Science and Research

Our tapering and withdrawal program is based on established science and research in how habit-forming drugs act in the body, what happens when you abruptly try to stop taking such medication and the nutrients that scientists have found to ease the withdrawal effects.

  Opioids             ("PAIN KILLERS") Opioids have historically been prescribed for acute trauma, operative care, cancer pain, and pain associated with life-limiting illness. Over the past several decades, opioids have been increasingly dispensed chronically for many non-acute conditions. Common opioids are Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin and more.  The most common side-effects are constipation, sedation, nausea/vomiting and dizziness. 

 

Opioids             ("PAIN KILLERS")

Opioids have historically been prescribed for acute trauma, operative care, cancer pain, and pain associated with life-limiting illness. Over the past several decades, opioids have been increasingly dispensed chronically for many non-acute conditions. Common opioids are Vicodin, Percocet, OxyContin and more.  The most common side-effects are constipation, sedation, nausea/vomiting and dizziness. 

benzoDiazepines ("Benzos") Benzodiazepines, sometimes referred to as “benzos”, are medications with sedative-hypnotic (sleep-inducing) and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects. Xanax, the most widely used psychiatric drug in the USA, is a benzodiazepine. Others are Klonopin, Ativan, Valium and more. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive, as patients develop tolerance to these drugs, requiring higher and higher dosages. These are among the most difficult medications to discontinue.

benzoDiazepines ("Benzos")

Benzodiazepines, sometimes referred to as “benzos”, are medications with sedative-hypnotic (sleep-inducing) and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effects. Xanax, the most widely used psychiatric drug in the USA, is a benzodiazepine. Others are Klonopin, Ativan, Valium and more. Benzodiazepines are highly addictive, as patients develop tolerance to these drugs, requiring higher and higher dosages. These are among the most difficult medications to discontinue.

anti-depressants and Anti-anxiety agents Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can be used for treatment of conditions including depression, anxiety, OCD and chronic pain. Examples include Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, Effexor, Cymbalta, and Gabapentin. Discontinuation syndrome can occur when individuals abruptly stop taking these medications. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, sweating, sleep disturbances, dizziness, tremors and mood instability.

anti-depressants and Anti-anxiety agents

Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can be used for treatment of conditions including depression, anxiety, OCD and chronic pain. Examples include Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, Effexor, Cymbalta, and Gabapentin. Discontinuation syndrome can occur when individuals abruptly stop taking these medications. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, sweating, sleep disturbances, dizziness, tremors and mood instability.

sleeping aids Sleeping aids are medications used for the treatment of insomnia (sleeping disorders). Examples of sleeping aids include Ambien, Sonata and Lunesta. Many of these medications are intended for short term use, but users underestimate the habit-forming potential of these drugs. Often these medications become less and less effective over time, but users feel incapable of sleeping without them.

sleeping aids

Sleeping aids are medications used for the treatment of insomnia (sleeping disorders). Examples of sleeping aids include Ambien, Sonata and Lunesta. Many of these medications are intended for short term use, but users underestimate the habit-forming potential of these drugs. Often these medications become less and less effective over time, but users feel incapable of sleeping without them.


NEUROTRANSMISSION Many habit-forming drugs are chemicals that have been designed to move from the blood stream into the brain. They are able to cross the blood-brain barrier that otherwise protects the brain from toxins.

NEUROTRANSMISSION

Many habit-forming drugs are chemicals that have been designed to move from the blood stream into the brain. They are able to cross the blood-brain barrier that otherwise protects the brain from toxins.

Withdrawal symptoms If you have used habit-forming medications even for a short time, it can be physically and emotionally distressing to decrease their usage. Many people are not aware of the wide range of side effects that are possible. Ask your pharmacist for these—the FDA requires that the pharmaceutical manufacturers disclose them.

Withdrawal symptoms

If you have used habit-forming medications even for a short time, it can be physically and emotionally distressing to decrease their usage. Many people are not aware of the wide range of side effects that are possible. Ask your pharmacist for these—the FDA requires that the pharmaceutical manufacturers disclose them.

NUTRITION During withdrawal from habit-forming medications, appropriate nutrition is essential. Special nutrients are often required, especially if you take multiple medications or when withdrawal symptoms are severe.

NUTRITION

During withdrawal from habit-forming medications, appropriate nutrition is essential. Special nutrients are often required, especially if you take multiple medications or when withdrawal symptoms are severe.


Research Papers

Anna Lembke, M.D. The New England Journal of Medicine. Why Doctors Prescribe Opioids to Known Opioid Abusers

Anna Lembke, M.D. Time to abandon the self-medication hypothesis in patients with psychiatric disorders.

Lembke A, Humphreys K, Newmark J. Weighing the Risks and Benefits of Chronic Opioid Therapy.

Anna Lembke, M.D. Society for the Study of Addiction. From self-medication to intoxication: time for a paradigm shift


Is Teletherapy effective?

A University of Zurich study divided a group of 62 patients in half and found that depression was eased in 53 percent of those given online therapy, compared to 50 percent who had in-person counseling. Three months after completing the study, 57 percent of online patients showed no signs of depression compared to 42 percent with conventional therapy.
— Journal of Affective Disorders, 2013. The effects of online psychotherapy outlasted the results of face-to-face counseling
In a four-year Johns Hopkins study that included close to 100,000 veterans, the number of days that patients were hospitalized dropped by 25 percent if they chose online counseling. This is slightly higher than the number of hospital visits experienced by patients who used face-to-face counseling.
— Psychiatric Services, April 2012. Online therapy significantly lowered the number of hospital visits among veterans.
Patients in Ontario, Canada were assigned to face-to-face or live video counseling and experienced statistically the same clinical outcome and level of patient satisfaction. The only difference was that the cost of providing the online service was 10% less per patient.
— American Psychiatric Association, 2007. A Canadian study shows that online therapy delivers the same satisfaction at slightly less the cost.
A pilot study compared the effectiveness of online cognitive behavioral therapy and in-person supportive therapy in 45 Defense service members suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the September 11th attack. After eight weeks those receiving online therapy showed greater improvement. Six months after their first meeting those who had received online therapy continued to show improvement, in direct contrast to the in-person group.
— American Journal of Psychiatry, November 2007. Online therapy may be an efficient way to provide PTSD treatment to a large group of people.