Opioid addiction is one of the most painful and important crises facing our society today. It comes as no surprise that people from every walk of life, financial status or education background fall prey to these powerful substances. At New Life Medical Addiction Services, our Board-Certified doctors and clinicians specialize in opioid addiction treatment and do so with a state-of-the-art outpatient approach.
Opioids are a type of drug that are derived from the opium poppy. These flowers produce a substance that is used to create a range of potent drugs that have the power to relieve pain, but which is also have a high potential for causing addiction in the people who use them. Drugs in the opioid class include strong prescription pain medicines, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, tramadol and fentanyl. Illegal drugs that are derived from poppies include heroin and opium.
There are many situations where an opioid-based prescription drug can be helpful. Since opioids are powerful pain relievers, health care providers will often prescribe them for pain after someone has undergone surgery or had a major injury. They are also prescribed for people who suffer from chronic pain that cannot be addressed through physical therapy or other non-drug means.
Although opioids that are prescribed for pain relief are usually safe when taken for short time periods of time, their very nature as highly addictive substances means that opioid misuse and addiction are potential risk for those who take them.
What Is Opioid Addiction?
Opioid addiction is becoming increasingly common in society today. Many people, especially those who have been prescribed opioids to deal with pain from surgery or other chronic pain issues, get hooked simply from the duration of using these potent substances. This usually means that the patient has not taken these medicines according to their provider’s instructions, which are designed to prevent misuse. Alternatively, some people intentionally misuse opioids to get high. Eventually, true addiction is the result of opioid misuse and causes the patient to compulsively seek out drugs even though they result in great harm.
It is a very insidious cycle. The opioids that are prescribed to help a person deal with great pain then become the source of even more distress as opioid addiction sets in.
Opioid Addiction Treatments
New Life Medical Addiction Services specializes in treating addiction to opioids and other addictive substances. After we perform a full evaluation on someone who comes to us seeking help, we will start treatment, usually within 24 hours of them contacting us.
Our treatments for opioid misuse and addiction include medication assisted treatment (MAT) using the FDA-approved medications buprenorphine and naltrexone and their derivatives. These medications are effective at blocking or reducing the cravings for opioids.
New Life also employs counseling and behavioral therapies in the pursuit of the “whole patient” approach to treatment, which increase the chances of a successful and sustained recovery.
Medicines That Treat Opioid Addiction and Misuse
The medicines that New Life uses to treat opioid misuse and addiction are buprenorphine, and naltrexone.
Buprenorphine can decrease withdrawal symptoms and cravings for opioids and works by acting on the same targets in the brain as other opioids without making a person feel high. Some people worry that if they take buprenorphine, it means that they are substituting one addiction for another. But it is not; these medicines are a treatment. They restore balance to the parts of the brain affected by addiction, and this allows your brain to heal while you work toward recovery.
There is also a combination drug that includes buprenorphine and naloxone. Naloxone is a drug to treat an opioid overdose. If a patient takes it along with buprenorphine, they become less likely to misuse the buprenorphine.
Patients can safely take these medicines for months, years, or even a lifetime. However, if someone wants to stop taking them, they must do it under a physician’s care and guidance.
Naltrexone works in a different way from buprenorphine. While it does not reduce cravings for opioids or withdrawal symptoms, it takes away the high that a patient gets when they take opioids. As a result, naltrexone is highly effective in preventing a relapse. One caveat is that patients need to be off opioids for at least 7-10 days before they can take naltrexone. Otherwise, bad withdrawal symptoms are a possibility
Counseling for Opioid Misuse and Addiction
New Life has licensed certified mental health specialists and licensed certified drug and alcohol councilors on staff to provide counseling to our patients in recovery. These trained professionals are skilled at helping people better understand the root causes of their addictions and to help them stick with their recovery by changing their attitudes and behaviors towards drug use and by helping them adopt healthy life skills.
The kinds of counseling that New Life offers includes:
- Individual counseling, which can include discussing the problems and stresses which could have been the trigger for the opioid misuse. It can also include setting goals, talking about setbacks, and celebrating the progress a patient has made in the path to recovery.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps our patients recognize the negative patterns of thinking and behavior which lead to their addiction and reveals ways to change that behavior. It also provides the kind of coping skills that helps our patients manage stress and change the thoughts that cause them to want to misuse opioids.
- Group counseling, which gives our patients a chance to learn about the difficulties and challenges others are having and to illuminate strategies for dealing with the situations they may come across.
- Family counseling, which includes partners or spouses and other family members who are close to the patient. Family counseling can be a critical step in the healing process when bad or disruptive behavior has damaged family relationships.
- Peer coaching where staff members who have had their own problems with alcoholism and alcohol abuse can provide insight through their own experiences.
You don’t need to be sentenced to life with opioid addiction.
We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to assist in your recovery.