Q&A

Q. Are alcoholism and other addictions curable?

There a bit of controversy over this issue, particularly in the case of alcohol addiction, where there are powerful social pressures to drink.  The best information seems to indicate that people do recover from the physical effects of addictions if they stop soon enough, but that some of the changes that take place in the brain during the addiction process will remain. If that is the case (and experience seems to prove it out), “recovered” alcoholics and other addicts who use their drugs are risking a rapid return of the addiction.

We need also to consider the psychological aspects of someone’s wanting to use drugs when they have already seen what can happen.  One could argue that such people have to be especially careful, since they are not committed to sobriety to begin with.  (Of course, denial being what it is, they will be the first to argue the point.)

This matter is complicated to some small degree by the variables among individuals.  A few people seem to be able to drink or drug heavily, then stop or cut back with little difficulty.  They do exist, but they are rare.  The best advice is to stay away from drugs and alcohol completely if they have previously caused problems in your life.  The possible price of taking them up again is too high to take the chance.

Q. What are the chances of an alcoholic's children developing a drinking problem?

Unfortunately, they're pretty good. Alcoholism has a strong genetic component. In addition to that, the example of parents drinking and the trauma associated with living in an alcoholic household make it even more likely that children of alcoholics will drink, and that they will become addicted if they do.  Statistically, a child with two alcoholic parents has roughly a 50% chance of becoming alcoholic if he or she drinks.  The chances of a child with one alcoholic parent are about one in four.

Note: These are not exact statistics, because there seem to be multiple genes associated with alcoholism.

Q. Can I smoke at Sunrise?  I don't want to try to detox from cigarettes along with everything else!

A. Certainly. State Law prohibits smoking indoors, but we provide an air conditioned patio for the comfort of smokers. Most of the staff are in recovery, and we do understand!

Q. How Does Suboxone Work?

Sunrise uses Suboxone for opiate detox.  You’d probably like to know how it works without getting into all the fol-de-rol about agonists, antagonists, mu opioid receptors and all that.

Buphrenorphine (Suboxone’s just a stage name) doesn’t quite act like other drugs.  It stimulates one place in the brain the same as heroin, methadone, oxycodone and the other opoid (opium-like) drugs, but it has the opposite effect on most of the other receptor sites that opiates use where, instead, it neutralizes the opiates’ effects.

In addition to buphrenorphine, Suboxone contains a drug called naloxone.  It is also an opiate antagonist, and it enhances the neutralizing effect of the  buphrenorphine.

What this all boils down to is pretty simple, once you get past the neurology and chemistry: Suboxone’s neutralizing effects get the drugs out of the system, while its stimulating effect eliminates withdrawal symptoms.  If you give someone a dose of naloxone alone, it throws them into immediate and severe withdrawal.  However, the two drugs working together clean up the system, and allow it to happen in relative comfort.

Completely changing our brain chemistry around can never be symptom-free, and if you’ve ever done an opiate detox “cold turkey,” you know that it’s one of the most miserable experiences imaginable.  No one wants to go through that again.  With Suboxone, you don’t have to.  Along with the medical and emotional support of a first-class detox facility, Suboxone treatment makes the early stages of recovery from opiate addiction physically comfortable as well, removing one of the biggest obstacles to getting clean and sober.