If you suffer from opioid use disorder, getting sober is no easy feat. Not only do you have to deal with the agonizing withdrawal symptoms that often drive people back to the drugs, but you have to learn how to cope with opiate cravings. Opiates are derived from the poppy plant and are commonly referred to as “narcotics” or “painkillers.” These drugs, such as hydrocodone, Oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and Vicodin, are highly addictive despite their widespread medicinal use.
Long term opiate abuse disrupts the body’s natural way of reducing and coping with pain. Furthermore, ongoing opiate abuse further decreases and ultimately stops these processes. When a person first uses an opiate, he or she will feel temporary pain relief, relaxation, and euphoria. However, the brain begins to adapt to repeated use of the drug, so the body begins requiring larger and larger doses of the drug to prevent withdrawal symptoms.
Although withdrawal symptoms are effectively managed with the help of medication-assisted treatment and medically-supervised drug detox, the mental cravings for opiates may persist for months. If you don’t know how to cope with opiate cravings, you could easily fall back into a cycle of addiction. Here are some tips to help you successfully overcome opiate cravings.
Surround Yourself With Positive Influences
Whether you are in rehab or not, opiate cravings may hit at any time. One way to overcome these cravings is to surround yourself with positive influences. For example, many people choose to live in a sober living home or halfway house after treatment. These sober homes offer a supportive environment full of people in recovery. After all, returning home after rehab isn’t always that simple – some people have other drug users in their homes or family members that enable negative behaviors.
Whatever the case may be, making sure you are surrounded by positive influences provides you with a safe place to talk about your cravings and receive advice, emotional support, and a sense of community. When you set yourself up in a positive environment, it’s more likely that you’ll make healthy choices.
Lean on Your Support Group
Support groups are an integral part of recovery for most people. These groups come in the form of 12-Step Fellowships, SMART Recovery, and more. Groups such as AA and NA hold regular meetings comprised of people in recovery. During the meetings, people offer their experience, strength, and hope to one another to help others overcome addiction. If you go to a meeting, you’re likely to start making friends and building a support group. Your support group may also consist of people from your rehab or outpatient treatment.
When you’re experiencing something difficult, such as opiate cravings, it’s a lot easier to cope with them if you have like-minded individuals to talk to. When you talk about your opiate cravings with others, it lessens the mental power they have over you. Talking to others and leaning on your support group is one of the best and most effective ways to overcome opiate cravings.
Meditate to Cope with Opiate Cravings
Meditation therapy is a great tool to help deal with opiate cravings. Mindfulness meditations involve placing your focus on your breathing, recognizing your thoughts, and bringing awareness to sensations, emotions, and surroundings. When opiate cravings hit, take some time to practice mindfulness. Simply taking the time to pause, recognize a craving, and breathe through it can significantly reduce your desire to get high.
Meditation is also used to prevent cravings before they occur. After all, these practices are clinically proven to reduce stress, depression, anxiety, PTSD, and more. Mental health conditions or emotions that trigger you can easily turn into a craving. Fortunately, mindful meditation is a way to cope with triggers before cravings happen. Meditating is like working a muscle – the more you do it, the better you get at it. With the sole aim of meditation being to bring the mind, body, and spirit into unison, it helps you gain awareness of your own thoughts and work through unpleasant feelings, therefore, preventing cravings from occurring in the first place.
Speak to a Substance Abuse Counselor
Substance abuse counselors are trained in treating individuals who suffer from opioid use disorder. It’s hard to cope with opiate cravings without professional help, so don’t be afraid to ask an expert for help. Substance abuse counselors will use therapy, 12-Step facilitation, and more to help you learn how to overcome opiate cravings throughout your sobriety. Whether it is on an inpatient or outpatient basis, obtaining treatment for opiate addiction is crucial. Without it, many people return to their old ways.
Opiate cravings are daunting and if you don’t know how to cope with them, you are leaving yourself susceptible to relapse. If you are ready to give up opiates for good, contact us today. Our substance abuse counselors are eager to help you begin your journey to sobriety.