Opioids attach to receptors in the brain, Once attached they signal the brain to block pain, slows breathing, and has a general calming and anti-depressing effect. The body has an inability to produce enough of the natural opioids to block severe or chronic pain. Opioids activate these receptors by their chemical structure which has the ability to fooling the brain into thinking that they are the body’s natural neurotransmitter.
“Opioids target the brain's reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter present in regions of the brain that regulate movement, emotion, cognition, motivation, and feelings of pleasure. The overstimulation of this system, which rewards our natural behaviors, produces the euphoric effects sought by people who misuse drugs and teaches them to repeat the behavior” (naabt.org).
Treatment in our practice is with Buprenorphine, which is to treat dependence/addiction to opioids. Buprenorphine is an opioid agonist-antagonists, which helps patients with withdrawal symptoms caused by stopping other opioids. Our practice treats opioid dependence with compliance monitoring and medication. The patient must be willing to commit to behavioral and lifestyle changes for the treatment plan to be successful.
Chronic pain is not only physically debilitating but emotionally draining. Sufferers find it difficult to have a normal life and do activities that they used to enjoy before pain took over their life. Day-to-day tasks become more challenging and one’s professional and personal relationships suffer.
Chronic pain management has several choices when it comes to treating with opioids. When they are taken as prescribed they are safe and effective in controlling pain. As with any medication there are risks of improper use and side effects.
But when a patient has a history of addiction these same medications may lead to addiction and dependency. These patients have far fewer choices to control their pain effectively. One choice would be medically prescribed Suboxone, which is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone. This allow patients to detoxify from opiates without suffering from withdrawal symptoms.
Suboxone are in part an opioid which blocks pain receptors. Suboxone when compared to opioid pain medications, this offers lower risks of physical dependency and milder withdrawal symptoms when the patients are taken off of this medication.