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Opioid Addiction Treatment 

When used as per a physician’s recommendations, opioid medications help manage acute pain by interacting with opioid receptors in nerve cells. 

However, the pleasurable feelings that result from opioid consumption can lead to dependence, especially when used for non-medical purposes. 

Besides the risk of addiction, opioid abuse also increases the risk of death as high doses slow down the heart rate and overall breathing rates. 

And as revealed by the CDC, opioids are responsible for an alarming 70% of overdose deaths in the country, a statistic that underlines the importance of treating opioid addiction sooner rather than later! 

Fortunately, opioid addiction can be treated through a variety of methods, from detoxing to medication-assisted treatment and individual (and group) therapies. 

Let’s take a closer look at opioid addiction and some of the treatment options your doctor is likely to suggest. 

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What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a wide class of pain-relieving medications that bind with nerve cells in the brain and body to relieve pain. 

Some of the commonly prescribed opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, codeine, tramadol, and fentanyl

Heroin, an illegal yet commonly abused drug, is also an opioid. 

Opioid pain relievers, also called narcotics, are safe for use when taken as per the doctor’s advice. However, when misused, these drugs can lead to addiction and, even worse, death due to overdose!

Therefore, opioid use is only recommended when treating severe pain.

 As a result, most doctors will prescribe opioids on a short-term basis to reduce the chances of physical dependence.

Treatments for Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction is a serious condition that requires immediate treatment before the problem gets out of hand. 

In this section, we’ll take a closer look at recognized opioid addiction treatment methods. 

Medication

There are three main types of medicines approved for opioid abuse and addiction treatment– methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. These drugs work in different ways to restore balance in the affected parts of the brain, as explained below. 

Methadone

Commonly sold under the brand names Methadose and Dolophine (among others), methadone is an opioid agonist used to treat opioid dependence. Detox using methadone can be accomplished either short term or on a long-term basis. 

Methadone helps prevent and manage the often severe withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate abuse, thereby reducing the chances of relapses. The drug is also known to reduce cravings, which plays a vital role in lifelong sobriety. 

Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine is an FDA-approved opioid agonist that works in the same way as methadone, although in a much milder fashion. 

Most physicians prefer Buprenorphine due to its mild effects once it binds with the opioid receptors in the nervous system. 

The drug comes in several forms, from a tablet to a shot, a film placed inside the mouth (against the cheek), a skin patch, and an implant. 

Buprenorphine helps restore balance to parts of your brain that were affected by opioid addiction while also reducing cravings. 

Naltrexone 

Naltrexone works by blocking the euphoric effects of opioids. By binding and blocking opioid receptors, naltrexone reduces and effectively suppresses cravings. 

Doctors prefer naltrexone as it’s not addictive and is FDA-approved for opioid addiction treatment. 

For best outcomes, however, it’s advisable to start using the drug 7 days after the last use of short-acting opioids. For treating addiction to long-acting opioids, your doctor will recommend waiting 10-14 days before commencing naltrexone treatment. 

Therapy

It’s practically impossible to overcome narcotic addiction without therapy as it helps address underlying problems that either trigger or worsen substance use. 

As a result, most rehabs integrate medications with therapy when treating opioid addiction, a process known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT). 

Below are some of the common therapies used to treat opioid addiction. 

Contingency management: Contingency management is a reward-based type of behavioral therapy. Patients receive tangible rewards once they meet recovery goals, such as attending sessions consistently and observing medication schedules strictly. 

Motivational interviewing: This type of therapy aims to keep patients motivated enough to complete treatment and maintain lifelong sobriety. A therapist will help you identify (and own) your main recovery goals, which should keep you motivated as the desire to recover comes from within. 

Cognitive behavioral therapy: CBT is one of the most commonly used psychotherapy approaches in treating substance use disorders. Over several sessions, your therapist will change your view of addiction and help you gain control of your thoughts and emotions. 

Family therapy: Family therapy is when a therapist involves direct family members and spouses in a series of sessions. These sessions help create a compassionate environment that promotes healing for all parties while boosting the chances of lifelong sobriety.

Inpatient vs. Outpatient: Which Program Is Ideal For Opioid Addiction Treatment? 

Opioid addiction is a serious disorder that can have life-threatening outcomes if not managed early enough. 

Inpatient programs are highly recommended for opioid addiction treatment for several reasons. 

Not only do patients receive round-the-clock monitoring from licensed professionals, but they also benefit from a much-needed change of environment that allows for intense focus on rehabilitation. 

You’re also likely to benefit from the wide range of therapies used in inpatient facilities. 

Outpatient detoxification and treatment can also work. However, this type of treatment is recommended for people that are yet to develop full-blown opioid addiction. 

You can also enroll in an outpatient program as a step down from the more intense inpatient program. 

Is Opioid Addiction Treatment Necessary?

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Don't go through the process of recovery alone. There are people who can help you with the struggle you're facing. Get in touch with one today.

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Opioid addiction treatment is crucial as the disorder is responsible for 70% of overdose deaths in the country. 

And since opioids are highly addictive when abused, it’s best to seek treatment as soon as possible. 

In addition to promoting recovery, professional opioid addiction treatment also reduces the chances of relapses as you (or a loved one) will learn positive ways to cope with cravings and triggers. 

Although hard, opioid addiction treatment is possible with the right support from professionals and loved ones.

Contact a licensed opioid addiction treatment center today to kick-start your journey to lifelong sobriety.  

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