Opioid addiction is a disorder that leads to compulsive drug seeking behaviors and a loss of control over drug use. Although it is not the mainstay of recovery, detox is one of the most crucial steps to overcome and most people need help through the process.
About Opioid Addiction Research
We now know quite a bit about the neuroscience of addiction and how opioid use affects certain neural circuits in the brain to mediate the effects of the drugs by binding to certain receptors. We know that opioid use directly affects the “reward circuit” of the brain, increases dopamine levels, reinforces repeat behaviors of use, and that specific changes in the brain are associated with withdrawal, sensitization, and dependency.
Who Needs Treatment Help with Opiate Detox Recovery
A person needs treatment help with opiate detox recovery when:
- They have psychological issues due to their opiate use such as problems with cognitive functioning, behavioral issues, or other mental health issues including anxiety, depression, or mood swings.
- They experience physical withdrawals from opiate use. Safety is a concern and it is possible that symptoms of withdrawal can lead to other unexpected complications.
- Failed attempts to quit are not successful. Even the most motivated individuals and those that have been in remission from opiate use may have a history of relapse and each time they fail, it gets harder to go through the detox process again.
- Physical impairments or medical issues such as Hepatitis C, AID’s, or HIV are co-occurring. Medical complications require medical supervision to reduce further health risks.
- Overwhelming cravings lead to compulsive use despite negative consequences. These cravings can be mitigated with medically assisted therapy if necessary.
Medically Assisted Detox
Through other studies, research has shown that certain drugs, along with psychotherapy interventions have proven to be an effective detox treatment approach for many opioid addicts.
A medically assisted detox involves weaning the addict off of opiate drugs by using a substitute drug such as buprenorphine or methadone. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse “Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of addiction treatment and by itself does little to change long-term drug abuse.”
How Treatment Helps with Opiate Detox Recovery
Managing withdrawal symptoms whether physical or psychological can keep the addict engaged in the detox process. Withdrawal symptoms can be painful and the addict may have symptoms such as nausea, fever, chills, muscle aches, vomiting, diarrhea, agitation, restlessness, anxiety, depression, or insomnia which can be reduced or alleviated with medications under the careful watch of medical personnel and professional staff. With the support of doctors, counselors and other clinicians, the person can undergo the process in safety and should unexpected complications arise, they can be immediately attended to by experienced professionals.