Opiate addiction recovery entails a process of ongoing change that can be frustrating and wrought with emotional turmoil. Unlearning the destructive tendencies of a drug-using lifestyle lies at the heart of the addiction recovery process.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, stress factors, be it family, work or drug cravings, can take a toll on a person’s recovery efforts making it difficult to stay focused on the principles and practices that make drug-free living possible.
Understanding how stress compromises and even threatens your opiate addiction recovery efforts can go a long way towards knowing how to manage difficult situations. Knowing when to consider getting needed treatment help can mean the difference between continued success in recovery and an untimely relapse episode.
The Opiate Addiction Recovery Process
During the course of opiate addiction, addicts develop ways of thinking, feeling and behaving that all work to reinforce compulsive drug-using practices. These changes leave those in recovery stuck inside destructive patterns or lifestyles.
The opiate addiction recovery process entails replacing these destructive patterns with healthy coping skills for managing everyday life stressors and pressures.
Considering how opiates essentially reconfigure the brain chemical pathways that drive addiction-based behaviors, treatments used in opiate addiction recovery specifically work to retrain the thinking and behavioral patterns that dictate a person’s psychological makeup.
Ultimately, this process reaches into the very depths of a person’s psychological makeup. For these reasons, stressful situations can easily offset a person’s progress along the way.
According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, stress, in general, interacts with the same areas of the brain as addictive substances, opiates included. Opiate addiction takes root within the brain’s reward system. Stressful events, emotions or circumstances likewise stimulate chemical activities inside the reward system in similar ways.
As far as opiate addiction goes, the brain reward system views the drug’s effects (and any activities having to do with drug use) as a primary means for coping with daily life. Since the effects of stress automatically prompt brain reward system processes, any degree of stress in a recovering addict’s life can pose a threat to his or her recovery efforts.
Opiate addiction treatment, whether it be detox, residential or outpatient care, equips those in recovery with the tools needed to manage daily stressors. Treatment interventions used address the types of challenges and inner conflicts a person will likely face and provides practical day-to-day applications for managing difficult situations.
Treatment interventions commonly used include:
- Individual psychotherapy
- Group therapy
- Medication therapies
- Drug education and counseling
- 12 Step support group work
Without the necessary treatment supports in place, the likelihood of maintaining any level of progress in opiate addiction recovery is slim while the likelihood of relapse continues to increase with each passing day. As subtle as everyday stressors may seem, they do have a cumulative effect.
Couple this with larger, unexpected stressors like relationship problems, money problems and drug cravings and it’s easy to see how old, drug-using thinking and behavior patterns can take over without a person even knowing it.
If you or someone you know is having a hard time in opiate addiction recovery and have more questions about stress, or are looking into available treatment options, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? to speak with one of our addictions specialists.