Media reports of case after case of opiate addiction and overdose indeed speak to the dangers surrounding this class of drugs. The potential for abuse and addiction applies for anyone who uses opiates on a frequent and/or long-term basis. Likewise, the risk of overdose increases the longer a person engages in opiate abuse practices. For these reasons, it’s important to understand your treatment needs before deciding on an opiate detox treatment program.
The Need for Opiate Detox Treatment
While not everyone who abuses opiates will necessarily require opiate detox treatment, those who do can tell based on how they respond during prolonged periods of abstinence. According to MedlinePlus, opiate abuse breeds a state of drug dependence over time, leaving brain and body functions unable to function normally in the absence of the drug. From there, psychological dependency can develop with ongoing use, which is where addiction lives.
In effect, attempts to abstain from further opiate use bring on uncomfortable withdrawal effects, both physical and psychological:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Mood swings
These effects develop out of imbalances within the brain’s chemical system as a result of opiates interfering with neurotransmitter chemical activities. Ultimately, the degree of damage left behind by opiate abuse most indicates what level of opiate detox will work best for you.
Questions to Ask
How Often Do I Use Opiates Now?
Frequent opiate use not only speeds up rates of physical dependency, but feeds right into the compulsive drug-using behaviors that characterize addiction. This means, someone who only abuses opiates once a week may only require outpatient opiate detox treatment care; however, his or her treatment needs will likely increase the longer drug use continues.
Have I Tried to Stop Using Before?
If you’ve tried to stop using opiates one or more times in the past only to resume drug use, there’s a very real possibility an addiction or psychological dependence is at work. Under these conditions, a 30-day opiate detox program may well be warranted since both the body and the mind have become dependent on opiate effects.
Do I Need Opiates to Help Get Me Through the Day?
Considering how opiates produce feelings of euphoria and calm, it’s easy to get into a habit of popping a pill in response to high stress situations, conflicts with others or to ward off feelings of depression and anxiety. According to Semel Institute, this practice is a clear indicator that an addiction has taken root. In cases of full-blown addiction, a 30-day opiate detox program followed by residential care may be needed to get you through the detox stage safely.
How Long Have I Been Using?
Opiates have a cumulative effect on the brain’s chemical system, weakening the brain’s overall function capacity over time. For people with long-histories of opiate abuse and addiction, medication-assisted detox programs that use methadone or buprenorphine offer the level of treatment and support most needed to make it through the opiate detox stage.
More than anything else, the high risk of overdose on the heels of an unsuccessful detox attempt speaks to the importance of finding the level of treatment you most need. If you or someone you know are considering opiate detox treatment and need help finding a suitable program, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? to speak with one of our addictions specialists.