Addiction is a difficult disease. It can be isolating, lonely, and painful. Unlike many other diseases, addiction is often paired with secrets and lies. It is hard to picture a life without addiction when you don’t know what treatment solutions are out there.

Here are 3 addictions solutions that can turn your life around.

Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder

Last month we heard from a gentleman in another state who had been treated by his primary care doctor for about fifteen years for back pain. Evan had had multiple surgeries over the years, and he was a very compliant patient. He never sold or lost his medication, it had never accidentally fallen in the toilet, it had never been stolen.

When his doctor checked his urine, it always showed exactly what it was supposed to show. He was the ideal patient, so when his doctor announced that he was retiring, Evan was confident another doctor in the practice would be happy to work with him. To his surprise and despair, none of the other doctors were willing to take on a ‘pain management’ patient, even one with such a good track record.

Evan scrambled to find a replacement. Although he’d never run out of his pain medication, he was well aware of what opioid withdrawal looked like from all the media coverage over the past several years.

Is It Safe To Stop Taking Opioids Abruptly?

His insurance company listed one Pain Management specialist in his network that was within forty miles from his home. A long way to travel, but at least he had an option. Evan was horrified to be put on a four-month waiting list to see the specialist. In frustration, while searching on-line, he found the Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine. Stopping his pain medication was not what Evan wanted to do…and yet, it was something that he and his wife had talked about from time to time.

Beyond wanting to avoid horrible withdrawal, people who have become physically dependent on pain medication such as oxycodone, Oxycontin®, hydrocodone, Vicodin®, tramadol, Dilaudid®, and similar medications, are often reluctant to stop because of the fear of the painful condition that had them taking these drugs in the first place.

What Are Non-Opioid Alternatives to Pain Management?

The Coleman Institute has helped hundreds of patients safely and comfortably get off their pain medication, and most patients have found—many to their great surprise—their pain is minimal to non-existent, and for others very tolerable, especially with the help of non-opioid pain management alternatives.

Our Accelerated Opioid Detox off pain medicine generally involves a four-to-six-day outpatient treatment. We also help people get off methadone and buprenorphine products such as Suboxone®. (These medications require an eight-day time frame for a rapid detox.)


UNDERSTANDING ACCELERATED OPIOID DETOX


Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

“The beautiful clarity of zero.” This was the phrase that caught my attention when I was listening to someone in long term recovery describe why he chooses not to drink anymore.

“I tried to drink ‘moderately’ before. I would plan out my week, deciding when and how much I would drink and try to follow it rigidly. The problem was, once my brain had a taste of the alcohol, it became so easy to forget my plan, or justify changing it. I’d tell myself, well, ok…I’ll have three today and just one tomorrow instead of 2 and 2. Rarely could I stop at three drinks. By then, the alcohol was in charge, and it usually resulted in me drinking in the same problematic ways. I would wake up the next day, defeated, full of disgust for myself, head aching and cloudy…No, for me, Not Drinking—is much simpler…my mantra is The Beautiful Clarity of Zero.”

What Is A “Standard Drink”?

The Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine in Richmond, Virginia offers safe, outpatient treatment for people who want to stop drinking and who may be at risk if they stop drinking abruptly on their own. At the completion of our three-day Outpatient Alcohol Detox, we utilize long-acting naltrexone, which we have specialized in for over twenty years. When naltrexone is used for someone with an Alcohol Use Disorder, it helps with the cravings and impulse to drink alcohol. I had a patient who told me that with naltrexone on board, “the liquor store might as well be a shoe store”.

Treatment for Benzodiazepine Dependence

Perhaps one of the most complex and difficult detoxes among substances that cause physical dependence, is the detox to help people safely stop taking benzodiazepines such as Xanax® (alprazozlam), Valium® (diazepam), and Ativan® (lorazepam), etc.

Patients who seek our help getting off medications such as these have almost invariably been using the medication as prescribed by their doctors. Most often people are prescribed these medications to help with anxiety or insomnia. While some people seem to be able to stop using these medications without any problems, others have a profound struggle.

As the body builds a tolerance to these medications, it can no longer get the same effect from the same dose. Without raising the dose, a person may experience withdrawal symptoms. These can include: sleep disturbance, irritability, increased tension and anxiety, panic attacks, hand tremor, sweating, difficulty in concentration, dry wretching and nausea, some weight loss, palpitations, headache, muscular pain and stiffness and a host of perceptual changes. Source: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7841856/.

The Accelerated Benzodiazepine Detox at the Coleman Institute uses flumazenil treatment to safely detach the benzos from the receptors. Other medications are used to safely prevent seizures and to help with sleep and anxiety. As with our other Accelerated Detox programs, these patients require accompaniment by their support person(s). Most of our Accelerated Benzodiazepine Detox patients will need a ten-day outpatient program.

The Coleman Institute Can Help You Find Freedom From Your Addiction

For every patient who comes to the Coleman Institute, there exists a story and a reason for getting started on an addictive substance. The first part of changing the story and writing the next chapter is to safely get off these medications with the help of medically qualified addiction professionals. I feel privileged to be part of such a compassionate and competent team that has been serving patients from around the country for over thirty years.

Please call us at (877) 773-3869 if you or a loved one is struggling with physical dependence on opioid medication, benzodiazepines, and/or alcohol. (And, yes, many patients need a dual-detox, because they are using a combination of these things, so don’t let that stop you from making a call!)

In the meantime, stay safe!

Joan R. Shepherd, FNP



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