The most serious epidemic that the U.S. is currently facing is the amount of people that are abusing and overdosing on opioids throughout the country. Opioids are one of the biggest threats to public health in years and more people than ever need help in overcoming their addiction to prescription painkillers. Fortunately many rehab treatment centers cater to opioid addiction and provide the kind of care that is necessary to overcome this devastating problem.
People often don’t realize how addictive opioids are both mentally and physically to the user. It is common for people to be prescribed opioids for a particular issue such as pain after surgery and end up addicted. Opioids have many of the properties that addictive drugs tend to have such as feelings of euphoria, developing a tolerance and withdrawal symptoms.
When people are not aware of the addictive nature of opioids or they are not careful about the doses that they take then it can end in tragedy. Overdoses are all too common in the U.S. with more than 115 people dying every day from taking opioids. Rehab can help prevent a tragic overdose and can help someone recover from their addiction to opioids.
Detoxing from Opioids
The first step in recovery from an opioid addiction will be to abstain from any opioid use. For people with milder addictions, they may be able to go “cold turkey” from their opioid abuse and avoid using any drugs during detox. Others with more severe addictions may need to transition to substitute medications such as methadone or suboxone which can help them ease out of their opioid abuse.
Opioids can lead to very intense withdrawal symptoms and some people may have addictions so severe that they will not be able to get through withdrawal safely. In these cases, medications can be life-saving alternatives that prevent overdose and help them get on the right track to recovery as soon as possible. Over time the patient will be able to wean themselves off of the medication until they are ready to completely abstain from any kind of substance.
Detox can be one of the most difficult steps in rehab because it is the process by which someone rids themselves of a chemical dependency. They will have to confront many uncomfortable physical symptoms and feelings that arise when they no longer are relying on drugs to feel normal. Opioid detox can be painful but once a patient gets through this process they will then be ready to start the hard work of recovery.
Therapy and Relapse Prevention
Much of the focus in opioid addiction rehab is on individual therapy, group therapy and methods for relapse prevention. People that have drug addictions need to address the kind of psychological and emotional issues that can cause them to begin or continue abusing substances. Therapy is a crucial component in recovery and one of the most traditional parts of every rehab program.
In therapy patients with opioid addictions can start to open up about how and why they became addicted in a safe environment where they can be vulnerable. They may have a family history of addiction or their own personal issues with mental illness that acted as factors in their developing addiction. Although opioids are inherently addictive, there are often internal problems that can cause people to abuse drugs as well.
Group therapy is a method that can help addicts learn to connect with others and share their stories so that they feel a part of a community. In group therapy, those with opioid addictions can talk about their experiences which may be similar to many other people in the group. They can provide each other with valuable support and advice which can help them become more confident in their sobriety.
Another important component of addiction recovery is helping patients focus on skills for relapse prevention which will help them stay sober long-term. Understanding what causes relapse and the type of triggers that can lead to someone using drugs again can help patients be more prepared for the possibility. They can learn how to handle specific situations which could lead to relapse and how to reach out for help when they are struggling.
With opioid abuse, relapse can be particularly dangerous because people who have been sober for a period of time might end up abusing the same amount of drugs that they had in the past. The lower tolerance that they have after a period of sobriety could lead them to overdose from a relapse incident. Aftercare programs and relapse prevention methods are critical in keeping patients safe after they return home.
If you have been struggling with an opioid addiction, reach out to a local treatment center so that you can take steps to become sober again.