The benefits are clear. If you take Suboxone as directed (usually 8-24 mg/day), the success rate of maintaining sobriety rises from 5% with abstinence (not taking any medication at all) to over 50%. It dramatically lowers the risk of death from overdose. Many people who simply stop opiates without medication go through months of "post-acute withdrawal" they feel exhausted, depressed, unable to enjoy anything, and crave drugs intensely. Suboxone almost always prevents all these symptoms. It's pretty good at treating depression. Family members are often thrilled to find their son/daughter/spouse/sibling is back to their old, pre-addiction self. Used properly, the outcome is amazing. There are some minor exceptions, but basically Suboxone is incredibly safe and won't hurt your liver, kidneys, or other organs.
But the biggest problem with Suboxone is toxic ideology. You=E2=80=99ll run into hundreds of people who consider Suboxone =E2=80=9Cjust another drug. You can do it without taking anything.=E2=80=9D That=E2=80=99s like saying you don=E2=80=99t ever need to use seatbelts in your car, which is a terrible idea. Many doctors won=E2=80=99t prescribe Suboxone because they don=E2=80=99t want to treat =E2=80=A6 ADDICTS! It=E2=80=99s frequently hard to find physicians who will prescribe it, and many of the prescribing MDs run mills where you=E2=80=99re in and out in five minutes and pay $100 just for the prescription.=20
The scientific evidence supporting Suboxone is overwhelming. Taken as directed, it promotes sobriety and saves lives. But you=E2=80=99ve got to overcome all the naysayers.
First question is, are you part of the problem? Do you give him money that he can use to buy drugs? Do you give him free rent and overlook transgressions like stealing family possessions? Do you rescue him from the consequences of his actions? That's almost always unwise. If he's arrested, do you bail him out? In short, are you good at setting limits?
Second, do you have insurance that covers rehab? If so, CAREFULLY research drug rehab facilities and find one that accepts your insurance and has a good reputation. Be really picky because the rehab business has attracted more than its share of scammers. Once you find a place, consider giving your son an ultimatum: get help or get out. Tell him, "If you're going to kill yourself with drugs, I'm not going to let you do it under my roof."
Third, and probably most important, get help for yourself. Therapy with a good psychotherapist can be incredibly helpful. You may find Al Anon meetings in your community that can help. Again, BE PICKY and keep looking until you find honest to goodness support.
So, basically, drugs don't do much for most alcoholics. The treatment is rehab, either inpatient or outpatient. There are also good internet-based programs. Some people can get sober going to Alcoholics Anonymous, which requires 90 meetings in 90 days to have any effect. The trick with Alcoholics Anonymous is you have to find a meeting where you feel comfortable; typically, 9 out of 10 aren't a good fit and you have to keep looking.
Here's a brief overview of Medication Assisted Treatment: https://drugfree.org/article/medication-assisted-treatment/
And you can Google this term to learn a lot more.
Second, only a couple of medications for hypertension pose a risk of withdrawal if you stop them suddenly. So, if you're taking a beta blocker like Inderal (propranolol), carvedilol, or metoprolol and stop suddenly, that could cause chest pain or even a heart attack in a susceptible person. Taper and stop them over about two weeks, no problem. Clonidine has a similar problem. Otherwise, you can stop an antihypertensive drug and all that happens is your blood pressure goes up. Diabetes is similar; I know of no drug with a withdrawal risk, but if you stop them, your blood sugar shoots up.
It's certainly true that hypertension and diabetes may get worse over time, so that you require more medication. It's a little like an old car that gradually gets less gas mileage over time, so you need to fill up the tank more frequently. The problem here is the car, not the gas. Similarly, when they need more medication to control their illness, people often refuse to believe the problem is their hypertension or diabetes itself. They blame their need for more medication on the drug, not the illness.
Finally, "addiction" is when you take a drug like alcohol, Xanax, or Norco that causes euphoria, and you wind up using more and more. You lose control and the drug takes over. The drug then starts causing problems, but you don't stop. No drug for hypertension or diabetes has this risk.
There are other possibilities. Occasionally craving sweets can be due to a medication, so you might review the prescriptions she=E2=80=99s taking. Rarely, an illness like diabetes can cause sweet craving. There are no medications that help sweet craving, so usually this is a parenting/lifestyle issue.
Detox is a complicated subject. The drugs that typically require a detox treatment protocol are alcohol, sedatives like Xanax, and opioids like pain killers and heroin. Marijuana, cocaine, and meth don't require a medical detox, although you'll feel lousy for the first week or two after stopping them.
Medications to help prevent relapse are useful in patients who abuse alcohol or opioids. For alcohol, naltrexone is often used, both pills and the once-a-month injection Vivitrol. For opioids, there are three choices called "Medication Assisted Treatment." They are Suboxone, Vivitrol, and methadone maintenance in a federally licensed methadone clinic. Suboxone and Vivitrol can be prescribed by a primary care physician. Campral (generic name acamprosate) has some evidence of effectiveness in alcoholics, but I'm not convinced it's useful. Antabuse for alcohol is proven useless and should not be prescribed except in very rare cases.
Other cough syrups contain opioids like codeine or hydrocodone (the same drug as Norco). A common hydrocodone-containing cough syrup has the brand name Hycodan. These are commonly abused by opiate addicts. You may want to investigate the ingredients and discuss what's in the cough syrup with a pharmacist.
Chantix probably works best. It is a nicotine receptor blocker, which means that when you take a drag on a cigarette, the nicotine goes to your brain as usual, but the Chantix blocks your brain from receiving it, and you don't get they typical cigarette buzz. Chantix rarely has any side effects. So, when you take it, nothing happens, and when you smoke, nothing happens. Rarely, it can cause changes in mood or especially vivid dreams.
Revia is an antidepressant medication that helps you quit smoking two ways. First, sometimes people become depressed when they quit, and Revia blocks this depression. Second, often people gain weight after quitting, and Revia prevents that, too.
You can get most nicotine replacement products over-the-counter, i.e., without a prescription; nicotine patches, Commit lozenges, and Nicorette gum. All are available as generics at a lower cost. They are worth a try and do work well with the other medications, but in my experience, they often don't work as well as the other choices.
Vivitrol works well for people who more or less want to get sober but aren't likely to take a pill every day. The only downsides are that it must be given by a doctor or a nurse, and without insurance, it costs over $1000 a shot. By contrast, naltrexone pills are extremely inexpensive.
The other FDA-approved drug is Campral, or acamprosate. Some physicians find it helpful, but many addiction specialists in the Untied States aren't convinced it's all that effective. See your doctor for more information about the pros, cons, and potential side effects of each medication.
Do NOT get a prescription for Antabuse, which is a decades-old drug touted to help people stop drinking. If you've taken Atabuse and have any contact with alcohol whatsoever (even applying aftershave lotion), you become violently ill. The problem is that most alcoholics stop taking Antabuse a day or so before they want a drink, and it doesn't work unless you take it regularly.
That said, do NOT accept treatment with other addicting drugs like benzodiazepines (Valium, Ativan, Klonopin, Xanax, etc.). Most of the other medications used in rehab are not addicting.