Choosing the Right Type of Opiate Addiction Help

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Whether a person takes medications to relieve pain, pops pills for fun, abuses heroin to get high or gets hooked on methadone treatments, an opiate addiction will destroy a person’s life slowly, but surely. Deciding to get needed treatment help is a big step, which makes it all the more important to choose the right type of opiate addiction help.

Just like the causes for opiate addiction can vary, so do the treatment methods used. Someone dealing with a pain condition will require a different treatment approach than someone who’s hooked on heroin. Likewise, treatment for the recreational use of pain pills will differ from methods used to treat methadone addiction. Understanding the different options available can help ensure a person chooses the type of opiate addiction help that best meets his or her needs.

Replacement Therapies

addiction treatment

Methadone has been used to treat opiate addiction since the 1960s.

Medication replacement therapies are commonly used to treat opiate addictions that result from heroin abuse and the misuse of prescription drugs. Methadone and buprenorphine, both synthetic opiate medications, mimic the effects of opiates. By mimicking opiate effects, these drugs can help relieve withdrawal symptoms and reduce persistent drug craving.

Methadone has been used for decades as an opiate addiction treatment and can be used for detox purposes as well as on a long-term basis. Buprenorphine works in much the same way as methadone and carries fewer federal restrictions, which makes it a more accessible treatment option.

Opiate Addiction Treatment and Pain Management

Opiate addiction treatment for people affected by chronic pain conditions works a little differently than the standard treatment approaches. As some form of pain management is still needed, opiate addiction treatment will make use of non-opioid medications to treat pain symptoms and non-opiate medication therapies for the treatment of opiate withdrawal symptoms.

According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the types of medications used to treat addiction and manage pain symptoms include:

  • Clonidine for opiate withdrawal symptom relief
  • Anti-epileptic, antidepressants and arrhythmic drugs for pain management

Methadone Tapering

As effective as methadone can be in treating opiate addiction, it’s not uncommon for someone to become addicted to methadone when taking the drug as a treatment for opiate addiction. As methadone has slow-acting effects compared to other opiates, it tends to stay in the body longer than other opiate drugs. As a result, stopping methadone is often more difficult than stopping other opiates.

The right type of opiate treatment for methadone addiction uses a tapering plan that gradually and slowly reduces dosage amounts. Under a physician’s direction, a tapering plan can last anywhere from six to 12 months.


Regardless of the type of medication treatment you choose, an effective opiate addiction treatment program will always offer ongoing counseling or psychotherapy treatment along with medication therapy. As psychological dependency plays a huge role in any form of addictions, it’s imperative that a recovering addict work through whatever issues drive his or her addictive behaviors. Otherwise, the likelihood of relapse and resuming an addiction lifestyle will be considerably high.

Ultimately, choosing the right type of opiate addiction help depends on a person’s individual circumstances, as there is no “one-size fits all” treatment.

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