Anyone who’s abused opiates for three or more months has likely developed some degree of dependence on the drug’s effects. Ideally, opiates should only be used on a short-term basis, whether for medicinal or recreational purposes. Any longer than this, and it becomes increasingly difficult to stop or reduce drug use.
While it is possible to detox on your own, the risks and complications that develop during the detox stage can make it especially difficult to follow through. Opiate detox treatment programs provide the necessary physical and psychological supports needed to get you through this critical stage of the recovery process.
Opiate’s Debilitating Effects on the Brain
Opiate-based drugs in general share a chemical structure that’s similar to the brain’s own neurotransmitter chemicals. When using opiates on a regular basis, the brain readjusts its chemical processes to accommodate opiate effects. According to the University of Delaware, these changes become more and more pronounced the longer a person keeps taking the drug.
Over time, a person loses the ability to stop taking opiate or reduce drug use as the brain’s chemical processes become more and more dependent on the drug’s effects to function. Opiate detox programs administer medication therapies that work to support damaged brain chemical processes, which greatly increases the likelihood of maintaining ongoing abstinence.
Overwhelming Withdrawal Effects
Stopping drug use after a period of long-term opiate abuse sends the brain and body into withdrawal. Withdrawal develops out of the brain’s inability to regulate bodily processes in the absence of the drug’s effects.
Withdrawal effects typically take the form of:
- Sleepless nights
- Depression symptoms
- Bouts of anxiety
- Drug cravings
In effect, withdrawal effects become a driving force behind continued drug use. Without the needed supports in place, the risk of relapse is high. In addition to medication therapies, opiate detox treatment programs provide ongoing support and guidance to help you make it through the detox withdrawal period.
The Psychological Component
After so many months of using opiates, the brain develops a certain degree of chemical imbalance that ultimately starts to interfere with a person’s psychological well-being. Over time, getting and using opiates becomes the primary motivation in one’s daily life, dictating his or her choices and behaviors.
This aspect of drug abuse lies at the heart of the addiction problem. Opiate detox programs employ a range of behavioral-based treatment interventions designed to help you extinguish the thinking patterns that drive addiction-based behaviors and develop the type of healthy lifestyle practices that make ongoing abstinence possible.
The risk of relapse runs high with opiate addiction regardless of how long a person has maintained abstinence, according to the U. S. National Library of Medicine. This risk comes with certain dangers, especially during and after detox periods.
In effect, the brain’s tolerance level for opiates plummets during detox. In the event of relapse, the likelihood of overdose rises considerably as the brain can no longer tolerate the drug’s effects like before. Opiate detox treatment programs work closely with you to develop an aftercare plan to ensure you have the needed treatment supports in place after completing detox.
Doing It Right the First Time
Considering the damaging effects of prolonged opiate abuse, ensuring you make it through the initial detox stage has a considerable bearing on your recovery progress as well as helping to ensure your overall safety in the process. For these reasons, it’s best to get needed opiate detox treatment help rather than go it alone.
If you’re struggling with a drug problem and considering getting treatment help, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? for more information.