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Opioid Addiction Treatment

Douglas A. Brown, MD, FAAFP -  - Addiction Treatment Specialist

Addiction Recovery of VA

Douglas A. Brown, MD, FAAFP

Addiction Treatment Specialist located in Williamsburg, VA

Located in Williamsburg, Virginia, Dr. Brown and staff at Addiction Recovery of Virginia utilize the latest pharmaceutical approach combined with therapeutic counseling for successful opioid addiction treatment.

Opioid Addiction Treatment Q & A

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:

  • Heroin
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin®)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin®)
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl

What type of treatment does Addiction Recovery 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.