Opioid addiction has become one of the most pressing public health issues facing the UK today. According to recent statistics, opioids are responsible for nearly half of all deaths involving drugs, indicating just how widespread this crisis has become. Despite this alarming trend, there are still many misconceptions about opioid addiction and how to treat it effectively. Many people fail to recognise that addiction is a chronic medical condition that requires long-term treatment, rather than simply a moral failing or character flaw. Attending opioid rehab is vital if you feel like your opioid use is getting out of control.
How does opioid addiction develop?
Opioids are a class of powerful pain medications derived from the opium poppy plant. Their analgesic properties work by suppressing the influence of the neurotransmitter GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). This produces the pain-relieving effects opioids are known for, as well as feelings of euphoria and pleasure.
With the continued use of opioids, a chemical imbalance will eventually ensue, causing dramatic changes in the brain’s functioning. Once you reach this point and become physically and psychologically dependent on opioids, it is very difficult to break free without professional help. This pattern can be seen in both illicit opioids and prescription drug addiction.
Among those who are most at risk of developing an opioid addiction are young people, especially those who have already had difficult experiences or traumatic events early in life. Factors such as poverty, family conflict, stressful living conditions and social isolation can all contribute towards the development of opioid addiction. Individuals suffering from mental health issues such as depression or anxiety are more likely to develop an addiction as they may take opioids as a way to self-medicate.
Those who have been prescribed an opioid for legitimate medical purposes are also at risk of developing an opioid addiction. As a result, you should only take opioids as prescribed by your doctor, and never for longer than necessary.
Am I addicted to opioids?
Signs that you or a loved one are addicted to opioids may include mood changes, such as becoming depressed or irritable, unusual sleep patterns, changes in appetite or physical symptoms such as nausea, vomiting or abdominal pain.
If you are unsure whether you are addicted to opioids, or whether your opioid use warrants treatment, take some time to answer the questions below:
- Do you find yourself needing higher or more frequent doses of opioids in order to achieve the same effects?
- Do you visit multiple doctors or exaggerate symptoms in order to acquire more opioids?
- Do you use opioids outside of the ways prescribed by a doctor?
- Do you find yourself taking opioids “just in case” you experience pain?
- Do you experience any physical side effects if you try to stop taking opioids, such as nausea or vomiting?
- Are you neglecting work or other obligations in favour of using opioids?
- Do you feel like you are unable to stop taking opioids even if you want to?
- Have friends or family members expressed concerns about your opioid use?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it is likely that you are struggling with an opioid addiction and should seek professional help right away.
Taking the first step and admitting you have a problem can be extremely tough and many people will deny or try to hide their drug misuse for a long time. However, this is not an issue that will go away on its own so it is important to recognise the signs and symptoms of opioid addiction and take steps to get the appropriate help. With the right treatment and support system in place, it is possible to recover and move on to lead a healthy and fulfilling life.
Opioid detox and withdrawal
Opioid detox, or detoxification, is the first step in the recovery process for individuals struggling with opioid addiction. During opioid detox, the body rids itself of toxic substances and begins to heal from the damage done by opioids.
As your body and brain readjust to life without these drugs, there are a number of opioid withdrawal symptoms that may occur during this time. These can include:
- Muscle aches and pains
- Runny eyes and nose
- Excessive sweating
- Excessive yawning
- Abdominal cramps
- Nausea and vomiting
- Elevated heart rate
- High blood pressure
At Liberty House, you will be closely monitored by our medical team throughout detox and withdrawal. They will come up with a withdrawal plan that may involve tapering your opioid doses or substituting them with an alternative medication to ensure minimal withdrawal symptoms.
Opioid detox timeline
How long opioid detox lasts depends on a variety of factors, including the severity of the addiction, the length of abuse and other health conditions that may be present. The type of opioid you are withdrawing from will also have an impact on the detox timeline.
Short-acting opioids like codeine will see withdrawal symptoms appear within the first eight to twelve hours. These symptoms will peak during days one to three, and gradually subside over the course of a week.
On the other hand, withdrawal symptoms for long-acting opioids like methadone will usually appear within thirty-six hours after your last use and can continue for two weeks.
Opioid addiction treatment
Opioid addiction is a serious and complex issue that requires advanced treatment strategies in order to be effectively managed. One such approach is inpatient rehab, which allows patients to focus completely on their recovery without the distractions or temptations that often come with living at home. This facilitates a deeper exploration of past trauma and other underlying causes of opioid addiction.
Liberty House provides a comprehensive range of addiction therapies designed to help people struggling with opioid addiction begin the process of healing. Some of our therapies include:
- Dialectical behaviour therapy (DBT): helps you to manage stress and regulate emotions in a healthier way, without the need to turn to opiates.
- 12-step programme: allows you to work through the 12-step approach to opioid addiction recovery, a tried and tested method against addictions.
- Group therapy: provides support and connection with others going through similar experiences surrounding opioids and other substances.
- Relapse prevention: helps you to develop effective techniques to avoid relapsing to opioids once you leave rehab.
- Family/social interventions: gives you the opportunity to repair relationships damaged by opioid addiction.
With rehab treatment, you can foster a healthier way of living, begin your journey towards recovery and start enjoying life again. You will finally be able to live a life free from opioids and the harm that they cause.
Tips for a successful opioid rehab
When undergoing opioid rehab, there are a few key things you can do to increase your chances of success. First and foremost, it is crucial to seek out qualified and experienced opioid treatment professionals who have experience working with people struggling with opioid dependence.
Here are our top tips to ensure a beneficial opioid rehab experience:
- Stay focused and committed throughout the entire process. This means staying in treatment for the entire programme, even if you have already noticed some improvements.
- Get involved. Talking during therapy and listening to others’ stories on opioid addiction is tremendously helpful and allows you to get the most out of every session.
- Take advantage of every aspect of treatment. Throughout your time in opioid rehab, you will have access to a wide range of therapies and activities. Even if something doesn’t appeal to you at first glance, give it a try – you might find it helps more than you think.
- Build a support network. Whether it is through support groups or close friends and family, having people you can rely on is key to a successful opioid recovery.
- Don’t give up. Opioid recovery will not be smooth sailing – every day will present different challenges that you must overcome. It is important to remember your end goal and focus on how far you have come.
By maintaining an open and honest dialogue with your treatment team and focusing on these key areas, you can improve the likelihood of a successful opioid rehab experience and make lasting strides in overcoming opioid addiction.
The benefits of opioid rehab
Opioid addiction is a serious issue that affects people of all ages and backgrounds, with devastating effects on individuals and communities alike. Fortunately, opioid rehab has been shown to deliver a wide range of benefits for those who complete an intensive treatment programme.
Liberty House offers a comprehensive approach to care, treating not just the physical symptoms of opioid use disorder but also the psychological and social factors that may be contributing to your substance abuse. This holistic approach helps our clients achieve internal healing as well as increased stability in their home life and social relationships. What’s more, therapies offered through rehab can help you to address co-occurring mental illnesses like anxiety or depression and learn coping strategies that can be used outside of treatment.
These positive outcomes are reflected in our clients who experience significant improvements in their physical health and marked improvements in mental health, including enhanced emotional stability and reduced stress levels. Overall, these effective methods make opioid rehab an important tool for navigating the pathways to long-term recovery.
What opiate addictions does Liberty House treat?
Liberty House is experienced in dealing with all types of opioid addictions, from illegal substances to prescription medications. Some of the opioid addictions we commonly treat include:
Codeine is a powerful opiate medication that is typically used to relieve pain or suppress coughing. Although this drug can be extremely effective when used as directed, it also carries a high risk of addiction for many people.
Fentanyl is often prescribed for the management of severe pain, however, it is also commonly diverted for illicit use, often mixed with other drugs like heroin or cocaine without the user’s knowledge.
Methadone is primarily used as a treatment option for individuals who are suffering from addiction to other opioids, such as heroin. While methadone can be highly effective in managing opioid addictions, it does have the potential for abuse and dependence as well.
Morphine is a powerful analgesic that is used to treat severe pain, particularly in cases involving cancer or other serious medical conditions. However, this is also a highly addictive and dangerous drug that can cause severe harm if not used with care.
Oxycodone is a commonly prescribed opioid medication used to treat moderate to severe pain. It is also often used recreationally, with individuals quickly developing a tolerance to the drug and becoming dependent on it.
Another prescription pain medication, tramadol is also known to be highly addictive and poses significant risks when used long-term or in large quantities. Some individuals develop a dependence on the drug while trying to manage their chronic pain.
While Vicodin can be an effective tool for managing acute pain, it is also potentially addictive, and chronic use can lead to several negative side effects. Long-term use of Vicodin has been shown to increase the risk of overdose and addiction.
Buprenorphine is often used in medical settings to help people safely relinquish heroin dependency. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid so the likelihood of addiction is low. However people can still abuse the drug if they don’t follow medical guidance.
Dihydrocodeine is an opioid analgesic which is combined with caffeine and used to treat moderate to intense pain. If a person were to abuse dihydrocodeine by taking more than the instructed amount, they risk developing an addiction to the drug.