Whether you used a prescription drug to battle severe pain, or you experimented with an illegal drug like heroin and got hooked, opioid addiction doesn’t care how you started — and it doesn’t care how badly you want to stop. Once opioids get a hold of your life, it can seem nearly impossible to quit on your own, and the cravings and compulsive behavior can get worse and worse.
But there’s hope.
Our experienced team at Alpha Care Medical specializes is helping break the cycle of opioid addiction and helping people reclaim their lives. Our proven medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can effectively wean you off opioids, keep your pain at bay, and eventually free you from the oppressive grip of addiction.
The current opioid addiction and overdose epidemic began about three decades ago, when physicians trusted pharmaceutical companies’ claims that certain pain relievers, called opioids, were safe and nonaddictive. On the contrary, they are highly addictive, and cases of misuse and abuse skyrocketed. Studies show that:
- More than 47,000 people die every year in the United States due to opioid overdoses
- Since 1999, opioids have caused more than 450,000 deaths
- 1.7 million Americans have opioid substance abuse disorder
- 652,000 people have a heroin abuse disorder (some were addicted to both heroin and prescription pills)
- Almost 30% of people who get opioid prescriptions use the drugs incorrectly
- Up to 6% of those who misuse opioids for pain transition to heroin
- 80% of heroin addicts start with prescription pain pills
- The related costs (health care, treatment, counseling, lost wages, and legal fees) comes to $78.5 billion annually
Clearly, opioids — which include codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, fentanyl, tramadol, and heroine — are extremely powerful and highly dangerous.
Breaking the grip of opioids
Quitting opioids is nearly impossible without help. Going cold turkey may work for smoking and dieting, but withdrawal from opioids is usually physically and mentally gruelling.
At Alpha Care Medical, we come alongside you in a partnership and address the needs of your body and mind. No two people are alike, and no two opioid journeys are alike, either. That’s why we tailor your treatment to your unique needs. Our MAT plan uses FDA-approved medication along with counseling and behavioral health strategies to help you:
- Stabilize your brain chemistry
- Block the euphoric effect of the opioids
- Stop your physical and psychological cravings
- Relieve pain without opioids
- Restore your ability to function socially, interpersonally, and professionally
These medications make it possible for your body to return to normal functioning over time without the negative effects of opioids. Contrary to a popular misconception, MAT is not merely swapping out one drug for another. It’s a clinically proven way to ease the symptoms of opioid withdrawals and rebalance the chemicals in your brain that cause cravings. We may use any of the following three medications in your treatment.
Buprenorphine is considered a partial opioid agonist. That means that it binds to your body's opioid receptors, but it doesn’t stimulate them to the full extent. You may have heard of the brand name version of buprenorphine called Subutex®. There are also other brand names, such as Suboxone® and Zubsolv®, which combine buprenorphine with the opioid receptor antagonist naloxone.
These are all common drugs used in opiate-replacement therapy. Depending on how severe your addiction level is, we may prescribe buprenorphine, which comes in a dissolving film or pill form you take daily.
Naltrexone works differently than buprenorphine and methadone in that it doesn’t activate your opioid receptors like the other two. Instead, naltrexone blocks the receptors completely. This means that if you take the problem drug while you’re also taking naltrexone, you won’t feel the euphoric high you once got with the drug. This makes relapse unlikely as long as you continue to take naltrexone as prescribed.
Another key difference is that naltrexone, also known as ReVia® or Depade® in the pill form or Vivitrol® in an extended-release injection, can’t be given unless you’ve abstained from the problem drug for at least a week.
If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid addiction, help is at hand. Alpha Care Medical has locations in Seaford, Millsboro, Harrington, and Dover, Delaware, so we’re close by and at your service. Together, we can break your addiction. To learn more, book an appointment over the phone today.