Driven. It’s a word addicts chasing the opiate high understand at a deep level. They know what it feels like to be obsessed with chasing the euphoria. And, they understand wanting to die to relieve the looming sickness if they can’t get their drugs.
Perhaps there is no greater drive than an opiate addiction. This leaves addicts and their families desperately wondering, do opiate treatment centers truly work in the face of such powerful yearning?
K.D. Lang belted out a mournful song in the early 90’s about constant craving. For opiate addicts, this may be the theme song. However, certainly in the darkest times of addiction, those suffering from opiate dependence resonate with the simple lyrics. Opiates call to the depths of their souls.
What are Opiates?
These pain relievers work by binding to pain receptors in the brain to regulate messages. Essentially, opiates trick the brain into believing that the body does not experience pain under the influence of the drug.
While opiates kill pain, they also activate pleasure center of the brain. The drugs create feelings of euphoria and happiness. They work by triggering the part of the brain that reinforces pleasurable activities like sex and eating.
Opiate addicts need help to achieve lasting recovery from the hopelessness of abuse and dependence. Researchers note that opiates cause lasting changes in the brain’s neural pathways. People who abuse drugs become conditioned to taking the drugs again and again to repeat the action that ultimately led to the release of dopamine, the chemical associated with reward and reinforcement.
The brains of human beings are wired for addiction based on the reward chemicals that help us survive. However, most recovery programs acknowledge that addiction is actually a combination problem of neurological, emotional and behavioral problems. Programs that work focus on treating all aspects of the powerful addiction, given that addicts experience numerous life circumstances and physical factors that gear them toward addiction in the first place.
Treatment Options for Opiate Addiction
Good treatment programs help drug abusers access recovery by focusing on a body, mind spiritual approach. Initially, depending on the level of opiate addiction, detoxing from the drug usually requires medication that allows addicts to come off the drugs gradually. Once clean in body, mental and emotional recovery are important factors in treatment.
What to Look For in a Good Treatment Center
People often hear the saying, “To find help, the person has to want it.” This is true; however, there are some research-based practices that are more effective than others in the treatment of opiate addiction. Here are some treatment center offerings in a good center:
- Medical staff and treatment for detox and withdrawal
- Psychological services: individual and group
- Collaboration with 12-step groups
- Encouraging a meditative or spiritual practice of some kind
- Wellness approach with healthy food and exercise
- Art and/or music therapy
- Family counseling component
Help and Hope
Opiate treatment centers are the front line to help and hope. Good programs that address the multi-faceted nature of this powerful illness do exist.
If you or a loved one needs help to begin a new life, free from the obsession of opiate addiction, call 800-584-3274 Who Answers? where competent, caring professionals are standing by to assist you.
Aletraris, L., Paino, M., Edmond, M., Roman, P. & Bride, B. (2014). The use of art and music therapy in substance abuse programs. Journal of Addiction Nursing. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4268880/
Harvard Medical School. (2009). The addicted brain. Harvard Health Publications. Retrieved from: http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/the_addicted_brain
Narcotics Anonymous. (1992). An Introductory Guide to Narcotics Anonymous. Retrieved from: http://na.org/admin/include/spaw2/uploads/pdf/litfiles/us_english/Booklet/Intro%20Guide%20to%20NA.pdf
Rosenblum, A., Marsch, L., Joseph, H. & Portoney, R. (2009). Opioids and the treatment of chronic pain: Controversies, current status and future directions. Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology. 16(5). 405-416. Retrieved from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2711509/