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  • Writer's pictureStep Free Recovery Texas


Updated: Nov 9, 2023

Opioids encompass a category of drugs recognized for their pain-relieving abilities. Notable members of this group, such as morphine, fentanyl, and oxycodone, are often prescribed for mitigating severe pain. Heroin, although illegal, belongs to the opioid family too. Initially, opioids can induce feelings of euphoria and drowsiness, especially at potent doses. However, with persistent use, the intensity of these sensations diminishes. Consuming excessively high dosages of opioids poses substantial risks, the most fatal being overdose.

Deciphering Opioid Use Disorder:

Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) essentially refers to an addiction to opioids and can range from mild to critical conditions. Individuals dealing with OUD exhibit two or more of the following behaviors or issues:

Consuming drugs beyond intended duration or quantity.

Expressing a desire to cut down on drug use yet finding it challenging.

Allocating considerable time and resources towards obtaining and using the drugs.

Experiencing intense cravings.

Neglecting responsibilities and obligations due to drug use.

Persisting in drug use despite its negative impact on relationships.

Abandoning or reducing involvement in significant activities.

Engaging in risky behaviors, such as driving while under the influence.

Continuation of drug use despite being aware of resultant physical or psychological problems.

Developing “tolerance”, necessitating increased dosages for identical effects.

Experiencing “withdrawal symptoms”, like depression, nausea, muscle pain, and insomnia, upon cessation.

Treatment Modalities for Opioid Use Disorder:

OUD management includes a trio of fundamental components: medication, therapeutic counseling, and participation in support groups.

Medication Assisted Therapy (MAT*): MAT uses FDA-approved medication such as Suboxone (buprenorphine/naloxone), which aids in subduing cravings and can block the highs opioids produce. When utilized properly, it is safe, efficacious, and does not induce a “high”.

Therapeutic Counseling: Working with a counselor allows individuals to gain insights into their addictive behaviors and learn alternative coping mechanisms that don’t involve drug use.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: (CBT) is a commonly used, effective tool for identifying distorted thought patterns and retraining your thought process for healthy coping skills.

Support Groups: While Step-Free Recovery rejects the message that MAT is not considered “real” recovery that groups like Narcotics Anonymous promote, group therapy helps individuals navigating through recovery by sharing experiences and building a network that fosters a drug-free lifestyle.

Sober Living: For individuals who are progressing in their recovery and want to continue on their recovery journey with others going through the same experiences, Sober Living Facilities are a great option for continued accountability and support within a drug-free community.

*Step-Free Recovery puts a significant focus on patient autonomy. While all these components listed are helpful on the road to recovery, we believe that physical dependence must be addressed before individuals with OUD are able to effectively utilize supplementary methods to aid in their recovery. Therefore, while we provide resources for the fundamentals of recovery from OUD, we allow patients to decide when they are ready to fully benefit from them.

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