What’s Involved in Opium Addiction Treatment?

Because opium is relatively cheap, compared to other drugs, opiate  addiction is a huge problem as it affects about 26.4 million to 36 million people. Tragically, many people who abuse this highly addictive drug suffer from issues such as job loss, family problems, bleeding ulcers and even incarceration. If you suspect that you, or someone close to you, may be addicted to opium, here are some common signs of addiction and what’s involved in opiate addiction treatment.

Symptoms of Opium Addiction

Opiates, which come from the opium of poppy plants, are a set of drugs used to treat pain. They’re also known by other names, such as narcotics and opioids and are closely related to morphine, codeine and heroin.

Many of the signs and symptoms of opiate addiction can be difficult to spot because you can’t see the obvious signs right away. Often, users mask the signs of their addiction in a way that will prevent others from gaining insight into their problem. That’s why it’s important to pay close attention to a person’s behavior. Some of the most common clues that someone may be addicted include:

  • Needle marks on the skin due to intravenous drug use—It’s not unusual for users to wear long sleeves to hide their needle marks.
  • Stealing or consistently asking to borrow money without giving a reason why
  • Appetite loss
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Sadness
  • Social isolation
  • Legal and financial problems 

What to Expect During Detox 

The first part of treatment entails going through detox, in which the body must physically overcome addiction signs and opium dependence so that a patient can be prepared to receive therapy and counseling. Although some addicts go through detox at home, it’s better to do it under the supervision of a treatment center for safety reasons.

During this phase of treatment, most people experience several withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, confusion, hallucinations, bone and muscle pain, anxiety and  insomnia.

Medications Used During Withdrawal 

Withdrawing from opiates is extremely uncomfortable, but it’s not fatal. It’s been described as having a severe, long case of the flu. Therefore, treatment programs may use small doses of certain types of medications to take the place of opiate. Drugs that are used in treating opiate addiction are:

  • Agonists—These drugs trigger particular brain receptors to cause a full opium effect. An example is methadone, which helps to prevent withdrawal symptoms, besides reducing drug cravings. To receive it you need to go every day to a methadone clinic as this is the only way it can be administered.
  • Partial agonists—These are binding medications that activate a specific receptor, causing the production of endorphins. Just as their name implies, they only have partial efficiency as compared to full agonists.
  • Antagonists—These are drugs used to bind the mu opioid receptions, but they don’t encourage endorphins to be produced. Their job is to stop other opiates from the stimulation of the mu receptors.


After patients complete detox, their physical dependence on opium is gone, but they’re still likely to relapse if they don’t receive counseling as social and psychological forces can draw them back into addiction. There are several types of counseling, including:

Individual counseling—This type of therapy is especially beneficial for patients who have a dual diagnosis. In other words, besides having an opium addiction, they also suffer from mental issues such as bipolar disorder and depression that need to be treated separately from their addiction.

Group therapy—Although individual counseling is important, group therapy is even better as it includes other patients who are going through the same struggles. Some of the most well-known support groups are 12-step programs such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

Promptly treating an opium addiction is critical, so don’t hesitate to call Recovery in Tune, which is a premium substance abuse treatment facility in the Davie/Fort Lauderdale, Florida area. Our knowledgeable, experienced treatment team knows the struggles of addiction and understands the importance of treating clients with compassion, so they’ll continue to be sober. Please contact us.

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