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Opioid Addiction Treatment 101

Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

Opioids are a class of drug that includes not only heroin and fentanyl, but also prescription painkillers.

Due to the widespread prescription of opioids for more than their original application of treating chronic pain in cancer patients, the United States has been ravaged by an opioid epidemic that started in the late 1990s and shows no signs of abating.

While opioids are undeniably effective painkillers, they also carry a high risk for misuse and abuse. Tolerance to opioids rapidly builds and can easily lead to dependence and addiction. At this point, you would be diagnosed with opioid use disorder. If you are prescribed opioid painkillers, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions explicitly.

Opioid Use Disorder

Common opioids include:

  • Opium
  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Tramadol

If you are unable to abstain from opioid use and you exhibit behaviors almost exclusively predicated on opioid use to the extent it interferes with your life, you have opioid use disorder. 

In the case of physical dependence on opioids, there will be pronounced withdrawal symptoms if you discontinue use. This, however, does not always occur. Many people abuse opioids without becoming physically dependent.

As with all drugs, though, opioids exert a very powerful psychological pull as well.

The combination of physical and psychological effects means many people find is essential to seek out treatment for opioid addiction.

Some of the serious physical and mental effects of long-term opioid use include:

  • Compromised immune system
  • Collapsed veins and clogged blood vessels
  • Slowed breathing rate
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heightened risk of HIV
  • Increased chance of contracting hepatitis
  • Disturbing hallucinations 

As tolerance builds, you’ll need more and more opioids to achieve the same effect. Resultantly, you’ll inflict even more damage on body and mind.

If you or a loved one is using opioids, it pays to be aware of some of the common markers of opioid addiction.

Opioid Addiction: Signs and Symptoms

Opioid addiction brings with it a whole laundry list of drastic outcomes.

  • An inability to control opioid use despite often ruinous consequences
  • Insatiable cravings for opioids
  • Disruption to normal sleeping patterns
  • Frequent drowsiness
  • Slurred speech and loss of coordination
  • Pronounced weight loss
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Impaired libido
  • Downswing in exercise and overall fitness
  • Lack of attention to personal hygiene
  • Continuous flu-like symptoms
  • Growing tolerance for opioids
  • Isolating behaviors
  • Stealing from family or friends
  • Obvious financial difficulties
  • Withdrawal symptoms in the absence of opioids
  • Using opioids in the face of pressing health concerns
  • Impacted relationships and overall quality of life
  • Spending a disproportionate amount of time and money on opioids
  • A strong desire to continue using opioids despite all these negative outcomes

Opioid Addiction Withdrawal Symptoms

If you’re addicted to opioids, abstaining will typically trigger the following opioid addiction withdrawal symptoms. This applies whether it’s a chronic pain opioid addiction or an addiction to a synthetic opioid like fentanyl. 

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches
  • Generalized discomfort

These opioid addiction withdrawal symptoms manifest even if you have only developed a mild dependence on prescription opioids.

How long the symptoms last and how intense they are depends on a range of factors, including: 

  • The type of opioids in question
  • How long you have been addicted
  • The amount of opioids you’re taking

You should not underestimate the strength and intensity of opioid withdrawal symptoms. In the event of a moderate or severe opioid addiction, you should seek medical guidance before attempting to quit. 

Some people addicted to opioids find that MAT (medication-assisted treatment) combined with counseling and evidence-based therapy is the best route to sobriety.

What are your treatment options if you find yourself addicted to opioids?

Treatment Options for Recovery from Opioid Addiction

In order to diagnose opioid use disorder, you need to discuss your current usage and your health with your doctor. You could also engage with a treatment center.

Opioid addiction is a multifaceted disease that impacts all areas of your life, including: 

  • Mental health
  • Physical wellbeing
  • Environment
  • Social relationships

Successful treatment programs will address all these areas.

In some cases of severe opioid addiction, hospitalization is recommended.

Regardless of what comes next, the first stage of treatment involves detox. This enables you to withdraw from opioids with the support and medication in place to help you deal with the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms outlined above.

Detoxification alone is seldom sufficient to treat opioid addiction. While it’s a crucial step on the road to recovery, there’s still plenty of hard work to come.

Sometimes, replacement therapy is offered with methadone or buprenorphine prescribed on a tapered basis. This way, you can wean yourself gradually away from your opioid addiction.

Inpatient treatment for opioid addiction will help you to tackle all facets of your addiction through a combination of:

  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Counseling
  • Therapy
  • Vocational programs
  • Support groups
  • 12-step programs

These programs can last for a few weeks or a few months depending on the nature of your addiction.

In most cases, you’ll be able to get away with outpatient rehab for opioid addiction, and that’s where we’re here to help.

Treatment for Opioid Addiction at Renaissance Recovery

If you choose Renaissance Recovery’s opioid addiction treatment program, we’ll offer you a personalized blend of evidence-based therapies and holistic therapies to help you consign opioids to the trash can.

Beyond this, you’ll learn to build better coping skills so you can deal with stressors without recourse to a chemical crutch like opioids.

Take advantage of medication-assisted treatment to ease the opioid withdrawal symptoms you’ll experience while also reducing cravings. We utilize FDA-approved medications like Vivitrol and Suboxone here at Renaissance.

Also, if you have a co-occurring mental health disorder, we have a comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment program enabling you to tackle both issues head-on. If you fail to address the mental health condition, you’ll jeopardize your chances of a sustained recovery. 

To stop using opioids today and kickstart your recovery, reach out to the friendly team right now at 866.330.9449. We’ll help you get ready to leave opioids behind and to reclaim the life you left behind.866.330.9449

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Pat C

“I owe my life and my happiness to these people. October 8th, 2019 marked two years of sobriety for me, and prior to finding Renaissance I hadn’t had 24 hours sober in nearly 20 years.”

Paige R

“Renaissance Recovery truly changed my life.”

Courtney S

” I’m grateful for my experience at Renaissance, the staff are very experienced, they gave me the hope I needed in early sobriety, and a variety of coping mechanisms that I can use on a daily basis.”

Diana Vo, LMFT

Diana is an addiction expert and licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in the field of mental health for over 10 years.

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country