Overcoming Opioid Addiction

In the United States alone, over 2.5 million people suffer from an opioid use disorder. Many of those people were using heroin as an alternative to prescription painkillers, as it is easier and cheaper to attain.

Healthy alternatives to pain management are critical to overcoming the opiate crisis and addition in those who rely on medication for pain relief. People with addictions have the same relapse rates as people with hypertension and diabetes. What this means is that addiction requires continual care and management to prevent relapse.

There are a variety of treatment options for people suffering with an addiction and many of these treatment options that are a long-term therapy have a higher degree of success. Rehabilitation, therapy, and even medication can help provide a smooth transition to abstinence and provide a sustained recovery.

Treatment Options for Addiction

There are a number of effective medications available for helping people with opioid addictions. Medications, including Suboxone, Subutex, methadone, and Vivitrol are effective to treat opioid use disorders.

The World Health Organization has deemed Buprenorphine and methadone as “essential medications.” Once a treatment is administered, a combination of medications are most effective in treating an opioid addiction. However, naltrexone requires a full detoxification, which is more difficult when treating patients who are still active users.

Medication is the most effective and people have the highest chance of finding recovery when medication is combined with a comprehensive program, referred to as Medication Assisted Treatments (MAT).

MAT : Medication Assisted Treatments

Medication Assisted Treatments decrease opioid use and deaths related to opioid overdose, criminal activity, and disease transmission. In areas where buprenorphine became readily available, heroin overdose deaths decreased by 37%.

MAT increases and encourages social functioning for people with an opioid addiction. WHen social behavior and activity is affected by drug use, it can be a challenge to get back into sober social circles. Attending meetings and group therapy sessions that rely on peer participation are helpful in the recovery process.

When combined with medication, people are more likely to remain in therapy compared to people who go through therapy without any assistance of medication.

Addiction Recovery

Treatment generally begins with a medically-induced detoxification process to help manage pain and withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia, and nausea.

After the detox is completed and symptoms have been stabilized, people are transitioned to a residential rehabilitation facility to receive counseling, peer-group support, education, and how to manage addictive behavior to prevent relapse, and healthy alternatives therapies.

Additional therapies include talk therapy, holistic treatments for body and mind, spiritual counseling, and other methods that can be discussed with a counselor.


Drug Abuse: Effective Treatments for Opioid Addiction

Alta Mira Recovery: Opiate Addiction Recovery Statistics

Drug Abuse: Policy Brief on Effective Treatments


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