What are opioids?
Opioids, sometimes called narcotics, are a type of drug. They include strong prescription pain relievers, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and tramadol. The illegal drug heroin is also an opioid.
A health care provider may give you a prescription opioid to reduce pain after you have had a major injury or surgery. You may get them if you have severe pain from health conditions like cancer. Some health care providers prescribe them for chronic pain.
Prescription opioids used for pain relief are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by your health care provider. However, opioid misuse and addiction are still potential risks.
What are opioid misuse and addiction?
Opioid misuse means you are not taking the medicines according to your provider's instructions, you are using them to get high, or you are taking someone else's opioids. Addiction is a chronic brain disease. It causes you to compulsively seek out drugs even though they cause you harm.
What are the treatments for opioid misuse and addiction?
Treatments for opioid misuse and addiction include
Which medicines treat opioid misuse and addiction?
The medicines used to treat opioid misuse and addiction are methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.
Methadone and buprenorphine can decrease withdrawal symptoms and cravings. They work by acting on the same targets in the brain as other opioids, but they do not make you feel high. Some people worry that if they take methadone or buprenorphine, it means that they are substituting one addiction for another. But it is not; these medicines are a treatment. They restore balance to the parts of the brain affected by addiction. This allows your brain to heal while you work toward recovery.
There is also a combination drug that includes buprenorphine and naloxone. Naloxone is a drug to treat an opioid overdose. If you take it along with buprenorphine, you will be less likely to misuse the buprenorphine.
You may safely take these medicines for months, years, or even a lifetime. If you want to stop taking them, do not do it on your own. You should contact your health care provider first, and work out a plan for stopping.
Naltrexone works differently than methadone and buprenorphine. It does not help you with withdrawal symptoms or cravings. Instead, it takes away the high that you would normally get when you take opioids. Because of this, you would take naltrexone to prevent a relapse, not to try to get off opioids. You have to be off opioids for at least 7-10 days before you can take naltrexone. Otherwise you could have bad withdrawal symptoms.
How does counseling treat opioid misuse and addiction?
Counseling for opioid misuse and addiction can help you
There are different types of counseling to treat opioid misuse and addiction, including
Counselors can also refer you to other resources that you might need, such as
What are residential and hospital-based treatments for opioid misuse and addiction?
Residential programs combine housing and treatment services. You are living with your peers, and you can support each other to stay in recovery. Inpatient hospital-based programs combine health care and addiction treatment services for people with medical problems. Hospitals may also offer intensive outpatient treatment. All these types of treatments are very structured, and usually include several different kinds of counseling and behavioral therapies. They also often include medicines.
Source: U.S National Library of Medicine (MedlinePlus)