A new device has the potential to provide relief to those seeking help for symptoms of opiate withdrawal. The Bridge Device, which is approximately the same size as a half-dollar coin, is placed behind the ear. It sends electronic signals to the brain that effectively block nerve pathways and relieve pain and discomfort associated with opiate withdrawal.
The Bridge Device is meant to be worn for a period of four or five days when a client is going through detox. This the time when they can expect to experience the most intense withdrawal symptoms related to their opiate addiction.
The device needs to be implanted by specially trained providers just behind the client’s ear. This is the spot on their body where the cranial nerves are closest to the surface. A battery-operated chip then sends impulses to the nerves at intervals to help block pain signals.
Proponents of the device are optimistic, as it presents a non-narcotic solution to help ease pain and discomfort, which goes well beyond just helping people through initial withdrawal, as it can also help prevent others from taking opiates to begin with.
The device is manufactured by Innovative Health Solutions as a Neuro-Stim System, and then distributed by various companies for different forms of therapeutic services.
Post-Accute Withdrawal Syndrome
The Bridge is not meant to treat what is called Post-Accute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS). This refers to the persistent withdrawal symptoms that occur after the initial withdrawal symptoms have subsided. PAWS symptoms can be long-lasting and may continue for several months (and in some instances, years) after the opiate use stops.
Almost all opiate users will experience some type of post-acute withdrawal symptoms. In most cases, they will experience symptoms for up to two years from the date of the last use.
There are no obvious triggers for PAWS symptoms. They can be intense or rather mild, and may last as little as a few minutes up to a couple of days at a time. Some people experience only one symptom at a time, while others experience symptoms in clusters. These symptoms can stop and reappear at intervals on an ongoing basis up to the two-year mark:
• Difficulty sleeping
• Trouble concentrating
• Mood swings
A Bridge Device can help to relieve the acute withdrawal symptoms of opiate withdrawal. Comfort measures can be used to deal with the symptoms of PAWS as they occur. Eventually, they will disappear completely.