Opioid addiction continues to be a serious public health emergency in the United States. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), opioids contributed to an estimated 49,860 deaths in 2019. Opioids are among the most addictive and habit-forming drugs and can be difficult to stop using without professional help.
Fortunately, opioid dependence can be safely and effectively treated with detox at Haven New England, where our patients are closely monitored and cared for as they go through withdrawal. Our treatment facility also offers behavioral therapies to help patients change harmful behaviors that may be driving their opioid addictions.
Here’s a closer look at opioid withdrawal and addiction treatment and how you can achieve a safe, long-term recovery.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drugs that interact with opioid receptors in the brain and body to reduce the sensation of pain. Prescription opioids — or painkillers — are often prescribed to reduce pain, such as that caused by surgery, injury, and some cancer treatments. Oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and codeine are some of the many painkillers prescribed to treat pain.
Heroin and synthetic fentanyl are illicit opioids that are often far more potent than prescription opioids. Fentanyl is between 50 and 100 times stronger than morphine and was involved in nearly 73% of all opioid-related deaths in 2019. In addition to reducing pain, opioids produce effects including euphoria, sedation, slowed breathing, and slowed heart rate.
Signs of Opioid Addiction
The NIDA defines opioid addiction as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and drug use despite negative consequences. People addicted to opioids are often unable to control their drug use and experience strong urges or cravings to use these substances. They may devote lots of time to obtaining, using, and recovering from the effects of opioids and neglect important responsibilities related to family, school, and work.
Other common signs of opioid addiction include:
- Weight loss
- Poor personal hygiene
- Decreased sexual libido
- Spending more time alone or with new friends
- Decreased performance at work or school
- Stealing from friends, relatives, or businesses
- Financial losses
- New or worsening health problems
- Frequent symptoms that are similar to the flu
Health Risks Associated With Opioid Addiction
The greatest health threat associated with opioid addiction is death by overdose. When used in high amounts, opioids can slow breathing and heart rate to the point they both stop. Additionally, illicit opioids may contain any combination of harmful ingredients and fillers that can instantly trigger an overdose. For example, some batches of heroin may contain carfentanil — a synthetic opioid and elephant tranquilizer that is 10,000 times more potent than morphine.
According to a study published in the Primary Care Companion for CNS Disorders, long-term use of prescription opioids can lead to constipation, fractures, sleep-disordered breathing, and a condition known as hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal dysregulation. Another study published in Psychology & Health found that prolonged opioid use may also cause impulsivity and impairments in verbal working memory and verbal fluency.
People who try to quit opioids on their own after becoming addicted will usually experience powerful cravings that compel them to relapse. In many instances, relapsing back to opioid use after quitting for a short time increases the risk of an overdose. Withdrawal is often safer when conducted at a drug detox facility where patients can be closely monitored around the clock by trained nurses and doctors.
Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
People who become physically dependent on opioids will experience a set of withdrawal symptoms when abruptly discontinuing these drugs. Opioid withdrawal symptoms are similar to flu symptoms and usually begin within hours after the last dose.
Symptoms from rapid-onset opioid withdrawal usually begin 8 to 24 hours after discontinued use and continue for between 4 and 10 days, reports the World Health Organization. Long-acting opioid withdrawal symptoms usually begin 12 to 48 hours after the final use and may continue for 10 to 20 days.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms include:
- Hot and cold flushes
- Muscle aches and cramps
- Tearing eyes
- Running nose
- Abdominal cramps
- Drug cravings
Treatment Options for Opioid Addiction
Opioid addiction can be effectively treated using medical detox and a variety of behavioral therapies. Medical detox helps manage the physical symptoms of withdrawal, while behavioral therapy addresses the root causes of opioid addiction.
Opioid detox is typically conducted as a medication-assisted detox to help patients feel as comfortable as possible as they go through withdrawal. Many of the medications used in detox act on the same receptors as the opioids being abused, eliminating or minimizing withdrawal symptoms. Methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone are medications commonly used in opioid detox.
Our treatment facility has a gourmet chef on staff to prepare nutritious meals that help patients boost their immunity as they recover from the physical effects of opioid dependence. We also offer a range of high-quality amenities to help patients feel comfortable and at home throughout their recovery.
After completing detox, patients can start receiving individual and group behavioral therapy. Cognitive-behavioral therapy at Haven New England helps patients modify harmful attitudes and beliefs that may be contributing to their addiction. Patients learn to identify and manage triggers such as stress that can potentially lead to relapse. Dual diagnosis therapy is also available to treat patients with comorbid mental health disorders.
Levels of Care
At Haven New England, we offer several levels of care to serve patients at varying stages of recovery. Our residential programs allow patients to live at our facility for as long as needed until they are motivated and ready to resume their lives outside of rehab as sober individuals. These treatment programs can last anywhere between 30 and 120 days and help patients develop new interests and productive routines without time for drug use.
Patients ready to return home and resume their work and family lives can transition from their residential program into either a partial hospitalization program (PHP) or intensive outpatient program (IOP). PHPs and IOPs are outpatient programs that typically offer all the same therapies and services as residential programs but take place several hours per day on most days of the week.
We also offer sober living programs available to patients who wish to live among peers in recovery who are also devoted to staying abstinent while transitioning back into their communities.
Recover From Opioid Addiction at Haven New England
If you are struggling with opioid addiction and want to experience a safe, comfortable withdrawal, contact Haven New England at (844) 933-4145 to learn more about your available treatment options.
We offer medication-assisted opioid detox and a wide range of treatment programs that can be customized for you or your loved one and that support successful, long-term recovery from opioid addiction.
Let’s get you or a loved one help with a few simple steps.