Opioid Recovery Treatment
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Opioid use is an epidemic across the United States. In 2020 alone, more than 68,630 Americans experienced an overdose death related to any opioid. This significant increase in overdose deaths from the previous years shows how opioids continue to affect America.
When opioids were first introduced in the U.S., the pharmaceutical industry claimed that this new drug was a non-addictive pain reliever. Physicians began to prescribe opioids at a high rate for pain. Opioids have later been proved to be a high risk for addiction even when taking the medication as prescribed.
What are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drugs that include synthetic, semi-synthetic, or natural chemicals that interact with opioid receptors in the brain and body. Opioids can potentially reduce pain and increase pleasure. Opioids are commonly abused, and addiction is a risk factor with continued use.
The naturally occurring kind of opioid is referred to as an opiate. Semi-synthetic opioids are made from naturally occurring opiates but are produced in a lab. Synthetic opioids are made entirely in a lab and were developed by pharmaceutical companies to help treat pain.
What is Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)?
Opioid use disorder (OUD) affected 2.7 million Americans aged 12 or older in 2020. OUD occurs as a long-term opioid user continues using and abusing those substances. It includes an overpowering urge to consume opioids that can become all-consuming.
Over time, opioid use disorder has increased tolerance when consuming opioid substances. The user will have to consume increasingly larger quantities to get the same “high.” Furthermore, when opioid use is discontinued, people suffering from opioid use disorder will show withdrawal symptoms
Signs of Opioid Abuse
Signs of opioid abuse can manifest differently depending on how long use has been occurring and which specific opioid is ingested. Regular use of opioids can lead to dependence and when misused can lead to addiction. Whether the opioid was initially prescribed by a doctor or not does not matter with developing an addiction because of the euphoria produced by this type of drug.
Loss of Control
Opioid use disorder is commonly associated with the loss of control over the use and frequency of use of opioids. Faking pain or injury can occur in order to receive a prescription for opioids. Reporting lost, or stolen medication can occur to get prescription opioids refilled early.
Opioid use can increase dramatically over time leading to difficulties getting prescription refills before withdrawal symptoms persist. Withdrawal symptoms from opioids can include nausea, vomiting, sweating, difficulties sleeping, muscle pain, headache, and high blood pressure. Increasing levels of opioids may be needed to achieve the same high.
Suffering from heavy cravings or becoming preoccupied with getting more drugs can occur with opioid use disorder. Increasing requests for pain medication despite a lack of progression in symptoms is common with OUD. Claiming increased pain even though no progression of disease or injury is noted in scans and tests. Ignoring non-medication options that can help with achieving pain relief may be common with this disorder.
Continuing Use Despite Consequences
Negative consequences of opioid use are expected when opioids are abused frequently or when addiction develops. These consequences include decreased overall activity levels, relationship challenges, or difficulty with everyday function.
Opioids can cause feelings of sedation, whether it is a prescription or illegal substance. Side effects of opioid consumption occur after repeated and continued use. Continuing use of opioids despite the symptoms and challenges faced is a sign of addiction.
Dsm-V Criteria for Opioid Use Disorder
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-V) lays out several clear criteria for the diagnosis of opioid use disorder. To diagnose opioid use disorder, several of these symptoms may need to apply.
DSM-V criteria for opioid use disorder include:
When two to three symptoms are present, a mild opioid disorder may be diagnosed. Moderate opioid disorder may be diagnosed when four to five symptoms are present. Six or more symptoms can result in a severe opioid use disorder diagnosis.
Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Treatment for opioid use disorder is often multifaceted. A customized treatment plan can be developed based on which opioid is being abused and diagnosis severity. Therapy and holistic methods are commonly used in addiction recovery programs for all types of drug addiction, including opioids. Medication can be used on an as-needed basis.
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
A common type of evidence-based therapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), often called the gold standard for addiction treatment. CBT is based on the theory that thinking, behaviors, and emotions are all connected. By changing one of these, all can change.
CBT includes further education about managing opioid use disorder and avoiding potential relapse after discontinuing substance use. Skills are taught in group or individual therapy to find long-lasting recovery from opioid addiction.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved three medications that can be used to help treat opioid addiction. Methadone helps prevent withdrawal symptoms and may help reduce cravings. However, it does not create the “high” many patients associate with opioid use. Buprenorphine helps block the effects of opioids, which can help prevent the high that usually accompanies substance use.
Naltrexone, on the other hand, helps block the effects of opioids, which helps prevent the high. Naltrexone can be given in pill or injection form. Medication-assisted treatment can offer several advantages because it can help reduce the impact of withdrawal and make it easier to deal with those symptoms.
Opioid Addiction Treatment in San Diego, CA
Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a common struggle throughout the United States that can lead to overdose and difficulties with daily functioning. Therapy can be provided as treatment for OUD and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) as needed.
If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid addiction, reach out to Pacific Palms Recovery in Oceanside, Ca. Our team can answer any questions you may have and give you a better understanding of our outpatient addiction program. Treatment plans can be customized to fit individual needs and specific diagnoses.
Pacific Palms Recovery is a certified outpatient Alcohol and Drug Treatment Program. Our outpatient drug rehab is located in San Diego County, California. Pacific Palms Recovery implements a comprehensive clinical and holistic approach to treating drug addiction and alcohol abuse.