It’s no secret that the misuse of prescription pain medications in America has led to an unprecedented national crisis. In fact, millions of people have become addicted to opioids, such as Oxycodone, fentanyl, and even heroin. As a result, it’s estimated that nearly 130 people die every day from an opioid overdose, devastating families and communities across the country. If you suspect that someone you love is struggling with opioid or heroin addiction, recovery is possible. Here’s what you should know to help your loved ones get the treatment they need as quickly as possible.
What Are Opioids and Heroin?
Opioids are a class of drugs that can be found in the opium poppy plant that works in the brain to produce a variety of effects, including pain relief. Sometimes referred to as pain killers, opioids can be prescription medications, such as Vicodin, or street drugs, such as heroin. Further, heroin is one type of opioid that is made from morphine and can be injected, sniffed, snorted, or smoked. People who become addicted to prescription pain medication often switch to heroin because it’s cheaper, easier to find, and produces similar effects. Opioids of all kinds are highly addictive, especially for people who have a history of substance abuse.
How to Recognize Opioid Addiction
Recognizing opioid addiction can be challenging, particularly if the person was prescribed pain medication from a doctor. However, there are physical signs and behavioral patterns that could indicate a person may be abusing opioids. These include:
- Slow breathing
- Small pupils
- Track marks
- Mood swings
- Financial and/or legal problems
- Relationship problems
- Lastly, the inability to keep commitments
It’s also possible to identify an opioid addiction if the person begins to withdraw after not taking the medication for any period of time. Common withdrawal symptoms, include:
- Body aches
- Lastly, increased heart rate
What to Expect During Opioid and Heroin Addiction Treatment
Opioid addiction is incredibly difficult to overcome and should not be taken lightly. People with an opioid addiction have trained their brain to be dependent on the drug to feel normal enough to perform everyday tasks. Without the drug they’ve become dependent on, the addict will experience painful withdrawal symptoms and strong cravings to alleviate their discomfort. For this reason, addiction treatment is the only effective way for a person to regain and maintain their health and sobriety long-term.
Treatment for opioid and heroin addiction can vary widely based on each person’s unique needs and circumstances. Further, many opioid addiction treatment programs, include:
- Medical detox
- Assessments (mental, physical, and drug use history)
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Mental health services
- Group therapy
- 12-step meetings
- Family support groups
- Educational workshops
- Lastly, post-rehab planning
Recovery is an incredibly personal process, and as such will look different for each person based on their particular needs, circumstances, and challenges. What works well for one person may not be effective for another. Because of this, effective treatment plans should be personalized to each person with opioid addiction. Further, common opioid addiction treatment options include:
- Inpatient: around-the-clock medical and psychological care
- High-Intensity Outpatient Program: 20+ hours of programming for at least four days per week
- Intensive Outpatient Program: ~12 hours of programming per week
- Continuing Care: 1-4 hours of programming per week
The length of time that a person struggling with opioid or heroin addiction will be in an addiction treatment program will depend heavily on their specific situation. While many patients begin by seeking out 30, 60, or 90-day treatment options, it’s important for people with opioid addictions to actively participate in some type of recovery program during the first 18 months of recovery. Indeed, this is to prevent relapse and establish a healthy foundation to live a drug-free life.
Help Is Here for an Opioid and Heroin Addiction
Watching a loved one struggle with opioid addiction is never easy. Fortunately, you don’t have to go through it alone. The compassionate team at Fairwinds Treatment Center has the knowledge and experience to assist people in overcoming their opioid addiction. Thus, contact us today to learn what steps you can take to help the person you love to regain their health, freedom, and quality of life by breaking away from opioid addiction.