Tuesday, January 27, 2015

FIGHT OR FLIGHT?


By Joan R. Shepherd, FNP

It’s no surprise that the majority of patients who come to The Coleman Institute for an Accelerated Opiate, Benzo or Alcohol detox have long been trying to get rid of, avoid or escape from unpleasant feelings. These are “control strategies” because they are attempts to directly control how one feels. You can divide control strategies into a couple of main categories: fight or flight.

Fight strategies involve fighting with or trying to dominate your unwanted thoughts and feelings. Flight strategies involve running away or hiding from those unwelcome thoughts or feelings.

Leah is a young woman who always felt anxious in social situations. The way she coped was by taking a couple Vicodin and drinking beer. In the short term, this reduced her anxiety. But of course, the next day she felt hung over and tired and often regretted the money she spent or worried about the embarrassing things she did while under the influence. While she escaped her anxious feelings for a little while, the price she paid was a lot of other unpleasant feelings in the long run, and ultimately an addiction to opiates. Now, when she finds herself in a situation where she is unable to use, her anxiety is greater than ever.

There are several places where a vicious cycle like this can be broken, but once a physical dependency has been established, stopping the opiates can be extremely difficult and stopping the alcohol (depending on the person’s tolerance) can be dangerous.

We were able to get Leah comfortably off her Vicodin and alcohol, place a Naltrexone pellet, and steer her into appropriate treatment. She has begun to learn the triggers for her anxiety and is developing some great techniques for co-existing with, defusing-and even laughing at—her anxiety.

If you have any questions about how we could help you take that first step toward safely removing the physical barrier of withdrawal, please give us a call at 877-773-3869 and talk with Jennifer or Amy.


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