Opioid Addiction Treatment
Opioid abuse can result in devastating effects and long-lasting consequences on one’s health. Additionally, even short-term opioid use can put someone at risk of becoming addicted. Fortunately, there is treatment available that can help you overcome addiction and return to a meaningful and productive life.
It’s hard to believe now, but just a few short decades ago, the medical community believed opioids were only addictive when used recreationally and not for pain relief. It was at this time that opioids were mainly used following surgery for the treatment of procedure-related pain. Fast forward to today and what we know about opioids paints a much different picture of the way these drugs are consumed.
More than 2.5 million Americans now struggle with an opioid use disorder, and data shows that some 75,000 people died from an opioid overdose in the 12-month period ending in April 2021 — a number that represents a nearly 35% increase from the year prior. Though that sounds bleak, it’s important that you understand recovery from opioid addiction is possible. Like most medical conditions, treatment to help someone overcome their demons and get on the road to recovery is available with just a phone call.
What Started the Opioid Crisis? And How Did it Become Deadly?
As Nature describes, the opioid crisis arose due to a mixture of “well-intentioned efforts” by doctors to treat pain in patients and bold and brash marketing campaigns by the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture the drugs. As a result, the use of opioids pivoted from short-term pain relief to chronic pain relief, a significant development in the influx of opioid addiction in America. However, we should also mention that not all opioids are synthetic prescription pain relievers. Nearly a third of all opioid deaths involve heroin, a drug that killed nearly 130,000 Americans from 1999 through 2019.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been three distinct waves of opioid overdose deaths.
- The first took place in the 1990s and centers on the rise of prescription opioids.
- The second wave involved a rapid increase in heroin overdoses, beginning in 2010.
- And the third began in 2013, largely due to a spike in the use of fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid that is 80 to 100 times stronger than morphine.
How Does Someone Become Addicted to Opioids?
Even short-term opioid use can put someone at risk of becoming addicted. That’s because opioids release endorphins in the body, which makes you feel pleasure. While each person’s tolerance and risk level are different, physical dependency on opioids can occur after just a few weeks. In its description of opioid abuse, the American Society of Anesthesiologists writes, “Opioids can make your brain and body believe the drug is necessary for survival.”
What Are the Signs of Opioid Addiction?
One of the things that makes identifying a physical dependence on opioids so challenging is that the addiction can involve a legally acquired prescription pain pill. Still, as is the case with other drugs, opioid addiction can bring about noticeable behavioral changes that interfere with daily life activities, personal relationships, career aspirations, and temperament. It’s not uncommon for someone in the throes of opioid addiction to begin spending time with different groups of people socially, losing interest in hobbies, or completely withdrawing from the things they love.
How Do Opioids Affect the Body?
Physical manifestations that can signify an addiction to opioids include various symptoms, including rapidly changing moods, extreme fatigue, weight loss, frequent flu-like symptoms, lack of libido, and small pupils. Perhaps more importantly, the effect caused by opioid misuse and addiction can lead to devastating brain damage that has long-lasting ramifications on one’s health.
In severe overdoses, opioids can cause a person to stop breathing, resulting in damage that can cause impairments to the person’s memory, vision, hearing, coordination, and ability to read and write. Additionally, long-term opioid use can trigger hyperalgesia, a condition that makes the brain more sensitive to pain. Hyperalgesia can be particularly problematic in those who rely on opioids for pain relief, as it can cause the person to increase their dosage unnecessarily. Chronic opioid use can also damage the brain’s frontal lobe and disrupt one’s reward system through overstimulation of the pleasure center. When that happens, it becomes hard for the user to find enjoyment in the things they once loved, which can lead to depression.
What to Expect During Opioid Detox and Addiction Treatment?
The first thing you should know is that help is always available for you or a loved one to successfully overcome opioid addiction. You should also recognize that there are numerous options and tactics used in treatment centers, but the first step in all of them should be opioid detox. This is the process of ridding the body of the drug and cutting off the ongoing supply of opioids. Detox can be an uncomfortable process lasting hours, days, and sometimes even weeks, with the addict experiencing withdrawal symptoms like diarrhea, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, body aches, and agitation.
Medications like methadone and buprenorphine are sometimes used to safely relieve opioid cravings. While these drugs help to activate receptors in the brain to suppress feelings of wanting to use, they don’t result in the same type of high as opioids. It’s essential that we stress medication addresses the biological aspect of opioid addiction, but it does nothing for the root cause. That’s why addiction treatment centers will pair this approach with cognitive behavioral therapy to help the addict understand why they use drugs and help them develop the skills needed to overcome their reliance on opioids. Support groups, family therapy, and aftercare planning may also be part of the treatment program as addicts look forward to a clean and sober future free of opioids.
Opioid Addiction Treatment at Midwest Recovery Centers
If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to opioids, we can help with a return to a meaningful and productive life. Our specialized approach to treatment includes two unique phases. The first phase involves intense individual and group counseling, 12-step meetings, medical supervision, and closely monitored activities and events. Depending on the severity of your addiction, this phase can last up to 90 days.
Once progress toward recovery has been made, we commence the second phase, which is much less strict in structure. Here, clients undergo a variety of group therapy, follow-ups with the medical director, tests for compliance purposes, individual sessions, continued 12-step meetings, and staff supervision. As clients return to normalcy and clean living, we encourage them to seek employment and begin contributing to their own living expenses.
If you’re interested in learning more, we’re always just a phone call away. You can reach us 24/7 at 855-962-4205.