By Michael Velardo — Examiner.com– July 25 2009 —
Ask any narcotic or benzodiazepine drug dependent person what is one of the worst things about addiction they have experienced, and the answer that rockets back is withdrawals.
Categorically, one of the most avoid-at-all-cost “state-of-body, state-of-mind” conditions, withdrawal pains end up exclusively driving a drug dependent person in the direction of the nearest drug of choice. To avoid becoming not just sick, but super rotten sick from the savage withdrawal dragons breathing fire & brimstone within, the addict will do just about anything to sooth the beast. That is why many addicts going through detoxification using conventional methods end up relapsing relatively fast.
Patients are normally detoxified in a period of 3 to 5 days using clonidine, a blood pressure medication used to take the edge off of the rather large gorillas pounding on the addict’s back, and maybe some sleep medication that wouldn’t relax a gnat. But they are still sick, and often suffering from a bout of diarrhea so vicious you’d think your insides were rotting away. Plus, you’re power puking until the only thing coming up is dust, you’ve got a runny nose reminiscent of Niagra Falls, cramps so terrible it feels like a gang of metal workers have your intestines in a vice, and unrealistically expected to participate in a psychological treatment method when brain, and body still screams for narcotics, or whatever drugs you were physically dependent on.
Is it any wonder then why drug dependent persons usually relapse shortly after detoxification, and/or treatment? Most are still battling the often unbearable residual withdrawal affects after discontinuance of the drug months later. When asked to meaningfully participate in the formulation of a master treatment plan with their therapist by disclosing deep seated emotional problems, the newly detoxed patient is still more interested in a fix than disclosing a lifetime of negative emotional experiences that just don’t quite seem to make it to the surface for observation anyway. The person’s mind is very much clouded from the sudden change in body/brain chemistry. The patient’s brain chemistry has either retreated to safer ground, or is working overtime as if a tsunami was rolling in.
Enter a method for drug detoxification that has been around now for about 11 years, and is turning out to be the viable alternative to the standard practices being used to treat chemically dependent persons in the area of drug detoxification, as well as counseling because the patient may be more amenable psychologically to treatment “after” the procedure is performed.
The Waismann Method has been available in the US, and in particular, Beverly Hills, California, where I had a chance to interview a leader in the field, Dr. Michael Lowenstein.
Board certified in addiction medicine, pain medicine and anesthesiology, Dr. Lowenstein has performed the Waismann Method for over ten years. His expertise and experience in treating chronic pain, and addiction have contributed to the continued advancement of the Waismann Method as a highly effective, safe, and humane treatment for opioid dependence.
Dr. Lowenstein’s current positions are: Co-Director, Waismann Institute, Private Practice, Pain Medicine Clinic, Medical Director, Specialty Surgical Center of Irvine. In addition, Dr. Lowenstein has experience from 2001-2007 as Medical Director – CompCare Pain Treatment Center. His education consists of a Doctorate of Medicine, 1984-1985, Loma Linda University School of Medicine, Loma Linda, CA, and Masters of Public Health, 1982-1983, University of California, Berkley, Berkley, CA.
Professional societies (past and present), Dr. Lowenstein belongs to are: American Society of Addiction Medicine, International Spinal Injection Society, North American Spine Society, Institute for Functional Medicine, American Association of Anti-Aging Medicine, Society for Interventional Pain Practitioners, California Society of Industrial Medicine and Surgery, Licensure/Certifications: American Board of Addiction Medicine – Board Certified, American Board of Anesthesiology – Board Certified, American Board of Anesthesiology – Added Qualification in Pain Management, American Board of Pain Medicine – Board Certified, American Board of Anti-aging Medicine – Board Eligible.
Clearly, Dr. Lowenstein’s credentials afford his patients the premium care they deserve in a field fraught with production line methods because caseloads are much too large, waiting lists the norm, and treatment much too short. With this method of detox, the patient is in therapy much sooner, with a clearer head, and ability to participate in their own rehabilitation, unlike most of those persons coming out of conventional detoxification units who are actually still quite sick from strong residual withdrawal symptoms.
One of Dr. Lowenstein’s area of special interest is understanding the effect of chronic pain, and opioid dependence on neurotransmitters, and utilizing nutritional, and hormonal supplementation as well as lifestyle changes to restore balance to the brains neurotransmitters.
What distinguishes this form of detox from others now in use is the time it takes, (the actual procedure is about 1½ hours), the use of “light” anesthesia, depending on the nature of the dependence, and the substantial reduction of withdrawal symptoms felt by the patient, which is a big plus for a drug dependent person who fears withdrawals like the plague.
With the questionable rate of success for other forms of detoxification, and treatment methods, another tool in the arsenal for fighting drug dependence is an asset rather than a liability.
In part 2 of this series, look for a description of the procedure, what it does physiologically, and other forms of detoxification, to give you a clearer picture of what this treatment process involves, including its costs, risks, and benefits.