Opioid addiction is one of the most devastating public health issues in the United States. As the death toll of opioid overdoses continues to rise, new, advanced treatments are being developed to help people reclaim their lives from opioid dependence. One of them includes Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR), which treats the issue from a medical and scientific perspective.
If you’re interested in exploring the ANR treatment for treating opioid dependence, keep reading. In this article, we’ll introduce you to different opioid addiction treatments and explain how ANR differs from traditional approaches.
What Are Opioids & What Are They Used For?
Opioids are a category of drugs most commonly used to relieve pain that cannot be managed with over-the-counter medications. Besides pain relief, they are sometimes prescribed to treat persistent coughs. Some opioids, such as methadone, are also used in opioid addiction treatment.
Based on their origin, opioids can be classified into three categories: natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic. Natural opioids, like morphine, are alkaloids found in the opium poppy plant. These can then be synthesized to produce semi-synthetic opioids, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone. Meanwhile, synthetic opioids are fully human-made and devoid of natural opiates.
When taken, opioids attach to the opioid receptors located in the central nervous system (CNS), preventing the brain from receiving pain signals, which reduces the perception of pain.
While they’re very effective in alleviating moderate and severe pain, opioids carry a high potential for abuse, dependence, and addiction. Since these risks increase with prolonged opioid use, these drugs are typically recommended for short-term pain treatment, such as the pain experienced after surgeries.
Why Are Opioids So Addictive?
Opioids are very addictive because, besides pain relief, they also induce feelings of euphoria by triggering a surge of dopamine. Since people are naturally wired to repeat actions that stimulate dopamine release, some start abusing opioids (e.g., taking more than prescribed) to keep experiencing the euphoric effects.
Over time, opioids inhibit the production of endorphins and stimulate the production of opioid receptors, building tolerance. This is a sign of physical dependence, which can develop into an opioid addiction if left untreated. People dependent on opioids can no longer function normally without them, as the absence of the drug leads to physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms.
In other words, opioids are very addictive because they cause chemical changes, which is the root cause of opioid addiction. This means that anyone who takes opioids, especially for an extended period of time, risks becoming addicted to them.
Traditional Approaches To Treating Opioid Addiction
While there are many traditional approaches to treating opioid addiction, medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is among the most popular ones. This approach combines counseling and behavioral therapy with medications, such as methadone or buprenorphine.
Although MAT can help people wean off stronger and often more dangerous opioids, it exposes them to the risk of swapping one opioid dependency for another. For example, someone who is addicted to heroin will become dependent on methadone instead. Therefore, it’s not unusual for people to stay in MAT for months or even years.
Rapid detox may seem like another attractive option for those looking to overcome opioid addiction quickly. This medical procedure swiftly flushes opioids out of the system with the help of opioid antagonists, such as naloxone. However, rapid detox doesn’t eliminate cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, which is why many patients relapse after receiving the treatment.
Now that we’ve discussed some outdated treatment approaches let’s move on to exploring the ANR method of treating opioid addiction.
ANR Treatment For Opioid Addiction
Accelerated Neuro-Regulation (ANR) is a modern opioid addiction treatment designed to restore the brain to its pre-addiction state within a matter of days.
It differs from other treatments in that it tackles the deep-rooted, neurobiological cause of opioid dependence rather than treating its symptoms. It also doesn’t involve any potentially addictive opioid replacement drugs.
The ANR treatment reverses the damage opioids cause by re-regulating the endorphin-receptor system. Since the procedure is performed under heavy sedation, patients don’t feel any discomfort. For maximum effectiveness and patient safety, the ANR treatment is tailored to each patient individually and then carried out by medical professionals in an ICU setting.
By healing opioid addiction at its core, ANR negates the risk of persistent withdrawal symptoms and relapse, allowing patients to make a long-lasting recovery from opioid addiction. The hospital stay for the treatment lasts 36 hours on average, after which patients are ready to return to their daily lives.
If you’re struggling with opioid addiction, please know that it’s not your fault. Since opioids alter the central nervous system, it can happen to anyone—even those who take these drugs as prescribed. No matter how severe your addiction is, you can overcome it by seeking professional help.
As you can likely tell after exploring the ANR approach, this treatment differs from traditional methods in that it treats opioid dependence as a neurobiological issue. By bringing the endorphin-receptor system back to balance, it eliminates opioid addiction along with cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, negating the risk of relapse.