Rehab for Opioid Addiction

Opioids, such as heroin, prescription opioids— oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine— and illegal synthetic opioids like fentanyl, are highly addictive drugs. Opioids bind to receptors in the brain, affecting basic physiological functioning such as heart rate, sleeping, and breathing and they create an artificial sensation of pleasure. Because of their addictive nature and an individual’s tendency to develop a physical dependence on opioids, it is almost always advised to attend rehab for opioid addiction.


Opioid Use Disorder is usually quite severe due to the short length of time in which a physical dependence to opioids becomes prominent. Opioids such as prescription pills with hydrocodone are highly addictive, and opioid dependence has become an epidemic in the United States. About 2 million Americans abuse opioids and 40,000 will die this year from opioid overdose.

Opioid Addiction

Signs of an opioid problem may include:

How Do People Become Addicted to Opioids?

Opioids are more than capable of making your mind, brain and body trust that opioids are essential for survival. The best way to avoid opioid addiction is to consult with a medical doctor who has prior addiction education before seeking the assistance of a medical specialist. We recommend consulting a doctor who has experience and knowledge in addiction medicine and addiction science because doctors who do not have this knowledge will often prescribe opioids instead of non-narcotic alternatives and major lifestyle changes.

Risk Factors for Opioid Addiction:

  • Following directions given in a legal prescription for opioids
  • Not following directions given in a legal prescription for opioids
  • History of chronic and recurring pain
  • Prior substance abuse including overeating oxidized foods, nicotine abuse and alcohol abuse
  • History of mental illness
  • History of physical trauma
  • History of emotional trauma
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Family history of moodiness or compulsive worry, anger or hate
  • Early exposure to substance abuse
  • Lack of education around the effect and side effects of opioids


Although these risk factors can be pre-cursors to an addiction to opioids or opiates, these factors are not definitive to opioid addiction. Many people can identify with these risk factors but do not have an opioid addiction, alternatively, many people with an opioid addiction may not identify themselves in these risk factors.

Underlying Symptoms of Opioid Dependence:

It is common that opioid dependence occurs with a prompt of pre-existing conditions such as: post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), other substance use disorders, depressive disorders. bipolar disorder, or anxiety disorders.

Other prompts include:

  1. Genetics: Opioid addiction does not specifically run in families, although it infrequently has.
    • A genetic and familial predisposition does in fact exist for solving emotional and physical pain with substances outside the body rather than channeling internal emotional and physical pain relieving electro-biochemicals.
    • Emotional and physical pain are inseparable and the accompanying emotional pain tends to be more chronically tortuous than physical pain.
    • A genetic of familial predisposition to any drug addiction or behavioral addiction increases one’s risk to developing opioid dependence.
  2. Environmental: Opioid availability via street vendors, friends, relatives or an abundance of prescribers untrained and inexperienced in addictions regularly contribute to opioid addiction, as do:
    • Family stressors.
    • Occupational stressors.
    • Financial stressors.
    • Legal stressors.
  3. Neuropsychiatric: Individuals do not choose opioid addiction, instead they choose:
    • To allow negative-self talk and self-doubt to thrive in the form of ruminating thoughts and a detrimental self-image.
    • To permit angry, discontented people to disrupt our serenity.
    • To obsessively worry about tomorrow.
    • To cope with emotions and feelings in an unhealthy way.


“When I am disturbed, it is because I find some person, place, thing or situation – some fact of my life – unacceptable to me and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing or situation as being exactly the way it is supposed to be at this moment.” (The Big Book of AA).

Warning Signs of Opioid Addiction

Opioid abuse is overwhelmingly devastating to our country, especially in the midst of the current opioid crisis. Opioid abuse is beyond the abuse of any other drugs in terms of its reach. The U.S. opioid crisis is a major problem, with 115 Americans dying of opioid overdose each day, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Opioid overdose rates have been increasing for years, and in 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died from overdose (NIDA).


In the last year, 2.5 million Americans aged 18-25 have misused opioids, and in 2016, the same number reported misusing an opioid (NIDA). As some of the most potent, habit-forming narcotics, opioids have serious side effects when abused.


If you are unsure whether you or a loved one is struggling with opioid abuse, we have included some warning signs for you to reference in order to get a clearer understanding if you are dealing with an opioid addiction or possibly need an opioid addiction rehab.

Warning Signs of Opioid Abuse Include:

  • Associating with new groups of people
  • Changing friends
  • Spending time alone
  • Avoiding family
  • Avoiding friends
  • Decreased interest in pleasurable activities
  • Inconsistent bathing patterns
  • Less attentive to appearance
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Fatigue
  • Unhappiness
  • Binge eating or barely eating
  • Logorrheic or hyper-talkative
  • Misplaced anger resulting in seemingly illogical disputes
  • Anxiety
  • Cranky
  • Rapid cycling mood changes
  • Sleeping at strange times
  • Missing appointments
  • Involvement with the law
  • Keeping an erratic schedule
  • Financial problems
  • Pattern of absence at family functions or other obligations

What's the Difference Between Opioids and Opiates?


Synthetic versions of opiates that have similar effects to opiates but differ on a molecular level.

  • Synthetic or Partially Synthetic
  • Created in a lab to replicate the effects of opiates
  • Strong pain-reliever
  • Refer to pharmaceutical opioid medications

Examples of Opioids: Vicodin©, Percocet©, OxyContin©, Fentanyl, Percodan©, Roxicet©, Lortab©, Vicoprofen©, Dilaudid©, Exalgo©, Fentora©, Actiq©, Duragesic©, Abstral©, Lazanda©, etc.


Opiates are naturally-occurring, derived from the (opium) poppy plant.

  • non-synthetic
  • derived from opium
  • Strong pain-reliever
  • Refer to substances that are classified as narcotics, some of which are deemed as having medical-use

Examples of Opiates: Heroin, Morphine, Codeine.

How Do People Use Opioids?

Forms of Opioids and Opiates

Opioids and Opiates are commonly found in pill form, however, narcotics in this class can be found in many forms. Opioids are opiates can be found in forms including: pill, powder, liquid, patches, a resin-like form, etc.

The most common way to use and abuse opioids is by taking them as a pill, or ingesting them.

The other methods of using opioids/opiates include:

  • injection (intravenous use)
  • inhalation (smoking)
  • intranasally (“snorting”)

Because there are many forms of opioids/opiates, there are several delivery methods specific to the less common methods mentioned above. For example, there are fentanyl patches that will allow the drug to seep into the pores of your skin and enter the bloodstream. Of course, not all opioids have the ability to enter your bloodstream through superficial means, but transdermal medications (like a fentanyl patch) have the ability to enter the bloodstream through the skin.  Another drug delivery method is sublingual administration, which is when a drug is made to dissolve into the tissue in your mouth; the drug goes under a person’s tongue and will seep into their bloodstream that way. Pharmaceuticals like Suboxone are a good example of this delivery method.

Opioid Use Disorder Levels of Severity


Frequently Asked Questions about Opioid Addiction and Rehab for Opioid Addiction

No. There are various side effects that can arise from an improper opioid detox process, however, it is highly unlikely that these side effects will result in death. Most opioid withdrawals will bring intense discomfort, but opioid withdrawal is not life-threatening.

Typically, medications that are recommended for opioid withdrawal include medications with buprenorphine, like Suboxone or Subutex. These medications are used in a detox setting for a short period, and only to mitigate the symptoms of withdrawal.  The aforementioned medications are just examples using common standards, you should always consult with a doctor when determining which medication will work best for your case.

Many individuals will be led to believe that maintenance programs using medications like Suboxone or Methadone are a viable option for recovery, despite the result being a long-term dependence on both of those medications. Both Suboxone maintenance and methadone maintenance may be recommended by health professionals, however, we implore you to do your research and consult a doctor who has extensive knowledge in regards to addiction science, addiction medicine, and takes into account the probability of drug-replacement in maintenance program scenarios.

At Royal Life Centers, we use Subutex only during medical detox, for a short period of time. We also help individuals detox from Subutex, Suboxone, and Methadone— because we believe in an abstinence-based approach during rehab for opioid addiction.

The physical symptoms of opioid withdrawal usually last around four to seven days when you undergo a professional medical detox.

Keep in mind that “Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms” can occur after the detox process. Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS) are reactive physical symptoms brought on by cognitive triggers of opioid use. “PAWS” can last for around three months. These symptoms will diminish with a comprehensive treatment program in addition to therapy for triggers and coping mechanisms.

Opioids affect everyone’s body differently, however, taking a consistent amount of opioids for around two weeks consecutively can easily cause physical dependence on opioids. This process is different for everyone, as it may take one person months of opioid use to become physically dependent, while it may take another person who has been abusing opioids for years to become physically dependent.

It is very much possible, and extremely common, for individuals who are not abusing prescription opioids to develop a physical dependence on opioids. Some individuals are just following doctors orders to take their prescribed medication(s) and will develop a withdrawal symptoms if they are without their medication. You do not have to misuse or abuse opioids to become physically addicted to them.

Physical dependence is influenced by medical history, volume and frequency of opioid use, in addition to factors like diet, pre-existing conditions and a family history of addiction.

In generic terms, being addicted to opioids, apart from physical dependence, can be determined through an individual’s use of opioids as their primary (or sole) coping mechanism.

Yes, opioid abuse and addiction can have long terms effects. Besides physical dependence on the substance, ongoing opioid abuse can lead to:

  • collapsed veins for IV users
  • abscesses
  • cellulites
  • infection of the heart lining
  • the contraction and spreading of infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis-C, etc.
  • increased likelihood of developing pneumonia
  • the inability to fight off other health issues, general weakened immune system
  • Respiratory complications
  • Damage to the brain and its functioning

No. You should never trust any source claiming to offer a rapid detox from opioids. Although it sounds ideal, there is no medically-endorsed rapid detox process for opioids (or any other substances for that matter). The detoxification process from opioids is dependent on an individuals medical history, drug history, etc. there is no way to accurately promise that a detox will be complete according to a pre-planned timeline until all information is taken into account and the individual begins presenting symptoms of withdrawal.

You should expect any reputable detox program to claim a length of at least 4 days, and that is if you do not require a medically-assisted detoxification using narcotic medications like buprenorphine. During the first day or two of detox, your symptoms of withdrawal will lead medical staff to determine your detox plan and an appropriate length of stay for your successful recovery.

A medical detox program for opioids will range from 4 days on. Length of stay will be determined by various factors, including: your medical history, personal history of alcohol abuse, volume and frequency of drinking, tolerance to alcohol, and severity of your withdrawal symptoms. Attending a reputable rehab for opioid addiction will result in a customized care plan for your medical needs and therapeutic services to address your mental and emotional needs.

At Royal Life Centers, we have a medical detox program that is 4 or 8 days in length. The difference in length is determined by the factors mentioned above.

Opioid withdrawals are intensely uncomfortable, which is why we always suggest attending a good rehab for opioid addiction. A proper medical detox will provide you with all necessary medications to make your detox process as safe, comfortable, and effective as possible. Despite this, it is important to note that withdrawing from opioids is not life-threatening, it is just extremely unpleasant.

Comfort medications are often used to address the symptoms of withdrawal from opioids. These comfort medications are over-the-counter (OTC) medications that treat specific symptoms. For example, if your withdrawal process causes aches and pains, you could take Advil© or Tylenol ©, use a heating pad or take a hot bath. If you are experiencing nausea or diarrhea, you could use something like Pepto-Bismol© or Kaopectate©. If you have restless legs, you could use Restulex© tablets, etc.

Opioids are a pain-reliever, so they are known for easing symptoms of pain within the body. Aches and pains to severe and chronic pain are targeted by opioids, and their effect lessens or significantly removes this physical pain. As far as the cognitive effect of opioids, opioids lend a euphoric state to an individual and have a calming or relaxing sedative effect on the mind. Opioids can also cause sleepiness, numbness, and itchiness to the skin.

It is generally recommended for opioid addicts to attend a full continuum of care in order to properly and effectively recover from opioid addiction. A full continuum of care begins with a medical detox program, progresses to an inpatient level of care, then moves into an intensive outpatient and outpatient level of care, followed by more aftercare.


The exact treatment plan should be dependent on the current needs, goals, and circumstances of each individual seeking treatment. There is no cookie-cutter formula to figure out the best course of treatment, it is only recommended that a comprehensive and full treatment program be attended to aid the recovery process and introduce healthy coping mechanisms, the knowledge of self-awareness, relapse prevention, and building upon life skills as well as developing a sober support network.

Detox from Opioids

Withdrawal from opioids is physically and emotionally taxing, and withdrawal symptoms vary in severity. Typically, withdrawal symptoms begin around six hours following the last dose, peak around the 72-hour mark, and last around a week. Our goal at Royal Life Centers is to make detoxification from opioids as smooth as possible, which is why our guests are monitored throughout and after detox and our medical staff is on-site 24/7 to ensure safety and comfort.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Depression
  • Stomach cramps
  • Severe muscle aches and bone pain
  • Problems falling and/or staying asleep
  • Diarrhea and upset stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Cold flashes with goosebumps
  • Uncontrollable leg movements
  • Severe cravings

Source: NIDA

In opioid withdrawal, relief during the five to ten days of these symptoms can be provided through various medications.

Detox Medications for Opioid Withdrawal:

  1. Clonidine
  2. Buprenorphine (Subutex)
  3. Buprenorphine with naloxone (Suboxone or “subs”)


These detox medications aim to ease physical discomfort and help the recovering individual get some sleep. Warm baths, mild exercise, electro-chemically balanced nutrition, and the compassionate support of recovery-sensitive physicians, nurses, and counselors help ease a person through the withdrawal process.


Opioid detox medicine, such as buprenorphine, should be discontinued as soon as possible because buprenorphine maintenance can change into buprenorphine addiction. Detox medications should only be taken under the care of a doctor and with routine monitoring from medical professionals.

Fentanyl Contributing to Opioid Addiction

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is an extremely potent, powerful, and dangerous synthetic opioid. Fentanyl is lethal, even in the smallest doses— accidental overdoses occur from this synthetic opioid often, especially when it is mixed into the “cut” of other drugs, including: heroin, cocaine, and pressed pills.


Fentanyl comes in various prescription forms, and street forms. Fentanyl is very often mixed into other opiates, like heroin. Fentanyl is also 50-100 times more potent than morphine, making it one of the most dangerous opioids. An even stronger synthetic opioid is carfentanil, which is 1,000 times more potent than morphine. A few grains of these substances can be an instant overdose. 

How Do I Know If I Took Fentanyl?

Unfortunately, most of the time you will not know you have taken fentanyl until it is too late. The only way to know you have taken fentanyl or are about to take fentanyl is by testing the substances you have used or are about to use. Fentanyl is extremely strong, so it is used in many pressed pills on the street or added to heroin when it is in powder form.

What is Fentanyl Withdrawal Like?

Fentanyl withdrawal is very similar in its symptoms to the withdrawal from other opiates and opioids.


Withdrawal symptoms range from mild craving, anxiety, drug-seeking behavior, yawning, perspiration, runny eyes and nose, restless and broken sleep, and irritability. The eyes may not respond properly to light (i.e., pupils will remain dilated in the presence of bright light). More severe symptoms are extreme craving, muscular twitches, gooseflesh, hot and cold flashes, abdominal cramps, rapid breathing, fast pulse, chills, and lack of energy, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and lack of energy.


Not everybody suffers all the symptoms or the most severe ones; the severity of symptoms usually depends on the length and frequency of fentanyl abuse. It is highly recommended for those who are addicted to fentanyl, carfentanil, or any opioid to attend a comprehensive opioid addiction rehab.

Signs of Opioid Overdose:

If you are living with or have close contact with an individual who is addicted to opioids, we highly recommend getting Narcan©, a life-saving medication that quickly reverses the effects of opioids. Narcan has saved many individual’s lives who have been in the midst of an overdose on opioids, and then were able to recover after someone administered Narcan.

Here are some resources for you to educate yourself on what Narcan© is, what it does, how to use it, and where to get it:


Signs of Opioid Abuse Johns Hopkins Medicine. [cited on October 7, 2020]

Science of Addiction | Opioids  Johns Hopkins Medicine. [cited on October 7, 2020]

Opioids National Institute on Drug Abuse. [cited on October 7, 2020]

Looking for a Rehab for Opioid Addiction?

We can help you get started right away. We work with most private insurance policies and we have affordable self-pay rates if you do not have insurance. Give us a call and we will figure out the best treatment plan for you or your loved one.