Navigating the Challenges of Opioid Addiction: From Dependency to Recovery

AM Behavioral Health offers comprehensive, evidence-based opioid addiction treatment to help reclaim your life. Start your recovery journey today.

Table of Contents

The Need for Opioid Addiction Treatment

Opioid addiction is a chronic brain disease. It is marked by an uncontrollable urge to use opioids despite harm. They affect the brain’s reward system, causing pleasure and pain relief.
There are several types of opioids, including:1
  • Prescription Opioids: These medications are typically prescribed for pain management following surgery or injuries. Examples include oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), and morphine.
  • Illicit Opioids: These drugs are produced illegally and often laced with unknown substances, increasing the risk of overdose. Heroin and fentanyl are the most common illicit opioids.

Opioid addiction is a national epidemic. In this comprehensive article, we will look at the challenges of opioid addiction. We will also explore the pillars of opioid addiction treatment and what you can expect when you reach out to our Ohio-based team for support on the road to recovery.

Opioid Addiction Treatment

Understanding the Context Surrounding Prescription Opioid Use

Opioids are primarily prescribed to manage moderate to severe pain. This can include pain after surgery or injury, or chronic pain from conditions like cancer.
They work by binding to receptors in the brain and spinal cord, blocking pain signals and producing feelings of relaxation. It’s important to note that, despite opioids often being prescribed by a medical professional, they still have the potential to be highly addictive.

How Opioids Affect the Brain and Body

When opioids enter the brain, they bind to opioid receptors, creating a surge of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. This positive reinforcement motivates continued opioid use.

Adapting to Opioids

Over time, the brain adapts to opioids. This makes it hard to feel pleasure or function normally without them.
Opioid use also disrupts the brain’s natural pain-relieving mechanisms, leading to tolerance. This means users need more and more to get the desired effect. This raises the risk of overdose and addiction.

Factors Contributing to Addiction

Opioid addiction is a national epidemic that causes physical dependence, psychological distress, and destructive behaviors.
Several factors contribute to the development of opioid addiction, including:2
  • Genetics: Some individuals have a higher genetic predisposition to addiction.
  • Comorbidity: Co-occurring disorders like depression or anxiety can increase the risk of seeking relief through opioids.
  • Trauma: Experiences with physical or emotional trauma can make people more susceptible to addiction.
  • Opioid Use Exposure: Exposure to opioid use in family or friends can normalize drug use and increase access to drugs.3

The Impact of Addiction

After being exposed to and developing an opioid addiction, dependence can develop quickly. It is difficult to stop, leading to withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, muscle aches, and anxiety. This creates a powerful reason to continue using opioids to avoid these uncomfortable symptoms.
The impact of opioid addiction goes far beyond the individual. AM Behavioral Health addresses not only the physical dependence but also the causes and triggers that fuel addiction.

Services That Combat Addiction

Many different types of services combat addiction and help you on your recovery journey. These programs in opioid addiction treatment include the following: 

The Prevalence of Opioid Addiction and the Need for Effective Treatment

Opioid addiction is a widespread public health concern. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2021, over 107,000 people in the United States died from drug overdose, with over 75% involving opioids.4
For sustainable recovery, there is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach to opioid addiction treatment. Effective treatment plans combine various evidence-based methods to address the physical, psychological, and behavioral aspects of addiction.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a crucial component of many opioid addiction treatment programs. MAT combines medication with therapy, managing withdrawal, and preventing relapse.

Three primary medications are used in MAT for opioid addiction, including the following:5
  1. Methadone: Methadone is a long-acting medication that blocks the effects of opioids, easing cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It is typically dispensed at specialized clinics due to its potential for misuse.
  2. Buprenorphine: Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, meaning it partially activates opioid receptors but with a lower risk of overdose compared to full opioids. Buprenorphine comes in many forms, such as tablets, films, and implants.
  3. Naltrexone: This medication blocks the effects of opioids entirely, preventing the user from getting high. Naltrexone is available in pill and injectable forms.

Benefits of MAT

MAT offers several advantages in opioid addiction treatment. It helps reduce cravings. By stabilizing brain chemistry, MAT can significantly decrease the intense urge to use opioids. Finally, MAT can support long-term recovery by helping individuals maintain sobriety and rebuild their lives.

Behavioral Therapies for Opioid Addiction Treatment

In combination with MAT, various behavioral therapies play a vital role in addressing the underlying causes of addiction and teaching essential coping skills.
Here are some approaches that we utilize at AM Behavioral Health:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a valuable tool in opioid addiction treatment. CBT helps people with opioid use problems by identifying negative thought patterns that contribute to cravings and relapse.
Individuals can build resilience by learning to challenge these distortions and develop healthy coping methods. They can also manage triggers better and improve their odds of long-term recovery.6

Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT)

REBT targets the underlying irrational beliefs that fuel cravings and relapse. Through self-reflection and guided discussions, people learn to spot unhelpful thoughts.
REBT equips them with techniques to challenge and replace these distortions. They replace them with more rational beliefs, empowering them to develop healthier emotional responses to triggers. They can then navigate challenges without resorting to opioids.7

Motivational Interviewing (MI)

MI tackles opioid addiction by fostering a collaborative environment. In this environment, the counselor listens empathetically. MI helps people explore their uncertainty about change through open-ended questions and affirmations.
People use it to identify their reasons for seeking treatment and make a plan to reduce or stop opioid use. This empowers people to own their recovery journey.
Through these therapies, individuals in opioid addiction treatment learn to:8
  • Develop healthy coping mechanisms.
  • Address past traumas and co-occurring mental health issues.
  • Make positive lifestyle changes and improve relationships.

Individualized Treatment Plans

There is no single best approach to opioid addiction treatment. Effective programs tailor treatment plans to each client’s unique needs and circumstances.

Factors considered might include:
  • Severity of addiction
  • Type of opioid used
  • Co-occurring mental health conditions
  • Individual’s support system and life situation
By combining medication, therapy, and a personalized approach, AM Behavioral Health creates a comprehensive treatment program to guide individuals toward lasting recovery.

Holistic Healing Approach to Opioid Addiction Treatment

Opioid addiction treatment isn’t just about addressing the physical dependence on the drug. For lasting recovery, addressing the physical, mental, emotional, and social aspects of a person’s life is crucial. This comprehensive approach is known as holistic healing.
Opioid addiction treatment is a journey of rebuilding a healthy life. Some examples of holistic approaches to opioid addiction treatment include:
  • Physical Wellness: Exercise is a powerful tool for boosting mood, reducing cravings, and promoting well-being. You can incorporate activities like yoga, swimming, or team sports into your treatment plan.
  • Nutritional Guidance: Proper nutrition fuels your body’s healing process and improves brain function. A nutritionist can help you develop a personalized plan to support your recovery.
  • Mindfulness Practices: Meditation and deep breathing give you tools to manage stress and tough emotions. These can trigger relapse.
  • Complementary Therapies: Practices like acupuncture, massage therapy, and recreation therapy can promote relaxation, reduce anxiety, and foster self-expression.
  • Social Support: Addiction can strain relationships. Rebuilding a strong support network during recovery can provide encouragement and a sense of belonging.

Relapse Prevention Strategies

Opioid addiction treatment is a significant victory, but the path to lasting recovery can take time. Relapse is possible but doesn’t have to derail the recovery journey. Developing strong relapse prevention strategies can help build a life of sustained sobriety.

The Power of Ongoing Support

Isolation is a major risk factor for relapse. Surrounding oneself with a supportive network is crucial. Aftercare programs offered by many treatment facilities provide:
  • Ongoing therapy
  • Support groups
  • Guidance after treatment completion
Connecting with others who understand the challenges of addiction can be incredibly empowering. Continuing therapy sessions can equip you with tools to identify and address triggers and maintain healthy thought patterns.

Developing Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Having healthy coping mechanisms is essential for managing stress and difficult emotions without resorting to opioid use. Explore practices that help to manage stress and stay in the present moment. These could include practices like meditation, deep breathing exercises, and yoga.

AM Behavioral Health works with you to provide relapse prevention strategies to help you manage triggers that may lead to relapse. If a relapse occurs, contact your support network, therapist, or treatment center immediately.

Activities in Opioid Addiction Treatment

Activities like listening to calming music or practicing progressive muscle relaxation can promote relaxation and emotional regulation. Communicating needs and feelings assertively can help navigate challenging situations without feeling overwhelmed.

Stigma Reduction and Community Support

Opioid addiction is a disease, not a moral failing. Unfortunately, a significant stigma surrounds addiction. This can create a barrier for individuals seeking opioid addiction treatment.
At AM Behavioral Health, we believe in fostering empathy, understanding, and support for individuals struggling with addiction. Addiction is a complex disease, as It can affect anyone, no matter their background or status. We can empower people to seek opioid addiction treatment by replacing judgment with compassion.

Community Support: Building a Bridge to Hope

Community support plays a vital role in destigmatizing addiction and promoting recovery.

Here’s how community support can help reduce stigma and promote opioid addiction treatment:

  • Knowledge Is Power: Learn about addiction as a disease, opioid addiction treatment options, and the positive impact of recovery.
  • Stigma Awareness: Speak up against negative stereotypes about addiction. Share accurate information and advocate for those seeking help.
  • Sharing Recovery Resources: Support organizations and programs that provide resources and support for individuals in recovery.
  • Addiction Recognition: Recognize that addiction can affect anyone. Treat people with respect and understanding, regardless of their past struggles.
By working together, we can create a more supportive and understanding environment. In it, people feel empowered to seek help for opioid addiction. With community support, we can break down the stigma and offer a brighter future for those struggling with addiction.
Opioid Addiction Treatment

Taking the First Step Toward Recovery

If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, you are not alone. There is help available, and recovery is possible.

In addition to the treatment programs at AM Behavioral Health, here are some additional resources and support services to guide you on your journey:

  • SAMHSA National Helpline: Call 1-800-662-HELP (4357). This service is free, confidential, and open 24/7. It can refer you to local opioid addiction treatment facilities, support groups, and community resources.
  • The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM): This website offers a searchable directory of addiction professionals who can provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and other evidence-based treatment approaches.
  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA): NIDA provides lots of info on opioid addiction. It covers treatment options and resources for finding help.
Support groups like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and SMART Recovery are great resources. They help those seeking help with opioid addiction. Many local treatment centers and community organizations offer support groups for those struggling with opioid addiction.

AM Behavioral Health is Here for You

At AM Behavioral Health, we understand the challenges of opioid addiction. We are committed to providing compassionate and effective opioid addiction treatment programs tailored to each individual’s needs. Our compassionate team puts each person’s needs first and is there at each step of the journey.

If you or a loved one are ready to join opioid addiction treatment, contact us today! We are happy to hear from you and we look forward to empowering you to lead the happy, healthy, and fulfilling life you deserve.