Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren’t Addictive

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren't Addictive Pathfinders - An image of a prescription of opioids that are highly addictive and can lead to opioid abuse and addiction, which is why it is recommended to seek out opioid alternatives for pain relief.

Every day 116 people die of an opioid drug overdose. And 42,249 people died of prescription opioids in 2016.

These numbers are chilling.

What is even more chilling is that many of these deaths are preventable.

The problem is that prescription opioids are seen as one of the only ways of coping with chronic pain. And people are rarely offered non-opioid alternatives.

Many individuals in recovery for opioid abuse fear that treating pain with opioids will lead to relapse.

However, it does not have to be this way. Many opioid alternatives can provide lasting pain relief with none of the risks.

Since opioids are so commonly used, you may ask yourself: “Aren’t they the best method to treat pain?”

The answer is no.

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren't Addictive Pathfinders - An image of a prescription of opioids that are highly addictive and can lead to opioid abuse and addiction, which is why it is recommended to seek out opioid alternatives for pain relief.

A 2017 study showed that there was no difference between opioid and non-opioid treatment for pain management.

Opioid alternatives — like ibuprofen and acetaminophen — performed as well as opioids when treating leg and arm pain. And beyond addiction, opioids have many other side effects, including constipation, nausea, vomiting, and adrenal problems.

There are many ways of treating pain without addiction or side effects.

Let’s look at a few opioid alternatives to help you manage pain safely.

Non-Opioid Painkillers

Many addicts fear that pain relief and drug relapse go hand in hand.

But there are many non-opiate painkillers for addicts.

From drugs that treat inflammation and injuries to drugs that treat chronic pain, there are opioid alternatives.

Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs)

Most people know drugs like Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen by their brand names, Tylenol and Advil.

These medications are usually associated with treating mild headaches or migraines.

However, most people don’t know they can be serious non-opiate painkillers.

These drugs are considered NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

They work by acting directly on the injured body tissue to reduce prostaglandins, which causes increased inflammation after an injury.

NSAIDs function differently than opioids, which act on the central nervous system. The opioids bind to the opioid receptors in the brain, decreasing the brain’s awareness of pain. This leads to a euphoric feeling that can become addictive.

Though these drugs are non-addictive and are typically safer than opioids, they still have side effects like liver damage, stomach irritation, kidney problems, and bleeding problems.

Another serious side issue is the ceiling effect. This means that once you have increased the dosage to a certain point there is a limit or “ceiling” to how effective these drugs are.

As a result, these drugs are not recommended for chronic pain sufferers.

Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs)

Chronically ill patients are especially at risk for opioid addiction.

This is because the long-term use of opioids increases the risk of becoming dependent. It may also be because many non-opioid drugs are not approved for long-term use.

However, for people suffering from chronic diseases, like fibromyalgia and chronic back or knee pain, there are opiate alternatives.

For example, Serotonin and Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs) work by decreasing sensitivity to pain by interfering with the spinal cord’s pain suppression pathways.

The practice of using these drugs has already become popular.

One SNRI, Duloxetine, is already widely prescribed as a treatment for chronic pain.

Though Duloxetine works well for chronic pain, it has side effects like loss of appetite, constipation, and fatigue.

With many individuals that struggle with opioid addiction looking for opioid alternatives, drugs like Duloxetine provide a second chance at life.

Tricyclic Antidepressants

Tricyclic antidepressants are drugs that treat chronic pain and depression.

These drugs work effectively because chronic pain and depression have similar neurological makeup and often affect similar parts of the brain.

They work by controlling the output of serotonin and norepinephrine. They also regulate the function of the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus.

One benefit of using antidepressants to treat pain is that it can also help treat the depression that accompanies opioid abuse.

Anticonvulsants

Anticonvulsants are usually only thought of as anti-seizure medications.

However, they can also function as powerful opioid alternatives for those struggling with opioid abuse. They work by interfering with the pain signals sent from oversensitive or damaged nerve cells.

Though anticonvulsants are relatively safe, they do carry some risks. These drugs can affect levels of vitamins C, D, E, B6, and B22. They can also cause nausea, dizziness, weight gain, and fatigue.

Some of the newer drugs have fewer side effects. For example, drugs like Gabapentin and Pregabalin have successfully treated pain caused by spinal cord injuries.

Corticosteroids

Many people think athletes and bodybuilders typically use steroids or that extra boost in performance and muscle.

However, many people are unaware that steroids have been and continue to be used for pain management.

Because of their anti-inflammatory properties, they can be used to treat joint damage, nerve damage, and soft tissue damage.

What makes corticosteroids different than opioids is that they work on a cellular level. They bind to a cell, change gene expression, and control cellular function. This allows for the management of pain without the damaging effects of opioids.

Physical Opioid Alternatives

For people afraid of the side effects of pills, there many opioid alternative treatments that provide pain relief.

Physical Therapy

A great pain management option to talk to your doctor about is physical therapy.

Physical therapy allows for treating an injury or illness with exercise and massage, instead of surgery or drugs.

It also allows for more long-term pain management and recovery.

Physical therapy can often require more work on the part of the patient.

It requires attending sessions. In many cases, you will also have to perform exercises at home.

For people living without reliable transportation or in areas where physical therapists are rare, it can be challenging to access this type of treatment. Some physical therapists will travel to you, so it is important to consider all of your available options.

Physical therapy can improve healing and can provide long-term pain relief.

Opioid Alternatives: How to Find Pain Medications That Aren't Addictive Pathfinders - A middle-aged man is engaging in physical therapy with a professional physical therapist as one of the available opioid alternatives to manage pain and improve the healing process instead of abusing opioid medications.

Acupuncture

One of the safest ways of treating pain without side effects is acupuncture.

Though acupuncture is often regarded as pseudoscience, there is evidence showing it can help treat pain.

One study found that acupuncture worked and medicine in providing long-term pain relief for patients who came into the emergency room.

Scientists have found that acupuncture can change the way the brain processes and perceives pain.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic care is another alternative to opioids that has minimal side effects.

Chiropractic care is a part of the medical profession that focuses on the spine and its function.

Most practitioners manipulate the spine to align the body and improve function. This makes it the perfect treatment for lower back pain, headaches, and neck pain.

Although many see chiropractic care with the same skepticism as acupuncture, there is plenty of evidence to show that it is safe and effective. For example, 95% of chiropractic users report that chiropractic care has helped them manage neck and back pain.

Consumer Report study showed that chiropractic care outperformed all other back pain treatments, including prescription and over-the-counter medication.

For people who want quick relief without addiction or side effects, chiropractic care may be the perfect option.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation TENS

One of the most interesting methods of pain relief is a TENS machine or a TENS unit. This machine essentially zaps the pain away.

A TENS machine, or a Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation, treats pain by passing an electrical current through the superficial tissue.

It is believed that the subtle vibrations may drown out the signals of pain that the nervous system is sending.

It may also work by stimulating healing in damaged tissue.

Another benefit of this treatment is that it’s relatively cheap. Each TENS machine is only $100 per unit. Therefore, you can get pain relief without opiates and without breaking the bank.

One of the main drawbacks of a TENS machine is that there is not much evidence to support its effectiveness. However, some experts are hopeful it can work for certain kinds of pain.

We Can Help With Opioid Addiction

For many individuals struggling with addiction, having a plan for dealing with pain can be one of the essential parts of preventing relapse.

Many opioid alternatives offer relief for almost every situation – from back pain to chronic pain.

We understand that drug addiction is a process.

If you or a loved one struggles to make your way through, contact our team of experts today.

Remember that help is always available.

 

Opioid Addiction and Feeling Better

Opioid Addiction Pathfinders - Silhouette of a woman taking a painkiller. Opioid addiction is an easy trap to slip into.

An article by the NIH states that one reason people start using drugs is to feel good.

One of the scariest things about opioids is that your doctor might prescribe them for a legitimate reason.

Maybe you have chronic pain.

Maybe you had an accident.

Whatever it is, there are legitimate reasons to have an opioid prescription.

In this case, you are in enough pain to where opioids can help you feel ok.

 

Opioid Addiction Pathfinders - Silhouette of a woman taking a painkiller. Opioid addiction is an easy trap to slip into.The issue is when the prescription does not fit the injury or cause.

Sometimes people are given prescriptions when they do not need them.

They receive prescriptions that are too high a dose or not the right amount.

For example, maybe you are given a 30-day prescription when you only need a 3-day prescription.

The NIH lists ways that people can abuse opioids:

  • Taking someone else’s prescription medicine
  • Taking medicine for the effect, it causes (to get high)
  • Taking medicine in a way or dose other than prescribed

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How Opioid Addiction Sneaks Up on You

I remember when I had my wisdom teeth removed in high school, and I received Vicodin for 30 days. I do not think I took any of the pills and ended up selling them to people at school. Sadly, a lot of people might have these stories.

There are other ways that addiction can start. People in your household can contribute to starting an addiction. A friend I knew got addicted because his sister started giving him pills.

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He had an opioid addiction, and he was in sixth grade. In his 30s and after a track record of getting in trouble, he finally found a way to function, but not without suboxone.

People with chronic pain or that undergo painful surgeries are especially susceptible to opioids. Opioids can be just as helpful as harmful in some cases. My uncle had to amputate his leg due to blood clotting. He was a lifelong smoker, and after the surgery, they prescribed him opioids. Once those ran out, he started to use alcohol after a lifetime of being sober to deal with his pain.

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Opioid Addiction Pathfinders - During group therapy a man discusses his opioid addiction and his triggers as the rest of the group listens and offers support.

The Dangers of Opioid Addiction

There is a real danger to people in these situations if there is no proper support. Or proper meds. Too much is dangerous, and so is not enough. People will find a way to self-medicate if they do not get what they need for pain. Some people become addicted to opioids with a prescription, and when they lose access, they turn to heroin. With the stronger crackdown on opioids, there was a rise in street heroin.

The point in sharing these stories is that people do not grow up wanting to be an opioid addict. It is not a dream, nor is it planned. It sneaks up on you. It is confusing that a doctor would prescribe opioids that could ultimately harm you and ruin your life. It is baffling that the same thing you take for unbearable pain can cause you unbearable pain.

It is confusing that someone you trust might suggest that you do something you know to be harmful. Sometimes you cannot prevent the things that happen to you. You can find ways to avoid them. If you find yourself in a situation where you are going down a bad road, there are plenty of ways to get help. Speaking with a professional would be a good start and expressing concern to loved ones.

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Ask Your Doctor About Opioids and Addiction

It is important to take the time to ask your physician about the effects of the medication they prescribe to you. You need to ask yourself if I need these powerful painkillers or can I use something less powerful. Just because a doctor wants to give you an opioid painkiller does not mean you need it.

Ask about the alternatives. Dig deeper into the side effects of the drug prescribed. Do not just take something without researching the drug prescribed to you.

Feel empowered to ask if the benefits outweigh the risks.

Opioid Rehab At Pathfinders

At Pathfinders, we understand opioid addiction. We also know that no two addictions are the same.

We will talk to you about your addiction. Determine your goals and set a plan for you.

Our addiction treatment specialists can help you at every step of your recovery.

To get started, call and let us complete a free insurance verification for you. We will know exactly what your insurance will cover and what treatment will work best for you.

We will develop a plan with you from the very first day of rehab through every step and into aftercare when you are ready.

Do not wait another day call now to get started.

Construction Workers Among the Most Susceptible to Opioid Abuse

Opioid Abuse in Construction Workers

Because it is such a physically demanding profession, opioid abuse rates tend to be higher among construction workers.

The profession often has high rates of occupational injuries and back and musculoskeletal pain.

Research in this area has revealed increased mortality rates from opioid overdoses in this professional category and five others.

Further, 57% of opioid-related overdose deaths occurred after a work injury, and an additional 13% had suffered a work injury within three years of death.

This profession is fraught with hazards.

But the professionals at Pathfinders can help break the link between construction work and the dangers of opioid abuse.

Construction Workers Among the Most Susceptible to Opioid Abuse Pathfinders - A construction worker is in intense physical pain after experiencing an injury on the job, which has led to the prescription of opioids to reduce his pain. Often, this leads to opioid abuse for those in this physically-demanding industry.

Dangers of Opioid Abuse

For mild pains like headaches and moderate muscle aches, you may find that relying on over-the-counter pain relief is enough.

But when you have severe or persistent pain from a repetitive stress injury, a muscle strain, or a fall, it may not be enough.

Your doctor may suggest an opioid pain reliever instead.

You may end up buying opioids elsewhere if you cannot get a prescription to ease the pain.

While they are effective at treating severe and persistent pains, these narcotic pain relievers are addictive.

They have troubling side effects that become worse with long-term use.

And if it is the only thing you have found that eases your pain, opioid abuse becomes nearly inevitable.

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Common Prescription Opioids

Opioids work by blocking pain receptors in your brain and spinal cord.

Essentially, they trick your brain into thinking that you are not in pain anymore.

Opioids have been used for decades by medical professionals to treat moderate to severe pains.

But, because they are also known to be addictive and strong, they are prescribed more sparingly now than they have ever been before.

Doctors often require that a patient exhaust less dangerous alternative pain relief methods first. They may want to see that a patient does not respond to other pain relievers before writing a prescription.

However, this is not always enough to avoid opioid abuse.

Some of the most common prescription opioids include:

  • Vicodin (Hydrocodone)
  • OxyContin / Percocet (Oxycodone)
  • Morphine (Kadian / Avinza)
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl

Heroin is another common and dangerous opioid. However, heroin does not come in a prescription. Heroin is an illicit drug that lacks any approved medical uses.

And while morphine does come as a prescription and in monitored medical settings, it is more often obtained through illicit means.

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Prescription Opioid Abuse vs. Illicit Opioid Abuse

Whether prescription or illicit, opioids relieve pain and promote feelings of euphoria.

These are two of the qualities that make them so addictive.

Opioid abuse can quickly lead to a variety of complications.

Opioid addictions and related accidents are common, and heroin-related overdose deaths have been rising since 2007.

One of the biggest problems with prescription opioid abuse is that it often leads to heroin abuse.

Heroin produces similar but stronger and faster effects. It is the natural next step for many people when they find that they have built a tolerance to prescription opioids and need something more.

This method of pain relief and illicit drug abuse comes with its own unique set of problems.

Put an end to your opioid abuse before it becomes something more.

And if it already has, we can help with that too.

Different Ways that Opioid Addiction Starts

Prescription use often evolves into opioid abuse quickly.

As your body builds a tolerance, you will find that the opioid’s effects begin to fade faster. This leads many people to increase their dosages, frequencies, combine opioids with other substances, or otherwise abuse their prescriptions.

Most prescription opioids, when taken correctly, are swallowed.

When opioids are abused, they are often dissolved, injected, or snorted. These methods force a faster or more potent result that often shortens the time between abuse and dependence.

Opioids should only be taken according to a prescription and under the supervision of a medical professional.

Most opioid prescriptions are short-term. But, this rule is difficult to enforce and is rarely adhered to.

Trading drugs or purchasing another person’s prescription opioids is another way an opioid addiction may start.

Most individuals in opioid addiction treatment began with a prescription.

Whatever the reason for your evolution to opioid abuse, our opioid addiction treatment programs can help.

Early Withdrawal Symptoms After Opioid Abuse

Opioid withdrawal symptoms are one of the most common reasons that individuals experience a  relapse.

Your withdrawal symptoms may vary depending on many individual factors. For instance, the opioid you use, method, frequency, length of time, and body weight can all alter your symptoms.

The way you metabolize and withdraw from drugs may not be the same way that someone else does.

Most opioid withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable or mildly painful.

However, more serious complications are possible.

Early opioid withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Agitation or anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Increased sweating and yawning
  • Runny nose

What Happens Next

As you progress through your withdrawals, you may later experience:

  • Abdominal cramps
  • Dilated pupils
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

If you have attempted to quit using opioids on your own but have relapsed due to withdrawal symptoms, drug cravings, or another obstacle, our medically-assisted drug detox can help.

This highly-specialized and monitored detox method is designed to help with even the worst withdrawal symptoms.

Our detoxes occur in a safe, comfortable, and monitored space.

They ease your withdrawal symptoms and cravings so that you can move forward.

They help enforce early sobriety, eliminate distractions, and restore your strength and motivation.

It is time to let this vital stage of your recovery journey place you firmly on the right path.

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Opioid Addiction Treatment Options

When it comes to effective opioid addiction treatment, there is no singular solution that works for everyone.

Depending on your unique addiction, needs, mental health, and other individual factors, we will work with you to build the treatment program that will be the most beneficial to you.

We will help you choose between residential rehab, intensive outpatient rehab, or a supplemental care program that lands somewhere in the middle.

A partial hospitalization program would be one example of this. This type of program is ideal for individuals battling a dual diagnosis with unpredictable symptoms.

Most patients in recovery for opioid addictions will begin with a residential program before transitioning into a more flexible care plan.

Residential rehab programs last from 30 days to over a year, depending on your needs, progress, and preferences.

These care programs offer high-level, specialized, and customized 24-hour care. You will have all of the care, support, and guidance you will need through each stage of your recovery.

Our various therapies, relapse prevention training, support groups, and holistic remedies will help you address, evaluate, and overcome your addiction and the complications stemming from it.

Construction Workers Among the Most Susceptible to Opioid Abuse Pathfinders - A construction worker who entered a residential drug rehab for opioid abuse is sharing his story on opioid abuse and addiction as part of a group therapy session during his recovery process.

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Pathfinders Recovery Center

Choosing Pathfinders means choosing a better way.

It means customized care plans, incredible support systems, and life-long learning opportunities.

It means commitment and dedication to a healthy, sustainable, and sober life.

You have it within you to turn the tables on your addiction.

You just need a little bit of help to get you there.

Let us guide you the same way we have guided so many others before you.

Call us today at 855-728-4363 for more information.

Melissa Etheridge’s Son Dies from Opioids

Melissa Etheridge’s Tragic Loss

In May 2020, Melissa Etheridge and her former spouse, Julie Cypher, lost their son to opioid addiction.

Melissa Etheridge announced their loss on Twitter: “Today I joined hundreds of thousands of families who have lost loved ones to opioid addiction.

My son Beckett, who was just 21, struggled to overcome his addiction and finally succumbed to it today.

He will be missed by those who loved him, his family, and friends.”

Unfortunately, Beckett Cypher was lost to an epidemic that has plagued our country for years. From 2010 to 2017, opioid-related overdose deaths rose from 21,088 to 47,600. In 2018 alone, there were 46,802.

Melissa Etheridge's Son Dies from Opioids Pathfinders - A young man is sitting with a rehab counselor discussing his opioid addiction that has, unfortunately, become an epidemic within the U.S. over recent years.

Opioid Addiction and Dependence

Each year, thousands of lives are lost to opioid addictions including those to prescription opioids, heroin, and synthetics.

Fentanyl is a common example of a dangerous synthetic opioid.

Natural opioids grow inside opium poppy plants.

The flowers are harvested to make prescription opioid pills.

Synthetics are created in a lab to mimic their effects.

They can be made with entirely artificial ingredients or a combination of natural and synthetic.

Through prescriptions, opioids are meant to relieve moderate to severe pain unresponsive to other pain relief methods.

For chronic or severe pains, over-the-counter medications may fall short.

Both prescription and illicit opioids relieve pain and promote relaxation.

For individuals with persistent pains and anxieties, these effects are appealing.

It’s important to remember that opioids are highly addictive and linked to many overdoses.

Our Pathfinders opioid addiction treatment programs can help you turn the tables on your addiction.

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Prescription Opioid Addiction

Prescription painkiller misuse is the second most common form of illicit drug use.

Unfortunately, it is difficult to avoid, and it rarely stops when the prescription does.

Most people who abuse prescription opioids will graduate to a stronger substance.

Most heroin users begin with prescription opioids that they took for a genuine medical need.

With strong and potent substances like opioids, physical tolerance can build quickly.

Once physical tolerance builds, the opioid becomes less effective.

If you have chronic pain or injuries, this tolerance can be difficult to overcome.

The pain relief and relaxation that comes with prescription opioid use initially become much more difficult to achieve again.

This is where opioid addiction begins.

We can help you end this abusive cycle before you take the next step.

Heroin addiction can be harder to overcome. But, the good news is that we can help you with this addiction too to get you to a happier, healthier life.

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Illicit Opioid Addiction

Researches have spent years studying the links between heroin and opioid abuse.

One study revealed that 86% of those surveyed had used opioid painkillers prior to using heroin. The effects that heroin creates are similar, but they are stronger, faster, and more potent. Sometimes, heroin is cheaper and easier to obtain than a prescription.

This transition is a troubling and dangerous one.

This drug alters your brain chemistry in important ways. It makes it difficult for you to quit even when you are ready and willing to.

But, we know what it takes to end opioid and heroin addictions.

We have spent many years developing the best treatment methods available.

Our methods are research-based, proven, customizable, and comprehensive.

Reasons for Prescription Opioid Use

Opioids block your body’s pain receptors. This signals to your brain that you are no longer in pain.

That is why prescription opioids are given to patients with severe and persistent pains unresponsive to normal medications.

Typically, a doctor will want to exhaust alternatives before prescribing opioids.

However, this is not always the case.

A dehydration headache or a bumped shin may be treated with a heating pad or a dose of aspirin.

However, when you need to have a tooth pulled, break one of your bones, or give birth to a child, your doctor may prescribe an opioid for the pain.

Even when they are prescribed, they are addictive and habit-forming.

With this information in mind, doctors tend to stick to short-term prescriptions. Unfortunately, this is difficult to monitor.

Common Opioids

Some of the most common opioids include:

  • Vicodin (Hydrocodone)
  • Percocet / OxyContin (Oxycodone)
  • Morphine
  • Codeine

Morphine is available through prescription and is often used in monitored medical settings like hospitals.

However, the illicit use of morphine is more common.

Heroin is another popular opioid, but it is one that has no approved medical uses. No amount of heroin use is safe.

Prescription opioid use should be limited to as little as a few weeks at a time.

Sometimes, though, chronic pains can lead to extended prescriptions, illicit purchases, drug swaps, and transitions to stronger drugs.

Overcoming opioid addiction requires dedicated treatment.

Over time, it becomes easier to manage.

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Most patients who are addicted to something as strong as prescription opioids will start their treatment program with medical detox.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms scare many people off before they even begin.

However, withdrawal symptoms and overwhelming drug cravings can be eased in our opioid addiction treatment centers.

Quitting at home may lead to relapse, but here, we will eliminate temptations, distractions, and discomforts.

We will set you up for success.

There is a wide range of withdrawal symptoms associated with opioids.

Your symptoms may vary depending on specific individual factors, like the type of opioids you use, the amount, and how often.

Some of the most common withdrawal symptoms associated with opioids include:

  • Agitation and anxiety
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Increased sweating and runny nose
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Nausea and vomiting

Starting with a detox will help you through some of the worst parts of the recovery process.

Enforcing early sobriety and restoring your strength and confidence will give you what you need moving forward.

Trust our dedicated medical team to place you firmly on the path to recovery.

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Opioid Addiction Treatment Settings

At Pathfinders, we offer treatment settings to meet a variety of unique addictions and needs.

We will work with you to choose the program that will benefit you the most.

Our primary treatment settings include:

Residential rehab offers the highest levels of care, support, and guidance, with 24-hour access to our dedicated team.

Our other programs offer unique benefits, high-level care, and convenient flexibility.

Each program offers proven care methods, various therapies, support groups, and so much more.

Melissa Etheridge's Son Dies from Opioids Pathfinders - A group session in a drug rehab is taking place where those suffering from opioid addiction can share their stories, give advice, share coping strategies, and create a support system for the recovery process.

Call our addiction counselor for more information. They are available 24/7, and they will work you through your options and next steps. They will also verify your insurance for you or outline alternative options.

 

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Pathfinders’ Opioid Addiction Treatment Centers

Choosing the right opioid addiction treatment center does not have to be complicated.

Help is waiting for you right here at Pathfinders.

We customize each treatment program to suit the needs of the person entering it.

We will treat you like an individual, not a number.

Trust us to walk this path with you and help you build a new life based on health and sobriety.

Leave your addiction in the past.

Call Pathfinders today, and we will walk you into your future.

How Addictive is Kratom? This is What You Should Understand

How Addictive is Kratom – It can Replace an Opiate Addiction.

Kratom is a hope-inspiring substance for many struggling addicts.

It can help life-long opiate addicts quit their painful addictions and save their lives. It’s safer, more natural, and above-all-else a smarter choice than most opiates.

But kratom is an addictive substance itself. Sometimes it merely replaces one addiction with another.

Like any other drug, it’s not without its drawbacks!

This begs the question: How addictive is kratom? And what do you do if you find yourself addicted? Keep reading to find the answer.

How Addictive is Kratom - Supplement kratom green capsules and powder on brown plate. Learn about the treatment options for Kratom at Pathfinders in Arizona.
Supplement kratom green capsules and powder on brown plate. Herbal product alt-medicine kratom is opioid.

Why Do People Use Kratom?

Kratom is meant to be used as an alternative to opiates. People suffering from opiate addiction sometimes turn to kratom to get off the more deadly opiate.

The drug provides similar effects and gives users relief from withdrawal symptoms in a safer way.

Kratom is more natural than a processed opiate like heroin. Its leaves can be eaten, brewed, or taken in pills. This makes it easy for anyone to take.

Some doctors are wary when it comes to recommending kratom, though.

Some patients get carried away with kratom and end up replacing their opiate addiction with it, rather than using it to ween themselves into sobriety.

While kratom is natural, it still gives a user the same effects as opiates, meaning it’s just as tempting for a seasoned addict to abuse.

How Addictive Is Kratom?

Taking any mind-altering drug, including kratom, changes the brain’s natural chemistry.

Kratom fills opioid receptors in the brain, giving users a rush or high similar to heroin.

Like other opiates, your body can become used to these highs and start to crave them. The brain adjusts to the opiate and comes to expect them.

Without giving the brain what it wants, a user can experience symptoms of withdrawal and adverse effects on their health.

Some symptoms of kratom withdrawal include:

  • insomnia
  • irritability
  • aggression
  • aching muscles
  • jerky movements

Measuring “how” addictive a substance is is difficult, and really depends on the person. Some people have more addictive personalities than others.

Although, no matter what your personality, addiction can happen to anyone.

Kratom addiction is on the rise. Kratom is openly sold in most states. This means curious teens can easily buy it for recreational use rather than for opiate recovery.

It should not be assumed that kratom is any less addictive than any other opiate. It’s simply better for you, and less likely to be tainted or end a user’s life.

With any drug comes the risk of addiction, whether it’s something common like caffeine, or more uncommon like kratom.

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What Makes Kratom Addictive?

Kratom is addictive for the same reason any opiate is. Opiates offer a user euphoria, relaxation, and psychoactive effects. They give the user a high that is hard to find in other drugs.

If a user suffers from depression they may become especially hooked on the feeling that opiates give. Opiates tend to mask pain both physical and mental, which is a desirable state for many.

Kratom is an interesting opiate. In lower doses, it offers stimulating and energizing effects. In higher doses it relaxes the body, making you sleepy, euphoric, and relaxed.

This means users can get addicted to kratom as either a stimulant or a relaxant. Other opiates are much harder to control on this level, giving kratom an interesting up-side for opiate lovers.

Many people start using kratom on a doctor’s recommendation. In this case, the doctor will usually tell the patient what dosage to take. But this isn’t always the case, and not everyone follows orders.

Some people will start using kratom on their own to deal with their addiction, or simply for recreational purposes. This is always more dangerous, as the user is given no solid guidelines.

There is no doctor to monitor how the user is adjusting to the drug or to recommend a safe dosage.

Like any other drug, kratom is addictive because it feels good to take. Plus, it’s cheaper than opiates, natural, widely legal, and more versatile.

Can You Overdose on Kratom?

There have been several reports of kratom overdoses. The majority of these overdoses involved mixing other drugs, such as cocaine, fentanyl, and alcohol.

Because of this, it’s uncertain how much of a factor kratom was.

However, a small number of kratom overdoses only involved the use of kratom. This could have been due to the user dosing too high, or buying a laced product.

Buying kratom for recreational use always runs the risk of ingesting unknown, harmful substances.

So, while you’re not likely to overdose on kratom, the official stance is unknown. More studies must be put into the subject, and more cases must be investigated.

Always be careful where you buy your kratom from, and only purchase from designated dealers with trusted backgrounds.

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How Many People Use Kratom?

Kratom use has risen in recent years. The drug remains legal in many states and countries and is fairly easy to get hold of.

Because of its abuse factor, some places have made it illegal, including Indiana, Wisconsin, and Vermont.

There has been a push to make kratom a schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1 is where the most addictive drugs are placed, including heroin and other opiates.

At the moment, kratom remains unscheduled. When it was announced that it might be scheduled there was a large outpouring of people who disagreed with the proposition.

Over 140,000 people signed a petition and got the proposition shot down.

To date, there are an estimated five million people who regularly use kratom. that’s a large portion of the population.

Many of these people use it to stay off worse opiates, and taking it away from them would risk throwing them back into their previous addictions.

The Signs of Kratom Addiction

Like any other addiction, the signs for kratom addiction can be subtle to the user but obvious to outsiders.

Signs and symptoms of addiction can vary greatly from person to person and be difficult to pinpoint. However, some of them show more than others.

How Addictive is Kratom - A man who looks tired and unkept looks into the camera. The 1st sign of kratom addiction is a change in appearance and reduction in hygiene.
A man who looks tired and unkept looks into the camera.

Dependency on kratom is the most obvious sign. If you feel the need to take kratom right once the effects have worn off, you could have a dependency.

If not getting the drug soon after its effects are gone causes irritation, mood swings, or discomfort, you could be addicted.

Spending more money than you can afford to on kratom is a sign, as well as a change in physical appearance. This means drastic weight loss or gain, or a reduction in personal hygiene.

One should also look out for irregular sleep patterns.

If you feel like you’re taking too much kratom, chances are you’re right. If your friends tell you they’re worried about your kratom use, that’s another reason to check yourself.

There’s a big difference between casual use and addiction, and it eventually shows itself.

How Is Kratom Addiction Treated?

There is no proven best way to deal with kratom addiction. But there are steps you can take to move away from addiction.

The first step is usually to decrease your use. If you’re used to taking large doses of kratom, start weaning yourself off.

Take smaller and smaller doses each time and your body will become less dependant on high doses.

The next step is to detox your body. Stop taking kratom and get all traces of the drug out of your body. Some medications can help accomplish this, as well as certain foods.

If the addiction is at an aggressive stage, rehab may be necessary. Rehabilitation centers don’t discriminate based on drugs.

Many will take kratom users just as readily as alcohol and heroin users, and help them find the environment they need to quit.

Behavioral therapy is also a big help in dealing with kratom addiction. Behavioral therapy targets a person’s triggers for addiction and looks to stop them.

It looks to rid a patient of their relapse triggers and let them know they don’t need the drug anymore.

If you suspect a loved one of being addicted to kratom talk to them about it. They may not see the signs or may be unwilling to accept them.

Intervention is an often necessary first step in squashing an addiction, even if it is an uncomfortable one.

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Addiction Happens

The simple answer to the question “How addictive is kratom?” is this: Just as addictive as any other opiate.

Just because something is natural doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Kratom has its upsides, but it also has its downsides.

Like any other substance, it’s important to moderate your use and fight against dependance.

If you or someone you love may be addicted to kratom, get the help you need.

Talk to them, seek rehab, and get the drug out of your system. You’ll be happy you did it in the end.

If you’re looking for a trusted rehabilitation center, see what we can do for you. Contact us with any comments, questions, or concerns.

We’d be happy to help.