Opiate Dependency and Withdrawal
Opioid detox is not something you want to try alone. Often, when a prescription for painkillers ends, someone who has become dependent on opioids to function can’t get what their body needs. The withdrawal symptoms can be overbearing. As the body screams for more, it then summons the brain to go find some more at any cost.
Generally speaking, most family members and friends don’t understand the extreme intensity of these withdrawal symptoms, as they have nothing to base it on, thus, they don’t know what the person is going through.
The dependent person at this point tries to self-medicate. But, finding a replacement to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms can be difficult, especially now that government regulators have cracked down on opioid prescription misuse. Without a source for the opioids, a dependent individual may take to the streets to find illicit replacements. This is one of the reasons heroin use has been on the rise again in the United States (cite: 1).
Another replacement might be Fentanyl which can often be purchased illegally (cite: 2). Fentanyl is the active ingredient of some of the most powerful prescription painkillers available. The problem is the person doesn’t know exactly what they are getting, or in what concentration. Taking more than the person is used to or can handle only causes further dependency issues, and too much could result in an overdose.
This scenario above is very common. What starts out as a painkiller prescription for a real medical or health problem turns into a living nightmare, often ruining lives. I think we can all agree that this is terrible, totally unacceptable and should never happen. Of course, placing blame now doesn’t fix the problem of all those who’ve become dependent and addicted to opioids (cite: 3).
What Is the Solution to the Opioid Detoxification Problem
Well, in the scenario above we see that merely ending the pain killer prescription of a dependent person often doesn’t end well. By the time an opioid-addicted individual makes it to a legitimate rehab center, the situation is usually more convoluted and complicated as the mix of prescription drugs and illicit drugs, the amounts and concentrations, and the individual’s deteriorated health condition has progressed.
For a successful detoxification program to work at this point, everything must be taken into consideration and each individual will need a customized treatment strategy (cite: 4). One-Size fits all programs won’t work at this point, and will only lead to relapse, which means more pain, further health problems, and increased personal and possibly financial stress. It is important to connect with these people as early as possible, and make sure they know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The loss of hope only further compounds the distress they are already experiencing.
Time Is Critical
The longer one waits to get into treatment, the more damage their body and mind will incur, and the harder it will be to successfully treat the dependency. Long term brain and nerve damage can occur, and opioid drug use also takes its toll on internal organs. Throw in illicit drug use and the lifestyle that often accompanies it, and the path back might seem daunting for many of these people. The earlier they can find help and be placed in a customized treatment program, the better chance they have of getting back to themselves and regaining control of their lives. Therefore, time is of the essence. No one should become a ‘throw-away’ person (cite: 5).
At LifeSync Malibu we’ve seen miracles, but it is just a shame to let it go that long. It rips families apart, destroys lives and causes so much pain. We’d much prefer to help someone end their dependency before their life and health have been impacted. Please let us help you before it’s too late. Find out why successful treatment starts with a customized and personalized dependency treatment program.
Contact an Admissions Specialist to learn about opiate detox and treatment options at 866-491-4426
1.) “Self-Medication Hypothesis of Substance Use: Testing Khantzian’s Updated Theory,” by Danny H. Hall and John E. Queener, published in the Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, pages 151-158, September 8, 2011. https://doi.org/10.1080/02791072.2007.10399873
2.) “Detection of illicit online sales of fentanyls via Twitter,” Tim K. Mackey and Janani Kalyanam, Version 1. F1000Res. 2017; 6: 1937. Published online 2017 Nov 2. doi: 10.12688/f1000research.12914.1
3.) “The Doctor’s Dilemma: Opiate Analgesics and Chronic Pain,” by Howard L. Fields, published in Neuron, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2011.02.001 , https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuron.2011.02.001
4.) “Precision in Addiction Care: Does It Make a Difference?” by Jaap van der Stel, PhD, published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine.
5.) “The Neurobiology of Opioid Dependence: Implications for Treatment,” by Thomas R. Kosten, M.D. and Tony P. George, M.D, published in National Institute on Drug Abuse journal on Science and Practice Perspectives. 2002;1(1):13–20. doi:10.1151/spp021113