Opioids are a class of drugs that come in both illegal and legal prescription forms. Opioids are often used and misused because of the high that they provide to users. All types of opioids work similarly by activating opioid receptors in the brain and the body, which block pain signals. Because of this, many prescription opioids are utilized for pain relief. However, the potential for the misuse of opioids makes them a potentially dangerous and often overprescribed type of medication.
The detoxification process is the first part of any drug addiction treatment program and allows clients to give their bodies the opportunity to release all of the toxins that have built up internally as a result of opioid use. This is a critical step in treatment and gives clients the opportunity to enter treatment with a clear mind and feeling healthier.
Opioids affect the body differently over time and have both positive and negative side effects. Prescription opioids are commonly used in the treatment of post-surgical pain and severe instances of pain as a result of trauma or disease. These medications are most commonly given orally. Opioids are only meant to be taken in the short term, but unfortunately, addiction can take hold of a person even in a short amount of time. When someone is unable to obtain a new prescription for opioids, they may try to get them illegally or will ‘doctor shop’ for more prescriptions. Opioids create feelings of relaxation and euphoria but can also cause issues like nausea, vomiting, and constipation, and can even cause slowed breathing or a condition called hypoxia, which is a reduction of oxygen within the blood.
During a detoxification program, clients are given the opportunity for their body to release toxins that it has held onto throughout the history of their opioid abuse. Because of this, those that have had a long history of opioid addiction typically have a harder time going through the detox program. While in detox, clients will feel a variety of different withdrawal symptoms since they will no longer be consuming the substance to which they were addicted. These symptoms can cause extreme discomfort, making detox one of the most difficult parts of a recovery program.
During the acute withdrawal phase of treatment, clients will experience both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. The initial physical withdrawal symptoms from opioids include muscle aches, runny nose, sweating, insomnia, and frequent yawning. Later symptoms can be more intense and include abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting, rapid heart rate, and high blood pressure. The psychological symptoms of opioid withdrawal typically include feelings of restlessness and anxiety. These symptoms can be very uncomfortable.
After withdrawal symptoms have abated, the early abstinence phase of treatment begins. During this stage of treatment, most, if not all, physical withdrawal symptoms have ceased, and the psychological withdrawal symptoms have lessened. During this phase of treatment, clients are likely to still feel strong cravings for opioids. This makes them particularly prone to relapse during this period. Going through this period of recovery at a treatment center provides clients with the best opportunity to maintain sobriety.
After a more prolonged period of abstinence, clients are able to think more clearly, and their cravings for opioids have likely lessened. During this period of treatment, they can acquire the skills necessary to maintain sobriety. This includes the coping skills necessary to avoid triggering situations, relapse prevention tools, and the ability to deal with cravings if and when they happen. These tools will be used throughout the rest of the client’s life, so they’re vital lessons to learn.
There really is no set length of time that a person can expect to be detoxing from opioids. The amount of time spent in detox will vary from client to client, depending on the specific conditions of their addiction. Detox typically lasts several weeks, and symptoms will change throughout that time. Those that have severe substance abuse addictions may need longer to complete the detox process due to the build-up of toxins in their body.
If you find yourself addicted to opioids, going through a detoxification process is important before beginning a treatment program. Here are some signs you may be addicted to opioids:
There are many different types of treatment that a person who is addicted to opioids may attend. Both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs are available to those who find themselves addicted to opioids. Inpatient programs require clients to live on the recovery center campus while attending treatment.
Holistic programs focus on treating all aspects of the client, mind, body, and spirit. This is done through a variety of different therapies, as well as yoga and meditation.
Medically supervised or assisted programs are ideal for those addicted to opioids. These programs provide medical assistance to clients who are experiencing withdrawal symptoms in order to maintain sobriety.
Opioid addiction is a serious condition and should be addressed as soon as possible before the addiction worsens. Getting help is a big step in the right direction when it comes to recovery. It can be a scary decision to make, but it can lead to a happier and healthier life for those who go through with it. Here at First Steps Recovery, we have a team of professionals ready to help you through the worst of your withdrawal symptoms in a safe and secure environment.
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