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What to Know About Opioid Use Disorder

People talking about treatment for opioid use disorder

Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a severe medical condition that requires professional treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, it’s essential to seek help as soon as possible. Medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder is often needed to overcome addiction, which means you can’t do it alone and without professional assistance.

MD M.A.T.T. Washington, D.C., offers opioid addiction treatment services that can help you or your loved one recover. Our compassionate staff understands opioid addiction and the challenges that come with opioid use disorder treatment, and they will help you every step of the way. Call 202.933.5583 to learn more about managing opioid use disorder symptoms and how OUD treatment can help you recover from addiction.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription medications—like oxycodone and hydrocodone—and illegal drugs like heroin. Opioids bind to receptors in the brain and nervous system, reducing pain signals. They also produce feelings of pleasure, which is why they’re often abused.

Opioids are highly addictive because they cause intense cravings and withdrawal symptoms when users try to quit. The opioid epidemic in the United States is one of the worst health crises in recent memory. Over two million Americans are addicted to opioids, and tens of thousands die yearly from opioid-related overdoses. The crisis has hit rural areas especially hard, as opioid addiction rates continue to rise while access to treatment remains limited.

Trying to quit opioids without professional help is extremely difficult and can be dangerous. Quitting opioids cold turkey can lead to uncomfortable and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms like nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, sweating, anxiety, and insomnia. Additionally, people who try to quit without professional help are at high risk for relapse.

What Are the Signs of Opioid Use Disorder?

Some common signs of OUD include the following:

  • Being unable to cut down or stop opioid use despite wanting to do so
  • Continuing to use opioids despite it causing or worsening physical or psychological problems
  • Developing a tolerance, which means needing more opioids to achieve the desired effect
  • Experiencing strong opioid cravings
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not taking opioids
  • Giving up important activities to use opioids
  • Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from opioid use
  • Taking opioids in larger doses or for a more extended period than intended
  • Using opioids in dangerous situations, such as while driving

Additionally, people struggling with OUD may have changes in their appearance or mood, problems with relationships and responsibilities, and financial or legal troubles.

What Comprises OUD Treatment?

Any comprehensive OUD treatment program should include the following:

  • Individual therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Medication-assisted treatment (MAT)

In many cases, psychotherapy in addiction treatment plans uses cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) techniques. CBT is a type of therapy that helps patients identify and change negative thinking patterns and behaviors. DBT is a type of therapy that emphasizes building skills to manage emotions, tolerate distress, and improve relationships.

What Is Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Use Disorder?

MAT is an opioid addiction intervention that uses medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The medications used in MAT can reduce opioid cravings, ease withdrawal symptoms, and block the effects of opioids.

Suboxone treatment is one form of medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. It’s a combination of two drugs, buprenorphine and naloxone, which work together to reduce opioid cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist, which means it attaches to opioid receptors in the brain but doesn’t produce the same intense high as other opioids. Naloxone is an opioid antagonist which blocks the effects of other opioids and can quickly reverse an opioid overdose.

What Are the Benefits of Undergoing Opioid Use Disorder Treatment?

Many benefits are associated with going to an addiction treatment center like MD M.A.T.T. Washington, D.C., and receiving treatment for OUD. Some of these benefits include:

  • Increased job performance
  • Increased mental clarity
  • Improved physical health
  • Stronger relationships

In addition, patients who receive OUD treatment are less likely to engage in criminal activity or experience relapse than those who try to quit independently.

Find Opioid Use Disorder Treatment in Washington, D.C., at MD M.A.T.T.

If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, it’s essential to seek professional help as soon as possible. Don’t wait until opioid use disorder symptoms overtake daily living and start to damage relationships and affect responsibilities. Contact MD M.A.T.T. Washington, D.C., today at 202.933.5583 to learn more about our opioid use disorder treatment program and how we can help you or your loved one start on the path to recovery.