There’s lots of help available for people who are dependent on opioids. The types of help available include getting support, learning how to change your behavior or taking medications to reduce …
There’s lots of help available for people who are dependent on opioids. The types of help available include getting support, learning how to change your behavior or taking medications to reduce cravings and prevent withdrawal. There is no single treatment that is perfect for everybody. Different treatment types suit different people.
A lot of people struggle with opioid dependence and addiction. Seeking treatment is a normal and effective way for them to manage, reduce or stop their opioid use.
Opioid dependence and addiction can be an ongoing (chronic) condition and can require long-term treatment and management.
Talk to your doctor about the options that are available to you and the costs, if any, that are involved.
If you’re concerned about your use of opioids, you should not try to stop or reduce your use without first speaking with your doctor. They will be able to give you important information and help you decide on the best steps to take.
You may not be able to stop immediately. If you’ve been taking opioids for a long time or at high doses you’ll probably need help stopping. Where you live will determine the services that are available to you.
Tapering: This refers to gradually reducing the amount of medication you regularly use. Your doctor will help you do this by developing a plan to slowly reduce the amount of medication you’re taking.
Counselling and/or behavioral therapy: Some people will not need medical help. They’ll benefit from counselling and behavior change therapies to help them to stop using opioids.
Peer-based services and supports: These are support groups and professional organizations run by people who have been dependent or addicted themselves. They provide non-judgmental help, support and guidance.
Alcohol and drug treatment: This is a broad term that includes a range of services. Alcohol and drug treatment providers are organizations that help people reduce or stop their drug use. Some involve detoxification, group therapy, or moving into a residential clinic for a while. Talk to your doctor about the services in your area and the costs that are involved.
Medication-assisted treatment: This is a medication given to people who want to stop using opioids. The medication works by reducing the urge to use (cravings) and preventing withdrawal.
The treatment of opioid dependence and addiction via medication is often referred to as pharmacotherapy or medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
When someone begins MAT, a doctor prescribes them slow-acting opioids that reduce cravings, prevent withdrawal and reduce the risk of overdose. This will usually be medications called methadone and buprenorphine but it may include others, such as slow-release oral morphine.
MAT helps patients break the cycle of opioid dependence and addiction by managing cravings and withdrawal.
Everyone’s goals are different. Once stabilized, a person may wish to taper off (or gradually reduce) MAT or they may be comfortable staying on a maintenance program.
You’re more likely to be successful at reducing opioid use on MAT than with any other type of treatment. Medication-assisted therapy is the most effective treatment for opioid dependence and addiction, but combining psychosocial treatments with MAT can lead to even better outcomes.
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