Opiate addiction has become more than just a national epidemic, it’s become a fact of life for far too many Americans struggling with it. This isn’t just about the addicts themselves—It’s also about their families, communities, and others that care about them.
It’s no secret that our current treatment modules haven’t been particularly effective. More people are still dying from overdoses each year than they are from any other accidental cause of death. Because of this, many people are starting to turn towards alternative treatment options.
Addiction is a chronic disease that can impact anyone from any walk of life. All it takes is one introduction to drugs or alcohol for a person to start down the path of addiction. Because of this, it’s difficult to figure out exactly how to treat each person individually.
The disease has an impact on both the psychological and physiological aspects of a person. It requires a multitier treatment approach that can only be successful with the help of trained professionals.
It’s important to understand how opiate addiction differs from many of the other types of addictions that we’ve encountered.
A Look at Opiate Addiction
Opiates are some of the most addictive drugs in existence. This is because of the way that they mimic certain other chemicals in the brain and increase levels of these chemicals by blocking other receptors.
This creates an initial feeling of extreme euphoria and well-being. It can also instill a false sense of confidence along with pleasant physical changes. Not only do these medications block pain, they also have a profound psychological effect that many people quickly become dependent on.
This is why we’ve dealt with so many people beginning their addiction with prescription medications. They may end up with an injury or an illness that requires a prescription of some sort of narcotic painkiller.
Once they’re feeling better, many will continue to try and get these medications. If they’re unable to obtain them legally, they may turn to illicit drugs to get the same feelings. This can lead to heroin addiction, or in any number of other illegal activities.
The other thing that drives many people to continue using opiates are the withdrawal symptoms that occur during detox. As the brain becomes more and more accustomed to heightened levels of these drugs, it develops a tolerance. A tolerance means that a person must use a larger amount in order to feel any sense of euphoria.
As soon as levels of the drug start to fall within their body, their brain starts to send out distress signals. It’s no longer equipped to fill that chemical void, and a person will start to experience traumatic physical symptoms.
These symptoms can include everything from body aches to extreme nausea and can last for well over a week for long time drug users. This is only the physical repercussion of the detox period. There are any number of psychological issues that a person can develop as they try to stop using drugs as well.
A Mixture of the Mind and Body
Choosing to seek help for an addiction to opioids can be difficult for some people. Not only are they admitting that they have a problem and that they’ve lost control over their drug use, they’re also committing themselves to a period of withdrawal symptoms.
It’s important that they seek out a treatment center that understands the impact that addiction has on both the mind and the body. This multi-tier treatment approach is the best way to make sure that someone has a chance of success in recovery.
There’s a big difference between alternative and complementary types of addiction treatment. An alternative treatment program is one that deviates from traditional medicine. A complementary one is one that has a holistic approach to treating addiction.
When people ask the question, “Why is opiate addiction so hard to treat?” it’s because they haven’t considered a more holistic option.
Holistic medicine is any type of treatment that considers the treatment of both the mind and the body equally important.
When a medical facility adds a number of treatment options geared towards your spiritual and psychological health, then they are working as a complementary treatment program. They are using two different kinds of treatment that complement one another to provide the best possible addiction treatment available.
Complementary Addiction Treatment
For many people, having access to programs that have a focus on their spiritual and mental health as well as their physical health makes a huge difference. Many of these places will offer a number of different programs like animal therapy, music therapy, and even yoga that can help you to focus on healthier habits.
All of these are things that stimulate a positive chemical reaction in the brain and help to return balance to your life. Simply treating the physical aspects of addiction isn’t enough to help somebody stop using drugs and alcohol.
Many people use drugs and alcohol because of psychological issues. They could be that they are suffering from some sort of trauma and feel that drugs are the only way they can escape. Or, they could have things like anxiety or deep depression, and turn to drugs to help them feel better.
Self-medicating is the term that’s usually used for people that do this. Unfortunately, self-medicating is very dangerous and rarely beneficial. If someone is suffering from an issue like this, they need to contact a medical professional who can put them in touch with a psychologist.
When people choose to seek sobriety, they’ll need to detox both physically and mentally. This often results in a sudden onset of depression or anxiety that will need to be treated on a psychological and spiritual level.
Sobriety is a definite possibility for those who truly want it. It’s important to remember that you deserve a better life, and that regardless of your problems there is help available.
Contacting a licensed treatment facility is the first step in a long road to recovery. Life can get better when you remember that you’re a unique person who has more to offer the world than just the stigma that comes along with addiction.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jenn Mullin is a freelance writer, focusing on social, economic, and political issues. Her inspiration is writing about topics which provoke thought and start conversations surrounding important and controversial issues.