Those who find themselves addicted to opioids are not alone. The United States remains in the middle of the opioid epidemic. An addiction to opioids, including prescription, has proven tough to kick. 

Why is that?

Understanding Opioids

The human body produces natural opioids. On the other hand, prescription opioids and those purchased on the street are synthetic. Synthetic opioids attach themselves to the natural ones. The chemicals overpower the individual, namely their brain.

Opioids include:

  • OxyContin
  • Vicodin
  • Morphine
  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin

Prescription opioids became popular in the United States to help patients receive relief from pain. However, the medical community did not anticipate the potency of the drugs.

As Americans became hooked on the substance, they found other ways to alleviate the cravings in between and when refills expire, namely Fentanyl. It started with heroin. Then, it moved to cocaine. 

Fentanyl started entering the United States in 2014. It surged and became more diverse in 2019. The impact on the population has yielded disastrous results including overdose deaths. 

Keep in mind that fentanyl is 100 more potent than morphine. It’s also 50 times more powerful than heroin.

For those who have confessed that they have a problem, help exists. 

Let’s explore five opioid addiction treatment options to consider.

1. Detox

After individuals admit that they have a problem, the next step is to detox. 

Detoxification from opioids is a process. The goal of medically-assisted detoxification is to help patients through the withdrawal symptoms safely. Opioid withdrawal takes place in three stages:

  • First stage takes place eight to 12 hours after the last dose
  • Second stage takes place one to three days after the last dose
  • Third stage takes place seven days after the last dose

Detoxing from heroin, prescription opioids, and synthetic opioids puts individuals in danger. Mild withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Palpitations
  • High blood pressure

When the withdrawal symptoms become severe, they can lead to:

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Risky behavior
  • Death

If the patient experiences a stroke or heart attack, professionals in an inpatient or detox program can help the patient on the spot.

Individuals need to detox before entering an inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation program. Removing the chemicals from the bloodstream allows patients to focus on their treatment instead of cravings. 

No one needs to overcome opioid addiction alone. You can detox and rehabilitate in an inpatient program. Learn more about your options.

2. Counseling

In 2022, the medical community understands that no two rehabilitation patients have the same case. Even though a group is seeking to overcome their dependence on opioids, each patient is different.

A treatment plan for opioid addiction includes a few components. The first is counseling. 

Counseling allows the patient to talk. Then, the counselor gives them advice. People fall into addiction for different reasons. Some received a prescription for a workplace injury. Peer pressure leads others down this path. 

Therefore, the counseling sessions in inpatient and outpatient programs will serve the specific needs of the patient. Before the program is over, each learns coping skills, about their triggers, and has set goals. 

3. Therapy

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is another component of treatment for those who seek to overcome their opioid addiction.

CBT aims to re-adjust the patient’s view of opioids and themselves. Professionals help stop negative attitudes and actions in each patient. Then, they refocus their energies.

If patients understand what caused the addiction, their likelihood of preventing it from occurring again increases. 

4. Tapering

For opioids, cold turkey is not the best treatment option. Instead, doctors recommend tapering. 

Tapering starts with lowering the doses. Eventually, the patient realizes that they no longer need them.

In a medical environment, doctors will measure the patient’s vitals to keep them out of harm’s way. The method requires commitment. 

Combined with therapy and counseling, tapering has a higher chance of success. 

5. Medication

If tapering alone does not work, doctors can prescribe medications to their patients. They move them off opioids and onto something less addictive such as:

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine
  • Naltrexone

After a set timeframe, the goal is to taper off the alternative prescriptions too. 

When doctors believe that the patient will benefit from medications for opioid addiction, it becomes part of a Medication-Assisted Therapy treatment plan.


Overcoming your opioid addiction is possible. Finding the right program for your circumstances starts the journey. Then, your treatment plan will include a few components including medication, therapy, and counseling.