Opiate Dependency

Treating Opiate Dependency

No matter how badly someone wants to quit using opiates, getting free from opiate dependence will take much more than willpower alone.  As the drug epidemic in the U.S. continues to ratchet up, addiction programs strive to meet the demand and provide various treatment measures that will offer hope.  

Since 2013 there has been a rapid increase in overdose deaths related to opiates and prescription opioids, with fentanyl presenting the most recent spike in deaths.  In fact, in 2016 alone, a total of 35,000 Americans lost their lives due to opioids, including heroin, fentanyl and prescription analgesics, according to statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Thankfully, new pharmaceutical interventions continue to enter the addiction recovery landscape, known as medication-assisted treatment.  This involves using certain drugs that help curb intense drug cravings that can lead to relapse as an adjunct treatment measure to psychotherapy and peer-based recovery support groups.  This has been shown to increase the effects of treatment and improve the overall recovery outcome.

What is Opiate Dependence?

Becoming chemically dependent on opiate drugs takes very little time.  It is estimated that a person can become dependent on heroin or prescription painkillers in as little as two weeks.  Addiction sets in quickly as the body becomes dependent on the chemicals the drug produces in the brain and struggles to function normally without the drug, inducing withdrawal symptoms.   Opiates spark the dopamine pathways of the brain, the neurotransmitter that regulates the brain’s reward and pleasure responses.

There are warning signs that someone may be abusing opiates.  As dependence to the drug deepens, serious long-term symptoms emerge.  Symptoms of opiate dependence can possibly include:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Constricted pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Constipation
  • Nodding off or losing consciousness
  • Euphoria
  • Social withdrawal
  • Financial problems
  • Doctor shopping
  • Mood swings
  • Compromised immune system
  • Localized abscesses or systemic infection due to injection of drugs
  • Bowel perforation
  • Significant respiratory distress

Treatment for Individuals Chemically Dependent on Opiates

Getting professional help for an opiate addiction at an inpatient treatment program for a minimum of 3 months is the appropriate level of treatment intervention.  Overcoming opiate dependence takes a certain length of time as well as much patience and commitment by the individual.

Treatment for an opiate addiction will involve a combination of therapeutic elements that is defined in a customized treatment plan.  The plan is created based on the history of the addiction, the severity of the addiction, whether there is a co-occurring mental health disorder, the client’s age, and the client’s general health.  Generally, treatment for opiate dependence includes psychotherapy, both individual sessions and group sessions, family therapy, 12-step programming, recovery support involvement, and adjunct therapies such as biofeedback, neurofeedback, mindfulness training, yoga and meditation, and other holistic activities.

New Drugs For Treating Opiate Dependence

Recently, some new medications have come to market that compliment the traditional methods of addiction treatment in what is referred to as medication-assisted treatment, or MAT.  The new drug, Zubsolv, combines buprenorphine and naloxone. Another new drug, Probuphine, is buprenorphine in an implant form, which delivers a constant low-dose of the drug for a six-month period.   In addition, another drug, lofexidine hydrochloride, is the first non-narcotic, therefore non-addictive drug in the MAT family that suppresses the release of adrenaline, which reduces withdrawal symptoms but not drug cravings.

Other drugs that are used in MAT include naltrexone, and opiate receptor antagonist that blocks the effects of opioids.  Naltrexone can help diminish the individual’s desire to use opioids as a result, but cannot reduce drug cravings themselves.

Also, Suboxone, a sublingual narcotic comprised of buprenorphine and naloxone, acts as a partial opioid agonist that can reduce the opioid’s effect.

Capo By the Sea Offers Medication Assisted Treatment for Opiate Dependence

Capo By the Sea is a luxury inpatient treatment program located in the coastal communities of Southern California.  Capo By the Sea specializes in treating opiate dependence and uses MAT as part of the addiction treatment plan when warranted.  Capo By the Sea features a beautiful treatment setting, premium accommodations, as well as highly trained addiction professionals who will design a custom treatment plan for each individual client.  For more information about the program, please contact Capo By the Sea today at (888) 529-2114