Chronic users of opioids face a significant challenge when trying to overcome addiction: opioid withdrawal syndrome is unpleasant and can have debilitating symptoms. The severity of these symptoms is the first and foremost obstacle that prevents addicts from being able to kick the habit successfully. Withdrawal is associated with physical symptoms such as shortness of breath, heart palpitations, muscle cramps, abdominal pain, tremors, chills, and gastrointestinal issues. There are also psychological effects that include sleep disorders (inability to fall asleep or, conversely, constant drowsiness), anxiety, and apathy. These symptoms all become especially acute when the body, already accustomed to the presence of the opioid substance, requires a new dose; this causes addicts to return to the drug for relief, again and again.
Outpatient addiction treatment programs often fail. The opioid replacement therapy used in these programs is not highly effective, especially in a home detox situation. In addition, the drugs that are used can cause addiction themselves without ultimately preventing the painful sensations associated with abstinence. In cases like these, the patient may move from one addictive drug to another or return to the initial substance if they cannot cope with the challenges of withdrawal.
Standard detox programs in rehabilitation clinics give better results but are still imperfect. Usually, although the treatments help to overcome the withdrawal syndrome, they do not alleviate all the painful manifestations associated with it. This forces addicts to look for other options to overcome their opioid addiction.
What Is Opioid Addiction?
Opioids are a class of drugs derived either from natural substances in plants (e.g., codeine and morphine) or from synthetic or semi-synthetic processes during laboratory manufacture (e.g., heroin, oxycodone, methadone, fentanyl, hydrocodone, buprenorphine, tramadol, acetaminophen). Opioids have several significant effects that are medically beneficial and are often prescribed by doctors to relieve mild to moderate pain, treat coughs or even help with the treatment of opioid addiction (known as substitution therapy). Examples of these medically prescribed opioids can be found with the brand names Darvocet, Vicodin, Ultram, Suboxone, and Subutex, among others. Unfortunately, the use of opioids, in general, can lead to dependence and many people become addicted to these medications after using them legally, as prescribed by a doctor, to treat a specific medical condition.
A typical property of drugs in this class is their ability to bind to opioid receptors, which are mainly present on nerve cells in the brain, and cause euphoria and relief from pain. Opioids integrate into the metabolic processes and replace natural neurotransmitters that are then no longer produced by the body. These natural neurotransmitters are the molecules responsible for conducting nerve impulses (‘messages’) within the central nervous system.
When an addict stops taking the drug, its effect wears off before the person’s own internal production of neurotransmitters has normalized. During this period, the addict’s body experiences severe stress, known as opioid withdrawal syndrome, which is accompanied by a complex of painful symptoms. To deal with this, an addict may need an effective detox program, such as ultra-rapid opioid detoxification (UROD).
Ultra-rapid Opioid Detoxification: How It Works
This procedure is indicated for addictions associated with the use of opioids. Ultra-rapid detox is a painless and accelerated detoxification method that clears opioid receptors and normalizes levels of brain chemicals. Sedation is used to help the patient get through this period without suffering, discomfort, or pain. The UROD procedure lasts several hours and, during this time, the patient is under the supervision of doctors, including an anesthesiologist. By the time of waking, most of the unpleasant and stressful symptoms of withdrawal are over. Residual symptoms are quickly relieved with conventional medications. Sometimes, one such procedure is enough but, in severe cases, it is recommended that the ultra-rapid detoxification procedure is repeated once or twice more.
Of course, UROD, in itself, is not a magical way to break the dependence on an addictive drug in a couple of days. Comprehensive work is also required in all areas affected by addiction. After detoxification, the patient receives medication and vitamin support. This helps to rebuild the body’s normal functioning, relieve cravings for the substance, and restore the health of organs affected by the abuse of the drug. Also, sessions with a psychotherapist help patients get to know themselves, understand the reasons that led them to addiction, learn new patterns of behavior and thinking, and contribute to the formation of new attitudes that will help them return to a sober life and gain a foothold in it.
Typically, before being prescribed a UROD procedure, it is necessary to undergo a series of diagnostic tests to ensure no contraindications. At the rehabilitation clinic of Dr. Vorobjev, for example, detoxification is preceded by a comprehensive diagnosis that includes medical tests, electrocardiography, and other measures to assess the patient’s state of health. In addition, the patient undergoes psychological testing so that subsequent work with a psychotherapist will achieve optimum results.
Specialists of the Dr. Vorobjev Clinic note that the complex treatment, which includes ultra-rapid detoxification, helps to prevent the risk of relapse in more than 80% of cases. However, even though UROD is a high-speed detoxification method, the entire journey to ending opioid addiction is never quick. The Clinic’s high success rate is also due, in part, to its implementation of a follow-up system that monitors a patient’s progress for a year after discharge. This helps each patient to initiate and maintain a sober life and to stay the course.
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