Most people think drug addiction only happens with illegal drugs, like heroin or cocaine. But in the United States and around the world, abuse and misuse of prescribed opioid medications accounts for a large share of drug addiction.
Opioid medications are prescribed primarily for chronic and acute pain, including pain that comes after surgery, from traumatic injuries, or from major diseases like cancer.
When strictly monitored and used only as prescribed for shorter durations, opioid medications can be helpful in relieving serious pain. But when abused, taken without a doctor’s supervision, or taken for long periods of time, they also pose a serious risk of addiction.
At Affordable & Restorative Health in Nashville, Tennessee, Winston Griner, MD, helps patients control their cravings and overcome addictions with personalized addiction recovery programs.
Here’s how recovery works and how it could help you or a loved one win the battle over opioid addiction.
How opioid addiction happens
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly 50,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses in 2019. More than 10 million Americans misuse prescription opioids every year, significantly increasing the risk of developing an addiction.
The reason why opioids are so addictive has to do with the way they interact with your nerves and your brain. Opioids work to block pain by binding with special receptors on your sensory nerves, blocking the chemicals that signal pain responses in your brain.
But preventing pain signals is just one effect of opioids. They also help turn on feelings of euphoria, helping you feel more relaxed and happy.
That doesn’t sound so bad — but the problem with opioids is that fairly quickly, your body can develop a tolerance to these effects, meaning you need more and more of the drug to get the same results.
Before long, your brain and body develop a physical dependence on opioids, causing chemical changes in your brain that can be nearly impossible to overcome without medical help.
Addiction recovery: Breaking the cycle
Dr. Griner offers a comprehensive, multifaceted outpatient recovery program aimed at addressing the physical, emotional, and psychosocial effects of opioid addiction. A typical program includes an array of treatment options, including:
- Behavioral counseling
- Health and wellness services
- Lifestyle changes
- Stress management
- Ongoing support
Depending on your needs, your program might include job counseling or mental health counseling services to help you build strong, supportive relationships. The goal of the recovery program is to provide you with the tools and support you need to manage your recovery in a safe, sustainable way for lifelong benefits.
Before enrolling in a recovery program, Dr. Griner performs an evaluation to make sure you’re a good candidate. The recovery program is not a detox program. If Dr. Griner feels you need a different type of medical treatment for your addiction, he may refer you to another facility or a hospital for immediate inpatient care.
Get help for your addiction — now
Addiction is a disease that needs medical treatment. Yet many people delay seeking care because they’re afraid or even ashamed.
Without a custom treatment plan optimized for your needs, your addiction can affect your physical and emotional health, as well as your social, work, and family life. For many people, untreated opioid addiction leads to death.
As an experienced recovery specialist, Dr. Griner is skilled at helping patients find the solutions they’re looking for to break the cycle and overcome their addiction — and he can help you, too. To learn more about the outpatient recovery solutions he offers at Affordable & Restorative Health, call us at 615-903-2401 or request an appointment online today.