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Opioid Addiction Treatment

Opioid addiction, also known as opioid use disorder, can pose many risks to your health and wellbeing. An opioid addiction treatment center may help you or a loved one recover from opioid addiction and take back control of your life.

If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid misuse, know that addiction is treatable. With proper treatment and management, people can stop misusing opioids and start the road to recovery.1

Keep reading to learn more about types of opioid treatment centers, medications and therapies used in opioid addiction treatment, and how to find an opioid addiction treatment center near you.

What Is Opioid Addiction?

Opioid addiction is diagnosed as an opioid use disorder (OUD). Doctors and medical professionals use criteria from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to confirm an OUD diagnosis.

According to the DSM-5, OUD means that a person compulsively and chronically self-administers opioids for no legitimate medical purpose; or they use excessive doses of prescription opioids for their medical condition that requires opioid treatment.2

The DSM-5 criteria for OUD include:2

  • Using opioids in higher amounts or for a longer period than originally intended.
  • Being unable to cut down or control opioid use.
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining the opioid, using the opioid, and recovering from its effects.
  • Cravings or strong desires or urges to use opioids.
  • Failing to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home due to opioid use.
  • Continuing to use opioids despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of opioids.
  • Giving up important social, occupational, or recreational activities because of opioid use.
  • Using opioids in situations in which it is physically hazardous to do so, such as while driving or operating machinery.
  • Continuing opioid use despite knowing that you have a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is probably caused or exacerbated by opioids.
  • Tolerance, which means you need an increased amount of opioids to achieve desired effects, or you experience a significantly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount of opioids.
  • Withdrawal, or unpleasant effects when you stop using opioids, and/or you take opioids to relieve withdrawal symptoms.

Keep in mind that only a doctor or another licensed medical professional can diagnose OUD. To receive this diagnosis, you need to experience clinically significant distress or impairment from your opioid use and meet at least 2 of the above-mentioned criteria over a 12-month period.2

Types of Opioid Addiction Treatment Programs

Seeking opioid treatment is an important step that can help you stop using opioids and promote your long-term recovery and sobriety. Treatment with medication and counseling has been shown to help people successfully manage their recovery, achieve, and sustain better health, and improve their quality of life.1

People with OUD often struggle with complex issues that may decrease their overall quality of life, such as other medical or mental health issues, other substance use disorders, trauma, or lack of social support.1 It’s important that treatment is personalized and addresses your unique needs.1

Opioid treatment programs (OTPs) are accredited treatment programs with certification from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).1 They are licensed to administer and dispense FDA-approved medications to treat opioid addiction.1

Opioid treatment programs are also required to provide appropriate medical, counseling, vocational, educational, and other assessment and treatment services, which can take place onsite or through referrals to outside agencies.1

Different types of opioid treatment centers are available. Settings can include:1, 3

  • Residential facilities.
  • Outpatient opioid treatment near you.
  • Addiction specialist physicians’ offices.
  • General primary care practices.
  • Health centers.
  • Emergency departments.
  • Inpatient medical and psychiatric units.

Federal regulations define treatment for opioid use disorder as “the dispensing of an opioid agonist treatment medication, along with a comprehensive range of medical and rehabilitative services” to help people overcome and manage the consequences of opioid addiction.3

Medication for Treating Opioid Use Disorder

Medications are often used as a part of a comprehensive OUD treatment plan.1 They may help improve your overall health and wellbeing in different ways.1 For example, research has shown that using medications to treat OUD results in reduced opioid use and a reduced risk of death from overdose.1

Different opioid treatment medications can help people struggling with opioid addiction depending on the phase of the treatment process they are in. Specific medications are used for withdrawal and detox, maintenance during OUD treatment (once detox is complete), and opioid overdose.

Opioid withdrawal treatment medications can help reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings and keep you safe and comfortable. These medications include:

  • Methadone, a medication known as an opioid agonist. It activates the same opioid receptors in your brain as the opioid you used; however, it is a long-acting opioid meaning you do not get the intense euphoria or intoxication compared to shorter-acting opioids.5 It also reduces withdrawal symptoms and cravings.5 Federal regulations state that methadone must be administered by a certified opioid treatment program.1, 5
  • Buprenorphine, a medication known as a partial opioid agonist, which means it only partially activates opioid receptors, so it has fewer side effects and a lower potential for misuse and overdose.6 It reduces cravings and minimizes withdrawal symptoms.5 It can be dispensed by certified physicians.5 Buprenorphine is available in combination with naloxone, known by brand names Suboxone or Zubsolv; naloxone blocks opioid effects so you won’t get high if you relapse.7
  • Clonidine is not FDA-approved for opioid withdrawal but may be used off-label to reduce withdrawal symptoms.6 Unlike other withdrawal medications, it cannot cause intoxication and it is not reinforcing.6
  • Lofexidine an FDA-approved, non-opioid medication used to treat withdrawal symptoms.5

Once detox is complete, many people remain on certain opioid use disorder treatment medications to help them stay abstinent and prevent relapse; this usually includes methadone or buprenorphine.5

You may also receive naltrexone, which prevents relapse following medically supervised withdrawal.1 It completely blocks the rewarding effects of opioids, so you won’t get high or experience euphoria if you resume using them.5

Naloxone is an opioid antagonist medication, meaning it attaches to opioid receptors and blocks the action of opioids. It is an opioid overdose treatment that is used to rapidly reverse the effects of opioid overdose.8 It is available as an emergency nasal spray or injection.7 SAMHSA indicates that anyone who uses opioids should have a naloxone prescription.1

Therapy for Opioid Use Disorder

Rehabilitative services can include behavioral therapy, which is an important component of addiction treatment. Behavioral therapies can help you reduce or stop opioid use, help you make positive behavioral changes, teach you healthy life skills, and help you continue your medication regimen.1, 4

Behavioral therapies may include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy can help you learn to identify and change unhelpful thoughts and behaviors related to opioid use.4 You will learn improved coping and stress management skills and learn about ways to manage triggers and prevent relapse.4
  • Contingency management uses positive reinforcements (rewards) to motivate you to make healthy life changes.1 It can also help you avoid opioid use and stay sober.
  • Motivational enhancement/interviewing is designed to help increase your motivation to stop using opioids and build your internal motivation to enter recovery.1
  • Multidimensional family therapy was developed for teens struggling with substance use. It helps you work on personal and family issues related to your substance use patterns and can help improve functioning in your day-to-day life.4

Find Opioid Addiction Treatment Near Me

If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid use or think you may have an addiction, it’s important to seek help. Opioid addiction treatment near you can help you stop the cycle of misuse and take back control of your life. When you’re ready to reach out, American Addiction Centers (AAC) is here to help.

American Addiction Centers operates treatment centers across the nation and offers evidence-based treatment that can help you start the path to recovery. Please call our free, confidential helpline at to speak to one of our caring admissions navigators about opioid treatment near you and the rehab options that may be right for your needs.

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