The opioid epidemic continues to quietly rage in the United States to the point that nearly everyone knows someone personally affected by it. Since 1996, the year a particularly powerful opioid was introduced to the US market, over 1 million Americans have died from an overdose. Opioid use ends lives, tears apart families, and ravages communities in urban centers and rural areas alike. The dual diagnosis treatment program at Creative Care offers a solution to opioid use disorder and the mental health conditions it so often masks. Our compassionate and expert team gently unravels the bonds keeping our clients trapped in their opioid use disorder and guides them towards new lives of wellness and contentment.
Opioid use disorder is a mental health condition in which an individual engages in problematic opioid use. Opioids are chemicals that interact with the body’s opioid receptors and include prescription pain relievers like hydrocodone and oxycodone, synthetics such as fentanyl and methadone, heroin, and morphine.
These chemicals reduce pain and cause feelings of intense euphoria but can cause serious physical problems including addiction and overdose. Individuals suffering from opioid use continue to use the drug despite its negative consequences. They can also develop a tolerance to the chemicals, meaning they require higher doses to achieve the desired effect, and may experience withdrawal symptoms in the drug’s absence.
The symptoms of opioid use include signs of opioid intoxication, problematic behavior related to use, and withdrawal symptoms:
- Pinpointed pupils
- Slurred speech
- Cravings for opioids
- Giving up previously enjoyable activities because of opioid use
- Problems at work, school, or in relationships caused by opioid use
- Continuing to use opioids despite these problems
Physical withdrawal symptoms in the absence of opioids, including body aches, nausea, vomiting, cramps, sweating, and restlessness
Scientists believe opioid use to be the product of biology and environment. However, other risk factors contribute to its development. The American Medical Association estimates 4-19% of individuals who are prescribed opioids for pain develop a dependence. Co-occurring mental health conditions are also a factor as individuals turn to opioids in an effort to self-medicate. Traumatic experiences like childhood abuse and neglect also increase the risk of opioid use disorder.
Effective treatments are available for opioid use. Cognitive-behavioral therapy teaches individuals to recognize the triggers that drive their opioid use while offering strategies to positively change the resultant behavior. As substance use issues often co-occur with underlying mental health disorders, dual diagnosis treatment is a particularly powerful option, treating the substance use and masked condition simultaneously. Successful opioid use recovery also requires the development of a strong support system, such as those found in twelve-step programs.
Creative Care has over 30 years of experience helping individuals manage and overcome co-occurring substance use conditions like opioid use disorder. For compassionate, innovative treatment, call Creative Care today.