An estimated 2.4 million people in the US struggle with prescription painkiller addiction, and almost half a million suffer from heroin addiction. Unfortunately, much of that has to do with the overprescription of opioid drugs – what starts as a legitimate prescription for treating pain all too often escalates into opioid addiction as tolerance builds and usage increases.
To complicate the picture further, opioid addiction is often driven by mental health issues that underpin maladaptive coping behaviors like substance abuse. In fact, studies show a direct relationship between opioid abuse and depression.
The Drawbacks of Medication-Assisted Opioid Treatment
One opioid treatment option that’s common in mainstream addiction rehabilitation involves a drug-assisted withdrawal process. In medication-assisted opioid treatment programs, qualified physicians administer either buprenorphine (Suboxone), methadone or naltrexone on a controlled tapering schedule, with the eventual goal of being off medication completely. The problem with this is that these drugs are also opioids – and withdrawal from drugs like Suboxone can be worse than the original addiction.
The extreme discomfort of opioid withdrawals often present a significant barrier for people who wish to quit using. It’s understandable that many turn to drugs like Suboxone and Subutex, which promise a less painful path to sobriety. But the reality is that these harmful substances hold their own habit-forming potential, and are often misused, only making matters worse. The other reason this approach is ineffective is that addiction is not a purely physical matter – and as long as underlying issues remain, relapse is imminent.
Healing the Root Causes of Opioid Addiction – Holistically
The truth is, opioid addiction is often a symptom of something deeper – an underlying mental, emotional and spiritual crisis. While many (consciously or unconsciously) use opioids to self-medicate their pain, this false sense of soothing only further entrenches unwanted patterns. Truly being recovered requires uncovering the deeper core issues in order to determine the origins of your personal addiction, so you can resolve the heart of the matter and prevent future relapse. Your treatment plan should involve a variety of therapies to address all aspects of you that are affected by opioid abuse: your mind, body, soul and spirit.
At The Sanctuary, our integrative approach to addiction healing takes into account all factors that influence health, wellness and disease, including environment, relationships, family systems, external stressors and community. We believe that not only can you safely get sober from opioids, you can move beyond recovery into being fully recovered.
Learn more about holistic alternatives to medication-assisted opioid treatment in our article, The Distressing Downsides of Using Methadone to Overcome Heroin Addiction.
If you’re ready to experience new depths of personal transformation, we can help. Call us at (877) 710-3385 or email us at [email protected] to learn how.