Opiate drugs, such as heroin, Vicodin and codeine have become the center of a national epidemic, affecting people from all walks of life. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the overall easy availability of these drugs has further contributed to today’s increasing rates of opiate addiction.
Once a person reaches a point where the need for treatment help becomes apparent, certain considerations should be taken into account before deciding on a course of treatment.
Opiate Addiction Potential
Opiate addiction can develop regardless of whether a person uses the drug for medicinal or recreational purposes. Ultimately, the determining factor has to do with one’s pattern of drug use as opposed to why he or she uses, according to a Princeton University resource site.
In general, opiates produce pain-relieving effects and have become the go-to treatment for most any condition involving pain symptoms.
When taken as prescribed, there’s little to no risk for addiction. However, the brain and central nervous system can develop a tolerance for opiate effects, so the potential for abusing these drugs remains. Add to this the overall sense of calm and contentment opiates produce and the potential for abuse and addiction increases all the more. As opiate addiction affects different people in different ways, it’s important to ensure the treatment program you decide on can address your individual treatment needs.
Things to Consider
Length of Time Using
As a general rule, the longer a person abuses opiates the harder it is to stop using the drug. Opiates exert a cumulative effect on brain functions, essentially reconfiguring brain chemical pathways over time. After months or years of continued drug abuse, opiate effects play an integral role in helping the brain regulate the body’s major systems. Ultimately, the longer a person has been abusing opiates the more intensive the treatment approach should be.
According to Semel Institute, the mounting disruption brought on by continued opiate abuse can cause psychological disorders, such as depression and anxiety to develop over time. Likewise, people already struggling with mental health issues tend to gravitate towards drug abuse behavior as a way to self-medicate symptoms of disorder.
The combined effects of opiate addiction and mental illness make for an even more severe addiction problem as symptoms of mental illness and addiction tend to feed off one another.
More often than not, the need for opiate addiction treatment doesn’t become apparent until major areas of a person’s life start to fall apart. Opiate addiction shifts a person’s priorities in major ways, driving him or her to sacrifice everything for the sake of getting and using the drug.
Someone who’s lost his or her job, marriage and/or home to addiction will likely require a range of treatment services in order to get his or her life back on track.
Opiate addiction treatment programs exist in many forms, from detox to outpatient to residential to sober living environments. Opting for the least intrusive treatment approach for convenience sake is a recipe for disaster, leaving a person wide open for relapse episodes and an ever-worsening addiction problem.
Choosing the treatment program that best meets your treatment needs offers the best chance at a successful recovery process.
If you or someone you know are considering opiate addiction treatment and have questions about available programs in your area, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? to speak with one of our addictions specialists.