Rehab for opiate addiction is becoming more and more common, as an opioid epidemic sweeps across America. The opioid epidemic is incredibly dangerous. Not only are opioids addictive, but they are the direct cause of about 115 overdose deaths that happen on a daily basis. These illicit drugs easily enter the brain and wreak havoc on the central nervous system (CNS).
Approximately 5% of Americans have an opiate or opioid addiction. 12% of Americans claim that they know a family member who is addicted to opioids. This type of addiction can be difficult to quit. Once a person becomes dependent on the drugs, their body will crave it. Withdrawals can be intense, and, in some situations, even deadly. The best way to get clean is to seek addictions treatment. Treatment centers all over America offer various rehab programs that help deal with this type of substance abuse.
If you or a loved one is seeking help from rehab centers, it’s vital to remember that no two treatment program will be the same. Each opioid rehab deals with drug abuse in a different way. They take different approaches. Regardless of the type of approach that they take, the opioid rehab centers should individualize each treatment. Many factors can affect whether a treatment program will be effective or not. One of these factors surrounds the gender of the patient. Both men and women react differently to opioids. They also respond differently to opioid addiction treatment. Understanding these differences can improve the quality of treatment.
Men vs. Women with Opioid Addictions
Past research mainly focused on how addiction affects men. Nowadays, more efforts are being concentrated on how addiction affects women. Men are more likely than women to develop an opioid or opiate addiction. However, women are more likely to face greater challenges.
In comparison to men, women experience medical or social consequences sooner than men. They also find it more difficult to quit and are more susceptible to relapses. They require a more intense level of care from treatment centers. As a result, they often stay at inpatient rehab centers for longer periods of time. Both genders benefit more from receiving residential treatment than an outpatient treatment program. This is because opiate abusers often struggle with intense withdrawal symptoms. They require more intense treatment options.
Women are more likely to need more drug detox help. They need more medical attention and perhaps longer treatment times to deal with their withdrawal symptoms. Women are also more likely to be sensitive to pain. This means that they should be tapered off of Opiate Replacement Therapy (ORT) drugs at a slower rate.
The Effectiveness of Opiate Replacement Therapy
Since opioids and opiates affect women and men differently, many research has looked at gender differences when it comes to response to treatment. To figure this out, most studies look at treatment outcomes among patients who have a long-term opioid dependence. After adjusting the baseline to account for the differences between the gender, one thing was apparent. Opiate Replacement Therapy (ORT) benefits both genders. Both genders can achieve sobriety through this type of addiction treatment.
There was only a slight difference to the health improvements experienced by women. With that said, both genders saw improvements in their health, social life and overall lifestyle. It didn’t matter what type of medication the patients took. They could’ve taken methadone, buprenorphine, or Suboxone. All ORT medications are equally as effective.
But, exactly how effective is “effective”? Can ORT really help drug addicts wean off of opioids and opiates?
Studies show that 40% to 65% of patients who receive ORT are less likely to use other illicit drugs, like opioids. On top of that, 70% to 95% of drug abusers happen to significantly reduce their opioid use.
What Are Some ORT Drugs?
There are plenty of ORT drugs to choose from. The opioid and opiate rehab facility will often recommend one of the following:
Each medication has its own benefits and disadvantages. Knowing which one to choose can make a world of a difference. Patients are highly encouraged to discuss the pros and cons of each drug with health professionals. This may help them make a more informed decision. Patients can also switch from one prescription medication to another.
How Does Opiate Replacement Therapy (ORT) Work?
Drug detox is one of the most important components of addiction treatment. It eases withdrawal symptoms and helps patients become less dependent on opiates or opioids. ORT uses a subclass of medications used during medically assisted treatment. The prescription drugs are also opioids or opiates. The only difference is that they are weaker opioids and opiates.
These prescription medications attach to the same receptors as strong opiates and opioids, like heroin. They attach to the same opioid receptors in the central nervous system (CNS). They stimulate the receptors to create a sense of euphoria. The brain then gets used to this weaker opioid version. This is a good thing. It means it becomes easier for opiate abusers to slowly wean off of the drug.
By getting used to a weaker drug, the body becomes less dependent on opioids. Slowly, medical professionals at the treatment centers will taper the patients off of the drugs. The tapering process is fairly slow. Patients take a little bit less each week. Depending on the gender of the drug abuser, the tapering process can take some time. In general, women require a longer tapering process than men. They may have to stay at the same dose for a longer period of time to avoid pain or discomfort. It’s vital that the opioid addiction treatment facility is aware of this need. Knowing this can help them craft up a treatment that’s more appropriate and suitable for each gender.
Behavioral Therapy: The Other Part of Treatment
Other than opiate detox, behavioral therapy is equally as important. It improves the mental health of patients. It’s important to note that women and men get addicted to opioids for different reasons. Men are usually escaping from legal or financial stresses. On the other hand, women tend to use opioids and opioids to escape from emotional situations.
The type of behavioral therapy that is most suitable for each patient will also vary. Women should consider family therapy. They are also more likely to struggle with a co-occurring mental disorder. They should seek therapy sessions that can help them deal with their mental illness. The right type of behavioral therapy can make a huge difference in the addiction recovery process and in preventing relapses.
Both genders benefit equally from continuing care. Even after receiving drug addiction treatment, both genders should seek help from support groups, like Narcotics Anonymous (NA).