Understanding the Opiate Rehab Process

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Opiate addiction is a terrible illness characterized by frequent cravings to use opiates and unbearable withdrawal symptoms when drug use is abruptly stopped. Getting help for opiate addiction most often involves a stint in opiate rehab during which the user will learn how to overcome their addiction by effectively coping with cravings and withdrawals without turning back to opiates as a means of dealing with the challenge of recovery. Every case of opiate addiction is different, but the opiate rehab process generally remains the same:


The first step of opiate rehab will be for the patient to safely overcome withdrawal in a controlled environment. According to Medline, treatment will involve supportive care and medication during detox such as Clonidine to reduce anxiety and agitation during withdrawal. Buprenorphine or other forms of medication can further work to reduce opiate withdrawal and shorten the amount of time that it takes for an individual to safely detox from opiates.

While Harvard Health, and medical professionals alike, agree that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to opiate detox that will be effective for everyone, safe detox is the necessary first step of any opiate addiction recovery program. Until withdrawal symptoms are controlled, the user cannot possibly gain any solid foundation from the counseling and therapy that’s to come.

Counseling & Therapy

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Counseling is an important part of the rehab process.

Throughout opiate rehab, counseling and therapy will play a key role in the recovery process. Each patient will undergo a series of counseling sessions that take place both individually or one-on-one with a counselor and in a group setting with others who are also in treatment. The role of counseling and therapy is to provide the user with a foundation of tools that will help him or her to avoid situations that result in drug use, to overcome cravings and withdrawal without resorting to drug use and to restore a sense of balance into their uprooted and out of control life.

Aftercare & Followup

Following a period of time spent in rehab, the user will be released to continue his or her sobriety and recovery outside of treatment. Most centers will extend a number of additional services to their patients that make continued success in recovery from opiate addiction not only possible, but likely. Aftercare may involve returning to the rehab center for counseling or therapy sessions on a regular basis, receiving help in finding work or a sober living home, or receiving other assistance that will make the transition from rehab to the real world more comfortable and less risky in terms of relapse.

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