Opioid addiction is a growing crisis in the United States, affecting millions of individuals and their families and New Jersey is no exception. While more and more attention is being placed on the opioid crisis in the country, it is equally important to take the time to focus on what you or a loved one can do in the event that either you or they are suffering from opioid addiction.
Opioid addiction treatment in New Jersey is a safe and effective way to address opioid abuse and addiction. Keep reading to learn more about opioid addiction, treatment options, and how Blue Star Recovery can help.
Opioids are a class of drugs that come in both legal and illegal forms. The legal form of opioids is often prescribed to those suffering from chronic or severe pain, often administered after surgery or a medical procedure.
Opioid drugs are derived from the opium poppy plant or synthesized in laboratories to produce similar effects. These substances work by binding to specific receptors in the brain and spinal cord (opioid receptors), effectively reducing pain and producing feelings of euphoria.
Common examples of opioids include:
Due to the effects that opioids have on the brain and body, opioids can be incredibly addicting, especially when taken for a prolonged period of time. People who are addicted to opioids often have a strong physical and psychological dependence on the drug, making it difficult to quit without professional help.
While many people who get addicted to opioids started off by taking them for recreational purposes, there are also many people who got addicted to opioids even though they were taking them only as medically directed. This happens because the brain becomes so dependent on the euphoric effects that opioids produce that it begins to crave the opioids to the point where it thinks it can not function properly without them.
Signs of Opioid Addiction
Some common characteristics of opioid addiction are:
- Intense cravings
- A higher tolerance
- Trying to stop taking opioids and being unable
- Knowing the negative consequences of opioids and still taking them
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Severe withdrawal symptoms
- Struggling at work or school
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Changes in social circles
- Doctor shopping
Knowing the signs and symptoms of opioid addiction is crucial when it comes to getting you or your loved one the help that they need. The sooner treatment can begin, the greater the chances of recovery. Additionally, in some instances, physical or mental side effects and be treated and even reversed if addiction treatment begins early.
Some common physical and behavioral signs of opioid abuse and addiction to keep an eye out for include:
- Track marks
- Mood swings
- Slurred speech
- Lying about opioid use
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Constricted or dilated pupils
- Hiding empty pill bottles of drug paraphernalia
- Financial and/or legal problems
- Engaging in risky behavior
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Changes in appetite
- Slowed breathing
If you or a loved one is suffering from any of the symptoms listed above or is displaying any of the above characteristics, it is important to get help right away at Blue Star Recovery.
Long-term use of opioids can have severe consequences beyond just abuse and addiction. Prolonged opioid use and abuse can lead to the development of both physical and mental ailments, many of which can be dangerous and even potentially deadly if not addressed.
Some of the common long-term side effects include:
- Physical Health Issues: The abuse of opioids can lead to problems such as chronic constipation, respiratory problems, and an increased risk of infections such as HIV and hepatitis from sharing needles.
- Mental Health Issues: Opioid abuse can also cause severe mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders.
- Tolerance and Dependence: A tolerance for opioids increases the risk of overdose, while dependence leads to withdrawal symptoms when not using opioids.
- Financial and Legal Problems: An addiction to opioids can lead to legal issues, such as drug-related offenses, and financial difficulties due to the cost of obtaining opioids.
- Damaged Relationships: Opioid addiction can strain relationships with friends and family, leading to isolation and loneliness.
Understanding some of the leading causes of opioid abuse and addiction can not only help when it comes to the prevention of opioid abuse, but it can also help with the overall treatment process.
Some of the more common causes of opioid abuse and addiction include:
For a long period of time, we saw a trend in this country where doctors were prescribing opioids to their patients at an alarming rate. This led to an increase in opioid abuse and addiction, often by accident. Patients would take the opioids only as medically directed. However, over time they would grow a tolerance and a dependence on the drug, eventually leading to addiction.
Studies continue to show that genetics can play a major role in the development of an addiction. A person who has a history of addiction in their immediate family (parents, siblings, etc.) is at a greater risk of developing a substance use disorder themselves.
It is not uncommon for someone suffering from a mental health condition to also develop a substance use disorder as a result of their mental health struggles. Far too often, people suffering mentally turn to drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medicating instead of seeking professional help.
While this may appear to be effective in the short term, in the long term not only can this lead to a substance use disorder, but it can also make the existing mental health condition worse.
The environment a person grew up in can have a significant impact on how they develop as a person, including their relationship with substances of abuse. If they grew up in a household where drugs and alcohol were used frequently, they may be more likely to do the same as they get older.
It’s important to remember like all types of addiction, opioid addiction is treatable. It’s also important to remember that treatment is only effective if the person in need of treatment truly wants it and accepts it.
Opioid addiction treatment often involves a combination of various therapies and components including
The first step in any type of substance use disorder treatment is detox. Detoxing is done to rid the body of any and all harmful substances that are in it so that the brain and body can begin the healing process.
Especially when it comes to opioid addiction, the withdrawal symptoms associated with the detox process can be incredibly dangerous and even life-threatening if not properly monitored by trained medical professionals. That’s why detoxing should be done at either a local medical facility, a dedicated detox center, or a treatment center that also offers detox.
Often, medications will be administered during the detox process to help alleviate and even treat some of the withdrawal symptoms. In some instances, these medications will continue to be administered during treatment as part of a medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program.
Once detox has been completed then the treatment process can begin. Based on your needs and the recommendation of treatment professionals, it will be recommended that you enter into either an inpatient or outpatient treatment program.
With inpatient treatment, you live at the facility for the duration of your treatment program. With outpatient treatment, you go to the facility during the day for your various therapies and appointments and return home.
Our partial hospitalization program in NJ can be effective for those who do not need to enter into an inpatient treatment program but require a higher level of treatment and care than most standard outpatient programs.
When it comes to addiction treatment, there are a number of different therapy options available. For those with an opioid use disorder, addiction therapy services can be incredibly helpful throughout the recovery process.
Behavioral therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and contingency management, helps individuals identify and change unhealthy patterns of thinking and behavior related to their opioid use and abuse.
A major part of the overall recovery process is having a strong support system. Unfortunately, many people who have entered into addiction treatment no longer have a support system to fall back on.
Support groups are a great way to build a new, healthy support system both during and after treatment as part of a larger recovery plan. Support group meetings such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and SMART Recovery can be a great way to build a support system while in treatment and even maintain that support network after treatment has been completed.