First Trial: Deep Brain Stimulation Can Treat Opioid Addiction

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When we have pain, whether it is from toothache or injuries or other chronic conditions, opioids are often the first thing we turn to. By lowering the number of pain signals the body sends to the brain, opioids can relieve pain effectively.



However, the misuse of opioids — even for short term — may cause a dependency or addiction. Once one is addicted, it can be particularly hard to stop taking opioids. Eventually, opioids can mess up an individual’s life or even sentence that person to death.


Good news is that scientists are now conducting the first clinical trial in the US that uses deep brain stimulation to treat opioid addiction, which may better fight opioid addiction.


What is deep brain stimulation?



Deep brain stimulation, or DBS, is a surgery that places electrodes inside the patient's brain.


In this clinical trial, tiny electrodes will be planted into self-control and pleasure center of the brain, and presumably train the patient's brain to stop addicting to the drugs.


The first clinical trial took place in West Virginia



According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, overdose deaths involving opioids in West Virginia occurred at a rate of 49.6 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017.


In the first phase of the trial, there are four participants who cannot be effectively treated by traditional medication, as well as psychological and social treatment options. The first patient is a 33-year-old man who has a decade-long history of opioid and benzo abuse, overdoses and relapses.



DBS has already been proved by FDA to treat disorders like Parkinson's. If it can also be proved to treat opioid addiction, DBS may benefit millions of people in the future. For now, what you need to do is carefully following your doctor’s orders and making sure you only take the medication as prescribed.


5 Answers

These messages are for mutual support and information sharing only. Always consult your doctor before trying anything you read here.

methadone is a fucking joke

it kills more people than heroin now

Everyone has the right to an opinion. Methadone helped save my life.
It's more than irritating, if not completly false to hear a doctor refer to opiate abuse and addiction by using misrepresented facts. According to the "National Institute on Drug Abuse" West Virgina recorded opiate deaths at rate 49.6 deaths per 100,000 people. What these FDA fed statistics don't tell us is that nearly all of those deaths are people using illicitly obtained opiate medications, are herion addicts, or are crushing then injecting their legally prescribed pain meds.
 The other misinformation above states that the only way someone can become addicted or dependant on prescribed opiates is if they're abusing them. This is a straight out and out lie. I have been taking 240 mgs of oxycontin ER and 120 mgs of oxycodone IR for 19 years. I have never, nit one time ever deviated from the prescribed doses, yet I am severely dependant. What's more, when I started taking the oxycontin in July of 2000, that doctor never told me it was an opiate, not did the pharmacy. After 2 years I learned from my pharmacist that it was in fact an opiate. I then went to my doctor with that information, to which he assured me that I couldn't possibly become dependant on those medications. That if I took them as prescribed I had nothing to fear. Well, here I am 19 years later, still taking them for chronic pain, but severely dependant. I have not one time run out early or ever requested an early fill. And now that all this false misinformation regarding dependancy and abuse is being fed to Americans. I'm now labeled as a drug addict thanks to the FDA, who BTW has no business dictating what medications and dosage treatment is right for me. As a result my 19 years of uneventful opiate pain management history will now be reducing me to a withdrawing addict starting this coming month. I an an elderly man, the road ahead will probably cost me my life, but the doctors and the FDA aren't concerned about my well being, only false statistics that promote their political agenda. Nothing they've concluded and sold to America has anything to do with me or others like me, we're just the victims who will pay the ultimate price. My last doctor of 10 years quit his practice because he couldn't allow the government to dictate his pain management agenda for patients the government knows absolutely nothing about.
 We are now being mistreated by puppet physicians whose primary agenda is making money by bending over for the government agencies calling the shots. These physicians that are still bin practice, thus playing ball with the agencies, really have no real interest in maintaining long term opiate treatment for patients who have uneventfully and according to prescribed instructions taken these medications for 5, 10 or 19 years as it were. Nope, they just look at us and tell us we will have our medications reduced to near nothing, and then do so with a cold, deliberate condecending approach. I'm furious, as well destitute. I'm now a candidate for an illicitly solution, something the government agencies are probably counting on, so as to promote the rehabilitation industry. What could be easier than dropping otherwise law abiding citizens on their preverbile drug dependant faces, thus forcing them either into illicite drug use, thus leading to a drug rehab facility, or death by herion over dose. Thank you FDA for managing my pain management future, ER mismanaging.
 As for the comment above regarding methadone, ya, I took it for about a month and almost stopped breathing.
It killed my son
I'm where you are and petrified. I can bet in the very near future there will be many suicides because of what you said. I'm suffering now, nothing works anymore to take my pain and my mind is now going.
So sorry to hear that you are going through this. I am also going through the same thing. Have been on pain meds for years. Now my drs are following their dosing levels from others. I am going down in my meds every month. Not easy. My pain has at times been difficult to deal with. You are not alone. Hang in there.
I’m have the same problem with my primary dr who was licensed to write scripts for morphine and xanax and even the Fentanul torches I took for over ten hrs with no problems. But a few yrs ago when all the people overdosing on ILLEGALLY  obtained or illegal drugs were dying, the FDA made it so difficult for my dr to prescribe anymore and sent me to 4 different pain mgt docs who were all scared to write my Fentanyl script I used for breakthrough pain. Each pain doc I saw wanted to do epiduralsor implant morphine pumps and coincidentally they all were co-owners of the surgery centers and made a lot of money that way. I refused so far because even if they did the epidurals in my neck
And lower back, it’s not going to Help any of the main problems I have such as fibromyalgia, chronic pancreatitis from Lupus, psoriatic arthritis, the neck and back pain in areas that move around, not to mention the migraines and biliary stenosis and other GI issues. I wish I could find a pain doc that has had severe pain themselves and maybe they could relate. I never take more than prescribed and if anything, I try to skip a dose so that I won’t run out when the SHTF and they outlaw opiates altogether. t that point, I might as well die because every month they are lowering my doses with a plan to get me off them-my primary sent me to them not to take my drugs away, but to continue his dioseage which were working for the past 20+ yrs. I guess I’ll end up not able to use my insurance and have to become a criminal by buying illegally and risk getting something mixed with God knows what and kill me. Maybe I’ll be better off dead and pain free. I’ve had 2 friends with morphine pumps and both would end up in the ER because the pump wasn’t refilled in time by their docs: they’re both dead now. My son has had 2 epidurals that didn’t work and we took him to UCLA where he’s had 2 nerve blocks for a failed cardio-thoracic surgery that has left him with a chronic nerve pain from where they took out part of his rib to get between the heart and remove part of his lung that the Valley Fever had destroyed. So he’s in the same boat, unfortunately he took the illicit drug route as he had to keep working and is now a recovering heroin addict, living at home again at 30 yrs old.  He’s suffered with that plus 12 ear surgeries and has polycythemia Vera all starting from the collapsed lung caused by the valley fever when he was just 18. He is seriously depressed because he wishes he had his happy life back like before he got Valley Fever. The government is going to ruin so many lives and many docs and pharmacists are jumping thru hoops that they’ve decided it’s not worth it to prescribe opiates. I pray this nightmare ends soon and I’ll pray for every person dealing with the same problems trying to get the meds they need to live a somewhat normal existence. Sorry this is so long, but if only someone knew someone in our government that could lobby for us in chronic pain that they’re punishing us for the choice of a few others. It’s like making the whole class sit on the bench at recess because 1 student acted up in class. I didn’t spellcheck so please forgive any typos.
Im not a pill popper but last year I had broke my arm and went home with a bottle of vicodin. I took as prescribed, 4-5 5 mg pills a night maybe, didnt took daytime, and for only one or two week. When I stopped I felt I was rotten and fucked up. Soooooo terrible for several days. After that days I felt I was back to normal again. Didnt think too much then. Now I think it's maybe some kind of dependence, it's lucky I didnt addicted to it.
Lucky you. Hope you are this lucky all the way long in your life.

This is totally wacky. Deep brain stimulation is very, very dangerous and has a high incidence of suicide and other very bad side effects, too. It's also irreversible. If it doesn't work, or makes you worse, you're stuck. It's not a good solution to anything. Period. 

You are much better off doing a drug detox program and getting off the opiods. Narconon or narconon First Steps is one that has very good statistics in all types of drug withdrawal and excellent results with low recurrence of problems afterward.

I dont know maybe you can write your experience on twitter or fb and @ new york time or ABC or other big media? maybe they can help. although all those media and hospital and government are filled with people lying down at the desk collecting money from others and doing nothing. you cant expect them do anything.
hi :) bross :)
I was offered DBS, years ago for my dystonia,not an addict but do require pain meds I would luv to do this