Replacement Therapy for Addiction to Opiates

Opiate addiction is considered a unique form of addiction in that the brain naturally has opiates in its system. These natural opiates, which are responsible for lifting a person’s mood, tend to die out upon abuse of opioid substances such as painkillers. As such, most treatment programs against opiate addiction often fail because of the severe side-effects and withdrawal symptoms that surface when an addict is cut of his opioid supply.
Taking into consideration these the effects of withdrawal symptoms to the success of treatment, most researchers and treatment providers recommend replacement therapy as the favored program for opiate addiction. This therapy, as the name implies, entails the replacement of opioid medication with another drug that will regulate the brain’s neuro chemical agents and reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Common drugs used for replacement therapy include methadone and Suboxone or buprenorphine. These drugs preferred because they are not addictive, have long lasting effects, and they stay at consistent levels in the brain. Furthermore, the said drugs do not alter brain chemistry in any way.
At present, around 200,000 opiate addicts under treatment are given methadone while about 5,000 people are using Suboxone, which is relatively newer. ( number of users of the latter drug, however, is expected to climb in the coming five years.
A look back
The introduction of replacement therapy may be considered a breakthrough since before it, opiate addiction was thought to be incurable. The condition itself was considered a psychological disorder acquired by people who have inherited addictive personality and/or suffered from a dysfunctional family.
Even with its introduction and given the support of research, the medical community was at first skeptic about replacement theory. Most considered it the plain replacement of one drug for another, which is what it is in reality. The difference is that the new drug is not addictive and the use of it regulated by a physician.
Moreover, with replacement therapy, a patient would not need to resort to purchasing his supply from drug dealers. He can take the replacement drug one a daily basis and be on the way to a more productive and cleaner life.
Acceptance, understanding, and treatment
Opiate addiction, like any type of addiction, is a chronic disease that needs special medical addiction. The first step to treating it is acceptance for what it is and implementing appropriate action. The longer addiction is denied, the worse it effects would be. So at the first sign of addiction, overcome shyness and embarrassment –ask for help. Call us here at Miramar Treatment and Recovery and we would be more than willing to help.


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