People with Opioid Use Disorder Deserve Medical Treatment

By The Fix staff 06/26/20

Opioid use disorder is a physical condition. So why are we not treating it as such?

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Opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder are physical conditions. Although people might start abusing opioids or alcohol to numb physical, psychological, or emotional pain, the use of these substances leads to a physical dependence, in which the brain and body require more of the substance just to avoid becoming sick. People dealing with these conditions deserve access to high quality medical detox, but many people who need this service don’t get it.

Before you choose a treatment program for you or your loved one, it’s important to understand medical detox. For people who are dependent on opioids or alcohol, medical detox provides a fast and effective way to address dependency. With dependency behind them, the person can go on to address any underlying causes of their substance abuse, like physical or psychological pain. Because of this, medical detox is an important first step to living life without drugs or alcohol.

Is medical detox the same as medication-assisted treatment?

It’s easy to confuse medical detox and medication-assisted treatment, but they’re actually completely different. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is often used to treat opioid use disorder. While MAT is effective and can reduce the risk of relapse, it comes with a major downside to your health and wellbeing: it involves continuously taking opioid medications.

The medications used for MAT, including suboxone and methadone, are themselves opioids. Sure, they’re much less harmful than street opioids like heroin or fentanyl. But the fact remains that if you’re on MAT, you’re still dependent on opioids.

At Waismann Method® Opioid Treatment Specialists, we believe that everyone deserves the chance to live without using opioids or alcohol — even in prescribed circumstances. That’s why we offer medical detox that treats the dependency on drugs or alcohol entirely. We deliver medically-assisted detox in a hospital that allows you to get off opioids for good.

After detoxing you from opioids, we use naltrexone (also known as vivitrol) to help control any cravings. Unlike suboxone or methadone, naltrexone doesn’t have any opioids, so you cannot become dependent on it. In fact, this medication blocks the brain’s opioid receptors, eliminating cravings without introducing new habits or dependencies.

Addressing dependency once and for all

Many people want to live their lives with as few medications as possible. Even if you are dependent on opioids or alcohol, living life without ongoing medications could be a possibility for you. More people with opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder need to be aware that medically-assisted detox is an option that they should explore. We believe that this is the most effective treatment for opioid use disorder. 

So, what exactly is medically-assisted detox? Waismann Method® Opioid Treatment Specialists provide the medical detox treatment in a full service, JCAHO-accredited hospital, in a private room, which many people find safer and more comfortable than a rehab or an outpatient detox facility. Once there, you’ll meet with one of our doctors, discussing your health history and any underlying medical conditions that you’re dealing with. Then, we’ll discuss the best medically-assisted detox option for you, including rapid detox and anesthesia-assisted rapid detoxification.

During all decisions, your safety is a priority. That’s why all care is delivered under the watch of a quadruple board-certified medical director, Michael H. Lowenstein, M.D, and why there are different detox options available.

Patients usually spend one to two nights in the hospital depending on which detox procedure they receive along with their individual health needs. As part of our treatment, you complete your detox at our private recovery center, Domus Retreat, for post-procedure care and continued support. There, we will work with you to give recommendations about how best to treat any underlying factors that contributed to your substance abuse, whether that was trauma, physical pain, or untreated psychological conditions.

Dignity in detox

Detox is often the biggest barrier to getting help. People are afraid of having to physically suffer through the withdrawals with minimal support. Opting for medically-assisted detox allows you to get over that first hurdle comfortably so that you can begin building your new, opioid-free life.

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