Opioid Addiction Treatment
Located in Williamsburg, Virginia, Dr. Brown and staff at Addiction Recovery Center of Virginia utilize the latest pharmaceutical approach combined with therapeutic counseling for successful opioid addiction treatment.
How prevalent is an opioid addiction?
Addiction to opioids, a class of drugs derived from the poppy plant, is a major epidemic in this country, affecting all types of people from students to white-collar professionals to stay-at-home moms. Nearly 2 million adolescents and adults have an abuse disorder involving opioid prescription pain relief medications while nearly 600,000 have an abuse disorder involving the illegal opioid, heroin.
Why are opioid drugs so addictive?
Opioid addiction often starts as the result of legitimate, prescribed treatment for chronic pain. But after repeated use, these drugs change how the nerve cells in the brain work. In the beginning, opioids trigger feelings of extreme euphoria. Eventually, the body builds up a tolerance, and an increasing amount of the drug is needed to achieve the same high. In time, more and more opioids are needed just to feel normal, and prevent withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms are intense, including prolonged bouts of nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, cramps, joint pain, tremors, nasal congestion, chills, sweats, uncontrollable leg movement, anxiety, depression, and insomnia. At a certain point, depression cannot be escaped even with drugs. Because of the physiological dependency and extreme withdrawal symptoms, opioid addicts are rarely able to quit on their own.
What are the most common opioid drugs?
Among the most commonly used opioid drugs are:
- Oxycodone (OxyContin®)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin®)
What type of treatment does Addiction Recovery Center of Virginia offer?
Our outpatient program combines the most advanced in pharmaceutical and therapeutic counseling with an extremely high long-term success rate. Under the supervision of Dr. Brown, patients receive Suboxone (Buprenorphine) treatment. Suboxone is a medication that suppresses the debilitating symptoms of opioid withdrawal. This pharmaceutical assistance is used in conjunction with therapeutic counseling and social support groups.
Why is therapy needed if my addiction is physiological?
Addiction is a complex condition. Suboxone treatment, under the experienced supervision of Dr. Brown, enables patients to physiologically wean their dependency on opioids. However, a number of emotional and environmental factors can trigger cravings. For long-term recovery, patients must learn how to recognize, avoid, and resist these cravings.
How long does total recovery take?
The goal at Addiction Recovery of Virginia is to shepherd patients through 18 to 24 months of sobriety. To further assist long-term success, Dr. Brown recommends the use of naltrexone, a drug that blocks opiate receptors in the brain, for up to a year of more following discharge.
Addiction Recovery Counseling
Located in Williamsburg, Virginia Dr. Brown provides counseling services by a licensed therapist (individual and group) to aid in addiction treatment at his practice, Addiction Recovery Center of Virginia.
Addiction Recovery Counseling can be different for every person who enters a recovery program. While medications like Suboxone and Vivitrol are an important part of becoming drug-free, these medications do not work on their own. The patient must, first and foremost, be fully committed to the recovery process. Being fully committed means agreeing to a counseling program in addition to the medication.
Why is counseling so important?
If a patient is ever to have a full recovery that lasts for the long term, they need to have a true understanding of the factors that contributed to their addiction in the first place. This is something that will be revealed during the counseling process. Once patients can recognize their personal weaknesses and triggers, they will be able to assume control over the substance that formerly ruled their lives.
Individual or group counseling?
Both individual and group counseling can be extremely helpful for people recovery from opioid addiction and alcohol addiction. Individual counseling may be the first type of counseling for many opioid or alcohol dependent patients. During the counseling, personal problems and emotional issues can be worked on in a calm and welcoming environment. Once the patient begins to gain confidence and feels more sure of themselves, they may also find group counseling to be extremely beneficial. In group counseling, other people with the same type of issue will all come together in a non-judgmental and welcoming group. Being surrounded by people who are truly understanding of what the patient is going through can be enormously helpful. A trained counselor will lead all group counseling groups, providing gentle guidance and support to the group as a whole. Group counseling is the ideal place for sharing experiences and gaining support from others who can genuinely relate to opioid dependency issues.
Substance Abuse Treatment
Dr. Brown provides a comprehensive substance abuse treatment program from his practice, Addiction Recovery Center of Virginia, located in Williamsburg, Virginia.
What is the patient intake process?
Substance abuse treatment is a multi-part process that can be customized according to the needs of each patient. The first part of this process is the patient intake. Intake lasts for about one to four hours on average. When the patient arrives for their intake, they will ideally be at the point of early withdrawal already. At this point, the patient will receive their first dose of Suboxone. During the visit, the patient will be monitored using the Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale. Patients will leave only after they have been stabilized.
What happens during the stabilization process?
During the early part of treatment, patients will typically visit the addiction recovery center every week. This allows the physicians to make dosage adjustments if they are necessary. Patients may take a urine drug screen during these weekly appointments to make sure that they are following the program guidelines. As the patient moves through their early recovery, individual and/or group counseling are an essential part of recovery. The recovery center will provide any needed recommendations.
What is the general maintenance phase?
The general maintenance phase is the longest part of the recovery program. This phase begins when the patient's ideal medication dosage has been determined. Patients in the general maintenance phase are starting to feel both physically and emotionally well once again. During this part of treatment, patients will usually transition from weekly visits to monthly visits.
What is the Suboxone tapering phase?
During this phase, the Suboxone will be tapered down slowly. Ultimately, the goal is for the patient to be 100 percent free of all opioid drugs. This process can take between 18 months and 24 months. At this point, the patient can be discharged. To help patients stay drug-free, monthly injections of Vivitrol are recommended for one year.
Vivitrol (Naltrexone) Injections
Patients at Addiction Recovery Center of Virginia can receive Vivitrol (Naltrexone) injections if their treatment plan requires it. Those who live in or around Williamsburg, Virginia struggling with addiction should contact our clinic for an assessment with Dr. Brown to see if this treatment will help.
What is Vivitrol?
Vivitrol is sometimes also known by the name naltrexone, as that is its active ingredient. Vivitrol is an injectable medication that falls into the group of medications called opioid antagonists. This medication acts as a blocker. It impacts the opioid receptors in the brain, blocking the feelings of pleasure that come from taking opioids. It is also used in alcohol treatment programs.
When can Vivitrol be taken?
Vivitrol can only be administered after a patient has completed detoxification. If opiates remain in the system when the Vivitrol is injected, withdrawal will immediately set in. Ideally, patients will have no opiates for one to two weeks prior to their initial Vivitrol injection. Patients should also stop drinking prior to their first injection.
How does Vivitrol impact patients?
Vivitrol makes patients less likely to crave opioids because it blocks the high that these medications provide. The Vivitrol injection can stop the feeling of needing the medication constantly. Vivitrol injections work in a similar way for alcoholics. The injection can significantly reduce alcohol cravings, and may therefore help alcoholics stop drinking.
What are the possible side effects of Vivitrol?
There are some potential side effects with Vivitrol injections, however most patients feel that the addiction help is well worth the small potential of side effects. Some of the more common side effects include nausea, vomiting, drowsiness, insomnia, and congestion. More serious side effects could include breathing problems, allergic reactions, liver problems, or a severe cough.
How long is Vivitrol treatment?
The length of Vivitrol treatment can vary depending on the needs of the patient. While some patients do receive only short-term treatment, a longer treatment course is usually most effective. Regular monthly injections of Vivitrol can allow a patient the time they need to get psychological and behavioral treatment as well.