The Steps to Treating Opiate Addiction

Opioids are a strong class of medications that significantly reduce pain, lessen anxiety, and even bring about euphoria. Many people, therefore, seek out opioids because of these effects.

Although some opiates are legal, such as those prescribed by a doctor, others are illegal, such as heroin. One of the problems is that people who have received prescription opioids have had a very hard time not taking them anymore, and they become addicted.

When addiction to opiates does take place, what should you do to overcome it? Let’s discuss the steps in treating opiate addiction:

1.     Recognizing the Addiction and Seeking Help

The first step in overcoming addiction starts with the patient. The patient must first realize that there is a problem and be motivated to seek out help.

Some may need help in accepting their situation, which is why many friends and families often hold interventions. By acknowledging that you do indeed need help, not just more opioids, you begin the process of recovery.

If you are a friend or family member, keep in mind that you cannot do it for them. Let them know that you are there for them, but make sure that you do not become an “enabler” who is actually causing more harm by allowing the addiction to continue unabated, and not allowing natural detrimental effects to occur which will eventually provide motivation for them to get clean again.

2.     Formulation of a Treatment Plan

A medical professional who specializes in treating addiction will talk to you and your family or friends about the options that you have. Depending on your needs, the doctor may recommend medication, behavioral counseling, and therapeutic programs and communities:


Your psychiatrist may prescribe medication to control symptoms or to manage any underlying disorders. For instance, they may prescribe an antidepressant if they see clinical depression as a contributing factor to your addiction.

Behavioral Counseling

Therapy is a standard part of treatment for addiction recovery. Medication alone cannot address the complex issues that you may be experiencing. Through counseling, a psychiatrist can have a better understanding of how your addiction began in the first place.

Therapeutic Programs and Communities

The doctor may also suggest going to programs and joining support groups of people just like you. You will probably be surprised to see how many people have gone through exactly what you have gone through.

3.     Detoxification

Many people think detoxification means quitting cold-turkey; however, that is not the case. Instead, a medical staff supervises you as you gradually decrease your use of opioids.

Withdrawal during this step can be especially tricky and will come with side effects. These symptoms may include hot and cold flashes, anxiety, diarrhea, and nausea. Depending on the type of opioid, the frequency of use, and the dosage, you may experience symptoms for different lengths of time – but be patient, because they will subside and you will get your life back again.

4.     Therapy

One type of common treatment plan for opioid addiction includes suboxone therapy. Your psychiatrist may prescribe suboxone to help you manage the symptoms of withdrawal and treat the associated pain.

During this phase of treatment, the opioids leave the opioid receptors of the brain. Suboxone then takes its place, becoming a neutralizing agent. What results is a reduction of cravings and lessened intensity of withdrawal side effects.

5.     Monitoring

Recovery from addiction is not always linear. Some patients may relapse and find themselves doing it all over again. Because of these reasons, regular monitoring is vital.

That is why a psychiatrist’s job doesn’t stop at the end of a counseling session. When you maintain close contact with the doctor who is helping you recover from your opioid addiction, you know that there is someone who understands what you are going through and can help you get through it.

Opiate Addiction Treatment in Connecticut

If you or a loved one is battling opioid addiction, Dr. Mark Stracks can figure out what will work for you. Our team is well-trained in treating a range of psychiatric disorders that could be underlying causes of addiction.

If you’re ready to take step one, set an appointment today by calling us at (203) 405-1745 or request an appointment now via our online form. Know that you have value, and you matter. Let us help you regain control of your life.


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