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The Truth About Opioid Withdrawal and NAD IV Treatment

For addicts seeking to end usage of opioids, recovery begins with a period of detox, in which patients face withdrawal symptoms.  When an opioid medication is consumed regularly by the human body, over time the body becomes desensitized to the drug’s effects and requires increased dosages to achieve the same effects.  Prolonged and increasing usage alters the nerve receptors in the brain by making them dependent on the opioid medication.  When the medication is removed, withdrawal symptoms set in as the body’s physical response to the absent drug. These symptoms can vary depending on the duration and severity of use but are often very unpleasant.

The first phase, acute withdrawal, begins 12 hours after the last usage, peaks at around 3-5 days, and can last for 1-4 weeks.  Withdrawal symptoms during this period can take both mental and physical forms.  For example, mental withdrawal includes anxiety, restlessness, irritability, depression, insomnia, and diminished cognitive ability, while physically acute withdrawal can lead to headaches, dizziness, heart palpitations, nausea, diarrhea, excessive sweating, and muscle aches and spasms.  After the acute withdrawal phase, patients in recovery face post-acute withdrawal symptoms, which can last over two years.  These include mood swings, anxiety, fatigue, lack of enthusiasm, poor concentration, and insomnia.  For many addicts the long, unpleasant, and uncertain path toward recovery causes many to avoid committing to recovery.


Conventional Treatments

In order to mitigate opioid withdrawal symptoms many people seek treatment facilities for detox. Undergoing treatment at a reputable facility with trained medical staff can increase the likelihood of a successful recovery and provide support services in case of an emergency.

The majority of detox treatment facilities are inpatient centers, in which patients undergo detox and recovery in a live-in facility for set time period, or outpatient facilities, which provide detox and treatment but no housing.  Both options have advantages and disadvantages, and patients have been successful in both settings. Usually both types of facilities provide or recommend behavioral therapy to address the patient’s addictive disorder.

Some in-patient centers employ the “cold turkey” detox method that does not use any medical treatments for withdrawal symptoms.  This can often lead to extremely unpleasant symptoms for patients and is often likely to lead to a relapse.  In the case of alcohol withdrawal, this method can even be fatal.

The most common form of treatment in both inpatient and outpatient centers for people suffering from opioid addiction is Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT), such as Methadone and Suboxone.  Suboxone, one of the most common MATs prescribed, is a combination of buprenorphine, a mild opioid, and naloxone, an opioid receptor blocker.  While Suboxone has helped many achieve recovery, the drug can lead to a cycle of dependence and abuse.  Suboxone is an addictive substance and many patients fail to make the transition from Suboxone to sobriety.  Vinny Dabney, a recovering heroin addict who leads a Suboxone support group notes the problems of long-term usage: “If you’re a regular opioid user, and you decide you want to stop, Suboxone can be a bridge that allows you to get where you want to be. But if you stop on the bridge and get stuck there, it’s not so good.”  Many fail to come off of Suboxone because it leads to withdrawal symptoms similar to other opioids, such as fatigue, anxiety, hot and cold sweats, muscle aches, nausea, diarrhoea, and other symptoms.   MAT treatments have helped many people break their addictions, but for many, it does not deliver a thorough solution.


NAD Treatment and Opioid Withdrawal

In seeking treatment for opioid addiction withdrawal many individuals feel they are limited to conventional in-patient or outpatient centers that employ the “cold turkey” method or regimens of MAT.  The development and spread of NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) treatment, however, creates the prospect of another way to detox.

Unlike MAT treatments that use opioids to treat opioids, NAD treatments boost the amount of the NAD molecule which naturally occurs in cells.  Long-term usage of opioids diminishes the body’s natural production of NAD, but through IV infusion of NAD, the pre-addiction functions of brains, organs, and the neurological system can be repaired.  With a rejuvenated brain and body from NAD supplements, withdrawal symptoms are often less acute.

In 2014, Dr. Richard Mestayer presented a cravings study at the Society of Neuroscience Convention on how intravenous NAD treatments reduce cravings with opioid and alcohol withdrawal.  The study examined the severity of cravings in a group of sixty patients over a 12-20 month period.  From the data collected and displayed in the charts below, there is evidence that NAD is effective in reducing cravings and relapse episodes.  This study shows that NAD’s potential as a long-term therapy for maintaining sobriety.

Although NAD treatment is not a panacea for opioid addiction and withdrawal symptoms, and needs to be combined with behavioral therapy, NAD provides an successful and healthy alternative to conventional treatment methods.  For those seeking a natural way to achieve sobriety, NAD treatments offer the best chance.



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