Dealing With Opioid Addiction


The United States is currently in the middle of an epidemic of opioid abuse. Opioid addiction runs the gamut from prescription pain relievers to heroin. While individuals may start out taking a prescription medication, as prescribed, for legitimate pain issues, they may easily lose control and become addicted to these substances. Opioid addiction rehab is often the only hope someone can have of regaining control of their life.

An opioid is a catch-all term for painkillers that are either natural or synthetic and derived from the poppy plant. These substances are powerful and effective painkillers, which explains why they are prescribed so frequently. They are used to treat acute pain from injuries, toothaches, and surgeries, as well as well as chronic pain. Using opioids for short-term pain relief is generally considered safe, but using for these substances for chronic pain can lead to addiction.

Many well-known prescription medications are opioids, including hydrocodone, morphine, codeine, fentanyl, and tramadol. If your doctor prescribes these medications, it makes sense to talk to him about your concerns for addiction. Your risk of developing an addiction is greater the longer you are on the medication and if you have a family history of substance abuse.

In addition to the concerns over developing an opioid addiction from using these substances, you can also develop a dependence on them. An addiction is an uncontrollable use of the drug, even when you are experiencing negative effects from using. A dependence is when your body becomes so accustomed to using the drug that you experience withdrawal symptoms when you try to reduce or stop your use.

Using opioids for an extended period of time or in high doses creates changes in the brain causing it to function differently than when the drug is not in your system. This leads to the need to increase your dosage to get the same benefit. Eventually, an opioid user will need to use the drug just to feel normal.

The dangers of prescription opioids include overdose due to the need to continue to take more of the drug just to feel normal. Opioid drug use also changes the brain, creating anxiety, depression and other mental health issues that make feeling normal even more challenging. Opioid users have a high risk of death by overdose and suicide.

If you or someone you know is taking prescription opioids, you may wonder if you should be concerned about addiction. Some warning signs include: -Difficulty reducing or eliminating the medication from your life. -Taking larger doses of the medication just to get through the day. -Spending a good part of the day obtaining, or worrying about obtaining, access to the medication. -Trouble staying on top of work or school obligations. -Craving the medication. -Using the medication at times when you know doing so puts you or others at increased physical risk. -Continuing to use the medication even as it causes issues with others.

If these symptoms sound familiar, it may be time to enter opioid addiction rehab. You probably have many fears about the process. You may be concerned about family and friends finding out, being stuck in a hospital setting, and fear about living without the medication. Knowing what to expect can help ease some of that anxiety.

While it is no vacation, opioid addiction rehab does not need to be scary. Each day will be broken up into a variety of group and individual programs to help heal your body, mind, and spirit. You will probably take part in individual and group therapy, holistic practices such as music and art therapy, and as you progress through the process, your loved ones will probably visit for family therapy sessions.

The exact program you take part in will depend on the facility you visit and your particular issues. Your inpatient treatment program may start with a medical detox to help your withdrawal from the medications in a safe and controlled environment. You will then integrate into the various therapy programs provided by your opioid addiction rehab program.

Your treatment may remain inpatient or may move to day treatment. Day treatment typically involves at least 20 hours a week of programming to attend. Intensive outpatient programs typically involve around 12 hours a week of programs. Your team of rehab care providers will work with you to develop the program that best meets your needs. Regardless of the type of treatment program you undergo, you will enter into a continued care program upon completion.

Participating in a continued care program is vital to the success of your rehabilitation program. Remaining actively involved in the treatment process for the first 18 months of the recovery process dramatically increases your odds of long-term sobriety.