Drugs like suboxone and methadone are used to treat opioid addiction by delivering enough narcotic to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal. The theory is that these medications will keep a person addicted to opioids from using them by replacing their drug of choice with a safer prescription medication. Suboxone, in particular, contains naloxone, an opioid blocking agent that keeps a user from being able to feel the euphoric effects of opioid substances. These medications, however, often do more harm than good.Opioids do major damage to the brain overtime, and the only way for the brain to heal and return to homeostasis is through abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Opioid maintenance medications continually deliver narcotics to the brain, impeding its ability to heal. Many people on these medications use them as a replacement for a recovery program, which does not allow them to address the mental and spiritual aspects of the disease of addiction. Without the brain being able to heal, relapse becomes very likely even while on maintenance medications. Dr. Constance Scharff, in a 2013 Psychology Today article, “Neuroplasticity and Addiction Recovery”, explains that addiction changes the pleasure centers of the brain, and “the addict’s brain becomes accustomed to the addictive act being the source of pleasure – not family, friends, a good meal, or a job well done. We can retrain the brain and we can rebalance the addict’s biochemistry, BUT, the old neuropathways, the old links between addiction and pleasure are still there. This is why we suggest complete abstinence from drugs and alcohol to addicts. It doesn’t take much to jump start the old habit.” Maintenance drugs like methadone and suboxone continue delivering narcotics to the brain, which does not allow the neuropathways created and strengthened by addiction to change. We fall back into the same actions and behaviors that drove us deeper into opioid addiction. Without making changes through recovery and sobriety, these behaviors will inevitably draw us back into addiction. The only solution to overcoming addiction is to engage in a recovery program that promotes complete abstinence from mind and mood-altering chemicals. Only then are we able to live our lives free from the strong grip of addiction and heal from the damage done by drug abuse.
Your story can be one of healing and growth. A better life is waiting in sobriety if you make the decision to seek help now. Oceanfront Recovery, a treatment center in beautiful Laguna Beach, is staffed with compassionate detox professionals dedicated to making the process as comfortable as possible. For more information about treatment options, including Detox and Residential Treatment, please call today: (877) 279-1777