At Valley Medical we treat addiction to a variety of substances. Different types of substance abuse require different types of treatment.
Opioid Use Disorder
Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), commonly referred to as opioid addiction, is a problematic pattern of opioid use that causes significant impairment or distress. Addiction to opioids can significantly impact one's quality of life. In addition to their physical impacts (drowsiness, confusion, and, at high doses, slowness of breathing that can lead to death), opioids can cause long-term dependence and addiction.
Some of the most common opioids subject to abuse include:
- Prescription pain killers (OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, etc.)
Opioids are typically used to treat acute and chronic pain. They work by attaching themselves to opioid receptors in the brain and other areas of the body. In doing so, opioids block the body’s pain signals from being sent to the brain, thus masking such pain. They also release large amounts of dopamine throughout the body, which can make people feel relaxed and happy—which can be addictive.
In most cases, people who use opioids for short-term pain control don’t become addicted to them. Some individuals, however, find opioid use uncontrollable and addiction becomes an unwanted side effect of their pain treatment. The addictive qualities can make it hard to stop taking opioids after original pain issue has been resolved.
At Valley Medical, we treat opioid abuse with buprenorphine and similar medications (such as Sublocade) that are less addictive and have fewer side effects than other opioids. These medications can help diminish the effects of opioid dependency, such as withdrawal symptoms and cravings, and lower the potential for abuse. Combined with counseling and other therapies, this medication-assisted treatment can help you reduce your dependence on opioids.
Alcohol Use Disorder
Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), commonly known as alcoholism, is a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences. Alcohol dependence also increases your tolerance of alcohol, which means you need to drink more over time to maintain the same level of results.
Many people who are alcohol dependent exhibit alcohol-seeking behaviors, such as frequenting places or situations where you can drink. As a result of this dependence on alcohol, you can develop physical cravings and compulsions for drinking. When you aren’t able to consume alcohol, it can result in significant withdrawal symptoms which may be life threatening. Because of the severity and discomfort of these withdrawal symptoms, many people find it hard to quit drinking and go back to abusing alcohol to prevent tremors, hangovers, and other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal.
The team at Valley Medical and Wellness takes a multifaceted approach to treating alcohol dependence and works closely with you to design the right treatment plan.
One common strategy for reducing dependence on alcohol without debilitating side effects involves the use of Vivitrol®, an injectable medication. Vivitrol® (naltrexone) is an effective treatment that reduces cravings for alcohol by interfering with the body’s reward system. The medication blocks the positive feelings that drinking alcohol typically provides, making you less inclined to crave a drink.
Patients receive Vivitrol injections once a month during an in-office visit. A Valley Medical and Wellness provider monitors the treatment to ensure it’s working for each individual patient. They can also recommend lifestyle changes, counseling, and other forms of support to help on the road to recovery.
Stimulant Use Disorder
Stimulant Use Disorder (SUD), also known as stimulant addiction, is the continued use of stimulants despite harm to the user. These stimulants include:
- Methamphetamine (meth)
- MDMA (ecstasy, molly)
- Amphetamine (speed)
- Prescription amphetamines (Adderall, Ritalin, Dexedrine)
Stimulant abuse can cause unwanted side effects such as elevated heart rate, dilated pupils, increased blood pressure, sweating or chills, nausea or vomiting, and chest pain. Continued misuse can lead to more server problems, including heart attack, stroke, severe weight loss, dental problems, violent behavior, paranoia, and premature death.
To reduce the use of stimulants, the experts at Valley Medical prescrive medication-assisted treatment, in conjunction with detox and intensive therapy. The goal is to help you reduce your use of stimulants and return to living a more normal life.
Benzodiazepine abuse is the use of benzodiazepines without a prescription, often for recreational use. Benzodiazepines are prescription drugs typically used to treat anxiety disorders, seizures, and insomnia. Common side effects of benzodiazpine abuse include drowsiness, fatigue, lethargy, slurred speech, dizziness, mood changes, and erratic or hostile behavior.
The most commonly abused benzodiazepines include:
- Alprazolam (Xanax)
- Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
- Diazepam (Valium)
- Lorazepam (Ativan)
When a person who is on benzodiazepines suddenly stops taking them or dramatically reduces the dosage, they often experience severe withdrawal symptoms as their brain adjusts to the absence of the drug. It is recommended that ending benzodiazepine use be attempted only with proper medical and/or psychiatric supervision.
The addiction experts at Valley Medical take benzodiazepine use into account when dealing with other addiction disorders. The goal is to reduce dependence on all addictive substances, including benzodiazepines.
Marijuana Use Disorder
While marijuana is commonly used as a recreational drug (and increasingly being legalized by many states), some people who use marijuana will develop Marijuana Use Disorder, also known as Cannabis Use Disorder. This is the inability to stop using marijuana even though it is causing health and social problems. Studies estimate that between 10% and 30% of marijuana users become addicted to the drug.
To treat Marijuana Use Disorder, Valley Medical recommends the use of Naltrexone and other medication-assisted treatments in conjunction with cognitive behavioral therapy.
IV Drug Use
Intravenous (IV) drug use affects close to 4 million individuals in the United States. The most common drugs that people "shoot up" are heroin, meth, and cocaine.
In addition to the normal side effects of the drugs themselves, injecting these drugs can lead to skin infections, scarring and track marks, blood-borne infections, deep vein thrombosis, heart infections, and potentially lethal overdosing.
Valley Medical fights IV drug use by using medication-assisted treatment to help manage cravings for an abused substance. We also encourage patients to seek a chemical dependency treatment program to deal with the root causes of their IV drug use.