Julia M Aharonov, DO  
Female, 55
Pontiac, MI

Specialties: Addiction, Drug abuse and dependence

Interests: My family
Advanced Rapid Detox
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Opiate Detox - what are the options?

Jun 05, 2011 - 10 comments

opiate detox







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.

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Avatar universal
by Nomoredone, Jun 15, 2011
Since you're an addiction expert, maybe you can suggest what I can do.
I am a 61 yr. old female widow.  I have been on methadone my entire adult life (since Nov. 1971) - so that would be 40 years.
I live in constant fear that I will become ill and need help for pain because I can't take other pain killers due to methadone.
And increasing the methadone just doesn't help. I am under "pain mgt." with a daily dose of 160 mg.  I have taken 3x this dose with NO pain relief so I guess that in order to kill serious pain they would have to kill me with an overdose.
I have asked other "experts" their opinion or if they can help and I have had responses of ignoring (no response) or I have even had addiction doctors tell me that I am a unique case and they would not even know how to attempt to get me off of methadone with my other health issues after 40 years.
Any comment?

Avatar universal
by Kalvin, Jun 19, 2011
If any of you do decide to go the Rapid Detox route, make sure you research it throughly, there's a lot of horror stories out there related to this procedure. Check out the Opiate Detox Recovery website, they have an entire section on it.

Avatar universal
by mackie442, Jun 21, 2011
When the choice to start an opiate painkiller drug after mastectomy and node clearance, was not mine initially (i.e. I never asked for this cancer) I am tremendously afraid that I will become adicted to these drugs or rather,my body will.  I've cut down the use of them from two per day to one in the evenings only, but am still afraid. They are Oxynorm 10mg - have been prescribed for 6 weeks & the effects of which I find calming after about an hour or so of taking one - and of course, pain decrease.  I guess they could be why I have a bloated stomach and nausea too?  Chemo is yet to come and I'm afraid after the efect of nausea etc...just from painkillers that I will have a bad time with chemo

Avatar universal
by nicb182, Jun 25, 2011
I became addicted to opiates at 20 and am now 32. Two years ago, I began taking suboxone and have managed to stay pretty much clean (I smoke pot once in a while) since. I had pretty much lost hope during my twenties, switching from one methadone clinic to another without much more than a few weeks of sobriety at a time. Finally, after losing far too many friends to jail and the cemetery, I ended up in the hospital with endocarditis from using dirty syringes. Doctors told me that I was lucky not to have contracted HIV or HVC but that I would die if I didn't stop shooting heroin, dilaudid, morphine, oxy, and cocaine... I had become a drug trash can. Somehow, I was lucky enough to find the right woman to help me through my detox and rehab process when so many others had seemingly given up on me. When I got out of the hospital, I was on methadone again but decided that I needed to try something different. Through a little online research, I found a good doctor in my area who helped me get on a 24-day buprenorhine detox program once I'd gotten my 'done dose down to 30mg. The transition from methadone to bupe was rough. You're not supposed to take opiates for at least 48 hours before taking your first dose of buprenorphine, but of course I did and became dope sick almost instantly. I knew that taking more opiates would just make me feel worse because of the op blocker in the bupe so I had no choice but to stick it out! Fortunately, I had suffered much worse withdrawals and had a couple benzos to ease the anxiety so it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I drank lots of Gatorade, my girl fed me chicken soup, and by the next day I was feeling much better. Within three days, I was feeling better than I had in ten years. I am now on a suboxone maintenance program taking the smallest dosage my doctor will prescribe (1mg). It holds me for about 36 hours. Sometimes, I even forget to take my dose in the morning (which I couldn't imagine when I was on any other opiate) and when I don't take it, the withdrawals are mild compared to any other opiate I've been addicted to. Anxiety and upset tummy are the worst of the symptoms, but again, nothing compared to what I've gone through as a kicking addict. I've been holding steady at 1mg/day of suboxone for about 6 months now but I finally have my life back and I am ready to make the final break even though my doctor recommends staying stabilized. Any advice on what to do now? What can I do to make the final transition to a chemical-free life easier? Thanks and good luck to everyone! I really hope my experience helps someone out there because for a long time I really didn't think I was going to make it to 30 but obviously, I'm still here.

Avatar universal
by Jermz3, Jul 14, 2011
I was on mg of methadone a day for 6 years, It was expensive, I had no job but manage to have the money each week, but this money came through theft and scamming. I was a piece of crap, I saw that and knew I was better than that. When I was clean before drug I would look at addicts and say oh they just don't want to get off , or they are just weak, until I fell into the pit with them. I've been on suboxone for 2 years now, but still can't conceive what my life will be like after i stop. I'm afraid the depression and boredom will kill me. I've come a long way and I'm a stronger person for it now, So I help people now and not hate and take things form them.But I'm still scared.......very scared............

Avatar universal
by Jermz3, Jul 14, 2011
sorry i for got to put the mg I was on with methadone it 120mg

Avatar universal
by stonewall2011, Jan 05, 2013
I am also a methadone victim and now 7 days clean no help but through God and family but I'm in so much pain and the tub is my only relax spot but don't want to keep everyone awake cause sleep is gone....I lay Herr so hurt and so mixed up...I need help.....I was taking 120mlg a day and a extra 65 mots on weekends and zanax....does anyone have a clue for me....

4823110 tn?1359631348
by futzy, Feb 08, 2013
Just keep trying you can do it,,,,,,, Ask God to help you cause He will all you have to do it ask.
He saved my life.

Avatar universal
by tryinsohardtokickit, Feb 12, 2013
Ok here goes my story. I'm in such a tough spot right now. A single mom two young kids. I had opiate addiction mainly percocets sometimes heroin. This has happend over the past year. Once I lost my job of 7 years things got bad. I realized I had a problem and one I couldn't afford. I blew lots of savings to get high. Then I checked myself into a 3 day detox came home feelin a lil restless but overall ok. Didnt realize how lucky I was to feel as good as I did...Relapsed 2 weeks after that. Then 3 months ago started going to a clinic started on methadone 3 months then they taperd me down so I could switch to Suboxones, my choice. Was on suboxone 8 mg for 1 week decided to come off cold Turkey and here I am 8 days later. Still feel absolutly no energy. But most the of withdrawal is gone. Well I Cant sleep either. When will my energyr return??? Please help??? Feeling so hopeless at this point. I dont want to but am so afraid I will go to the pills again. If I dont get relief soon. Anyone been in a similar situation? Its to much to run a household with two small children feeling energyless and sleep deprived:'(.

Avatar universal
by khoover, Apr 11, 2013
I my self is addicted to pain pills. I am a single mother of one and i want better for my child but im so scared of withdraws and at this point i can't get out of bed without taking a pill. What's the worst part of withdraws and how long does it last? I need help i feel like im drowning in a see of pills and pain.......

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