Living with addiction is hard, but so is addressing the addiction; this is why it’s important that anyone struggling with substance abuse doesn’t try to do it on their own. Whether it’s from a lurking sense of shame, or because they’re in denial about their opioid habits, many people avoid taking steps towards recovery until the problem has become severe. Some of them, though, simply don’t know where to start.
The good news is, there are tons of options out there for anyone who’s addicted to opioids – they just have to look. From an inpatient treatment facility like Lincoln Recovery to a community support group, it’s possible to get help for any level of addiction.
Before looking at specific resources, though, let’s discuss what causes addiction, as well as some of its most common signs.
What causes addiction
There have been various discussions about whether genetics plays a part in forming addictive behaviors. While that’s still a moot point, we do know one thing: there are plenty of reasons why someone would become addicted to opioids or other substances.
In the majority of cases, opioid addiction is a coping mechanism that’s used to mask an underlying issue. For example, consider this list of the most common risk factors for addiction:
- Being diagnosed with a mental health disorder
- Experiencing violence or aggression from family members
- Low socioeconomic status
- Having a family member who also struggles with addiction
- Use (or abuse) of drugs or alcohol from an early age
- Witnessing family or friends misuse drugs or alcohol
- Experiencing physical, sexual, or emotional abuse
One way or another, there’s usually an underlying reason for drug addiction; in other words, people don’t typically pick it up because they’re well-adjusted individuals just looking for a hobby. This being the case, addiction is more than just a physical issue. In order to address it, you also have to figure out why they turned to opioids in the first place.
What does addiction look like
For some people, the signs of addiction are clear. For others, the signs might not be so obvious – or the person might just be good at convincing everyone that they’re doing just fine. Keep in mind that even someone with a house, a job, and a future can struggle with addiction; it happens to people in every sphere of society.
If you’re curious about the most common signs of a substance use disorder, here’s an overview:
- Loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed
- Neglect of daily responsibilities
- Persistence in using their drug of choice, regardless of how it affects their physical or mental health
- Spending excessive amounts of time obtaining, using, or getting over the effects of drug use
- Increasing the dose in order to get the same effect
- Spending a large portion of their income on drugs
- Stealing money to fund their drug habit
- Engaging in risk-taking behaviors while high
- Intense, constant urge to use the drug
- The feeling that the drug is necessary in order to function
- Failed attempts at cutting back or stopping drug use
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they quit using (anxiety, nausea, shaking, etc.)
Resources for anyone who’s struggling with opioid addiction
Since everyone is affected by addiction uniquely, there is no “one size fits all” treatment plan. Some people would do better with a hardcore inpatient program, while others would benefit more from a structured support group. With that in mind, here are a few different options that could help address substance abuse.
- Inpatient treatment at Lincoln Recovery
When most people think “treatment for opioid addiction”, they probably have something like this in mind. Withdrawing from opioids is a tough process to go through, and in extreme cases it can be dangerous. Lincoln Recovery has a staff of medical professionals available 24/7 for their patients, as well as a treatment program that focuses on developing a plan for the future, instead of just trying to unlearn the habits of the past.
- Secular online support group LifeRing
Many programs or organizations centered around sobriety are centered around a religious impetus of some kind; LifeRing offers a judgment-free environment that emphasizes the empowerment of the “Sober Self”, rather than belief in a higher power. Participants focus on sobriety, self-help, and secularity. This group doesn’t guide members through a step-by-step program; instead, members can essentially create their own program through online meetings, email groups, and practical steps to strengthen their “Sober Selves”.
- Four-point program with SMART (Self-Management and Recovery Training)
With a strong basis in addiction research, SMART has a psychological focus in their online and in-person meetings. There’s an emphasis on cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which has been shown to help resolve addictive behaviors. Rather than seeking out self-destructive habits, members are empowered to seek out more constructive, enjoyable, and positive directions for their lives. The program aids members in becoming motivated to change for the long term, change the way they think about addiction, manage their triggers, and replace addictive patterns with more constructive activities.
- Self-empowerment support groups for women at WFS (Women for Sobriety)
Founded by a sociologist who thought that addiction in women stemmed from low self-esteem, guilt, depression, and loss of identity, WFS is available both online and in person. For more individualized assistance, there’s also a phone line where members can speak with trained volunteers. Strategies include cognitive restructuring, positive reinforcement, diet, exercise, and relaxation. In addition to that, there are 13 Acceptance Statements that are designed to foster emotional and spiritual growth; members are supposed to take 15 minutes every day to think about all 13 statements, and then choose one to take with them through the day.
Choosing the right treatment option is important, but it’s equally important to have the support of family or friends.
Whether you know someone who’s struggling with addiction, or you’re affected by it personally, having your own built-in support group is key. It’s the kind of situation that needs both empathy and accountability; if someone can start with that foundation, the rest of their recovery is more likely to succeed.