Opioid addiction is a chronic disorder that is characterised by an individual’s irresistible cravings and extreme dependency on opioids, a substance present in prescription pain medicines and drugs such as heroin.
Opioid overdose is declared a national emergency in the US. Data has it that 3 million citizens nationwide were suffering from opioid use disorder (OUD) and 75% of all deaths due to drug overdose are attributable to opioid consumption.
Opioid addiction treatment
Appropriate medications are needed to treat OUD, whether you want to treat an ongoing addiction or prevent a relapse, which can be combined with one or more of the following as per the requirements for a holistic recovery:
- Behavioral Therapies
- Overdose Prevention
Primary analysis before treatment
The first step is to meet a qualified doctor and get a brief about the types of treatment available based on the duration of drug abuse, prevalent symptoms, medical history of the patient, any other underlying issues, finances, etc.
Next, the doctor will run some quick health checkups and come up with a treatment plan.
You can receive OUD treatments in dedicated facilities under inpatient or residential programs, intensive outpatient programs, or outpatient programs that require regular visits.
Medication for moderate or severe opioid addiction
Such patients usually receive both medical and psychological care in conjunction to achieve remission.
Opioid agonists like Methadone, Buprenorphine, or opioid antagonists like Naltrexone are most commonly used for treating OUD.
Agonists activate opioid receptors in the brain without actually consuming opioid, which in turn reduces its cravings and provide relief from related withdrawal symptoms.
Antagonists on the other hand bind to but don’t activate the opioid receptors and in turn, block the sedative effects of opioid drugs on the brain. However, they don’t help with controlling compulsions.
Agonists are usually preferred over their counterparts as they are safe to use without any prior detoxification.
These can be used as a way to treat OUD in combination with medications or even on their own for patients who are reluctant to take pharmaceutical medicines. These include:
- Cognitive behavioural therapy
- Motivational therapy
- 12-step treatment
- Evidenced-based reward run therapies
Treatment medication for mild opioid addiction
Initial treatment involves using Naltrexone to block the feeling of high, along with psychotherapy. But, it requires the patient to be completely detoxified of any opioid in their body before injecting the antagonist or they might experience intense withdrawal.
Naltrexone has its own pros and cons. In case any kind of side effects are registered, medications can be switched to agonists as well.
The patients can also be treated with psychosocial treatments alone if they have willpower strong enough to recover without medicines.
Firstly, adherence to medication and regular visits for psychotherapy are ensured. The resulting outcomes are analyzed in a predetermined timeframe, which depends on how well a patient responds to the given treatment, and finally, a strategic plan for long-term recovery is prepared accordingly.
If a patient relapse while taking the medication, the doctor can revise the treatment plan and adjust the doses accordingly.
If you are also looking for an opioid abuse cure, the Medication Assisted Treatment Program MAT Los Angeles, California by Muse is providing a range of rehabilitation services.
Emergency response in case of opioid overdose
Opioid overdose can cause a patient to stop breathing and result in death. Naloxone is an antagonist that is used to reverse this condition. Your doctor will likely provide a prescription with the dosage information to you or your family members in case of an emergency.
Call your nearest medical facility immediately if the condition doesn’t improve. You can lay the patient in a recovery position and conduct resuscitation as part of preliminary measures until the help arrives.
Apart from medications, weekly counseling sessions to address personal or other mental health issues, participation in support groups, family therapies, and motivational consultations are also proven to be efficient in reducing the adverse effects of OUD.
Opioid addiction is a critical condition but it is curable with timely medical intervention and support. You can rediscover hope and positivity if you are ready to commit to healing.
Tim Williamson, a psychology graduate from the University of Hertfordshire, has a keen interest in the fields of mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.