opiate rehab process

Receiving Treatment and Understanding The Opiate Rehab Process

The road to opiate addiction may have involved various routes.  Perhaps you were prescribed powerful pain medications, such as OxyContin, following an injury or surgery, or for long-term maintenance of a chronic medical condition.  Maybe you were a recreational user of pills, and it eventually resulted in a heroin addiction.  Regardless of the specific route that led to the opiate dependency, the end result is, tragically, the same.

When you decide to free yourself from the hellish prison of opiate addiction you will find there are a multitude of treatment programs available.  Having a general understanding of the opiate rehab process will help you prepare for what to expect in treatment.  In most cases, opiate addiction treatment necessitates an inpatient rehab for the best chances of achieving a successful recovery.

Signs of Opiate Dependency

The majority of patients who are prescribed opiates after surgery or injury do not become dependent on the drugs.  They were able to adhere to the prescribed dosing for a set period of time and then stop taking the medications with no ill effects.  For others, addiction to opiates can happen very quickly.  Science still has not identified what specific differences in brain chemistry or genetics that may predispose an individual to addiction, unfortunately.  These individuals may ramp up their dosages in response to a powerful high and sense of euphoria that they initially experience.  Their brains begin to modify neural pathways in the reward center, leading to intense cravings for the drug, and the grip of addiction takes root.

The most obvious sign of opiate dependency are withdrawal symptoms that emerge when an attempt is made to stop taking the drug.  These symptoms, which are similar to intense flu symptoms, may include:

  • Body aches
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Anxiety
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Watery eyes
  • Sweating

The opiate rehab process begins with the detox and withdrawal phase, where these highly uncomfortable symptoms are managed as the body is detoxified from the opiates.

Detox and Withdrawal in the Opiate Rehab Process

Before addiction treatment begins the body must be cleansed of the opiates in the system.  Detox allows for this important first step, helping the individual to stabilize and become more mentally alert so they can participate in the treatment phase of the opiate rehab process.  Detox takes about a week to complete, with the most intense symptoms peaking between 48-72 hours.

A supervised detox is the safest, most effective way to proceed with this critical phase.  Supervised detox provides monitoring of vitals, as well as prescribing medications to help minimize the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.  In addition to over-the-counter medications to help alleviate the diarrhea, nausea, and body aches, other drugs can help reduce cravings.  These drugs include methadone, Suboxone, and buprenorphine, and are often used in a tapering program to wean the individual off the opiates.

The Treatment Phase of the Opiate Rehab Process

Detoxing alone is not sufficient to successfully remain strong in recovery.  Once detox is complete the longer phase of treatment begins, which is where important behavioral changes can be achieved.  Opiate treatment programs include several layers of support and therapy that aim to uncover the root issues that may be contributing to the addictive behaviors, and then teach alternative responses to them.

Most opiate inpatient treatment programs include individual therapy, group therapy, family group, 12 step or non-12 step meetings, classes and guest speakers that encourage and teach techniques that have helped them remain clean and sober, and some holistic therapies.  The trend toward adding these experiential holistic therapies and practices to an addiction treatment program has been on the upswing, as results demonstrate how mindfulness training, meditation, yoga, guided imagery, acupuncture, and art and music therapy aid in self-discovery and relaxation.

Treatment Resources for The Opiate Rehab Process

The Treatment Specialist offers information and rehab treatment resources for opiate dependency. Call to connect to a treatment center that will provide a free insurance benefit review, so you will be aware up front of your plan’s coverage for treatment.  Call (866) 644-7911 and start your recovery journey today.

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