Narcotics are a class of drugs that includes synthetic and opium-derived substances generally referred to as opioids.1 Opioid addiction can affect anyone who uses narcotics, even when taking legal opioid medications prescribed by their doctor.2 Over time, your body can build up a tolerance to narcotics, meaning you will need higher doses of the same substance to experience  the desired effects. Tolerance is just one of the signs of opioid addiction.3 By identifying additional warning signs, you will know when to seek opioid addiction treatment.

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Signs of Opioid Addiction

These 20 signs of opioid addiction are detailed in the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). If you are concerned about one or more of these warning signs, it may be time to seek opioid addiction treatment.4

1. You Take Opioids in Larger Amounts

You Need Treatment

Taking opioids in larger amounts or for a longer period than intended without your doctor’s knowledge is a sign of opioid use disorder, also known as addiction.

Have you noticed that you take larger doses of narcotics than you did when you first used opioids? This sign can include looking back at your first prescription dose and noticing it has significantly increased under your doctor’s supervision. Your doctor may have increased the prescription strength, approved a higher number of pills as part of your daily regimen, or combined your opioid medication with other controlled substances that increase the risk of developing physical dependence, such as benzodiazepines (e.g., Xanax) or muscle relaxers. This dose increase could mean it’s time to seek treatment for opioid addiction.4

2. You Take a Narcotic for a Longer Time Than Intended

Were you prescribed an opioid for short-term use, but you still use the narcotic past the physician-directed period? This may include using pills you were prescribed after you need them for acute symptoms, using someone else’s prescription for the same medication, or acquiring the same medication in another way. Opioids are highly effective pain relievers but are medically indicated for short-term use rather than chronic pain management. This continued use may be cause for concern.4

3. Your Efforts to Control Opioid Use Are Unsuccessful

If you have promised yourself that you will change how you use opioids or stop using narcotics but have not met that goal, it could mean that you need opioid addiction treatment.4

4. You Spend a Great Deal of Time on Activities That Help You Obtain the Opioid

When you look at the hours in your day, is a lot of your time devoted to narcotics? This time spent can manifest in many different behaviors. For example, you may obsessively plan how to present your case to your prescribing physician to get a new prescription, you may be willing to drive to a doctor or pharmacy that is further away. These may be signs of opioid addiction and could be worth discussing with an addiction specialist.4

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5. You Regularly Switch Doctors to Get New Narcotic Prescriptions

If you live with opioid addiction, the need for a higher dose of narcotics to achieve the same effects may lead to you seeking new physicians regularly. These providers may not be aware of your medical history or current prescriptions and may be more likely to write new prescriptions. But seeking unnecessary prescriptions could indicate you have lost control of your opioid use.4

6. You Experience Craving or a Strong Desire to Use Opioids

While the term “craving” is usually used casually, in the context of addiction, cravings can make it difficult for you to get through the day without using an opioid. If your cravings keep you from feeling like yourself without using opioids, this could be a sign of addiction.5

7. Your Opioid Use Leaves You Unable to Meet Your School, Work, or Home Obligations

Have you missed assignment deadlines at work or school as a consequence of your opioid use? Or are you not performing at your best when you do complete assignments? Have you forgotten to pick up your children, make dinner, or meet your share of household chores because of narcotics use? These could all be signs that you struggle with opioid addiction.4

8. Your Opioid Use Causes or Worsens Problems in Your Social Relationships

If your narcotic use is interfering with your relationships, it could indicate a substance use disorder. Social problems look different for everyone: your friends or family members may avoid making plans with you. Or you may abandon old relationships to spend more time with other people who misuse narcotics. All of these can be signs of narcotic addiction.4

9. You Experience Changes in Sexual Desire or Performance

Regular narcotic use changes your brain function, and it can make you less interested in sex. Because it also changes your brain’s reward cycle, it can change your physical response to sexual stimulation.7

10. You Give Up or Spend Less Time on Favorite Activities

Were you an avid runner, but now you have given up on race training because the pursuit feels less fulfilling since you began taking opioids? Are you an artist, but it has gotten harder to create since you started taking opioids? New disinterest in your hobbies and passions could be signs that you struggle with addiction.4

11. You Experience Drowsiness or Changes in Sleep Habits

Opioid use can cause a sedative effect in your body. That could lead to mid-day drowsiness, which can also impact your ability to sleep at night. Over time, you may associate narcotic use with your ability to sleep, causing you to take more narcotics and further impacting your sleep cycle.8

12. You Experience New Financial Challenges

Procuring narcotics can be very expensive. You may spend beyond your means or accrue large amounts of new credit card debt that can be indicative that you are struggling with narcotic misuse.4

13. You Have Negative Behavioral Changes

If you live with narcotic addiction, obtaining opioids may become your most important priority. This change in priorities, along with the dramatic mood changes that can be associated with opioid use (discussed next), may lead to you doing things you would not have considered before, even if you feel shame or guilt associated with these behaviors. The need to acquire opioids may lead to lying to loved ones about your use, borrowing money for unexplained reasons or under false pretenses, or stealing.4

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14. You Experience Sudden Mood Swings

Taking opioids releases a sudden burst of dopamine in your brain. Those dopamine levels drop dramatically as the opioid effects wear off. That can leave you fluctuating between euphoria and dramatic low moods. If this cycle is becoming more frequent, it could be a sign you are struggling with narcotic use.3

15. Your Opioid Use Has Become Physically Hazardous

If you have taken opioids in a way that risks physical harm to yourself, this could indicate that you are not in control of your substance use. 4 This could include mixing opioids with other depressants like alcohol or operating a vehicle or machinery while impaired.

16. You Experience Physical or Psychological Health Issues

Many people who struggle with opioid use develop new or worsening depression. Physically, you may also experience unwanted weight loss, chronic or severe constipation, or other significant mental or physical health issues.3 If you continue to take a narcotic while knowing it damages your well-being, this could indicate an opioid addiction.4

17. You Overdose

If you have ever overdosed on narcotics, blacked out after use, or required medical attention as a result of your narcotic use, you may need to seek opioid addiction treatment.4

18. You Think About or Attempt Suicide

Opioid misuse is associated with a greater risk of suicide.4 If you experience severe depression while taking opioids that causes you to make plans for suicide, seek help immediately.

19. You Go Through Withdrawal

If you start to experience physical withdrawal symptoms between opioid doses, you may have a narcotics addiction. Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, chills, and/or watering eyes.3

20. You Use the Same Substance, or a Similar Narcotic, More Frequently to Avoid Withdrawal Symptoms

You may find yourself trying to control your own dosage or avoid withdrawal by taking more opioids during the day than prescribed or taking your prescription medication using a different method. For example, some individuals open capsules or crush pills to eliminate the time release coating that releases the medication over time. If you have turned to other substances instead of or in addition to prescription opioids, such as heroin, to delay opioid withdrawal, you may wish to seek narcotic addiction treatment.4

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

If you show signs of narcotic addiction, treatment is available. Opioid addiction treatment options may include behavioral counseling such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).9

Several medications can help treat opioid addiction. These include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Methadone and buprenorphine can reduce cravings and symptoms of withdrawal by acting on the same areas of your brain as opioids.9 Naltrexone is for people who have completed detoxification. It works by blocking the effects of opioids on receptors in your brain.9

Whether in an inpatient or outpatient setting, opioid addiction treatment may also include treatment for additional mental health concerns, including depression or anxiety. 9

In combination or as stand-alone options, these forms of treatment for narcotic addiction can help you break free from opioids. Call 800-407-7195(Who Answers?) today to speak to an addiction specialist about treatment options in your area.

References

  1. Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Agency. (2020). Drug Fact Sheet: Narcotics.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2011, November 4). Vital signs: overdoses of prescription opioid pain relievers—United States, 1999–2008. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 60(43), 1487-1492.
  3. Kosten, T. R., & George, T. P. (2002). The neurobiology of opioid dependence: implications for treatment. Science and Practice Perspectives, 1(1):13-20.
  4. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).
  5. Hasin, D. S., O’Brien, C. P., Auriacombe, M., Borges, G., Bucholz, K., Budney, A., Compton, W. M., Crowley, T., Ling, W., Petry, N. M., Schuckit, M. & Grant, B. (2013, August 1). DSM-5 criteria for substance use disorders: Recommendations and rationale. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 170(8), 834–851.
  6. Pettersen, H., Landheim, A., Skeie, I., Biong, S., Brodahl, M., Oute, J., & Davidson, L. (2019, March 9). How social relationships influence substance use disorder recovery: a collaborative narrative study. Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, 13.
  7. Grover, S., Mattoo, S. K., Pendharkar, S., & Kandappan, V. (2014). Sexual dysfunction in patients with alcohol and opioid dependence. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 36(4), 355-365.
  8. Robertson, J. A., Purple, R. J., Cole, P., Zaiwalla, Z., Wulff, K., & Pattinson, K. T. (2016, August 22). Sleep disturbance in patients taking opioid medication for chronic back pain. Anaesthesia, 71(11), 1296-1307.
  9. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019). Treatment Approaches for Drug Addiction DrugFacts.

Whether you are just starting your path to sobriety or you’ve completed inpatient rehab treatment and need continued support, joining a recovery support group for narcotic addiction can help you stay sober.1 From online support groups to Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, there are many available options.

In this Article:

What Is a Narcotics Recovery Support Group?

A recovery support group for opioid addiction or other narcotic addictions is a place where you can share your journey with people who have been through similar experiences. Research shows that adding peer support to your treatment plan can help you avoid relapses during your recovery.1

In a peer support group, you give and receive nonprofessional and nonclinical help from those in similar circumstances to your own. In recovery support groups, people at any stage of addiction recovery come together to share knowledge, discuss past and current experiences, and work through effective coping strategies while creating an understanding environment.1

What Treatment Should I Consider Before or After Joining a Recovery Support Group?

If you’re beginning treatment for heroin or another opioid addiction, medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone can help reduce your cravings for illicit drug use.2

Attending support group meetings will help you stay sober.

Attending recovery support group meetings will provide peer support and accountability to help you stay sober.

These medications may be more effective at minimizing your struggles with substance misuse when combined with other types of treatment. These include:2

  • Counseling
  • Behavioral therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Attending a recovery support group

After you’ve completed your initial treatment, your recovery journey is not complete. Achieving sobriety is only the beginning of addiction treatment. For many people with substance use disorders, exploring a continuum of care produces better recovery outcomes. That means stepping up or down the intensity of your treatment, depending on your needs.3

For that reason, you may wish to explore a combination of treatment options and support groups for narcotic addiction. With more available options, you’re likely to find the treatment combination that helps you stay sober.2

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Why Attend In-Person vs. Online Support Groups?

Recovery support groups can help you avoid relapsing into narcotics misuse. When you’re looking for a recovery support group, you’ll be able to choose from a variety of organizations. You can also decide whether you wish to attend in-person meetings or prefer to join an online support group.

While there is concrete evidence that peer support groups can help you overcome narcotic addiction, less is known about the relatively new development of online support groups. However, because of its convenience, this form of recovery support group may be more accessible to many.

Today, approximately 28% of all U.S. internet users have accessed an internet support group.4 Whether in-person or online, peer support can help you start and stick with your recovery journey.5 By exploring several common narcotic addiction support groups, you can decide which one would best suit your needs.

What Recovery Support Groups Are Available?

Narcotics Anonymous

Founded in 1953, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a global recovery support group with chapters and meetings in 146 countries. Much like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), NA members work through a 12-step program to help them get and stay clean.6

NA sees group members as “recovering individuals who meet regularly to help each other stay clean” in a program “of complete abstinence from all drugs.”7

Anyone who wants to stop using narcotics or opioids can join NA. There is no cost to join, and new members are considered “the most important person at any meeting because we can only keep what we have by giving it away.”7 When you join NA, you’re encouraged to remain a member for as long as you can, since the group’s philosophy states that those “who keep coming to our meetings regularly stay clean.”7

If NA sounds like a good choice for you, the group holds in-person and Virtual NA meetings.

SMART Recovery

The SMART Recovery program offers online and face-to-face support. It is not a 12-step program. Instead, it helps people on their path to sobriety through a signature four-point recovery program, providing recovery tools and techniques in the following areas: 9

  1. Building and maintaining motivation
  2. Coping with urges
  3. Managing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
  4. Living a balanced life

Unless noted as private or specialized, all SMART Recovery meetings are free and open to the public. However, you’ll have the option to donate to the organization during in-person meetings.8 Online meetings are also free, but you will need to preregister on the SMART Recovery message board.9

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Women for Sobriety

As the name suggests, this recovery support group limits membership to women. Women for Sobriety’s New Life Program—based on 13 Acceptance Statements—can help you find sustainable sobriety by changing the way you think.10

In addition to in-person meetings, phone support, and online support forums, Women for Sobriety encourages members to wake up 15 minutes early each morning to review the 13 Acceptance Statements.11

Then, you’re encouraged to use one statement each day, reviewing how that mindset impacted your thoughts and your resultant actions at the end of the day.10

For that reason, you must be prepared to use the program consciously every day, even on days when you don’t attend meetings. The program’s goal is to make your recovery a journey of personal discovery that will help you build a more fulfilling life.11

LifeRing Secular Recovery

Like NA, LifeRing offers members the chance to access anonymous peer support. But it’s not a 12-step program. Rather, LifeRing Secular Recovery operates on the 3-S philosophy: Sobriety, Secularity, and Self-Help.11

Instead of offering one distinct program, LifeRing helps you explore what will keep you personally from using drugs. They invite you to in-person or virtual support meetings to discuss what is or isn’t working in your recovery journey and to enjoy peer support and guidance to help you stay sober.11

Because LifeRing doesn’t subscribe to specific steps, the program encourages attendance at other recovery support groups such as NA, if that helps you maintain sobriety.12

LifeRing does not mandate anonymity among its members, but you also won’t be forced to share identifying information with your peers. You may also attend LifeRing if you have current religious affiliations. The group’s philosophy of secularity simply means they don’t make religious connections part of your recovery journey—they don’t discourage members from finding personally meaningful religious experiences.12

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS)

Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) is a network of recovery support groups aligned with the principles of Save OurSelves International. Anyone who needs help getting or staying sober is welcome to join. There is no set SOS recovery program. Rather, meetings are meant to promote sobriety in a safe, non-religious setting.12

As such, SOS approaches addiction from a scientific perspective. While some members view SOS meetings as an alternative to 12-step programs—many of which involve connecting with a higher power, traditionally viewed as a religious deity—SOS does not discourage members from attending its meetings in conjunction with other recovery support groups.12

If you need to find treatment for opioid addiction or other narcotic addiction, we’re here to assist you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Call 800-407-7195(Who Answers?) today and speak to a specialist who can answer your treatment questions.

References

  1. Tracy, K., & Wallace, S. P. (2016). Benefits of peer support groups in the treatment of addiction. Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, 7, 143-154.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Principles of effective treatment. Principles of drug addiction treatment: a research-based guide (Third Edition).
  3. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2006). Chapter 3. Intensive Outpatient Treatment and the Continuum of Care. Substance abuse: clinical Issues in intensive outpatient treatment. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 47.
  4. Griffiths, K. M., Mackinnon, A. J., Crisp, D. A., Christensen, H., Bennett, K., & Farrer, L. (2012). The effectiveness of an online support group for members of the community with depression: a randomised controlled trial. PLoS One, 7(12),
  5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2017). Peers supporting recovery from substance use disorders.
  6. Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (1966). How it works.
  7. Narcotics Anonymous World Services, Inc. (1966). What is the Narcotics Anonymous program?
  8. SMART Recovery. About SMART Recovery® Local Meetings.
  9. SMART Recovery. Introduction to SMART Recovery.
  10. Women for Sobriety. New Life Program.
  11. LifeRing Secular Recovery. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).
  12. Secular Organizations for Sobriety. (2021). Secular Organizations for Sobriety / “Save OurSelves”.

Opioid addiction is a type of substance use disorder.1 While substance use disorders can manifest differently depending on a variety of factors—such as the substance being misused—clinicians use a set of common characteristics to diagnose substance use disorders. These characteristics can provide narcotics addiction warning signs.

In this article:

What Is a Substance Use Disorder?

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V or DSM-5), substance use disorders (SUDs) are broken down into 10 different substance categories.

These classes of drugs include:1

Characteristics of Narcotics Addiction

People with an opioid addiction may no longer engage in activities they used to enjoy and self-isolate.

  1. Alcohol
  2. Caffeine
  3. Cannabis
  4. Hallucinogens
  5. Inhalants
  6. Opioids
  7. Sedatives
  8. Hypnotics
  9. Stimulants
  10. Tobacco

For each of these drug classes, the DSM-5 also identifies distinct narcotic addiction warning signs. Depending on how many of these signs of addiction you or your loved one displays, the substance use disorder diagnosis could be classified as mild, moderate, or severe.1

Regardless of its degree, it’s important to get help for any signs of opioid addiction or other narcotics addiction. For this reason, understanding the characteristics of narcotics addiction can help you seek help or encourage your loved one to seek help that may keep a mild SUD from becoming severe.

10 Signs of Opioid Addiction

Opioids include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and prescription opioids, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and many others. Signs of opioid addiction or another substance abuse disorder include the following:

1. Hazardous Use

Using narcotics in hazardous ways can be indicative of an opioid addiction or other SUD. Hazardous use includes any use that endangers your physical health and safety. For example, driving with another person in the car while under the influence of opioids is hazardous use. Even if you have never overdosed, but have blacked out after taking opioids or other narcotics, this is considered hazardous use and may be a narcotics addiction warning sign.3

2. Social or Interpersonal Problems Related to Use

When use of opioids or other narcotics begins to interfere with relationships, this may be a sign of a SUD. These social problems can take on different forms. Your loved one may cancel your planned get-togethers to use narcotics or recover from narcotics use. Or you may find yourself spending less time with friends and family members to spend more time with people who also misuse narcotics. These may all be signs that your loved one has an addiction to narcotics. Keeping company with others who are also using drugs may be cause for additional concern because having a strong social network is important during recovery from narcotics addiction.4

3. Activities Given Up to Use

If you miss favorite activities or can no longer enjoy former hobbies due to narcotics use, that could indicate an opioid addiction or other SUD.1

4. Neglecting Major Roles to Use Narcotics

If narcotics use results in missed deadlines at work or missed assignments at school, that may mean that substance use has progressed to a disorder. Even if you manage to complete tasks, but you cannot meet your former standards, this could also indicate an addiction to narcotics.1

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5. Withdrawal

If you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using narcotics, that may indicate opioid addiction or another SUD, particularly if those symptoms improve when you use more of the substance.1 Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the narcotic being misused.

Physical withdrawal symptoms may include: 5

  • Aches and pains
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Changes to sleeping patterns or inability to sleep
  • Shaking
  • Sweating and/or chills

Withdrawal can also cause psychological symptoms, including aggression, irritability, anxiety, and extreme unhappiness or negativity.5

6. Tolerance

A clinical tolerance to opioids or other narcotics occurs when you must use more of a substance to get the same effect. Many substances, such as opioids, change the way your brain chemistry works. Over time, brain cells containing opioid receptors become less responsive to stimulation from opioids. For that reason, higher doses become necessary to achieve the same effect. In time, an opioid addiction may develop.6 On its own, tolerance could be an indication of a SUD, but it is not the same as a SUD. However, having a physical tolerance to opioids or other narcotics may contribute to the development of the next DSM-5 sign of narcotics addiction.

7. Using Larger Amounts or Spending Much More Time Using Narcotics

Spending increasing amounts of time using or recovering from the effects of using opioids can be one of the signs of opioid addiction. In this time, the dose used may also increase, which can also indicate a SUD.1

8. Repeated Attempts to Control Use or Quit

Maybe you or your loved one has tried to cut back on or quit their opioid use or other narcotic use, but those attempts have been unsuccessful. This could indicate an opioid addiction or other SUD since relapses and an inability to find sobriety without professional treatment are common narcotics addiction warning signs.2

9. Physical or Psychological Problems Related to Narcotics Use

If you or your loved one’s opioid or other narcotic use triggers known physical health problems, but these issues do not alter the substance misuse, this may be a sign of a SUD. Mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety, may also be related to narcotics use.5

10. Substance Cravings

If you or your loved one has an opioid addiction or other SUD, physical cravings to use the substance may make it harder to stop using it. Cravings can make the desire to use opioids feel similar to the needs to eat, drink water, and sleep throughout the day, making it difficult to stay focused on recovery.2

Diagnosing an Opioid Addiction

Clinically, substance use disorders can only be diagnosed if two or more signs of opioid addiction or narcotics addiction warning signs are present within the span of a year.1 After passing that milestone, the disorder can be classified as mild, moderate, or severe. If you or your loved one shows two or three characteristics of addiction, the disorder would be considered mild. Showing four or five addiction warning signs indicates a moderate SUD. Showing six or more warning signs could suggest the SUD is severe.1

Additionally, substance-induced disorders can occur. These are conditions such as intoxication, withdrawal, and certain mental health disorders. While some—such as withdrawal—are also indications of a SUD, these are medical concerns that may need to be addressed separately.5

Doctors may identify substance-induced mental disorders if your loved one is now living with certain mental health conditions that they did not struggle with before using narcotics.

Examples of narcotics-induced mental health disorders include:5

  • Certain psychotic disorders
  • Bipolar disorder and related conditions
  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and related conditions
  • Sleep disorders
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Changes to neurocognitive function

Using certain narcotics increases the risk for substance-induced disorders. If your loved one uses psychoactive or hallucinogenic narcotics, their ability to manage stress could also change or become compromised.5 Marijuana misuse, particularly in young adults, increases the risk of developing psychosis, schizophrenia, or schizophreniform psychosis later in life in ultra high-risk populations.7

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Addressing an Opioid Addiction

The initial diagnosis of an opioid addiction or other substance use disorder is not necessarily a permanent classification. Following diagnosis, you or your loved one can seek treatment for opioid addiction and narcotics misuse.1

In treatment, clinicians can note that the SUD is “in early remission,” “in sustained remission,” “on maintenance therapy,” or “in a controlled environment.”2 While SUDs are not curable, they are highly treatable, with many individuals finding sustainable sobriety with appropriate treatment.2

Have you noticed signs of opioid addiction or other narcotics addiction warning signs in your own life or in a friend or family member? Help is available. Call 800-407-7195(Who Answers?) and speak to an addiction treatment specialist. We’re here to discuss treatment options and help you and your loved one find a way forward.

References

  1. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders—DSM 5. American Psychiatric Association.
  2. Hasin, D. S., O’Brien, C. P., Auriacombe, M., Borges, G., Bucholz, K., Budney, A., Compton, W. M., Crowley, T., Ling, W., Petry, N. M., Schuckit, M., & Grant, B. (2013). DSM-5 criteria for substance use disorders: Recommendations and rationale. American Journal of Psychiatry, 170(8), 834–851.
  3. American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders.
  4. Pettersen, H., Landheim, A., Skeie, I., Biong, S., Brodahl, M., Oute, J., & Davidson, L. (2019). How social relationships influence substance use disorder recovery: a collaborative narrative study. Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment, 13, 1178221819833379.
  5. McLellan, A. T. (2017). Substance misuse and substance use disorders: Why do they matter in healthcare? Transactions of the American Clinical and Climatological Association, 128, 112-130.
  6. Kosten, T. R., & George, T. P. (2002). The neurobiology of opioid dependence: implications for treatment. Science & Practice Perspectives, 1(1), 13-20.
  7. Shrivastava, A., Johnston, M., Terpstra, K., & Bureau, Y. (2014). Cannabis and psychosis: Neurobiology. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 56(1), 8-16.

 

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a medication used to reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.1 Doctors may prescribe naloxone to those struggling with opioid use, or you can buy naloxone over the counter at various pharmacies, depending on the state you live in. In combination with buprenorphine, a medication known as Suboxone, it is also an effective treatment for people who have an opioid use disorder. Under a doctor’s supervision, it can be a powerful tool when fighting opioid addiction.2

In this article: 

What is Naloxone?

On its own, naloxone is a life-saving opioid overdose reversal medication that the layperson or a first responder can administer to someone who has overdosed on opioids, such as heroin or prescription painkillers. It works by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and can reversing and blocking the effects of opioid drugs.1 One of the main dangers of an opioid overdose is the profound respiratory depression that occurs—naloxone reverses that respiratory depression and can save a person’s life.

The combination medication, Suboxone, comprised of naloxone and buprenorphine, is used as a form of medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid dependence and addiction. As opposed to naloxone, it is not given acutely to treat overdose; rather, it is a medication maintenance, meaning you take it every day to curb opioid cravings and avoid relapse. Typically, medication-assisted treatment with buprenorphine/naloxone is combined with counseling and behavioral therapies.3

Who May Benefit from Naloxone?

Naloxone on its own is primarily used to treat people who are experiencing an opioid overdose. So, anyone who abuses opioids may benefit from naloxone. In fact, naloxone is available over the counter in many states, so you may want to see if you can purchase some to keep on you. That way you will have it if you accidentally take too much of an opioid or use an opioid that has been cut with something extremely potent like fentanyl. Likewise, if you know someone who misuses opioids, you may also want to purchase some naloxone to keep with you.

There are many drugs in the opioid family, including some you may not be aware of. If you or a loved one uses the following drugs or medications, naloxone may be a life-saving drug for you, should an overdose occur:4

  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone
  • Oxycontin
  • Percocet
  • Vicodin
  • Tramadol

Naloxone is most effective when administered immediately after an opioid overdose, so if you feel that you or your loved one may have taken too many opioids and are at risk of an overdose, please seek medical care immediately.

Moreover, when naloxone is combined with buprenorphine, it is beneficial for anyone with an opioid addiction or dependence who wants to quit using opioids.

Naloxone/Buprenorphine Maintenance Therapy

Naloxone/buprenorphine maintenance therapy for people who are addicted to opioids is a relatively new practice. Multiple studies have shown that medication-assisted treatment with Suboxone, which comes in sublingual tablet form, is effective in preventing opioid relapse and overdose death.2

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means it binds with the opioid receptors in your brain to relieve opioid cravings but without getting you high. The reason naloxone is combined with buprenorphine is that it acts as a misuse deterrent. If you try to inject Suboxone to get high, the naloxone component of the medication will cause you to go into an immediate state of opioid withdrawal.5 Opioid withdrawal is extremely unpleasant and distressing and thus, you will be less likely to abuse Suboxone or buprenorphine.

Buprenorphine is the first opioid dependence medication that you can receive in a doctor’s office, significantly increasing access to this opioid addiction medication and helping more people get sober. Previously, recovering individuals could only receive methadone, another opioid dependence medication, through a specialized methadone clinic, which was less convenient and often a barrier to treatment for many people.3

Naloxone/Buprenorphine Combined with Counseling

Naloxone/buprenorphine maintenance therapy is just one component of a comprehensive opioid addiction treatment plan. This plan should include a myriad of therapies and counseling to help you address the underlying issues that drove you to abuse opioids in the first place, as well as learn and build relapse prevention skills like healthy coping mechanisms, drug refusal skills, emotional regulation skills, and more.3 You may receive these therapies on an inpatient or outpatient basis. Many people enjoy the structure of an inpatient program, where you are separated from your old using environment and can focus on your recovery. After an inpatient program, it can be beneficial to begin outpatient treatment to build upon the skills you learned in rehab.

The amount of time that you’re taking naloxone/buprenorphine for medication-assisted treatment depends on your doctor and your unique needs.3 Some people may take Suboxone indefinitely while others may take it on a shorter schedule. Either way, once you are ready to stop taking Suboxone, your doctor will create a gradual tapering schedule for you in which the dose of naloxone/buprenorphine you take is slowly decreased over a predetermined schedule. This will likely occur over many weeks.2

Naloxone/Buprenorphine Side Effects

For those who might be taking buprenorphine/naloxone as maintenance therapy, some possible side effects may be experienced. However, studies have shown that most often, the medication is well-tolerated, without any adverse side effects.2

If side effects do occur, they may include the following:2

  • Headache
  • Pain
  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia

If any of your side effects of buprenorphine/naloxone use are severe, call your doctor immediately. They can adjust your dose to see if you tolerate it better, or they may decide to change your medication.

Find a Naloxone/Buprenorphine Treatment Program

If you are addicted to an opioid like heroin, oxycodone, or fentanyl, help is available. There are many addiction treatment programs that specialize in the treatment of opioid dependence and addiction. These rehabs utilize buprenorphine/naloxone in the form of medication-assisted treatment while also providing a number of therapeutic interventions, such as:

  • Group counseling
  • Family therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Support groups
  • Holistic activities, such as yoga, music therapy, mindfulness, and equine therapy

Every opioid rehab is different, so make sure to ask if they prescribe and dispense Suboxone, if that is something you’re interested in.

Additionally, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) offers a convenient buprenorphine practitioner locator you can use to find a physician near you. All you have to do is enter your zip code and choose your preferred distance from you.


Resources

  1. Handal, K. A., Schauben, J. L., & Salamone, F. R. (1983). Naloxone. Annals of Emergency Medicine, 12(7), 438-445.
  2. Orman, J. S., & Keating, G. M. (2009). Buprenorphine/naloxone. Drugs, 69(5), 577-607.
  3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2021). Buprenorphine.
  4. American Society of Addiction Medicine. (n.d.) Opioids: Brand Names, Generic Names, & Street Names.
  5. Stoller, K. B., Bigelow, G. E., Walsh, S. L., & Strain, E. C. (2001). Effects of buprenorphine/naloxone in opioid-dependent humans. Psychopharmacology, 154(3), 230-242.

Living and coping with someone who has an addiction isn’t easy, but it’s important to remember that they are struggling and deserve kindness, patience, and understanding. Here are some tips on dealing with an addicted loved one.

In this article:

Use the Right Words

Communication is a major challenge when dealing with a loved one who is experiencing addiction.1 “Junkie,” “drunk,” “habit,” and “addict” are some of the many stigmatizing words that refer to people struggling with addiction and substance use disorders. Words like these often paint addiction as a moral failing rather than a chronic condition that can be successfully treated.2

Evidence suggests that stigma decreases motivation to seek treatment in people who struggle with addiction. Therefore, you should avoid using stigmatizing language when speaking to your loved one about their addiction.2

Instead of using the words “drunk” or “alcoholic” when referring to your loved one, use the phrase “alcohol use disorder.” Instead of using “habit” to describe your loved one’s drug use, use the terms “drug addiction” or “substance use disorder.” Though language changes such as these may seem insignificant, they may help your loved one feel less stigmatized and eventually result in them seeking treatment for their addiction.2

Acknowledge the Addiction

Addiction can affect anyone from any background, no matter their age, career status, or lifestyle. Acknowledging that your loved one has an addiction may help you feel more patient and understanding and bring you one step closer to connecting them with help and treatment.3

If you’re not completely sure whether your loved one has a drug or alcohol addiction, ask yourself the following questions:3

  • Do they want to stop using drugs/ alcohol but can’t?
  • Have they been missing work or school to use drugs/alcohol or to recover from their effects?
  • Do they experience strong cravings and urges to use drugs/alcohol?
  • Do they experience withdrawal symptoms for the substance when they abruptly stop using it or when they cut back?
  • Is drug/alcohol use causing your loved one to experience physical or mental health issues?

Avoid Engaging During Escalating Situations

Some substances can lead to aggression and violent situations since they alter brain chemicals, including dopamine, norepinephrine, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), and serotonin—all of which play a role in regulating mood. Drugs specifically associated with aggression include:4

Avoid engaging with your loved ones when they become angry, aggressive, or violent. This will help you avoid dangerous consequences. If your loved one screams, yells, or becomes belligerent with you, do not scream or yell back. Either separate yourself from your loved one or calmly change the subject to help them relax and de-escalate. Put in place one or more backup plans if your loved one becomes aggressive. In extreme situations, you may need to leave your home until you can get help for your loved one.5

Take Care of Yourself

When you love someone with an addiction, you may neglect yourself as you care for your loved one. For example, you may take care of them when they’re hungover, clean up their messes, or cover for them when their employer asks why they missed work. Failing to care for yourself can cause you to experience burnout that can interfere with your own important work, school, or family responsibilities.5

Practicing self-care involves taking care of yourself:

  • Physically, such as eating healthy foods and getting quality sleep
  • Psychologically, such as talking about your feelings with others
  • Socially, such as spending time with your best friend
  • Spiritually, such as attending church services

Engage in activities that make you feel happy and that provide a sense of purpose. Loving and caring for yourself in these ways doesn’t mean you love the addicted person any less. It will help you improve your mental health and make better decisions when coping with your loved one’s addiction.5

Maintain an Emotional Distance

Avoid taking on your loved one’s problems as your own, and try to distance yourself emotionally from their dysfunctional behaviors. When you love a person experiencing addiction, it’s easy to get pulled into their dysfunctional problems, which then become your problems as well. For example, if you loan them large sums of money to buy drugs and alcohol, you may experience financial hardship that threatens your livelihood, especially when you cannot pay important bills like rent and utilities.5

Maintaining an emotional distance from your loved one who suffers from addiction is also known as “loving-detachment.” This term refers to when you do things that may make you feel as if you are abandoning the person, but you are actually helping them realize how harmful their behaviors are. Loving detachment and letting go of responsibility for your loved one’s addiction can often motivate them to seek treatment.5

Reiterate the Impact of Their Addiction on You and Your Family

Make a point of talking to your loved ones when they are sober about the impact their addiction has had on you and your family. Though you may feel like a broken record at times, talking to your loved one consistently about their substance use disorder may help them realize that their behavior and addiction are harmful and that it’s time to change.6

Choose a time you think your loved one may be most receptive and open to discussing their addiction. For example, if your loved one is addicted to alcohol, consider talking to them early in the afternoon when they are no longer hungover and before they start drinking for the evening. Explain how their addiction affects you and your family. Your loved one may be more compelled to get help if they gain a better understanding of how their addiction directly affects you and other loved ones.6

Join a Support Group

Consider joining an Al-Anon or Nar-Anon support group. These support groups are restricted to family members and friends of people who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions. These support groups expose you to other people dealing with similar problems and who also have loved ones in their households suffering from addiction. The people you meet at Al-Anon and Nar-Anon support group meetings can give you tips on how to deal with having a loved one experiencing addiction and how to reduce any feelings of guilt and isolation you may have.7

In a 2016 study published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, researchers examined outcomes and gains among people who attended regular Al-Anon support group meetings. For at least six months, people who attended these meetings were more likely to develop strong coping skills, improve their well-being and functioning, feel more hopeful, and report improved self-esteem and less anger and depression than those who dropped out of meetings before six months. Those who attended Al-Anon meetings for at least six months were also able to develop better relationships with their loved ones who struggled with problematic drinking and alcohol addiction.8

Al-Anon and Nar-Anon support groups are located in nearly every city to serve and help the loved ones of those with an addiction. Visit the Al-Anon and Nar-Anon websites to find meetings near you.

Stage an Intervention

Consider staging an intervention for your loved one if all the other steps to motivate them toward treatment have not worked. Interventions for addiction today are much more contemporary than traditional interventions of the past.9

Historically, the person who needed help was instructed to stay quiet and listen during an intervention without any say in the matter and was given strong ultimatums if they refused to seek treatment. Today, the person with addiction can openly voice their concerns during the intervention without fear of reproach. This contemporary approach may be more productive if you or a hired interventionist can explain how treatment works and how it can benefit them.9

For example, if your loved one is addicted to heroin and concerned about feeling sick during opioid withdrawal, you or the interventionist can explain how medications may be used in opioid detox to reduce drug cravings and other withdrawal symptoms.9

Consider hiring an interventionist if you need help planning, organizing, and staging an intervention. These professionals can help you properly prepare for the intervention and oversee the event so you can increase the chances your loved one will agree to seek treatment.9

Call 800-407-7195(Who Answers?) to speak to a treatment specialist about nearby drug rehab centers and get help choosing the best facility for your loved one suffering from addiction. Our specialists can answer any questions you may have about addiction and discuss all your available treatment options.


Resources

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2004). Chapter 1 Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy. Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy.
  2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2021, April 8). Words Matter – Terms to Use and Avoid When Talking About Addiction.
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2019, October). How to Recognize a Substance Use Disorder.
  4. Anderson, P.D., & Bokor, G. (2012, February). Forensic aspects of drug-induced violence. Journal of Pharmacy Practice, 25(1):41-9.
  5. Connolly, M. (2017, February 10). How to care for yourself while loving someone with addiction. Ohio State University.
  6. University of Rochester Medical Center. (n.d.). Helping a Friend with an Addiction.
  7. Al-Anon Family Groups. (n.d.) Frequently Asked Questions.
  8. Timko, C., Laudet, A., & Moos, R.H. (2016, July). Al-Anon Newcomers: Benefits of Continuing Attendance for Six Months. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 42(4): 441–449.
  9. Harvard Health Publishing. (2012, July 10). When a loved one has an addiction.

If you are worried about your drug or alcohol use, help is available. Professional addiction treatment programs can help you get your addiction under control. But while you research your rehab options, you can also explore these 10 tips to help you achieve control of your addiction and start on the path to recovery.

In this article: 

1. Find Acceptance

Before you can gain addiction control, you must accept your past mistakes and understand that your current relationship with drugs or alcohol is just temporary—just by researching tips and treatment, you are already moving toward a healthier and drug-free future.

Why is acceptance so important? Acknowledging existing conditions is a key portion of mindfulness practice. And research reveals that mindfulness plays a major role in improving your self-control. Especially when it comes to your ability to make decisions and change automatic habits, two areas that are key to achieving addiction control.1

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2. Plan a SMART Change (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound)

If your goal is to achieve addiction control, you’ll need to make a very specific plan for how you’ll get to that point. Start by determining your goal: is it total abstinence from alcohol or drugs? Then, take a close look at your current resources—friends, family, or even rehab specialists you can call—to see how you can begin your plan right now.

Next, write down your goal. And include specific actions—like inquiring about rehab programs—that you’ll commit to taking within a specified period. Now, try sharing your plan with a friend—this adds accountability to your action plan. Finally, commit to sending weekly updates to your friend, family member, or support person. Research suggests that people who take all five of these steps are more likely to achieve their goals.2

When your goal is to get control of addiction, adding a support person to your team could be the most important element of your plan.

3. Build a Team

When you’re working towards addiction control, you’ll need people in your corner. These could be family members or trusted friends—people you can turn to when you need to talk or stay strong in the face of drug or alcohol cravings. Research reveals that having supportive relationships can help you achieve better treatment results when you get help for addiction.3 Moreover, having a strong support network can help you find the courage to enter and complete an addiction treatment program.4

So, if you’re hoping to get lasting control over addiction, finding a supportive friend, family member, or treatment specialist could help you take major steps toward recovery. If you aren’t sure where to find a support system, you can always check out Narcotics Anonymous meetings near you. NA meetings provide you with fellowship, encouragement, and guidance throughout recovery.

4. Focus on Nutrition

If you’ve been struggling with addiction, other areas of your health may have suffered. Many people who struggle with addiction are severely undernourished.5 Then, if you enter detoxification for drug or alcohol misuse, you may lose your appetite. This could further impact your body’s nutritional stores.6 For that reason, even before you’re ready to begin a medical detox and supervised rehab program, focusing on healthier food choices could help prepare you for the road to addiction control.6

5. Tap Into Your Feelings

If you struggle with addiction, negative feelings or experiences can act as triggers for you to relapse. When you seek help for addiction, your treatment will likely include talk therapy, which can help you change your reactions to stressful situations.7 It may be hard to change ingrained reactions without professional help, but simply identifying your natural reaction to stressful situations can be helpful. When you begin treatment, you’ll be able to discuss the responses that both help and hurt you. This should make it easier to work on leaving harmful reactions in your past.

During this step, it’s important to note both the positive and negative triggers that influence your drug or alcohol misuse. Attending a party with friends could leave you feeling like you have to drink to be part of the fun, or confrontations with family members could cause you to seek comfort in a certain substance. By tracking your own patterns, you can start to overcome them once you begin treatment for substance misuse.

6. Dig Deep

Once you’ve noted your triggers, you can begin to explore why those situations are so triggering for you. When you ask yourself questions, you may begin to identify certain feelings that come up during those triggering moments. Later, you can begin to work on responding to those feelings in healthier ways.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is often a helpful treatment option when you seek help for addiction. CBT uses the ABCD approach to stop the trigger-substance misuse cycle. This method follows these steps:8

  • You identify the activating event, or in other words, your trigger.
  • Next, you explore your beliefs about that trigger. This helps you understand that it’s not the trigger that makes you struggle with drugs or alcohol, but your feelings that come to mind during that event or incident.
  • Next, explore consequences. Specifically, this step addresses the emotional consequences you experience when you give way to beliefs about your triggers.
  • Finally, you’ll learn to dispute or fight your own beliefs with statements that counter your old reactions.

This is an advanced form of therapy that typically requires the help of a professional. Still, beginning on your own will help you better understand the root cause of your feelings. It can also give you some tools to counter old beliefs that contribute to your struggle with drugs or alcohol. In that way, you’ll grow one step closer to addiction control.

7. Find What You Love

Whether or not it’s an official trigger for you, boredom often leads to struggles with drug or alcohol misuse. When you don’t know what to do with yourself, it may feel simpler to turn to substances than to find a way forward.

Instead of fighting boredom with drugs or alcohol, exploring what you love can be a powerful way to gain control over addiction. Imagine waking up to a day where you know you’ll be painting a new landscape or trying to add 10 minutes to a daily run. Both of those goals would be difficult to accomplish if you turn to substance abuse.

According to research, replacing your substance addiction with a positive endeavor, like a running routine, can be an effective deterrent to relapse.9 So, by finding something you love to do, you can choose a healthier alternative to substance use. And help yourself commit to staying sober.

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8. Say Some Goodbyes

You’ve already learned that finding supportive friends or family will help you take control over addiction. It’s important to look for the relationships that will help you seek treatment and maintain your sobriety. It’s equally important to understand that certain people in your life may trigger your substance cravings or use.10

One of the first steps you can take after acknowledging your struggle with drugs or alcohol is to stay away from the friends that encourage your substance use or trigger you. Whether they join you in abusing substances or simply trigger feelings that leave you seeking comfort, those people will make it difficult to control addiction. That’s why you’ll need to say goodbye to these relationships, or at least severely limit interactions.10

9. Keep Track of It All

Finding addiction control is a lifelong journey, and keeping a journal of your progress can help you along the way. Right now, you can start writing down some of your feelings. You can take note of your triggers and explore the feelings that surround them.

Over time, as you look back over old entries, you’ll be able to track your progress. You can identify areas where you’ve enjoyed success, and you can also notice areas where you still struggle and need additional support.

When done daily, journaling can be an important part of mindfulness practice. Plus, research proves that expressive writing can help you avoid intrusive thoughts about negative events.11 When you’re struggling with addiction, keeping a journal can offer additional support in your journey towards recovery by helping you to stop thinking about your former addictive habits.

After all, when you’ve avoided talking about your struggles for so long, it can feel very difficult to begin opening up now. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can provide an easier way to open up. In fact, later on, you may choose to share some journal entries with trusted therapists or treatment specialists. Having a written record will help you recall and overcome feelings you must address to gain control over addiction.

10. Ask for Help

The best and most lasting tool for overcoming addiction is to seek professional help for drug or alcohol misuse. There are several types of treatment, including inpatient, residential, and outpatient; the right program for you will depend on your needs and priorities. Joining a recovery support group is also helpful. The evidence is clear: people who seek help for addiction are frequently able to return to productive lives, rejoin their families, and gain control over addiction.12

Of course, on your recovery journey, you may face relapse, and that is normal. Statistics show that addiction relapse rates hover around 40% to 60%. However, these rates are lower than those for people living with chronic conditions such as asthma or hypertension.12 You likely know many people who live full lives while managing those conditions.

After you start working toward your goal of addiction control, you may face a few obstacles along the way. With the help of a professional treatment program, you’ll be prepared to prevent or bounce back from relapses and regain control of your life. Call 800-407-7195(Who Answers?) today and speak to an addiction specialist about how to start your journey.


Resources

  1. Garland, E. L., & Howard, M. O. (2018). Mindfulness-based treatment of addiction: current state of the field and envisioning the next wave of research. Addiction science & clinical practice, 13(1), 14.
  2. Matthews, G. (n.d.). Goals Research Summary.
  3. Hanlon, T. E., Nurco, D. N., Bateman, R. W., & O’Grade, K. E. (1998). The response of drug abuser parolees to a combination of treatment and intensive supervision. The Prison Journal, 78(1), 31–44.
  4. Kelly, S. M., O’Grady, K. E., Schwartz, R. P., Peterson, J. A., Wilson, M. E., & Brown, B. S. (2010). The relationship of social support to treatment entry and engagement: the Community Assessment Inventory. Substance Abuse, 31(1), 43–52.
  5. Morabia, A., Fabre, J., Chee, E., Zeger, S., Orsat, E., & Robert, A. (1989). Diet and opiate addiction: a quantitative assessment of the diet of non-institutionalized opiate addicts. British Journal of Addiction, 84(2), 173–180.
  6. Neale, J., Nettleton, S., Pickering, L., & Fischer, J. (2012). Eating patterns among heroin users: a qualitative study with implications for nutritional interventions. Addiction (Abingdon, England), 107(3), 635–641.
  7. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Behavioral Therapies.
  8. Menon J, Kandasamy A. Relapse prevention. Indian Journal of Psychiatry. 2018;60(Suppl 4):S473-S478. doi:10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_36_18
  9. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Association. (2019). ANGER MANAGEMENT for Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health Clients A Cognitive–Behavioral Therapy Manual.
  10. Falkin, G. P., & Strauss, S. M. (2003). Social supporters and drug use enablers: a dilemma for women in recovery. Addictive Behaviors, 28(1), 141–155.
  11. Klein, K., & Boals, A. Expressive writing can increase working memory capacity. (2001). Journal of Experimental Psychology General, 130(3):520-33. doi: 10.1037//0096-3445.130.3.520. PMID: 11561925
  12. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). How effective is drug addiction treatment?

Often, people look to meth addict treatment for a cure. They want a pill to take or a doctor’s visit that will make it all better. They are looking for a way to have their meth addiction cured for them, a way to have the work done for them by medicine. However, that isn’t a very effective approach, nor is it reasonable. As with any other endeavor in your life that has mattered, you have to put in the work. Think, for instance of how hard people fight to rid themselves of a disease like cancer or to manage something like hypertension. You have to do just as much to get your meth dependence under control in meth addict treatment.

treat meth abuse

Educate Yourself

One way you can make an effort is in educating yourself. The more that you learn what addiction is and what it will take to recover, the more you will be able to contribute effectively to your betterment in meth addiction treatment and beyond. .

It is possible that you aren’t a reader or you feel overwhelmed by the body information and don’t know where to start. You needn’t worry. Meth addiction treatment will include education sessions that are designed to meet you at your level and help you. You just have to put in the work.

Be Honest

On one hand, you need to remain truthful to yourself, so that you can properly manage your feelings and avoid triggering relapse or prompting yourself to leave meth addict treatment. One the other, you also need to be honest with your health care providers. They can’t help you if they don’t know you need help. Push yourself to invite people in for the first time in a long time.

Take Responsibility

A lot of your meth use was probably prompted by your desire to numb your feeling of inadequacy and self-loathing. But, you have to face what you have done to move past it. It will take a lot out of you to face what you have done and accept yourself but you can do it.

Meth Addict Treatment Is Enhanced by Close Relationships; Don’t Try to Do Meth Addiction Treatment on Your Own

It’s totally normal to go alone through your meth addiction. You don’t want to face the people that you love because you know that you are disappointing them and you know that they will try to get you to stop. Your friends become the people you get high with and though that means you spend a lot of time together that doesn’t mean you can count on them or even that you like them very much. You are a lone wolf.

But, that needs to change when you enter meth addict treatment. You need a pack. It is time  for you to make new connections and to reconnect with those you have become distanced from. Your friends you used with can’t help you. The people who facilitated your use can’t help you. But, you can turn to the people that you love for the help that you need.

Peer Support

Most meth addiction treatment programs follow the model Alcoholics Anonymous calls “addicts helping addicts.” This means that you benefit from shared time in support groups and group therapy with other addicts. Meth addict treatment connects you with your peers because they can benefits you in multiple ways. They can:

  • Motivate
  • Encourage
  • Understand
  • Listen
  • Keep you accountable
  • Challenge

Most of all, they can support.

Family

Most meth addicts have strained relationships with their families. This makes total sense and any tension you have with your family is something that other people go through as well. This is why family therapy is a popular component of meth addiction treatment plans. It allows you to work through your issues with the people that you love and establish trust that you can rebuild upon.

Friends

No, you can’t keep in touch with people who will give you meth or use them around you, but you probably still have ties to people who want to support you in meth addict treatment. All you have to do is reach out. Not all of them will be in a place that will allow them to pick up where they left off. But, many of them will. Don’t let pride or stubbornness keep you from making the effort to get back to them.

How Can I Go to Meth Addict Treatment Without Losing My Job?  Legal Regulations That Can Keep You Job Safe While You Pursue Meth Addiction Treatment

Many people forgo meth addict treatment because they face barriers. For some people, responsibilities in the home prevent them from being absent for any period of time. For others, a lack of money can keep them from believing they can finance treatment. Still others fear for their jobs. How can they enter an inpatient meth addiction treatment facility that requires them to miss work for a considerable amount of time.

Luckily, there are legal protections in place that can keep your job safe while you reclaim control of your life.

meth abuse treatment

The Americans with Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act

People undergoing treatment have always been protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. But, it is important that you not confuse the way alcoholism is treated with the way meth addiction is treated. Whereas an alcoholic is viewed as disabled and may retain their job if they can perform the essential tasks of the position, meth users are only protected provided they are not currently using meth or any other illicit drugs. If a drug test reveals employees are still using meth, their ADA consideration is removed.

The ADA only provides coverage for local and state governmental units and private employers with more than 15 or more employees. If your job does not fall into this category, you may not be protected. However, if you are covered, they may be fired or refused a position because they are in recovery.

The Family and Medical Leave Act

You may have the right to take medical leave in order to attend inpatient meth addict treatment.  The Federal Family and Medical Leave Act gives you the right to take up to 12 months of unpaid leave over a 12 month period in order to get care for a “serious health condition.” This includes meth addiction. It is, therefore, illegal for your boss to fire you or deny you the leave.

This coverage applies to local, state, and federal government employers, as well as private and public elementary and secondary school employees. Private employers with 50 or more employees are also covered. To be eligible for coverage, you have to have been employed by the employer for 12 or more months and worked at least 1,250 hours.

Try Outpatient Treatment

If you are not eligible for either of these protections, you should consider and outpatient meth abuse treatment center that will let you work around your work schedule. Don’t pass up the meth addict treatment that you need because you are worried about your job. There are ways to make it work.

Anyone considering treatment for opioid addiction has likely been through the many ups and downs that come with an addiction problem. Attempts to stop using on one’s hold only work for so long before temptations and drug cravings win out. Meanwhile, friends and family have all but reached their limit as far as the “addiction problem” goes.

Once the decision to get treatment for opioid addiction is made, a certain degree of anxiety can be expected considering the important role drugs have taken on in a person’s day-to-day life. Much of this anxiety can be alleviated by having an idea of just what treatment for opioid addiction is really like. Ultimately, accepting the idea of treatment and recovery gets easier the further along you get in the process.

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Breaking the Body’s Physical Dependence

As a necessary first step in treatment for opioid addiction, breaking the brain and body’s physical dependence on opioids paves the way for the real work of addiction treatment to begin. Also known as detoxification treatment, these programs administer medications to help relieve the uncomfortable withdrawal effects that develop when stopping drug use. According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, withdrawal effects typically take the form of:

  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Insomnia
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Chills and sweats

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47,300* People Addicted
23,100* Getting Help
8,209* Deaths
*Statistic from 2015

Detoxification treatment for opioid addiction also entails drug education training where addicts come to understand how opioid abuse breeds addiction. With the most severe forms of drug abuse, treatment for opioid addiction may also require medication therapies, such as methadone or buprenorphine to help correct for severe chemical imbalances in the brain.

Not sure if your insurance will help cover your treatment costs? Call our helpline at 800-407-7195(Who Answers?) for more information.

Breaking Compulsive Drug-Using Behaviors

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Life skills are learned in addiction treatment to help prevent relapse.

In essence, treatment for opioid addiction has to do with undoing the damaging effects of drugs on a person’s thinking and behaviors. These effects result from the drug’s effects in the brain as well as from the compulsive drug-using behaviors that surface once addiction takes hold. While the discomfort experienced during detoxification may seem like the most difficult part of recovery, the emotional hold that opioids exert over one’s thinking and behaviors ultimately becomes the greatest obstacle addicts must overcome recovery.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, this stage of treatment for opioid addiction focuses on helping a person learn a range of skills that work to support drug-free living, including:

  • Stress management
  • How to express one’s feelings in a constructive manner
  • Identifying destructive addiction-based thinking
  • Relapse prevention training
  • Healthy communication skills
  • How to work through conflict with others

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This stage of treatment for opioid addiction lasts the longest. For people recovering from chronic, long-term addiction, this stage can turn into a lifelong process in cases where drug use has left behind severe brain dysfunction.

Treatment for Opioid Addiction: Considerations

The temptation to consider oneself “cured” after completing detox treatment can be strong considering how good the brain and body feel once the system is cleaned out. As freeing as it may feel, the thinking and behaviors that characterize addiction remain unchanged. For these reasons, continuing on in the treatment for opioid addiction process is essential to regaining control of your life.

If you or someone you know are considering treatment for opioid addiction and need help finding treatment that meets your needs, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-407-7195(Who Answers?) to speak with one of our addictions specialists.

Struggling with addiction for months or years on end can quickly become disheartening, especially when attempts to stop using keep failing. Opioid addiction in particular exerts a stronghold over the mind and will, tricking a person into thinking he or she has control when that’s not the case at all. Fortunately, opioid addiction can be treated and no one has to go it alone.

Opioid addiction treatment encompasses a wide array of services, interventions and program types, all of which work towards helping addicts recover and heal. The types of options best suited for you depend on your addiction severity as well as where you’re at in the recovery process. For many caught up in a life of drug abuse, opioid addiction treatment offers the only viable means for overcoming the hold these drugs have on one’s life.

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Opioid Addiction Treatment Objectives

Opioid Addiction Treatment

Family therapy can help heal your close relationships during opioid addiction treatment.

The effects of opioid abuse accumulate over time, with long-time users experiencing the worst of what addiction has to offer. In most cases, physical dependence develops first as a result of growing brain chemical imbalances. Before long, addiction takes root as this chemically imbalanced state starts to impair the brain’s reward system functions. At this point, a person’s choices and behaviors all work to maintain a lifestyle of compulsive drug use.

According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the first stage of opioid addiction treatment addresses the body’s physical dependence so the brain and body can relearn how to function without the drug’s effects. Once the body no longer requires the drug, treatment focuses on breaking the mind’s dependence in terms of helping a person learn to cope with daily life pressures without having to rely on the drug.

Call our helpline at 800-407-7195(Who Answers?) to see if your insurance will help pay your rehab costs.

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47,300* People Addicted
23,100* Getting Help
8,209* Deaths
*Statistic from 2015

Opioid Addiction Treatment Options for Recovery and Healing

With so many different programs and services available, the options that work best for you depend on your specific treatment needs as well as where you’re at in the recovery process. Someone just starting out in recovery will likely require some form of detox treatment, be it through a program or on one’s own.

From there, some form of ongoing psychosocial treatment should follow or else a person risks falling back into the addiction mindset and lifestyle. Both residential and outpatient programs offer psychosocial treatment services. For someone recovering from chronic drug abuse, a residential program offers the level of support and guidance most needed to maintain abstinence on a continuous basis.

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According to the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration, psychosocial treatment interventions commonly offered include:

Considerations

Recovering from opioid addiction takes time and patience simply because of the lasting effects addiction has on a person’s thinking, emotions and behaviors. More than anything else, your odds of a successful recovery greatly increase when you receive the level of care that best addresses your specific treatment needs.

If you or someone you know are considering opioid addiction treatment and need help finding treatment that meets your needs, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-407-7195(Who Answers?) to speak with one of our addictions specialists.

Ecstasy has been very popular among the club drugs for a long time, but not many people are aware of the potential long-term effects of it. For years, the effects of ecstasy have been studied and though it is not yet fully understood, the drug has been classified as class A or Schedule 1 for the damage it can inflict on users. Everyone who considers using ecstasy should be aware of the dangerous effects associated with it.

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Depression

Long-Term Effects of Ecstasy

Ecstasy abuse can cause depression.

According to the CESAR, MDMA (or ecstasy) affects the levels of serotonin in the brain, which is a neurotransmitter related to pleasure, mood, heart rate, and sleep.

Not surprisingly, ecstasy has been associated with depression because when it is used, it heightens sensitivity and causes the user to become an intense emotional and empathetic response. When the drug is no longer in use, it depletes the amount of serotonin substantially, putting the user at risk for depression.

Brain Damage

Ecstasy has long been known to effect memory and critical thought and after long-term use, it is very likely to damage these parts of the brain. It also has been found to degenerate the creation of serotonin through neurons and dopamine transmitters, which has been found to be long-term.

With the reduction of serotonin, the user can have sleep problems, confusion, and paranoia. According to a study conducted by NIDA, when briefly exposed to the drug, monkeys experienced a drop in serotonin levels for seven years and had not returned to normal.

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Dangers to Sexual Activity

Oftentimes when someone abuses ecstasy, their inhibitions drop and they become more sensitive to touch, which enhances the sexual experience. While this may seem like a good thing, it is also important to note that it can also impair the sexual experience as well because it dehydrates the user.

This will cause a lack of lubrication, which can rip condoms and lead to an undesirable pregnancy or put the users at risk for an STD or HIV/AIDS. Males also may begin to have an issue in achieving an erection while under the influence of ecstasy, which will impede any progress in achieving orgasm.

Other Long-Term Effects

It is not often that ecstasy becomes physically addictive, but it can cause a psychological addiction that can compel the user to continue to use more in order to replicate the feelings of the first time.

A drug craving can cause the depletion of serotonin, as mentioned above, and memory as well as cause death from overdose. Continued use can also cause severe anxiety and paranoia in the user due to the heat exhaustion and dehydration that ecstasy causes.

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Many people use ecstasy while at parties or raves, but few know the risks of continued use and fewer will pay attention because of the sensations the drug causes but it is very important to know the consequences of use.

Long-term effects include severe depression, damage to the serotonin levels in the brain, impairment of sexual activity, a higher risk of STDs, and anxiety. It is important that the user be aware of the consequences before they use this drug and if it does turn into an addiction or become abused, it is vital for them to seek professional help as soon as possible to avoid lasting damage.

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction or abuse of ecstasy, call 800-407-7195(Who Answers?)  to speak with someone who can help.