Opioid use disorder and drug addiction are complex illnesses. Treating them effectively requires a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach.
The National Institute of Drug Addiction, in its update of the Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition), describes the disease as an “intense and, at times, uncontrollable drug craving, along with compulsive drug seeking and use that persist even in the face of devastating consequences.”1
Opioid use disorder and drug addiction affect multiple brain circuits, including those involved in reward and motivation, learning and memory, and inhibitory control over behavior.
Treatment Is Complex
Since opioid use disorder and addiction are multidimensional and disrupt many aspects of an individual’s life, treatment is not simple. Furthermore, addiction is a chronic disease, and most people cannot simply stop using drugs to be cured. Effective treatment programs typically incorporate several components, each directed at a particular aspect of the illness. Treatment must help the individual:
- stop using drugs
- maintain a drug-free lifestyle
- achieve productive functioning in the family, at work, and in society
Patients typically require long-term care to achieve sustained abstinence and recovery. The chronic nature of the disease means that relapsing to drug abuse is likely. 59% of patients relapse within one week after discharge.2
Importance of Post-Detox Care
Different approaches are often necessary for different stages of treatment to stay on course during recovery.
Treating withdrawal – When patients first stop using drugs, they can experience various physical and emotional symptoms. Certain treatment medications and devices — like Speranza Therapeutics’ S.T.Genesis neuromodulation device — can be used to reduce withdrawal symptoms.
Staying in treatment – Some treatment medications and mobile applications (like S.T.Genesis) alleviate withdrawal symptoms during detox which can help patients focus on counseling and other treatment activities.
Preventing relapse – Having a comprehensive, post-detox care plan is essential to avoiding relapse. Patients often transition to medication-assisted therapy (MAT) or abstinence-based treatment programs. The therapy can be offered at different levels of care such as Residential Treatment Center, Partial Hospitalization Program, Intensive Outpatient Program, and Outpatient Services.
Drug treatment is intended to help addicted individuals stop compulsive drug seeking and use. Considering drug addiction is a chronic disorder, short-term or one-time treatment is usually insufficient. For many, treatment is a long-term process that will include a multi-faceted approach involving multiple interventions and regular monitoring.
S.T.Genesis is an important first step in recovery. This revolutionary new treatment option is an FDA-cleared, Percutaneous Nerve Field Stimulator (PNFS) device that creates a path from successful detoxification to complete recovery through a non-invasive intervention directly targeting and reducing opioid withdrawal symptoms.
- Smyth BP, Barry J, Keenan E, Ducray K. Lapse and relapse following inpatient treatment of opiate dependence. Ir Med J. 2010;103(6):176-179.