Category Archives: Addiction Treatment Program

Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment

Rehabs in Arizona That Offer Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment See Benefits

Rehabs in Arizona That Offer Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment See Benefits

The process of drug and alcohol addiction can be challenging for some people. When residents are at a rehab center in Arizona, they have the encouragement and support that is needed to be successful when they go home. There are classes offered at rehabs in Arizona as well as group and individual counseling sessions. However, finding a rehab that offers exercise as part of addiction treatment can be beneficial for many people who are dealing with addiction.

For many people, playing outside or walking on a trail is considered a form of recreation. For someone who is fighting addiction, it can be therapeutic. Exercise as part of addiction treatment allows for getting the mind healthy by focusing on activities that don’t involve drugs while talking to other people who are participating. Taking the time to get the body healthy, in at least a minimal way, can help to reverse any damage done by drugs and alcohol.

Here are some of the benefits that can be seen when exercise is offered as a part of addiction treatment:

Exercise as Part of Addiction Treatment Decreases Stress

A primary benefit of exercise as part of addiction treatment is stress reduction. When people rely on drugs and alcohol to relieve the stresses that they have in life, it can be difficult to take part in other activities that offer the same feelings.

Various forms of exercise increase the heart rate, relieving stress that is felt in the body for many residents in rehabs in Arizona. They can channel the stress that they have about issues with relationships and past situations in a manner that is often fun and refreshing.

exercise in addiction treatment

Exercise Helps Reduce Sleep Issues

Sometimes, people who have used drugs and alcohol for long periods of time tend to stay awake because of the high that they get from the substances. Exercise is a natural way to tire the body. Paired with planned activities at the rehab center as well as daily chores, exercise can often help residents who have had problems with sleeping in the past.

Once they begin to get a normal sleep schedule again, they can begin to go to bed at roughly the same time each night and get up at the same time the next day. This will help the body adjust to being functional in a healthy way once again.

More Energy from Exercise in Rehab

After exercising for a few weeks, residents at rehab centers can begin to see an increase in energy levels in the body. This increase in energy in a natural way instead of using drugs and alcohol can allow residents to focus on therapy sessions, classes that are taken, seeking employment, and interacting with the other people who are at the rehab center.

Exercise boosts the oxygen levels in the blood, allowing more oxygen to reach the brain and the other vital organs. As more oxygen circulates in the body and fewer drugs are introduced to the body, the person will be able to stay awake longer during the day and channel the energy that is built to positive tasks instead of those that are negative.

Mood Changes from Exercise

When there are no drugs in someone’s body, it can sometimes impact the mood that the person has during the day. There can be times of anger or sadness while the person is recovering in rehab. Exercise can help to stabilize the mood and even enhance the mood as the person begins to see the benefits of this kind of therapy.

While exercising, endorphins are released in the body. These chemicals are responsible for feelings of happiness. As the person continues to exercise by walking, running, playing sports, or simply spending time outside doing something that involves movement, the endorphins will continue to be released. It usually doesn’t take long for endorphins to be released in the body, which means that residents in a rehab center can spend about 30 minutes a day exercising and have the rest of the day for other activities or resting and spending time alone.

Get Healthy While in Rehab

When the body has more oxygen delivered to its vital organs, the body becomes healthier. The only way that this can happen is through exercise of some kind. People who are in rehab can take a daily walk or participate in an exercise class to begin seeing health benefits that are provided by some kind of activity each day.

After weeks of exercising, people can usually begin to see a decrease in weight and begin to breathe easier. Regular exercise also helps in the prevention of heart disease, the risk of a stroke, and depression. It can also keep the bones and joints healthy.

While exercise is known to be an important part of a healthy life, for those trying to overcome addiction, it can be even more important. If you are ready to make a change in your life, and begin your journey in recovery, contact Desert Cove Recovery today for more information.

trauma and addiction treatment in arizona, trauma therapy addiction treatment

Trauma and Addiction Treatment in Arizona

Trauma and Addiction Treatment in Arizona

Many times, those who love someone dealing with issues related to addiction think that if only they could rid them of the drugs or alcohol that they take, everything else would work itself out. However, this is generally too simplistic a view as, in many cases, it’s not really the drugs and alcohol that are the problem.

Instead, they can be part of the solution. By trying to help the person find the means to cope with a traumatic time they may have experienced in his or her past could make the difference.  This could possibly date back to childhood, or maybe instead something much more recent. Of course, there are other coping mechanisms that are much more positive than substance abuse, but some do turn to drugs or alcohol to help them get over their trauma.

Clearly, this is not the right move to make, but it happens, and it is especially important to get trauma and addiction treatment in Arizona if this is the cause. The connection between recovering from the trauma and using this treatment method can be an especially strong one as the person suffering from the trauma may feel like there are no other coping methods that would work as well. This can often be the case even when it has become clear that addiction has resulted from the use of drugs or alcohol.

The Link Between Trauma and Addiction

In order for someone to be successful in recovery, they must treat the root of the problem – the trauma. Trauma and addiction treatment in Arizona must be combined with trauma therapy and addiction treatment so that both the original problem and the incorrectly chosen solution can be addressed. This allows the individual to recover from both hardships that have been experienced. It is not going to be easy in either case, but it is what needs to be done in order for the solutions to be long-lasting.

It’s important for both those seeking treatment, and people who love them, to know that types of trauma can vary quite a bit. One type of episode might deeply affect somebody, while the exact same type could result in little to no trauma for another. It is important to hear from the addict how certain situations affect them and to help them learn healthy ways to cope amidst these feelings. Some examples of types of trauma that can cause people to turn to drugs or alcohol for numbing include abuse, neglect, illness, accident, violence, bullying, military-related trauma and separation from loved ones.

Some of the most damaging things that some do to those who have suffered trauma is to dismiss it by saying things like, “Why are you letting that bother you?”, “I experienced the same thing”, and “I’m fine.”

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How to Treat Trauma Related Addiction

Trauma therapy addiction treatment includes, most importantly, determining other ways to cope with the feelings of trauma in a healthy manner instead of turning to the damaging habits of drugs or alcohol. Some of the things that this involves include the realization that recovery is a process and that it will not be overnight. Although it may seem like it should just involve flipping a switch to some, it really is not like that. Progress can absolutely be made, but it will be a gradual process, little by little.

But what makes it more difficult in this situation is that recovering from trauma combined with recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol exacerbates things. Removing the drug or alcohol just on its own is often a trying situation because of the detox necessary to rid the body of the addiction. However, what needs to be handled with care is the simultaneous removal of the trauma coping mechanism. A new one must be found and encouraged so that old habits aren’t easy to return to once rehab has been completed.

When Dual Diagnosis is Present

Sometimes adding to the difficulty of a healthy detox are co-occurring mental health issues that accompany the addiction and trauma. In this case, the addiction may be the result of one or the other or both, and sensitive care must be given to help those in recovery.

Our staff is trained to handle all of these types of situations and ensure that treatment is given in an all-encompassing manner that helps the individuals recover from every aspect of their troubles and start regaining control of their lives again. The treatment will be individualized to the person and his or her situation.

One of the treatment methods that is often used is the inclusion of a peer-supportive environment. It tends to be easier for people to recover mentally from their addictions and traumatic experiences if they are able to regularly speak to those who are experiencing and have experienced similar things. Being able to share experiences and learn from what others are experiencing can really help the recovery process.

If you or a loved one could benefit from these services, contact us today for more information.

New Research Examines at Link Between DNA and Opioid Addiction

Bentley University and Gravity Diagnostics have entered into a partnership to conduct research into whether a person’s DNA can predict susceptibility to opioid addiction. The results of this work could give doctors prescribing pain medication an indication of how likely a patient is to become addicted. It could also predict how well patients who already have an opioid addiction problem will respond to specific treatments.

From Prescription Opioid Use to Addiction

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), between 21-29 percent of chronic pain patients don’t take their medications properly and more than 115 people lose their lives due to opioid overdose every day. The majority (80 percent) of heroin users began their slide toward this illicit drug by misusing prescription opioid pain relievers.

Researchers will examine individuals’ DNA to discover how susceptible this factor makes them to becoming opioid-dependent. For people who have already become addicted to opioids, the scientists will examine their DNA to determine whether they are likely to respond well to both opioid and non-opioid treatments.

The results of this work could have a significant influence on doctors’ decisions about whether to prescribe opioid to specific patients. When a physician does make the choice to prescribe an opioid pain medication, a patient’s DNA profile may influence how much of the medication he is prescribed. The research results can also influence how doctors treat patients with a history of addiction.

Partnership Includes Multiple Departments at Bentley

The partnership, which will last three years, will include faculty from several departments at Bentley: Natural and Applied Sciences, Sociology and Economics. A public health geneticist will also be on the team to provide assistance with research. Bentley students will enter and process data, and write computer scripts.

Gravity Diagnostics, a Northern Kentucky-based laboratory, is providing a $360,000.00 grant to finance the work. Bentley was selected as a research partner because, “[it is] doing successful research that is relevant to the world today.”

Data Analytics First Phase in Research

In the initial phase of the research, data analytics will be used to pinpoint the genetic features that are the best predictors for addiction and responses to treatment. Once they have been identified, these features and predictions will be tested by comparing them to DNA samples taken from active opioid addicts and those in recovery.

The goal is to discover why some people become addicted to substances quickly, while others can use the same drug and seem to be resistant to physical addiction for some time.

insurance coverage for addiction treatment

Increase Insurance Coverage for Addiction to Lower Risk of Opioid Deaths

Increase Insurance Coverage for Addiction to Lower Risk of Opioid Deaths

Patients who are living with an opioid addiction and want to get help shouldn’t be denied access to treatment by their health insurance providers. This statement was one of the new policy recommendations co-authored by Professor Claudio Nigg, from the Office of Public Health Studies, University of Hawaii at Mānoa.

Lack of Full Coverage for Addiction Treatment a Barrier

The most likely reason people who want, but don’t get, addiction treatment is that government and private insurance policies don’t cover the cost of getting help, according to a statement posted June 27, 2018, on the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s website.

Professor Nigg explained, “To fight the opioid addiction epidemic that is ravaging the US today, policymakers need to increase Medicaid funding for addiction treatment and declare the opioid epidemic to be a national emergency, and not just a public health emergency.”

On a typical day in the United States, 3,900 people start taking a prescription opioid medication for non-medical reasons. Dozens of people die each day from an opioid overdose. In 2016, 77 people died from an opioid overdose in Hawaii, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Medication-Based Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Research has shown that medication-based treatment (MAT) is one approach for clients living with opioid addiction. It includes two components.

First, clients take medication to decrease cravings for drugs (such as oxycodone, morphine and heroin). They also attend behavioral modification therapy (“talk therapy”), which helps them change their thinking and actions.

Funding for Counseling Needed Along with Medications

Professor Nigg points out that while many insurance programs will pay for the medication, getting funding for counseling is much more difficult. He points out that people need the talk therapy, not just the medications to be treated properly for their addiction.

Nigg is an expert in the behavioral health science field. He has studied theories of behavioral change throughout his career and has conducted research on the motivations for people to take part in healthier living strategies.

For more information on opioid addiction treatment, and to find out if you have insurance coverage for addiction treatment, give us a call today.

Study Finds Obstacles and Delays to Getting Help for Substance Abuse

When patients with substance abuse disorder visit their doctor’s office or the local emergency room seeking help, finding appropriate treatment for them is challenging in many instances. Physicians and treatment center administrators shared their thoughts about the obstacles and delays to getting help in the Journal of Addiction Medicine.

Several issues contribute to gaps in patients getting into treatment programs, according to the study conducted by researchers at Brown University and Butler Hospital. The opioid crisis has underlined the gap between the high need for substance abuse treatment and lack of availability to programs in the US.

SAMHSA Report Reveals Shortfall in Substance Abuse Treatment

A report released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that 21.7 million people living in the US need substance abuse treatment. Only 2.35 million of them receive the help they need at a facility specializing in providing this type of care. There hasn’t been much information gathered at the organizational level about the barriers to treatment for people seeking help for substance abuse disorders.

Major Obstacles and Delays in Getting Help for Substance Abuse

Researchers interviewed 59 people they referred to as “stakeholders in the treatment referral process”. These included emergency room doctors, addiction specialists, drug and alcohol treatment center staff and administrators. When the interviews were analyzed, four major ideas stood out:

1. Healthcare providers may not be fully aware of scope of treatment options.

Providers may not have the knowledge required to determine the best type of treatment for a patient. If a healthcare provider does determine the right treatment level for a patient, he must find a program that is a good match for the patient’s needs.

2. Healthcare providers have difficulty determining patient eligibility.

Each treatment center sets its own eligibility requirements, which may prevent a particular patient from receiving needed care.

3. Providers unable to find out whether treatment centers have space available.

Once a healthcare provider determines a patient needs treatment, it is challenging for the provider to find out whether the chosen center has a bed available.

4. Communication challenges make referrals from emergency room directly to a treatment bed difficult.

Often, there is a delay in starting treatment. Direct referrals, where the patient can be taken directly to the drug and alcohol treatment center, are the best approach, especially for patients needing help for opioid use disorders.

Generic Medications for Opioid Dependence

FDA Approves Two Generic Medications for Opioid Dependence Treatment

FDA Approves Two Generic Medications for Opioid Dependence Treatment

Mylan Technologies Inc. and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories SA have received the go-ahead to market buprenorphine and naloxone sublingual film. These products will be made available to patients as generic versions of Suboxone, a medication used to treat opioid dependence.

Buprenorphine is used to reduce the severity of opioid withdrawal symptoms. Naloxone blocks their effects and reverses the same. The two medications can be used as part of an overall treatment program that includes counseling and prescription monitoring.

More Help Available for Opiate Addiction

Generic buprenorphine and naloxone sublingual film will be available in several dosage levels. These medications can only be prescribed by medical professionals certified by the Drug Addiction Treatment Act.

Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the FDA Commissioner, stated that the FDA is taking steps to “advance the development of improved treatments for opioid use disorder” and to ensure that these medications are available to patients who need them. He also said that includes “promoting the development of better drugs, and also facilitating market entry of generic versions of approved drugs to help ensure broader access.”

About Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted Treatment (MAT) is a treatment option that uses FDA-approved medications (buprenorphine, methadone or naltrexone) along with counseling and other types of behavioral therapies, to treat opioid addiction. This form of treatment reduces the severity of withdrawal symptoms. The medications used for MAT don’t give participants the “high” or feeling of ecstasy normally associated with opioid abuse, although some of these medications can wind up being abused as well, so they alone are not a permanent solution.

At an appropriate therapeutic dose for a patient, buprenorphine is also supposed to reduce the pleasurable effects he would experience if he took other opioids. This effect would make continued use of opioids less attractive, therefore much less likely.

Patients who are receiving MAT for opioid use disorder benefit from this type of treatment in another way as well: they cut their risk of dying by 50 percent, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

medically supervised detox

The Importance of Medically Supervised Detox

The Importance of Medically Supervised Detox

When an addiction sufferer realizes they have a drug or alcohol problem, the decision to stop using is a tremendous first step. However, for a number of reasons sufferers may choose to attempt the detoxification process by themselves.

Drug or alcohol addicts may be ashamed of their use, afraid to share their addiction, or simply may not know where to turn. Unfortunately going through detoxification alone may be more detrimental to the long-term health of the sufferer than not coming clean in the first place.

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importance medically supervised detox

Physical Withdrawal from Drugs or Alcohol

The sickness and physical pain caused by withdrawal symptoms often get the better of those attempting to self-detox. The body has become accustomed to functioning with the addictive substance. Organs and the brain have figured out ways to accommodate and flush toxic chemicals from the body.

But, once the addictive substance has been removed, the body doesn’t adjust as quickly. This results in unpleasant physical side effects including:

  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Stomach Pain
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling lightheaded

In the most severe cases, seizures, heart palpitations, and other life-threatening conditions can occur. The possibility of withdrawal resulting in permanent health issues or even death should be reason enough to see medically supervised detox.

With medical supervision and intervention, physicians may be able to introduce medications which can assist in reducing physical symptoms. Fear of replacing one drug with another should be eased. Medically supervised detox can require daily or even weekly supervision. Thus reducing the unlikely development of a secondary addiction.

Mental Obstacles in Detox from Drugs

Patients seeking to detox should not only seek out medical solutions but, mental and therapeutic support. While the physical discomfort of withdrawal can be severe, in some instances the mental anguish associated with withdrawal can become too much to bear for some individuals.

During the detox process, suffers can experience mental symptoms including:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Nightmares
  • Sleeplessness
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Intense desire to use again

Detoxifying can be a psychologically taking ordeal. Having access to the proper level of both medical and mental therapeutic support significantly increase the chances for success.

The Benefits of Medically Supervised Detox

The detox process is similar to other medical treatments. First, the addiction is identified and evaluated. Once understood, the proper treatment plan can be put in place. Finally, and perhaps most important, follow up treatment and assessments help ensure a successful recovery.

Medically supervised detox provides the same benefits as other treatments, such as physical therapy or surgery including:

  • Professional medical and therapeutic staff
  • Clean, safe, and supportive environments
  • Expert symptom relief

Physicians and nurses specially trained in addiction-related treatments can alleviate withdrawal symptoms. They also know when to intervene in an emergency or when to change course if outcomes are not meeting expectations.

Rehabilitation and recovery centers provide a safe environment for sufferers. Surrounded by knowledgeable staff at all levels, comfort and privacy are provided for even the most vulnerable moments of the detox process.

What to Expect During Detox

One of the first questions asked is how long an average detox program can last. There are several factors which determine how long addiction sufferers may spend in a program:

  • Frequency of use
  • Underlying medical conditions
  • Use of single or multiple substances
  • How long drugs or alcohol have been abused

Typical stays last from a few days to a couple weeks. Keep in mind this is only the inpatient treatment portion of the program. Participants will be expected to make regular physician visits and are encouraged to commit to therapy sessions or support groups.

During the time at the rehabilitation center, expect to be surrounded by around the clock care from doctors, nurses, and therapists. Upon entering the center, physicians will establish a medical baseline of health and uncover any medical conditions you may have.

With around the clock monitoring, vitals are checked on a regular basis. As much rest as needed is provided. Each day medications are adjusted appropriately to assist in the detox process. Ultimately the goal is to get addicted suffers back to being themselves as soon as possible.

After Detox

In most instances, it is recommended clients seek continued monitoring. In addition to returning home with the support of friends and family, after detox treatment programs greatly reduce the chance of relapse.

As supportive as friends and family may be, trained professionals can help with unique physical and mental after-effects addiction sufferers may experience. The support in treatment programs provides a source of comfort while adjusting to sober living.

The importance of medical supervision during the detox process cannot be stressed enough. Medically supervised detox is the safest and best step anyone can take to rescue their life from addiction.  If you or someone you know requires detox, there are many organizations including Desert Cove Recovery who can provide the best possible detox options.

reinventing yourself after rehab

Reinventing Yourself After Rehab

A New You: Reinventing Yourself After Rehab

Rehab is only the first step in recovering from drug addiction. Once you get back to your regular routine, you must dodge triggers, learn to cope with stress in a healthy way and continue to avoid falling back into your old habits. One of the best ways to achieve this is to recreate your life. Reinventing yourself after rehab can be a daunting task. Using small steps to change your mindset and behaviors is the key to a sustained recovery.

Why Reinventing Yourself After Rehab Is Important

To understand the importance of reinventing yourself after rehab, it’s vital to understand how the nervous system helps you process experiences. Every time you do something new, your body has to develop the neural pathways to process the information. This is comparable to establishing a new hiking trail in the woods.

The first time you carve out the trail, it feels hard. You have to knock down branches and cut through shrubbery. When you do something new, it can feel challenging as your body creates a pathway for the experience.

reinvention after rehab

As you continue to walk down the hiking trail, the journey becomes easier. The path becomes more defined, and traveling along it keeps new growth from forming on the same route.

Your behaviors and activities in life are like this too. When you perform a certain routine often, the neural pathways that are used to process that task develop more layers of insulation. This helps the signals travel more quickly and smoothly within your body and brain.

Eventually, the new actions feel like habit. Getting there may not be easy, but your new life will feel more streamlined with practice.

When you enter rehab, your substance abuse behaviors feel like the norm. Although they’re not beneficial or healthy, they feel comfortable. It takes some effort to cut those pathways and establish new ones when you return to your regular life.

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A Different Mindset

Don’t underestimate the power of the mind for long-term sobriety. Most people engage in some level of negative self-talk, which can prevent them from doing what they know is best for them.

Awareness is the first step in recreating your mindset. Noticing thoughts that are detrimental to your recovery allows you to change them. Perhaps you tell yourself that you don’t deserve to heal or you’re too weak to stay sober.

Those beliefs are not true. Once you recognize them, you can develop positive mantras to repeat to yourself every time you fall back into your destructive thought processes.

Meditation or prayer can help you become more present and allow harmful beliefs to dissipate instead of making you feel emotional. Establishing a mindfulness routine allows you to live a healthy life without having impulsive reactions to stress.

Establishing New Behaviors

When you’re in rehab, you eliminate harmful substances from your life. You might also remove the stressors of maintaining a household and holding down a job. You may even disengage from your social group. Cutting these things out of your life can help you get away from the patterns that led to your addiction.

When you leave, you must replace the toxic aspects of your life with constructive ones. This may involve finding a new job, creating a new social circle or moving to a new place. These are major life changes that can be challenging.

A high-quality rehab sets you up to establish a new lifestyle. Your peers at a rehabilitation facility understand what you’re going through. Making connections there can help you surround yourself with positive people when you leave.

A transitional living program gives you a chance to test the waters before moving away from rehab completely. You might try going about your regular activities, like attending school or running errands, while returning to a safe harbor at the end of the day.

Ongoing support groups can also keep you focused on reinvention. Regularly appearing at meetings helps you feel like you’re not alone and provides resources for instituting new patterns in your life.

Reinventing yourself after rehab is a creative process that never ends. It is part of the journey of life and contributes to continual growth. If you don’t replace your old, negative habits with positive action, you may end up feeling unfulfilled and resentful.

When your lifestyle used to be pervaded by drugs, your reinvented existence must be characterized by purpose. Getting professional help can empower you to develop a strategy for the future, explore your passions and cultivate new rituals that bring meaning to your life.

 

 

myths of opioid addiction

Myths of Opioid Addiction 

Myths of Opioid Addiction 

The news is bleak and the numbers are staggering. Opioid use in the United States has been on a sharp incline over the past two decades. The number of fatalities, however, how increased at an exponential rate since the late 1990’s. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, the number of overdose fatalities has:

  • Increased five-fold since 1999
  • Doubled since 2010
  • Soared by 25% since last year

And there seems to be no end in sight. The deaths from opioid use have reached and remain at record levels throughout much of the nation.

These are devastating blows to communities where addiction has reached epidemic levels. Closer to home, addiction can be shattering to both the individual and their family. Although the causes of the increased use to opioids are many, myths of opioid addiction can exasperate efforts to make progress on the issue. Here are just three myths and rumors not only causing hysteria, but barriers to real solutions. 

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3 myths of opioid addiction

Myth #1: Opioid Addicts Can Detox On Their Own

Detox, short for detoxification, is the process of a drug user or alcoholic allowing the body to naturally cleanse itself. On the surface, this method may appear to be a leading solution for an opioid addict. However, “detox” is only part of the process of breaking an opioid addiction.

Similar to other addictions, supplementing the natural detoxification process with FDA-approved medications, medical assistance, and counseling dramatically increase success rates. One key component is implementing behavioral health management.

Breaking addictions is a two-pronged process. On one side, the body must be prepared and properly nourished for the physical toll which accompanies detoxification. On the other, mental fortitude is necessary to endure psychological effects individuals will experience. For both, self-detoxification not only can be ineffective, it may put an addict into a worse state than before.

Myth #2: Opioids Are the Most Effective Chronic Pain Drug

This may be perhaps one of the most common myths of opioid addiction. With the sheer number of opioid prescriptions written each year, one would believe this is indeed true. But it’s not. There have been studies which have shown opioids perhaps could be the worst drugs available for chronic pain.

Working as well as other drugs, opioids have a unique quality. They can actually increase an individual’s tolerance to pain over time. As the pain tolerance rises, so too are the potential negative effects of opioid use including addiction, cardiac arrest, and other threatening outcomes.

There are many less expensive but just as effective non-opioid medications on the market today. From ibuprofen and acetaminophen to lidocaine and capsaicin, patients should have discussions with their physician about alternatives. 

And beyond pills, chronic pain sufferers should explore other options, with the guidance of licensed providers. For example, simple steps such as increased exercise and a healthy diet can go a long way to reducing pain symptoms. Alternative treatments may also be effective. Spinal manipulation, acupuncture, and electric stimulation therapy are methods gaining attention in not only managing but reducing chronic pain.

Myth #3: Some is Good, More is Better

We’ve all heard the saying “less is more.” Debates go on as to how true this statement may be in our daily lives. But when it comes to opioid use, more almost never is better.

Physicians are still learning how the human body regulates pain. There are a number of receptors involved and only a few of them react to opiates. When a low to moderate dose of opioid is effective, higher doses will likely provide no further improvement. This is because as the opioid dosage increases, the body’s ability to use them doesn’t change. The result is the body is left with an overage of the drug which the body must work overtime to flush out while increasing the body’s resistance.

Often it is a better course of action to supplement the effective low to moderate opioid dose with a different type of medication. Two together may work better than either one alone, without the negative side effects. Of course, always discuss with your doctor or pharmacist about taking more than one medication at one time. This includes seemingly innocuous medicines such as cough syrups and common over the counter medications. 

Understand the Signs of Opioid Addiction

As a close family member, it would be easy to believe you would know if a loved one was addicted to opioids. But for a handful of reasons this often is not the case.

Opioid addicts will attempt to hide their addiction from family and friends. Unlike other addictions, opioid users do not have as many telltale signs of addictions. Usually only in the most severe cases will physical and behavioral changes become apparent.

However, one area which may raise a red flag are changes in social behavior. When abusing drugs, users will cut themselves off from social media, avoid phone calls, and not respond to texts. Small talk may become almost non-existent. And interest in others can disappear.

If you suspect someone you care about may have a problem, let them know not only their friends and family are there for them, but specially trained experts. The community supporting those breaking opioid addiction is growing. By eliminating the myths of opioid addiction and showing the way to recovery, we can help to reduce the effects of the opioid crisis.

 

 

Med Conference: Buprenorphine Effective for Addiction Treatment

Attendees at a presentation during Hospital Medicine 2018 learned that the drug buprenorphine is appropriate to prescribe for hospitalized patients with opioid use disorders. The same medication is also effective for treating the acute pain experienced by patients being treated using buprenorphine.

Significant Increase in Drug Overdose Deaths

Dr. Anika Alvanzo, from John Hopkins Medicine, made a presentation at the conference. She referred to the significant increase in drug overdose deaths over the past 20 years. The number of fatalities jumped from three percent per year between 2006-2014 and 18 percent per year in the years 2014-2016. Dr. Alvanzo said that a large number of these deaths can be linked to increased use of synthetic opioids.

Types of Prescription Pain Medications

While some people refer to opioids to describe all types of prescription pain medications, they differ in the way they are made.

• Opiates are natural pain medications that are derived from opium. The opium is extracted from the opium poppy and is used to make medications such as morphine and codeine.
• Synthetic opioids are manufactured by humans and include methadone and fentanyl.
• Semi-synthetic opioids are a hybrid made from making chemical modifications to opiates. Drugs in this category include oxycodone, hydromorphone and buprenorphine.

Buprenorphine Availability a Bridge to Treatment for Opioid Use Disorders

Dr. Alvanzo stated during her presentation that there are currently three medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating opioid use disorder: buprenorphine, naltrexone and methadone. She went on to say that when buprenorphine is prescribed to patients on discharge from hospital, it “significantly increases” the likelihood that the patient will seek professional treatment. Approximately 75 percent of patients were in treatment one month after discharge.

The doctor urged her colleagues attending Hospital Medicine 2018 to consider getting their buprenorphine certification so that they can order the drug within the hospital and at discharge for patients. She referred to buprenorphine availability as a “bridge to treatment” for opioid use disorders patients.