Opiate Addiction

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Alta Mira helped me deal with a very difficult and painful time in my life. It is a place that helped me tap into that place in me that said, ‘I can’ instead of ‘I can’t.’

Christianna S.
Alta Mira Alumna
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Coming to Terms with an Opiate Addiction

Opiate addiction is an increasingly common illness. Given the prevalence of opiate-based prescription drugs (such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and Percocet) and the affordability and availability of heroin, the rise of opiate addiction in the United States is not a surprise. The brain’s response to opiates is so strong that people tend to become addicted quickly. To make matters worse, the withdrawal symptoms can be so intense that quitting on your own is difficult and can be very dangerous.

While heroin is still a pervasive problem, many of our clients become addicted to opiates through a prescription given after an injury or medical procedure. For those susceptible to the brain’s response to opioids, this is often all it takes to begin a painful addiction process. Even when the medication “was prescribed by a physician,” people can still become dependent. These individuals do not fit the stereotypical image of a heroin user, yet the opiate addiction is very real.

Many of our clients have a difficult time admitting that an opiate addiction has developed, especially those whose addiction began through following a doctor’s orders. Many avoid treatment because they feel such shame and confusion over identifying themselves as addicts. Those dealing with chronic pain tend to avoid treatment because they cannot imagine life without the relief of pain killers. Others fear the intensity of opiate withdrawal symptoms during detox.

If you are avoiding treatment, please know that we are experts at treating opiate addictions, including managing the many difficult emotions surrounding the addiction and providing a safe and comfortable detox experience. Continue reading below to learn what to expect during treatment at Alta Mira.

I wish I had been exposed to all of the things I learned at Alta Mira many years ago.
– Ron, Alta Mira Alumnus

Opiate Addiction Treatment at Alta Mira

Once you have made the critical first step of admitting that you have an opiate addiction, our team can begin providing you with world-class treatment for your illness.

Treatment has three main stages:
Detoxification (detox): Medically-supervised detox is a critical step in ending your opiate addiction. If you have tried to quit opiates before, you know that the withdrawal symptoms can be very difficult to manage. Symptoms can range from sweating and teeth grinding to severe vomiting, nausea and intense muscular pain. We make the detox process much more safe and comfortable for you, with medications that help ease your body through the transition. During detox, you will rest comfortably in a private room in our historic hotel, with 24/7 care and monitoring. We will have you out of detox and joining the other residents as quickly as possible, usually in 3 to 5 days.

Residential Treatment: After detox, you will move to your accommodations on our Sausalito campus and begin your daily schedule of individual and group therapy, psycho-education classes, holistic therapy, and peer support groups. This is also when you will begin diagnostic testing and evaluation to determine the underlying issues and co-occurring disorders that may be fueling your addiction. Depending on a number of factors, including your diagnosis and treatment history, you will likely join either our 30-Day Core Program or our 90-Day Comprehensive Program.

Maintenance of sobriety: We will work closely with you (as well as any family members, doctors and therapists you would like to involve) to develop an aftercare plan that helps you meet your recovery goals through continued therapeutic work, peer support, medication management and personal development. You will have ongoing access to our Continuing Care program, which includes free weekly alumni groups, as well as the opportunity to join our 12-week Intensive Outpatient Program. We help you establish strong peer support during your time with us, knowing how essential this will be in the weeks and months after your residential treatment. Through daily work with 12-step peer support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), NA, and Al-Anon, you will be well prepared to transition to a group near your home. And our intensive family program will help pave the way for healthier and more supportive family dynamics when you return home.

Relapse Prevention Medication for Opiate Addiction

Opiate addiction is powerful. Many individuals find that the physical and emotional longing for the drug is successfully tempered through relapse prevention medications. At Alta Mira, we are experts at helping clients establish a regimen of relapse prevention medication that can greatly reduce cravings. Our consulting physicians may prescribe Naltrexone, which has been FDA approved for opioid relapse prevention. It comes in two forms: Oral Naltrexone which is administered daily; and Extended-Release Injectable Naltrexone (Vivitrol) which in an injection given to the patient once a month. The advantage of Vivitrol is that you do not have to remember to take your medication for it to have a longer-term benefit. Our team will work with you to determine what medication regimen may be the most beneficial in supporting your recovery goals. Call us today!

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