At 9 yrs old, when most girls her age were playing with dolls, pretending to be a princess, or putting on make-up for the first time, she was sold to the neighbor down the street as a sex slave.
Sold by her mother for nothing more than money to buy drugs.
In her 30 some odd years on this planet, SB has been through more torture and torment than most of us could imagine.
She turned to drugs at an early age. It was her only means of escape. A temporary release from the chains of her past. But as we all know, this escape is nothing more than another prison.
And before long, her life was spiraling down into the dark torment of addiction.
She decided to make a change. She would take back her life.
She started treatment with Suboxone, began counseling sessions and got back into church. She is building healthy relationships and now has her own business. She is a good mother and someone her children can depend on.
SB pulled through and got out alive. She is building a life for herself. She has turned what was once a hopeless situation, to a life worth living.
I have been treating addiction (and more specifically opiate addiction) for over 10 years. I have seen numerous methods of treatment used. I have seen relapses. I have seen death. But I have also seen the success of strong people like SB, willing to put in the work to take back control of their lives.
Treating Opiate Addiction
What’s the best treatment to ensure success and sobriety? There is no best way. 12 step programs work, for some. One on one counseling works, for some. Inpatient detox and residential treatment work, for some. Cold turkey works, for some. Medication assisted therapy works, for some.
If there is one thing we know, it’s that treating opiate addiction is very difficult.
Medication assisted therapy means just that. You use medication to treat withdrawal symptoms and cravings in order to ensure a more successful sobriety.
It is inaccurate to state that someone is not clean or sober just because they are on medication, if in fact they are taking it as prescribed and for the appropriate reasons.
I am convinced that medication assisted therapy is of vital importance for the treatment of addiction. At my clinic, we use a combination of medication assisted treatment, counseling, and life strategy.
Most of the questions I get about medication assisted treatment are from non-addicts.
“Aren’t you just trading one addiction for another?”
I am asked this all the time. Addiction is a disease of the brain and, just like any other disease, sometimes physicians need to use medications to treat it.
I believe that in most cases, mediation assisted treatment in combination with counseling has better results than counseling alone. Often the highest risk of overdose and death comes after a stay in a residential treatment facility or in jail after a patient is discharged without medication assistance.
This doesn’t mean that non-medication treatments aren’t useful. They are. Think about Type 2 Diabetes. There are numerous oral and injectable medications on the market to treat this, and, in fact, many of these medications fail, and we end up relying on insulin. But the mainstay and the most important treament is diet and exercise.
So it goes with addiction. Counseling is important. Life-style changes are important. But often we need to use medication for optimal benefit.
We use medications such as buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone to treat many of the problems of addiction such as withdrawal symptoms and cravings.
How does Suboxone work?
Suboxone is the trade name for the combination of 2 medications: buprenorphine and naloxone. Subutex is the trade name for the generic form of buprenorphine alone.
Buprenorpine is considered a partial opiate agonist. Which means it works like an opiate in some respects and unlike a true opiate in others. This makes it unique. It helps to bind to receptors in the brain, so that when other opiates are missing, there will be no withdrawal symptoms. It helps to curve “cravings” to use. If taken as directed, there will be no euphoria or “high”. It has a ceiling effect, which basically means that you will maximize your receptors at a certain dose and you will not have to take more over time.
Naloxone is an opioid antagonist. Which means it blocks opiates. We use this medicine to reverse opioid overdose. It’s use in the combination with buprenorphine is beneficial as it helps to limit mixing with other opioids or misusing the Suboxone.
But all this scientific jargon means nothing.
Let me make it simple. When you take medication such as Suboxone, you are able to move on with your life. You will no longer have the severe withdrawal symptoms. You will no longer have severe cravings. You will no longer spend every waking minute trying to figure out how you will get your next fix. And this in itself will change your life.
You aren’t trading one addiction for another. You are trading drugs that are harmful to your mind, body, and soul, for a medication that can be safely administered and monitored by a physician and that allows you to take back control of your life.
You will now have time to work on you. To rediscover who you are. To work toward a future.
Everyone wants to know how suboxone works. Does it work? Why does it work? Why even bother?
There is nothing wrong with asking questions, if you are truly looking for knowledge. My problem is when people don’t truly care, and all they want to do is justify their preconceived notions.
They don’t see the person in front of them. They don’t see the struggle. The climb. The leap of faith.
An addict doesn’t really care how something works. At least not at first. Not if they are at the bottom.
They only want results.
If you or someone you love is struggling, you can contact 1st Step Medical 662-322-0996
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There is a light at the end of tunnel. Keep your eyes open so you can see it.