Opiates are some of the most widely abused drugs in the world accounting for millions of cases of addiction, hundreds of thousands of cases of overdose and thousands of deaths each year. Opiates have been widely abused throughout history dating back as far as ancient Chinese history long before it was even realized that opiates such as opium were addictive. According to Harvard University, opiate addiction treatment is nothing new but there are many new and improved methods that have been devised to help those who suffer from opiate addiction to overcome this potential fatal disorder and make a clean break for the road to recovery.
Dozens of different medications and drugs are derived or synthesized from opiates including morphine, heroin and many prescription drugs including Vicodin, Oxycodone and Hydrocodone. These drugs all have very potent addictive qualities that can quickly lead to physical and psychological dependence that is challenging to overcome. Opiate addiction treatment provides quality, effective care for those who suffer from opiate addiction shedding new light on the subject of drug dependence, recovery and lifelong sobriety.
The first step of opiate addiction treatment is detox. During this step of treatment, the individual stops taking opiates and allows his or her body to adjust to life without the drugs. During this time, there are often a range of withdrawal symptoms including:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Cold sweats
These symptoms will persist for a period of about 7-10 days in most cases and though uncomfortable, usually do not pose any significant danger to the recovering addict. Opiate withdrawal is a necessary step in detox but when an individual detoxes in a medical or treatment setting, many of the symptoms of withdrawal can be counteracted or at least controlled through the use of medication, rest and other methods of treatment and care.
Medication Maintenance in Opiate Addiction Treatment
A very widely used method of treatment for opiate addiction is the use of various medications to maintain the situation, keep withdrawal symptoms at bay and control the urge to use opiates. Methadone and Suboxone are the two most widely used medications for maintenance treatment. Both involve the use of daily doses of a medication to keep the effects of withdrawal and the cravings to use opiates at bay. The dangers to each type of medication maintenance treatment is that medications have risks, there is a potential for overdose, there is a risk of addiction to the medication and there could be side effects involved.
Talk with your doctor or treatment professional about the risks and the benefits of methadone or Subxone when used as part of a medication maintenance treatment for opiate addiction prior to making any significant decision. You may find that there are other methods of treatment which may prove to be more effective and safer for your addiction such as:
- Naltrexone which is a medication that is proven to block opioid receptors which make using heroin or other opiates pointless and may even cause the use of such drugs to be very uncomfortable for the user.
- Buprenorphine which is a partial agonist that stops drug cravings and does not produce a “high.”
- Therapy which can be used to train the user how to recognize dangerous situations which could result in relapse, avoid these situations or change behaviors in response to such situations.
- Counseling which works to get to the bottom of the reasons for opiate addiction and provide treatment based on the underlying causes and factors that contributed to the use of drugs.
Types of Opiate Addiction Treatment
There are various levels of opiate addiction treatment. The type of treatment that is most effective or which is safest for you will depend on various factors such as:
- The severity of your addiction to opiates
- The level of your opiate use
- The length of time that you have been addicted to opiates
- The method of opiate use
- Other health factors
- Whether or not you have tried other methods of treatment in the past
The most common types of opiate addiction treatment include:
- Inpatient opiate addiction treatment
- Residential opiate addiction treatment
- Outpatient opiate addiction treatment
- Long term opiate addiction treatment
Each method of treatment typically provides some medical monitoring or support, counseling and therapy, detox and aftercare. Some programs are longer than others but in order for opiate addiction treatment to be deemed safe and effective, researchers suggest that the program be at least 90 days and in many cases longer. Research shows that it takes 90 days to effectively break a habit and change behaviors, for some the amount of time that it takes to overcome opiate addiction and get back on top is significantly longer.
Factors to Consider in Choosing Opiate Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one is addicted to opiates and ready to seek help, there are various factors that you may wish to consider prior to choosing treatment. It’s important that you choose treatment that is going to be most effective and which will provide you with the highest level of care in an environment that is conducive to your recovery and well-being. Some of the factors that you may consider when choosing opiate addiction treatment include:
- Cost and whether or not insurance is included
- Location and whether you want to seek help that’s close to home or far away
- Type of treatment such as inpatient or outpatient
- Whether the treatment is faith based or not and what your preference is in terms of receiving faith based or non-denominational treatment
- Success rate in the program of treatment that you are considering (does the treatment center have a proven success rate?)
- Individual health related factors (you may need to seek treatment in a specific specialty if you have certain health problems such as chronic pain, diabetes, HIV or mental illness)
Ultimately, the type of opiate addiction treatment that works best for you will likely be a program that provides you with individualized treatment and care that is based on your individual needs. The treatment center will assess your current situation, your addiction and your health and devise a treatment plan that will be effective for your needs. From there, the treatment plan will be ever evolving and may change based on various factors of your recovery as you go.
If you or someone you love is addicted to opiates, the best time to seek help is now! Opiate addiction treatment can help you get your life back on track and reverse many of the damaging effects that the addiction has had on your values, your family and your life.