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What are Opioids?

by Recovery Guide Real Recovery Starts Here
Opioids are a class of drugs that derive from the opium poppy plant. These drugs act on the brain’s opioid receptors to produce a variety of effects, including pain relief. Opioids include illicit drugs such as heroin, as well as prescription medications like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, codeine, and many others.

Each opioid is chemically related to one another and interacts with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the brain and body. This is how these drugs provide people with pain relief. While opioid pain-relievers are generally safe if taken as prescribed by a doctor and for a short time, they have a high potential for abuse. Opioids produce feelings of euphoria, which can lead to dependency and addiction when taken irresponsibly or on a long-term basis.

Continue reading to learn more about opiate addiction, drug intervention, and how to get help for a family member.

An Overview of Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction is characterized by long-term changes to an individual’s brain. Due to this, it is considered to be a chronic medical condition. The changes that occur to the brain during opiate addiction affect the mood and behavior circuits. Once the mood and behavior circuits of an individual’s brain become affected, an array of other issues will begin to arise. For example, opioid addiction affects almost all of the body’s systems, as the body becomes dependent on the substance.

Once a person is dependent upon opioids, they will experience symptoms of withdrawal if they abruptly cease their opiate use. Symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:

  • Cravings to use opioids
  • Diarrhea
  • Large pupils
  • Yawning
  • Stomach pain
  • Chills and goosebumps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Body aches
  • Agitation and abrupt mood changes

The withdrawal symptoms associated with opiate addiction are so severe that people will do anything to avoid them. This is what causes the cycle of addiction to continue well past the affected individual’s desires.

Opioid withdrawal may last anywhere from hours to weeks. The length of withdrawal depends on the severity of the individual’s addiction, how much of the drug they were taking, and how often they were taking it.

How is Opioid Addiction Treated?

Opioid addiction treatment must be conducted by a trained and experienced medical professional. Typically, individuals suffering from opioid use disorder attend a medical detox center as their first step towards recovery. During medical detox, many patients are provided with FDA-approved medications that help lessen the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and eliminate the cravings that cause relapse. The two main medications used in opioid addiction treatment are known as methadone and buprenorphine.

Once an individual completes medical detox, they must attend some form of a traditional addiction treatment program. Usually, people attend a residential, or inpatient, treatment program immediately after completing detox. These programs require patients to live at the facility, under 24/7 supervision and monitoring.

Patients recieve a combination of individual therapy, group counseling, family therapy, and medication management to help them recover from the emotional and spiritual aspects of addiction.

The important elements of recovery from opioid addiction include:

  • Education about the disease of addiction
  • Learning about personal triggers for substance misuse
  • Identifying and unpacking causes or underlying issues that led to addiction
  • Identifying negative patterns of thought and learning positive alternatives
  • Replacing harmful coping mechanisms like substance abuse with positive coping mechanisms, such as therapy and peer support
  • Creating positive relationships with sober supports and trusted friends

If the patient wants to continue building upon their recovery, they can attend outpatient treatment as a next step. Outpatient treatment offers the same evidence-based therapies as inpatient treatment. However, patients live at home and commute to treatment sessions during the day. Outpatient sessions meet anywhere from 2-5 days a week, typically working around the individual patient’s schedule to allow them to maintain outside responsibilities.

Drug Intervention for Opioid Addiction

Oftentimes, people who are addicted to opiates are in denial. As a family member of an addict, it can be difficult to watch your loved one struggle with addiction and neglect to seek help. Thankfully, professional addiction counselors created alcohol and drug interventions for this very reason.

When a person is in denial about their addiction to opioids, they may not recognize how it affects their loved ones. Interventions are family meetings focused on providing an individual with examples of how their addiction has affected the people around them. This is done in hopes of getting the individual to accept professional opioid addiction treatment.

Professional interventions teach individuals struggling with addiction to:

  • Identify their role in the family system
  • Identify how the family deals with crisis and crisis management
  • Learn what the 12 steps for a family in recovery look like
  • Understand what their relapse pattern could be (identify triggers and coping mechanisms)
  • Develop healthy boundaries with family members and friends
  • Learn how to continue their process of recovery as they move forward

Getting Help for a Loved One’s Opioid Addiction

If your loved one struggles with opioid addiction, it is time to seek professional help. Watching a family member battle opiate addiction is heartbreaking and emotionally exhausting. Utilizing a professional drug intervention service could be the answer to your family’s prayers. With the help of a professional recovery coach, your loved one can build a foundation of lifelong sobriety and happiness.

Michael Herbert, The Recovery Guide, has more than 30 years of experience working closely with individuals and families dealing with addiction and recovery issues. He is a seasoned Coach and can help you and your family establish long-term goals and access the tools you need for continued abstinence and recovery for the entire family. Get in touch with Michael today at 561-221-7677 to schedule an appointment.

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About Recovery Guide Junior   Real Recovery Starts Here

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Created on Jan 11th 2022 02:29. Viewed 114 times.

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