Opiate addiction in the United States has reached epidemic proportions. There are many reasons for this, including over-prescribing of medications, inadequate health care and our society’s elevated levels of stress and over-dependence on medications. Lack of mental health services contributes to the problem. As a result, a whopping 23 million people in the United States abuses opiates. Opiate drugs that are commonly abused include:
These medications are generally prescribed for short-term relief of pain. They may be prescribed after a dental procedure or to help alleviate pain after an injury. Aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies has contributed to the problem, and for some time, doctors were encouraged to prescribe painkillers such as Oxycontin by being provided kickbacks.
Opiate medications are highly addictive. They start by producing tolerance, and then dependence. Not all people who take opiates become addicted, but anyone who uses them may become dependent. A person who is dependent on prescription opiates will suffer from withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug abruptly. Even when the medication is taken as prescribed, you can still become dependent.
Addiction is different. A person who is addicted may not realize it at first. Addiction is a disease of the brain. It creates psychological dependence on the drug. When someone who is addicted to opiates runs out, they may feel agitated, nervous, irritable and obsessive. This is in addition to the physical effects of withdrawal. They may feel as though they must have the drug in order to function on a daily basis, and may experience a deep denial that there is a problem.
When addressing opiate addiction, it’s important to address both the physical and psychological aspects of the illness. This is why treatment centers for opiate addiction are so important. An opiate treatment program can help you achieve freedom from addiction.
How Opiate Treatment Centers Help
The first step in opiate abuse treatment is detox. When you stop taking opiates, your body begins the detox process. Within hours, you may begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms can feel quite severe, and getting through this first part is challenging. Doing it on your own isn’t recommended. It’s important that you have plenty of support. While opiate withdrawal isn’t necessarily dangerous, symptoms such as dehydration can occur, and if your symptoms are particularly severe, it can be difficult to take care of yourself. In addition, it is all too easy to give up when things get tough.
At an opiate abuse treatment center, you will receive medical care that can help manage and minimize the symptoms. You will stay hydrated, get proper nutrition, and be encouraged to rest. In some cases, medication can be administered that will allow you to detox more gradually, which will help your symptoms be more bearable.
You’ll also receive moral support that will keep you encouraged and on track. Once you have completed detox, your actual opiate addiction treatment can begin. Opiate dependence treatment is difficult, but the psychological aspect of addiction is even more powerful. This is where the real work begins. Detox isn’t enough. Many people go through the discomfort of detox only to begin using again.
It’s important to learn tools to help you overcome cravings and learn to deal with life’s challenges without resorting to drug use. Often, there are underlying issues, such as depression and anxiety, that contribute to your substance use. Addiction treatment can address these issues so they don’t keep leading to drug use.
Treatment for opiate addiction may last anywhere from 30 days to three months. The detox period may last from three days to two weeks. Treatment includes both individual and group counseling, education and other types of therapy and treatment.