Opiate addictions can be devastating, not only for you but for your entire family. Opiates are used to treat pain, but they can also produce a sense of euphoria, which makes them potentially addictive if they are used over a long period of time. What may have started with a need for pain pills after surgery or an attempt to treat chronic pain could quickly turn into an addiction for some people. So what do you do if you find yourself in this situation?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), over 1,000 people are treated each day in the United States for opiate related causes. Of these, more than 40 people die each day from the devastating problem of prescription opioid addiction.
The first step to breaking the cycle of addiction is to talk a trusted professional. Whether it is your OB, pediatrician, or primary care physician, your doctor will be able to guide you to a treatment program.
If you have been on opiates for a long period of time, you will likely need help with detoxification. Symptoms of withdrawal may include muscle aches, bone pain, restlessness and difficulty sleeping, vomiting and diarrhea, not to mention the depressive psychological effects. Rehab centers can provide the physical and psychological support a person needs when going through withdrawal.
Medically assisted detoxification in an inpatient facility is often necessary. Rehab programs may use drugs such as methadone, buprenorphine, or suboxone (Subutex) as a substitute to wean the body from the opiates. Unfortunately, these drugs that are intended to wean people off opiates can become addictive as well, leading to further abuse.
New drugs have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to help with opiate addiction. Zubsolve is a dissolvable tablet that combines two popular drugs into one, decreasing the possibility that it can on its own be abused. Sublocade is an injectable medication given once a month by a medical professional that is slowly released into the bloodstream. Probuphine is a medication that is delivered by an implantable device that provides a constant low-level dose for 6 months.
Rehab programs also focus on rebuilding the whole person by using individual and family therapy, as well as emphasizing life skills and recovery maintenance.
Reviewed by Dr. Kristie Rivers, September 2020
- Opioids are used to control pain.
- Use over a long period of time can result in addiction.
- If you are worried, talk to your doctor.
- Treatment is often medically supervised as you are weaned from opioids.