Opioid Dependency and Alcohol Addiction Treatments
What Is The Best Treatment For Nerve Pain?
Many different treatments are effective with opioid dependence.
- psychosocial treatment,
- medication, and
- other therapies.
It is important to find the treatment that works best for you.
What is Dependence?
When you are physically dependent on something, it is called dependency. Withdrawal symptoms can occur if you stop using the medicine. Some medicines can cause your body to become physically dependent if you use them for a prolonged period of time.
You may depend on a medication used to treat a condition like:
- A heart condition
- You can also check out our other blog posts.
Do not suddenly stop taking your medication without consulting with your doctor.
What are the symptoms of being addicted to medicines?
Addiction to medicine can manifest in the following symptoms:
- Needing it to be used regularly or in greater quantities to cope with daily life
- Taking more medicine than prescribed
- Cravings or a strong urge to take the medicine
- Feeling anxious because you can’t get your medication
- Spending too much time on getting, using or recovering after the medication
- Finding it difficult to reduce or stop using your medicine
- Continue to take the medication, even if you are aware of a problem
- You may experience withdrawal symptoms, which are unpleasant feelings if you stop using it regularly
- Feeling judged or embarrassed when your pharmacist or physician wants to discuss the amount of medicine you take
What Treatments are Available?
Treatment for substance use disorder is similar to that for other illnesses, such as heart disease or diabetes. Medications can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms. One such medication is methadone, which helps prevent opioid withdrawal and relieves drug cravings but doesn’t get you high. It’s available in a clinic setting as a pill, liquid, or wafer and can be taken once per day or once per month. Another option is buprenorphine, which relieves opioid cravings and blocks the feeling of getting high. It’s given by a doctor in an office setting as a pill, or through thin tubes that are inserted under the skin and last for six months.
Other treatment types include individual counselling (which can be done alone or with family members), cognitive behavioural therapy, which teaches you to recognize and change negative patterns of thinking and behaviour, and group counselling, which lets you hear about the difficulties and successes of others who have similar problems. Contingency management, which uses incentives to encourage positive behaviours, such as sticking with your medications or attending therapy sessions, can also be helpful.
Most prescriptions are for chronic non-cancer pain, anxiety, cancer-related symptoms, epilepsy and other neurological disorders. However, the evidence supporting some indications is limited.
Many doctors are cautious about prescribing cannabis. While serious adverse events are rare, there are legitimate concerns around driving, cognitive impairment and drug dependence with products containing delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol. Cannabidiol-only products pose fewer risks.
Numerous clinical trials are underway for other conditions such as neuropathic pain, drug and alcohol dependence and neurodegenerative disorders. (6)
Around 10% of recreational cannabis users develop dependence. Cannabis can be euphorigenic, and habit-forming. Sudden withdrawal from cannabis can lead to a relatively benign but clinically significant withdrawal syndrome, which includes sleep and appetite disorders, emotional instability and craving for cannabis.(5)
Empower Lives Through Effective Opioid Dependency and Alcohol Addiction
In Australia, treatment programs are available to empower lives through Effective Opioid Dependency and Alcohol Addition (2). Treatment usually involves a combination of psychotherapy, counselling, education and family therapy (including mutual-aid groups such as Al-Anon (3) and Nar-Anon (4), with medications used to control drug cravings and ease withdrawal symptoms. These medications are called pharmacotherapies and include buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone. Buprenorphine suppresses opioid cravings and prevents withdrawal while methadone lowers and controls a person’s opioid use to a safer level. Naltrexone blocks the effects of opioid drugs like heroin, preventing feelings of euphoria.
In addition to a personalised treatment plan, most residential rehabilitation programs focus on helping people develop constructive coping strategies. These can help them to deal with issues like childhood trauma, anxiety or depression, which may have contributed to their substance use problems in the first place. Most residential rehab programs are abstinence based, but some offer medication assisted treatment.
Many drug-addicted people have comorbid disorders. For example, heavy drinking often co-occurs with opioid misuse and chronic pain is common in those with opiate dependency. These comorbidities increase the risk of overdose and make recovery more difficult.
Alcohol Dependence in Australia
Despite the widespread social acceptance of alcohol, there is a significant and growing burden of unhealthy drinking amongst Australians. Alcohol dependence is associated with 150,000 hospital admissions and 6,000 deaths each year and is one of the most common conditions seen in specialist treatment services.
- However, there is low uptake of evidence-based treatments including pharmacotherapies.
- Moreover, a number of at-risk groups are underserved by specialist alcohol and drug services.
- Using a community-based sample in urban and remote Aboriginal communities, this paper surveyed people about their drinking behaviours to identify patterns of harm and treatment-seeking.
Multivariate analyses showed that people who were dependent drinkers were eight times more likely to report harms and get help for their drinking than non-dependent drinkers. This group also had higher rates of comorbidity with mental health problems and lower rates of access to treatment services.
A wide range of interventions should be available for the management of unhealthy alcohol use, including screening (level A), counselling to promote moderation and abstinence, and brief motivational interviewing strategies for addressing problem drinking (level B). Screening tools that measure AUDIT criteria are recommended in general practice and hospitals, while direct measures of blood or breath alcohol concentrations can be useful in emergency departments. Level C interventions include comprehensive assessments in primary care and specialised consultations, and sustained abstinence is the best outcome for most (level D).
To deliver culturally responsive alcohol treatment, a holistic view of community is needed, which encapsulates two-way respectful collaboration, country, healing, self-determination and resilience to address alcohol-related harm.
What is the Treatment and Management of Opioid Use Disorder?
The best treatments for OUD include behavioural therapy and medications. Medications can change brain chemistry to reduce cravings, relieve withdrawal symptoms and block the euphoric effects of opioids. Currently available medications include buprenorphine (Suboxone, Subutex) and methadone. Buprenorphine is the first medication to treat OUD that can be dispensed under a doctor’s prescription in office settings without additional training, making it more accessible than previous treatments. Naltrexone, an opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of other opioids, is also available as a monthly injection by clinicians with special training. Clinical trials have shown that these medicines are effective when combined with counselling. These combined treatments are called Medication Assisted Treatment or MAT.
Counselling can teach people with OUD new coping skills and help them identify the issues that contribute to drug abuse. Different types of psychotherapy can benefit people with OUD, including cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), contingency management and family-based therapy. Individuals with OUD may also find it useful to participate in peer support groups that help them share their struggles and provide encouragement that lessens the emotional effects of alcohol and opioid dependence.
Some hospitals offer residential treatment programs that combine housing with health care and addiction treatment services. These programs are highly structured and usually involve several kinds of counselling or behavioural therapies and medications. Some hospitals also have inpatient hospital-based programs for people with medical conditions who need to stay in the hospital for their health care needs.
How Can You Help?
When a friend or loved one is in recovery, your support is vital. You should encourage them to continue with their treatment and avoid making emotional appeals that could increase feelings of guilt or a sense of responsibility for using. Also, never try to “save” a person from their addiction. The best way to support someone in recovery is to attend meetings with them, and join mutual-aid groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
Alcohol addiction treatment is sometimes funded under various programs through Medicare. Treatment of alcoholism is key to patients’ quality of life.
Medical Cannabis Doctors Online Treatment
One of the treatments to understand whether Medicinal Cannabis is a potential solution for Opioid Dependence is to talk with your doctor at CannaTelehealth. They will ask questions about your symptoms and how they have been treated in the past. The doctor may also ask for your history of substances (such as alcohol or drugs) during your telehealth appointment. The doctor may then suggest a treatment plan.
We connect patients with a qualified Medical Cannabis Doctor for advice and treatment. The process is done online via telehealth so you don’t need to travel. You get guidance, medical cannabis dosage recommendations, and a prescription which can be shared with a licensed producer regulated by TGA.
The doctor will evaluate your health history to determine if you are eligible for the medication. If approved they will write you a prescription, and provide details of how to obtain the medication from your local pharmacy.
It is important that you have tried conventional medicines to treat your medical condition, and they have not been effective or caused side effects. Our online doctors in CBD are experienced in recommending medicinal cannabis for a wide range of medical conditions.
Our Doctors are all Authorised Prescribers, which means they already have the necessary approvals from the TGA to prescribe this medication. They will discuss the benefits and risks with you and determine if this medicine is appropriate for your condition. During the consultation your doctor will explain the process of accessing medicinal cannabis in each Australian state and territory and the Special Access Scheme (SAS) category you may need to go through to gain a prescription. If you have a chronic debilitating medical condition, we can help you become a certified medical cannabis patient. Medicinal cannabis can improve your quality of life and give you back control.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Are the Best Treatments for Opioid Addiction?
The best treatment for opioid addiction is usually a combination of medication and behavioural counselling or talk therapy. Opioid Replacement therapy is another recommended treatment for Opioid addiction. It is also known as a ‘medication-assisted treatment’ (MAT) model. The most widely used pharmacotherapies for opioid addiction include methadone, buprenorphine-naloxone, and buprenorphine long-acting injection. These drugs are available through prescription, are highly regulated, and have been shown in decades of research to reduce withdrawal symptoms and craving, increase opioid abstinence, and lower overdose risk.
Behavioural counselling and therapy can help patients recognize the causes of their drug use, learn skills to change addictive behaviours, and develop supportive relationships. Relapse prevention is a key component of most treatment programs and should be discussed regularly with patients. Behavioural counselling and therapy often takes place in group settings with patients in treatment with similar issues. Family counselling is important for children and spouses of addicted adults, who need to be educated on the dangers of substance abuse and how to support their loved ones’ recovery.
Psychiatric medications are also prescribed for some people in addiction treatment to treat comorbid psychiatric disorders. These medicines can be very effective, and they should always be prescribed with extreme caution in these patients because of the potential for combining drugs or taking higher than prescribed doses which could result in intentional or unintentional overdose. These medications can include mood stabilisers, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and other pharmacotherapies. In some cases, the physician may refer the patient to a specialised therapist who will address the specific underlying problems and provide more intensive treatment.
Online Doctors at CannaTelehealth are able to provide consultations for alcohol addiction.
Contact us via our website and request an appointment.
Who is CannaTelehealth?
CannaTelehealth is a telehealth brand backed by the trusted and original Telehealth provider company Phenix Health. CannaTelehealth specialises in online consultations with the ability to help assist treatment of opioid dependence and alcohol addiction. Our platform is designed to enable medical professionals to use the latest telehealth technology, whilst keeping patient information secure and complying with privacy and security regulations.
We have been able to create an online system that makes it easy for patients to book appointments online with qualified and experienced Nurse Practitioners or Doctors, who can assist in the process of accessing Medicinal Cannabis for the treatment of their medical condition. Our telehealth system is fully backed by our clinical team who ensure that all consultations are conducted by suitably qualified health care professionals.
Our doctors are all able to apply for Medicinal Cannabis under the schedule 8 of the Therapeutic Goods Act (TGA), allowing them to prescribe the medication as required. During the initial consultation, your nurse or doctor will work with you to determine whether Medicinal Cannabis is appropriate for your specific symptoms and conditions. If it is, they will then apply for a TGA approval for your escript, which can be used by your pharmacy to order the product.
Does CannaTelehealth have a list of products they will prescribe?
CannaTelehealth and our healthcare professionals remain brand agnostic to medicinal cannabis products.
Contact Us Form through our website cannatelehealth.com.au
- https://www.health.gov.au/sites/default/files/national-guidelines-for-medication-assisted-treatment-of-opioid-dependence.pdf – Online reference
- https://www.al-anon.org.au/ Online reference
- https://www.naranon.com.au/ – Online reference
- World Health Organization. WHO Expert Committee on Drug Dependence. Critical review. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol: Geneva: World Health Organization; 2018. https://www.who.int/medicines/access/controlled-substances/ecdd-41-st-meeting/en [cited 2020 Sep 1]
- Allsop DJ, Copeland J, Norberg MM, Fu S, Molnar A, Lewis J, et al. Quantifying the clinical significance of cannabis withdrawal. PLoS One 2012;7:e44864. 10.1371/journal.pone.0044864 [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
Disclaimer: CannaTelehealth is not promoting the use of medicinal cannabis. Medicinal cannabis does affect every person differently, due to factors such as size, weight, health, dosage, tolerance and age. Medicinal cannabis might not work for you, and you might experience side-effects. Information provided by CannaTelehealth is for educational and informational purposes only. For medical advice, please refer to your doctor. Medicinal cannabis in Australia is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration and details about cannabis as a scheduled drug can be found on their website.