Need some information on opiate addiction and the addiction treatment process? This article will educate you on opiate addiction, why medical detox is necessary, and what addiction treatment consists of.
Opiates and Opioids. What is the Difference?
The word opioid is used to classify the synthetic (or man-made) form of opiates. Opiates are a drug derived from the poppy flower. Both opioids and opiates are highly addictive. They depress the central nervous system which can cause a user’s heart rate and blood pressure to dramatically drop. Opiates and opioids can ultimately result in death by depressing an individual’s breathing and at the same time sedating them, making it impossible for them to wake up from oxygen deprivation.
Risk of Death Connected to Opiate Addiction
The risk of overdose has dramatically increased for users since the introduction of Fentanyl. Heroin may be laced with Fentanyl, which is 100 times more potent than morphine. Fear of overdose is not always a deterrent according to interviews with former opiate users. “If I thought it was stronger; if people died, I wanted it. I was always looking for a better high and never thought I would be a person who would overdose,” says Jamie N, a Gracious Care Recovery Solutions alumni and person in long term recovery from opiate addiction.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that in 1999, there were 16, 849 overdoses due to opiates/opioids. By 2017, this number rose to 70,237. Due to the epidemic, which involves both opiates and opioids, there is a need for more quality care. Gracious Care Recovery Solutions, a Joint Commission Accredited, DCF licensed Christian treatment facility is committed to meeting this need. We have recently expanded our capacity of clients to 66 beds and have acquired new, beautiful housing in Boca Raton, Florida, just minutes from Mizner Park and the Atlantic Ocean. We believe in providing the highest quality of care in excellent, peaceful surroundings.
Signs of Opiate Addiction
Opiate addiction comes with tell-tail symptoms that family members and friends should be aware of. Opiate addiction can quickly deteriorate your health and mental well-being along. IV drug users are especially at risk for Hepatitis C and HIV. Addiction treatment is imperative and the sooner the family is educated and on board with a solution, the better.
Here’s what to look for if you suspect you or someone you love is addicted to opiates.
- High self-esteem / euphoria followed by low self-esteem
- Lack of motivation
- Increased tolerance of the drug
- Stealing from family and loved ones to get more opiates
- Inability to stop or taper off
- A lot of time spent getting, abusing, and recovering from taking the drug
- Lack of motivation for activities the user once cared about
- Decreased libido
- Weight loss
- Lack of hygiene
Facing the Fear of Opiate Withdrawal
Going through withdrawal on your own is not recommended. Even if you do make it through a few days, the risk of relapse is high due to the intense physical craving connected to opiate addiction. A stable recovery takes every bit of help you can get as relapse is so prevalent with opiates. Opiate withdrawal symptoms are extremely intense and uncomfortable.
Some of the symptoms, which often last acutely for up to seven days include:
Early Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
- Pain in the muscles
- Flu-like symptoms (sweating, nausea, vomiting, runny nose)
- Tearing up
Late Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
- Stomach cramps
- Cold sweats
- An emotional feeling of extreme hopelessness and being “in a very dark place”
While these withdrawal symptoms aren’t life threatening, they are incessant. There is a high risk of relapse when you try to abstain from opiates on your own. Relapse can put you at risk of an overdose because you no longer have the same tolerance for the drug. Opiate addiction treatment will begin with safe, medical detox in a peaceful, therapeutic environment. You will be monitored throughout the process and provided with medication to curb cravings and reduce anxiety.
Having support and medical attention throughout opiate withdrawal increases chances of success. If you’re feeling afraid, know that addiction treatment staff are highly experienced and will make you feel as comfortable as possible through the process.
Treatment for Opiate Addiction
Opiate rehabilitation programs, like Gracious Care Recovery Solutions, are designed to treat the whole person; mind, body and spirit. It is vital to get to the root cause of addiction in your life and receive healing in that area. Once addiction is healed at the root and new ways of living and thinking develop into daily habits, you become strong enough to slowly transition back into life.
Addiction treatment also targets triggers, and how to deal with them. Triggers connect with your memories, and ultimately your emotions. When they arise, it can make you weak against the opiate you’re addicted to. Addiction treatment teaches you how to manage these moments. Detox will get rid of the physical dependency but it’s also essential to touch upon the psychological addiction. This is why detox alone usually fails.
Addiction is a complex disease, requiring a multi-layered treatment plan, or a continuum of care. Detox is the first step, which physically rids the body of the drug. From there, it’s important to follow the recommended treatment plan, which should be uniquely designed to meet the needs of each person.
After detox, addiction treatment can include:
- One-on-one counseling
- Group therapy
- Trauma informed therapy
- Neurotherapy (brain mapping)
- Nutritional therapy
- Behavioral therapy
- Addiction education
- Motivational exercises
- Help with basic life skills
Life After Opiate
Once you’ve completed opiate addiction treatment, you can choose to return home or opt for sober living while continuing with outpatient treatment. Once you’re home, there is local support, including Narcotics Anonymous, Celebrate Recovery, and other recovery meetings. These options help promote long-term sobriety through a supportive group of like-minded individuals.
Opiate and heroin addiction can lead you down a long path of cravings, withdrawal and relapse. Once physical addiction to opiates sets in, life becomes a type of bondage, living to find more opiates just to get through your day without being sick.
At Gracious Care Recovery Solutions, we know the fear connected to getting help. Many of our staff members are in long term recovery and can relate on a real and personal level. We also know there is a solution for opiate addiction.
Call us now and speak to an addiction specialist who can explain what a safe, comfortable opiate detox looks like, and how a solid addiction treatment plan after detox will allow you to experience healing from the inside out, so you can truly walk free.
You deserve to live a life free from cravings and the obsession to return to opiate addiction.
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