The opioid epidemic has been on the rise for years, and it is now considered a public health emergency. Because of this, it’s no wonder people are asking how to treat opioid addiction. Numerous treatment options exist, and some may be more effective than others depending on the individual case.
To shed light on this ever-present problem, we will discuss how opioids affect the human body and several approaches to opioid and fentanyl treatment.
If you or a loved one are dealing with addiction, the Addiction Recovery Institute of America is here to help. Our Opioid Addiction Treatment Program helps addicts overcome addiction and get on the road to recovery.
Opioids and How They Affect the Human Body
To understand how opioid addiction treatment works, it will help to know what opioids are and how they affect the human body.
A few common examples of opioids are:
- Oxycodone (commonly prescribed as Oxycontin)
- Hydrocodone (commonly prescribed as Vicodin)
Opioids are a powerful family of drugs. When an opioid enters the body, they link to opioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS) and brain. These receptors then activate areas of the brain that affect how we perceive pain and rewards. These effects can do much more than just relieve pain. They can also be pleasurable or euphoric. This is why it’s so easy for people to become addicted to these drugs.
As with many other medications and drugs, the effects are not as strong or effective after continued use. The body builds a tolerance, requiring more of the drug to produce the same outcome. The increased use over time creates a dependency where the user will suffer withdrawal symptoms without the substance. There is a good chance that addiction has formed when this is happening, and stopping use can be incredibly challenging. Opioid addiction treatment can help get individuals struggling with addiction back to living a healthy, happy life.
How is Opioid Addiction Treated?
The most effective way to treat addiction will depend on the patient and their specific case. However, treatment generally falls under two categories: medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and behavioral therapy.
MAT offers help to opioid addicts by making them less likely to relapse with the assistance of medications such as methadone or buprenorphine.
Behavioral therapy provides addicts with the skills they need to deal with life’s problems without resorting to drugs or alcohol.
Another approach to opioid addiction and fentanyl treatment is dialectical behavior therapy. This treatment equips the patient with skills for regulating their emotions, thought processes, and behaviors in a healthy manner.
Opioid Addiction Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Medications are commonly used as part of treatment if a person has an opioid dependency. These medications work by either attaching to opioid receptors in the brain or through other methods that reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms, making it easier for a person to recover from addiction.
Methadone is one such medication used for MAT, which blocks the effects of opioids while easing drug withdrawals. Although it is an opioid itself, methadone does not produce the intense high that other opioids do. Therefore, it can reduce cravings. Buprenorphine is another opioid used in MAT. Buprenorphine attaches to opioid receptors, but does so much more weakly than methadone or heroin.
As with any medication, there should be close medical oversight. At ARIA, our detoxification and Medication-Assisted Treatment focuses on helping our patients manage their symptoms. At the same time, they learn about addiction and get the continual treatment needed to stay free from drugs and alcohol.
Behavioral Therapy for Opioid Addiction Treatment
Behavioral therapy treats opioid addiction by teaching the person to handle problems without resorting to drugs or alcohol. It can be used simultaneously with medication-assisted treatment but doesn’t require it. This type of therapy works best for people who would like help achieving abstinence from opioids. This is achieved by using behavioral skills rather than medications.
Opioid addiction treatment programs at ARIA include many different approaches. We help our residents identify their triggers, improve their relationships with family and friends, and build a support network to help them continue on to long-term recovery.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Opioid Addiction Treatment
Originally established to treat individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder or at high risk of self-harm, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) proved to be an effective opioid addiction treatment.
The main components of DBT include mindfulness, distress tolerance, emotion regulation, and interpersonal effectiveness.
The goal of DBT is to help patients learn how to accept and manage their emotions without resorting to harmful behaviors such as returning to opioids.
How is Opioid Addiction Treated?
Opioid addiction is treated with care and compassion.
It’s treated with comprehensive medical oversight.
It’s also treated with experience and consideration for the patient.
With the right help, opioid addicts can manage their symptoms and go on to live fulfilling lives without the need for drugs or alcohol. If you or someone you know is struggling with an opioid use disorder, please call ARIA at 844-973-2641. We are here and ready 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help.