What Happens in Opium Treatment?
Opium addiction treatment is similar to the treatment of other types of opioid drug abuse issues like heroin and prescription opioid abuse. While the medications and behavioral treatments are the same for most opium addicts, you will have choices and the ability to change your treatment if one is not working.
A person can choose between inpatient treatment where they stay in the facility for a certain amount of time and outpatient treatment where they visit the facility daily, at least in the beginning, and go home afterward. Though these different facilities are meant for patients of different levels of addiction severity and need, the treatments provided at both facilities are usually fairly similar.
Some facilities are private and often more expensive while others provide the same basic treatments but fewer amenities, classes, and other more supplementary treatments in order to provide a cheaper option to those who need it. Either way, you should choose a center where you feel comfortable with your accommodations (if necessary), your doctors and nurses, and yourself while you are there.
What Happens in Opium Treatment?
In opium treatment, patients are usually given two main types of treatment: medication and behavioral therapy. According to the NIDA, “Medication and behavioral therapy, especially when combined are important elements of an overall therapeutic process.” Opium patients are often helped by this combination because medication curbs withdrawal and cravings and behavioral therapy helps patients “engage in the treatment process, modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug abuse, and increase healthy life skills.”
Typically opium treatment will consist of:
- A doctor deciding with you on a beneficial treatment program
- A series of medical tests to see that you are physically well and medical treatment if you are not
- A prescribed dosage of medication that you will may be weaned off quickly when your withdrawal symptoms disappear or that you will stay on in the long term. The most common medications used to treat opioid addiction are:
- Methadone- a synthetic opioid often used for long-term maintenance
- Buprenorphine- a partial opioid agonist often used for short-term withdrawal and addiction treatment
- Naltrexone- an opioid antagonist that does not have as high a patient tolerance rate as the other two medications
- A therapy regimen that can include one or more of the following:
- Cognitive-behavioral Therapy- “seeks to help patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations in which they are most likely to abuse drugs”
- Contingency management- helps encourage abstinence in patients by using positive reinforcement
- Family and relationship therapy- helps mend relationships that were torn apart by drug abuse
- Group therapy- allows patients to discuss their feelings with others who are currently dealing with the same issues
Often, there is also time for socializing (especially in inpatient facilities), and outpatient facilities may do random drug tests to help motivate patients from relapsing. Ideally, any type of formal drug treatment should last for at least 90 days, and opium treatment is no exception (NIDA). In this type of treatment, you will be weaned off your dependence on opium, taught new ways of fighting cravings and avoiding triggers, and given a chance to change your life for the better.