Multiple Ways To Treat An Opioid Addiction

No one plans to become addicted to opioids and a dependency on the drug can happen rather quickly, even taking the user by surprise. Before long, the addiction becomes unmanageable and they begin spiralling into a worsening cycle of substance abuse. This can occur, whether an individual uses heroin, a direct derivative of the opium poppy plant, or receives a prescription for a synthetic opiate from their doctor.

In truth, opiates are often prescribed by doctors, because they offer the best way to manage pain. While physicians are becoming more aware of the intense addictive properties of opiates and only prescribing them when necessary, the risk of addiction still remains high.

The dangers of opioid addiction are especially high in the United States, representing a serious health risk to Americans in particular. Americans are responsible for taking more than 80% of all pain medications prescribed worldwide. That means the opioid crisis affects the United States more so than any other country. Many people addicted to opioids can’t get clean by themselves and may not even be able to admit they have a problem without the benefit of professional help. This partly explains why there are 15,000 deaths attributed to opioid overdoses each year in the U.S.

Treatments for Opioid Addiction

One of the most important parts of helping an individual recover from opioid addiction is getting them clean. This involves managing withdrawal symptoms, which can be quite sever, as the individual is weaned off of the drug. Attempting to quit cold turkey can result in health dangers, or, at the very least, may lead to a relapse. This is why a typical opioid addiction treatment center will utilize controlled medications to help the individual overcome their dependency on the drug.

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Methadone is an opioid that’s administered in controlled doses, because it helps feed cravings. It can be used to successfully control drug use and the withdrawal symptoms that accompany reduced dosages of opiates. Because this drug acts similarly to other opiates in blocking brain sensations and creating a false sense of euphoria, Methadone dependency is a risk of treatment. As long as doses are controlled in a rehab facility, this can still be an effective way of helping patients get clean.


In some cases, rehab caregivers may prefer to use Suboxone, which is a drug made from buprenorphine and naloxone. The drug is effective in two ways, blocking the euphoric sensations that opiates create and controlling the withdrawal symptoms that make recovery so risky. There is still a risk of addiction with Suboxone, because it does create a feeling of contentment in the individual. As the drug wears off, the individual may want to recreate that feeling, which is where the risk of addictive patterns can develop. Again, proper use of the drug can help the individual get clean without developing a new addiction.


In some cases, a less potent drug may be used to treat addiction cravings. This is where Subutex comes in, which is another buprenorphine compound. Although less powerful than Suboxone, Subutex does still represent a danger of addiction forming in an uncontrolled situation. As a drug that interacts with the central nervous system, Subutex represents a serious health risk, if taken in higher doses.


As an opioid and a painkiller, Dilaudid is used in extreme cases, due to its high potency. It can be up to nine times stronger than Morphine. It acts to disguise pain by creating a strong sense of euphoria in the brain. That sensation is strong enough that addiction can develop in three weeks or less. For this reason, it’s use in treating addiction is strictly controlled and may be limited in its dose frequency.

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Addiction to opiates is usually very powerful and can take hold very quickly, leaving the individual unable to cope with their need for the drug. Additionally, going without the drug can cause physical symptoms, such as nausea, insomnia, hypertension, depression, and excessive fatigue. This is why professional help is almost always needed to help recover from addiction. Even in cases where the addict is not yourself and is someone close to you, caregivers from an established treatment center may be able to help. Getting the addict into treatment is a difficult step in the process, but, once he or she begins to confront the addiction, the chances of a successful and healthy recovery are increased.

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