The opioid crisis in the US claims 130 lives a day, and around 20 million people suffer ongoing problems with a substance use disorder. One of the biggest hurdles to gaining the upper hand on a drug use problem is the rocky road to quitting, which is so unpleasant that users often return to the drug rather than suffer through withdrawal symptoms.
At our practice, Dr. Latif Ziyar, specializes in a wide range of mental health issues, including substance abuse. At the heart of our outpatient program is Suboxone, a drug that combats addiction and dependency, allowing patients in Fresno, California, to regain control over their lives.
If you or a loved one is in the throes of opioid addiction, here’s a look at how Suboxone can help.
The anatomy of a substance use disorder
A substance use disorder is complicated because there are several ways that a drug like an opioid can hijack your physical and mental health. Although we use the words addiction and dependency interchangeably, they represent two different ways that opioids have control over you.
With addiction, this side of the equation is largely in your brain. Opioids attach themselves to specific receptors in your brain that, when routinely activated, form new neural pathways that create an addiction. In other words, your brain rewires itself to demand more of the drug, which is what creates the uncontrollable cravings and the inability to stop.
On the dependency side, your body is physically dependent upon the opioids and goes into withdrawal when the drug is taken away. And the withdrawal symptoms that come with quitting opioids are particularly unpleasant and include:
- Muscle pain
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Sleep issues
This list is by no means comprehensive, but it gives you a better idea of the uphill battle that you can face when trying to quit opioids cold turkey.
The Suboxone difference
At our practice, we offer outpatient help for those who are struggling with opioid use, and our first line of defense is Suboxone. This treatment can greatly improve the withdrawal period, giving you the leg up you need to overcome the physical dependency.
To do this, Suboxone contains both buprenorphine and naloxone, which work together to prevent withdrawal symptoms and control your cravings. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which attaches to the same receptors the opioids do, but it only delivers a very small amount of the drug.
At the same time, naloxone is an opioid antagonist that blocks the drug from having an effect on your brain.
In the simplest of terms, with Suboxone, we can deliver enough of the drug to offset the withdrawal symptoms, but block you from getting “high.”
Suboxone not only helps our patients get through the initial withdrawal period, but we can also set you up a Suboxone maintenance program to help prevent relapse. This maintenance aspect of Suboxone is designed to handle the cravings while you find the resources you need to sustain your sobriety.
Once you feel strong enough, we then taper your Suboxone, allowing you to enjoy your life free from the bonds of addiction and dependency.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid use disorder, please contact us at (559) 306-6726, or use our online scheduling tool to request an appointment.