Above /  Members of Linden Oaks Behavioral Health’s Addiction Services team, (front, from left) Craig Franz, RN; Danielle DeGrado, APN; (middle, from left) Beth Sack, Unit Manager; Jocelyn Hatzis, Discharge Planner; KatiRose Bittig, Unit Specialist; (back, from left) Stalin George, Clinical Therapist and Dr. Aaron Weiner, Director, Addiction Services. (Photo courtesy Keith Hartenberger for Edward-Elmhurst Health)

Edward-Elmhurst Report

Uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms can be a major barrier for those attempting to recover from addiction to opioids.

“You might experience bad flu-like symptoms, such as muscle aches and fatigue,” said Aaron Weiner, PhD, Director of Addiction Services at Linden Oaks Behavioral Health in Naperville. “There are ways of managing these symptoms. Although withdrawal from opioids can’t kill you, it can be extremely unpleasant, stopping many from wanting to move forward towards health.”

The first option, ongoing medication-assisted therapy, can be initiated either in an inpatient or outpatient environment. Some addiction programs administer methadone, but at the Linden Oaks Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT) Clinic, patients receive Suboxone, which is a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone, which is used to reverse overdoses.

“Buprenorphine is less sedating than methadone and easier than methadone to taper off from when the person is ready to stay sober without any pharmaceutical assistance,” said Dr. Weiner.

According to the Merck Manual Consumer Version, “In many countries, buprenorphine has replaced methadone in detoxification programs.”

Linden Oaks’ MAT Clinic also features medical supervision, regular drug testing and group therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy, a key approach used in the group sessions, helps patients challenge negative patterns of thought that lead to unwanted consequences, such as acting on cravings.

A second option is short-term management of withdrawal symptoms while the body rids itself of opioids. As is the case with MAT, this approach is followed by counseling and other long-term support. For those choosing this option, Linden Oaks eases withdrawal symptoms in the medically monitored inpatient detoxification unit. There, under the care of a psychiatrist and other Linden Oaks addiction specialists, support, monitoring and medications for specific symptoms, such as anti-nausea pills, are provided.

“This approach can work for some, especially if they’ve only been using opioids for a short time. But in general, studies have found up to a 90 percent relapse rate for people who don’t use medications to begin their period of sobriety from opioids,” said Dr. Weiner.

Linden Oaks Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT) Clinic

For those choosing to begin sobriety with the help of Linden Oaks’ MAT Clinic, services are available without a physician’s order to anyone who wants to begin the process of change. A patient can start at the clinic, or move there after an inpatient, residential or outpatient treatment program.

In addition to the MAT Clinic, Linden Oaks Addiction Services offers a variety of treatment levels, including weekly outpatient therapy sessions, structured programs that run 3-6 hours each weekday, and a full-time residential program. Linden Oaks offers addiction treatment services in Naperville, Plainfield, St. Charles, Hinsdale and Arlington Heights.

For more information, visit www.lindenoaks.org. For immediate assistance and a free and confidential behavioral health assessment, call the Linden Oaks 24/7 Help Line at (630) 305-5027.