Drug dependency can feel like an insurmountable challenge—and it’s a challenge that truly doesn’t discriminate. Opioid addiction affects people at all points on the socioeconomic scale, from the smallest and poorest communities to the most well-off.
It’s not hard to imagine how a financially affluent background affords a person better resources to put toward opioid use disorder treatment. But an economic advantage doesn’t necessarily mean a person will be more successful with their recovery. In fact, the current standards of opioid use disorder treatment aren’t as effective as many people would hope.
Hollywood and Opioids
To get better idea about the scope of the global opioid use disorder crisis—one which directly impacted 40.5 million people around the world in 2017 and led to approximately 109,500 deaths—just consider celebrity news. We hear frequently about actors, athletes, and other well-known personalities who share about their experience with opioid use disorder. Examples include:
- Rapper and music producer Timbaland: he overcame an addiction to OxyContin and Percocet that started with a prescription for opioids following a root canal; his dependency accelerated after going through a divorce and investigation from the IRS.
- Actor Jamie Lee Curtis: now sober for over two decades, Curtis was dependent on Vicodin after first receiving a prescription for the drug following a cosmetic procedure which she said in an interview with Variety “wasn’t really painful.”
- Actor Matthew Perry: the former Friends star publicly struggled with Vicodin and methadone dependency for years that had his weight yo-yo-ing up and down, among other challenges.
Many more celebrities, including actors Heath Ledger and Corey Monteith (from the TV show Glee) and singer Prince also struggled with opioid use disorder—but sadly lost their lives in the battle. But despite all their differences, these celebrities—like anyone else living with drug dependency—share many things in common, including a history of multiple failed attempts at rehab and recovery.
This isn’t to suggest a moral “failure” of the celebrities, nor anyone else who’s been in and out of drug treatment programs before. Instead, it’s meant to highlight some important questions that aren’t being adequately addressed in the fight against opioids.
Why is the failure of opioid use disorder treatment so common – even among individuals who are blessed with plenty of financial resources to help them? Why do so many people leave intensive rehab only to, eventually, use again and place themselves at dire risk of accidental overdose and death? After all, if drug dependency was truly a “chronic disease” like many people argue, wouldn’t medical treatment be sufficient to address the issue?
There’s More to It Than Drugs: Healing the Person Behind Opioid Dependency
The current standards of care often fail to provide effective and long-lasting solutions for individuals and their loved ones. Time and again, conventional opioid use disorder treatment falls short.
To be clear, there is certainly a need for promoting prescriber responsibility, patient education, and the closer regulation of opioid manufacturing and distribution—all of which are the current methods du jour for ending the opioid crisis. And going beyond prevention, there is also a need to support individuals who are already in the grips of dependency (which sometimes includes medication-assisted interventions). But the state of the opioid crisis suggests that conventional treatment approaches do not sufficiently identify nor treat the deeper issues which all too often drive drug dependency: mental health challenges.
Simply put: chronic stress, emotional trauma, pervasive loneliness, and psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety are common in the human experience and therefore common among people with opioid use disorder. And when these mental health issues are not explored and professionally managed, then drug use disorders will persist.
Opioid misuse is not a moral inadequacy or character flaw. In our experience and after treating thousands of individuals for more than two decades, we have found that opioid misuse is very often an attempt to self-medicate, an attempt to relieve both physical and especially psychological pain.
Seen this way, drug misuse is a symptom of a deeper-rooted and highly personal issue. And, as you can imagine, interventions that only attempt to fix the symptom will not help a person resolve the underlying source of their problem, especially when the standard intervention merely replaces an illicit opioid with a legally prescribed one such as methadone or buprenorphine.
Waismann Method® Way
It is time to start seeing opioid drug dependency for what it really is. It is not a “chronic disease,” but a complex behavioral response that often attempts to compensate for underlying physical and psychological pain and trauma. It is time to understand that conventional treatment for drug dependency too often fails to adequately address the true roots of opioid dependency. It’s time to stop treating opioid use disorder in a vacuum that doesn’t consider the person behind the patient.
It is time to understand that finding a solution to the opioid crisis must include an attempt to investigate and address a person’s mental health.
“Based on decades of scientific literature, and direct clinical experience, the team at Waismann Method® believes that until and unless mental health care is dealt with in a powerful, scientific, and all-encompassing manner, the opioid crisis will just lead to another drug crisis,” says Clare Waismann, CATC – Certified Addiction Treatment Counselor and the Founder of the Waismann Method® of Advanced Treatment of Opiate Dependence and Domus Retreat.
In other words, replacing illicit street drugs with government-subsidized medications only puts a bandage on our collective suffering and leaves people at risk for self-medicating in the future with different substances. Conventional opioid use disorder treatment hasn’t proven to be enough to heal what’s going on beneath a person’s behaviors, and any treatment approach that prioritizes medication over psychological support is bound to be underwhelming.
With the Waismann Method®, our experienced team gets people medically detoxified from opioids in a private, comfortable, state-of-the-art hospital environment under the direct supervision of a quadruple-board certified physician. Rapid detox – medical treatment of opioid use disorder and other forms of medically assisted detox, helps a patient quickly and safely get the opioid drugs out of their system. This allows them to be more emotionally and physically prepared to do the next and usually hardest step of their recovery: addressing the underlying mental and emotional issues which were driving their drug use in the first place.
At Waismann, we provide personalized, private, and comprehensive physical and emotional health care to help you or your loved one find the best path to a complete recovery. Our private treatment center for Substance Abuse and Opioid Use Disorder, Domus Retreat®, provides you with around-the-clock care from healthcare professionals while you recover from your detox treatment, in a place where you truly feel taken care of, comforted, and truly supported.