicated to the patient, for regular consultations.
Patients are usually given opioids after surgery for the management of pain. However, patients develop a tolerance for this drug and tend to increase the dosage with medical guidance. This eventually leads to addiction. Morphine, prescribed for back pain, remains one of the most addictive opioids. Other opioid medications include Percocet, propofol, methadone and so on. It is possible to get help with pain management without the use of opioids.
Why are Opiates Addictive?
Anyone taking opioids has a high chance of becoming addicted to it. However, the chances of this happening depend largely on the duration the patient uses the drug and the personal history of the patient. Addiction usually starts as a pleasurable thing, then proceeds to something people can’t live without. According to studies, opioids are addictive because they trigger some reward centers in the brain. In addition to this, these drugs make patients feel good. This can be attributed to the endorphins released from the brain. However, the good feelings go as the drug wears off. This is why patients continue using the drug, just to permanently have the feeling, which eventually would lead to addiction.
Opiates are used for different reasons. However, they are mostly used for the treatment of pain, and cough. There are two types of opiates. These are the opiate agonist and antagonist. An example of opiate antagonists is clonidine. They are generally non-addictive and can be used for the treatment of opiate addiction. On the other hand, opiate agonists include fentanyl and morphine, which are the most used and are very addictive. They are strong opiates and are also has the most potential to be abused, in the class of opiates. Other examples of opiates include oxycodone and codeine.
- Codeine: The drug was produced solely for the treatment of cough and pain. However, codeine abuse has almost become an epidemic in some parts of the world. Although it’s only available by prescription in some countries, it can be gotten over the counter in some parts of the world. It mostly abused by young people.
- Percocet: This is also a heavily abused drug, that was manufactured for the relieve of pain. This drug has been responsible for a lot of emergency cases, and deaths due to overdose. Although these drugs are no longer prescribed, there is still a black market for it. This drug got so popular, that it became part of “pop-culture” at a point.
- Fentanyl: This drug is about a hundred times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is only used for the treatment of severe pain. It can easily be overdosed on, especially when used with other drugs such as heroin. It’s available in patches, so patients don’t have to swallow them orally.
- Methadone: This is an opioid, that is used for the treatment of moderate to severe pain. This is the drug administered to people who’re trying to get off an addiction to other drugs such as heroin. Although it’s important for the treatment of heroin addiction, some patients still find a way to get high off these drugs and eventually become addicted to them.
- Morphine: Morphine is used for the treatment of severe and chronic pain. However, it’s very addictive, and also the cause of a lot of addiction cases. This drug has been responsible for a lot of substance abuse-related deaths.
Suboxone Treatment Indications to Help Wean Off of Opiates
Suboxone is a prescription drug that is federally approved for opiate detox. It contains buprenorphine and naloxone. This medication is used primarily for the treatment of opioid addiction in adults. These include opioids such as heroin and opioid painkillers. This drug can be used through different routes. These include under the tongue, injection, skin patch, and can also be implanted. This drug is used when the patient starts presenting with withdrawal symptoms, especially in the first two days. In addition, this drug can also be used for long-term treatment. In this case, the drug is used as a combination of buprenorphine/naloxone. The dosage of this drug in the United States is one injection per month.
Suboxone has some adverse effects. However, these side effects manifest when the drug is abused. Most of the common side effects of suboxone are just like that of other opioids. Some of the common side effects of this drug include nausea and vomiting, headache, loss of memory, dizziness, confusion, drowsiness, dry mouth, constriction of the eye pupils, reduced libido, especially in men, urinary problems, perspiration and so on. In addition to this, other adverse effects of this drug include central nervous system disorders and constipation. However, these are not as prevalent as the signs and symptoms mentioned earlier.
- Respiratory effects: Respiratory depression is the most common side effect of suboxone. Apart from this, it’s also the most severe side effect. It occurs more in patients that use a combination of benzodiazepines, alcohol and with an underlying pulmonary disease. Naloxone wouldn’t be entirely effective when used for the treatment of this condition. Patients might have to be placed on the additional support, so they can breathe well. Suboxone is less associated with lesser cases of respiratory depression, especially when it’s used for the treatment of chronic pain management. Although, suboxone has the same effects as other opioids when used in an acute pain management setting. Respiratory depression occurs less with the medication.
- Dependence: Suboxone has a high risk of dependence. Patients tend to become physically and mentally dependent on this drug, as it has a long half-life. The half-life of suboxone has been put in a day to about 3 days. This is why patients on this drug have to be closely supervised. Patients already dependent on this drug needs the help of a physician to get off it, as an abrupt stop could trigger withdrawal symptoms.
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When Do You Need Suboxone for Opioid Recovery?
Suboxone is needed in the initial treatment of opioid addiction. This medication should only be started when the patient starts presenting with withdrawal symptoms. However, for longer treatment duration, a combination of buprenorphine/naloxone should be used. Suboxone is used in the process of patient rehabilitation and detoxification. Recovery centers and rehabilitation programs do make use of this drug, especially in helping the patients recover from opioid addiction. Generally,at a Suboxone clinic, rehabilitation programs do consist of two phases. These are the detoxification and the treatment phases. In the detoxification phase, the patient is gradually taken off the opioid drugs. The patient is well supervised by health care workers, to help the patient with the withdrawal from the drugs of dependency onto other drugs like suboxone and buprenorphine and so on. This is done gradually, to prevent withdrawal symptoms. The patients are well fed, and medications are given to reduce the intensity of any withdrawal symptoms the patient might present with. Suboxone is usually combined with other drugs like benzodiazepines. The purpose of combining the drug with benzodiazepines is to help calm the patient down, relax the muscles, and to help with sleep and anxiety. In addition, clonidine, an anti-hypertensive drug is also used to improve the signs and symptoms of withdrawal. Lastly, other drugs that are usually used include anti-inflammatory medications, such as aspirin and ibuprofen.
If you love someone that is addicted to heroin, then it’s important to help them get help. Heroin is one of the drugs responsible for the opioid addiction in the United States of America. Heroin addiction doesn’t just occur in America, but all over the world. Those addicted to heroin find it hard getting off it. Those that don’t seek help, eventually end up dead, due to overdose and the severe side effects of the drug. Heroin addicts do respond to a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. These two methods, when combined together, have proven very effective. Some of the drugs used in the treatment of this addiction include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. As earlier mentioned, these drugs when combined with psychotherapy have proven valuable. There are two primary forms of heroin treatment programs. There is the outpatient rehab, and the inpatient rehab. Outpatient programs do last from 30 days and above, depending on the severity of the addiction, and the kind of insurance the patient has. On the other hand, inpatient rehab is considered the best option for addicts. The patient is removed from his or her surrounding and admitted. The patient gets a 24-hour attention from counselors and other health workers. This also lasts for 30 days and above. The quicker the patient recovers, the faster he/she leaves the facility.
Drug and Alcohol Dependence and Addiction Rehabilitation Treatment Can Help You Regain Your Life
Alcoholism and drug addiction rehabilitation usually take a long time. This might range from 30 days and above. The severe cases could take many months before the patient recovers. The more severe the case is, the longer the recovery period. However, it’s an effective way of getting back to normal. Generally, recovery programs are in 5 phases. These are :
- Assessment: This is the stage where the medical, family history of the patient is taken. In addition, information such as the amount of alcohol, or the number of pills the patient consumes per day is taken. The information gotten is used to draw a recovery plan for the patient.
- Evaluation: The mental, medical and psychological state of the patient is examined.
- Detoxification: The patient is weaned off the alcohol and the drugs
- Therapy: Medications are given to the patient to prevent any form of withdrawal syndrome.
- Aftercare: This includes regular check-ups.
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