We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

How is an Opiate Dependence Treated?

By D. Jeffress
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGeek is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGeek, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Opiates are a large class of prescription and illicit narcotic drugs that are derived from opium plants. Drugs such as heroin, morphine, codeine, and oxycodone can be very addictive, quickly causing both physical and psychological signs of opiate dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal. Treatment for opiate dependence usually involves a combination of medications to gradually wean the body off of the substance and behavioral therapy to develop healthier lifestyle habits. People who suffer from opiate addictions can find the help they need to begin recovery by contacting hospitals, rehabilitation clinics, social service centers, or government hot lines.

When a person becomes dependent on an opiate, he or she can experience life-threatening withdrawal symptoms when the drug is not available. Intense aches, chills, fever, and seizures can set in within two days of withdrawal. When a patient is in critical condition due to withdrawal symptoms, he or she is usually given an intravenous drug called naloxone to counteract the devastating physical symptoms. Clonidine is commonly given in combination with naloxone to further relieve pain and chills. Following emergency treatment for opiate dependence, a doctor will usually prescribe a less-potent opiate to be taken in carefully regulated doses to slowly reverse physiological cravings.

Methadone and buprenorphine are forms of liquid opiates commonly prescribed for addicts to help them progressively decrease their opiate dependence. The medications produce similar effects to heroin and morphine, albeit less intense. A doctor may suggest injections or oral solutions depending on a patient's specific needs. Initial doses are usually provided at a clinic or hospital, but a patient who has the proper supervision may be given final rounds of supplies to take at home. The length of time a patient needs to stay on methadone or buprenorphine can range from a few weeks to several years based largely on the severity of the addiction and his or her willingness to get clean.

In addition to medical care, a person who wants to beat opiate dependence needs the appropriate psychological and emotional support. Inpatient rehabilitation clinics offer professional medical supervision and psychological counseling for patients who are ready to change their lives. Rehab centers vary in their approaches and lengths, but most programs focus on helping individuals uncover the reasons why they use opiates and how they can learn to live productively without relying on drugs.

Ongoing counseling at mental health centers, private sessions with psychologists, and community support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous can provide addicts with the support they need to stay clean. Psychologists and recovering addicts can help individuals cope with their emotional issues and develop positive attitudes about recovery. Most people who are willing to be honest and put all of their effort into improving themselves are able to eventually overcome opiate dependence.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.