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Opioids are highly addictive substances that pose a significant problem in the United States. Each year, millions of prescriptions are issued, leading to many individuals developing an addiction even when taking the medication as prescribed. It is crucial to understand the various types of opioids, their effects, and the most prevalent methods of abuse and treatment.
At Solace Treatment Center in Los Angeles, we offer outpatient treatment services for opioid abuse and addiction. Customized treatment plans are devised in order to find the best treatment based on diagnosis and individual needs.
In the United States, there are several types of opioids commonly prescribed and abused. These include prescription painkillers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, and codeine. Additionally, there are illegal opioids like heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, which are extremely potent and dangerous.
Opioids produce powerful pain relief and a sense of euphoria by binding to specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord. However, they also depress the central nervous system, leading to side effects like drowsiness, slowed breathing, constipation, and nausea. Prolonged use can result in tolerance, meaning higher doses are required to achieve the same effect, and physical dependence, where the body relies on the drug to function normally.
Unfortunately, opioid abuse is widespread. Some individuals misuse their prescribed medication by taking higher doses than prescribed, taking it more frequently, or using it in ways other than directed (e.g., crushing pills to snort or inject). Others obtain opioids illicitly, either through illegal drug markets or by obtaining prescriptions fraudulently. The ease of accessibility and the misconception that prescription opioids are safe can contribute to their abuse.
Short-term effects of opioid abuse:
Long-term effects of opioid abuse:
Signs and symptoms of opioid abuse can vary depending on the individual and the severity of their addiction. Here are some common signs and symptoms to look out for:
Behavioral changes: Opioid abuse can lead to noticeable changes in behavior, such as increased secrecy, isolation from family and friends, and a loss of interest in activities that were previously enjoyable.
Mood swings: Individuals abusing opioids may experience frequent mood swings, ranging from euphoria during drug use to irritability, agitation, and depression when not using.
Physical symptoms: Opioid abuse can cause physical signs, including constricted or pinpoint pupils, drowsiness, slurred speech, slowed breathing, and nodding off or falling asleep at inappropriate times.
Neglected responsibilities: People struggling with opioid abuse often neglect their responsibilities at work, school, or home. They may experience a decline in performance, frequent absences, or loss of employment.
Financial issues: Opioid addiction can lead to financial difficulties due to spending excessive amounts of money on acquiring drugs. Individuals may also resort to borrowing or stealing money to support their habit.
Neglected appearance and hygiene: Those abusing opioids may exhibit a lack of concern for personal grooming and hygiene. They may have a disheveled appearance, neglect their physical health, or exhibit weight loss.
Social and relationship problems: Opioid abuse can strain relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. Increased conflicts, withdrawal from social activities, and a change in social circles may be observed.
Doctor shopping or prescription forging: Individuals seeking to maintain their opioid supply may engage in doctor shopping, visiting multiple healthcare providers to obtain prescriptions. They may also resort to forging prescriptions or obtaining opioids from illegal sources.
Drug paraphernalia: The presence of drug paraphernalia, such as pill bottles, syringes, burned spoons, or powdery residue, may indicate opioid abuse.
Withdrawal symptoms: When a person addicted to opioids abruptly stops or reduces their drug use, they may experience withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, anxiety, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.
At Solace Treatment Center, our focus is on treating the patient with a whole-body approach. An outpatient program involves spending the day at the center and staying off site at night. Treatment begins with an assessment to discover individual needs and mental health issues that may be present in addition to opioid drug addiction.
Working one on one with a licensed clinician can help address issues that lead to addiction and identify triggers for addiction. Individual therapy can give better understanding and insight in order to effectively make changes that will allow for progression in recovery. Therapeutic goals can be established as a collaborative effort between the therapist and individual.
Sharing experiences in a group therapy setting is one of the most beneficial parts of rehab. Group therapy allows for the development of social skills being supervised by a therapist. Similar experiences can be shared in order to relate and reduce feelings of lonliness.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can be seen as the golden standard of therapeutic treatment. This evidence-based psychotherpay aids the patient in identifying factors that negatively affect them, such as negative thoughts and beliefs. Most of the time, the patient is not even aware of these issues that are important contributors to their addictive behaviors.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapy that can be used to treat addictions including prescription drug addiction. DBT teaches four new skill strategies in order to fight addiction and develop a new way of life. When one replaces negative behaviors with coping mechanisms, they have a stronger chance at avoiding relapse into their addiction.
Experiential therapy can be used to incorporate recreational activities and discover new hobbies. These new activities can give new or renewed interests that were once enjoyed before addiction. Yoga, hiking, art therapy, and meditation are introduced to help with balancing body and soul.
Addiction often includes isolation and a reduced interest in physical condition. When starting an exercise routine, physical health can improve rapidly to levels that were obtained before addiction. Creating new lifestyle habits that involve a physical exercise routine can improve physical and mental health.
Opioid addiction has become a widespread problem throughout the United States. This kind of addiction can lead to consequences with physical health, relationships, and mental health. Getting treatment for opioid addiction can help with finding recovery and gaining a better quality of life.
If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid addiction, reach out to Solace Treatment Center today. Our team can answer any questions you may have and give you a better understanding of our outpatient program.