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What You Should Know About Opioid Use Disorder

man with head in hands working through opioid use disorder

Although the opioid crisis has gained more media attention in the past decade, it remains a major public health problem. If you’re personally impacted, it’s likewise no less devastating to face the far-reaching consequences. When a person suffers from opioid use disorder (OUD), they may endanger not only their own life but the well-being of their entire circle of family and friends. For this reason, it’s important to seek help for yourself or your loved one as soon as possible.

Call the caring team at NuLife Behavioral Health Massachusetts or reach out to us online to talk about our accredited opioid addiction treatment program. We’re standing by to get you and your family the support you need in this challenging time.

What Are the Signs of Opioid Use Disorder?

Opioids are a class of drug often used by doctors to treat pain or anxiety disorders. When used correctly, they can greatly reduce negative symptoms. Unfortunately, opioids also carry a very high addiction potential, making abuse common. This is so because they strongly activate the reward centers of the brain, causing cravings. Those who use opioids also need greater and greater amounts of the substance to feel the same effect over time.

Opioid use disorder is considered a lifelong condition, meaning that those who have it will always carry more risk of relapse than those who don’t. The best way to stay addiction free, however, is to terminate use safely under medical care and build the support network and resources needed to avoid using going forward. For a doctor to make a formal diagnosis, at least two of the following signs of OUD must show up within the same calendar year:

  • Using greater quantities of an opioid over a longer period than prescribed or intended
  • Growing tolerance, meaning you need more and more to achieve the same effect
  • Withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, drug cravings, anxiety, or elevated heart rate
  • Ongoing desire or unsuccessful attempts to reduce or control usage
  • Experiencing cravings, the strong chemically based desire to use
  • Limiting other activities because of usage
  • Disruption to normal functioning like school or work performance
  • Continuing to use despite ongoing interpersonal issues caused by the drug’s presence in your life
  • Using in dangerous situations such as while driving or operating other machinery
  • Ongoing usage in spite of mental or bodily concerns probably stemming from the drug’s presence in your system

What Kinds of Treatment Are Effective for Opioid Use Disorder?

Every client is different when it comes to recovery from opioid addiction. It’s essential to consult a licensed psychiatrist or medical doctor to determine the best treatment plan for you or your loved one. That said, here are a few of the most common components in effective OUD treatment:

  • Individual therapy: One-on-one work with a licensed therapist can help clients get to the root of their drug use and build a strong foundation for lasting recovery. In an accredited therapeutic style like cognitive-behavioral therapy, clients learn to identify unhealthy thoughts and behavioral patterns, replace them with healthy ones, and build coping skills.
  • Group therapy: Group therapy approaches such as 12-step programs aid in opioid use disorder treatment by providing a community of peers. Working with others who share aspects of your struggles can create nonjudgmental solidarity, accountability, and a drug-free community to lean on when times are tough.
  • MAT: Medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, involves carefully prescribed and monitored pharmaceutical aids that reduce withdrawal symptoms. Drugs like buprenorphine, extended-release naltrexone, and methadone can all be highly effective when paired with other treatment modalities like talk therapy under a doctor’s care.
  • Holistic therapies: Many effective holistic modalities can help those struggling with OUD when combined with more traditional approaches. These include equine therapy, music therapy, meditation, and yoga. In all cases, holistic therapies strive to address the entire person, often giving them much-needed physical feedback as well as an outlet for self-expression and development not pointedly related to substance abuse recovery.

Contact NuLife Behavioral Health for Information on OUD Treatment Today

If you’re seeking treatment for OUD in Massachusetts, Illinois, Indiana, or New Jersey, NuLife Behavioral Health may be the place for you. Even if you’re not in one of these states, call us at 888.568.2057 or reach out via our private online form to request more information and referrals. Our caring and highly qualified team is here to help you and your loved ones as you prepare for the recovery journey.