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    Old 10-11-2005, 08:33 AM   #1
    nluv
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    Thumbs up Anyone who's stuggling with opiate addiction, "PLEASE READ"

    Hey guys, I got this letter from my current Dr. I found this letter very informative and helpful on understanding what causes opiate dependency & addiction. I hope you find it very helpful also! And for those of you who haven't came clean yet to their family or others, this is a very good letter to help them understand what we're going through, Good Luck! Oh, and sorry so long!!!!!!


    What You Need To Know About Your Addiction
    Drug addiction is a medical illness. Informed physicians and other scientists recognize addiction as a medical illness. Many people make the error of considering drug addiction a personal choice or a personal shortcoming. "There's something wrong with any person who would use drugs," they say, and they don't mean it in an understanding manner. Well, they are partially correct because there is something wrong with a person who suffers from addiction but it isn't a personality issue or an issue of self-worth. A person who suffers with addiction has brain chemistry that doesn't function as it should and the reason it isn't working properly is due to an inherited gene. It is a disease very similar to clinical depression in its mechanism.
    About 98% of all human beings produce a certain brain-chemical that helps them tolerate pain and sever stress. This chemical increases pain tolerance and creates a sense of well-being. It makes a person believe they are going to be ok when things get uncomfortable. It is one reason why human beings can survive serious injury and stress. This brain-chemical is called morphine. Most people don't realize that all mammal brains make morphine(morphine allows a fox caught in a trap to chew off its leg, run away on 3 1/2 legs and survive to live another day. It allowed a young man who was rock climbing in a canyon to cut off his arm when it got caught between 2 rocks and trapped him for days until he was dying from exposure to the elements and starvation. So, what does this have to do with drug addiction?
    2% of all human beings don't make morphine. They don't make it cause they inherit a gene that doesn't allow the morphine system to work properly. These people feel pain worse than most and they don't generally deal with stress. But the real problem is that a person don't know they don't make morphine until its too late. As long as they never get an opiate or alcohol in their body there isn't a serious problem, although, the fact that they never feel quite right may lead them to use other mind-altering drugs like marijuana, cocaine, benzodiazepines (Zanax,Valium,etc.) or alcohol before they try an opiate. But the real proof of this genetic problem shows up when a person takes morphine or any other opiate and it energizes them, makes them feel more alert, better than they have ever felt before. This almost always means the individual has addiction genetics.
    Some people discover their addiction genetics when prescribed pain medication by a physician. Unfortunately too many physicians don't know that a patient should not like the feeling they get from an opiate. If they like the opiate, the drug needs to be stopped immediately and some non-narcotic painkiller prescribed in its place.
    Also the individual needs to be warned that they are carrying the gene that will cause addiction to alcohol or opiates or both. For some reason they are not yet clear to researchers, alcohol is also a great risk to people who carry this addiction gene.
    The 98% of humans whose brains do make morphine will generally feel sick when they take an opiate. Opiates will make them groggy or sleepy. These people will not like taking an opiate. They don't have the disease and can't get it. They can become chemically dependent on an opiate or any other drug that can cause chemical dependence(barbiturates,bezodiazepines,a mphetamines,cocaine) by using too much for too long, but once they suffer through the chemical withdrawals(nausea,vomiting,cramps,sweat s,and even seizures), they don't crave the drug or need it anymore. They are done with it. So, we don't want to confuse chemical dependence with the disease of addiction. They are different and must be treated differently. And again, it's very difficult for someone who isn't carrying the addiction gene to become chemically dependent on opiates because if a person makes morphine properly in their brain, taking opiates will not make them feel good at all.
    So now you can understand why and how you become addicted to opiates. Your need for opiates is very similar to the need a diabetic has for insulin or the need a person with an under-active thyroid gland has for thyroid hormone. You have a need for opiates because your body doesn't make morphine or cannot properly use what it makes and it is normal for morphine to be present in every human body. This model of addiction is the way the disease should be perceived. It is this model that in the mid-nineteen-sixties led to the discovery that a potent long acting opiate called methadone could help people from suffering from addiction.
    Methadone is used to establish a steady safe blood level of opiate in a patient suffering from addiction so they will not crave opiates and so they can work, think, drive, raise their children, be a spouse, and a contributing member of the community. In short, the replacement of a normal needed body substance allows a person suffering from addiction to live a reasonably normal life. And because they feel better, they are able to work with a counselor and gain insight into their sickness so that many can eventually become sober(free of all drugs that can cause addiction) with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
    Overall, about 15% of patients who suffer with opiate addiction do achieve long-term sobriety. The number isn't higher because it isn't easy to get an remain sober but methadone maintenenance is also very successful as long-term treatment for those who are unable to maintain sobriety. About 35% of people who try methadone maintenance rehabilitation actually succeed at controlling their addiction. Generally speaking, the older a person suffering from addiction becomes the harder it is to become and stay sober. It is easiest for those under 30, hardest for those over 50. If you are under 30 and serious about getting sober it will generally take 18-24 months of treatment and hard work. As you get closer to 40 that timetable will increase. In my 40 yrs. of treating people with addiction I have not seen a patient over 52 years of age become and remain sober.
    But keep in mind that if you cannot succeed with sobriety(which is difficult and requires a lot of energy) there is no reason no to succeed with long-term methadone treatment. Have you ever heard anyone tell an insulin-dependent diabetic to just sop taking his/her
    insulin? If it is normal for a human being to make morphine in their brains but they don't because of an inherited disease, what is the difference between putting the morphine back inside compared to putting the insulin back inside? There is no difference except in the phobic view of some people who cannot recognize that addiction is a disease that is very similar to diabetes or clinical depression in that something necessary isn't being produced properly to the body.
    But there are other issues that can cloud this picture, other issues that feed the phobic erroneous view of addiction. Once a person develops the constant need for opiates that individual may also develop characteristics that enable him/her to obtain the opiates they now need or crave. For the most part these are not good qualities, often involving manipulative, maladaptive, anti-social, and self-destructive behavior. And sometimes when a person who suffers with addiction also suffers with other serious emotional disorders that become uncontrollable. They are mostly intoxicated by drugs and unsafe in normal environments. Such people cannot be helped in out-patient treatment settings. Their behavior spawns society's terrible lack of understanding and compassion for those who suffer from the disease of addiction. These people need intensive inpatient addiction and psychiatric care in a hospital setting. Unfortunately this kind of care is not widely available or affordable.


    Good Luck,

    J.M. Degross, M.D.
    Consulting Physician
    Specializing in Addiction Medicine, Nephrology, and Palliative Care

    Last edited by nluv; 10-12-2005 at 07:16 AM.

     
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    Old 10-11-2005, 09:03 AM   #2
    Lost2me
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    Re: Anyone who's stuggling with opiate addiction, "PLEASE READ"

    Thank you for that post. That was lots O' info! It does bring up several questions for me though...like how would you know if your brain isn't producing it's natural morphine? Is there a genetic marker for that? Would you have to go though genetic testing to definitively find out?

    Also, wow...if I found out that I was in the 2% of people...I think on some level I would use that as an excuse NOT to get off the drugs. I think I am better off not knowing that information or somehow I would twist it around to feed my habit. Thank you though for the information.

     
    Old 10-11-2005, 09:37 AM   #3
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    Re: Anyone who's stuggling with opiate addiction, "PLEASE READ"

    Pretty convincing argument for the "disease" concept. I've seen that one argued on here a number of times. I personally think it is a disease. As long as you understand you can't use the disease as an excuse to get high, it's helpful to understand why and how we become addicted when the next person does not. I've already told my son at 14 that he is predisposed...if he ever picks up a drink or a drug there is a strong possibility it will affect him this way. That may not stop him...in fact it probably wont but the least I can do is educate him about the risks to try and save him from being drug down the path I've been on. Maybe armed with knowledge he can recognize something in himself if he ever starts down that road.
    Once we realize our "affliction" the using excuses are meaningless. We use because we choose to do so...even after being counseled, well educated and warned.
    I think it's great that your doc would take the time to send you such a letter. It probably speaks volumes about his character & committment.

     
    Old 10-12-2005, 07:13 AM   #4
    nluv
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    Re: Anyone who's stuggling with opiate addiction, "PLEASE READ"

    I'm glad to see that there are people on this site that do want to know about thier addiction and what causes it. I found this letter very, very helpful to probably about 7000 people. I haven't asked him yet about some of the questions I was concerned about, so I really don't know how you would know if you have the genetic gene or how you get it. I just know from a resource that if both parents are addicts then your child will have a 50/50 chance of being an addict themselves, so maybe it goes back to your family. In the letter it explains to you, whether your brain produces the natural morphine or not. Pretty much, if you take an opiate and get energy, then you don't produce the morphine. If you take an opiate and get sick, then you do produce the natural morphine and are pretty much overdosing yourself and that's why you get sick from taking the opiate. And it makes a lot of since to me, becuase I do know alot of people who have tried pain pills and get sick from them and will not ever touch them again. And yes, half of me believes that it is your choice. But the other half of me, doesn't beliive that it's a choice. Because, most of us are usually prescribed the meds for a serious injury, etc. etc. etc. So, we take the meds as prescribed, but before we know it, POW we're addicted because of a prescription. It just sneeks up on you, before you've realized that, "I do have a problem"!!!! Yes, it is our choice to take the medicne, but if we didn't take the medicine we probably couldn't get out of bed, because of the escruciating pain. I felt like this letter gave me some closer on how and why we become addicts. I hope everyone else finds it very informative also! Good luck to everyone who struggles with this devilish disease! My prayers go out to each and every one of you!

     
    Old 10-12-2005, 07:51 AM   #5
    TrampyG
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    Re: Anyone who's stuggling with opiate addiction, "PLEASE READ"

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Lost2me
    Thank you for that post. That was lots O' info! It does bring up several questions for me though...like how would you know if your brain isn't producing it's natural morphine? Is there a genetic marker for that? Would you have to go though genetic testing to definitively find out?

    Also, wow...if I found out that I was in the 2% of people...I think on some level I would use that as an excuse NOT to get off the drugs. I think I am better off not knowing that information or somehow I would twist it around to feed my habit. Thank you though for the information.

    I think that's exactly the point, L2M. He's clearly advocating meth maint. prgm. It is a perfect excuse not to get off the drugs and to rely on the fact that your brain is different to keep using. He is obviously advocating safer usage -- methadone as opposed to hydro/oxy/heroin. But it is ultimately the same message: you'll never feel as good as you do on drugs.

    I would personally like to see the science behind these claims but, taken at face value, I wholeheartedly believe most of what he's saying -- even if it is not 100% proven clinically.

    I did not personally know morphine was produced, I just assumed we produced less endorphine -- which is an analogue to morphine that we produce. Maybe that is what he means. I don't really konw if brains make "morphine" per se.

     
    Old 10-13-2005, 06:33 AM   #6
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    Re: Anyone who's stuggling with opiate addiction, "PLEASE READ"

    thankyou for the drs' letter. my son now 27, has been addicted to opiates for 5 yrs. he seems to be serious about recovery now and has been in an out-patient meth clinic for 3 mos. i did think it was replacing 1 drug with another, my own dr. thinks that way also. maybe he does need it? i just hope it won't be a lifelong need.
    bevann

     
    Old 10-13-2005, 07:25 AM   #7
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    Re: Anyone who's stuggling with opiate addiction, "PLEASE READ"

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bevann26
    thankyou for the drs' letter. my son now 27, has been addicted to opiates for 5 yrs. he seems to be serious about recovery now and has been in an out-patient meth clinic for 3 mos. i did think it was replacing 1 drug with another, my own dr. thinks that way also. maybe he does need it? i just hope it won't be a lifelong need.
    bevann
    Hi bevann,
    In some sense, YES you can be replacing one drug for another! But, being his mother, wouldn't you want it to be something that is going to cure his addiction? That is simply his choice to whether or not he makes it a lifelong need. I have seen alot of people there for many,many years, but again, I have seen others come in and only stay 6 months and leave. I don't know what ever happened with them, but I suppose they are doing well. It's all his decision on how long he thinks it will take for him to be confident enough to be able to walk back out into the real world and be faced with that choice again, and be able to say NO! That's all! It's a serious issue and I think that's why I have been there for going on 4 yrs. now, is because when we 1st started, we didn't want to jump from one train to the next ither. So, needless to say, we did our own little rapid detox in a month and a half, we only let the Dr. take us to 40mg, because at that time, they were taking you all the way to 120mg in a week, so that was scary to us. But we did our rapid detox and came out with no withdrawals at all, but guess what? We still had the need and craving for the drugs, the very nexy day we relapsed, because we thought that since we knew someone we had met at the clinic at the time that we could get methadone from that we wouldn't have a problem. Well, we did. After that point, we went on for about another yr. and spent a whole settlement that my husband had gotten on drugs. So, we went back. You know the saying, you have to feel like your dying to live again, and be at your very lowest point in life, well that's where we were. We did hear alot of bad things and alot of good things before walking in the door that day, but from going to 6 80mg oxycotin a day and spending 600 a day, for both my husband and I, we knew it had to be better than that, so we gave it a try. And here we are, almost 4 yrs. later, no dirty drug screens in 4 yrs., we have a beautiful son, more money than we know what to do with, good heads on our shoulders, own our own home, and car, etc.etc.etc. And also, slowly but surely, coming off of the methadone, we are at half what we ws when we started. But, that is also a choice for your son, is when he wants or feels like he can start detoxing from the methadone. I could go on for days telling you how it has bettered our lives. I hope everything goes well for both you and your son, you will be in my prayers!!!!!!!!!!

     
    Old 10-13-2005, 01:33 PM   #8
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    Re: Anyone who's stuggling with opiate addiction, "PLEASE READ"

    Just some food for thought. I watched a documentary on TV called Methadonia. It was basically about the big business of the methadone clinics and the thousands of people who are patients. They referred to methadone many times as liquid handcuffs. This is because once your on it, it is very hard to get off. Anyone considering a methadone program should definetly make sure they fully understand how the drug affects a person and the dependancy it can cause.


    Dan

     
    Old 10-13-2005, 02:15 PM   #9
    TrampyG
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    Re: Anyone who's stuggling with opiate addiction, "PLEASE READ"

    Unfortunately, buprenorphine (sub) and meth are both quite hard to kick. But in a lot of ways they are a much safer and prefereable alternative to hydro, oxy or heroin. They are much less prone to abuse and, you gotta be committed to quit so you might as well try and quit something you don't really get high on.

     
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