Alcohol and Drugs

Alcohol

Many individuals abuse alcohol or are dependent upon it and need help from an addiction physician as well as from a psychologist and from addiction counselors. Other individuals need levels of care that may include outpatient group therapies which may or may not include medications, verbal or traditional “talk therapies’” only, or some combinations of these, or more intensive levels of care with some housing options plus structured outpatient treatment groups and recovery activities to learn sober healthy ways to have fun and reconnect with oneself and one’s environment. When those options are not enough, inpatient therapy may be recommended, with a return to these options as the condition improves.

There is not a “magic bullet” or cure all for alcohol dependence or addiction. However, there is a medication that is delivered once monthly by injection called Vivitrol which has been extremely helpful for many people, including a number of our patients.  This is an opiate blocker, delivered in a very special time release suspension, so it solves the issues of forgetting and resistance to taking a daily or multiple times daily medication. It can truly help with reducing cravings as well as block the positive or reward feelings associated with drinking, thereby reducing the reward from the alcohol. Of course, the person has to be making an effort to be in a program and be using this as only one of the many steps needed to make substantial life change. As we say, a medication is not the whole program. However, it may help you stack the deck in your favor so that you can make the changes needed.  There are other medications as well which our physicians may consider to assist you, given your specific needs. You deserve to learn all the options, and to have the best possible assistance for your own hard work in fighting this ravaging disease.


Opiates

Opiates are on the rise in a staggering fashion.  This is the most frightening increase of any category, and has surpassed even marijuana.  Methadone and Buprenorphine are relatively well known replacement medications. When these are used properly, meaning properly diagnosed and properly taken by the patient they are truly life saving with very positive outcomes in terms of public health. The person does not get high but rather gets stable and do not go into withdrawal.  Brain healing occurs. However, when these are not used properly, or when mixed with other medications that the treatment center doesn’t know about, there can be concerns. Methadone is restricted to very regulated clinics for the treatment of opiate addiction, and those taking it for pain need to be exceedingly cautious and well educated. Most all programs, including our suboxone prescribers, do urine toxicology screens regularly and have strict contracts.  It is for patient safety. Mixing and matching may work for fashion or design, but it most assuredly is disastrous with street drugs and prescription medications.  Vivitrol, an opiate blocker given by injection with a specialized suspension for time release over a month, has shown great results in trials for opiate addiction.


Stimulants

Many people who are professionals in chemical dependency believe that no medications exist which can help those struggling with methamphetamine, cocaine or other stimulant abuse or dependence. While that used to be true, fortunately, there are some medications approved and in use in this country that can prescribed and used off label that help some people. Some others are in active research phases. So, nothing is marketed and extremely effective, but with such challenging addictions as stimulants, medications which help to give even a 20 or 30% advantage more to the patient rather than the disease are surely welcome, and well worth discussing with your addiction physician.  


State of the Art

Our providers stay up to date with cutting edge treatments, evidence based practices. Combining the co occurring disorders treatments of psychiatric disorders along with the addictive disorder, utilizing state of the art treatments, education, motivational approaches, group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapies and many lifestyle approaches are used.


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