Recovery and Treatment Protocol For Heroin Addiction
www.restoreunity.org, a heroin recovery data base. The website has a series of additional articles about the process of recovery. Please click on the website link
Heroin addicts can stop withdrawal symptoms using Buprenex. Buprenex is an analgesic and is of low level abuse potential. It has the ability to stop the pain of withdrawal. Buprenex has been in use in England and France for the past several years under different trade names. Buprenex is currently awaiting approval in the U.S. from the FDA. Buprenorphine, a painkiller used safely for decades, is the current name in the U.S. of Buprenex. When Buprenorphine is approved for the use of heroin addicts to stop opiate withdrawal symptoms it will go under the trade name of Buprenex. Buprenorphine is a painkiller that can even be prescribed for pregnant women. Furthermore buprenorphine can stop withdrawal symptoms in pregnant heroin addicts and this means the unborn child can be born drug free.
There are two periods of time after you stop heroin use, one is the detox period lasting the first 3-4 weeks and the other is the recovery period that usually lasts 3-6 months when you are using Buprenex. The detox period is described in another article on this web site and is a period of time when there is great stress from heroin use and the detox period is used to decrease stress as well as an abstinence period. The recovery period is a time to focus on repairing and rebuilding the body. The healthier you become the greater is your ability to avoid relapses. Also, many theories on relapse believe that associations, triggers, and cravings lead to the relapse. The body works by the method of pathways. There are optimal pathways and less optimal pathways – survival pathways. When the body is running correctly it will use the optimal pathways and block the less optimal pathways. Heroin use results in the less optimal pathways being used and therefore if an addict were to improve their health to the point where the optimal pathways are being used again, this would shut down less optimal pathways where many of the old sensations and cravings originate. Therefore improving a heroin addicts body produces the benefits of greater health, faster recovery, decreases stress, closes down old less optimal pathways in the body, and many more benefits. Thus the idea of recovery should be much greater than just stopping opiate use, it should be a time to fortify body and mind to help against future relapse and build a better future.
Dr. Bob is mentioned many times herein. He was a MD internal medicine, orthomolecular doctor, MD, psychiatrist, chiropractor, and healer 65 years. He was also a diabetic who lived to 108 years with only 1 side effect 2 years before he passed away. He started treating addicts in the 1930’s and continued to treat them into the 1990’s. The following are his ideas on recovery for addicts and how to repair and rebuild the body.
Digestion: Dr. Bob felt digestion was the number one concern for an addict. Proper nutrition is a big part of regenerating the body and mind after repeated heroin use. Dr. Bob found many addicts had digestion problems, in particular decreased enzyme levels. Enzymes are necessary for digestion to work properly. He advised the following:
- Take 2-3 pancreatic enzymes such as pepsin, aloe Vera, papaya, or others 30 minutes before meals.
- Take 2-3 capsules of digestive enzymes at the end of the meal.
- Take 1-4 capsules of digestive enzymes 45 minutes after you take your first bite of food.
- Dr. Bob advised 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda (bicarbonate) mixed in liquid 45 minutes after you have started a meal. Proper digestion requires an alkaline environment in the small intestine. The stomach produces acid. When food enters the small intestine the acid from the stomach enters also. The bicarb neutralizes the acid. This can help digestive enzymes work properly (they cannot function optimally or may not function at all – when the small intestine is acidic, not alkaline).
A slightly alkaline environment optimizes digestion. The digestion needs to be alkaline about 45 minutes after you begin eating. He also recommended a multi-vitamin and mineral at every meal. The stress of heroin usually results in nutrient depletion and a multi-mineral and vitamin is insurance from nutrient depletion. He advised using the multi-vitamin and mineral called Maxilife. This is a brand sold in health food stores. Dr. Bob recommended it because it has the right doses to cover almost all deficiencies and this is insurance all heroin addicts need. The multi provides necessary nutrient cofactors in digestion and therefore should be included in every meal.
Antioxidants: Antioxidants repair and rebuild the body and this is what is needed during recovery. There are many different antioxidants that are useful for the body. Dr. Bob recommended several antioxidants for the recovery of heroin use because they are found often in the optimal pathways of the body and they are therefore needed to revitalize health and close down less optimal pathways. He recommended at the beginning of recovery 3-12 grams of vitamin C in divided doses, 600 mg of alpha lipoic acid in divided doses, 800-1600 I.U. of dry vitamin E in divided doses, and 150 mg of selenium, preferably selenomethonine, all as a daily dose. As your health improves he said you could use half these amounts. He recommended you continue all of these antioxidants for your lifetime to continually aid in combating the stress of life.
Exercise: Exercise can improve the heart, lungs, muscles, immune system, and many more aspects of the body. Exercise is a way to decrease the stress of heroin use in the body and is something Dr. Bob recommended for all addicts. He advised regular exercise 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. Doing it regularly produces a lot more benefit according to Dr. Bob. He also advised no exercise period be longer then 1 hour and exercise only moderately. Overdoing it can create stress and the whole idea of exercise for heroin addicts is to decrease stress.
Nutrition: Dr. Bob advised high levels of nutrition to rebuild the body. There are many ideas on nutrition, but Dr. Bob’s main emphasis for a heroin addict was to take a multi-vitamin and mineral at every meal and he preferred the brand called Maxilife previously discussed.
Yoga: Dr. Bob advised yoga. He said it could decrease recovery to a 40-90 day period. He explained that yoga decreases stress fast by normalizing many aspects of the body rapidly. Balancing hormones, increasing joint flexibility, improving circulation, detoxing the body, and many other improvements can result from yoga.
Breathing exercises: Another way to decrease stress in the body, according to Dr. Bob, were breathing techniques.
Supplementation of protein: The body needs to rebuild and repair from the stress of heroin use. The body will mainly use protein to accomplish the task of rebuilding the body. At first, a heroin addict may have impaired digestion and this means eating too many meat and diary proteins to get essential protein the body needs, may lead to toxicity due to not properly digested protein from an impaired digestive system. Therefore during recovery, Dr. Bob advised supplementing ion-exchanged whey protein concentrate, at least 1-3 times a day. The whey is pre-digested and therefore easy to digest.
Liver: The liver is the major method in the body for detox. Heroin use leads to toxicity in the body and therefore the liver is vital in ridding the body of many toxic wastes. Also heroin use may have resulted in impaired liver function. Dr. Bob advised milk thistle in the A.M. and P.M. to aid the liver.
A final note is heroin use results in less optimal pathways in the body being used for the processes necessary for survival. Less optimal pathways are pro-inflammatory, often do not effectively transport substances in the body, do not always lead to substances working once they get to the appropriate site, and other less than optimal events occurring. This kind of decreased functioning and efficiency create stress in the body. Decreased enzyme levels, enzymes that are blocked in the body, exhaustion of the immune system, imbalance of hormones, overuse of cortisol, inefficient manufacture of vital substances in the body, and many more forms of stress are created from heroin use and the loss of optimal pathways. Recovery is a time to regain use of optimal pathways. Nutrition, supplementation, exercise, and other methods begin to open up the optimal pathways. Once you open optimal pathways, this blocks the old pathways and this results in reducing stress. If during recovery, you do not optimize your body, you subject yourself to the old pathways and this is a boring and dangerous way to go. It also leads to cravings and old sensations and the possibility of relapse may increase. Remember, ultimately every addict is responsible for their own health. Recovery is a time of spiritual, mental, and physical recovery. You need all three to be balanced.