Medications Play a Role
Making Changes in Therapy
When Does It End?
When oxycodone first hit the market in the 1960s, it was heralded as a medication that could control pain safely. Almost immediately, however, the drug became a favorite of drug abusers. In 1996, when the time-release version of oxycodone hit the market, the drug problem began to escalate. Now, some might even say that oxycodone addiction has reached epidemic levels.
With this boom in addiction has come a secondary increase in oxycodone addiction-related research. Scientists have developed new medications that can combat cravings, therapists have created new techniques to help addicts change their thinking, and comprehensive programming allows addicts to change other aspects of their lives in profound and healing ways. In short, while addiction to oxycodone may be on the rise, oxycodone rehabilitation programs are more complete and helpful than they have ever been before. In a modern rehabilitation program, an oxycodone addict can get the necessary help to make real and lasting changes.
Rehabilitation programs begin, in a technical sense, when detoxification programs end. In a detoxification program, the addict has an opportunity to withdraw from oxycodone use and emerges with a system that is completely free of the drug. This purging is just the first step on a journey toward healing, and a rehabilitation program provides the tools the addict will need to reach that destination. There are many settings an addict can choose from in order to receive rehabilitation services.
Some facilities provide both detoxification and rehabilitation programs. In these facilities, addicts transition from one program to another, receiving all the help they need under one roof. Other programs provide only rehabilitation services, and they accept people who have completed detoxification programs. In both of these inpatient programs, addicts live in the facility, and they are often not allowed to step off the grounds. This is a targeted, intensive, controlled environment that allows the addict to step away from the stress and temptation that exists at home and truly focus on healing, 24 hours per day.
There are some oxycodone addicts who feel the need for help for a long period of time, and they’d like to live in a setting that feels more like home. These people may benefit from therapeutic communities. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these communities often provide a structured environment, where the addict has a schedule to keep and a strict set of rules to follow. They live with other addicts and develop healthy living habits that don’t include drugs. For some people, the structure provided in these facilities is incredibly helpful. For others, the idea of helping themselves and helping others is the most beneficial aspect. Some programs provide medical staff, while others rely on the residents to support one another and keep one another in line.
Some addicts may be unable to commit to an inpatient treatment program like this. They might have:
Factors that Determine Level of Care
- Childcare concerns
- Financial limitations or lack of insurance coverage
- Strong ties to family
- Lack of paid time off from work, or employment concerns
If these people have a strong and supportive family, and a drive to achieve success, they may benefit from an outpatient addiction treatment program. Here, they receive care periodically, while they continue to live at home. In some programs, the addict goes to meetings or counseling sessions all day, every day. In other programs, the addict only participates in these activities on a weekly or monthly basis. Either route can be effective.
According to a study published in the Annals of Family Medicine, 54 percent of people who received care in this model were able to achieve sobriety.
Success, the researchers report, had more to do with other aspects in the addict’s life, rather than the location where the addict received care.
Related Article: Presription Drug Rehab Guide
Medications Play a Role
Recovering from an addiction to oxycodone means more than just living in a different place or making time to keep appointments. Oxycodone is a drug in the opioid family, meaning that long-term use of the drug can change the way that the brain works on a chemical level. Over time, the brain develops a tolerance for, and an addiction to, the drug and it will clamor for the drug when it is removed. The addict can face cravings for the drug that persist long after detoxification programs are over. For this reason, many rehabilitation programs for oxycodone addiction include medications.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), taking medications for addiction is not the same thing as substituting one drug for another.
fact, addicts who use medications for addiction are much like diabetes patients who use medications to control their disease. The medications are used to keep the disease under control and prevent a relapse of symptoms.
SAMHSA reports that methadone and buprenorphine are the two medications most commonly used to treat opiate addiction. These two drugs act on the same receptors used by oxycodone and they fool the brain into thinking it has access to the drug it craves. The user doesn’t feel a high or a rush as a result of these medications, but cravings can be dramatically decreased.
Some addicts benefit from a medication known as naltrexone, which works in a completely different way. This drug blocks the body from picking up and using oxycodone that the user takes in. Therefore, if people relapse and take in the drug, the drug won’t work at all.
Additional Resource: Opiate Detox FAQs
Making Changes in Therapy
Medication management may be important, but it’s not the only work that takes place in a rehabilitation program. The addict also needs to make adjustments in his or her thought patterns and behaviors. Therapy can help the addict learn how to change behavior, and therapy can give the addict the tools needed to change destructive thought patterns that can lead to a relapse.
Some oxycodone addicts enter therapy programs due to outside influences such as:
Why Addicts Attend Rehab
- The criminal justice system
- Pressure from employers
- Requests from family members
- Advice from friends
These people may have true addictions, but they may not believe that they have a real problem. While they might be physically present in an addiction program, their minds might be in a completely different place altogether. Some therapists use a form of therapy called motivational interviewing to reach these people. Therapists who use this technique, according to the Mid-Atlantic Addiction Technology Transfer Network, attempt to connect with the patient on a deep and caring level, asking open-ended questions and encouraging the person to think about why he or she really does need to change. The therapist might ask questions such as, “What would be good, and bad, about continuing to abuse oxycodone?” and “What might be better about being sober?” and “What do you think will happen if you stop taking oxycodone every day?” This technique might seem simple, but it’s been associated with remarkable levels of success.
According to an article published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, using this technique was associated with reduced drug use over the four-week therapy period. It was most effective when combined with other therapies.
Addiction may have its roots in other aspects of the addict’s life. For example, some people may turn to oxycodone after the loss of a job or a downturn in financial stability. When an addict completes a detoxification program, he or she might be clear of drugs, but the financial woes still exist. Some comprehensive programs are designed to deal with all of these issues and get an addict on the road to a healthier life. These programs might provide support to help an addict deal with issues such as:
Help and Support
- Child care
- Health care
When these triggers are reduced or eliminated, the addict has a powerful incentive to stay clean and maintain this new lifestyle. It’s a powerful way to help someone struggling with addiction to get a new lease on life, and maintain those changes for many years to come.
Addicts may have developed their mental health issue as a result of the addiction, or they may have medicated their mental health problem with oxycodone and developed an addiction as a result. In either case, both the mental illness and the addiction must be addressed in order for the person to heal. In so-called Dual Diagnosis programs, people receive counseling for both conditions, and they may receive medications for both issues as well. For some people, this may be the first time their mental health has ever been addressed, and it can be remarkably helpful, allowing the addict to see how the two conditions intersect and how they both can be controlled.
When Does It End?
While inpatient programs for addiction might come to a close after a certain period of time, and outpatient visits to therapists might taper down until the patient has no more appointments, rehabilitation programs for oxycodone addiction never really end. In fact, addiction is commonly considered a chronic condition that the addict will have to work on every day in order to keep a relapse from occurring. Sometimes, this work continues for the rest of the person’s life. Group meetings can be remarkably effective in this regard. Some programs, such as Narcotics Anonymous, use a 12-step model that encourages the addict to make amends for past behavior and help others strengthen their recovery. Other programs, such as SMART Recovery, capitalize on the addict’s inner strength and ability to change. Either model can be effective.
An online support group might be helpful for people who cannot find an in-person support group in their community. Any kind of support group is better than no support group at all. The important thing is for the addict to meet others who are also working toward recovery, and to stay motivated to apply those lessons learned in formal rehabilitation programs.
If you’d like more information on recovery from oxycodone addiction or the programs we offer here at Michael’s House, pick up the phone and give us a call. Take the first step on your journey to a sober life.