Opiate Addiction Treatment

2011
04.15

Opiate Addiction Treatment

There are a number of treatments available for opiate addiction, and some of these will be examined in this article.

Opiate Addiction

Opiate addiction is very widespread and despite numerous attempts to find solutions, the problem still exists, with over one million persons addicted to opiates still living in the United States. Nevertheless, new treatments are being developed and older therapies are being refined.

Many opiates have been taken from opium poppy seeds or have been synthesized in laboratories. The more common seed-derived opiates are morphine and codeine, while heroin is synthesized from morphine in laboratories. Many of them are used by doctors in the treatment of pain. The body produces natural chemicals known as endorphins and enkephalins which possess nerve cells that are enhanced by opiates. These opiates can suppress pain and reduce anxiety, and even produce a feeling of euphoria when high doses are taken by injection, which works faster and produces the best response. Other methods include smoking, snorting, or taking the opiate orally.

Regular long-term use causes the nerve receptors to get accustomed to the drugs and put up a resistance against them. This makes the users desire higher doses of the opiates in an effort to maintain the pleasure feeling. As the drug leaves the body, the receptors readjust to not having it, and so a reaction known as physical withdrawal takes place. In persons taking drugs like morphine and codeine for pain relief, this reaction is thought to indicate a physical dependence which, it is felt, is not the same as an addiction, since they are not being harmed by the drug, and they are not craving it or doing everything possible to get it.

Addiction does occur, however, very easily and quickly in persons who inject heroin, and those who use high and frequent doses of morphine and codeine. Addicts tend to deny or hide their addiction, which makes it difficult for family members and friends who do not want to intrude on them or who have to take responsibility for them. Nevertheless, opiate addiction is a disease which requires treatment.

Some persons feel that a cure for opiate addiction is not lasting, even though treatment is expensive. They also think that recovery is short-lived and uncertain, as there is always the danger of a relapse occurring. These persons feel that opiate addiction treatment should begin with detoxification, which is a medically supervised and controlled withdrawal program. Much faith is not put in this program, however, as it is felt that most addicts go back to taking the drugs after a while unless further help is given to them. Withdrawal symptoms like anxiety, hallucination, and tremors, for example, are very uncomfortable, but do not threaten the lives of the addicts. The program can last for a week, in the case of short-acting opiates like heroin. It is also felt that detoxification may involve the need to switch heroin addicts to a synthetic opiate known as methadone. Methadone can be taken by injection or orally, and is a longer-acting drug that can be administered in reduced dosages for about a week. Another drug called clonidine is sometimes given along with the methadone to relieve the physical symptoms and reduce the withdrawal period.

Opiate detoxification, the process used to remove opiates from the bodies of addicts, may include several intervention strategies and require close supervision, especially for heroin addicts. Many detoxification programs offer a substitution therapy in which other opiate-based drugs are used to treat opiate addiction. Some of these replacement opiates can themselves become addictive, so that a second weaning is necessary. Many programs also offer rapid detoxification with the aim of quickly and successfully treating addiction, but the programs do not have the same designs or give the same results.

Opiate AddictionThe Waismann Method of Accelerated Neuro-Regulation was launched in 1997, and has successfully treated numerous patients from all over the world. This in-hospital procedure allows patients to comfortably sleep under light anesthesia while the drugs are cleansed from their opiate receptors with the aid of special medications. Withdrawal is accelerated and occurs within hours, with the patients waking up no longer dependent on opiates, but unaware of the withdrawal that has occurred.

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