If you have a loved one who has become addicted to opiates, the path to helping him or her recover is lengthy and involves at least three phases after he or she accepts there is a problem. While you may feel you can handle things on your own, the truth is it takes a lot of time, energy, patience, and knowledge to get through it. When you are looking into opiate treatment programs, ask about these three phases and what you should expect.
Getting all of the opiates out of your system, without adding any new ones, is not only the first phase of treatment, but also the cause of failure. As your body craves the drugs, you will go through withdrawal. For the vast majority of abusers, it is impossible to get through this without some type of medical help and intervention. Unless you have witnessed or experienced withdrawal, you are probably not going to be able to help your loved one get through this. He or she will be in pain, become incontinent, shake, scream, possibly be violent, and may appear to be dying. Having trained medical personnel for this stage can make it easier. There are drugs that can be used, but they must be monitored closely or they can cause a new addiction.
Once there are no more drugs in the patient's system, he or she will need to go to an inpatient treatment center. This way, there will not be people tempting him or her with drugs, and there will not be the same situations that caused the abuse to start. There will be therapy, both group and individual, to help the patient understand how and why the abuse started, and why it continued. Inpatient treatment is used for both the psychological and physical recovery from addiction.
The patient, the family, and the counselors will all meet to discuss when the patient is ready to leave the facility. You may decide that he or she needs to go back in the evenings and weekends for a while, or perhaps a half-way house will be recommended. This phase of opiate treatment is geared to have the patient slowly slip back into a normal life and routine while avoiding the drugs. For most abusers, this phase is the longest and may even continue to some degree throughout his or her entire life.
Obviously, there is much more to treating an opiate addiction that what is discussed here. However, it is a starting point. Talk to treatment facilities like Pacific Ridge about programs that include these three phases. This will give the patient a sense of continuity and trust that can help with the treatment process.