Why opioid dependence needs treatment
Opioid dependence—addiction to prescription painkillers and heroin—is a treatable medical condition caused by changes in the chemistry of the brain.* When you’re opioid dependent, the need to satisfy cravings or avoid withdrawal symptoms can be intense and difficult to manage on your own.
By suppressing withdrawal symptoms and reducing cravings, Buprenorphine and Naloxone type medications can help people with opioid dependence take steps to manage their condition so they can focus on rebuilding their lives.
Managing a long-term medical condition takes time
Managing opioid dependence is not simply a matter of “getting clean” or stopping all drug use. Typically, the changes that cause opioid dependence will not be corrected right away. In fact, those changes can trigger cravings months or even years after you’ve stopped misusing opioids. That’s why ongoing treatment that includes counseling and behavioral therapy is so important.
Many long-term medical conditions—not only opioid dependence but also diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma—are treated with both medication and changes to behavior. Since these conditions are ongoing, the treatments are, too. Buprenorphine and Naloxone type medications , a proven medication-assisted treatment, is meant to help you keep your symptoms under control so you can focus on the changes you and your treatment team decide you need to make.
*Both the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) have defined dependence on opioids as “a long-term brain disease.”
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