Opioid misuse has risen over the past year. More than 1 million Americans are currently receiving treatment for opioid addiction. Unfortunately, many people are still suffering in silence. Too often, reluctance to seek treatment can lead to a deadly outcome. About 70% of overdose deaths involve an opioid.
Targeted addiction treatment can help patients overcome opioid dependency. At Indiana Center for Recovery, our staff provides holistic, round-the-clock care. Our integrated team works with patients at every stage of recovery. We provide patients and their families with ongoing support.
Read on to learn more about opioid addiction and treatment.
What Are Opioids?
Opioid drugs come from the poppy plant. Ancient cultures used this plant for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. In the 1900s, doctors began to use opioid-based drugs for pain management. Opioids block pain signals between the body and the brain. In hospitals and clinics, doctors often prescribed opioids to treat severe pain. Today, physicians use opioids to control patients’ pain after surgery.
For decades, doctors have also prescribed opioids as a treatment for chronic pain. But researchers have discovered that opioids have a high risk of addiction. From 1999-2019, opioid addiction rates and overdoses skyrocketed. Tens of thousands of patients overdosed after becoming dependent. Modern doctors are now wary of prescribing opioids for chronic pain.
Unfortunately, some patients still become addicted to opioids after taking prescription drugs. Opioids addiction is a potentially life-threatening condition. Patients struggling with dependency must seek help right away.
Opioid addiction often begins with a legitimate medical prescription. Patients may receive opioids to manage their pain after surgery or an injury. Opioids can work well for this purpose: they provide powerful pain relief and a sense of well-being. Some patients feel relaxed or “high” after taking opioids. This sensation can quickly become addictive.
As patients begin to overuse opioids, they develop a tolerance. They need to take higher and higher doses to achieve the same results. Over time, patients become physically dependent on the drug. They experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to quit cold turkey. At this stage, patients usually require professional help quitting opioids.
Sometimes, patients successfully overcome dependency on their own. But others can develop an opioid addiction. These patients may experience powerful cravings for the drug, and start to believe they need to take opioids to function normally. Some patients also crave the euphoric “high” that opioids can produce.
Patients struggling with opioid addiction often make risky or unwise decisions. They may resort to buying street drugs, stealing money, or forging prescriptions. At this stage, patients need targeted addiction treatment. Medical support can help patients overcome their opioid addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Addiction
People who are dependent on opioids may experience:
- Weight loss
- Sleep disturbances
- Low libido
Patients struggling with addiction might also experience:
- Drug cravings
- Compulsive opioid use
- Social isolation
- Financial difficulties
- Legal problems
Patients with addiction disorders often report that they want to stop using. However, their cravings can be overpowering. No matter how hard they try, they can’t seem to stop using on their own. Many patients feel discouraged, hopeless, and ashamed when they fail to quit.
Rest assured that recovery is possible. Targeted addiction treatment can help patients manage their cravings. Treatment also helps patients avoid the destructive side effects of opioid misuse.
Health Risks of Opioid Addiction
Opioid misuse can destroy a person’s health. People who misuse opioids are at high risk for falls and accidents. Moreover, once a tolerance builds, patients also tend to increase their dosage which can lead to a fatal overdose. The risk of overdose increases if patients combine opioids with alcohol or sedatives.
Unfortunately, people struggling with opioid addiction may turn to illicit drugs. Once patients become addicted, they often have trouble acquiring enough opioids. They may turn to heroin or other, stronger drugs to bridge the gap. Street drugs like heroin are sometimes cut with fentanyl, a powerful opioid that can quickly trigger a fatal overdose. Researchers believe fentanyl is responsible for a large percentage of opioid deaths.
These deaths are far from unavoidable. Addiction treatment can save patient’s lives. At ICFR, we work with patients to restore their physical and mental health. Our recovery programs help patients avoid relapse and rebuild their lives.
What Causes Opioid Addiction?
Opioid addiction can affect anyone, but people with previous addiction disorders may be at a higher risk. Patients with a history of mental illness, stress, or trauma are also at a high risk of addiction.
Other risk factors include:
- Family history of substance abuse
- Early exposure to drugs or alcohol
Many patients at ICFR have one or more risk factors. But some patients may have no previous risk factors or history of addiction. Keep in mind that anyone can develop an opioid addiction.
Opioids trigger a massive release of endorphins. These feel-good neurotransmitters help mute painful sensations, and create a sense of pleasure and wellbeing. These feelings can be addictive, and people from every demographic may be at risk. There is no single “type” of person who becomes addicted—anyone can find themselves dependent on opioids. Once addiction occurs, most people need medical help to quit.
How Is Opioid Addiction Treated?
Opioid withdrawal can be difficult and painful. Patients should never attempt to quit without medical supervision. A medical detox program provides the support patients need to taper off the drug.
At ICFR, our team develops a customized detox plan. Our in-house psychiatrist determines how to reduce the patient’s opioid dose. The 24/7 nursing staff provides supervision as the patient works to stop taking opioids.
Throughout detox, the team monitors the patient’s vital signs and symptoms. They may take blood or urine samples to check how much of the drug remains in the patient’s body. The team also offers medications to make the detox process easier.
During detox, patients may experience unpleasant symptoms like mood swings or insomnia. Medication can ease these symptoms to ensure the patient’s comfort.
Some patients may benefit from medications like methadone, naltrexone, or buprenorphine. These drugs can help block the effects of opioids or prevent withdrawal symptoms. They support patients during the recovery process and help patients maintain their sobriety.
Keep in mind that patients taking these medications require ongoing supervision. Patients can expect to participate in a rehab or detox program while receiving medication. Medical staff monitor the patient carefully and adjust their dosage as needed.
Evidence-based treatments like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) can help patients overcome addiction disorders. During CBT, patients examine their thought patterns. They identify harmful behaviors and learn to make positive changes in their life. Patients also learn coping mechanisms which support long-term recovery.
Often, patients struggling with opioid addiction face many problems. from job loss or damaged relationships to legal trouble and health concerns. Therapy assists patients as they work to rebuild their lives.
ICFR offers a wide range of therapy programs to help patients overcome personal challenges. We also provide relationship and family counseling for loved ones affected by the patient’s addiction.
Comorbid Conditions and Dual Diagnosis
Many patients who misuse opioids have an underlying medical condition. Patients may struggle with chronic pain, physical illness, or a mental disorder. Patients need treatment that addresses these issues. ICFR offers well-rounded support for patients with comorbid conditions. Our psychiatrist provides an integrated treatment plan for dual-diagnosis patients.
What Kind of Treatment Do People with Opioid Addiction Need?
Patients have two general options for care: residential rehab and outpatient rehab.
Residential rehab is ideal for patients struggling with severe or long-lasting addiction. These patients may need 24/7 support as they detox and work toward stability. The ICFR team offers round-the-clock care in a comfortable, home-like treatment facility. Patients have access to a private chef, an in-house nutritionist, and much more. The nursing staff is available at any time, day or night, to provide support.
Outpatient rehab patients attend treatment during the day, then return home at night. ICFR outpatient programs vary depending on the patient’s needs. Partial hospitalization programs (PHPs) usually run from morning to afternoon. Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) often taking place in afternoons and evenings. These programs allow patients to continue working as they seek addiction treatment.
Life in Recovery
Recovering from opioid addiction can be a lifelong process. After completing rehab, patients may transition to a weekly outpatient program. They might also participate in ongoing support groups and therapy sessions. Our team can help patients explore their options for post-rehab care.
Patients need to continue with treatment after leaving rehab. The ICFR team can help patients and families connect with the resources they need. With the right support, patients can enjoy an excellent quality of life in recovery.
If you or a loved one is looking for treatment for a substance use disorder, ICFR is here to help. Call our 24/7 helpline at (844) 650-0064. All calls are 100% confidential.