Opioid addiction is a national epidemic, with a devastating impact on all segments of society. Each day, more than 130 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.
If you or someone you care about is addicted to prescription pain relievers, heroin, or synthetic opioids like fentanyl, it is a scary situation. You may wonder which way to turn.
Luckily, there is help available. The healthcare and criminal justice systems have better information about addiction and the best ways to treat it. People once thought to be hopeless cases have received assistance and treatment.
If you are looking for drug treatment for you or someone you know, there are several different paths you can take. Below are five different routes to clean living which have helped many people. They may help you, too.
For an addict to get clean and stay sober, the first step is to remove all traces of dangerous substances from their systems.
This is far easier said than done. Kicking the habit is difficult and relapsing is common. Withdrawing from drugs can cause many unpleasant and painful symptoms.
Mental and emotional symptoms include anxiety, depression, insomnia, and poor concentration and memory. You might experience headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing, heart racing, nausea, vomiting, muscle aches and tremors, and sweats. The addict can also experience seizures, a heart attack, or a stroke.
Most physicians recommend undergoing medically supervised detox. This will reduce withdrawal symptoms and the risk of dangerous complications.
Usually, you must also complete medically supervised detox before entering a treatment facility.
Many detox centers will administer medication to assist with withdrawal from the more dangerous drugs. These drugs can include methadone and buprenorphine. These drugs stop withdrawal symptoms, diminish cravings and block the high from other opioids.
2. Inpatient Rehabilitation
Many addicts find that they need to separate themselves from their former way of life. They find it hard to quit drugs when they remain the same household or neighborhood where they used to get high.
There are thousands of different treatment centers across the country. There are also many different approaches to sobriety. Many rehab programs combine physician-supervised medications with spirituality, faith-based therapy, behavior modification, and exercise.
A common element of many inpatient treatment centers is cohabiting with other addicts. Some centers require addicts to attend group sessions. In these groups, addicts work together to overcome their shared disease.
The cost of residential treatment varies. Some programs are private pay and can be very expensive. Others may be subsidized and available to people on public assistance.
There is little correlation between how much you spend on treatment and how well it will work for you.
3. Outpatient Rehab
Other addicts may choose to enroll in a professionally supervised program that lets them stay at home. This may be a viable option for people who have young children. If you cannot take time off of work, an outpatient program may be the best option for you.
Many outpatient programs combine medication-assisted treatment (MAT) with therapeutic counseling. A doctor will prescribe a drug like Suboxone. The patient will continue taking it under medical supervision, in addition to attending therapy sessions.
Continuous monitoring of the prescribed medication helps the patient avoid becoming addicted to the new substance as a replacement for the illegal opioid.
MAT works well in conjunction with other therapies like group and family counseling. Medication helps with physical issues, but psychological counseling is necessary to address addiction’s root causes.
4. Individual Treatment
After detox and residential or outpatient treatment, a patient may wish to continue individual counseling as well. Discovering the reasons behind one’s addiction and learning to live without substances can take a long time.
Because drug addiction often runs in families, a patient may wish to engage in family counseling to address issues at home. Ongoing therapy can also address early childhood trauma and other factors, and provide healthy tools for dealing with triggers, stress, and depression.
If a patient has taken Suboxone or other medications in order to kick a drug addiction, he or she should continue seeing a medical doctor who can help them wean off this medicine in the appropriate manner and time frame.
5. Twelve Step Programs
Even alcoholics and drug addicts who have hit rock bottom can find their way back. If a patient has remained clean for three years or more, they are more likely to stay off the illegal drugs for good.
Many recovering addicts need a maintenance program to continue staying clean. They often find that the group sessions in which they engaged while in residential or outpatient treatment continue to be helpful. The support of fellow addicts is important for continued sobriety.
Some former opioid addicts find relief and companionship by attending twelve-step meetings like Narcotics Anonymous. Based on Alcoholics Anonymous, the program encourages working with other addicts and attending meetings in addition to abstinence.
Different groups have different views on medically supervised medications like Suboxone. Because each 12 step program is autonomous, one group may think you cannot be clean while taking a drug like methadone while another group may have a different opinion.
You can find a group that is right for your particular approach to sobriety. Many addicts continue attending meetings with their group many years after finally kicking the habit.
Drug Treatment: Help Is Available
You may notice that there is one option not listed above: kicking the habit by yourself. Going it alone is generally considered an ineffective way to stop taking illegal drugs. Trying to withdraw alone is often futile, and can be dangerous.
Depending on your personality, budget and preference, there are many ways to get sober. There is no right or wrong way, so long as you get help.
Because addiction is so challenging to recover from, we encourage you to get help in whatever way works best for you. Taking drugs that are recommended and prescribed by a medical profession is a viable, legal and safe way that has helped many addicts get off of heroin, oxycontin,o and other drugs.
For more information on whether MAT is the best drug treatment for you, check out our site.