The term “opiate” is often incorrectly used interchangeably with the term opioid. All opiates are accurately categorized as opioids, but not all opioids are actually opiates. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explains that opiates refer to the natural version of opioids (e.g. morphine, codeine, and heroin), whereas opioids encompass all natural, semisynthetic, and synthetic opioids. Opioids are a class of drugs often used to relieve chronic and/ or intense pain.
What Are Opiates?
Opiates are substances that are derived from the opium plant, poppy. They elicit a pain relieving effect by binding to the opioid receptors in one’s brain and depressing the central nervous system. When abused, opiates can cause feelings of euphoria, as the brain is flooded with dopamine. When the feelings of the “high” begin to wear off, the individual will physically crave more of the substance. This can quickly become an unhealthy, cyclical pattern of abuse that can lead to physical dependence (needing opiates in one’s system to function) and subsequently addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of an Opiate Addiction
Every individual is different and each person struggling with opiate abuse and/ or addiction has the propensity to exhibit a unique combination of signs and symptoms. Commonly reported examples that may be indicative of opiate abuse could include, but are not limited to, the following, as provided by Johns Hopkins Medicine:
- Uncontrollable opiate cravings
- Changes in sleep habits
- Weight loss
- Frequent flu-like symptoms
- Decreased libido
- Lack of hygiene
- Slurred speech
- Loss of coordination
- Excessive sweating
- Drastic mood swings
The severity of symptoms will depend on several contributing factors (e.g. an individual’s personal health history, the length of time the individual abused opiates, the frequency of use, the dosage abused, if the individual mixed opiates with any other substances, etc.). If left untreated, habitual opiate abused can lead to harmful short and long-term effects.
Opiate Addiction Treatment Process
The typical treatment process for opiate abuse and/ or addiction is comprised of three stages: the detox stage, formal treatment program, and aftercare. All three stages are equally important, as each is fundamental to the recovery process.
- Detox: detox is the process that rids one’s body of all foreign substances. Though the withdrawal symptoms (e.g. insomnia, anxiety, vomiting, tremors, diarrhea, etc.) that typically manifest when detoxing from opiates are rarely life threatening they can cause severe discomfort, as such a medically assisted detox is advised to assist with mitigating the adverse withdrawal symptoms.
- Treatment Program: substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment programs are conducted in either an inpatient setting or an outpatient setting. Due to the physiological effects of opiate abuse, individuals struggling with opiate addiction are advised to attend an inpatient treatment program. Inpatient treatment programs require its participants to reside at the treatment facility for the duration of the program. The immersive experience of inpatient treatment exposes an individual to an array of therapeutic modalities (e.g. cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, group therapy, create arts therapies, and more) and affords its participants access to twenty-four-hour professional support.
- Aftercare: during the formal treatment program an individual will develop an aftercare plan with his or her clinical team. This serves as a personalized resource that provides individuals with both detailed and broad guidance, often including suggestions for how to navigate challenges post treatment, strategies for relapse prevention, and more.
It is important to note that though the treatment process is broadly made of up the same three stages, there is an array of options within each stage. The different options within each stage allow leeway for modifications so as to ensure the nuanced needs of each individual are sufficiently and precisely accommodated.
Why Choose Annandale in Pasadena?
Annandale Behavioral Health is a private wellness center located in the beautiful hills of Pasadena, CA. Our center provides the ideal environment for guests to reconnect with nature while receiving premium and personalized treatment. At Annandale, we honor each person’s individuality and have a core belief that everyone is capable of achieving true wellness. We understand that in order to heal, every person in recovery deeply benefits from a customized and tailored treatment plan, which we carefully develop for each of our guests. Our multidisciplinary clinical team is made up of highly regarded psychiatrists, physicians, therapists, nursing, and support staff.
Annandale Behavioral Health offers a full continuum of care, including medically supervised detox, stabilization, residential treatment, and aftercare services. We are here to support you every step of the way to help you learn how to lead a healthy, authentic, and fulfilling life that both promotes and supports true wellness.
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one in regards to mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction, please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. Our admissions team is available to answer any general questions regarding substance abuse, addiction, mental health issues, treatment, and/or specific questions about our program here at Annandale Behavioral Health. We welcome the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to help you or your loved one in the recovery process. Feel free to reach us by phone at 855-778-8668 or through our contact form. We look forward to supporting you on your journey.