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Written by Amethyst Recovery
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“Over 2.5 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder, which contributed to over 28,000 overdose deaths in 2014,” according to the NIH National Institute on Drug Abuse. These staggering numbers have gone up even since 2014. The use of opium, semisynthetic opioids like heroin, and prescription pain medicines have become so pervasive it’s often referred to as the opioid epidemic.
Opium is from the poppy plant, and it’s base for opioid drugs used in medicine like morphine. There are semisynthetic opioids, as well as synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Synthetic opioids are created to replicate the effects of opium on the central nervous system.
Signs of Opioid Abuse
When someone uses opium or other opioids even only a few times, they may become addicted. Signs of opium or opioid abuse can include:
- Using more than is prescribed
- Continuing to use opioids even after a doctor no longer advises it
- Using opioids without a prescription
- Intentionally using opioids for the effects they bring, such as euphoria
If someone is abusing opium or opioids, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re addicted. However, opioid abuse significantly raises the likelihood they will become addicted.
Signs of Opioid Addiction
Addiction is a chronic and diagnosable disorder. Medical and psychological professionals can assess a patient based on certain signs and symptoms of an opioid disorder.
They can then determine not only if someone is addicted to opium or opioids, but also how severe that addiction is. Addictions and substance use disorders are diagnosed anywhere from mild to severe.
Signs of an opioid addiction can include:
- Continuing to use opioids, even if you don’t want to
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and responsibilities
- Obtaining more opioids is a top priority
- Using opioids even when there are negative side effects and outcomes
- Developing a tolerance and needing larger doses
- Strong cravings
- Opioids become a prime focus in life
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What is the Treatment of Opium Abuse?
There are treatment options for opium and opioid abuse and addiction. There is also treatment for physical dependence. Treatment for opioid addiction should be thorough, comprehensive, and based on evidence. Opioid abuse treatment should also be compassionate, however.
Opium treatment for addicts will usually begin with the treatment of opium withdrawal. This occurs in a medical detox. The treatment of withdrawal and opioid detox only deal with the physical elements of drug dependence. This isn’t a treatment for the addiction itself.
Different Forms of Rehabilitation
Along with treating opium withdrawal, there are different forms of rehab including inpatient and outpatient rehab. There is also medication-assisted treatment which utilizes medications like methadone and buprenorphine.
People often have to try different opium treatment options before finding the right fit for them. In addiction science and treatment, relapse isn’t considered a failure. It’s viewed as part of the process.
Behavioral therapy is one of the pivotal parts of opium treatment and opioid addiction treatment. While there are different types of behavioral therapies, they all seek to help people stop using drugs and remain drug-free.
Behavioral therapy for opioid addiction can help people change their beliefs and attitudes with regards to drugs. They can also help them better deal with stress and triggers that could lead to relapse. Many behavioral therapy techniques for addiction can also help someone deal with cravings.
Some of the types of behavioral therapy used in addiction treatment for opioids and other substances include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Contingency management therapy
- The Matrix Model
- Family behavioral therapy
The use of 12-step programs is also frequently used to help treat opioid addiction. This works well because following treatment, patients can return home and continue participating in these programs.
Types of Opioid Treatment Centers
There are different types of opioid treatment centers available. Medical detox is where people go through withdrawal, but addiction isn’t necessarily treated. There is also inpatient rehab. Inpatient rehab treatment may last for around 28 to 30 days, and patients sleep in the facility. Treatment is very intensive, and patients don’t have the option to come and go as they please.
There are partial hospitalization or day treatment programs as well. These are often a step-down following inpatient rehab. During a partial hospitalization program, people have intensive therapy all day but return home or to their sober living house at the end of each day.
Outpatient treatment for opium addiction is available as well. Outpatient treatment is the least formal and intensive of the treatment options. Rehab programs can be very simple and basic, and they can also be luxury centers with many amenities and supplemental activities and therapies.
12-Step and Recovery Support Groups
12-step and recovery support groups can be an extremely important part of addiction treatment and staying sober after rehab. Many rehabs will use 12-step meetings and programs within their treatment framework.
Then, when patients leave rehab, they can go home and join a local 12-step meeting. For people addicted to drugs including opium and opioids, there is Narcotics Anonymous. Along with traditional 12-step programs, there are other recovery support groups such as Smart Recovery.
Treatment for Opium Overdose
Opium and opioid overdoses are becoming increasingly common, and many lead to death. When someone is experiencing an opioid overdose, there are treatment options available, but these need to be accessed quickly.
Signs someone is experiencing an opium overdose or opioid overdose include:
- Loss of consciousness
- Nonresponsive to stimulus
- Not able to talk even if awake
- Slow, shallow or irregular breathing
- Stopped breathing
- Skin becomes purplish or grayish in color
- Choking or gurgling sounds
- Clammy skin
- Slow or nonexistent pulse
If someone appears to be overdosing on opium or opioids, emergency medical help should be sought immediately. Medications like Narcan can be administered in some cases, but even if this happens, emergency medical treatment is required.
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How Can You Help a Loved One Go to Opium Treatment?
If you have a loved one who is struggling with an addiction to opium, heroin or prescription pain medicines, every day can feel like an overwhelming struggle. You may want to convince them to seek treatment, and they may be resistant.
If you are the loved one of someone who needs opium treatment, you can first begin by exploring the options available. Sometimes, if you have an intervention and you have treatment already lined up, the person is more likely to go. In fact, treatment being readily available and accessible is one of the elements that can improve the outcome of the program.
To learn more about opium treatment, please contact Amethyst Recovery today. Our team is available, whether you’re struggling with opioids or your loved one is, and we can help you connect with the resources you need.
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