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Understanding Opioid Dependence

past and Future written on the board.
Opioid dependence is a disease in which there are biological, psychological and social changes. Some of the biological changes include:
  1. The need for increasing amounts of opioid to produce the same effect
  2. Symptoms of withdrawal
  3. Feelings of craving
  4. Changes in sleep patterns
Psychological components of opioid dependence include:
  1. A reliance on heroin or other drugs to help you cope with everyday problems
  2. An inability to feel good or celebrate without using heroin or opioids.
The social components of opioid dependence include:
  1. Isolating oneself by reducing contact with important people in your life 
  2. An inability to participate in important events due to drug use
In extreme cases, there may even be criminal and legal implications. The hallmarks of opioid dependence are:
  1. Continued use of drugs despite their negative effect,
  2. Need for increasing amounts of opioids to have the same effect
  3. Development of withdrawal symptoms upon cessation
Each of the aforementioned changes can contribute to the continued use of opioids.
Treatment for opioid dependence is best considered a long-term process. Recovery from opioid dependence is not an easy or painless process, as it involves changes in not only drug abuse habits and lifestyle, but also overall. Oftentimes, we find the development of coping skills through therapy to be amongst the most helpful changes. Recovery will involve hard work, commitment, discipline and a willingness to examine the effects of opioid dependence on your life. At first, it isn't unusual to feel impatient, angry or frustrated. The changes you need to make will depend on how opioid dependence has specifically affected your life. PLEASE do not hesitate to call us during this time.
During this dual treatment process, your counselor may help you with the above areas of change while SUBOXONE® will help you avoid many or all of the physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal. These typically include craving, restlessness, poor sleep, irritability, yawning, muscle cramps, runny nose, tearing, gooseflesh, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Your doctor may prescribe other medications for you as necessary to help relieve these symptoms. You should be careful not to respond to these withdrawal symptoms by losing patience with the treatment process and thinking that the symptoms can only be corrected by using drugs. To help you deal with the symptoms of withdrawal, you should try to set small goals with your counselor and work toward them on a daily basis.