Opioid Use Disorder (Addiction) is a Growing Problem

Addiction to opioids (Heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone) is miserable, destructive and potentially deadly; it is also much more common than most realize.  In 2014, the death by opiate overdose became the #1 cause of accidental death in the USA for the first time ever.  Since then, things have gotten steadily worse.  

It started with the flood of prescription opioids in the mid-2000’s, often prescribed with good intentions.  When our first efforts at prescription reform reduced the supply of prescription opiates, criminal cartels were there to flood the market with cheap heroin, making things worse than ever before.  Now, fentanyl and carfentanil have taken the death and destruction to levels we never imagined.  

What doesn’t make headlines, however, is the widespread but hidden pain of those who struggle from day to day with opioid dependence, often in total secrecy.  People with families and jobs, whose hopes and dreams are fading away as they sink deeper into addiction.  Often these people have physical and mental health problems that make escape seem impossible.  

The message from Master Center is that it doesn’t have to be like this.  Recovery is available to anyone willing to seek it, it is a journey that takes time and it can’t be done alone.  

Often it’s the physical dependence, the sickness one has to go through to stop using opiates, that keeps a person from even trying to get started on the road back.  

The doctors at Master Center are experts in treating opioid addiction and have a system for ending opioid dependence without the overwhelming misery of withdrawal.  Read on to learn more about how we can help you.

The Outpatient Approach

In an ideal world, anyone with an opioid problem would be able to take a break from everyday life and spend time in a safe, supportive place, staffed by treatment experts and isolated from distractions.  For the majority of us, that kind of time away doesn’t seem possible for many reasons.  Sadly, in the recent past this left virtually nowhere to turn.  

Thanks to the innovations at Master Center, comprehensive addiction treatment, even Detox, can be successfully and safely done while living at home.  This makes treatment more flexible and individualized yet much less expensive.   Our approach has been tested, refined and proven over the course of 10 years by our founder and his students.   

Opioid Withdrawal

It doesn’t take long to become physically dependent on an opiate, perhaps as few as 10 days of steady, high dose usage can leave a person feeling uncomfortable when the drug is suddenly stopped.  Although opioid withdrawal is rarely life-threatening, it can make a person feel as if death might be a better alternative.  It’s especially difficult to endure if one knows that relief is merely a phone call away – which leads to the greatest misery of all, that is, feeling like there is no way to escape.  

Withdrawal symptoms typically start within 8 hours after a patient stops using and increase in intensity until peak misery at about 72 hours out.  The whole experience is sometimes compared to a terrible case of the flu combined with food poisoning.   

Early symptoms are mostly psychological and usually include:

  • Anxiety and a sense of unease
  • Craving 
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness and mild insomnia

About 18-24 hours the physical symptoms hit, including:

  • Yawning
  • Goosebumps
  • Chills
  • Vague muscle achiness 
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal cramping and diarrhea

At 48-72 hours the symptoms are the most intense:

  • Intense muscle aches and spasms
  • Abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting
  • Fever and chills
  • Agitation, confusion
  • Severe insomnia, sleeplessness

Symptoms of acute withdrawal are usually over by the seventh day, sometimes leaving a patient feeling totally drained.  But the patient must be vigilant and ready to work because relapse of strikes in the first week after getting clean.  

Withdrawal Management 

We start treatment during the first period of withdrawal.  We are virtually always successful at extinguishing withdrawal symptoms and helping each patient make a soft landing in sobriety.  We begin to work on protecting our patients from relapse to opioid use before the detox taper is complete. Soon after completion of the taper we begin to work on long term plans for recovery.  Our approach includes :

  •  Buprenorphine taper: This special medication stops even the worst withdrawal symptoms within minutes of administration.  At the same time, it prevents intoxication (getting high) by blocking opioid centers within the brain – an effect that lasts for days after taking it.  In most cases, the physician will administer this medication in increasingly smaller doses over the course of six to twelve days.
  • Education and Counseling:  All of our Detox Program patients are invited to participate in a series of classes on addiction, recovery and the keys to long-term success.  They will also have a chance to meet with a counselor and attend group sessions.  Every patient will work with a Recovery Coach throughout their time with us.
  • Mental Health Support:  Our medical team is made of addictionologists and psychiatrists qualified to assess underlying issues with depression, anxiety or other problems that often co-occur with addiction.
  • Medication-Assisted Treatment:  Before completing the Detox Program, each patient will have the opportunity to consider ongoing treatment with naltrexone (Vivitrol) or buprenorphine (Suboxone) as an aid to ongoing recovery.  Over time, nearly every patient who has struggle with opioid addiction realizes that, as hard as getting clean can be, staying clean is much harder.

A Holistic Approach To Opioid Detox

Recovering from addiction to heroin or oxycodone is a challenge:  physical, mental and emotional.  Our program is built to work on all three levels.  

Our Detox Program lasts only 30-days but we feel that is a thorough introduction to the process of recovery and a great value.  As noted above, medical and psychiatric treatment are complemented by Peer Coaching, education and professional counseling.  In addition to this wide range of programming, we also offer a family program for concerned loved ones.

Our Detox Program can be a highly effective start to any recovery.  It is also a great introduction to the kind of long-term, comprehensive, outpatient treatment offered at Master Center.  Our hope is that every Detox Patient will decide to stay in treatment until they achieve the level of recovery can last a lifetime.

The Time For Recovery is Now

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, nearly 2 million Americans now suffer from opioid use disorder.  Young lives are continually lost as the overdose rate continues to climb, clearly worsened by the Covid-19 Pandemic.  Most of all, overdose is only the dramatic tip of the misery caused by addiction all over the world, for patients and their families.  If you find yourself in a situation like this, know that you are not alone.

You should not wait to seek professional help. Our knowledgeable doctors and compassionate staff will provide you with the treatment you need to achieve sobriety. We offer medication and other resources that you may use to break the dangerous cycle of addiction.

Our team has over 100 years of combined experience; we are equipped to help any patient regardless of the severity of their addiction. We combine the most up-to-date, evidence based treatment tools with a great respect for the accumulated wisdom of the Recovery Community.   

We are expert in managing the withdrawal from every habit forming drug known to be abused in our region.  We also expertly utilize Suboxone, Vivitrol, and Sublocade to prevent a relapse to heroin dependency as part of our comprehensive  medication-assisted treatment program. 

Get in touch with our team in Richmond, VA, to begin your heroin detox. Our personalized addiction treatment program will help you achieve a long-lasting recovery.