The current opioid epidemic is complex, but it is mainly fueled by emotional and physical pain. Often, opioid dependency begins with legitimate physical complaints. Ideally, there should be solutions to manage pain by a proper assessment of the culprit(s) behind a patient’s pain, that leads to a lower rate of them becoming long-term opioid users and/or self-medicating illegally when their prescriptions end. In our experience, the reason why we’re seeing so many overdoses and also seeing multiple overdoses from one patient on the same day are related and naltrexone therapy may help.
The Use of Naloxone
First, we notice that there is an increase in multiple overdoses as the use of Narcan becomes more prevalent among EMTs. Naloxone is a powerful short-acting antagonist provided in emergencies to block the effects of opioids. It reverses the complications of an overdose, including the respiratory depression that causes death, but it does not stop the full withdrawal. Actually, naloxone precipitates the beginning of a withdrawal, leaving the patient to feel the effects of it.
A typical scenario is when an overdosing patient is unresponsive and receives one or two doses of naloxone before their transport to a hospital. At the hospital, the opioid user begins to panic as the withdrawal symptoms escalate. They may feel judged and unheard by the health care professionals in the ER. This is a prevalent problem in an ER, due to the lack of time, resources, and adequate understanding of those suffering from opioid use disorder. As their panic increases, often patients will plead to be discharged. However, it is common that the attending physician obliges as soon as it is medically legal to do so.
Consequently, the desperate and sick patient look to get a quick fix to overcome the effects of the naloxone. Another factor that increases the risk for another overdose is that in order to overcome the partial receptor blockage, they need to use an ever-larger than normal quantity of opioids. Unfortunately, overdosing once again. Discharging these patients too quickly almost guarantees a second overdose. Fortunately, it is a cycle that is preventable.
Recognizing Patient Needs
We do understand the pressures put on ER doctors and staff in this present crisis. We also recognize that ER personnel do not always have the necessary time or training to deal with patients suffering from addiction and pain management issues. Subsequently, there is a common and harmful disconnect in fully comprehending the fragility of these compromised patients.
Desperate times call for extreme measures. We cannot continue to provide medical treatment, that is inadequate to patient’s needs. The lack of individualized care puts people in a revolving door of failed attempts to get better, leading to hopelessness and more intense drug use.
We should use emergency events as a means to provide people with a newfound path to health and hope. Once patients are physically stable, instead of discharging them back to a desperate situation, a dedicated hospital unit should be available. One that can help individually asses their emotional and physiological needs. It will serve as a safe environment where people will feel listened to, understood and treatment options will be readily available. It should be a place where patients get to stay until their opioid withdrawal is complete, and naltrexone therapy has begun.
An integral unit of this design would be complete with physicians, mental health professionals, and social workers. This facility should also evaluate each patient’s psychological, physical health, social and professional needs.
A program should be in place where each treatment plan is the result of individualized comprehensive psychological, psychiatric and medical assessments. The purpose of treatment should be to heal and improve people’s lives. It is time that we replace old judgmental and addiction-prolonging methods with available medical science. Treatment programs that are highly personalized, nurturing, and comprehensive.
Continuing care and support should extend beyond the naltrexone therapy phase. Ongoing counseling, medical support and other types of therapeutic resources are important part of a long-term healing process. Providing people with tools to explore underline issues, effective methods of communication and coping skills are essential for maintaining a healthy life.
We have the knowledge and resources to save lives; let’s use it.
Waismann Method® – An Opioid Treatment Program Ahead of Its Time
Private Accredited Hospital
In a full-service, JCAHO-accredited hospital in Southern California, we provide access to many specialized physicians, nurses and other healthcare professionals to administer naltrexone therapy. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) is a non-profit organization that sets strict quality standards for medical facilities. Medical institutions are evaluated based on extremely high criteria and receive accreditation only when meeting these gold standards in healthcare.
Quadruple Board Certified M.D.
Under the leadership of our medical director Dr. Michael H. Lowenstein, Waismann Method® is a pioneer in advancing medical opiate detoxification and rapid detox treatments for over two decades. Waismann Method® provides medical detox treatments for opioids and alcohol in a private hospital, giving patients round-the-clock medical care. Our patient-first approach prioritizes individualized care and superior medical protocols.
Individualized Medical Detox Protocol
Comprehensive and private drug detox is the first step in a successful recovery from drug dependence. An inpatient medical detox can prevent unpleasant withdrawal symptoms or dangerous consequences resulting from sudden opioid cessation. The goal of medical drug detox is the physiological stabilization and support as the body rids itself of opioid drugs.
Board-certified doctors assist with the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms while managing vital signs and other physiological responses. Relieving the discomfort of drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms is an integral part of a successful detoxification. Many people who try to detox on their own never completely make it through. Instead, they relapse and feel hopeless. Waismann Method® offers a safe, humane and effective way to becoming opioid free.
The Importance of a Supportive Recovery
After a medical opioid detox, people feel hypersensitive; chemically, their body is trying to regulate at so many levels. It is important to remember that the person becomes incredibly vulnerable, while this whole adaptation period is occurring. Also, opiate abuse causes the body to cease its natural endorphins. Consequently, after an opioid detox, people do not handle discomfort well, they tend to feel raw not just physically, but also mentally. Emotions and sensations tend to feel more intense and when these symptoms are not adequately attended to. Things can rapidly escalate, leading to anxiety, desperation, and immediate relapse. Having adequate support in this initial period, allows people to find balance and strength without unnecessary risk.
Once a patient has completed their detoxification at the hospital, we provide integrative recovery therapies to assist with the critical post-detox adjustment period. A recovery center should assist each individual to recover from their unique condition(s) that they are suffering from. As human beings, our DNAs, history, and requirements are unique and distinct recovery approaches should be applied based on the recovering individual and not on pre-set ideas.
Following an opioid detox, naltrexone therapy is initiated to eliminate cravings which reduces the risk of relapse. Naltrexone is a non-addictive and non-mood-altering opioid blocker. The drug dramatically reduces physical cravings, which help patients succeed in maintaining a life free from opioid dependence. Naltrexone also serves as a security blanket; a powerful aid in getting patients through the challenging first weeks at home, post-detox. Without the intense cravings and the physical dependence, people can focus on treating the emotional or physical aspects of their lives, that led them to opioid use in the first place.
Waismann Method® Will Help You Get Where You Need to Be
The fear and suffering from opioid withdrawal is often the reason why people keep on using or are unsuccessful at self-detoxing. A comfortable and safe inpatient detox program like the Waismann Method® provides patients with a nearly 100% detox success rate.
If you or a loved one is currently suffering from opioid use disorder, it’s important to remember, more than ever, you are not alone. Don’t allow stigma or fear keep you from getting where you need to be. At Waismann Method®, we know that opioid use disorder is a reversible medical condition, and we treat it as such. Call today for the professional help you need with the compassion you expect.