We recently discussed the opioid epidemic facing our nation, and the treatment options that are available. One that we highlighted was Opioid Treatment. Opioid Treatment is a narcotic, but it is also an effective treatment for opioid addiction, imitating the effects of opioids, while also reducing drug cravings.
The treatment has been around for about 10 years, but it has become more widespread recently with the recent increase in opioid abuse and addiction. We believe it’s a viable tool for treating opioids, and that it’s essential to have all the information available to you before committing to this treatment. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this treatment plan:
What Is Opioid Treatment?
Opioid Treatment is actually two drugs: Buprenorphine and Naloxone. Buprenorphine is a narcotic, while Naloxone suppresses the opioid effects.
How Does It Work?
Essentially, the Buprenorphine produces a similar chemical reaction in the brain as other opioids, but the Naloxone suppresses both the euphoric and withdrawal symptoms. This leaves the patient feeling relatively normal, avoiding the vicious cycle driven by withdrawal cravings and side effects.
Is Opioid Treatment Effective?
While all treatments can vary from patient to patient, there have been studies that demonstrate opioid alternative’s efficacy over intensive counseling. From our own anecdotal perspective, we see it as a highly viable treatment method particularly when combined with other methods, including counseling.
Is Opioid Treatment Safe?
Like all narcotics, opioid alternative carries the risk of abuse and addiction. That said, opioid alternative abuse is far less widespread than other narcotic treatments, such as methadone. And like most other narcotics, misuse can lead to overdose, while combining alcohol or other drugs with opioid alternative can even be lethal. Lastly, there are some medical conditions where opioid alternative may not be a viable treatment method. It’s always best to consult with a medical professional to determine if it is safe for your specific situation.
Are There Any Side Effects?
Yes, patients can experience a variety of side effects such as shallow breathing, confusion, weakness, loss of coordination, blurred vision and/or speech, liver problems, nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, and others.
If Opioid Treatment Is Addictive? Am I Trading One Addiction For Another?
When opioid alternative treatment is successful, the patient stops experiencing withdrawal symptoms, but also stops experiencing cravings and the loss of control over behavior associated with addiction. The patient ultimately will no longer be physically dependent on opioids, and can eventually be weaned off opioid alternative to become entirely drug-free.
If you or someone you know may be dealing with an opioid addiction, we can help. Contact us today to schedule a private and confidential consultation.