At Vertava Health of Massachusetts, we see an ever-increasing number of people seeking treatment for opiate addiction. This is true for the whole country, not just here in Massachusetts. It is troubling to see these numbers increase, but we are doing our part to fight against addiction. Understanding the opiate addiction epidemic and addiction treatment programs are crucial to getting the help that you need to fully recover.
Vertava Health Of Massachusetts Offers A Unique Program Specializing In Treatment for Opiate Addiction
Our experts at our opiate addiction treatment center have developed a program that is suited to meet a variety of needs. However, an addiction to opiates has originated, our knowledgeable and intuitive staff is here to meet your needs every step of the way.
Opiate addiction is a complex situation, one that takes on many faces and which often moves through several stages. Opiates are commonly prescribed for legitimate reasons and vital pain relief. Unfortunately, otherwise useful and necessary prescription opiates can often become addictive and lead to more serious issues such as heroin addiction. While this is not always the case, recognizing these dangers can mean the difference between life and death.
The Prescription Opiate Addiction Epidemic
Prescription opiate addiction has become an epidemic, and while exact use statistics are imprecise, it is possible to determine an idea of the impact by studying overdose death statistics. According to the American Society Of Addiction Medicine, drug overdoses are the most common cause of accidental death in the country.3
Their study found that around 47,000 people die every year from an overdose. Of these deaths, nearly 30,000 are related to opioids, which is about 64 percent. Of those, nearly 19,000 are caused by prescription painkillers with a further 11,000 by heroin. Access to these substances is a major part of the problem. Harvard Medical School reported that 18 percent of all opiate access came through legal prescriptions, with about six percent obtained illegally.4
The largest contributor was prescription sharing, with 70 percent of access being attributed to family members or friends providing addicted loved ones with their prescription opiates. Prescription drug abuse and heroin are highly connected, which may explain the recent increase in heroin use.
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The Recent Heroin Epidemic in the US
According to the Centers For Disease Control, heroin use has jumped about 300 percent over the last decade, including rates as high as 100 percent in specific demographic groups.1 The connection between prescription opiate use and heroin addiction has been noted, with over 45 percent of people who suffer from a heroin addiction originally using prescription opiates.
Breaking these statistics down further is revealing. The National Institute On Drug Abuse stated that one out of every 15 people who take non-medical prescription pain relievers try heroin in less than a decade. In 2004, they also found that of the 1.4 million people who had problems with pain relievers, at least five percent also used heroin. These numbers increased to 1.9 million and 14 percent in 2010.3
These numbers may be increased by the ways that heroin addiction is often paired with underlying issues that fuel addiction. Understanding these issues is crucial to recovery success.
Our Opiate Addiction Treatment Program Addresses Underlying Issues
Beating addiction often requires managing co-occurring disorders, a fact that drives us to offer a variety of dual diagnosis treatment techniques. These are designed to treat both addiction and mental health disorders at the same time to decrease the severity of both.
This kind of clinical treatment is important because the impact of co-occurring disorders on opiate addiction has been confirmed several times. In a study titled “Stress Reinstates Heroin-Seeking In Drug-Free Animals,” it was found that mice addicted to heroin that also suffered from stress relapsed at a higher rate than animals that did not. Other studies have found similar results in people.2
Dual Diagnosis: Mental Illness and Opiate Addiction
The National Alliance On Mental Illness stated that “About a third of all people experiencing mental illnesses and about half of people living with severe mental illnesses also experience substance abuse.”6 This is especially true with opiates, as they literally change the chemistry of the brain, which can cause new imbalances or even brain damage. When mental illness and substance abuse are diagnosed together it is often referred to as dual diagnosis.
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Symptoms that someone is suffering from a dual diagnosis include:
- Behaving in dangerous ways
- Losing control of emotions
- Breaking the law to maintain a habit
- Needing to use to function properly
- Withdrawal from loved ones and increasingly strange behavior
- Memory or other cognitive impairments
- Trouble speaking or communicating properly
Thankfully, there are multiple ways to manage a dual diagnosis, and we offer three options: cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, and motivational interviewing.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy works by changing negative patterns of thinking and behavior in a goal-oriented manner. It also helps imprint positive images, beliefs and behaviors in the mind. The idea is to create positivity and make drug use less appealing or seemingly necessary.
It is worth noting that a study titled “Treatment For Persons With Heroin Addiction” had this to say: “…[cognitive behavioral therapy] used in conjunction with pharmacological therapy, regardless of the kind of psychosocial therapy, reduced patient dropouts, decreased heroin use while in treatment, decreased recidivism to further use, and decreased absences from treatment.”7
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
Those with borderline personality disorder often receive dialectical behavioral therapy during their treatment. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that focuses on helping obtain emotional balance and sobriety by replacing negative and unstable thoughts and behavior patterns with positive ones.
Its effectiveness was noted by the American Journals On Addiction: “Subjects assigned to DBT had significantly greater reductions in drug abuse measured both by structured interviews and urinalysis throughout the treatment year and at follow-up than did subjects assigned to TAU.”
Motivational interviewing focuses on boosting motivation to live a healthy and sober life. For example, a person may be motivated to quit by thinking of the well-being of their children. During treatment, they will then focus on that idea to inspire their recovery. Our experts will identify motivational and inspiring aspects of a person’s life and use them as a springboard for recovery.9
Vertava Health of Massachusetts Offers Individualized Care
All opiate addictions are different, which is why we offer specialized treatment plans. Our inpatient opiate treatment program examines addiction, assesses its origin, and works hard to eliminate its influences.
The first step is medical detoxification, also known as drug detox. We have a state-of-the-art painless detox program that includes a multi-dimensional medication taper. This carefully decreases doses of medications, like methadone and suboxone, to get opiates out of the body in a safe and controlled manner. This process is also known as medication-assisted treatment.
Therapy of a physical nature is also available to manage negative physical side effects. For example, we have massage therapists, anti-nausea medications, round-the-clock monitoring, and an Adventure Therapy program. The latter involves outdoor activities and teaches a variety of survival techniques.
Our psychological and behavioral specialists will then identify underlying concerns that influence addiction and find ways to treat them. We teach stress-relieving skills, relapse-fighting techniques, meditation, and coping methods to control the urge to use.
Our residential treatment facilities also place emphasis on group therapies and the social aspect of recovery. We believe that this social aspect is vital in the long term treatment of substance use disorders.
All of our treatment methods are scientifically-tested, including our alternative treatments that offer a holistic approach.
We’ve compiled some frequently asked questions regarding opiate addiction treatment below:
What are opiates?
Opiates are a class of drugs that are commonly prescribed for the relief of chronic pain. They act by binding to neural receptors in the brain and other parts of the body. This helps to block out pain in the body and can cause calmness and euphoria. Because of their effects on the brain and body, opiates are highly addictive.
Can opiate addiction be beaten?
Although a person can become physically addicted to opiates, there are many opiate addiction treatment options to help a person transition away from addiction and toward a healthy lifestyle. There are many resources available to help and recovery is entirely possible.
What is opiate addiction treatment?
Opiate addiction treatment is a behavioral therapy that aims to help people break their physical and mental dependence on opiates. There are many approaches to opiate addiction treatment including cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (CBT), and motivational interviewing.
Contact Vertava Health of Massachusetts to Get Help Today
At Vertava Health Massachusetts, we truly believe in the power of the human spirit to overcome challenges and know that anybody, no matter how tough it may seem, can beat their addiction. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us and learn more about our programs.
- Center for Disease Control — Today’s Heroin Epidemic
- Springer Link — Stress reinstates heroin-seeking in drug-free animals: An effect mimicking heroin, not withdrawal
- NIDA — Heroin
- ASAM — Opioid Addiction Facts & Figures
- Harvard Health — Painkillers fuel growth in drug addiction
- NAMI — Dual Diagnosis
- Southern Illinois University Carbondale — Treatment for Persons with Heroin Addiction
- The American Journal on Addictions — Dialectical Behavior Therapy for Patients with Borderline Personality Disorder and Drug‐Dependence
- ProQuest — Motivational Interviewing and Self-Determination Theory: