The rise in opioid overdoses over the past twenty years is reflective of several different things, ranging from dishonest pharmaceutical companies to the illegal manufacturing of highly potent opioids like fentanyl.
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In the United States, 130 people die every day from an opioid overdose. An overdose happens when a person has consumed more opioids than his or her body can handle, triggering the body to shut down, causing symptoms such as:
- Respiratory depression
- Shallow or irregular breathing
- Frequent vomiting
- Cold, clammy, and/or blue skin
- Loss of consciousness
- Extreme sleepiness/inability to wake up
- Pinpoint pupils
The respiratory problems that can occur during an opioid overdose are usually what causes a person to die as a result of their use. When a person is not receiving enough oxygen, his or her organs will begin to fail, and brain damage will occur.
There is nothing glamorous or heroic about an opioid overdose, despite what movies, music, or television might tell us. When someone dies from an opioid overdose, not only is that person robbed from the possibility of living a happy, healthy life, but those connected to him or her suffer from the pain caused by the addiction and the loss they have experienced.
For many families, the loss of a loved one to opioid overdose can trigger the onset of addiction in other family members. This is because addiction is historically caused by a combination of genetic and environmental risk factors, such as having a biological propensity to addiction paired with one or more traumatic experiences, such as losing a loved one. With this, the cycle of opioid addiction and overdoses can continue, however it does not have to be that way. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) can help.
Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Medication-assisted treatment remains misunderstood by some of the public, as many feel that all it does is replace one opioid with another. However, that is not how medication-assisted works, nor is it the goal of this treatment approach.
Clients of a medication-assisted treatment program have developed a physical and/or psychological dependency to opioids like heroin, fentanyl, or other prescription or illicit opioids. Being dependent on an opioid changes the way in which the brain functions and negatively impacts overall brain chemistry.
Simply ending use cold turkey can catapult an individual into a period of significant mental and physical challenges that can put them at risk for using again, suffering from mental health illnesses, or even becoming suicidal. The medications used in medication-assisted treatment are utilized as a supplement to a client’s care, as using them can help to relieve withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and potentially elongated issues caused by opioid-related brain damage. The medications used in medication-assisted treatment include:
- Suboxone is a partial opioid agonist, meaning that it does not activate the opioid receptors fully as methadone does. However, it also works to help alleviate painful withdrawal symptoms and overpowering cravings.
- Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist that binds to opioid receptors and fully blocks the activation of them. If someone is taking naltrexone and relapses, he or she will not be able to achieve a high because of this. Also, naltrexone (which comes in both pill form and injection) can minimize cravings for continued opioid use.
- Vivitrol is the extended-release form of naltrexone. Patients can get one injection at a time that lasts about 30 days or take the pill form. Vivitrol works for both opioid and alcohol abuse.
All clients of a medication-assisted treatment program will be prescribed one of these medications. It is important to note that clients do not need to be heavy, long-term opioid users to take these medications. People at all points in their opioid addiction can benefit from them.
Suboxone or naltrexone account for just one aspect of medication-assisted treatment, as a client will not only be taking one of these medications but will also be participating in evidence-based therapies to help address hidden causes of his or her opioid addiction and empower him or her to grow, develop coping skills, and utilize the tools needed to maintain sobriety and be successful in recovery.
Medication-Assisted Treatment in Nashville
Tennessee lands in the top 10 states that experience the most opioid overdoses in the country, with a rate of 22.2 deaths per every 100,000 people. Medication-assisted treatment in Nashville can help reduce those numbers.
When you enroll in medication-assisted treatment in Nashville, you are taking the life-saving initiative to end your opioid addiction once and for all. Ignoring the need for treatment and continuing to abuse opioids could have easily led to severe, life-altering consequences and possibly death. Once you make contact with us, we can begin getting you the help that you need.
In order to get the most out of medication-assisted treatment in Nashville, you will work with admissions counselors and addiction specialists who can help determine your most pressing needs in order to devise a customized treatment plan just for you. That treatment plan will not only include the level of care that you may require (such as residential or outpatient treatment), but it will also determine which medication will work best for you.
Medication-assisted treatment in Nashville leaves no stone unturned, as the very core of this treatment approach is designed to treat the whole patient – emotionally, mentally, and physically.
As you make your way through medication-assisted treatment in Nashville, your treatment plan can be modified to reflect the successes and/or setbacks that you experience while getting sober. This may include transitioning to another medication (e.g. going from using methadone to buprenorphine) to continue to meet your needs to the best of our ability. At JourneyPure, we strive to make every clients’ experience as beneficial as possible while they are enrolled in medication-assisted treatment in Nashville.
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If you are addicted to opioids, do not let another minute pass by without reaching out for medication-assisted treatment in Nashville. We can help you get your life back on track before it is too late.