Opioid use disorder occurs in a person who uses opioids (illicitly or legally) to the extent that it causes significant impairment in their life. Opioid use disorder can sometimes be referred to as opioid addiction, opioid abuse, or opioid dependence. It can be difficult to live a functional life while struggling with opioid use disorder. Frequently, this type of disorder can damage relationships, careers, and finances. There are many treatment strategies to aid in the recovery from opioid use disorder, including medical and therapeutic interventions to assist people with lifelong recovery.
Opioid Addiction Treatment Options
There are many options for the treatment of opioid use disorder. Each type has benefits for particular individuals. Treatment modalities can include medical detox, inpatient rehab, outpatient rehab or somewhere in between, such as partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient treatment. The right type of opioid treatment can only be determined after a thorough clinical assessment.
Detoxification is a major part of recovery from opioid use disorder. Although detox can be difficult and uncomfortable, this is the time in which the body eliminates opioids from itself. Since the body is accustomed to opioids being present, removing them from the system can cause uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
Detox is usually the first step to recovery for someone with opioid use disorder. It is important that detoxification occurs at an accredited facility staffed with medical professionals trained in recognizing and dealing with the various complications that occur with detox. A facility that specializes in the treatment of opioid use disorders can make the detox process comfortable and safe.
Medical detox isn’t always necessary to begin opioid treatment, but it is commonly done in rehab facilities since a successful medical detox reduces discomfort and promotes safety along with creating a commitment to recovery. These efforts can help the recovery process start safely and effectively.
Inpatient or residential rehabilitation, also called inpatient rehab, is a type of drug and alcohol addiction treatment in which clients stay at a facility for a particular period of time to strictly focus on recovery.
Inpatient rehab usually comes after the initial detox process and is often followed by step-down programs like partial hospitalization programs or outpatient treatment, which have less restrictive structures and offer greater independence. For inpatient rehab, clients can live in a facility for several days or weeks.
In residential rehab, clients learn how to live without the use of drugs and alcohol in a safe environment with minimal triggers. Clients receive intensive education and support, participate in daily individual and group therapy, and engage in appropriate physical activities. Inpatient treatment programs can have variable timeframes, depending on the needs of each individual, but the most common ones include:
- 30-Day inpatient treatment programs
- 60-Day inpatient treatment programs
- 90-Day inpatient treatment programs
Outpatient rehab is designed for people whose needs for oversight are relatively low. Outpatient treatment for drug or alcohol addiction usually involves clients living at home or sober living housing and commuting to a rehab center during the day for medical and psychological support several times a week. The decreased need for 24/7 care means that the cost of outpatient rehab is usually lower than that of residential treatment.
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is the administration of prescribed medications under medical supervision. The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder. These medications can help decrease the cravings experienced by a person in recovery and can help reduce the physical symptoms of addiction and withdrawal.
Many rehab centers incorporate helpful medications to successfully treat opioid use disorder. These MAT options are becoming more common in the United States and can be very effective at keeping people in recovery, preventing overdose deaths and reducing the harmful consequences of opioid use disorder. It’s important to know that MAT exists to support psychological treatment and counseling, rather than to replace it. MAT is not totally effective without counseling support.
Dual diagnosis is when there is a simultaneous drug or alcohol addiction along with a mental health disorder. In 2017, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration estimated that almost 63% of adults with any mental illness had a co-occurring substance use disorder, with either illicit drugs, alcohol or both. It is very important to identify dual diagnosis when it exists because it can have a negative impact on addiction treatment if it is not addressed in a facility that can properly treat dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis is a complicated scenario and is best treated in a facility that can provide individualized care programs.
Recovery from opioid use disorder is a long-term process that requires patience, humility, and self-awareness. Also called continuing care, aftercare is a major component of recovery. Planning for aftercare often starts early in the process of addiction treatment — perhaps even during the initial periods of medical detox or inpatient rehabilitation.
Successful recovery from opioid use disorder takes commitment, and a complete aftercare plan provides clients with the skills and support systems to foster lifelong recovery. Aftercare plans may include relapse prevention strategies and accountability measures, including:
- Maintenance medication plans
- Resources for individual therapy
- Resources for local group therapy and support groups
- Sober living options
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab
Inpatient rehab allows for full-time care in a safe facility during recovery, with 24/7 assistance available. A resident in an inpatient setting receives meals, counseling and the option to participate in group and individual therapy. Inpatient stays can be as short as a few days or as long as several months, depending on the complexity of the opioid use disorder. Inpatient care is best for people who have not been able to succeed in the outpatient setting, or in serious cases for which intensive individual treatment is necessary.
Partial hospitalization is a short-term form of rehabilitative treatment that is a level of care between that of inpatient and outpatient rehab. Partial hospitalization bridges the gap between intensive inpatient treatment and more flexible outpatient treatment.
Outpatient care is often adequate for people who are physically, emotionally, and mentally stable, and for people who have graduated from higher levels of care, such as inpatient rehab and partial hospitalization.
With outpatient rehab, people usually are living on their own or in group housing within the community and visit the treatment center as necessary for therapy and counseling appointments. This level of care offers more freedom than inpatient rehab. Most clients can work and take care of home and family responsibilities while participating in outpatient rehab.
How Long Does Rehab Take?
Rehabilitation is a lifelong process, but the initial phases of rehab can last anywhere from a few days to several months, depending on individual factors. For example, someone who has been using opioids heavily for a long period of time may need a longer rehab stay than a person who has been using for shorter periods of time. Ultimately, the duration of rehab depends on the client’s goals, desire to change and access to adequate resources to help in their recovery.
How Much Does Opioid Rehab Cost?
Like any medical treatment, there are costs associated with opioid use rehabilitation. This is a necessary expense, however, as rehab is a life-saving measure that can help anyone facing opioid use disorder to recover and lead a more fulfilling life. Treatment for opioid use disorder does not have to be costly and many insurance plans can help ease the financial burden.
In the instance that insurance does not cover the entire cost of rehab, there are other methods of paying for treatment, including private or public loans, scholarships, employee assistance programs and others. While it may seem expensive in some cases, paying for a short period of rehab far outweighs the cost of living with addiction. For some individuals, state and low-income government assistance options may be available.
Will Insurance Cover My Treatment?
The cost of drug rehabilitation programs varies from facility to facility. Usually, inpatient treatment is more expensive than outpatient care due to the residential aspect. Some people may postpone or avoid necessary treatment because they are afraid they can’t afford it. Many times, opioid rehabilitation costs are actually covered by health insurance policies.
Choosing an Opioid Rehab Center
It is important to understand the components of various opioid treatment programs in order to choose what is best for an individual person. Every person may have different triggers, reasons for opioid use and the environments in which they use opioids, all of which may affect the treatment process. Some of the aspects to consider when choosing a facility include:
- If a local treatment or out of town treatment is preferred
- Inpatient or outpatient treatment
- The staff-to-patient ratio
- The facility’s effectiveness and previous success
- Treatment length
What to Expect When You Go to Rehab
Going to rehab may be a scary step to take, but knowing what to expect can ease any concerns or worries. To ensure the safety and sobriety of new and current patients, staff members will collect any items not permitted during treatment, including cell phones, and store them in a safe and secure place until the stay is over. Different types of therapy and counseling are available, and creating new friendships and support systems is encouraged.
What Happens After Rehab?
The relationships and support a person experiences at rehab don’t have to end when they leave the facility. After treatment, a network of former patients is available to help keep you sober and accountable. Staying connected with others who acknowledge your struggle with virtual and in-person meetups can be an essential part of lasting recovery.
How Rehab Helps
Rehab can help anyone struggling with opioid use disorder to overcome addiction, dependence, and abuse problems, and ultimately, lead to a higher quality of life. Rehab connects you with professionals who can help you navigate the recovery process, as well as peers who are recovering from similar disorders. Rehab facilities provide plans for the entire recovery process, from initial detox to aftercare, to allow for the best chance of success.
Key Points: Understanding Opioid Addiction Treatment and Rehab
Keep the following key points in mind when considering opioid addiction treatment and rehab:
- Opioid use disorder can cause major problems in one’s life, including relationship issues, financial strain, and physical health problems
- Professional rehabilitation is often an excellent choice and can provide an excellent chance of success in recovery
- There are many options to consider when deciding what type of rehab plan to choose
- Rehab can be done as an inpatient or outpatient, and even partially outpatient
- Medication-assisted treatment can be part of a successful recovery program
- Patients with a dual diagnosis can benefit from a rehab facility that is able to individualize care for this population
- Aftercare and sober living plans are part of the rehab process, after the initial treatment phase
- The duration of rehab is variable from person to person
- Insurance plans can sometimes cover all or part of an opioid recovery program.
Contact The Recovery Village Palm Beach to speak with a representative about how profession addiction treatment can put you on the path toward life-long sobriety.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Opioid Overdose: Commonly Used Terms.” August 28, 2017. Accessed July 28, 2019.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Results from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Detailed Tables.” Accessed July 28, 2019.
Rush, B.R., et al. “The Interaction of Co-Occurring Mental Disorders and Recovery Management Checkups on Substance Abuse Treatment Participation and Recovery.” February 2008. Accessed July 28, 2019.