recover from opioid dependence

How to Recover from Opioid Dependence

Opioid Addiction Treatment

Millions of people in the United States are addicted to opioids, often referred to as narcotics. These include prescription pain relievers, such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, tramadol, and fentanyl. The illegal drug heroin is also an opioid.

According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an estimated 10.1 million people over 11 misused opioids in 2019. Most people (9.7 million) misused prescription opioids, while a minority (745,000) misused heroin.

Many become dependent on opioids after being prescribed pain relievers following a medical procedure, such as surgery. While opioids can successfully treat pain in the short term, they can cause significant damage when taken for an extended period.

Chronic opioid use can create changes in the brain that make it difficult to stop using opioids. This is one reason why it is so challenging for people who are dependent on opioids to break their addiction. Opioid use can ultimately lead to a substance use disorder or more specifically, opioid use disorder.

Challenges with Opioid Addiction Recovery

Long-term misuse of opioids impacts every part of the human body. There are a variety of health effects associated with opioid abuse. Many people addicted to opioids suffer severe gastrointestinal issues, including constipation and nausea.

Because opioid addiction impacts so many parts of the human body, people who stop taking opioids will likely feel physical symptoms such as:

  • • Diarrhea
  • • Enlarged pupils
  • • Body and muscle aches
  • • Chills
  • • Diarrhea
  • • Vomiting
  • • Nausea
  • • Drug cravings


These symptoms may sound like little more than the flu, but they can be agonizing to experience. People who try to recover from opioid addiction on their own may find themselves returning to the narcotic. They may relapse on opioids for relief from their painful withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal and Detox Process for Opioid Addiction

Unfortunately, the withdrawal and detoxification process for opioid addiction doesn’t happen overnight.

It can take days or weeks for a person to go through withdrawal entirely. How long withdrawal and detox take will depend on how frequently the person has been using opioids. Along with factors like how many toxins are in their system.

The good news is that people who have an opioid addiction do not need to undergo withdrawal on their own. Trying to quit “cold turkey” can be detrimental or even deadly.

Instead, medical treatments can ease some painful withdrawal symptoms while ensuring the person trying to recover remains safe throughout the detox phase.

Methods to Help with Opioid Addiction Recovery

Medication treatment and psychotherapy are the two most common methods in opioid addiction recovery.

Medication treatment for opioid recovery

Detox and recovery from opioid addiction often include medications to help people with the process. Three medications commonly treat opioid addiction are naltrexone and buprenorphine. 

Buprenorphine and methadone are used to help decrease cravings and withdrawal symptoms. They target the same parts of the brain that opioids do without making a person feel high. 

Instead, these medications are a treatment that can help restore balance to the brain. These medications can also allow the mind to heal as a person works on the rest of their recovery. Sometimes, buprenorphine is taken along with naloxone to prevent buprenorphine misuse.

Naltrexone takes away the high that a person typically gets when taking opioids. Therefore, this medication can help prevent a person in recovery from relapsing. It’s important to be off opioids for at least 7 – 10 days before taking naltrexone. If not enough time has passed it can lead to more painful withdrawal symptoms.

People can take these medications for months or even years. It is a good idea to take them under the care of a healthcare professional. A trained healthcare professional can help the person going through opioid recovery stay safe and prevent a relapse.

Psychotherapy for opioid recovery

In addition to using medication to help with addiction recovery, many people find benefits in psychotherapy for opioid recovery. Combining therapy with medication is known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Engaging in therapy as part of an opioid recovery program can help a person:

  • • Regain confidence and self-esteem
  • • Learn how to find new hobbies
  • • Reintegrate into a drug-free lifestyle
  • • Re-learn how to socialize without drugs
  • • Learn healthy coping mechanisms to deal with life’s challenges


Therapy can be done individually, with a group, or with family members who want to help the person recovering from addiction stay sober.

How a Residential Rehabilitation Center Can Help People Recover from Opioid Dependence

It can be beneficial for a person looking to recover from an opioid addiction to be removed entirely from their surroundings. They can greatly benefit from being under the care of a round-the-clock medical team.

A residential rehabilitation facility can help someone with opioid addiction get the medical support they need. Rehab can help people go through withdrawal and detox. Treatment centers also help people learn how to live a sober, drug-free life. They will have access to medical staff 24 hours a day in a crisis or medical emergency.

Residential rehabilitation removes temptation and keeps people dependent on opioids away from their triggers. It also introduces people suffering from opioid addiction to others who are going through the same thing. Being surrounded by peers can help them meet new friends and re-learn how to socialize without opioids. 

Having the support of peers and alumni can make a significant difference in recovery efforts. Especially once those in recovery leave the residential rehabilitation center.

Finally, residential rehabilitation can teach those in recovery how to manage their life responsibilities and stresses using healthy concepts. Skills training programs help those in recovery develop and re-learn life skills that will help them be successful in the world.

Seek Opioid Dependence Treatment at New Method Wellness

Opioid recovery is not easy, but it is well worth the pain. The best way to successfully recover from opioid addiction is through a guided program. It is important to seek assistance from trusted professionals who use evidence-based treatment for opioid addiction.  We offer residential rehabilitation options at New Method Wellness for men and women seeking opioid addiction recovery. 

Contact us to learn more about our programs and how they can help beat opioid addiction.

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