Opioid enhanced psychotherapy refers to the use of weak opioid agonists, such as codeine, dihydrocodeine, ethylmorphine, or tramadol, as an aid to psychotherapies. This approach relies on the theory that opioid receptors have functions other than pain management, including but not limited to reward systems and positive associations.
A similar technique, except reversed, was developed to treat alcoholism, the Sinclair Method. In this method, opioid antagonists such as naltrexone are used to prevent positive reinforcement of alcohol consumption. The method is successful in approximately 80% of patients.
Opioid agonist comparisons
The delta opioid receptors are believed to modulate possible antidepressant effects. As such, opioids with a higher affinity for delta receptors as opposed to mu receptors could potentially be more effective in this therapy.
Kratom may be used, as it has a high affinity for delta-opioid receptors, as well as other advantages, including stimulation and an absence of respiratory depression.Tramadol may have advantages over other opioids, due to the fact that it also increases serotonin levels. This is atypical of opioids; oxycodone also demonstrates serotonin level enhancement, although it carries a much higher risk of addiction compared to tramadol.