Opioid addiction is a chronic medical condition. It often results from changes in a person’s brain chemistry. When an individual develops an opioid addiction, a cycle develops. This includes detox and relapse. Overcoming the cycle is a long-term process. Beating such an addiction requires more than a person’s willpower. Today, a person addicted to opioid drugs has a good chance at recovery with medication and counseling.
According to Harvard Health Publications, a person who has taken opiates for a long period of time has nerve receptors that have adapted to having the opioid in their system. The nerve receptors will start to resist the drug. A person will then need to take higher doses of the opiate to experience the same effect. A recovering addict will have a physical withdrawal reaction as the drug is eliminated from their body. Their nerve receptors in their system will be readapting to the opiate not being present.
Signs Of Opioid Disorder
This type of addiction is the misuse of prescription opioid medication. According to the American Psychological Association, the motivation is often to get high or avoid experiencing any type of withdrawal symptoms. The misuse of opioid drugs can begin when a person takes more than what they are prescribed. They will often run out of the medication before their next refill is available. An addict often takes this type of medication for reasons other than those prescribed by a physician. Obtaining and taking the medication becomes more important to them than anything taking place at their home, work or school. An addict may go to disreputable pain clinics to obtain the drug. They often lie and steal to get the drug and more.
For many people with an opioid drug addiction, the detoxification process is the beginning of treatment, according to BD Health Services. This is withdrawal from the opioid that is medically supervised and controlled. This is not the total solution. Most people with this type of addiction will return to taking the drug. During detoxification, an addict will experience withdrawal symptoms. This could include hot and cold flashes, tremors, anxiety agitation diarrhea as well as vomiting. Their life is not in danger, but this is very uncomfortable for them. The intensity of the withdrawal symptoms will be determined by the level of addiction and how fast their body withdraws from it.
Treatment With Medication
An opioid drug addict has a variety of options available for treating their disorder. In some cases, this will involve medication-assisted treatment. A healthcare professional will be able to provide an addict with medication that will decrease the seriousness of the withdrawal symptoms they’re experiencing. Medication can be used to decrease a craving for the drug as well as treat an overdose when necessary. There are some medications that are able to be taken for a long period of time. The use of others is designed to be gradually decreased and finally eliminated. Others are only for short term use. The three most common medications used for opioid addiction are altrexone, methadone and buprenorphine.
Inpatient Treatment Programs
These programs are designed to be hospital-based programs that last for a short period of time. They are intended to be a place where a person addicted to an opioid can safely experience the process of detoxification. The stay will usually begin the day a person stops taking an opioid. Depending on the situation, a program may last longer and provide counseling as a way to decrease the chances of a relapse.
Many addicts benefit from group therapy. It is an essential part of treatment. Experts recommend when choosing a group to learn about its leaders. They should be a certified addiction specialist, psychologist or another therapy professional who is experienced using drug addiction treatment strategies that are evidence-based.
Individualized Psychological Therapy
Many addicts struggling with an opioid addiction benefit from one-on-one counseling sessions with a trained psychologist. They are experienced professionals who know how to help individuals learn coping skills to help them deal with their life issues as well as mental health issues. They will know and understand the different challenges a person with an opioid addiction will be facing. A trained psychologist will help an addict become aware of the reasons they started misusing opioids. They also work with patients to discover common triggers that caused the addiction and more.