Thursday, July 16, 2009

Michael Jackson - Could it Have Ended Differently?

Recently, people all over the world mourned the loss of the infamous King of Pop, Michael Jackson. The media continues to speculate if the cause of his death was related to an overdose of pain medications he received from his doctor. Like many chronic pain patients who are prescribed narcotics, most family and friends do not believe that the person has an addiction because they appear to act “normal” instead of “high”. The truth is that after a long period of time, the patient will continue taking the opiate just to curb the withdrawal symptoms and there is actually very little to no euphoric feeling. The reasoning for this is related to the opiate’s physiological resemblance to endorphins. Endorphins are a group of peptide hormones produced by the body which reduce pain. Over time, the body will perceive the opiates as endorphins and therefore stop the endorphin production. When the endorphin levels drop and the narcotic pain medication starts wearing off, the patient starts going through withdrawal, hence the need for more pain medication.

So if the rumors surrounding Michael Jackson’s death are found to be true, could there have been other options available to have prevented his untimely death? The answer is yes. Initially, most patients try a tapering method with their prescribing doctor in which the opiate is slowly weaned down over time. The downside to this method is that it can take several months to complete and can also be very uncomfortable for the patient. Another method is Accelerated Opiate Detox. This medical procedure is better suited for patients who wish to be detoxed more quickly and with very little discomfort. It is completed in an outpatient environment over three days and conscious sedation is used to minimize withdrawals. At the completion of the detox, the patient receives a Naltrexone implant. This implant is inserted under the skin and dissolves slowly over two months to help with opiate cravings and prevent possible relapse.

Great talent is hard to find in our world today. As we mourn the loss of a great musical icon, we also realize that even Michael Jackson felt pain and needed help. While our practice may not have the world-wide impact that Mr. Jackson’s music did, we do believe our talented medical staff, cutting edge technology, and compassion for the suffering makes the Coleman Institute the best place to, “Beat it” and to Get Clean and Stay Clean! For more information on The Coleman Institute, please contact Jennifer at 877-77-DETOX or Jennifer@thecolemaninstitute.com.

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