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New clinic promises unique holistic detox approach.

A Perth doctor, who has just opened a unique holistic detox clinic in Victoria Park, claims undiagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is the major direct contributor to drug addiction.

"ADHD is, in my experience, the commonest cause of narcotic addiction," said Dr Neil Beck of the newly opened Naltrexone Buprenorphine Group Therapy Clinic.

ADHD symptoms include attention and concentration disturbances, over activity or under activity, lethargy and lack of motivation, impulsiveness and difficulties with time. Sufferers then experience secondary problems such as education deficiencies, interpersonal frictions, job and career difficulties, insomnia, poor self-esteem, feelings of anxiety, depression and anti-social behavior.

"Cannabis, amphetamines and heroin may give ADHD sufferers significant relief from their symptoms," Dr Beck said. "The frequency with which ADHD sufferers resort to these drugs is the reason why ADHD is sometimes described as the "Addictive Brain" disease."

Dr Beck said whereas a person with "usual" brain chemistry experiences a rush from taking amphetamines, an ADHD sufferer will experience a sense of calm, an increased ability to focus, concentrate and act constructively.

They often say amphetamines "make me feel normal and help me to sleep." Many adults with ADHD have not been diagnosed because it is often believed the disorder is restricted to children. Dr Beck said between half and two thirds of child sufferers grow out of their ADHD, but a substantial number don't.

Between 80 to 90% of Dr Beck's diagnoses of ADHD are confirmed by referral to specialist psychiatrists. But there are occasions when the patient cannot afford to see a psychiatrist and then the best treatment is not allowed to be prescribed.

"There are no free Government Clinics to diagnose or treat this condition for adults, which is a tragedy," Dr Beck said. Dr Beck first became aware of the ADHD connection with drug addiction during his two years of work with the Perth Naltrexone Clinic. Four years ago, this clinic, run by the well known Dr George O'Neil, developed Australia's first Ultra Rapid Detox Program combined with Naltrexone Maintenance Therapy. This was a great advance, Dr Beck said. However, Dr Beck said he regularly saw addicts repeat their rapid and sometimes agonising detox and saw one patient who had Rapid Detox nine times before his ADHD was recognised. The pattern for ADHD addicts no longer taking heroin was to take up speed, stop taking their Naltrexone and then go back on heroin, he said.

"Some of these addicts have shown great talent in sport, music, art and literature," Dr Beck said. "Unless we find out what the primary cause of a particular addiction is, we are building castles on sinking sand."

As a result of seeing 50 to 60 drug and alcohol patients a week. Dr Beck believes the pre-existing, and underlying problems for drug users are, in order of frequency - ADHD, depression, unresolved psycho-social trauma such as rape or incest, intolerable life circumstance, anxiety or panic disorder, exposure to drugs, lack of purpose in life and boredom, chronic painful diseases or injury and serious sexual problems including sexual identity conflict.

Along with the Perth Naltrexone Clinic, Dr Beck's nine-room Naltrexone Buprenorphine Group Therapy Clinic joins the ranks of the State Government's Next Step program.

However, Dr Beck claims his clinic distinguishes itself by being the first in Perth to focus strongly on the "preexisting, underlying causes" of the individual's drug addiction, rather than just on the addiction. Dr Beck's clinic holistically combines a gentle, inexpensive and flexibly delivered pharmaceutical detox and maintenance program, with a systematic and comprehensive social and psychological data collection, that reveals the underlying factors in each addiction.

In recognition of the difficulty for addicts to keep appointments, addicts visiting the Naltrexone Buprenorphine Group Therapy Clinic can receive treatment without an appointment and the benefits of group therapy sessions run by Dr Beck and, or the psychologist, as numbers build up.

All consultations are bulk billed and all prescriptions are subsidised bythe Federal Government's Pharmaceutical Benefits System, except the latest "miracle detox drug" Buprenorphine. However, Buprenorphine has recently dropped 90 per cent in price and is three months away from being subsidised.

Dr Beck claims the "miracle" Buprenorphine now makes the agony of rapid detox unnecessary. He has made a special effort to achieve efficiency and gentleness in detox with this narcotic.

Through a special three to four day program of Buprenorphine, Dr Beck is able to slowly and smoothly eliminate heroin from the patient's system allowing them to begin maintenance therapy on the internationally recognised narcotic blocker, Naltrexone. Buprenorphine facilitates an easy detox because it displaces heroin from the patient's nerve endings or receptors while simultaneously relieving the withdrawal symptoms. Although Buprenorphine has been widely used in Australia for pain relief, it is only in the last year that restricted permission has been given for its use in the treatment of drug addicts.

Dr Beck said Buprenorphine is the least addictive powerful narcotic there is and has been used as the main chemical treatment for narcotic addiction in France for the past six years, with great success.

If Buprenorphine is used as an economical, user-friendly detox bridge from narcotics to the Naltrexone therapy, it will cost the drug addict an estimated $20 to detox. If they then use Buprenorphine as their maintenance therapy instead of the Naltrexone or methadone, it will cost an estimated $6-$10 a day, until the PBS subsidizes it. Methadone costs $4 a day and Naltrexone is free in WA. "If someone is spending $100 per day on heroin, Buprenorphine costs as little as 5 to 10 percent of the cost of heroin," he said.

Dr Beck's book, "Beating Heroin", is the third best seller out of 240 books on heroin being sold through the internet's largest bookstore, Amazon.com.

"I've been a doctor for the past forty years and in that time you regularly see people whose lives and families have been ruined by drugs and alcohol...and I didn't know what to do about it. My experience in my practice and in George O Neil's practice made me aware of the large number of people with drug problems who had undiagnosed chemical, mental and social health problems which needed to be discovered and dealt with if the results of drug treatment were going to be lasting."

For more information on the Naltrexone Buprenorphine Group Therapy Clinic and its opening hours Ph- 9472 4909 or Ph - 9386 8873 or go to www.beatingheroin.com



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