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Opioid Addiction Treatment: Signs & Symptoms

Do you think you or a loved one may have an addiction to opioids?
Opioid addiction is a serious problem in the United States. It can lead to opioid misuse
and opioid dependence, which are both dangerous conditions that require professional
help. Fortunately, there are effective treatments for opioid addiction available today.
You deserve to live your life free of opioid abuse and dependence – but you don’t have
to do it alone! We’re here with information on how to get started on your path towards
recovery today.

Keep reading to learn more.

What are opioids?

Opioids are a type of medication that occur naturally in the opium poppy plant and work
in the brain to produce a variety of effects, including pain alleviation with many of them.
Opioids are powerful pain relievers that can be administered as prescription
medications or illicit drugs such as heroin.
Prescription opioids are drugs that are used to block pain signals in the brain and body.
They’re generally given to people who have moderate to severe discomfort due to
persistent or acute pain. In addition to reducing pain, some individuals report feeling
calm, joyful, “high,” or sedated when taking opioids, and they can be addicting.

Treatment Options
Below are some of the recognized and approved treatment options for opioid addiction.

1. Effective Medications are Available

There are plenty of opioid medications out there right now that are able to reduce opioid
withdrawal symptoms and opioid cravings. These medications include buprenorphine,
methadone , naltrexone , lofexidine, clonidine for opioid withdrawal symptoms, and
opioid maintenance medications such as methadone or buprenorphine.
Suboxone: Suboxone contains a combination of buprenorphine and naloxone.
Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that blocks the
effects of opioids in the brain by blocking mu opioid receptors. It has no overdose
potential alone unless combined with benzodiazepines (i.e. Xanax). Naloxone works by
blocking the effects of opioid drugs, including pain alleviation and euphoria that can lead
to addiction. Naloxone is only included in Suboxone to prevent IV abuse of Suboxone.

It has no active properties or effect when taken sublingually. It only has an effect when
Suboxone is abused and taken intravenously and then it blocks the high associated with
taking Suboxone this way. Naloxone will rapidly reduce opioid withdrawal symptoms.

However, it has no opioid-like effects itself and has no potential for abuse. If taken as
prescribed, this medication does not have a high potential for misuse or addiction.
Therefore, naloxone does not interfere with the use of opioid treatment medications.
Methadone: Methadone is a synthetic full opioid agonist vs Suboxone which is a partial
opioid agonist and it activates opioid mu receptors in the brain, including those which
other opioids such as heroin, morphine, and opioid pain medications target. It activates
opioid receptors at a slower rate than other opioids and, in an opioid-addicted person,
treatment dosages do not create euphoria. It can cause an overdose by itself since it is
a full opioid agonist.

Vivitrol: Vivitrol (naltrexone) blocks the effects of opioids. medication (DELETE
medication), including pain relief or feelings of well-being that can lead to opioid abuse.
An opioid is sometimes called a narcotic. Vivitrol is used as part of a treatment program
for drug or alcohol dependence and is taken as an injection. It is not a cure for opioid

2. Counseling and Behavioral Therapies for
Opioid Addiction Treatment

Long-term maintenance therapy that incorporates medicines, as well as some sort of
counseling or behavioral therapy, is more likely to help you overcome narcotic addiction.
This is referred to as medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

  • Any personal or social issues that may be causing or
    aggravating addiction might be addressed by professional
    counseling. These are some of the topics covered:
  • Your feelings of self-worth
  • Problems at work or home
  • People around you who use drugs or alcohol
    Your treatment program may involve one or more of these:
  • Contingency management uses incentives or rewards to help
    you meet goals such as sticking with medications or attending
  • Motivational interviewing helps you identify reasons why you
    might not want to change your behavior.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) shows you why you might be
    using drugs, builds your belief that you can address your
    problems, and teaches you to cope with struggles more
  • Family therapy brings in people who care about you to
    strengthen your treatment.
  • 12-step groups involve defined goals such as attending meetings
    or getting a sponsor.
  • Support groups introduce you to people who know from
    experience what you’re going through. They can offer their own
    tips for recovery and help you deal with any setbacks.


3. Residential Treatment

With residential treatment programs, you live with people who are in similar situations
and support each other through recovery. Some residential treatment programs offer
Suboxone (MAT) therapy during your stay and some do not. Most residential programs
last approximately 30 days. Some hospitals also offer inpatient programs for people
who have medical conditions. These are usually “detox programs” that detox the patient
off of alcohol, opioids, or benzodiazepines and usually last approximately 7 days. These
treatments include several kinds of counseling or behavioral therapy as well as

4. Family Therapy

Family therapy might assist families with a member or members who are addicted, but it
is particularly beneficial for teens with substance abuse issues.
The basic technique focuses on the family as a whole in terms of its structure, function,
and dynamics. Therapeutic concern is not limited to the individual who uses a
substance; rather, the use of substances by relatives is interpreted as “symptoms” of an
overall “disease” in the family.
When a person addicted to opioids’ behavior begins to harm their loved ones, children,
or parents, family therapy might be beneficial. Occasionally, hearing from one’s loved
ones about their own experiences may encourage someone dealing with substance use
to modify his or her methods.
Family counseling may also assist family members in supporting the individual who
wants to stop taking opioids, as well as educate each member about how they might
have unintentionally aided in past difficulties.
What are opioid misuse and
Opioid addiction is an illness that develops when you misuse prescription drugs, use
them to get high, or steal them from others. Addiction is a chronic brain disease that
drives you to compulsively seek out harmful substances despite the fact that they are

Addressing Myths About Medications

Methadone and buprenorphine are not interchangeable for each other in terms of
addiction. The amount of medication administered to someone suffering from an opioid
addiction does not make them high—rather, it aids in the reduction of opioid cravings
and withdrawal. These medicines repair damaged brain circuits associated with
addiction, allowing the brain to heal while the patient works toward recovery.
Buprenorphine diversion is unusual; when it does, it is typically employed to treat
withdrawal symptoms. In 2014, only 0.5 percent of all diverted prescription medications
were buprenorphine; in the U.S., diversion of oxycodone and hydrocodone opioids is far
more common.

Opioid Addiction Symptoms

Opioid addiction affects various areas of your brain. The circuits that control mood and
pleasure behavior are affected by prescription drug dependence.
Furthermore, long-term opioid usage has an effect on virtually all of your body’s
systems. When you stop taking opioids, you are likely to experience opiate withdrawal
symptoms, which include:

  • Craving for drugs
  • Diarrhea
  • Large pupils
  • Yawning
  • Belly pain
  • Chills and goosebumps (the origin of the phrase “cold turkey”)
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Body aches
  • Agitation and severe bad moods


You may be familiar with the difficulties of battling an opioid (also known as a narcotic)
addiction. A list of these symptoms does not adequately express how awful it is to
experience them. It’s really unpleasant, and you’ll do almost anything to get rid of it.
Opioid withdrawal takes days to weeks, depending on the type of opioid you were using,
how long you used it for, and how much. It is determined by which drug you took, how
long you took it for, and how much.

What is the difference between drug
tolerance, dependence, and

Opioid tolerance and dependence are common outcomes of long-term opioid use. You
may be tolerant to, or dependent on, a drug without yet being addicted to it. Almost all
people on controlled substances develop dependence, meaning your body is dependent
on the medication. If the medication is taken away it can cause withdrawal symptoms.
Tolerance can develop meaning your body has become tolerant to the medication and
the medication no longer has the same effect as it once did. Frequently, a higher dose
of the substance is then used to get the same effect.

The definition of addiction is when use of the substance negatively interferes in one’s life. If someone is on a controlled
substance and it has no negative impact on their life, it is not considered an addiction.
While addiction is not uncommon, it is a disease. You are addicted to a substance if it
appears that your body or mind can function properly without it (DELETE THIS
SENTENCE). When you become addicted, you develop an overwhelming desire to
obtain the drug, despite harmful consequences of drug use.


Opioid addiction is a difficult thing to deal with, but it’s not impossible.
Opioid addiction can be treated and managed through medication.
Opioid addiction treatment is available for those who need it. Medications are not widely
used because of misconceptions about them, but they work and should be considered
as an option when looking at opioid addiction treatment options.

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