Elite Team

How do I get treatment for my opiate addiction?


How do I get treatment for my opiate addiction?

The first step is to recognize that you need help and ask for it. Support groups, like Narcotics Anonymous, are available as well as a wide variety of medications used to treat the symptoms of withdrawal. For instance, Clonidine is used to help reduce the symptoms acquired within the first 24 hours of withdrawal. Buprenorphine or Suboxone is a drug that both eases withdrawal symptoms and detoxifies the body against opiates. Being a mild opiate itself, it is commonly used to treat patients withdrawing from more addictive drugs like Oxycontin and Heroin. Methadone, which is still a powerful opiate, is used for long-term detoxification administered by clinics and is slowly reduced to help addicts quit over an extended period.


What are opiates?

Opiates mimic substances that occur naturally in our brain called endorphins, helping to decrease anxiety and depression as well as reducing pain in minor injuries, such as paper cuts and bruises. Opiates are also responsible for you not noticing you have a cut until you look directly at it. However, stronger opiates are needed for bigger injuries such as surgery or broken bones. Some opiates are as follows:

-Oxycontin (oxycodone)
-Vicodin (hydrocodone/acetaminophen)
-Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
    This opiate is also used to treat withdrawal symptoms as it is easy to manage the doses for addicts who are unable to “quit cold turkey” without disastrous, even deadly, outcomes.
    Unfortunately, while used to treat addiction, without careful monitoring methadone, it may become addictive as well.
    While not clinically prescribed and highly illegal, most opiate addicts who use the painkillers as mentioned above may eventually move on to heroin as a cheaper, more efficient alternative.

What are the complications of opiate withdrawal?

While the benefits far outway the risks of getting help, some difficulties may be experienced during withdrawal from opiates. While uncomfortable, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can cause dehydration and deplete electrolytes, as such, it is highly recommended to drink plenty of fluids. Aspiration, the act of breathing vomit into your lungs, is also a risk and can lead to aspiration pneumonia. While not all symptoms are common, and some symptoms may be present that are not listed, it is important to keep in constant contact with your doctor so they can treat symptoms as they arise.

If you think you may be experiencing withdrawal symptoms, call your doctor to begin treatment immediately.

If you would like more information on Narcotics Anonymous (NA), or would like to find a meeting in your area, visit https://www.na.org/



Opiate withdrawal: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Retrieved April 08, 2016, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000949.htm 

Case-lo, C. (2015, October 22). Opiate Withdrawal. Retrieved April 08, 2016, from http://www.healthline.com/health/opiate-withdrawal#Outlook7 

Addictions And Recovery Website: Opiates. (n.d.). Retrieved April 08, 2016, from http://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/opiates-narcotics-recovery.htm