Opioid addiction remains the most prevalent health issue faced by Americans today. Street drugs are cheaper than ever before and often laced with fatal substances such as fentanyl, methamphetamine or carfentanil. The number of people overdosing on drugs continues to rise at an alarming rate, despite the billions of dollars that have been poured into solving the opioid epidemic. Among its victims are people from every walk of life. The Vietnam war lasted 20 years. During those 20 years, 58,000 soldiers died. In 2017, 72,000 deaths were attributed to opioid overdose. If statistics hold true, opioid deaths will approach 80,000 in 2018
The central question as to why people get addicted has still not been fully answered.
People abuse drugs because it makes them feel good; some drugs also make day to day problems of life easier to cope with. There are two very important factors underlying the causation of this illness.
First, 15 to 20 percent of the population has a genetic predisposition that makes them more likely to become addicted. Most of us take pain medication and all it does is take away the pain. nothing more nothing less. People who are genetically predisposed to addiction get a real buzz and say it makes them feel very happy and relaxed.
Second, there is a high prevalence of psychiatric illnesses amongst the population. Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experience a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness. Rather than recognizing this for what it is, people tend to use street drugs to cope. This problem has been made worse by poor access to psychiatric care and misconceptions surrounding the recovery process.
Many people believe that severe withdrawal is a pre-requisite for treatment and recovery. They believe using medically assisted treatment is ‘just substituting one drug addiction for another’. However, thanks to newer treatments such as, suboxone, clonidine derivatives, and vivitrol. Withdrawal can be controlled, and recovery can be achieved over time without suffering.
Since drug use alters the chemistry and structure of the brain, there is no “quick fix”. The brain takes time to heal because the receptors that produce the high during drug use become more active over time. Even after stopping, they require activation and lead to withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Use of FDA approved medications to help the brain deactivate these pathways and return the pathways to normal levels of responsiveness. These drugs allow people to avoid the terrible symptoms associated with drug withdrawal. In addition to the medication, time needs to be spent focusing on the psychological and social aspects of the illness. This means treating the underlying psychiatric conditions, looking at the economic and social situations, and improving family support systems and relationships. This comprehensive method of treating the biological, psychological, and social aspects of the illness ensure that the whole person is cared for and increases the likelihood of total recovery.
To find out more about the disorders we treat and what treatment is like, please contact RASSIK at 844-727-7451 or fill out the form below.