Jun 05, 2011
Living with opioid addiction is hell. It can feel like a tunnel without an end, a life without free choice. Withdrawal can seem an insurmountable torture that no one should have to go through. We are here to help. You have to make a commitment, a choice. Only you can do it. But we are here to support you in that choice once it is made.
Withdrawal from narcotic addiction resembles severe and very prolonged case of flu. I don't mean a cold; I mean the kind of flu that killed millions of people in a pandemic of 1918. The symptoms include malaise, confusion, diarrhea and vomiting, fever, body aches and muscle cramping, severe anxiety, mood swings and irritability, rapid heart rate and breathing, sweating, runny nose, shivering and tremors, anorexia and weight loss. Shall I go on? Whereas the flu lasts 7-10 days, this can continue for as long as 4 to 6 weeks. Unfortunately some people cannot tolerate it and go back to the narcotic use.
So what are the options? Long term detox programs are very costly, but sometimes are partially covered by insurance. They use some medications to make withdrawal more tolerable, but not by much. They also utilize a lot of group therapy which may be very helpful. However this is an environment that is a temporary and a foreign one to the addict and cannot be sustained once he/she leaves.
Suboxone is another valid option. It is an opioid agonist/antagonist medication that is widely advertised and widely used by many physicians as a detox option. Substituting narcotics for Suboxone and then slowly tapering it off allows the body to adjust slowly and not to have to go through the agony of withdrawals. The problem with Suboxone that we see in our clinic is that a subset of patients gets addicted to Suboxone as well and then we have to detox them off of it. So you can often end up substituting one addiction for another.
Another option is the type of detox we do in our clinic called rapid detox, for more info you can just click on my name and look at the clinic website. If it is something you think we can help you with, feel free to call and we will answer your questions. Rapid detox under anesthesia can get you through the worst of withdrawal with only limited amount of symptoms that we can help manage. Naltrexone implant will take over from there and take the daily decision making out of your hands. Knowing that narcotics will have no effect on you, if you do slip up, will help the psychological cravings as well.
Money is always an issue as it is for many people now, but there are priorities in life. When we decide what is important and what is not, what we truly need and what we only want, our life really takes shape. If you cannot function and hold a job, cannot keep your family together because of your dependency on drugs, then your priority becomes getting off of the drugs. Withdrawal is hard and it takes commitment, physical, monetary and psychological.
In our clinic we can get you through the physical part, but the psychological part is something that has to be done throughout your life, week after week, month after month, year after year. During the detox process, as I mentioned before, we place a Naltrexone pellet that helps curb the physical craving for about two months, but that is not enough. The work has to continue though individual therapy, NA group meetings, anything that works to keep your mind off the drugs. You may need to change your friends, change your phone numbers, move to another city, change your life style, or find G-d. Do anything that will give meaning to your life. Something started you on the road to taking drugs: emotional pain, depression, anxiety, loss, failure. It must to be dealt with if you are to be successful in staying clean for life.