Getting help for an Opiate Addiction

Getting Help for an Opiate Addiction

Opiates are a narcotic drug used medically as prescription painkillers. A state of euphoria can be induced by use of opiates which can lead to opiate addiction. Learn how opiate addiction affects individuals, how to notice signs and what treatment options are available if a loved one is struggling with addiction.



Three types of treatment exist for opiate addiction. Assisting an individual through opiate addiction includes the following phases: withdrawal, stabilization and psychological treatment.


Opiate withdrawal treatment

Physical dependence on opiates often requires a period of detoxification at the start of addiction treatment. During this period of time, an individual will experience physical withdrawal symptoms including agitation and a strong craving for the drug. As detox progresses, withdrawal may become more severe and can include the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Profuse sweating
  • Trembling


Serious opiate addictions can be dangerous or even lethal. Some complications can arise during detox. A small percentage of withdrawal cases lead to death. Individuals are encouraged to seek supervised detox with medical professionals. Withdrawal symptoms may only last a few days but can persist as long as two weeks, especially in the case of severe opiate addiction.


Stabilization after opiate withdrawal

After the initial physical withdrawal symptoms subside, many individuals with opiate addiction experience lingering mental and emotional challenges. This is commonly known as post-acute withdrawal syndrome or PAWS. Symptoms may include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Intense cravings
  • Increased likelihood of relapse
  • Lasting effects of up to a few weeks to a few years


Psychological opiate addiction treatment

Individuals who suffer from PAWS benefit from therapeutic support and intervention to deal with the symptoms. In addition, addressing the underlying psychological causes of addiction is imperative. Included in this may be breaking through thought patterns which led to destructive behavior.


Seeking Help

The first steps to getting help for an opiate addiction can be stressful. It is important to remember people are there to offer support for the journey. Some of the following are good sources of support for recovery:

  • Family and friends. The circle of people in one’s life can be important when things get tough in recovery. Family and friends can also assist in finding medical help when necessary.
  • Physicians. Finding a primary care physician to manage physical withdrawal and refer to mental health and addictions specialists is key to recovery.
  • Opiate addiction treatment centers. One of the best options for treatment of opiate addiction is a treatment center which specializes in opiate addiction. Education and treatment is important which can include inpatient and outpatient treatment programs.
  • Spiritual leadership. Spiritual leaders in the community can provide guidance and support for addiction to opiates.


It is difficult to watch a loved one struggle with opiate addiction. Staging an intervention, providing assistance in locating treatment options and participating in recovery are all ways to help a loved one feel safe and cared for during a difficult time.


The Villa provides support and resources for the recovery journey. Wherever you or your loved one are, today is always a good day to begin again. Call us to find out how we can help you quit opiates and gain a fresh start.