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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) explain that opiates refer exclusively to the natural version of opioids whereas opioids encompass all natural, semisynthetic, and synthetic opioids. Opioids are a type of drug used to alleviate moderate to moderately severe pain. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin, synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, and pain relievers available legally by prescription, such as oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others.” Opiates are substances that are derived from the opium plant, poppy. They elicit a pain-relieving effect by binding to the opioid receptors in one’s brain and depressing the central nervous system.


Addiction, also known as substance use disorder (SUD), is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), as a chronic mental health disorder. It is characterized by compulsively engaging in rewarding stimuli regardless of consequence. An individual that struggles with opioid addiction will prioritize satisfying his or her drug cravings above all else. Addiction affects all areas of one’s life, and if left untreated it can lead to strained relationships, financial hardship, employment challenges, legal complications, as well as emotional, physical, and psychological consequences. Addiction does not develop overnight, nor should an individual expect his or her recovery from addiction to occur instantaneously.

Treatment Process

The typical treatment process for opiate addiction is comprised of three stages: the detox stage, formal treatment program, and aftercare. All three stages are equally important, as each is fundamental to the recovery process. 

  1. Detox: detox is the process that cleanses one’s body of all foreign substances. Though the withdrawal symptoms (e.g., insomnia, anxiety, vomiting, tremors, diarrhea, etc.) that typically manifest when detoxing from opiates are rarely life threatening, they can cause severe discomfort. For this reason, it is advised to undergo a medically assisted detox to assist with mitigating the adverse withdrawal symptoms. 
  2. Formal Treatment Program: addiction treatment programs are conducted in either an inpatient setting or an outpatient setting. It highly common for individuals struggling with opiate addiction to have the most success by attending an inpatient rehab program that offers medication-assisted treatment. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the use of medication in conjunction with various behavioral therapies to make up a treatment plan for substance use disorder. Inpatient treatment programs require its participants to reside at the treatment facility for the duration of the program, which allows for an entirely immersive experience and affords its participants access to twenty-four-hour professional support. 
  3. Aftercare: during the formal treatment program an individual will develop an aftercare plan with his or her clinical care team. This serves as a personalized resource that provides individuals with both detailed and broad guidance, often including suggestions for how to navigate challenges post treatment, strategies for relapse prevention, and more. 

The recovery process is entirely personal, and it will be directly informed by one’s personality, mental health, and emotional needs. There are different options within each stage of the recovery process to allow leeway for modifications to ensure the nuanced needs of everyone are sufficiently and precisely accommodated. 

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at admissions@hhtxc.com.

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