Opioid addiction affects millions of people. In the United States, more than 128 people die from opioid overdose each day. But, what is opioid addiction, and what does it look like?

Opioids are a type of drug generally used to relieve pain. Doctors prescribe opioids to ease the pains associated with toothaches, injuries, surgeries, and chronic conditions such as cancer. They are usually safe when administered as per a doctor’s instructions, but they are often misused, whether by not following the prescription or by taking them illegally.

Those who misuse opioids can become addicted, and addicts do not always realize they have a problem. However, there are several ways to tell if someone is experiencing opioid addiction.

How do you know if someone is addicted to opioids?

When opioids are misused, they have a euphoric effect on the user, which makes them want to keep using. Their brain changes over time, generating in them a powerful urge to take the drug. When the drug is removed, they experience withdrawal, which can have numerous physical, psychological, or behavioral symptoms that vary from case to case. Common symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, insomnia, and bodily aches. 

Consequently, the user feels the constant urge to take opioids, both to chase the euphoria and to relieve the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. It is a negative cycle that can lead to several health problems as well as dire financial and social consequences for the user. An estimated 4-6% of those who misuse prescription opioids later transition to using heroin. Other visible signs of addiction are loss of control, persistent cravings, and drug-seeking behavior.

What treatment is available for opioid addiction?

The good news is that opioid addiction can be treated.

The first step towards recovery is the addict recognizing they have a problem and agreeing to undergo treatment. This treatment begins with detoxification, to flush all traces of the drug out of the addict’s system in a safe and comfortable environment. The detox is supervised, and all vital signs are monitored and health concerns are flagged as quickly as possible. This part of the process usually lasts a few days.

After the detox, the patient will then enter a four- to six-week period of inpatient treatment. This will provide them with a supportive, drug-free environment in which they will benefit from education about addiction and recovery, and participate in group and individual therapy. They will undergo a twelve-step program for long-lasting recovery, with peer support along the way.

After in-patient treatment, they may continue to reap the benefits of continued intensive outpatient treatment. This will involve counseling, medication management, and supportive housing if needed.

How can we help?

If you believe you, or a loved one, are addicted to opioids and could benefit from opioid addiction treatment in Indiana, Evolve Indy can help. Evolve Indy is a recovery treatment center in Indianapolis, Indiana for adults recovering from addiction. It offers focused addiction recovery programs, including partial hospitalization, outpatient addiction treatment, an intensive outpatient program (IOP), and family therapy.

Get in touch now to find out more.

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