Opioid Addiction

For many, the beginning of opioid addiction is as innocent and simple as that, and it can happen to anyone. In the United States, doctors are writing more opioid prescriptions than ever, increasing access to these addictive substances. When the refills run out, many turn to heroin, a powerful and cheaper alternative that’s wreaking havoc in cities across the country. For those who are struggling with opioid addiction, Valiant Living in Denver, Colorado, provides a new approach to recovery that fosters connection, compassion and healing in a safe and comfortable environment. From square A to Z, our detox and recovery services provide support every step of the way to help individuals build a strong foundation for lifelong sobriety.

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs that include pain-relieving substances such as heroin, opium and morphine. Those that are naturally derived from the poppy plant are classified as opiates, while prescription painkillers like fentanyl, OxyContin (oxycodone) and Vicodin (hydrocodone) are known as synthetic opioids. These drugs work by binding to the opioid receptors in the brain to create feelings of euphoria, pain relief and relaxation. When prescribed by a doctor and used properly, opioids can be a safe and effective treatment for a variety of chronic and severe health conditions, but are highly addictive despite legitimate medical uses. In the United States, the alarming rate at which opioids were being prescribed led to an epidemic, and overdoses remain high as people look to heroin or fentanyl for a cheaper and stronger high. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health, opioid addiction remains a serious problem.

  • From 2018 to 2019, synthetic opioid-related death rates increased by over 15 percent due to increased fentanyl use, an extremely potent opioid often cut with heroin or pressed into counterfeit pills
  • In 2019, over 70 percent of all overdose deaths involved an opioid, including prescription painkillers, heroin and fentanyl
  • Nearly 80 percent of individuals dependent on heroin have reported misusing prescription opioids first
  • In Colorado, overdoses involving fentanyl continue to rise and have more than doubled in Denver in 2020

No matter what kind of opioid is being used, addiction can quickly develop with devastating results. Repeated exposure changes how the brain works and leads to physical dependency, leading to powerful cravings and withdrawal symptoms that keep users trapped in a cycle of addiction. Without professional help and a medically-supervised detox, many find it hard to break free from the grips of opioid abuse and keep using them to avoid withdrawal and function normally.

Who is at Risk for Opioid Dependence?

Opioid addiction can happen to anyone. It doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, socio-economic status, occupation or ethnicity, although some people are at an increased risk. A recent study published by the University of Michigan, for example, found that individuals in their late teens and early 20s who are prescribed opioids after wisdom teeth removal are 2.7 times more likely than their peers to continue using opioids. Other risk factors include:

  • Access to prescription opioids, either personally or through a friend or family member
  • Presence of untreated psychiatric disorders such as depression
  • Social environments that encourage misuse (peer pressure)
  • Patients who are prescribed opioids after a surgical procedure
  • Taking more than the prescribed dosage
  • Current or past addiction to other substances

At Valiant Living, our goal is to increase access to high-quality care for those affected by opioid dependency and help them transform their lives by achieving long-lasting recovery and abstinence from drugs and alcohol.

Signs of Opioid Addiction

Individuals who use opioids on a long-term basis quickly develop a tolerance, making addiction to these substances difficult to hide as time goes on. The threat of withdrawal and the need to feel “normal” quickly changes one’s priorities and behavior, resulting in noticeable symptoms of dependence. Some common signs opioid addiction include:

  • Often seeming drowsy or disoriented
  • Difficulty staying awake or frequent “nodding off” — alternating periods of semi-consciousness
  • Mood swings and increased irritability
  • Loss of memory
  • Frequently constricted pupils — often described as “pinpoints”
  • Isolation and detachment from friends and family
  • Drug-seeking behavior such as frequently changing doctors (doctor shopping)
  • Withdrawal symptoms such as restlessness, chills or sweating
  • Shallow or slowed breathing
  • Disregard of personal relationships
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and responsibilities
  • Evidence of drug paraphernalia, including empty pill bottles or needles

If you suspect that someone you care about may be addicted to painkillers or opioids, these signs should not be ignored. Opioid addiction is difficult to manage alone, but there is hope. Valiant Living in Denver, Colorado, can help individuals from all walks of life overcome an opioid addiction and transition into a treatment program that meets their needs.

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

The biggest challenge in treating opioid addiction is overcoming withdrawal symptoms. In order to be successful, an opioid treatment program must first address the issue of withdrawal and safely detox the client. At Valiant Living, we provide medical detox in a comfortable, professional setting with individualized care to help make the process as pleasant as possible. When an opioid is stopped, it takes time for the brain to re-learn how to function without them. Someone who ceases taking drugs like OxyContin, fentanyl or heroin will experience symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Yawning and tearing
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Hot and cold flashes
  • Tremors
  • Intense drug cravings

Left untreated, withdrawal often leads to relapse in an attempt to stop or prevent uncomfortable symptoms from occurring. Quitting cold turkey or detoxing at home often fails for this reason, but professional care can make a world of difference and ensure that clients can get through withdrawal and begin their recovery on the right foot.

Opioid Addiction Treatment at Valiant Living

Valiant Living is aware of the unique challenges that face those with an opioid substance use disorder. We offer high-quality opioid addiction treatment in the Denver, Colorado, area that includes medically-supervised detox, enhanced outpatient programming and recovery housing solutions. But before the healing can begin, most clients first have to get through withdrawal so they can focus on what comes next. By detoxing in a safe, comfortable environment, our experienced team can help manage the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and ensure that clients emerge feeling stronger, healthier and more resilient than ever, ready to face their addiction head-on. After detox, we help each individual find the best path forward in their treatment with transitional services that provide support every step of the way. Our programs and treatment modalities include:

  • Medically-supervised detox
  • Recovery housing for men (28 and older)
  • Partial hospitalization program (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient program (IOP)
  • Enhanced outpatient program
  • Treatment for co-occurring disorders
  • Trauma-focused care
  • Sobriety monitoring
  • Relapse prevention
  • Life planning and skills development

Each client’s recovery journey will be different, so length of stay, program requirements and treatment modalities may vary based on an individual’s needs, preferences and situation. To ensure the best possible outcome, each client receives a thorough assessment to determine the level of care that works for them. Once stabilized, our recovery team will help clients transition into the next phase of their recovery as seamlessly as possible.

What Happens After Opioid Treatment?

Successful treatment of opioid addiction is likely to require several components, such as detox, counseling and therapy, relapse prevention, and extended care programs. Our recovery solutions provide all of this and more, supporting clients as they heal from addiction and move into the next phase of their recovery. After completing a detox, outpatient or partial hospitalization program, we provide transitional services and recovery housing that helps clients maintain their sobriety as they return to independent living. We know that for those with an opioid addiction, the abrupt change that occurs after treatment can be jarring, but the ongoing support and structure lets clients practice their recovery skills in a safe environment to minimize the risk of relapse.

Contact Valiant Living

At Valiant Living, we provide comprehensive recovery solutions to help individuals overcome opioid addiction. Our safe, comfortable environment provides the necessary support for achieving lifelong recovery and helps clients explore their treatment options. To learn more about our programs, contact or call us today at 303-816-3571.

Your teeth were bothering you, and a trip to the dentist revealed that it was time to have your wisdom teeth removed. After the procedure, you were prescribed Vicodin to help with the pain and given specific aftercare instructions. You have heard a lot about Vicodin and other opioid-based pain relievers from your friends and were curious, so you took two immediately. It relieved your pain, but it also did more than that — it made you feel good. But it also made you want more, and soon you were taking them every chance you got.

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