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The US is in the midst of an Opioid Overdose Epidemic and Alcoholism is on the Rise. The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is committed to addressing the opioid abuse, dependence, and overdose. A five-point comprehensive strategy was drafted by the HHS to combat the opioid crisis. They include:

  1. Better data
  2. Better pain treatment
  3. More addiction prevention, treatment and recovery services
  4. More overdose reversers and
  5. Better research.

Living a life free from addiction is a personal journey that requires a daily recommitment to recovery. If you feel you need a little assistance in your journey, there are several help-centers and support representatives who are available all the days of the week to provide you with various resources for all levels of care.

America’s Opioid Epidemic Could Claim 1 Million Lives By 2020

Lately, there is much news about the opioids epidemic. These drugs are ravaging lives, families, and communities. Opioid use disorder and opioids addiction, including prescription pain relievers, heroin and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, is a serious crisis in America that affects public health as well as societal and economic well-being. Every day, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids.

In the year 2016, more than 11 million Americans abused prescription opioids, nearly 1 million used heroin, and 2.1 million had an opioid use disorder from prescription opioids or heroin, costing more than $500 billion economically.

To recover from the opioid epidemic, the nation must change the way it looks at opioids, said former FDA Commissioner Dr. David Kessler.

“In acute pain, they can be vital. Outside of that and outside of cancer pain, they are deadly,” he said. “We have to recognize that.”

opioid rehabilitation programs

Opioid Rehabilitation Programs

Finding an ideal opioid rehabilitation center involves some factors, including, the location of the rehabilitation facility, the cost of each program and treatment, the qualifications of the professionals involved in the treatment plan.

Rehabilitation programs can either be inpatient or outpatient. Inpatient centers provide addicts a safe, restricted and temporary home, that serves to closely monitor the various medical aspects of treatment, including detoxing, active management of withdrawal symptoms and anxiety, treatment of related medical or co-occurring conditions, and the facilitation of proper nutrition and rest. Inpatient treatment options may also include group therapy, family therapy, individual therapy, and 24-hour nursing supervision.

An inpatient rehab period may last for only a few days, or it may last 28 days to six months or more. The length of the program is largely a matter of individual need, medical recommendation, and finances.

Outpatient centers also offer intensive therapies, but the patient continues to live at home during treatment. Even outpatient programs may require a brief initial stay to check for possible complications from opioid withdrawal


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Opioid Addiction and Dependence

Drug addiction is one of the severe consequence of opioids misuse. It is characterized by compulsive or uncontrollable use despite damaging consequences and long-lasting changes in the brain.

Prolonged use of prescription opioids, even as prescribed by a doctor in treating chronic or debilitating diseases, can cause them to develop a tolerance, which means they require an increased and more frequent administration of the drug to the desired results. With repeated and constant use, the neurons in the brain try to adapt so that they can function normally in the presence of the drug. The absence of the drug causes severe physiological reactions, from mild to potentially life-threatening conditions.

Symptoms of opioid dependence include:

  • Intense urge or a strong desire or cravings to use opioids
  • Failure to fulfill civic duties and obligations at work, school or home due to drug use
  • Patients who are psychologically dependent on opioid medications are often unwilling to entertain different treatments for their pain, even when those treatments might be more effective.
  • Persistent or recurrent social or personal problems caused by continued use of opiates.
  • Sustained use despite the awareness of potent physical or psychological damage

Patients with opiate dependency may experience withdrawal symptoms if they fail to take the drug at the same time each day. Symptoms will depend on the level of withdrawal you are experiencing. Since people develop tolerance and dependence at unique rates, it is difficult to know who will experience opioid withdrawal until symptoms present. Opiate withdrawal in itself is not life-threatening or medically dangerous but can be extremely uncomfortable. The level of discomfort of the withdrawal is determined by some factors, such as;

  • The dosage of the drug
  • The specific drug(s) abused
  • The physical health of the patient
  • The medical and mental health status
  • The frequency of use.
  • The duration of time using the substance
  • Family history and genetic makeup
  • Route of drug abuse (g., smoking, injection, oral, or snorting)


opiate withdrawal symptoms

Opiate withdrawal symptoms grow and change over time. Early symptoms may include:

  • Excessive sweating
  • Inability to sleep (Insomnia)
  • Restlessness
  • Watery eyes
  • A runny nose
  • Anxiety or irritability
  • Eyes tearing up
  • Yawning very often

As the day progresses, symptoms can become more intense, and they include;

  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Profuse sweating
  • Dilated pupils and possibly a blurry vision.
  • Goosebumps on the skin

Babies can also experience withdrawal symptoms especially those born to mothers who are addicted to or have used opioids during pregnancy.

Symptoms in these babies may include:

  • Poor feeding
  • Digestive problems such as constipation, diarrhea or vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Dehydration

Symptoms usually begin to improve within 72 hours after onset of symptoms, and within a week, there should be a significant decrease.

Withdrawal symptoms can be treated with acetaminophen (Tylenol), aspirin, or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen. Plenty of fluids and rest are required. Medications such as loperamide (Imodium) can help with diarrhea and hydroxyzine (Vistaril, Atarax) may ease nausea.

Alcohol addiction is a disease that affects people from all walks of life. This is regardless of what job you do, or your race. This disease has no cause. However, there are some factors that contribute to the development of the disease. Some of the factors include heredity, gender, race and so on. Alcoholism is more than an addiction. It is a real disease that causes changes to the chemistry of the brain. However, the severity of the disease depends on how regular the individual drink. Alcoholism can lead to various mishaps. Some of them include road traffic accidents, physical and sexual abuse, domestic abuse, medical conditions such as liver diseases, Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome, arrhythmia, cancer and so on. In addition, the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy can lead to an abnormal development of the fetus. Lastly, alcoholism can lead to depression. Just like drug addiction, it’s difficult for alcoholics to quit drinking on their own. This is why it’s important for addicts to check themselves into a rehabilitation center. A lot of successes have been recorded in recovery centers. In fact, everyone recovers, as long as the patient would cooperate with the support team in the facility.


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What is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction can be described as a condition in which an individual goes through a prolonged, and relapsing disorder in which he/she compulsively finds and uses drugs, regardless of the adverse effects. This condition has been classified as a brain disorder. This is because it causes a change in the way the brain functions. This disease is just like other diseases such as liver disease and the likes. Drug addiction usually starts when a person decides to take a drug, probably for the treatment of pain, or a cough. Most times, these drugs are prescribed to the patient. However, the repeated consumption of this drug might lead to a tolerance in the system of the patient. This means that the patient would need to take more of the drug, to achieve the desired result. This continues until the patient can’t do without the drug. Patients usually find it hard to resist the urge of taking the medications. After doing this for a long time, the patient might develop withdrawal symptoms when they try to abstain, or stop using the drug. The most common drug that people get addicted to is opiates. These are drugs that are used for the treatment of pain. Opiates are one of the most addictive substances in the world. A lot of prescriptions are administered every year, with patients getting addicted to these drugs. A lot of popular figures have died because of drug addiction.

 Why Is It Bad For People To Take Drugs Even Though It Makes Them Feel Good?

People feel drugs are good, especially at the initial stage. However, they find it difficult to control their use as time goes on. These drugs can easily consume one’s life. As people continue abusing these drugs, things they find enjoyable, become less pleasurable. These affected people would want to take more of the drugs just to feel good. Drug abuse destroys, notwithstanding of the severity of the consumption. Drug addiction can be likened to an alcoholic that gets behind the steering wheel of his car and causes an accident. This is what happens when people misuse or abuse drugs.

alcoholism and drug addiction treatment programs

 Alcoholism And Opioid Drug Addiction Recovery Programs

Alcohol and drug addiction rehabilitation is the most effective way of getting alcohol addiction. Alcohol and drug addicts are admitted into a rehabilitation center. This can be done willingly by the person involved, and the families and friends can also make an addict check-in for the program. Recovery period usually takes from a month and above, although the duration of treatment depends on the severity of the addiction. Severe cases might take many months before the patient recovers. Longer duration of treatment is usually recommended for those with bad conditions. The longer the period of stay, the more the effective the treatment. Below are the steps involved in rehabilitation;

  • Evaluation: Evaluation is the first step involved in the treatment procedure of the patient. Some information is taking from the patient. This includes the name of the patient, the name, allergies, family history, medical history, the amount of alcohol the patient consumes per day, how many days of the week the patient drinks and so on. After this is done, the patient is then assessed. This includes both physical, medical and psychological assessment. It’s important for the patient to open up completely to the physician, as the treatment plan for the patient would be based on the information gotten from him/her. The families and friends of the patient should also be interviewed for more information. However, the patient should be informed about this.
  • Detoxification: This is the process whereby the patient is taken off drugs and alcohol. The medical team doesn’t just take the patient off the abused substance suddenly but does this gradually. The patient is fed well, and given medications to avoid any withdrawal symptoms.
  • Therapy: Generally, people feel better when they share their struggle with someone that’s going through something similar. This is why recovery programs put patients together in support groups. The role of this group is to help the patients open up to each other, and share their struggles together. It has been observed that this method is very effective.
  • Aftercare: Rehabilitation centers do offer aftercare. This is done to monitor the patient, and give administering medications and check-ups on him/her after the patient has been discharged. The purpose of aftercare is to ensure that the patient doesn’t relapse.

Although this method has proven to be effective, some patients would rather not talk to other people about their alcohol addiction. This is why some rehabilitation centers provide private counselors to this kind of patients. Rehab centers usually offer both outpatient and inpatient rehabilitation care. The inpatient care is usually between one month to one year, while the outpatients are given daily supports. Rehabilitation is the way to go if anyone is to quit the addiction.



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