More than one way to treat addiction
Coastal Addiction Center
There are many who take the “one size fits all” approach to addiction. This approach usually comes in the form of inpatient rehab, meetings in twelve-step programs, and total abstinence. While this approach has proven to work miracles for many, there are countless patients that continue to suffer and/or die from addiction. The disease of addiction has baffled and degraded society for millennia. Some even compare it to the old adage of “trying to cure human sin”. In that statement lies one of the primary causes of delay and avoidance in treatment advances. That problem is that the disease of addiction is often seen as a moral deficiency.
Addiction is not just a problem of moral character that can be solved by the patient “trying harder”. Addiction is a complex condition that impacts every area of one’s life. Regardless of the model of addiction one may use to define it, one commonality is the repeated behavior of using drugs and/or alcohol despite devastating consequences. Even when it is clearly in the patient’s best interest to avoid drugs or alcohol, somehow they still find themselves using.
What is Addiction Medicine?
Addiction medicine is the practice of taking an empirically scientific and pharmacological approach to treat addicts and alcoholics. While there have been huge strides taken over the last few decades; there still is a long way to go. Part of the “hold up” is a societal issue with using drugs(medicine) to treat drug addicts. Research, however, has shown that for some candidates taking this treatment approach literally has life-saving benefits.
Another issue with addiction medicine is the level of exposure and collaboration of providers using available medications. For example, there are many medications proven to lower the relapse and mortality rate from opioid abuse such as buprenorphine, methadone, naltrexone, etc. The issue is that many physicians are not familiar with implementing them to treat addiction. Between these doctors not being comfortable prescribing these medications, and current legislation surrounding them, it makes it very difficult for the patient who needs them to get them.
Some studies have found that these medications can cut mortality rates by 50% in opioid-addicted patients. There are a few societies (the country of France for example) that have taken advantage of these facts when implementing policy. In the mid-’90s, France established legislation allowing physicians to prescribe buprenorphine to their patients without requiring them to undergo special licensing. Within four years, the country’s fatal opioid overdoses went down more than 75%.
Opioid addicts are not the only potential candidates for addiction medicine. Suspended naltrexone intramuscular injections have been proven to be incredibly effective in treating alcoholism. The medication works by decreasing cravings while at the same time prohibiting part of the euphoric response from the consumption of alcohol.
For patients prone to relapse and who are in acute stages of their addiction, not considering these treatment options can be negligent. Keeping an open mind regarding the advancement of addiction treatment is crucial for society. It should be noted that medicine alone doesn’t solve addiction; treatment should always incorporate a long-term care plan with therapy and support. Finding a provider that is qualified to diagnose and treat addiction can be paramount in the recovery process. This disease has been around for a very very long time and won’t be going away on its own anytime soon. If you or your loved one is suffering from alcoholism or addiction, please, get help.
Located in Southern California, Coastal Addiction Center offers premium level care in Orange County, CA. We are Anaheim’s growing and leading treatment provider for addiction. Owner and operator Dr. David Asher is board certified in addiction medicine and we use the most effective methods available to treat our patients. Call us today - 1(844) 627-3268.