Opioid Addiction Treatment And Rehab

Opioids are powerful pain relievers that cause relaxation and euphoria, making them highly addictive.

Approximately 3 million people in the US and 16 million people worldwide have had or currently suffer from an addiction to opioids.

Fortunately, many treatment options exist to help a person overcome an opioid addiction. Opioid addiction treatment typically involves a combination of methods, including detoxification, medication, and psychosocial treatments.

Opioid Detox And Withdrawal

Treatment for opioid addiction often begins with the detoxification process that subsequently triggers withdrawal symptoms.


Detoxification is often the first step in treatment for opioid addiction, as it focuses on removing the toxic substance from the body. Many rehabilitation facilities offer medically assisted detox programs, which can be particularly beneficial when treating opioid use disorders, as withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous.

In a medically assisted detox, healthcare providers monitor the individual for any signs of severe withdrawal and ensure they are as safe and as comfortable as they can be during this process.

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms from opioids can occur as soon as a few hours after a person’s last use and may include:

  • Severe cravings
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Cold flashes and goosebumps
  • Uncontrollable leg movements
  • Overdose

It’s typically recommended for people experiencing opioid withdrawal to seek medical care due to the discomfort of withdrawal symptoms, the potential for some symptoms to lead to serious consequences, and the associated cravings that can lead to drug-seeking behavior.

Treatment times will vary based on each person’s needs and the severity of their substance use disorder. That’s why it’s important to work with licensed professionals who can administer the appropriate assessments, evaluations, and ultimately an accurate diagnosis.

Featured Centers Offering Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Opioid Rehab Levels Of Care

Finding the right level of care for each individual seeking treatment is critical. There is no general, one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. That’s why it’s important to work with experienced clinicians and healthcare providers who can help determine which treatment option is right for you.

According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the primary levels of care are as follows:

Level 0.5: Prevention Or Early Intervention

This level includes education and assessment. This level of care is most appropriate for people who may be at risk of opioid misuse but who have not yet demonstrated a pattern of doing so.

Level 1: Outpatient Treatment

In an outpatient setting, a person in outpatient treatment can still live at home and work or take care of family members while also engaging in structured, individual counseling and peer-support group sessions.

Level 2: Intensive Outpatient Or Partial Hospitalization

This level of care includes between nine and 20 hours of treatment each week, depending on a person’s severity of use. However, the patient still resides at their home.

Level 3: Inpatient Or Residential Treatment

This is 24-hour care that includes several hours of clinical services each week. Programs lasting 30, 60, or 90 days are typical for many inpatient treatment facilities. Among other things, residential rehab is sometimes recommended when a person’s home environment is not conducive to recovery.

Level 4: Intensive Inpatient

Intensive inpatient treatment includes 24-hour nursing care, with physicians available, and several hours of clinical counseling services each day. This level of care may be recommended for people who have severe co-occurring medical or psychological conditions.


The appropriate level of care depends on the severity of a person’s use disorder. Only a professional can accurately assess which level of care will be best for someone, and a comprehensive assessment is typically administered to help place a person within the appropriate level of care for their situation.

Opioid addiction is a complex but treatable condition. Effective treatment must also address the multiple needs of the individual, not just their substance use. Co-occurring mental health conditions or associated social, psychological, medical, vocational, or legal issues should also be addressed during the treatment process.

Opioid Rehab Aftercare

Any type of opioid addiction treatment should also provide aftercare recommendations. Continued participation in counseling or support groups helps reinforce the new skills and coping strategies learned in treatment. Research shows that the longer a person stays engaged in their recovery process, the better the long-term outcomes.

Aftercare may include behavioral therapies, such as individual, group, and family counseling, which have proven most effective in treating people with substance use disorders. These treatments typically begin during rehab and continue within aftercare programs.

Behavioral therapy addresses a person’s motivation to change, as well as negative thought patterns that may lead to maladaptive behaviors. Behavioral therapies during and after treatment can help improve a person’s problem-solving skills, coping strategies, and interpersonal relationships.

Medication Treatment

A common medication used to treat opioid addiction is naltrexone, which blocks the opioid receptors in the brain, ultimately reducing cravings for the drug. Since it can trigger withdrawal symptoms, it is typically administered seven to ten days after cessation of opioid use.

Another beneficial medication treatment for opioid addiction is the administration of a less potent opioid. Although it may seem counterproductive, opioids like methadone and buprenorphine have proven effective in reducing cravings and symptoms of withdrawal.

While there is potential for them to produce euphoria in someone who is not dependent on opioids, the impact is different for those who do have an opioid use disorder and a high tolerance to the drug. Methadone and buprenorphine, when taken at the prescribed dosage, do not elicit a euphoric response in people with an opioid addiction. Instead, these medications help alleviate cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

These medications can make it possible for people to feel comfortable enough to engage in treatment services and recovery support services.

Choosing An Opioid Addiction Treatment Center

Treatment for opioid addiction enhances a person’s quality of life and can also save lives. It reduces the risk of overdose and helps people learn how to rebuild their lives and relationships. Treatment also helps people avoid the negative consequences that often result from addiction and break the cycle.

Contact a treatment provider today to learn more about the treatment process, and to find a rehab that can treat opioid addiction.