Opiate addictions can be some of the most difficult to face, let alone overcome. The effects of these drugs work in the background, without a person’s even knowing and can continue on long after a person stops using. Making it through opiate detox is an accomplishment in itself; however, the real work of addiction treatment doesn’t actually begin until opiate detox ends. For help finding treatment call 800-584-3274 Who Answers? .
Along with the damaging physical effects of opiates, there’s also a psychological component. Overcoming the psychological aftereffects of addiction is essential to maintaining continued abstinence on a long-term basis. While completing opiate detox may seem like the end of the recovery road, stopping at this point can actually cause more harm than good. For these reasons, it’s essential to continue on in treatment after completing the opiate detox stage.
Opiate Addiction Effects
Opiates interact with the brain on a chemical level, altering neurotransmitter chemical levels and essentially rewiring the brain’s chemical pathways. In the process, structural damage to cell structures becomes more and more pronounced, weakening the brain’s ability to manage bodily functions. According to the Journal of Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, these developments account for the physical withdrawal effects that develop when stopping drug use.
From there, the damaging effects of opiates start to impact individual centers throughout the brain, most especially the brain reward pathway. This region coordinates inputs from the brain’s cognitive and emotion-based centers and “learns” which experiences within any given day are beneficial to a person’s well-being.
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The brain reward pathway pays particular attention to any experiences that cause a spike in dopamine neurotransmitter levels. Opiates have a dramatic influence on dopamine level outputs, increasing levels throughout the brain with each drug dose. Consequently, the brain reward pathway assigns a high importance to opiate use.
Once the brain reaches this point, getting and using opiates becomes the sole focus within a person’s daily life. While opiate detox does a good job at helping a person overcome the physical effects of addiction, it doesn’t even scratch the surface when it comes to the “addiction mindset” that develops once the brain reward system succumbs to the drug’s effects.
From Opiate Detox to Psychosocial Treatment
Psychosocial treatment interventions specifically work to help you overcome the effects of addiction on your thinking and behaviors and replace this mindset with a lifestyle that can support continued abstinence on an ongoing basis. Psychosocial treatment interventions used may include:
- Drug education and counseling
- Support group work
- Individual psychotherapy
- Group therapy
- Relapse prevention training
Unlike the physical symptoms experienced in opiate detox, the addiction mindset can persist for months or even years into recovery leaving a person at constant risk of relapse, according to Harvard Health Publications. In the absence of needed treatment help, the thinking, emotion and behavior patterns that went with drug use will creep back into a person’s lifestyle. Under these conditions, the likelihood of relapse runs incredibly high.
If you or someone you know has completed opiate detox and have questions about ongoing treatment options, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-584-3274 Who Answers? to speak with one of our addictions specialists.