In this article, we address the steps for getting help, the types of treatments and and how to help cope with someone else’s opiate addiction. At the end, we invite your additional questions and we try to respond with a personal and prompt response.
Help an opiate addict quit
Addiction is considered a disease that affects all areas of a persons life and behaviour. Therefore, reaching a sober, drug-free life can take a lot of time and energy.
Every opiate addiction recovery process starts with awareness and acknowledgement of the addiction problem. But being aware sometimes is not enough. We tend to avoid making changes in our established pattern of behavior, unless a problem or a concern occur. Sometimes, even after we become aware of an opiate addiction, we choose to ignore the problem. That’s why the next step is asking for help. There is simply no more room for denial when we face the risks and possible consequences.
How to treat opiate addiction? When an opiate addict decides it’s time to call for aid, s/he will need to prepare for the treatment of opioid dependence. Here is how treatment usually unfolds:
1. A medical supervisor will have a conversation with the opiate addict. In order to establish appropriate treatment plan, the medical supervisor will ask about the particular drug(s) and the amount of drugs abused, determine the health condition and history of addictive behaviour of the individual. According to the gathered information in the first session, the medical supervisor will create an individualized treatment plan that fits the person’s needs. Changes in this plan can be made when necessary. Depending on the doctor estimation, you may be switched to an alternative opioid or simply be taken off of all opiates.
2. If you want to remain opiate free long term, then supervised detoxification is a suggested process. However, detox is just the beginning of a long process. When you come off opiates, you experience a variety of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms which can be so intense that might cause relapse. This is the reason why a medially assisted detox provides supportive care. The greatest benefit is that you will have the chance to manage withdrawal symptoms in a sober, recovery-oriented environment.
3. Medication assisted treatment is used to help manage or lessen withdrawal symptoms, thus increase your chances of staying sober. There are several medications that doctors prescribe during an opiate medical treatment to prevent relapse. The treatment of opiate addiction is usually accompanied by the following medications:
- Methadone – to help reduce cravings, ease withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapse.
- Buprenorphine – to help prevent drug abuse for the purpose of getting high.
- Naltrexone – to help prevent opiate drug abuse.
Help opiate addict friend
If you have a friend, family member, or a loved one whose opiate abuse and addiction are obvious, it is time to do something about it!
An intervention is a process done by family and friends in consultation with a doctor, licensed drug counselor, or professional interventionist. During the intervention, the intervention group will meet together with the opiate addicted person to inform and educate him/her about the consequences of addiction. The most important goal of an intervention is motivate the addict to accept treatment. The brief intervention is a conversation with several goals such as:
- Educating the addict about the ways their destructive behavior affects them personally, and others around them.
- Offering a structured treatment plan consisted of specific steps, goals and guidelines.
- Providing possible outcomes in case a loved one refuses to accept treatment.
Self help for opiate addiction
Opiate dependency is when your body becomes used to having opiates present in your system. If you stop taking opiates cold turkey you risk experiencing a strong, unpleasant, and adverse reaction. That is why you should be prepared about what to expect when trying to go through withdrawal on your own.
First thing you need to do is a slow and gradual taper off of opiates. This will limit the intensity of withdrawal symptoms. However, it’s best to withdraw from opiates in a controlled and medical environment because most cases of self-regulated tapering end in a full relapse.
Second thing you need to be prepared for is dealing with dehydration due to vomiting and diarrhea (common symptoms of opiate withdrawal).
Many end up in a hospital due to dehydration when quitting opiates on their own. Drinking plenty of fluids during withdrawal is very important, so do not forget to keep yourself hydrated!
Get help for opiate addiction
If you are looking for a quick help with opiate addiction you can always contact the following helplines:
- Alcohol and Drug Referral Hotline 800-252-6465
- National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) 800-729-6686
- National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Hope Line 800-475-HOPE (4673)
- National Drug and Alcohol Treatment Referral Service 800-622-4357
- National Institute on Drug Abuse- Drug and Treatment Information 800-662-4357
- National Suicide Prevention Helpline 800-273-TALK (8255) or 800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
- Substance Abuse Helpline is available 24/7 at 800-923-4327
- Relapse Prevention Hotline 800-RELAPSE (735-2773)
When wondering who to contact with in order to begin the process of opiate addiction treatment, here are some suggestions:
- Contact a doctor or a physician to get the best references for addiction treatment centers that are near your living area.
- Check different types of treatment programs and their requirements, so you can choose which one best suits your needs.
- Look for support groups that will be part of your treatment program.
- Search for detox clinics.
- Try to find contacts from the most competent and experienced clinical psychologists.
Getting an opiate addict help questions
If you still have any questions about helping an opiate addict after reading this article, feel free to post them below. We will try to get back to you with a personal answer as soon as possible, or we will refer you to someone who can help.
Reference sources: Velasquez. M. Mary, Crouch. C, Stephens. S. Nanette and DiClemente. C. Carlo. (2016). Group treatment for Substacnce abuse. New York, NY: Guilford Publication, p. 9
Department of health: What is Addiction Treatment?
Lawford. K. Christopher. (2013). Recover to Live. Dallas, Texas: BenBella Books, p. 335-336
SMHSA: Brief Intervention
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from Addiction Blog http://drug.addictionblog.org/how-to-help-an-opiate-addict/