What is Opioid Replacement Therapy?

 You may have heard quite a bit about opioid replacement therapy, and may be wondering what it is. Well, there are several ways to achieve this sort of therapy, and many individuals are buying kratom to use it for this specific purpose. Let’s explore this topic further. 

Definition

The World Health Organization explains that opioid substitution therapy happens when illicit drug users are given a replacement, prescribed drug in a clinical setting. The goal of opioid replacement therapy is to replace drugs that are dangerous with ones that are legal, don’t give as much of a euphoric effect, and are longer acting in order to mediate the health risks associated with illicit drug abuse, and to keep criminal behavior to a minimum.

Opioid replacement therapy works by offering stability to the opioid receptors of the brain. The withdrawal symptoms that are normally seen when illicit drugs are no longer being taken are suppressed, while the cravings for it are eliminated, despite the fact that no high is ever achieved. Despite this, it is important to remember that opioid replacement therapy should not be seen as a magic treatment that cures addiction. It should be paired with therapy, counseling and support, so that the individual will eventually be able to stop taking the legal drug too, and live a normal life. Still, it is important to keep in mind that studies have shown that those staying with their medication anywhere between 1-2 years have the best results. 

Benefits

Opioid replacement therapy doesn’t work for everyone, but it does come with a number of benefits that are to be appreciated. First off, those on this therapy have a much lower chance of starting to use illicit drugs again. Indeed, they don’t have to deal with withdrawal and cravings, since the legal drugs are taking care of that. As such, they can focus all of their efforts on recovering and building their new life. More importantly, because more individuals are staying away from the drugs they used to take, opioid replacement therapy also brings a lower risk of opioid overdose deaths. 

Medications Used in Therapy

There are three medications commonly used in opioid replacement therapy: buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone. Buprenorphine binds to the brain’s receptors for opioids more strongly. Despite this, it has effects that are not as intense as those of illicit drugs. It offers relief from the flu-like symptoms that accompany withdrawal, while reducing the cravings. When taking the first dose, an individual has to already be in withdrawal, which can be quite challenging. Still, this is very important, since if it’s started too soon, it will lead to the individual experiencing withdrawal. 

Methadone is the first treatment that was proven for addiction. While it also binds to the same receptors in the brain, it doesn’t lead to an activation that is as fast, which means that the same euphoric rush is not delivered. It can, however, lead to heart arrhythmias and even overdose when used with sedatives. 
Naltrexone first started to be used in 1984 for blocking euphoric effects while keeping cravings at a minimum. Despite this, it doesn’t offer relief from withdrawal symptoms. Once again, before beginning this treatment, an individual must have stopped taking drugs for anywhere between 3-10 days.
 
Kratom
 
Kratom is a tree from the subtropical regions of Asia, and is quite similar to coffee. It has effects that are similar to those of opiates, but it is not an opiate. It does bind to the same brain receptors, without activating them in the same manner as opiates. Because of this and its decreased potential for addiction, many choose to use it for treating their addiction.

While the risk of addiction is smaller, it is still present, which is why it is crucial to use kratom in low doses. In addition, it is also important to do a bit of research before deciding to take it. Indeed, different strains have different levels of strength. In addition, one should make sure to get their kratom from a trusted provider, in order to make sure that they are, indeed, getting what they are told they’re getting. 

Opioid replacement therapy is an effective way of dealing with addiction. It should, however, be done under the supervision of professionals, to ensure that one does benefit from all the positive side effects this type of therapy has to offer.
 
 
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