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How is Opioid Addiction Treated in the 21st Century?



How is Opioid Addiction Treated in the 21st Century?

Over the history of the world, there have been many epidemics that have plagued society, but one of the most prevalent was and is the opioid epidemic. Affecting millions of people globally and in the United States on a yearly basis, along with costing hundreds of thousands their lives, this serious addiction issue has damaged many lives.

Whether you are researching opioid addiction for yourself or a loved one, learning everything there is to know about this form of addiction along with treatment options that are available can ensure you get the help you seek.

What is an Opioid?

To those who have never heard of this term, opioids are a class of drugs that are prescribed by doctors as pain relivers for injury. In the past, opioids were referred to as something known as opiates which were naturally derived from the Papaver somniferum plant. Popular examples of opiates include opium, heroin, and codeine.

However, over the years, scientists learned how to manufacture similar drugs in a lab, which is where opioids came from. They are derived from the same plant but are also synthetic. The most common types of opioids include fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and more. Opioids work by stimulating the brain to release more endorphins which are a feel-good neurotransmitter. Unfortunately, some people become addicted to this sensation and seek out opioids illegally after their prescription has ended.

What Counts as Opioid Abuse?

The qualification for opioid addiction is clear as you would expect. Simply put, any compulsive or powerful urge to use an opioid drug even after your medical use has ended is a sign that addiction is present. Following up on this by seeking out opioids in an illegal manner or by lying to medical professionals qualifies as opioid abuse.

On average, over 90 Americans die every single day from an opioid overdose, which goes to show just how serious this issue is. If you are unsure whether or not somebody you know may be living with an opioid addiction, consider some of the following indicators:

  • A sudden lack of caring for hygiene
  • Losing interests in any or all activities that were once favorites
  • Appearing to be very sad or tired
  • Appearing overly energetic and saying things that don’t make sense
  • Suddenly getting into trouble with the law
  • Experiencing financial hardship for an unapparent reason
  • A person suddenly switching up their friend groups or taking on new friends

While the above signs don’t necessarily guarantee that somebody you know is living with an opioid addiction, there are indicative of the fact that something may be wrong.

Common Forms of Opioid Addiction Treatment

For those who have identified the signs of opioid addiction in those they care about, there are two primary forms of treatment that will be used by medical professionals. In addition to stopping all prescriptions of opioids, these forms of treatment include:

1.   Medicinal Treatment

First and foremost, giving up opioids cold turkey is extremely difficult as it results in withdrawals in a majority of people. As a result, doctors often prescribe medications such as Buprenorphine and Methadone which help reduce the symptoms of cravings and more.

2.   Behavioral Therapy

On top of medicinal treatment, healthcare professionals also advise a comprehensive opioid addiction treatment program that helps to ensure a person does not relapse in the future. Given that the above drugs typically require a person to be fully detoxed, it’s possible that the program may begin before medicinal treatment.

The above two methods of treating opioid addiction have helped millions of people overcome their struggles. If you have had challenges with opioid addiction in the past, don’t hesitate to seek out help as soon as possible.

How Successful is Opioid Addiction Treatment?

When a comprehensive treatment program is combined with opioid addiction medication, the treatment rate increases drastically. The medication reduces the desire to take opioids and the program instills positive lifestyle habits that further reduce the risk of a relapse. Combined, these can help a person give up opioids for the rest of their life so long as they are willing to follow the guidance of their healthcare professionals.

The Bottom Line

Opioid addiction is a serious matter that still affects millions of people on a yearly basis despite the epidemic starting so many decades ago. To overcome addiction is not easy and will require a strong will and resolve. Whether you are seeking treatment for yourself or somebody around you, trust the guidance of addiction specialists who can help you overcome your battle.