While opioid addiction is serious and challenging, treatments that address the physical, psychological, and social aspects of substance use disorders can help. Opioids carry a serious risk of addiction and overdose, and the widespread use of prescription opioids has contributed to what health experts call an opioid crisis. Overdoses caused by prescription opioids increased by 16% between 2019 and 2020, with an average of 44 people dying each day from an overdose of prescription opioids. Although there’s no cure for drug addiction, treatment options can help you overcome an addiction and stay drug-free. Your treatment depends on the drug used and any related medical or mental health disorders you may have.
The Kentucky Opioid Abatement Advisory Commission heard from more than a dozen people about their personal and professional experiences with ibogaine, an experimental psychedelic treatment for opioid addiction. Anyone who takes opioids for a long time can become dependent even when they take them as prescribed. But dependence and tolerance aren’t necessarily the same as an “addiction” or a “use disorder.” If you think you are dependent on opioids, tell your doctor.
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Patients prescribed a 24-mg dose of buprenorphine continued treatment for a longer period than those prescribed the recommended 16-mg dose. The latter group was 20% more likely to discontinue treatment than those prescribed 24 mg. Opioids are most addictive when you take them using methods different from what was prescribed, such as crushing a pill so that it can be snorted or injected. This life-threatening practice is even more dangerous if the pill is a long- or extended-acting formulation. Rapidly delivering all the medicine to your body can cause an accidental overdose. Taking more than your prescribed dose of opioid medication, or more often than prescribed, also increases your risk of addiction.
Like other diseases, opioid use disorder has specific symptoms and a pattern of progression (it tends to get worse over time), and treatments may help bring it under control. Buprenorphine is considered safe and highly effective medication that can reduce the cravings and withdrawal symptoms of opioids as well as substantially reduce the risk of an opioid overdose and death, according to experts. Anyone who takes them, whether as prescribed or not, can develop problems with how they use them. Opioids are also available illegally as heroin, prescription pills, illicit fentanyl, and other substances sold on the street. Your personal history and the length of time you use opioids play a role, but it’s impossible to predict who’s vulnerable to eventual dependence on and abuse of these drugs. Legal or illegal, stolen and shared, these drugs are responsible for the majority of overdose deaths in the U.S. today.
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There is not a single approach that works well for everyone, and a person may try several therapies before finding the ones that support lasting recovery. Opioid addiction treatment can vary depending the patient’s individual needs, occur in a variety of settings, take many different forms, and last for varying lengths of time. Researchers are exploring the potential of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation, a novel, non-invasive brain stimulation technique, for treating opioid use disorder. Vaccines currently under development target opioids in the bloodstream and prevent them from reaching the brain and exerting euphoric effects.
- Meetings are free to attend and are held every day in locations all over the world.
- Self-help support groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous, help people who are addicted to drugs.
- You are living with your peers, and you can support each other to stay in recovery.
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), including opioid treatment programs (OTPs), combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders.
- For example, devices that utilize targeted electrical stimulation may help minimize symptoms of opioid withdrawal.
- There are also a few other therapeutic approaches that may sometimes be used in the treatment of opioid addiction.
- Medications to Treat Opioid Addiction
There are three medications commonly used to treat opioid addiction.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is one of the most effective treatments for opioid use disorder. It’s also a highly effective treatment for other psychological disorders, including anxiety disorders, depression, and trauma—all of which can co-occur with opioid addiction. Methadone is a medicine provided in a clinic or inpatient setting to treat opioid use disorder. People don’t usually develop an addiction or other problem with opioid use right away. And others might feel symptoms that make them not want to use opioids at all, including nausea, itchiness, or feeling sedated. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT), including opioid treatment programs (OTPs), combines behavioral therapy and medications to treat substance use disorders.
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Family therapy can also help family members support the person who wants to quit opioids and help each member become more aware of how they may have inadvertently contributed to difficulties that occurred in the past. Harm reduction focuses on reducing the physical and social harms that affect people who use heroin (and sometimes other opioids) rather than on encouraging the person to quit. Harm reduction is an approach to helping people with opioid use disorder and is often one of the first interventions tried. The treatments discussed in this article are supported by scientific evidence that demonstrates their effectiveness.
Naloxone kits are available for free in many places and your doctor can prescribe one. Abuse refers to the use of illicit drugs or taking medications in a way other than how a doctor has prescribed them. That includes taking too much of a medicine or getting prescriptions from multiple doctors.
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Watch artist and advocate William Stoehr’s intimate testimony, as he shares his story of loss to an opioid overdose and… Naloxone can quickly restore normal breathing to a person during an opioid overdose. Additionally, there may be primary care physicians, particularly those who work in communities with high rates of opioid use disorders, who are highly knowledgeable and competent in treating opioid use disorder. Some people find hypnosis effective in helping them break through their psychological barriers to change. Hypnotherapy can be empowering and relaxing, helping someone feel more in control of their thoughts without drugs.
- Prescription opioids used for pain relief are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by your provider.
- Neurotherapy is less commonly used, but there is some research on its use in addictions and might be a consideration—particularly for people who haven’t found talk therapy helpful.
- What should you do if your doctor prescribes an opioid drug for you?
- The basic approach focuses on the dynamics of the family as a whole.
Several drugs are available that can help people discontinue opioid use by reducing cravings or blocking the pleasant feelings that opioids cause. An SUD is a treatable, chronic disease, characterized by a problematic pattern of use of a substance leading to noticeable impairment or distress. SUDs can lead to significant problems in all aspects of a person’s life. https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/opioid-addiction-treatment-recovery-is-possible/ It remains unclear how the children may have been exposed to the drugs. Dominici’s cause and manner of death are pending further study, according to the city’s medical examiner’s office. A fourth child who had attended the day care was taken to a hospital by her mother after showing signs of opioid exposure, including shortness of breath and unresponsiveness.
Common approaches used in treatment
Typically, opioids produce pain relief and, for some people, euphoria ― a sense of heightened well-being. Experiencing euphoria after taking opioids may be a warning sign of vulnerability to opioid addiction. This euphoria can even occur in people using opioids as prescribed by their doctor.