Addiction Treatment:

The disease of addiction continues to grow in prevalence despite the increasing availability of treatment options across the continuum of care. This is particularly true of opioid use disorder, commonly called opioid addiction, where overdose deaths have reached epidemic proportions. The misuse of prescription pain medication continues while the use of heroin and fentanyl has increased dramatically, causing a public health crisis in the United States.

In 2017, as reported by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • On average, 130 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose
  • 11.4 million Americans misused an opioid of some type
  • Almost one million Americans used heroin at least once
  • 67% of drug overdose deaths involved an opioid

Medication-Assisted Treatment

The FDA has approved three medications for the effective treatment of opioid use disorder in an outpatient setting. BayMark Health Services offers all three including methadone, buprenorphine/Suboxone® and naltrexone/Vivitrol® in a variety of settings for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Additionally, medically – supervised withdrawal management, also known as detoxification or detox, is done in both in- and out-patient settings utilizing a number of effective medications to stabilize the patient.

By offering a wide variety of proven treatment options, our patients benefit from having the ability to work with a medical provider to determine the treatment program that is best for them.

Innovative Services:

BayMark is paving the way for enhanced addiction treatment services with innovative solutions, including:

  • Telemedicine
  • Hub & Spoke System of Care (VT & CA)
  • Hospital Based Addiction Services
  • Addiction Treatment for Pregnant Women
  • Integrated Primary Care

“MAT is evidence-based and is the recommended course of treatment for opioid use disorder. The American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP), American Medical Association (AMA), The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other agencies emphasize MAT as first line treatment.”

National Council for Behavioral Health

Understanding Opioid Use Disorder

Opioid Use Disorder is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is extraordinarily difficult to overcome without help. In the case of opioid addiction, there are significant chemical changes that impact how the brain functions and makes decisions. People with the disease of addiction suffer physically as well as mentally from the drugs they use, withdrawal from those drugs, and the longer-term harm done to their bodies and brains. The physical and psychological features of opioid use disorder treatment can be devastating for those afflicted with the disease who do not get help.

The Opioid Dependent Brain

Opioids have been used for both medicinal and recreational purposes for thousands of years for their pain-relieving, euphoria- inducing qualities. When a person uses an opioid, whether a prescription or illicit drug, the brain is rewarded with a release of hormones which makes them feel good. As neurotransmitters levels go back to normal, the brain again craves that boost. This is the beginning of the cycle that makes addiction a chronic, relapsing disease.

When an opioid drug is taken, it attaches to mu receptors throughout the brain. These receptors are typically activated by the body’s natural opioids such as endorphins, released in response to pain or stress.

The mu receptors control the effects of the opioid drug, good and bad. These include pain reduction and euphoria, as well as constipation and respiratory depression.

As more of the opioid drug is taken, the brain adjusts to the surges in dopamine, a “feel-good” hormone released in response to the opioid drug. This adjustment reduces the amount of dopamine naturally produced.

Meanwhile, nerve cells in the brain, called neurons, send more frequent, intense messages to other parts of the body creating the negative physical effects of opioid use.

More of the opioid drug is now required to produce the same feeling. When the body is without the opioid, little dopamine is released but the neurons are still firing at an accelerated rate causing the individual to experience severe withdrawal symptoms.

The Psychological Addiction Cycle

While the physical dependence to an opioid is what causes the withdrawal symptoms that can make it so difficult to stop, it is not the only reason an individual continues to use a substance they know is harmful. Whether a person was prescribed medication for a health reason, or began using opiates recreationally, there is a psychological component to ongoing use. An individual begins to use in response to negative thoughts, feelings and issues, making the opioid the “solution” rather than the “problem”.

1

An individual experiences frustration, unhappiness, loneliness or some other negative emotion. This can be caused by any number of external or internal triggers.

2

When facing emotional or situational triggers, a person begins to imagine how much better they would feel or how the situation would improve if they used opioids.

3

After a person begins to dwell on thoughts of using opiates, the thoughts become constant and intrusive.

4

The craving to use becomes so persistent that the individual is no longer able to resist and they begin to use opioids.

5

When a person begins to use, they may plan to only use once or for a short amount of time. Unfortunately, they are usually unable to control their use and use larger amounts of the drug, more frequently, for a longer duration than they intended.

6

Failure to control their use can lead to negative feelings about themselves such as depression, shame and guilt. Often, consequences such as the loss of employment, financial and health issues, and family problems begin to occur as well.

7

As the consequences of opioid use become more severe, individuals begin to experience physical and psychological discomfort. Discomfort can lead to attempts to stop using; however, attempts often fail if the causes of the addiction are not treated.

8

As time passes, individuals continue to have negative experiences in life and without actively seeking treatment and alternative solutions, frustration begin to build, threatening to set the cycle in motion again.
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