Opioid replacement therapy in Fort Lauderdale combines medications and therapy to help people who suffer from opioid addiction to recover. It is one facet of medication-assisted treatment that specifically targets and treats opioid use disorder. Medications like methadone, buprenorphine, naltrexone, and naloxone are used to help treat the physical cravings and withdrawals while behavioral therapy treats the psychological aspect of addiction.
Opioids are powerful so overcoming this type of addiction is difficult. Relapse rates among opioid addicts are high and many people find that they need intensive treatment and ongoing support in order to stay sober. While the medications used in opioid replacement therapy aren’t a substitute for counseling and aftercare, they are an important part of rehab programs in Fort Lauderdale.
In 2017, more than 47,000 Americans died from an opioid-related drug overdose. While the opioid epidemic continues to rage on in South Florida and communities across America, medication-assisted treatment shows promising results in helping opioid addiction sufferers to get sober and stay sober.
What is Opioid Replacement Therapy?
Fort Lauderdale rehabs use opioid replacement therapy to help patients who suffer from opioid use disorder. The medications used work by reducing cravings, blocking the euphoric effects of opioids, and stabilizing brain chemistry to mitigate withdrawal symptoms. This type of treatment addresses two of the most difficult challenges that come with opioid use disorder – physical withdrawals and psychological cravings.
When a person who is addicted to opioids stops taking them, he or she will experience agonizing withdrawal symptoms. Symptoms range from chills, irritability, and sweats to high blood pressure, heart palpitations, dehydration, and more. For people with severe opioid dependence, withdrawal is so terrible that people will continue using to avoid withdrawals. Fortunately, opioid replacement therapy in Fort Lauderdale uses a variety of medications that normalize brain chemistry, thereby reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms and eliminating cravings.
Most importantly, this type of therapy is not a substitute for therapy, counseling, and support groups. Opioid replacement therapy works best when combined with a comprehensive drug rehab plan. Some people remain on these medications for several years while others only take them for a few months. Therefore, the length of treatment and how long a person takes the medication will vary.
Medications Used to Treat Opioid Use Disorder
The National Institute on Drug (NIDA) explains that methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are approved medications to treat opioid use disorder. Methadone is an opioid agonist, so it helps eliminate withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings by attaching to opioid receptors in the brain. Although it connects to opioid receptors, it doesn’t produce a high when taken appropriately. However, due to some instances of methadone abuse, buprenorphine is the preferred medication for opioid replacement therapy in Fort Lauderdale drug rehabs.
Buprenorphine, as NIDA explains, is a partial opioid agonist. It works similarly to methadone but has a lower potential for abuse. Most patients who use buprenorphine tolerate the drug well and report it’s high effectiveness. This drug is most commonly prescribed by the means of Suboxone, Subutex, or Sublocade – three medications that contain buprenorphine.
Naltrexone, on the other hand, is an opioid antagonist. In other words, it completely stops the activation of the opioid receptors. As a result, if a person takes an opioid while on naltrexone, he or she won’t feel the euphoric effects of the drug taken. Naltrexone doesn’t address withdrawal symptoms, so it is taken after people complete detox. Vivitrol is a monthly injection containing Naltrexone that is used often for patients who are addicted to opioids.
It’s important to note that each medication works differently and that ORT isn’t for everyone. Before starting any of these medicines, speak to your healthcare provider or addiction specialist.
The Benefits of ORT
Opioid replacement therapy in Fort Lauderdale is for people who have a chronic history of opioid use. It is also used during medically-assisted detox. Extensive studies have shown that people in this type of treatment abuse opioids at lower rates than people who receive counseling only. In an attempt to limit the adverse effects of opioid use disorder, ORT actually has many benefits, including:
- Lower relapse rates
- Higher treatment retention rates
- Reduction in the transmission of blood-borne illnesses such as HIV
- Better pregnancy outcomes in addicted pregnant mothers
- Reduced crime rates related to drug use
- Reduced opioid-related drug overdoses
- Improved mortality rates among opioid-addicted individuals
Studies have also reported improved social life, education levels, and response to treatment in medication-assisted treatment patients.
Overall, ORT makes detox easier by reducing withdrawal symptoms. It continues to aid individuals throughout the recovery process by eliminating cravings. Therefore, patients are able to engage and focus fully on therapy and treatment rather than their physical or psychological symptoms of opioid use disorder. The ultimate goal of opioid replacement programs in Fort Lauderdale is to monitor patients throughout therapy and ultimately taper them off of these medications completely.
Find Opioid Replacement Therapy in Fort Lauderdale
Are you tired of being stuck in a cycle of relapse? If you’re looking for real treatment that works, reach out for help today. Our addiction treatment specialists in Fort Lauderdale will go over our opioid replacement therapy programs with you and help you decide what the next step should be. Call today to start your recovery journey.