What are Opioids?

Opioids, sometimes called narcotics, are a type of drug that include strong prescription pain relievers.

Common opioids include:

A health care provider may give you a prescription opioid to reduce pain after you have had a major injury or surgery. You may get them if you have severe pain from health conditions like cancer. Some health care providers prescribe them for chronic pain.

Prescription opioids used for pain relief are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by your health care provider. However, opioid abuse and addiction are still potential risks.

What is opioid abuse and addiction?

Opioid abuse means you are not taking the medicines according to your provider’s instructions, you are taking too many, you are buying opioids without a prescription, you are using them to get a high rather than to relieve pain, or you are taking someone else’s opioids. 

When does opioid abuse become opioid addiction?

If you recognise the following you may be developing an addiction to opioids:

  • You begin to compulsively seek out opioids,
  • You hide your use of opioids from family and friends, 
  • You compulsively seek out opioids even though they cause you harm
  • You go to great lengths to buy opioids and spend time planning on how to purchase them
  • You feel guilty and that you should cut down on your opioid use
  • You spend time thinking about opioids
  • You use opioids to numb painful or emotional feelings or stress
  • Opioids are affecting your physical health but you can’t stop taking them
  • Opioid abuse is affecting your personal or professional life
  • You need to take more opioids to achieve the same effect
  • You have begun to mix opioids with other drugs to get a ‘high’
  • You feel anxious and depressed when you run out of opioids
  • You have tried to stop your opioid misuse but you can’t
  • You are not happy with the route your life is taking.

If you are concerned that you are addicted to opioids call us for advice about our residential drug addiction treatment.

Free addiction assessment for Opioids

What are the treatments for opioid abuse and addiction?

Treatments available for opioid abuse and addiction at Castle Craig include:

How does counselling treat opioid abuse and addiction?

Castle Craig’s counselling for opioid abuse and addiction can help you

  • Change your attitudes and behaviours related to drug use
  • Build healthy life skills
  • Stick with other forms of treatment, such as medicines

There are several different types of counselling to treat opioid abuse and addiction, including:

  • Individual counselling, which may include setting goals, talking about setbacks, and celebrating progress. You may also talk about legal concerns and family problems. Counselling often includes specific behavioural therapies, such as
    • Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) helps you recognise and stop negative patterns of thinking and behaviour. It teaches you coping skills, including how to manage stress and change the thoughts that cause you to want to abuse opioids.
    • Contingency management focuses on giving you incentives for positive behaviours such as staying off the opioids
  • Group counselling, which can help you feel that you are not alone with your issues. You get a chance to hear about the difficulties and successes of others who have the same challenges. This can help you to learn new strategies for dealing with the situations you may come across.
  • Family counselling includes partners or spouses and other family members who are close to you. It can help to repair and improve your family relationships.

Counsellors can also refer you to other resources that you might need, such as

  • Peer support groups, including 12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous
  • Spiritual and faith-based groups
  • HIV testing and hepatitis screening
  • Case or care management
  • Employment or educational supports
  • Organisations that help you find housing or transportation

What are residential rehabs for opioid abuse and addiction?

At a residential rehab, you will receive round-the-clock medical care and attention during detoxification and immersion in an intensive therapy programme. You are living with your peers, and you can support each other to stay in recovery and learn from each other. Inpatient hospital-based programmes combine health care and addiction treatment services for people with opioid addiction problems. Hospitals may also offer continuing care programmes once you have left. All these types of treatments are very structured, and usually, include a variety of evidenced-based counselling and behavioural therapies.

Get Help for Opioid Addiction

If you or someone you know has a compulsion to abuse opioids or any of their forms such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and tramadol, contact us to get treatment.

A comprehensive inpatient drugs treatment programme is considered the best option for achieving lasting recovery from opioid abuse.

Castle Craig Rehab has been treating opioid addiction since 1988 and has extensive medical and therapeutic experience in opioid detox and addiction treatment.

Page last reviewed and clinically fact-checked | September 10, 2021