For over a decade, the use of opioid drugs has been sweeping the nation at a rapid rate. Opioids/opiates are a major concern, not only because they can quickly lead to addiction, but also because this form of addiction has a notorious reputation to cause chronic relapsing. Opiate addiction is both physical and psychological. The physical addiction triggers cravings that make the addict want to use, but the cravings brought on by the psychological addiction can be more dominant, as this conjures up scenes in the brain, causing the individual to reminisce over how the drug makes them feel.
In order for an individual to be successful in overcoming opiate addiction, he or she must fully desire to regain sobriety, and also complete each level of care that the recovery process entails. Opiate addiction recovery stories are unfortunately not heard enough, but in many the common theme is countless relapses, insufficient treatment, and mental illness.
The first stage of opiate addiction recovery is detox, which helps individuals safely and comfortably undergo withdrawal in a medical setting until the drug has been completely removed from the body. Following detox, the individual will enter into a long-term rehabilitation program in a residential facility, whereee they will be monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Once the individual had successfully fulfilled the requirements of this stage they will move forward to outpatient treatment with sober living, and eventually transition back into the world.
It is important that people who seek treatment for an opiate addiction receive a thorough assessment and evaluation to ensure that a mental illness, such as a bi polar disorder or depression, does not go undiagnosed. In the event that an individual with a dual diagnosis does not obtain treatment to address their mental health disorder in addition to their addiction during recovery, this will likely result in a future relapse.
Attempting to overcome an opiate addiction with willpower alone, will likely end in failure. As previously stated, the addict must have a strong desire to reclaim his or her life and be fully committed to treatment in order for recovery to be successful.
Caitlin Myers, a recovering addict who also suffered from a mental illness, shared her opiate recovery story of her uphill battle with addiction, noting that she had been labeled a “chronic relapser.” In Myers’ story, she walked her readers through her many years of drug use and addiction, as well as her time in treatment and her recurring relapses. Myers’ discussed her first overdose and the events that transpired next. “I spent the next few years in and out of treatment, wishing I wanted to get sober-but knowing that I didn’t. I wanted to die a heroin addict and I genuinely thought that I would very soon,”
Myers continued, “I would have hope and then no hope at all. Drugs took a toll of my life and way of thinking. I had made a lot of success but still thought my destiny was to be a drug addict. I couldn’t see a way out.” It took Myers’ countless overdoses, infinite attempts at treatment, and losing everything and almost everyone in her life in order to hit rock bottom and come to the realization that this was not the life she wanted. Myers’ took responsibility for her opiate addiction and got the appropriate treatment to address her psychical and psychological addiction. “I know that everyone is fighting their own battle and that some people will never understand mine, I barely understand some of it myself. But I am grateful to be alive and to have another day where I can fight for my life, even if I make mistakes. I am grateful for all of the support I have had these past few years because without it I would have given up. Addiction can affect anyone, I never EVER thought I would be an IV drug user. I never EVER thought I would live to see the age of 24. And I never EVER thought I would have another chance to live this life, for that I am grateful.”
Overcoming opiate addiction is no simple task, and oftentimes, it takes multiple failed attempts at getting clean before an individual can be successful. However, with the right treatment plan, a strong support system, and the determination to achieve lifelong sobriety, an effective recovery is possible. Most often, dual diagnosis treatment is needed for individuals who experience chronic relapses due to mental health disorders. Depression, Bipolar disorder, and anxiety are common in individuals who suffer from addiction and without the proper treatment they can make abstinence impossible. Family members and addicts can find support in speaking with addiction treatment counselors or attending family therapy sessions. Taking on addiction as a family makes fighting the battle that much easier but in order for that to be possible both the family and the addict need to recognize and understand what addiction is and how mental illness can play a part.
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