By Ashley C. Dasianu, LMFT
Eagle Mountain Counseling Therapist
Americans have recently been hearing a lot about the opioid crisis. It is a drug that makes headlines, and the president has recently called the epidemic “an emergency.” However, the drug also affects millions of American lives in a very personal way. In particular, Utah is listed as having the ninth highest drug overdose rate in the country.
Opioids are a class of drugs that include heroin, but also prescriptions such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl. Prescription opioids are given to relieve pain, but are often abused because they activate the reward center of the brain and produce a sense of well-being. Our brains have evolved to want to repeat things that produce that level of pleasure, and this can make people particularly vulnerable to opioids. A study performed in 2009 found that 86 percent of heroin users began by using prescription opioids, but eventually switched to heroin because it is cheaper and easier to buy.
Once individuals begin abusing opioids it is very difficult to stop, and often times the symptoms that result from withdrawals cause individuals to relapse. The cycle of addiction is extremely painful for both the individuals struggling with it, and all those in its path. Relationships can become damaged, and trust can be lost. However, there is hope for individuals affected by opioid addiction. Through a combination of medication management during withdrawals, and psychotherapy, individuals can break free from their addictions and learn to live healthy and productive lives. But one thing is certain; an individual’s best chance of recovering from opioid addiction is with a solid support system made up of family, friends, and professionals who are experienced in treating the disease. At Eagle Mountain Counseling we can provide assessments for a multitude of addictions, and begin walking the journey towards recovery with you. We have therapists who are trained in working with individuals and families affected by addiction, and can help you develop a treatment plan that is best for you and your family.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction – give us a call – we can help.