Monday, April 30, 2012

The Benefits of Naltrexone Therapy

It is an unfortunate fact that America has a significant problem with the pervasive use of opiate drugs and alcohol.  While this has been an ongoing issue, more recently addiction rates have increased and this is placing considerable pressure on the national health care system.  A large proportion of opiate addiction pertains to legal prescription medications.  According to the National Institute for Drug Abuse, there are over one million people in the United States dependent on legal opiates, with a further six million using the psycho-therapeutic drugs with the potential to also become addicted. Alcohol abuse continues to plague the United States with approximately 14 million Americans, meeting the diagnostic measure for alcohol abuse or alcoholism.  This equates to 7.4 percent of the American population.

Although these figures are depressing, there are excellent opportunities to beat these addictions under the correct guidance.  While there are many different treatment options for opiate and alcohol dependency, the use of naltrexone has proven to be very effective.  Naltrexone works by blocking the effects of opioids in the brain.   Naltrexone binds to opioid receptors, stopping opioids from stimulating the neurons and creating the experience of pleasure or euphoria from opioid drug and   Naltrexone is a popular choice because it doesn't interfere with any other functions within the body and therefore it has minimal side effects.

Naltrexone therapy helps patients regain the sense of happiness without the desire for opiates.  While the opiate receptors are blocked, patients have fewer cravings and if they do continue to consume alcohol or other opiates they do not receive the same stimuli which lead to the addiction in the first instance.

Most commonly naltrexone is taken orally, although some clinics such as The Coleman Institute also offer naltrexone implants.  The implants are placed under the skin and are designed to slowly release naltrexone over six to twelve weeks.  This is a highly effective treatment method because patients aren't required to remember to take their naltrexone medication.  Also, the steady dose over several weeks creates greater stability and increases the probability that the patient will remain abstinent in the future.

The benefits of naltrexone implants have been recently verified during a clinical study. A new publication in the American Journal of Psychiatry, titled 'Naltrexone Implant for the Treatment of Polydrug Dependence: A Randomized Controlled trial', details research into the effectiveness of naltrexone implants. The research team concluded that after a ten week study period, patients that received the naltrexone implants had a greater success rate than those who received a placebo implant.

Given these favorable results, this drug treatment program at The Coleman Institute is likely to continue to expand and offer a new and more effective method of beating drug and alcohol dependency.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Using Accelerated Detox with Suboxone

When it comes to the treatment of narcotic addiction, there are several different approaches that can be taken.  Just how effective these different treatments can be depends on a wide range of different factors. Addiction takes different forms in different people and what works for one person will not for another. Some can enter a drug treatment program that centers simply on working through the larger problems with a group of people.  Some people will be able to quit cold turkey and walk away from the drug.  For some, additional chemicals may be prescribed such as Suboxone.

Suboxone is generally prescribed for those who are addicted to opiates such as Heroin, Morphine or Codeine.  It is a chemical combination of buprenorphine and naloxone and is used to wean someone off of the harsher opiates by giving them a less acute "high."  For those who do not feel as though they can go without some sort of a euphoric feeling that opiates like Heroin provide, this drug can be a gateway towards getting clean.   The problem arises when the person taking Suboxone is eventually required to quit this drug as well.

The use of this drug is usually a long-term approach and it can mean staying on Suboxone for as long as six to nine months.  However, there is an alternative detox approach that will allow addicts to step from Heroin to Suboxone to being completely clean in just a matter of days.   This particular process is usually referred to as Accelerated Detoxification.  The Coleman Institute excels at helping people get clean and stay clean from opiates, alcohol, benzos, methadone, and particularly suboxone.  In a matter of just over a week, patients are free from all traces of suboxone in their body and feel freedom again! 

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction, please have them call Jennifer at 1.877.77.Detox or (1.877.773.3869)

are more apt to suggest weaning off of Suboxone in a matter of days or just over a week to deal with the addiction completely.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Feelings as Triggers

When you're in recovery, it sometimes seems as if you are walking on a tightrope.  One slip and you imagine you could go tumbling off the wire, hurtling into the depths.  In this case, however, those depths involve falling back into your addiction and all of the pain it causes.

The tightrope walker learns in his or her training to recognize the bodily cues that indicate a loss of balance, and then to quickly correct them in order to avoid falling.  Similarly, in recovery we must be very aware of those events, both internal and external, that might cause us to fall back into our addiction.  These we label as triggers, and we keep them at the forefront of our mind in order to be vigilant when they do occur.

Relapse triggers are different for everyone, but since we all experience emotions, feelings as triggers is a phenomenon that most people in recovery have to deal with at some point.  Almost any feeling can act as a trigger, and which feelings have the most sway over your decision to use depends on your personality.

Some people experience stress and feel a strong desire to use in order to reduce those unpleasant feelings.  Others may feel most inclined to use when they get good news; they may feel the need to "celebrate" by using their drug of choice.  The key to a successful recovery is to be aware of which feelings can act most potently as triggers for you.

Identifying feelings as triggers, and then remaining vigilant about their occurrence is something a treatment center like The Coleman Institute can help with.  Specializing in alcohol, opiate, benzodiazepine, methadone, chronic pain, and suboxone detox, the Coleman Institute is also committed to quality aftercare at the conclusion of your detox.  Whether it is an inpatient, outpatient, counselor, or 12 step meeting that is right for you, their trained staff will see that you get the right fit for you.  Emotions shouldn't get the best of you and they are committed to helping you help yourself through quality aftercare! 

If you or someone you love is in need of detox and then referral to a quality aftercare program, please call Jennifer at The Coleman Institute at 1.877.77.DETOX (1.877.773.3869).  We're waiting to hear from you!  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Thoughts as Triggers

One of the more difficult aspects of recovery is that we are regularly assaulted by thoughts that make using seem more appealing.  Unfortunately for an addict, these thoughts can be intrusive in the early days of recovery.  Indeed, for some people, they don't subside for quite some time.

Thus, a crucial part of recovery is staying in tune with these thoughts, and recognizing which of them has the potential to act as a relapse trigger.  A relapse trigger can briefly be defined as anything that makes relapse to drugs and alcohol more likely.  While it may seem obvious that thoughts are a necessary prerequisite of relapse, thought as triggers is an important area of investigation that everyone in recovery must pursue.  Regardless of what substances you used: methadone, suboxone, opiates or benzos; thoughts occur about using just as much with one as it does with the other. 

Often, this inquiry involves taking a daily inventory of one's thoughts and determining which have the emotional power to act as triggers.   Frequently the thoughts that are most likely to lead us to relapse are those that cause an emotional reaction in us, although that reaction doesn't necessarily need to be negative.  In fact, many of us are just as inclined to relapse after very happy thoughts as we are due to very negative thoughts.  The desire to celebrate after a happy thought can be very strong.

The key to avoiding the influence of thought as triggers is to be very aware of which thoughts are likely to affect us in that way.  Maintaining a level emotional response to thoughts can then allow us to process any thought in a rational manner.  To attain this level of equanimity, however, often requires the assistance of a quality aftercare program such as a counselor.  This is when reputable treatment centers like The Coleman Institute become especially important to recovery.  Not only does The Coleman Institute excel with their state-of-the-art accelerated opiate detox, they also are committed to helping their patients connect with the appropriate level of aftercare once they have completed their detox and had their naltrexone implant.  Getting the assistance of inpatient, outpatient, individual or group counseling can help you to identify emotionally-charged thoughts, and to process them with others before they lead to relapse. 

If you or someone you love needs help getting off of drugs and/or alcohol, please call us at 1.877.77.DETOX (or 1.877.773.3869).  We will be happy to detox them, give them Naltrexone Therapy via the Naltrexone Implant AND help connect them with a quality aftercare facility that can address your individual needs and those of your family!

Friday, April 20, 2012

420 - Not Just a Time of Day!


 Happy Sober 4/20/2012!  If you haven't been living under a rock then you might be aware of the significance of today's date (apologies to all rock dwellers).  That's right, it is 4/20/2012 or "420".  Wikipedia has this to say about the famous cultural concept, " The earliest use of the term began among a group of teenagers in San Rafael, California in 1971.  Calling themselves the Waldos, because "their chosen hang-out spot was a wall outside the school," the group first used the term in connection to a fall 1971 plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop that they had learned about. The Waldos designated the Louis Pasteur statue on the grounds of San Rafael High School as their meeting place, and 4:20 pm as their meeting time.  The Waldos referred to this plan with the phrase "4:20 Louis". Multiple failed attempts to find the crop eventually shortened their phrase to simply "4:20", which ultimately evolved into a codeword that the teens used to mean pot-smoking in general."
     All around the world today, millions will smoke pot.  They will do it for myriad of reasons: social pressure, boredom, being a part of something larger than themselves, and just plain getting high man!  The sad part is that pot is harmful to the body.  It does hurt your brain by destroying memory.  It leaves you with less money, freedom, and life than what it purports to give you.  It is also illegal.  It is not a drug that helps hurts you.    
    As a non-pot-smoker most people will tell me that I am not qualified to speak on the subject.  While they are correct, in that I don't know what it feels like to inhale marijuana and feel the subsequent 'high' from it, I do know what it is like to talk to addicts at The Coleman Institute who are coming off of drugs who tell me that 'pot is a gateway drug' and that they used to not feel that way but their destructive drug history tells them otherwise. 
    Don't get me wrong, I am not judging people who smoke pot.  I am hoping that they find a better way of life than frying their brain on green weed.  Life is too beautiful, too bold, too fun, too exciting and too short to waste inhaling bud dude...seriously...put out the bud, destroy the bong and join the "sober highway"...we've got lots of great destinations!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Patient Testimonies: Good News!!!

It is a joy to work at The Coleman Institute and helping people get free from alcohol, opiates, benzos, Methadone and Suboxone every day!  It is even a greater joy to see and hear about the results of our detoxed patients taking ownership of their sobriety and their lives after they leave us.  Sometimes, unintentionally, faces and names get mixed up and details slip our minds.  So, it is refreshing, literally, to hear back from patient's about their experience, strength, and hope every once in a while.  So, without further ado, here are two recent testimonies we received that we are celebrating this month.  Would you join us in giving thanks for these two lives that are sober and thriving? 

"Just sending a huge thank you to Dr. Coleman I'm now approaching 10 years of being clean from heroin! I could of not done it without him!! Life is great!! So much appreciation!!!"

 - "Suzanne W."*
"Just wanted to say 'Happy Birthday'!  The Coleman Institute saved my life.  I think of you guys everyday.  Take care!

- "J.H."*

* Names changed to protect anonymity and confidentiality.


Overdoses Are at Record Levels

A few weekends ago, we got a call to let us know that one of our favorite patients had been found dead – presumably an opiate overdose.  He was a patient I had known for about 15 years but he had never wanted to take his disease seriously.  Initially he came in for routine family practice problems.  He was funny and engaging, but even at the first visit it was obvious he was drinking too much at times.  He didn’t care back then because he was young and handsome.  His wife was sticking with him and she didn’t fuss at him too often.  He was also from a wealthy family and he had a top executive job at a major international company. He appreciated my concern about his drinking so much that when he went on his next business trip to the Philippines he bought me a personalized box of cigars. Fast forward about 15 years – he continued to drink off and on and he continued to refuse to get treatment or even go to AA.  His wife eventually got fed up and left him.  He lost his job after he got a DUI.  He needed detox from alcohol but still wouldn’t get help.  He got hooked on pain killers that he had to take for a medical condition and then he needed detox off of those.  His family all rallied around to help him, but he still didn’t think he really needed help like those “other people”. The last few months he was living alone in a small apartment.  No job, no girlfriend.  Now, he is no longer with us.  It is very sad.  He was always smart and jovial and friendly.  He just didn’t want to take care of his disease.

Recently statistics revealed that opiate overdose deaths have become so common, that in some age groups people are more likely to die of an opiate overdose than they are to die in a traffic accident. These statistics on opiate overdoses are horrendous and they are continuing to get worse….

Here are some other statistics:
  • Some areas of the US have seen opiate sales increase 16 times (1600%) over the last 10 years.
  • Opiate overdose deaths in the US have increased about 300%  over the last 10 years.
  • In 2009 there were 35,000 opiate overdoses.
  • Overdoses from prescription opiates are now more common than overdoses from Heroin and Cocaine combined.
  • Non-medical use of opiate painkillers cost insurance companies about $72.5 billion per year.
  • In 2010, the US used 69 tons of Oxycontin and 42 tons of hydrocodone.
  • Sales of OxyContin in 2008 were over $2.8 Billion.
  • The US has a higher rate of incarceration than all of the other developed nations – about 2 million prisoners.
  • About 70% of prisoners in the US are there because of an alcohol or drug addiction.
  • Less than 25% of prisoners receive any substance abuse treatment.
  • Prisoners are about 5 -8 times more likely to die of an overdose in the first few weeks after they get out of jail – they have low tolerance, they haven’t received any treatment, and they are often going back to appalling circumstances. 
  • Many times the people dying from opiate overdoses are young, bright people.  They are in the prime of their lives and they had the capacity to be happy healthy members of society.
  • My cousin Bruce died of a Heroin overdose when he was about 22.

Statistics are interesting and can tell us a lot – but they can only show us a broad view of the problem. They miss the personal truths – the pain and the heartache of addicts and their friends and families. There are many causes of the huge increases we have seen in opiate use and opiate overdoses – aggressive and greedy drug companies, ignorant and greedy doctors, ignorant and over-confident patients, greedy drug dealers, ignorant politicians who refuse to pass laws that stop pill mills, insurance companies that won’t pay for treatment, etc., etc.

We all need to do what we can to turn this situation around!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Ticket to Treatment

We see many clients who have made up their mind to stop using opiates or benzos and are ready to get into a good treatment program.  Unfortunately, they are either unable to stop using opiates on their own, or their urine is still screening positive for benzos.  Many benzodiazepines (or benzos) have metabolites that stay in the urine for an extended period of time.

If you or a loved one is ready to stop using opiates, but become too physically ill…or you have tried to stop using benzos…consider coming to The Coleman Institute. We can help a person detox off short acting opiates such as Dilaudid or Oxycontin or hydrocodone in a mere 3 days.

If it were easy to stop using opiates, more people would be in treatment.  We know it is difficult not only to get off, but to stay off these pain killers.  The naltrexone implant prevents cravings by blocking the opiate receptors for up to 12 weeks.

We have relationships with several treatment facilities that depend on us for helping their patients get clean so they can start the journey of recovery with a clean slate.  Please call Jennifer Pius if you have any questions and are ready to get clean and stay clean as 1.877.77. DETOX

Joan R. Shepherd, NP