The first step toward a life free from opiates is to admit to yourself and others that you have a problem. If you aren’t sure who to talk to, this first step can be one of the hardest.
How Opiates Work
Opiates rewire neural pathways in the brain by binding to special receptors and blocking certain signals in the central nervous system that manage pain as well as anxiety. The user experiences a euphoria that affects the reward center in the mind, creating strong cravings and cementing the behaviors that led to the high. This established and reinforces the physical and psychological addictions associated with opiate use. When opiates are present, the brain stops creating its own natural “feel good” chemicals and relies on the drug to feel normal. Regardless of whether the user was taking prescription pain medications or illegal drugs, this kind of addiction is serious and even life threatening. Signs of opiate addiction include the following:
- Preoccupation with finding and consuming opiates
- Dishonestly in obtaining or about using opiates
- Pain or other physical discomfort when not taking opiates
- Anxiety about quitting
- Significant mood swings
- Change in activity levels
- Continued use despite negative health, financial, relational or legal side effects
If you are concerned about your use of opiates, talk to someone today.
How Opiate Addiction Recovery Works
Many opiate users try to quit on their own and do not succeed. When faced with the often brutal withdrawal symptoms combined with the intense cravings generated by the psychological aspects of their addiction, users feel powerless to help themselves. Many users will abandon their attempt at sobriety, feeling that recovery is beyond their reach. It is in these desperate times that an opiate addict should not rely on their own mind but should seek the wisdom and care of others. Recovery is possible with the right help.
The first phase of recovery is detox. During this time, the substance in question is allowed to leave the user’s body, and the user will experience withdrawal symptoms. Many of the most successful centers offer medically supervised detox services wherein they can alleviate the most severe symptoms. Detox can take anywhere from a couple of days to multiple weeks. As detox winds down, the patient must shift focus to the more psychologically exhausting process of rehabilitation. It is during this time that they will rewire their mind, correcting the habits and fixations created during opiate addiction. The most successful rehab programs will include the following:
- Group and individual counseling
- Dual Diagnosis treatment to identity any co-occurring disorders
- 12-step programs
- Spiritual care
- Formation of healthy, caring relationships with fellow strugglers
- Education about opiate addiction, how it occurs and what needs to change in the future
Want to Talk about Opiate Addiction?
Many opiate users turn to spiritual leaders, teachers, friends or family members for help. If you are not ready to talk to these individuals or if you are the friend or loved one of an opiate addict, our specially trained addiction experts are standing by to talk with you 24 hours a day. Our toll-free helpline is always open. Make the call today and find someone to talk to.