Methods and Drawbacks to Various Opiate Treatments

Methods and Drawbacks to Various Opiate Treatments


What are your options for opiate treatment?  There are a few things you can do if you are hooked on heroin or painkillers:

1) Go to drug rehab – this would be like a short term residential facility…normally a 28 day or less program that would also include a detox at the start of it.  This is not a cheap route to go but it is probably the highest level of care and treatment that you can expect to get.  All of the other options are less intensive and less focused than residential treatment.  Probably the only way to do better than this is to follow it up with long term treatment, where the addict would live in rehab for several months.

Drawbacks: It is expensive.  Results are not guaranteed.  Success rates are typically quite low.

2) Drug maintenance – this would be like using Methadone or Suboxone (another synthetic opiate) to take every day so that you do not relapse on your drug of choice.  In my experience, people who try to use this as a means of staying clean do not generally do real well.  There could be a number of different reasons for this but I think the main one is that the person believes that the medication will solve their addiction problem, and it simply does not do so.  They are hoping it is a quick fix and they find that they still have to deal with reality and they are not as heavily medicated as they thought they would be.  In theory, this sounds like the perfect treatment for opiates, but it tends to not work so well in the real world.

Drawbacks: This is expensive too, in most cases.  Subjective evidence by the author says that it doesn’t work real well in the long term.  Plus it creates another dependency.

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3) Cold turkey – this would be like detoxing yourself at home on the couch, and simply gutting it out.  Some people have actually had success with this approach, but not many will succeed with it.  This is the whole reason that opiates are so addictive; because the withdrawal is so uncomfortable.  If it were easy then there would be no need for rehab or other forms of opiate addiction treatment.

Drawbacks: Typically doesn’t work.  Very uncomfortable.  Difficult to make any long term life changes without taking real action.

4) The holistic approach – this would be like going to rehab and then using an holistic approach to stay clean and maintain sobriety after you leave.  For example, you might work on nutrition, focus on exercise, build healthy relationships, seek emotional balance, explore your spirituality, and so on.  Doing this correctly requires a massive effort and a real drive for personal growth.

Drawbacks: No one wants to do it.  Taking massive action is hard work.

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