Quit Smoking and Manage Withdrawal Symptoms

Addiction to nicotine is a difficult dependence to give up, and many smokers find themselves trying to quit smoking and kick the habit over and over again. Working with a knowledgeable mental health professional who can prescribe medication to not only help you quit, but help you manage withdrawal symptoms may be the only way you can finally succeed and break the hold nicotine has on your life.

Quit Smoking Statistics

If you are a smoker who wants desperately to quit smoking but have been unable to succeed on your own, you are not alone:

  • 70% of smokers want to quit
  • 40% of smokers will try to quit this year
  • 7% of those who try to quit will actually succeed on their first try; 93% will not
  • 50% of those who quit will relapse after drinking alcohol
  • 5% of smokers are able to quit cold turkey

If you are one of the 93% who are unable to quit the first time, second time, or successive times, it is time to seek the professional help you need in order to become an ex-smoker.

  • 90% of those who quit smoking before the age of 30 reduce their rate of death related to smoking
  • 50% of those who quit before the age of 50 reduce their rate of death from smoking

Signs of Severe Smoking Dependence

Smokers who are seriously dependent on nicotine may exhibit one or more of the following signs:

  • Smoking more than 1 pack of cigarettes a day
  • Smoking within 5 minutes of waking up in morning or from a nap
  • Continuing to smoke even when sick
  • Waking up at night to have a smoke
  • Smoking to help with symptoms of nicotine withdrawal

If you have even a couple of these signs of smoking dependence enlisting the aid of an addiction psychiatrist is thebest plan for success in smoking cessation.

Prescription Medications to Stop Smoking

Your psychiatrist has numerous medications available to prescribe and can provide referrals to support and adjunct services when developing your treatment plan to stop smoking, end nicotine addiction, and reduce any unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.

The medications that may be prescribed include:

  • Chantix (varenicline) – this medication not only lessens the pleasure one gets from smoking by interfering with nicotine receptors in the brain; it also reduces the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal. Chantix helps you lose your craving for smoking and nicotine.
  • Zyban, Wellbutrin or Aplenzin (bupropion) – the medication bupropion is known under three different brand names. It is an extended release anti-depressant that helps reduce cravings and symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
  • Nortriptyline – this is an older anti-depressant drug that helps reduce tobacco withdrawal symptoms
  • Clonidine – this medication, used to treat high blood pressure has also been shown to help people quit smoking. When used as part of a smoking cessation plan it is often given in pill or skin patch form.
  • Other medications and even anti-smoking vaccines are being tested in Europe and the United States but are not yet FDA approved. Your psychiatrist has access to the most effective medications and strategies for a successful program to quit smoking with the least interference from withdrawal symptoms.

Nicotine Addiction Psychiatrist

If you want to successfully quit smoking call Dr. Hege for a convenient evening or weekend appointment and begin a new life as an ex-smoker.

Opioid Addiction: Will You Become Hooked?

In the United States, approximately 2.5 million people are addicted to opioids. Opioid addiction has become a national concern with states already using a tracking system to enable physicians to check which patient is getting narcotics and if they are “doctor shopping” for medications. In addition, over half of the states in the U.S. are now also limiting the number of days an opioid can be prescribed in an attempt to decrease the numbers of those becoming addicted to, and over-dosing from opioids.

Recent Study on Opioid Addiction 

A recent study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published in March of 2017 provided data regarding measurable clues that indicate what your chances of becoming addicted to opioid are. The clues involve the duration of a narcotic prescription and the type of narcotic prescribed. These two clues combined give a measurable indicator of one’s chance of becoming addicted.

Duration of Narcotic Prescription Clue to Addiction

In the study by the CDC reported in their Weekly Report, the duration of a prescription gave clues on how long a person may end up using a narcotic painkiller. Results show that if an opioid is used for only one day, there is a 6% chance of still using that drug a year later. Using that medication for a period of 31 days increases the chance of developing long term opioid use to 29.9%.

Type of Opioid Prescribed Indicator of Addiction Odds

Use of long-acting or extended release opioids were an indicator of developing issues with long term use. People who received a prescription for extended release narcotics had a 27.3% chance to still be using that painkiller a year later, and a 20.5% chance of using it three years later. Comparatively, those adults who were started on a prescription using a short-acting opioid only had a 8.9% chance of addiction one year later and a 5.3% chance three years later.

Opioid Addiction Psychiatrist

Prescription and illegal opioids are commonly abused because they are so addictive. Recovery is often impossible without a good support system and medications that assist with the withdrawal symptoms.

Call Dr. Hege for a confidential appointment and start the journey back to a full life without the gnawing cravings of opioid addiction.

Withdrawal Drug Antabuse Effective for Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine withdrawal is a difficult feat to accomplish with the intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms that can torment a person for weeks and weeks. The odds for beating cocaine addiction dramatically increase with proper psychiatric care and cocaine withdrawal medication management. Working with an experienced psychiatrist trained in addiction and recovery can help you reach and maintain recovery from a life controlled by cocaine cravings.

Cocaine Withdrawal Medication Antabuse Effective

Working with a specialist with decades of experience treating patients with primary and secondary substance abuse and addiction issues is paramount to a recovery plan that is successful. One of the medications that may be prescribed to help manage cocaine addiction withdrawal symptoms is:

  • Antabuse / Disulfiram: This medication will help to minimize cocaine cravings and has been shown to improve abstinence and the recovery rates during the first three months of recovery. While Antabuse is generally used in the treatment of alcohol abuse it has shown positive results in the treatment of cocaine addiction as well.

Antabuse Effects on Cocaine Withdrawal

Cocaine primarily affects the neurotransmitter dopamine which directly affects the reward center of the brain – cocaine dramatically increases the level of dopamine in the brain which in turn causes feelings of euphoria that is commonly associated with the drug. In addition to increasing dopamine levels, cocaine increases norepinephrine which makes one feel they are full of energy. Euphoria combined with high energy makes cocaine addiction doubly difficult to recover from.

Use of Antabuse / Disulfiram blocks a specific form of dopamine which is an essential component in the body’s production of norepinephrine; Antabuse has a dual effect on the effects of cocaine use attacking the two main effects it has one the brain and body. Use of Antabuse makes using cocaine an unpleasant experience. While research data is bringing better understanding to the use of Antabuse with cocaine withdrawal, use of this medication is proving to be an effective part of a cocaine recovery treatment plan.

Cocaine Withdrawal Treatment Locally

Dr. Hege, a specialist in addiction and recovery, is a psychiatrist with over 25 years of successful treatment experience. The time has come to start on the road to your recovery. Call the office for a confidential appointment and comprehensive evaluation.

Stop Smoking: Anxiety, Craving Areas of Brain Activated

The American Cancer Society reports that 20%, or over 40 million American adults currently smoke. With public education efforts it is well known that smoking has a multitude of damaging effects on the body including heart disease, stroke, oral cancer, colon cancer, or emphysema. In addition 90% of lung cancers can be linked to smoking. The difficulty with quitting is that smoking is both a physical and mental process; the addictive qualities of nicotine compare to heroin addiction.

Quitting Without Medication

Research data show that only 4 to 6 percent of adults who try to quit by themselves succeed. Use of nicotine replacement therapy, support groups or quit-smoking aids brings the success rate up to 16 to 24 percent. That number increases to between 25 and 33 percent when medications like Zyban or Chantix are added into a medically monitored treatment plan. Being able to quit smoking is a difficult task best tackled with a physician or psychiatrist who understands the addiction and the medications that work.

The Addiction of Nicotine

Two recent prominent studies have reported results that pinpoint specific regions of the brain that make it difficult for some people to be successful at quitting smoking. The one region, interpeduncular nucleus, is packed with nicotine receptors, with this area triggering anxiety responses during nicotine withdrawal. The other region of the brain, the insula, a large region that is viewed as the seat of addictive urges and cravings.  The insula becomes active when a smoker not only craves a cigarette, but when they are just thinking about smoking — a double-edged sword of anxiety and cravings to face when trying to quit smoking.

Quit Smoking with Nicotine Withdrawal Doctor

Call Dr. Darvin Hege to break the physical and psychological addiction that nicotine has on you. He may prescribe medications, nicotine replacement treatments, cognitive behavioral therapy, psychological support adjunct groups or other individualized treatment options to help you succeed and break the nicotine habit. Call the office today.

Opioid Addiction: Power Beyond Death

Opioid addiction has a powerful pull on those who use them, whether legally through prescription drug use or through illegal drugs such as heroin. Once addicted to opioids, a person typically requires professional intervention with medications such as Suboxone, as well as family and community support systems to beat the addiction. While the general public may not understand the intense addictive qualities of opioids, new research documentation may lead to greater awareness of the growing problem of opioid addiction in our society.

Addictive Cravings Detectable After Death

The Medical University of Vienna, Department of Forensic Medicine, published results in December 2016 that demonstrated addictive craving for opioid stimulation continues to exist up to nine days after a person has died. A protein in the brain’s reward center is altered with opioid use, making it more stable and able to react to an opioid stimulus in a type of memory function – this addictive craving can still be detected after death, indicating not only the power opioid addiction has, but the difficulty an addict has in trying to withdrawal from and quit opioids.

Post-Mortem Dependence Memory

The Journal of Addiction Research & Therapy reports on a study showing that the effects of chronic opioid stimulus can be identified post-mortem. The brain protein FosB that has been altered by opioid use, turns into DeltaFosB which becomes increasingly stimulated with chronic use and opioid addiction. DeltaFosB is found in the region where memory is formed which may make addiction and withdrawal all the more harder to achieve. DeltaFosB shows stimulation continues to exist nine days after the person has died – researchers believe that in living addicts the effect may last for months, making professional help all the more critical.

Psychiatric Opioid Addiction Treatment

When addictive cravings persist in the brain for months during and following withdrawal it is imperative to seek psychiatric opioid addiction treatment options. Call the office for a confidential appointment and expert care.

Opioid Abuse of Those 26 to 34 Has Doubled

Research published this September in the Journal of Addictive Behaviors shows that young adults, those 26 to 34 years old, are twice as likely to have prescription opioid abuse and opioid disorder as that same age group from one decade ago. In addition to young adults, data show that emerging adults, those 18 to 25 years of age, have shown an even larger alarming increase in use of the prescription opioids for non-medical purposes.

Opioid Abuse Wide-Reaching

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health has released data that also highlight the increasing trend of opioid abuse. The data show alarming and wide-reaching numbers for both the young adults and emerging adult groups. During the past decade, young adults have doubled their odds from 11% to 24%; emerging adults show a 37% increase in developing prescription opioid use disorder.

Opioid Abuse Leading To Heroin Use

The problem of opioid abuse and addiction often does not end there. Research has shown a 4x to 9x increase in movement on to heroin use for both young adults and emerging adults who have been using opioids without an appropriate prescription. Data show that over the past decade that heroin use post opioid use has risen from 2% to 7% for 18 to 25-year-olds, and from 2% to 12% for 26-to 34-year-olds.

Urgent Psychiatric Intervention Needed

With concrete data showing the alarming increases of prescription opioid use disorders as well as increased odds of moving on to heroin use, it is a critical time for public education, changes in the attitude of the medical community, and in development of new health policies. Opioid addiction is treatable – qualified medical professionals are waiting to develop a treatment plan.

Opioid Abuse Treatment

Dr. Hege has decades of experience in successfully treating opioid abuse and addiction. Give his office a call for a confidential appointment and begin to break the bonds addiction has over you.


E-Cigarettes Bring New Nicotine Addiction

For more than 1 billion people around the world, nicotine has now become available, through the advances of technology, to provide “clean” access for one’s nicotine craving and addiction.  The “clean” image of e-cigarettes is that you can smoke, exhale only water vapor, avoid the tar and thousands of chemicals found in regular tobacco smoke while satisfying your nicotine cravings.

Vaping vs. Smoking

With tobacco killing about 6 million people a year, e-cigarettes, introduced in 2006, have provided a new alternative that provides the “fix” without the adverse health effects. Over the past 10 years this industry has grown to $2.7 billion dollars in revenue worldwide. With “e” or electronic cigarettes, the nicotine, added flavors and other chemicals are delivered through vapor instead of smoke, thus the term “vaping.” With e-cigarettes delivering nicotine without burning tobacco they appear to be a cleaner, safer, less toxic alternative to conventional cigarettes. Not necessarily.

Dangers in E-Cigarette Vapors

E-cigarettes do not produce any smoke, yet the vapor released still contains nicotine, known carcinogens and toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde and acetaldehyde. The vapor also contains toxic metal nano-particles from the vaporizing mechanism which pose their own health consequences over repeated exposure. Nicotine is highly addictive and recent research points to nicotine exposure as priming the brain to become addicted to other substances – the e-cigarette nicotine cartridges are refillable and could easily be filled with other substances to serve as a new and potentially dangerous method to deliver other drugs.

Type and Level of Nicotine in E-Cigs Pose Risk

In a multi-country research study it was found that there are three types of nicotine used in e-cigarettes. In testing, it was found that all brands of e-liquid were of the strongest form, free base nicotine that the body easily absorbs. Overdosing with nicotine whether through vaping high levels or through skin contact in refilling e-cigarette cartridges is a reality. In addition the study found that the level of nicotine contained in the e-liquids often did not match the label, leaving users risking health and life.

Break the Nicotine Habit Once and For All

Whether you switched to e-cigarettes to help you quit smoking or are still smoking conventional cigarettes and want to break the habit, today is always a great time to make the decision to stop smoking. Dr. Hege, an esteemed local psychiatrist is ready to work with you from the first step to the final step to free yourself from nicotine addiction. Call the office today.

CARA: Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act

CARA is a bill that has made its way through the House and Senate and was just officially signed into law by the President of the U.S., which effectively changes the way the nation looks at the opioid epidemic. CARA looks to bend drug policy away from punishment and makes a push toward a public health approach by providing hundreds of millions of dollars into increased treatment resources and award grants to address the national epidemic of addiction to heroin and prescription opioids.

Political Support for CARA

While the opioid crisis has been progressively growing in this country for more than a decade with opioid and heroin related deaths growing more than 400% in a 10 year period, it has relatively recently come to the attention of U.S. national policymakers. The U.S. Senate passed the bill with a vote of 92 to 2, and the House followed suit and passed the bill with a vote of 407 to 5. President Obama has completed the process this past week by signing the bill into law on July 22, 2016.

Emphasis of CARA

The new bill, CARA, shifts the emphasis of treatment away from abstinence and toward the new emphasis of medication-assisted treatment. Use of medications as part of a comprehensive treatment plan has proven to be the most successful and most effective for those who want to end their opioid addiction. CARA will also allow qualified practitioners to more than double the number of patients that can be treated with specific medication, buprenorphine for example.

Benefits of CARA

When fully funded with approximately $800 million in funds each year, CARA will provide grants that will:

  • Expand access to opioid overdose reversal drugs (i.e., naloxone)
  • Support for addiction treatment services including those that use buprenorphine and other medication assisted treatments
  • Develop and enhance recovery services
  • Develop a link between recovery services and other recovery support systems
  • Provide state grants for opioid abuse education, treatment and recovery efforts
  • Provide for a prescription drug monitoring program across the country
  • Provide grants to develop prevention systems addressing overdose deaths

Local Treatment for Opioid Addiction Available

Dr. Hege has been providing treatment for opioid addiction / substance abuse for decades. Call the office for a confidential appointment.

Adjunct Psychiatric Resources a Positive Force

Most experienced psychiatrists and psychiatric mental health professionals take advantage of adjunct psychiatric resources as a part of their therapeutic treatment plan. Adjunct programs or non-medication treatments have an important role in either augmenting a treatment plan that uses psychiatric medication or as part of a specialized program that does not use medication.

Adjunct Psychiatric Resources

Atlanta psychiatrist Dr. Hege works closely with a few select mental health therapists who provide non-medication treatments in conjunction with his individualized treatment plan. Whether medication is prescribed or not, referral to adjunct psychiatric resources is at the discretion of the doctor and may be made at any point in the therapy process. Working with a psychiatrist who maintains an open line of communication with skilled adjunct therapists make for a successful treatment program and plan. Not every patient may require an adjunct program, yet some may need to be involved in two or three services beyond scheduled sessions with Dr. Hege.

Evening Recovery Program

One of the adjunct psychiatric resources or service programs that Dr. Hege recommends and refers to is the Evening Recovery Program which is an outpatient program for adults 18 and up, specializing in the treatment and recovery of those with alcohol and substance abuse/addiction or the co-dependents in their lives. Advanced non-medication techniques are employed in a small group setting that meets 3 evenings a week for 6 weeks. For those that need a longer period of time they also offer 6 week aftercare recovery groups. Session times are offered in the evening to allow added convenience to busy lives and schedules.

Individual Psychiatric Care with Adjunct Services

Dr. Hege refers to a variety of specialized adjunct psychiatric resources to fully meet the needs of his patients. Evening Recovery Program is just one service that the doctor may want to include in the development of your individualized treatment plan.  Call the office for a confidential appointment today.

Buprenorphine Opioid Medications Treat Addiction

Buprenorphine is the generic name for Buprenex, Suboxone, Zubsolv, Bunavail, or Subutex to name a few. On March 29, 2016, the White House announced a proposal to increase a physician’s current patient limit of 100 for those prescribed buprenorphine, to 200 patients in order to effectively address the rising numbers of those with opioid addiction.

Suboxone and U.S. Opioid Epidemic

Suboxone and the other trade names for buprenorphine are used to treat opioid addiction and opioid use disorders in the U.S. which are now being officially addressed as an opioid epidemic. This increase in the number of patients one doctor can prescribe buprenorphine will be part of a package of public and private initiatives to address the rapidly growing problem.

Use of Buprenorphine in Treatment

Buprenorphine is the generic name for an opioid medication used to effectively treat opioid addiction. Patients may take the medications at home via a prescription. Treating opioid addiction in the home allows successful confidential treatment outside of an in-house addiction unit in the hospital or other opioid addiction facility.

Purpose of Buprenorphine Treatment

The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment, NAABT, describes the prescription and use of this medication as a suppressant for the debilitating symptoms of cravings and withdrawal. For those with an opioid addiction, buprenorphine gives the patient the ability to make positive long term changes that lead to a life without opioid addiction.

Trade Names of Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine is known by a variety of trade names, all of which require special training and certification in order to prescribe these medications. Trade names include:

  • Suboxone
  • Buprenex
  • Subutex
  • Butrans
  • Cizdol
  • Zubsolv
  • Bunavail
  • Belbuca

Doctor Able to Prescribe Suboxone

Dr. Hege has completed the training and holds the certification required in order to prescribe Suboxone and other buprenorphine mediations. In addition he has years of success in the treatment of opioid addiction.

If you want to end your opioid addiction and reclaim your life, give the office a call for a confidential appointment.