Opiate addiction is a terrible affliction that often consists of poor decision making compounding a host of health problems. The lies, secrecy, guilt and other “drama” that can arise when a person has an addiction problem are well documented. This is often compounded further by misinformation and a health care system unprepared for the current opiate crisis.
When an addicted individual or loved one comes to the realization that there is an addiction problem, the first thought is to address the problem quickly or look for a quick solution. There is a very important distinction between the two concepts. Addressing the problem quickly includes seeking professional counseling help with or without medically assisted therapy. A quick fix would be to go to a detox center for a few days to withdrawal off the medication. The former addresses the long term needs the latter is a “quick fix” for the relatively short term problem of withdrawal but fails to address the psychological and social components of addiction. The truth of the matter is that addiction is a complex psychosocial issue that requires psychosocial intervention and not just the “detox” or controlled withdrawal.
Unfortunately, many people are led or choose to go directly to a “detox center”. This course of action presents several problems. One, as described above a “detox center” often doesn’t address the psychosocial component of addiction. Secondly and more importantly, it can be a deadly intervention! When a person is tolerant of a certain amount of opiate they can use that amount relatively safely without overdose. The problem occurs when a person is rapidly “detoxed” and their body becomes “naïve” or no longer adjusted to their usual amount of opiate. When a person who has their “tolerance“ removed and has little or no psychosocial support, they are then at risk for overdose. Why? Because their body has a decreased tolerance for opiates but their mind remembers their previous dose. This can easily and too often leads to an overdose or death. This is the danger of going to “detox” and not getting the long term support and treatment that is needed to address a complex issue.
At our Marietta, GA office we treat opiate addiction with medically assisted therapy (Buprenorphine) and work with a number of counselors for long term treatment and recovery. We also offer non opiate based pain management like acupuncture and physiotherapy. As we recognize that many people are started on the road to addiction by way of a chronic pain issue.