Opiate Rehab

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Preventing Relapse after Opiate Rehab

In recent years, opiate painkillers have become some of the most abused substances resulting in addiction. They produce the same effects as many other opiate drugs including heroin, morphine, and codeine by increasing dopamine chemicals that act on the “reward center” of the brain to produce a sense of pleasure and euphoria in addition to their pain relieving properties.

When taken as prescribed, opiate painkillers are effective in treating severe to chronic pain, but often, these drugs are diverted for illegal sales on the street. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, “Pharmaceuticals usually are illegally obtained through theft, “doctor shopping,” prescription forgery, and improper prescribing practices by physicians.”

Opiate Addiction

Repeated use of opiate causes a tolerance and dependency. Even those who are legitimately prescribed opiate painkillers are subject to these effects. The tolerance requires more drug to produce the same effect and the dependency will cause withdrawal symptoms if the opiate is suddenly discontinued or reduced. Opiate addiction can occur quickly and once the user runs out of medicine they experience intense cravings for more. The changes in the brain require the chemical to feel good and over time, negative physical and psychological signals prompt the addict to use opiates, despite negative consequences.

Opiate Rehab

relapse prevention

Attending support group meetings and aftercare sessions can help you prevent relapse.

Opiate rehab involves a detox process to get the person off drugs and treatment to maintain their abstinence. Opiate rehab treatment involves different strategies that are determined by the unique needs of the individual, the type of facility, the programs offered, and the resources available. Behavioral therapies are a major part of opiate rehab. They empower the addict to abstain from drugs, avoid environmental “triggers” that may have caused them to use, and help the addict revise their thoughts and actions appropriately without the use of drugs.

Preventing Relapse after Opiate Rehab

Behavioral therapies are necessary, but that isn’t the end. Opiate relapse is a common occurrence and even those who are the most aggressive in their recoveries are susceptible to relapse as soon as they let down their guard. It is important to build a network of people who will support you in maintaining abstinence. The longer a person remains abstinent the less chance they might relapse, and after care programs such as Narcotics Anonymous or 12-step support groups can be very helpful once the formal treatment is complete.

Understanding your addiction will help you to avoid circumstances, people, or places that may “trigger” you to use and avoiding them at all possible costs may mean you have to give up some old friends in order to stay clean. Family and counseling for other underlying issues should always be taken advantage of. Spiritual guidance can also be of tremendous value and many churches will offer this help, gladly. Whenever you think about using, do something positive, stay busy, and keep those you love involved in your recovery.