Woman at a drug addiction therapy sessionAddiction to opiates has been defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease with a wide range of serious medical consequences. Types of opiates include heroin, morphine, and prescription drugs. In August of this year, 14 heroin overdoses occurred in one evening in Louisville.

The human suffering felt by individuals addicted to opiates, as well as the suffering felt by their families, must be brought to an end. It is essential for individuals addicted to opiates to seek immediate treatment in coping with this devastating addiction. The longer one waits, the more difficult it can become to fully recover.

In 2012, it was estimated that over 2.1 million people in the United States are suffering from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and an estimated 467,000 addicted to heroin. The increasing number of people addicted to opiates has brought national attention and awareness to this growing epidemic. The devastating effects of opiates have led to unintentional overdoses and deaths. Heroin addiction is extremely serious and is very difficult to recover from without the proper treatment.

Withdrawal Symptoms

To fully understand how opiate addiction is treated, it is important to recognize the withdrawal symptom. The following are symptoms of withdrawal:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Cramping
  • Mood swings
  • Agitation
  • Craving for the drug
  • Seizures

Treatment

Treatment for opiates is a grueling journey because opiates place profound mental and physical strains on the body. Withdrawal is an extremely difficult process. On the road to recovery, many people relapse. It is essential to find a specialized treatment program that is equipped in understanding how addiction to opiates is treated. The following medications help treat people with an addiction to opiates:

  • Methadone. Medication that helps ease withdrawal symptoms. After a period of time, the dosage of medication can decrease as symptoms become less intense and more manageable.
  • Buprenorphine. This drug is very similar to methadone. It helps to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms.
  • Clonidine. This particular medicine helps to reduce the severity of most withdrawal symptoms such as agitation and anxiety. Unfortunately, it does not remove the cravings towards the drug.
  • Naltrexone. This can be taken in the form of a pill or injection and helps to avoid a relapse.

These medications are taken to help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and avoid relapse. However, medication is not enough in treating an individual who is addicted to opiates. People addicted to opiates must seek “whole body” or “whole person” care throughout the recovery treatment process to avoid a relapse. This includes seeking a community of supportive professionals, mental health counseling, and establishing a strong spiritual foundation.

Establishing a Strong Spiritual Foundation of Support During Treatment

Recovering from opiates is a long and difficult process, but one that can also be nurtured and supported through establishing a strong spiritual foundation. Establishing a strong sense of faith during the recovery process can restore the person’s mind, body, and spirit. The individual must be consumed by support through individual and group therapy sessions and an after-care treatment program that helps individuals avoid a relapse. A recovery program with a strong spiritual foundation can truly help individuals struggling with addiction overcome their difficult moments and find faith in God.

At Covenant Hills, clients work with pastors, therapists, and counselors who are professionally trained in the Christian-based treatment program. They help individuals connect to a larger community of God and support the process of finding purpose again in one’s life without addiction.