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Heroin is the common drug associated with opiate addiction, but it is not the only culprit. There are many other drugs that contribute to the opiate epidemic: OxyContin, oxycodone, methadone, morphine, buprenorphine and codeine. When opiates are prescribed, the brain is flooded with endorphins. This overabundance of endorphins in the system damages brain cells and nerves. It creates a high that is unattainable except through drug use.


Once a person starts using opiates, it is hard to quit even if they were prescribed the opiates as a painkiller. Once the pain subsides, the person may already be addicted. Prolonged exposure to large amounts of this drug reduces the body’s own production of endorphins. A person addicted to opiates is unable to feel pleasure without the help of drugs. Treatment of opiate addiction is different than other types of drug abuse. It requires more than just sobering up. People addicted to opiates are unable to produce endorphins, so they don’t feel ‘normal.’

Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms include stress, suicidal thoughts, depression, restlessness and physical pain. These are hard to deal with without assistance. Treatment centers can help patients experiencing withdrawal symptoms. As a person’s body gets used to the flood of endorphins created by drug use, it produces less of its own in an attempt to stay balanced. When a person stops using the drug, the imbalance is reinstated and it takes time for the body to get back in alignment. Many times, individuals develop a tolerance for opiates. This means they need to take more and more of the drug to feel the effects. Because they have veered so far from normal, most people need rehab to overcome their addiction.

Preparing for Treatment

Treatment is a lengthy process. Some programs focus only on helping a patient through withdrawals. Better programs attempt to enact lasting change beyond the withdrawal period. Treatment takes patience and commitment. Here are some suggestions to think about before entering a program.

  •       Stay healthy. The idea is to reach an overall healthier place in mind and body. Developing healthy habits will help the entire process.
  •       Stay positive. Having the right attitude is important. Many people struggle with addiction are ashamed. This makes seeking treatment and sticking with it hard. Try to find a positive attitude to hold onto as you enter treatment. Try to find some positive support.
  •       Seek professional help.  It is easy to think you can sober up on your own, but addiction is serious. Most opiate addicts need professional help to avoid relapse. Relapse after a period of sobriety can be very dangerous. Treatment centers provide a safety net of support.
  •       Consider your options. Individuals respond differently to treatment options. Research the options that are available. Most people need to invest in an inpatient program that will provide better support and ongoing help.
  •       Detox is the beginning. It is only part of the equation. Find a treatment facility that goes beyond simply treating withdrawal symptoms. A good aftercare program is vital.


Withdrawal is one of the most difficult aspects of addiction. Opiate withdrawals are especially bad. The brain has become absolutely dependent on opiates. It can take months for your brain to heal. Ibogaine resets the structure of the brain. Ibogaine addiction treatment begins about 12 hours after the last opiate dose. Addicts are able to use ibogaine to reduce the effects of withdrawals and resist relapse.

Because ibogaine causes a psychedelic experience, it can help patients discover the root of their addiction. Many individuals turn to drugs due to past traumas. The experience of ibogaine helps addicts accept and address these past traumas. Getting to the heart of drug abuse is vital to full recovery.

Addiction to opiates is a serious issue. Many addicts are ashamed of their situation and resist addressing their problems. This is especially true of people that become addicted to prescription medication. Seeking out treatment is important. Drug addiction affects not only you but the people you love. It is important to approach treatment with a positive attitude. Seek out professional help. You don’t have to face addiction alone. Detoxing from opiate addiction is just the first step. It is important to address any underlying issues that might have led to the drug abuse. Hallucinogens like ibogaine could help, but should only be taken under the supervision of a trained professional.