Addiction FAQ

Confidentiality : We operate under HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) guidelines . Patient confidentiality is important to us, because of the nature of what we do & the patient we serve. Consequently, your health information will not (and cannot) be shared with an outside person, provider, or agency without your express and documented consent.

The only exceptions would be under the state mandated law when there is evidence of a risk of harm to yourself or someone else, evidence of physical or sexual abuse or medical documents are requested by subpoena to a designated court of law.

Opioid Dependence FAQ

What is Suboxone (Buprenorphine)?

Suboxone (Buprenorphine) has been in clinical use since 2002 to help with opioid dependency and addiction. This medication allows one to regain a normal state of mind, free of the withdrawal symptoms, cravings and drug-induced highs and lows of opioid dependency. Medication-assisted treatment as this treatment is often called, is akin to using medicine to treat other chronic illnesses, such as heart disease or diabetes.

Buprenorphine is a partial agonist, meaning that it activates the opioid receptors in the brain, but to a much lesser extent than a full agonist. Buprenorphine has a “ceiling effect” limiting its ability to be used to get “high” or feel euphoria and also causes the drug to be less dangerous in its ability to cause respiratory depression, which is what leads to fatal overdoes. Additionally, it acts as an antagonist, blocking other opioids while still effectively reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings.

A proper dose in buprenorphine treatment varies for each person, but typically begins more aggressively at the start of treatment. Buprenorphine, and buprenorphine compounds such as Suboxone®, Zubsolv, have been shown to be more effective at lower doses over time. At a certain point, increasing the dose may not provide additional benefit. It is important to note that before taking buprenorphine a patient must be experiencing moderate discomfort and/or symptoms of withdrawal.

What is opioid dependence?

Opioid dependence is a chronic relapsing disorder—similar to diabetes or high blood pressure. Both legitimate use and misuse of opioids can lead to dependence. Opioids can physically change the brain. After a while, the brain starts to think that it needs opioids to function normally. This causes the cravings and symptoms of withdrawal that someone with opioid dependence often experiences when the effects of opioids begin to wear off.

Like other chronic disorders:

There is no known cure for opioid dependence
Some people are more likely to develop opioid dependence than others
Relapse is common and may be successfully addressed with the right treatment plan, which may include a combination of medication, support and/or counseling.
You can still live a healthy, productive life with the right treatment plan
People who take opioids recreationally without a valid prescription may get or take opioids from a friend or family member. Others may buy them on the street or from a mail-order company. Dependence can make people do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do to acquire opioids.

How do I know if I am opioid dependent?

If you are a frequent user of opioids, you should speak to a doctor for an evaluation. He or she will determine whether you have opioid dependence and the best course of treatment for you.

Is there a cure for opioid dependence?

There is no known cure for opioid dependence. However, studies have shown that it can be managed successfully over the long term with an appropriate treatment plan that includes medication, support, and counseling/ behavioral therapy.

Why do people become dependent on opioids?

The frequent and long-term use of opioids changes nerve cells in the brain such that normal brain function begins to require the presence of opioids. That is why people with opioid dependence develop cravings for opioids. Additionally, the parts of the brain that process learning, memory, and emotions are affected, thereby influencing an individuals experience of the world around them.

What is a relapse?

Relapse is a part of this chronic disorder of opioid dependence, just like symptom breakthrough is with other chronic conditions. Relapse happens when someone with opioid dependence who had stopped taking opioids begins taking opioids again.

Long-term use of opioids causes physical changes in the brain that make people with opioid dependence feel like they need opioids in order to function properly. Because of this, people are at risk of having cravings or encountering triggers that can lead to relapse.

When people relapse, they sometimes feel like they have failed. But that isn’t always the case. Everyone has different needs, and a relapse can simply mean that a person isn’t getting the support and/or counseling he or she needs or that they may need to try a different medication. A comprehensive treatment plan can help people achieve their treatment goals.

What can I do to help avoid a relapse?

To help avoid a relapse, it is important that you continue the treatment plan that your doctor prescribed for you. In addition, you should also avoid triggers that can lead to relapse, including:

Stress at work or home
Relationship problems
Emotional pain or difficult situations
Pain from an injury or medical procedure
Certain people from your past
What do I do if I have a relapse?
If you have a relapse, first understand that it is common and is nothing to be ashamed about. It’s important to call someone like a doctor, counselor, friend, or a loved one right away.

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