Opiate addiction is a serious problem among men in the United States. Pharmaceutical opiates, heroin and other illicit drugs are becoming more widely available, and their abuse is becoming more common. Opiate addiction can harm your mental and physical health and disrupt your life in many ways. Addiction can be difficult to overcome, but it is possible. If you or someone you love is struggling with an opiate addiction, you may benefit from learning about these treatment options.
Inpatient or outpatient care
An important factor when considering opiate addiction treatment options for men is choosing either inpatient or outpatient care. Both types of treatment will likely offer similar programs, such as behavioral therapy and substitution therapy with medications, but they differ in intensity. Inpatient programs require you to live in the facility and provide daily treatment. You can benefit by having daily support groups and by being surrounded by other people who are also struggling with opiate addiction. On the other hand, outpatient programs allow you to live at home, which can be helpful if you cannot take a leave of absence from work or if you have other commitments. Outpatient facilities sometimes do offer daily treatment, though it would also require you going to and from the facility each day.
Behavioral therapy is an important part of opiate addiction treatment for men. Through sessions with a counselor, behavioral therapy helps you to identify the environmental, behavioral, and mental factors that lead you to use opiates. Once you identify these, behavioral therapy will help you to develop positive behaviors, rather than leading to drug use. These treatments may be one-on-one, in groups, or in family sessions.
Substitution therapy, medication
Going off of opiates can be very hard because of cravings associated with the lack of drugs in your body, and because of withdrawal symptoms that are experienced when you try to stop. If you are physically dependent on opiates, your body gets used to having them and will react negatively without them. This is known as withdrawal and usually comes with very uncomfortable flu-like symptoms as well as anxiety and other psychological stresses, so with maintenance often comes with detox.
Medications have been developed to help you deal with the cravings and mitigate the effects of withdrawal. Methadone, buprenorphine, and suboxone are all substitution, or maintenance, therapies and are meant to switch opiate users to these healthier alternatives. Methadone has been used for the longest, and is administered only in specialized clinics. You take methadone orally, which protects you from the dangers of using opiates intravenously. Its effects last from 24 to 36 hours, so you only need to take it once a day. If you take methadone or another substitution medicine, you will have fewer cravings for opiates and will feel the effects of withdrawal less severely. Buprenorphine and suboxone can be prescribed by physicians and is also taken orally. These drugs are known to be effective opiate addiction treatment options for men, but should be combined with behavioral therapy for the best results.
Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous help men stop using opiates and remain clean for the rest of their lives. It can be helpful during opiate addiction treatment to talk with people who are going through similar struggles. Support groups can be particularly helpful for people who are not in inpatient therapy and who do not otherwise receive the support they need. Addiction is a chronic disease, and support groups can help men avoid relapse.