The Opioid addiction menace in the US has escalated into a full-blown epidemic. According to sources, the modern day opioid addiction outbreak surpasses the past outbreaks in both severity and scope. This addiction does not discriminate based on social class; people from the poor class, middle class and the affluent class are all hooked on painkillers, heroin or other opiate based drugs. The fact that this addiction has far-reaching effects necessitates the need for wide-scale intervention. Below are some signs of addiction and some proposed measures you can take to help a loved one who is affected by this problem.
The Underlying Cause of Opioid Addiction
According to experts, most addiction cases can be traced to the increased use of prescription medication. Most of the addictions started while people were being treated for some medical problems, such as a sports injury or dental procedure. Overuse of the drug led to dependence, which escalated to addiction. Addiction to opiate pain medication then acted as a gateway to heroin addiction. Most painkiller addicts shift to using heroin because of its ease of access and relatively low prices on the black market.
The Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
Some behavioral changes are often seen in opiate addicts. Here are some signs you can look out for:
- Do they seem sleepy during odd hours of the day?
- Do they complain of nausea, appear agitated and sweat profusely and return to normal after a short time?
- Do they appear withdrawn in instances where they are typically happy?
Treatment Options for Opioid Addiction
Good news for drug abusers, opioid addiction is treatable. The treatment requires a combination of medical and behavioral interventions. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, there is need to integrate mental health support services and medically-assisted therapies in treating opioid addicts.
Prior to checking into a rehabilitation center, the addict or his/her loved ones must ensure that the center meets the threshold set by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for centers offering such services. Here are some basics you should look for:
- Licensing - Check if the facility is licensed and certified by the National Institute on Drug Abuse or the American Society of Addiction Medicine.
- Inpatient and Outpatient services - Ensure that the center has both inpatient and outpatient facilities. Inpatient facilities will enable the patient to check in for prolonged stays and focus on treatment. Outpatient services will ensure that the patient keeps regular appointments and help the doctor to monitor his or her recovery progress.
- Medications - The FDA has approved two opioid painkillers and one none opioid for the treatment of opioid addiction. These include buprenorphine, methadone and naltrexone. Buprenorphine and methadone are opioid painkillers and are often used in maintenance treatment for people who are used to taking huge amounts of opiates. Naltrexone is not an opioid and has a special formulation that reduces cravings thereby preventing relapses.