The most frequent cause of relapse when people are trying to address substance abuse problems is the severity of the withdrawal symptoms. If you want to quit, but are afraid of going through withdrawal, Brian Carty, MD, MSPH, of Carty Addiction and Internal Medicine Clinic in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, can help. Dr. Carty is a leading addiction specialist who provides effective withdrawal treatment using a highly successful medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program. Call the clinic today to find out more, or book an appointment online.
Withdrawal is a term for the symptoms you experience if you stop taking a substance to which you’ve become addicted. It’s most often applied to drugs such as heroin and prescription opioids, as these are the substances that typically cause the most severe withdrawal symptoms.
In order to successfully quit using such a substance, getting help from a specialist service like Carty Addiction and Internal Medicine Clinic is essential. The effects of withdrawal are one of the main reasons why people who are trying to stop using drugs relapse, so support is key to success.
Withdrawal symptoms become a problem when you’ve been taking a drug long enough for it to cause changes in your brain chemistry. Nerve cells in your brain called neurons undergo changes when repeatedly exposed to drugs. Neurons use chemicals called neurotransmitters to send signals, and the changes in your neurons affect the way your brain experiences pleasure.
Over time you may develop a dependency on a drug, as the changes in your neurons mean you need to take the drug just to feel normal. At this stage, if you try to stop taking the drug, the neurons can’t work properly, causing a range of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms such as:
If you persist in denying your brain the drug on which it’s become dependent, withdrawal symptoms worsen and can include:
Withdrawal symptoms aren’t life-threatening, but they can be extremely unpleasant and distressing, making it a considerable challenge to keep going when you know you could feel better if you have the drug your body is missing.
The psychological effects of withdrawal can also be overwhelming, so it’s not surprising that withdrawal is the main barrier to successfully overcoming addiction. By allowing Carty Addiction and Internal Medicine Clinic to guide and support you through your withdrawal, you stand a far better chance of succeeding.
At Carty Addiction and Internal Medicine Clinic, patients undergo a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program. MAT combines medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms with talking therapies to help you get through the withdrawal phase as smoothly as possible. Using MAT, you can manage your withdrawal as an outpatient, relieving you of the difficulties of going into a hospital or a detox unit.
The medications you take may vary according to the substance from which you’re withdrawing. For example, if you have an alcohol use disorder, you take naltrexone to reduce your alcohol cravings. If you have an opioid addiction, your medication is likely to be Suboxone®, which contains buprenorphine and naloxone. Suboxone works by reducing your opioid cravings and decreasing your dependency.
To find out more about the best ways to overcome the barriers of withdrawal, call Carty Addiction and Internal Medicine Clinic today, or book an appointment online.