Opioid dependence is an extremely common problem in our society that can be difficult to overcome without professional help. Use of opioid pain medications or street drugs like heroin often begins in a seemingly benign way, but by the time the extent of the problem becomes clear, it’s too late to easily stop. We realize that opioid addiction can happen to anyone and take a compassionate approach to individualized treatment without judgment.
Created from the flower of the opium poppy, opioid narcotics have been used for hundreds of years to treat pain, diarrhea, and sleeplessness. They act upon the opioid receptors in the central nervous system and the brain. Opioids include such medications as codeine, morphine, hydrocodone, methadone, and OxyContin, as well as the illegal narcotic heroin. When taken as prescribed, opioids can be used safely with a low risk of addiction. Unfortunately, opioids usually produce some kind of high, especially in larger doses. Certain people become addicted to the feelings of emotional well-being and euphoria that these drugs provide. Once addicted, getting off opioids can seem all but impossible. This is where we come in.
Effects of Opioids
The overuse of opioids causes many problems for the user. Prolonged opioid usage results in the inability of the brain to naturally produce endorphins, which are the body’s natural painkillers. When the body is unable to properly regulate and manage pain, an opioid user may develop an increased reliance on the drug, since the opioids are now used to manage pain and create an overall sense of happiness and contentment. Over a prolonged period of time, an individual will need more of the substance in order to obtain the same high, which is called “tolerance.” In order to augment the high from opiate painkillers, many individuals opt to abuse other central nervous system depressants such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. While this practice may lead to a better high, the effects of using two or more central nervous system depressants can also lead to serious health consequences such as overdose and death. There are a number of symptoms that may be present in individuals suffering from opioid addiction. These symptoms may include:
• Lack of motivation
• Depressed mood
• Weight loss
• Itchy skin
• Joint and muscle pain
• Nausea and vomiting
• Loss of concentration or interest
• Mood swings or extreme behavior changes
• Distorted perception of reality
• Withdrawn socially
• Slowed or slurred speech
• Diminished coordination
• Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
• Stealing from loved ones or other illegal activities
Opioid Treatment at ROAD to a Better Life
We do not simply deal with the physical behavior of using. Our approach is to treat the problem of opioid dependence holistically. This means that our patients not only learn the reasons they turn to opioids and other drugs, but they also discover effective ways of handling problems and emotions so that they no longer need substances to cope with life. Getting oneself into treatment takes courage and a strong desire to change. We recognize this, and we treat our patients with the respect and care they deserve.
Opioid abuse happens for many reasons, but individuals can regain control of their lives and learn to live without using drugs as a crutch or escape. Unfortunately, many individuals are unable to accept permanent separation from drugs or alcohol and continually try to indulge in moderate use, which restarts the cycle of addiction and quickly leads to self-destructive behaviors. We show individuals how and why they can live permanently without opioids.
At ROAD, all of our opioid-dependent clients are treated in a safe, relaxing environment where they can focus on their recovery without distractions. While the treatment experience will differ for each client based upon their customized withdrawal and therapeutic plan, all treatment programs at ROAD include individual therapy, multiple weekly group sessions, a family program, and complementary therapies for specific underlying issues. We also offer a comprehensive Intensive Outpatient Program designed to meet the needs of those suffering from a substance use disorder who need more than weekly counseling sessions. Our large professional staff means we can accommodate a diversity of co-occurring issues.
Medication-Assisted Opioid Addiction Treatment
Buprenorphine (e.g. Suboxone, Subutex, Zubsolv) is a prescription-only drug that is taken to help block the opiate receptors in the brain. This helps decrease cravings, suppresses withdrawal symptoms, and helps in “resetting” the brain. It can help make the process of getting clean less overwhelming. With decreased cravings, you can focus on the rest of your treatment, learn recovery skills and relapse prevention strategies to help ensure lasting recovery.
Buprenorphine is very safe and effective when used according to a doctor’s advice. While not a cure for opioid addiction, substituting buprenorphine for a full agonist opioid such as heroin often stabilizes a person’s brain chemistry, stops the development of further opioid tolerance, and buys time so that the person can get their life and health together in preparation for getting off opioids entirely. Buprenorphine treatment is combined with group or individual therapy to maximize the success rates of our clients.
Vivitrol is a medication that helps addicts maintain abstinence during the early period of recovery. It is injected into the body once every four weeks and stays active in the body for this period of time. Vivitrol contains the active ingredient naltrexone, which works by blocking natural opiate receptors in the brain. When you use opioids, endogenous opiates are released, and it feels good.
When you use opioids after taking Vivitrol, the opiates that get released are blocked from having any effect, so you don’t feel the pleasure that using opioids normally gives you. Taking the pleasure out of using helps addicts stay motivated to quit and avoid relapse.
Studies show that taking Vivitrol in addition to drug counseling (psychosocial therapy) is about three times more effective than counseling alone. Vivitrol is in not addictive. There is no withdrawal associated with sudden discontinuation of the medication. Using opioids within a month of taking Vivitrol won’t be as enjoyable but it won’t make you feel sick. Most people tolerate the medication well, though there can be side effects. Our counselors will work with you to help determine if Vivitrol should be part of your overall treatment plan.
Our mission is to provide therapy and treatment for drug and alcohol addiction in a safe, respectful and friendly environment that is focused on recovery, relapse prevention, and a return to normalcy. If you’re ready for a better life, your Road starts here: (603) 841-2307.