Opiate Addiction Treatment
Opiates (or opioids) prescribed by a physician are an excellent way of providing relief from acute pain, but they are extremely habit forming and addictive. Because opiate addiction is a common side effect of prolonged use, they should only be used in the manner and duration in which they are prescribed.
Opioids bind to receptors in the brain that control the pain and reward systems. While they work well to control pain, they can also provide intense pleasure and sometimes even euphoria. Taking more than prescribed, or continued self-medication of opiate-based painkillers creates a tolerance and requires an increase in the normal dosage to provide the same pain relief effects.
In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that more than 12 million people in the United States had used prescription painkillers non-medically, or in a way not prescribed.
Opioids, or opiate painkillers include hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (Oxycontin), and codeine. They have been widely prescribed for many years to aid in pain management, but when the prescriptions end, it’s often too late and the user ends up addicted and seeks alternative ways of finding more to keep the pain relief, or “high” going.
The chart at the right from the CDC shows that there are many sources for people addicted to opiates to get more after the prescription run outs. Nearly 55% of people get them free from a friend or relative.
Opioid Use Disorder is included in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) where the diagnosis has been updated from DSM-IV and now combines Opioid Dependence and Opioid Abuse into one disorder called Opioid Use Disorder.
What are the Symptoms of Opioid Use Disorder?
- Taking more opiates than originally prescribed or intended
- Unsuccessful control of opioid drug use
- Spending a considerable amount of time obtaining, taking, or recovering from the effects of the drug
- Drug cravings
- The inability to function normally at home, work or school because of drug use
- Problems with relationships or social problems because of opiate use
- Changes in regular activities because of opiate misuse
- Continued use of opiates even though it causes a physical or psychological problem
Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Addiction to any substance, including opiate painkillers, causes structural and functional changes to the brain, which involve cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Because of these brain changes, quitting an addiction is not as easy as simply stopping the use of the addictive substance.
One of the most dangerous aspects of opiate addiction presents itself when people try to quit. Withdrawal symptoms can be quite painful and more times than not, people get very sick physically and experience extreme flu-like symptoms. For this reason, many people continue to use the drugs to avoid the pain of withdrawal.
It is always recommended to seek the help of a trained addictionologist for treatment, which usually involves two steps: detox and a maintenance program.
The first step for treating an opiate addiction involves detox, and will be guided by the care of trained medical doctor, and can last anywhere from five days to several weeks, depending on the addictive substance and severity of the addiction.
After successful completion of detox, a maintenance program follows and can take months or sometimes years to repair the brain changes caused by addiction.
Dr. Akikur Mohammad, M.D. has been practicing Addiction Medicine for nearly two decades and specializes in effective detox and maintenance of opiate addiction and opioid misuse. His expertise in safe and comfortable outpatient detox has made Las Virgenes Behavioral Health and Medical Clinic a local favorite in Agoura Hills and the southern California area.
For more information about opiate addiction treatment with Dr. Mohammad, call 818-879-9018 to schedule an appointment.
Las Virgenes Behavioral Health & Medical Clinic
30101 Agoura Court, Suite 100
Agoura Hills, California 91301
(818) 879-9018 Office
(818) 964-7928 Rebecca
(855) 652-1136 Toll-Free