Monday, May 7, 2012


When working on recovery with my patients, I often recommend that they attend AA/NA/GA, go to meetings, join a home group and pick a sponsor. This is very therapeutic, but it is not therapy- it is adjunctive. Yet, I know that the more positive support a patient has, the better off he or she will be in long-term recovery. Whatever works is the prescription I adhere to. The patient's success is paramount. What puzzles me is the negative reception many of my patients receive when they go to AA/NA and members find out that they are on medicines to assist their recovery. Abstinence may work for many people but it is not the only way to enter recovery. Pharmacotherapy, or the use of medication to cut down on urges or cravings, is another method. We often find people who have relapsed numerous times when attempting abstinence. These are the folks who are better off taking medication to help manage their lives, then to chronically feel like a failure. Revia helps with Pathological Gambling. Suboxone works with Opioid Dependence. And both Vivitrol and Campral help with Alcohol Dependence. If folks are suicidal, we recommend their PCP use an anti-depressant. All of these of course should be combined with substance abuse treatment on a weekly basis and frequent contact with the prescriber. Folks in AA/NA/GA adhere to the abstinence model. They learn about acceptance, gratitude and surrender. What they need to learn as well is tolerance and a non-judgemental way of accepting others who struggle with addiction.

1 comment:

Josh Hook said...

As a father of two, i am a former Opiate user who is now in recovery. I use Suboxone as a "tool" in my recovery "toolbox" every morning. Fortunately for me i also have other tools up my sleeve. I draw and paint. I also tattoo on the side. I have a lot of help emotionally with my art. A majority of the population doesnt have those tools. I think Pharmacotherapy is just an advantageous tool for those people who dont think they have a talent or havent found it yet. It helps aid in the mental struggle of trying to stay abstinant vs. driving yourself insane.. so to speak. If we know ourselves as well as we "thought" we did, we would know that we didnt do so good staying away from drugs like we were all taught to... so we ask ourselves.." Should I try to use my will power to stay abstained from substance abuse and possibly make the mistake of relapsing again? OR Should i get some assistance in my life and have help staying clean? I myself chose to have "help"... the Suboxone. March 21 2012 was my One Year Clean Anniversary... doesnt sound too long, but for me, it was a lifetime. Thanks "help", thanks art, and a Very Special Thank You to my Councellor who encouraged me to use my tools of art, and to accept me for using my "help"