An opiate is a category of drug that includes both prescription and illicit substances. The drugs are all manufactured using extracts from the opium poppy, which is processed to make morphine and heroin. Opium has been used medicinally to treat chronic pain for centuries. The substance has also been used and abused recreationally since its properties became known, and this has been intensified by the invention of heroin about 100 years ago.
Due to the scale of opiate addiction in America, there are now numerous opiate drug treatment programs available to individuals struggling with opiate prescription drugs or heroin. However, before it can be determined whether a person needs opiate addiction treatment, it is important to be able to recognize the signs of opiate addiction.
The Signs of Opiate Addiction
It is generally easier to spot addictive behavior in a person using heroin than it is someone who has been prescribed opiate painkillers. Nevertheless, the symptoms of opiate addiction are the same no matter what form the substance takes.
An opiate addict will generally exhibit the following symptoms:
- Taking a higher dose of the opiate drug than prescribed
- Crushing pills so they can be snorted, swallowed or injected
- Track marks on the arms, feet or neck from injecting the substance
- A sedated and sluggish manner with slurred speech, low breathing, and sedated behavior
- Complaining of pain despite progressively higher doses of opiates
About Opiate Treatment
One of the decisions a person faces when they make the decision to seek opiate treatment is whether to commit to a residential program or outpatient rehab. However, due to the nature of opiates and their potency, it is always recommended to attend residential detox at the very least to ensure there is help on hand should there be a complicated withdrawal.
After detox, the individual will have been cleansed from all traces of chemicals that have accumulated as a result of opiate abuse. They are then ready to enter the rehabilitation phase of treatment.
There are numerous different options available to people seeking treatment for opiate addiction including the following:
Detox Centers and Withdrawal Treatment
Detoxing from a substance as powerful as an opiate is an uncomfortable process and people who have used the drug heavily will have the most severe withdrawal symptoms. Fortunately, detox centers offer individuals around-the-clock support during withdrawal which ensures more serious symptoms are treated as they emerge. Some opiate withdrawal symptoms can be life-threatening and so the need to be supervised through detox should not be underestimated.
Inpatient Opiate Rehab
Residential or inpatient opiate rehab is often the best choice for people with heroin dependence or addiction. This is because individuals are completely immersed in a sober environment where the focus is on getting them better. Residing in a specialist opiate treatment facility allows individuals to be free of unhealthy or enabling influences in their daily lives who would otherwise keep them addicted.
Additionally, inpatient treatment introduces opiate addicts to others at varying stages of the rehab process. Sharing experiences and talking openly about emotions and feelings while in group therapy provides patients with a non-judgmental platform to express themselves clearly and also extend their support to others.
Intensive Outpatient Rehab
Not everyone is able to commit to residential rehab and so an intensive outpatient program or IOP is an effective alternative. Some people flourish in treatment when they are able to remain at home, particularly if they are surrounded by supportive loved ones. Others may have people dependent on their presence at work in order to survive and are not able to devote an extended time period to treatment.
An IOP offers all the same components of residential rehab while allowing the patient to stay at home. They will generally be expected to attend therapy sessions every day during the week for at least three hours in order to receive the level of treatment they require for opiate abuse. While not in therapy, an IOP allows people to continue with their responsibilities while having instant access to therapeutic support to help them deal with triggers for opiate use.
Aftercare is a crucial component of rehab that helps patients manage the transition from a treatment center to their homes. Returning home after being immersed in a sober environment for a period of time can be daunting to many people. Aftercare provides extra therapeutic support to patients to enable them to maintain sobriety by seeking counseling on how to deal with real-life situations that may be proving challenging.
Research shows that patients receiving aftercare have a better chance of achieving long-term recovery than those that don’t. Aftercare programs generally have an indeterminate duration because addiction is a relapsing illness and some people need to return to an aftercare program decades after attending rehab. A good rehab program should contain an aftercare component and this is something individuals should consider carefully ahead of choosing one.