Opioid Treatment | Opioid Addiction Treatment Options

Manish Mishra, MBBS

Medically Reviewed By: Manish Mishra, MBBS

on December 11, 2022

Opioid misuse is the primary cause of drug overdose deaths in the United States. In 2020, nearly 92,000 people died of a drug overdose, and 75 percent of those deaths involved opioids.

If you or a loved one are abusing or addicted to opioids, ask for help. A wide range of opioid abuse and addiction treatment options can restore your health and well-being.

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Opioid Detox

Before you treat opioid addiction, you need to rid your body of the drugs so you have a clear mind to engage in recovery. 

Whether you abuse heroin or prescription opioid pain relievers like oxycodone (OxyContin) or hydrocodone (Vicodin), long-term drug use can cause physical dependence. Physical opioid dependence causes your body to go through withdrawals when you stop or reduce opioid use.

The opioid withdrawal process is uncomfortable and can be dangerous. Medically assisted detox programs provide an inpatient environment in which you can detox safely. You’ll receive 24-hour monitoring and medical care when needed. 

The withdrawal process drives many people to relapse on opioids for relief of uncomfortable symptoms. Medical detox offers support to help you succeed.

Behavioral Therapy For Opioid Addiction

Behavioral therapy is effective for any addiction because it deals with the root of the problem—healing addiction from the inside out.

Behavioral therapy involves a therapist working with you to change your behavior (mainly substance abuse) by shifting your thought patterns and motivation. There are several types of behavioral therapy. 

Behavioral therapies for opioid addiction include:

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

CBT determines unhealthy thought patterns that cause destructive behavior. A therapist helps you recognize how your thoughts lead to actions and encourages you to develop a more positive mental state.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy

DBT is a type of CBT that focuses on living in the moment, accepting your situation, and working to improve your life. Mindfulness, stress tolerance, relating to others, and emotional regulation are the key components of DBT.

Contingency Management (CM)

CM provides incentives for positive behavior, such as clear drug tests. Voucher-based reinforcement (VBR) gives vouchers for food items, movie tickets, or other substance-free activities. 

Prize incentives enter you into a cash drawing for each positive action, such as a negative drug test or counseling session.

Mental Health Support

Addiction is a disease that affects every part of life, so it requires whole-person healing. Mental and physical nourishment is essential during the recovery process. 

Some therapies for mental health in people with opioid addiction are:

  • Substance Abuse Counseling: talking to a therapist about your struggles with substance abuse and working through related issues
  • Meditation: practicing mindfulness and relaxation to reduce stress naturally
  • Support Groups: meeting with other opioid-addicted individuals, sharing your experiences, and gaining perspective from their struggles
  • Psychoeducation Groups: gathering with others to learn about specific elements of mental health and addiction
  • Art Therapy: using artistic expression to relieve stress and release emotions
  • Family Therapy: bringing together family members to repair relationships, restore trust, and offer support during recovery

Physical Health Support

Opioid addiction takes a toll on your physical health. It weakens your immune system and can cause health problems. Addiction may prevent you from good hygiene, nutrition, and exercise.

Here are common therapies for physical health in people with opioid addiction:

  • Exercise helps you recover physical well-being and develop a positive habit for stress management.
  • Sports and recreation bring people together—often outdoors—to exercise, work as a team, and learn to get along with others.
  • Nutritional support teaches you to make healthy food and drink choices that nourish your body and encourage healing and strength.
  • Yoga can help you stretch, balance, and gain strength. It also requires relaxation and deep breathing, which are helpful for natural stress relief.
  • Medical care is provided at some treatment facilities to reverse the physical effects of opioid addiction. Treating opioid-related health problems is part of recovery.

Medication-Assisted Treatment For Opioids

Many people can benefit from medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioids. 

If you detox completely before treatment for opioid addiction, you may have intense cravings that interfere with treatment progress. These cravings and lingering withdrawal symptoms cause many people to drop out of treatment and relapse.

MAT provides an alternative medication that reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings so you can be fully present in recovery.

Three medications are currently approved for opioid MAT:

  • Methadone is an opioid agonist that decreases withdrawal symptoms and blocks the effects of other opioids. It’s typically given as a low-dose oral solution.
  • Buprenorphine (Subutex) is a partial opioid agonist that eases withdrawal and produces a mild euphoria that’s much weaker than heroin or other addictive opioids. It comes as a capsule, but is also available as a monthly injection (Sublocade) and mixed with naloxone (Suboxone), an opioid overdose reversal agent that prevents buprenorphine abuse.
  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol) is a non-opioid medication that blocks the effect of opioids. It’s given as a monthly injection and requires complete detox before starting treatment.

Medication isn’t the only component of MAT. It must be combined with behavioral therapy to be effective at healing opioid addiction.

Inpatient & Outpatient Opioid Treatment Centers

Opioid treatment may take place in an inpatient or outpatient setting. Which one is right for you depends on several factors, such as your history of relapse, the severity of addiction, and your home environment.

Inpatient Care

Many people thrive in an inpatient or residential opioid treatment program. These programs provide a place to live while you’re in treatment, so you don’t have to deal with everyday stressors that trigger substance abuse. 

Removing yourself from distractions and participating in a therapeutic community can help you build a strong foundation in recovery before returning home.

Outpatient Care

Outpatient treatment services for opioid addiction can also be effective, especially if you have a support system at home. 

You may be able to enroll in a step-down treatment plan that starts with an intensive outpatient program (IOP) and reduces the frequency of therapy as your recovery progresses.

Choosing The Right Opioid Treatment Program For You

Only you and a qualified therapist can determine the right opioid treatment program for you. Reputable treatment centers will offer several types of treatment and work with you to create a customized treatment plan. 

At Ohio Recovery Center, we know that recovery is a personal journey, and there’s no one-size solution. Our highly qualified team of professionals is ready to help you overcome opioid addiction based on your needs. Reach out to a treatment specialist today to learn more.

  1. American Society of Addiction Medicine — Opioid Addiction Treatment https://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/publications/asam-opioid-patient-piece_-5bopt2-5d_3d.pdf
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — Drug Overdose Deaths Remain High https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/deaths/index.html#:~:text=In%202020%2C%2091%2C799%20drug%20overdose,driver%20of%20drug%20overdose%20deaths.
  3. National Institute on Drug Abuse — Effective Treatments for Opioid Addiction https://nida.nih.gov/publications/effective-treatments-opioid-addiction
  4. National Institute on Drug Abuse — Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition): Contingency Management Interventions/Motivational Incentives… https://nida.nih.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/behavioral-therapies/contingency-management-interventions-motivational-incentives
  5. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — MAT Medications, Counseling, and Related Conditions https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment/medications-counseling-related-conditions#opioid-dependency-medications

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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