Opioid Addiction Treatment
Opioid addiction treatment is formal treatment that is necessary for those who have become addicted to opioids. As stated by the NIDA, “addiction to opioids… is a serious global problem that affects the health, social, and economic welfare of all societies.” Opioids include drugs such as:
- Prescription pain relievers like
- Oxycodone (Oyxcontin)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
In this particular type of treatment, addicts normally go to a facility, attend therapy sessions, and receive medications to treat their addictions to opioids. However, not all treatment facilities and plans are the same. Patients have many options so that their treatments are more specific to their needs. As the NIDA states, “no single treatment is appropriate for everyone.”
Who Needs Treatment?
Those who have become addicted to opioids need opioid addiction treatment. It does not matter if the addiction is focused on prescription drugs or if the person is regularly abusing heroin. Anyone who has become addicted to opioids will need this treatment.
If you are unsure whether or not opioid addiction treatment is right for you, ask yourself these questions:
- Have I experienced many problems in my life due to my abuse of opioids?
- Have I continued to take opioids despite these issues?
- Am I beginning to feel like opioids are the only important thing in my life?
- Do I get hostile with others when asked about my drug use habits?
- Do I need opioids just to feel normal? (Dependence)
- Have I experienced severe physical symptoms when I stopped taking opioids? (Withdrawal)
- Do I need higher and higher doses of opioids to feel their effects? (Tolerance)
- Do I continue to seek out opioids even if the consequences of my drug seeking may be dangerous?
- Have I experienced problems in my personal relationships, relationships with family members, or working relationships because of drugs?
- Do I feel that I would not be able stop abusing opioids, even if I wanted to?
If you are experiencing tolerance, dependence, and withdrawal symptoms from opioids, this does not necessarily mean that you are addicted yet. You should seek help for these issues by discussing them with your doctor and, if necessary, attending opioid detox. But feeling as if you cannot stop taking the drugs and that your use of them is beginning to ruin your life are clear signs of addiction. If you feel this way, you should seek opioid addiction treatment as soon as possible.
What Does Treatment Entail?
According to the Harvard Medical School, “for some addicts, the beginning of treatment is detoxification –– controlled and medically supervised withdrawal from the drug.” It is important to note, though, that detox will not cure your addiction. It will only help you slowly withdraw from the drug and get it out of your system. It does not treat the actual addiction.
Preparing for opioid addiction treatment consists of these steps:
- Researching and choosing a facility
- Deciding on a treatment plan
- Attending treatment
- Setting up a possible recovery plan for after treatment
A patient will need to choose between an inpatient facility and an outpatient facility. Here are the benefits of each:
- Inpatient Facilities
- 24-hour care
- A controlled environment
- Therapy treatment available
- Pharmaceutical treatment available
- A potential break from the stressors of life
- Helpful care facilities for patients with more severe addictions
- Outpatient Facilities
- Daily care
- Patients able to come and go as they please
- Therapy treatment available
- Pharmaceutical treatment available
- A chance for patients to receive treatment while also being able to live their lives
A study from the NCBI found “patients with low psychiatric severity and/or a good social support system may do well as outpatients.” This can be helpful as outpatient programs are generally less expensive than inpatient programs. However, some patients may need 24-hour care if they are experiencing other mental disorders in addition to their opioid addictions (which is common). This, or just the need to be away from whatever stressors were affecting the patient in his or her life, can make inpatient treatment not only helpful but necessary. “Effective treatment attends to multiple needs of the individual, not just his or her drug abuse” (NIDA 2).
Treatment Options for Opiate Addicts
Once in opioid addiction treatment, you and your doctor will likely sit down and create a treatment plan that works for you. The most common treatments for opioid addiction are some combination of medication and therapy.
Medication is necessary because patients need to be able to focus on their recoveries without crippling withdrawal symptoms. Medications make the whole process smoother and less intense. They can also be used to “reestablish normal brain function and to prevent relapse and diminish cravings” (NIDA 2). Some medications used in opioid addiction treatment are:
- Methadone is a “synthetic agent that works by ‘occupying’ the brain receptor sites affected by heroin and other opiates” (CDC). It is often used in long-term opioid addiction treatment.
- According to SAMHSA, “buprenorphine is an opioid partial agonist.” It is used in low doses to help patients stop taking dangerous opioids without experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms.
- Naltrexone is another medication used in opioid addiction treatment which “blocks opiate receptors… and triggers a withdrawal reaction in anyone who is physically dependent on opiates” (Harvard Medical School).
Therapy is also essential, as it teaches patients to change the way they think about their opioid addictions. There are many different kinds of therapy used in opioid addiction treatment including:
- Behavioral therapy– in which “patients learn to identify and remember moods, thoughts and situations that tempt them to use opiates” and are then taught ways to fight these cravings and temptations (Harvard Medical School 2). Types of behavioral therapy include:
- Contingency management
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Motivational interviewing
- Group therapy– in which patients are allowed to share their thoughts and feelings with others who are going through the same struggles as they are.
Opioid addiction treatment is a necessary step in the recovery from opioid addiction. Those who need this treatment should consider all of their possible options before choosing a facility and a treatment plan. Then they can begin their process of recovery.
We can help you choose the appropriate treatment for your needs. Call 800-821-3880 today!