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Person attends a virtual therapy appointment

Online Opioid Use Disorder Treatment

Opioids are a potent class of drugs frequently prescribed to relieve severe pain. While some are derived from the opium poppy plant, such as morphine and codeine, others like fentanyl and oxycodone are synthetically manufactured. Beyond their medical use, certain opioids like heroin are illicitly produced and sold, contributing to a nationwide epidemic of addiction and overdose deaths. Understanding opioid addiction can help prevent misuse and get those struggling with addiction the help needed for recovery.

What is Opioid Use Disorder?

Opioid Use Disorder (OUD), also known as opioid addiction, is a complex and chronic condition characterized by an intense craving for opioids, continued use despite negative consequences, and withdrawal symptoms when attempting to stop use. This disorder reflects a pattern of opioid consumption that significantly impairs an individual’s ability to function in their daily life. 

When taken as directed by a healthcare professional, opioids can provide immense relief. However, their highly addictive nature poses a significant risk. The opioid crisis has become a major public health concern in the United States, with alarming statistics. In fact, as of 2022, opioid-related deaths increased 64% compared to 2019.

OUD is not just about being physically dependent on opioids. People with this addiction also have a strong mental urge to use them. They might feel anxious, angry, or depressed if they can’t use opioids.

Causes of Opioid Addiction

While the causes of opioid addiction are an area of ongoing research, several factors contribute to the development of opioid use disorder. Some of the most common causes of OUD include:

  • Euphoric Effects: For some individuals, the initial euphoric sensations can be a powerful reinforcer, leading to a cycle of continued use and eventual opioid dependence.
  • Genetics: Certain genetic differences might make some people feel stronger cravings or more pleasure from opioids. 
  • Environmental Factors: Stressful life events, trauma, or the presence of co-occurring mental health conditions can increase the risk
  • Progression of Use: Many individuals start using opioids as prescribed for legitimate medical purposes. However, over time, tolerance can develop, leading to the need for higher doses to achieve the desired effects.

Signs of Opioid Addiction

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of opioid addiction is important for seeking timely intervention and support. While the signs may vary from person to person, there are several common behaviors and physical changes to look out for.

  • Drowsiness and changes in sleep patterns
  • Fluctuations in weight and appetite
  • Frequent flu-like symptoms
  • Diminished libido and lack of personal hygiene
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Financial difficulties or unexplained money problems
  • Engaging in illegal activities, like theft, to obtain opioids

Opioid Withdrawal

When an individual with opioid dependence abruptly stops or reduces their opioid intake, they may experience a range of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can serve as a significant barrier to overcoming opioid addiction, often leading to relapse.

Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Sweating and chills
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Muscle aches and insomnia
  • Abdominal cramping, nausea, and vomiting

While opioid withdrawal is rarely life-threatening, it can be an excruciating experience, making it essential to seek professional detox support.

Opioid Addiction Treatment

Overcoming opioid addiction is a journey that often requires a combination of medical interventions, behavioral therapies, and ongoing peer and family support. Each plays a important role and must work together for long-term recovery success.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a comprehensive approach that combines FDA-approved medications with addiction counseling. This evidence-based approach aims to alleviate cravings, manage withdrawal symptoms, and promote long-term recovery.

Several medications have been approved for the treatment of opioid use disorder, including:

Addiction Therapy

Addressing the psychological and behavioral aspects of opioid addiction is necessary for lasting recovery. Various addiction therapies can help support individuals in developing coping strategies, identifying triggers, and addressing the root causes of substance use.

Some commonly utilized therapies include:

Peer Support and Community Resources

Overcoming opioid addiction is often a lifelong journey, and having a strong support system can be invaluable. Peer support gives people a chance to connect with others who understand what they’re going through. It provides a safe place to share experiences, challenges, and successes in recovery. These support groups can help people stay accountable, give encouragement during tough times, and offer practical advice from those who have been through similar situations.

Online Opioid Addiction Treatment at Eleanor Health

Opioid addiction is a complex and multifaceted condition that requires a comprehensive and compassionate approach to treatment. By understanding the underlying causes, recognizing the signs, and embracing evidence-based interventions, individuals struggling with opioid use disorder can find hope and support on their journey to recovery.

Eleanor Health offers online medication-assisted treatment for opioids, alcohol, meth, and more. We create individualized treatment plans that include medications that are fit to your recovery goals as well as addiction counseling to support lasting sobriety. Fill out our online form or call us today to learn more about our addiction treatment services.