The Latest Developments in Opiate Withdrawal Treatment

by baladmin | April 15, 2013

Opiate withdrawal is unpleasant, so the medical world continues to work on ways to improve opiate withdrawal treatment and the detoxification process.

All detox should be medically-monitored. With the involvement of a trained medical professional, the body’s operation of ridding itself of the opiate, or combination of substances, can be carried out more smoothly.

Certain medications seem to help with the flu-like withdrawal systems, and at the appropriate dose, do not also get the detoxing individual high.

Suboxone, or buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone, all semi-synthetic opiates, have been used for years to treat opiate withdrawal. The effectiveness of using one opiate to cure the cravings for another opiate is controversial. With various opinions on whether the substitution works more like a crutch, or whether it keeps the addict using, is constantly up for debate.

On his show, Celebrity Rehab, Dr. Drew Pinsky used suboxone to help opiate addicts detox, but only during the detoxification process. His clients are then tapered off, and remain sober for the remainder of rehab.

So are these opiates okay to take just during the detox process? What about severe addicts who cannot be completely off even a doctor-prescribed opiate like methadone?

Many members of the substance abuse treatment field believe that methadone maintenance is a valuable way to keep heroin addicts from using again. With methadone in the addict’s system, the use of heroin, or other stronger opiates, will have no euphoric effect on the user because the receptor sites in the brain are already occupied with methadone.

Is the addict really facing the reasons for his or her opiate use, or is a drug like methadone keeping the addict numb emotionally in much the same way heroin, or a pill form of an opiate was doing during active addiction?

The Betty Ford Clinic believes that someone using suboxone, or buprenorphine, naltrexone, or methadone to stay sober is just as clean as someone who does not use any medications to counteract cravings.

Are medications the best developments in opiate withdrawal treatment? It seems that at this point in modern medicine and substance abuse treatment, the answer is yes.

If an opiate addict is ready to get clean, many days will feel unbearable, but he or she will make it through, and a medication can help with that process.

photo credit: Horia Varlan