Overcoming Opioid Addiction at Rehab

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For anyone who has experienced addiction, it is not easy to admit that you need help. But overcoming the addiction and stopping your abuse of the drug is even more difficult than the former. Fortunately, in opioid addiction rehab, you receive many treatment options and a lot of help and encouragement in order to overcome your addiction to these drugs and to finally feel like yourself again.

Why Do People Choose Rehab?

You may be asking yourself this question now. Because “unlike alcohol and sedative withdrawal, uncomplicated opioid withdrawal is not life-threatening,” many people choose to detox from opioids in their homes and not to attend rehab (SAMHSA). But this can actually be a dangerous choice, even if the withdrawal symptoms themselves are not life-threatening.

Rehab helps patients with the many aspects of their addictions, not just during the time of withdrawal. Yes, opioid withdrawal is painful, and medications are given during rehab in order to help with that pain, along with curbing cravings and allowing patients the ability to focus. But patients who only withdraw or attend detox to treat their opioid addictions have not actually been treated at all.

opioid addiction

Rehab programs help people recover from opiate addiction safely.

These individuals will still feel cravings for the drug even after withdrawal symptoms are gone, making it more likely that they will experience fatal overdose if they relapse, due to their diminished tolerances and lack of learned coping mechanisms. This is why “longer-term treatment is recommended for most persons following withdrawal,” and rehab is a great choice (NLM).

Some other reasons people choose rehab are:

  • It reinforces them in their choice to stop abusing opioids.
  • It makes fighting addiction easier.
  • It teaches them ways to change their behavior with the use of therapy in addition to the use of medication.
  • It helps patients who have recovered previously and are experiencing issues down the road.
  • It can be attended both in expensive, luxury centers or free or low-cost facilities on a sliding fee scale.

Treatments Used in Rehab

There are many types of treatments used in rehab that help patients get their lives back from addiction. According to the NIDA, “Drug addiction treatment can include medications, behavioral therapies, or their combination,” and while every patient is different with different needs, the most successful treatment option for most individuals includes both medication and therapy. But how do these treatments help?

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Medication

  • Types: methadone, naltrexone, buprenorphine
  • Medications curb withdrawal symptoms and cravings so that patients can focus on therapy and the other aspects of their lives.
  • They help prevent relapse and are usually inexpensive as drug addicted individuals often experience monetary issues.
  • Most opioid addiction medications can be taken for a short period and eventually tapered off or used for a longer period of time, depending on the individual’s needs. Some people stay on methadone for years to prevent themselves from abusing opioids.
  • Medications make withdrawal less painful and traumatic and can sometimes even “block the euphoric and sedating effects of opiates” in order to keep patients from relapsing.

Is Medication Assisted Treatment for Opioid Addiction Really Safe?

Therapy

  • Types: cognitive-behavioral therapy, contingency management, family therapy, group therapy
  • Patients who receive therapy as a treatment for addiction are able to learn better coping skills that allow them to avoid abusing drugs in the future.
  • They also learn how to recognize their triggers and cravings and how to deal with them.
  • Patients in rehab are often able to receive treatments for other co-occurring mental disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc. According to the NIDA, “Compared with the general population, people addicted to drugs are roughly twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders.” In rehab, patients can be treated for both which can make it much easier for them to overcome their addictions.
  • Patients can use everything they learn in therapy in real-life situations after rehab has ended, making their recoveries more solid.

The treatments used in rehab help patients overcome their addictions and have power over something that once made them feel extremely powerless. This is a very beneficial aspect of rehab, and these treatments have been used for decades as tried and true methods for helping those who were once unable to control their addictions.

Healthcare Professionals in Rehab Centers

For many individuals, the healthcare professionals at their rehab center are just as much a part of their recovery as the treatments are. If a patient has a good relationship with the doctors, nurses, and counselors they are working with during rehab, they will often be more likely to stay in treatment longer as opposed to when they have bad relationships. As a result of this, “good outcomes are contingent on adequate treatment length” and “treatment lasting significantly longer [than 90 days] is recommended for maintaining positive outcomes” (NIDA). In addition, many patients do not experience the kind of support at home that they will receive in rehab from the staff and even the other patients, which causes them to push themselves harder to recover and stop abusing opioids.

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The Role of Aftercare

Many patients feel that they have conquered the hold opioids have on them during rehab treatment, but it can be very difficult to go back out into the world with no safety net at all. This is why many rehab centers set up some kind of aftercare program or treatment for patients who leave the facility, in order to help them avoid relapse.

Some of the common aftercare treatments are:

  • Support groups
    • Support groups can be very beneficial to former rehab patients as they are similar to group therapy in rehab, allow individuals to meet and connect with others who will be willing to help and listen during difficult times, and reinforce the techniques taught in rehab.
  • Halfway houses
    • Halfway houses are specifically for those who leave inpatient rehab and need help getting back on their feet. These individuals can live at the house where they will be encouraged to attend a support group and helped to find a job.
  • Sober living houses
    • Patients who are sent here must already have a job and be able to pay rent but be at the point where they still aren’t ready to be on their own.

the Take-Away

Rehab programs for opiate addiction help people understand their addiction and learn what they need to do to overcome it using various treatment methods.