Solving A Global Crisis through Individual Understanding
When discussing the opioid epidemic, it’s common to refer to victims as a monolith. Terms like “addict” don’t distinguish the specific reasons for each individual’s dependence on opioids. Many assume that opioid addiction is a simple matter, and can be overcome easily through drug treatment and willpower.
In fact, opioid addiction is anything but simple, and even patients with the most robust willpower struggle to overcome it. Physiological dependence is only part of the problem; mental health also plays an influential role, and individual psychological and physical characteristics can raise the risk of addiction and the difficulty of overcoming it. A drug treatment program can only succeed if it takes all these factors into account. By understanding the patient as an individual and tailoring treatments to their specific needs, recovery programs can address the causes of addiction and minimize the chance of a relapse.
The Relationship Between Mental Health & Drug Treatment
Opioids are so potent because the body is naturally primed to use them. The human brain uses endorphins, a natural opioid, to raise your mood and alleviate pain. If you’ve ever felt a rush of energy and enthusiasm while exercising, working, or cleaning, you have already experienced the effects of natural opioids. Artificial opioid products are similar to endorphins but more potent, exerting a stronger influence on the brain. This makes it easier for a patient who uses them to become dependent.
Although everyone who uses opioids faces some risk of dependence, certain people are particularly likely to become addicted. Those who experience a rush of energy after taking morphine, for example, face a higher risk of addiction than those who become tired. Likewise, someone with a family history of drug abuse is more likely to become addicted and may have a harder time quitting, due to both genetic factors and the influence of their relatives’ behavior. In this sense, opioid abuse is no different than diseases like high blood pressure, obesity, or diabetes: it can affect everyone, but some people are naturally more disposed to it. Drug treatment must take into account the individual patient’s family history and other factors that could reveal a predisposition to addiction.
The Opioid Epidemic & Mental Health
In addition to the physiological nature of opioid dependency, one must account for the patient’s emotional health. Many who become dependent on opioids begin using to self-medicate depression, anxiety, and other emotional issues. These conditions are part of the reason drug treatment centers and rehabs, cannot alone promise or ensure total cure or even a full recovery.
To achieve the best results in drug treatment, patients should seek individual evaluation and professional counseling to address their emotional health needs. Even those without known mental conditions should seek emotional assistance at least throughout the adaptation period post-detox. Professional, psychological support can maximize the odds of long-term success.
The challenge faced by opioid-addicted patients mirrors those of individuals with mental conditions. Those who suffer from mental health issues often face an unfair and harmful stigma from society. Now, when you combine this stigma with the expectation that one can “get over” such conditions through willpower or positive thinking, seeking help becomes a scary and often failed proposition. As a result, individuals become ashamed and hopeless, which is usually a lethal combination. Opioid use continues, which leads to the increased risk of a possible overdose and even suicide.
Successful Drug Treatment Must Provide Individualized Attention
Drug treatment providers, policymakers, and health authorities have proposed an array of solutions to the opioid epidemic. Some of these ideas include switching to less potent opioids or legalizing marijuana as a substitute. Whatever the merits of these proposals, they do not preclude being more attentive to the particular needs of the individual. For some reason, we continue to medicate the symptoms and ignore the real issues; subsequently, the opioid crisis continues to grow and kill its victims. No drug treatment program can succeed without recognizing that opioid physical disorder is a medical condition; its victims are human beings with individual psychological and physiological needs. The better we are at educating ourselves and understanding all facets of opiate addiction, the more efficiently we can deal with one of the most severe public health crises of the modern era.
The Waismann Method Treatment Center is committed to addressing and treating each patient based on their unique needs. Our team of doctors and mental health experts has over 22 years of experience in providing rapid opioid detox and medically assisted detoxification. Together they have treated thousands of patients with the most successful opioid detoxification treatment available. When patients become opiate-free, they have the ability to choose the adequate emotional assistance necessary for a full recovery.
Opioid Addiction should be a temporary and treatable condition and not a life sentence.