How to treat opiate addiction

Treating opiate addiction includes behavioral, physical, and psychological treatment options. More here on specific ways to treat opiate addiction, with a section at the end for your questions.

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Reviewed by: Dr. Dili Gonzalez, M.D.

Opiate addiction is treatable

Are you clinging onto opiate drug abuse? Do you believe that using is the only way you can function normally? There is a way out of the struggles of addiction.

In fact, opiate addiction is a chronic medical condition that responds to medical treatment and can be managed successfully with the right selection treatment programs and therapies. Having proper recovery resources at hand is what makes the process of breaking an addiction easier. In fact, treatment centers provide rehab programs for coping with everything from opiate withdrawal to the psychological impact of quitting.



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If you’re looking for information on getting help for opiate addiction, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we outline some of the signs of opiate addiction. Then, we suggest where you can go for help and point you toward resources that can help you overcome addiction. At the end, we invite your questions about treating opiate addiction in the comments section.

Are you even addicted?

A true opiate addiction can only be diagnosed by a qualified professional. However, if you suspect you may be addicted to opiates, there’s a good chance you are. But, how do you determine whether or not you are addicted to opiates? Here are a few signs you need to look for.

  • A good deal of your time is connected to your drug use. This may include time spent using, trying to locate, or recovering from the effects of the opioid drug.
  • You have several attempts to slow down your drug use or quit altogether but have never been successful in the long-term.
  • You continue to use the drug, despite the fact that you know it causes you physical, psychological, financial, and social problems.
  • You experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use. These withdrawal symptoms are usually alleviated when you take the drug again.
  • You’re more interested in using the drug than anything else. Your opiate use may even interfere with your professional or personal obligations.
  • You’ve developed a tolerance to your opiate drug of choice, and you need ever increasing amounts of it to achieve the same effects as when you first started using it.

The 3 C’s: Signs Of Addiction

Another quick way to evaluate yourself is to take a look at three (3) major signs also called The 3 C’s of addiction. They include:

1. CONTINUED use despite negative consequences in your life.

2. CRAVINGS for opiates that are psychological and physical in nature.

3. A loss of CONTROL over when you use, how much you use, and how long you use.

However, even if you find most of these claims to be true for you or for someone you care about…not all is lost. Take hope!

Addiction is a medical condition. As such, it is treated medically…

Treating Opiate Addiction

Treatment for opiate addiction requires time and committment. Effective treatment programs work to identify what’s your current state and what you need in order to become free from addiction. A good rehab will work to resolve your physical addiction as well as underlying psychological problems. Addiction treatment experts confirm that the most effective approaches to treating addiction involve a mix of:

  1. Pharmacological therapies (medications).
  2. Psychotherapy and behavioral therapies.

What MEDICATIONS can help my recovery?

Depending on the severity of your addiction, medications can be very helpful during opiate addiction treatment. Meds are used to alleviate physical symptoms during withdrawal, and may even help speed up the detoxification process. Some of the most commonly used medications used in the treatment of opiate use problem are:

What THERAPIES can help my recovery?

A big part of opiate rehab treatment is addiction therapy. A recovering person will often undergo individual, group, and/or family counseling during the course of their recovery program. Additionally, psychological therapies can help you become more equipped to abstain from using drugs in the future. They may include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Dual Diagnosis Treatment
  • Educational Sessions
  • Family and/or Couples Therapy
  • Medication Maintenance Therapy
  • Motivational Interviewing

Where can I seek treatment for opiate addiction?

Many individuals also need a combination of the following treatment options in order to fully recover from their addictions. For help with opiate addiction, seek advice from:

Opiate Abuse Helpline

There is a number of different resources that can assist you on the way to overcoming an opiate addiction. One of the most convenient ways to get professional help, information, and guidance is by calling our Helpline. Conversations are toll-free and completely confidential. You can ask questions, talk to someone who is experienced in the area, and get the help that you need without revealing your name or any personal information.

Opiate Addiction Treatment Centers

Inpatient and outpatient treatment centers are rehabilitation facilities that are dedicated to treating opiate addictions. They are staffed with qualified professional addiction counselors and other mental health professionals.

Opiate Detox Centers

Physical withdrawal symptoms during opiate detox are typically very uncomfortable and intense, and in some cases may even be serious. An opiate detox center allows you to detox safely and more comfortably under the supervision of medical professionals with access to medications.

Mental Health Professionals

Mental health professionals, such as psychologists and psychiatrists, can help you understand addiction and provide you with tools on how to overcome it. During opiate addiction treatment you can greatly benefit from individual counseling, behavior counseling, and family therapy sessions.

Opiate Addiction Support Groups

Support groups allow you to discuss your addiction and overcome difficulties in a comfortable, non-judgmental setting, surrounded by a counselor and peers in recovery who know what it’s like to be in your shoes. Support groups that you can join are:

12 Step meetings
SMART Recovery
Rational Recovery

Licensed Clinical Social Workers

Clinical social workers do not only offer addiction counseling, but can also help you locate additional opiate addiction resources in your community.

Your Physician

One of the best places to start your journey toward opiate addiction recovery is your physician. He or she can help you with the management of withdrawal symptoms and refer you to additional treatment resources such as addiction rehabilitation centers and mental health professionals.

Optimal opiate treatment duration

Q: How long should your opiate addiction treatment last?
A: For as long as you need and your addiction doctor deems necessary.

Regular, long-term, or chronic use of opiates causes long-term changes in the brain. Often, the traditional 30 day inpatient rehab does not allow the brain and body enough time to heal from opiate use. Instead, it is recommended that people who are dealing with an opiate addiction should consider 60-90 day programs, followed by transitional programs. A supportive environment in which to recover helps you get sober and stay addiction-free.

When recovering from addiction time should not be underestimated!

Just stop for a minute and envision the future you want for yourself…isn’t an investment of time worth it?

Got more questions?

Now that we’ve covered some of the basics of opiate addiction treatment, we invite your questions or comments. Not sure where to start? Just ask! Do you have an experience you’d like to share? Feel free to tell us your story. We’re here to help you along every step of your journey, and we’ll try to answer any questions you may have about opiate addiction.

Reference Sources: DOI: Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
Medline Plus: Opiate Withdrawal
NIDA: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment
About the author
Lee Weber is a published author, medical writer, and woman in long-term recovery from addiction. Her latest book, The Definitive Guide to Addiction Interventions is set to reach university bookstores in early 2019.
Medical Reviewers
Dr. Dili Gonzalez, M.D. is a general surgeon practicing women's focused medici...

All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a licensed medical professional.

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