What is the Opiate Rehab Process Like?

Opiate addiction takes a major toll on your physical and mental health, your finances, and your relationships. An opiate addiction almost always requires professional help for long-term recovery, but only about 10 percent of people who have an addiction get help for it. However, treatment works, and high quality opiate addiction treatment centers follow a research-based opiate rehab process that can help you reclaim your life and end your addiction to opiates for good.

Addiction vs. Dependence: A Quick Primer

To understand the opiate rehab process, it’s important to understand addiction and dependence. Although these terms are often used interchangeably, these are not the same thing, and the opiate rehab process reflects this.


Addiction is characterized by being unable to stop using drugs even though your use is causing major problems in your life. Addiction is the result of brain changes that lead to intense cravings, which are driven by the same mechanisms that drive us to eat food and procreate to stay alive.

Addiction is very complex. It almost always involves one or more underlying causes that must be effectively addressed in order to end the substance abuse for good. Common underlying issues behind addiction include a history of trauma, chronic stress, and mental illnesses like anxiety or depression.

Addiction leads to unhealthy thought and behavior patterns that must also be addressed. Learning to identify self-destructive thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors and replace these with healthier ways of thinking and behaving is an important aspect of the opiate rehab process.

High quality opiate addiction treatment centers utilize a range of both traditional and complementary therapies in their opiate rehab process. This holistic approach promotes whole-person healing.


Opioid dependence is a physical reliance on opiates. When you chronically abuse opiates, your brain function changes in order to compensate for their presence. This causes a tolerance to develop, which means that you need increasingly larger doses of opiates to get high. Larger doses cause more brain changes, and at some point, your brain function may shift so that the brain now operates more comfortably when you’re on opiates than when you’re not. When you try to quit using, brain function will rebound, and withdrawal symptoms will set in. These can be excruciating, and they can lead you right back to using if only to end the discomfort.

The First Step of the Opiate Rehab Process: Detox or Medication-Assisted Treatment

The first step in the opioid rehab process is detox or medication-assisted treatment.

Detox involves allowing all traces of opiates to leave your body so that brain function can begin to return to normal. Opiate detox centers offer medically supervised detox that involves administering various medications as needed to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and shorten the length of time it takes to detox.

Medication-assisted treatment bypasses the detox process entirely. It involves taking a less-psychoactive opioid medication like methadone or buprenorphine to prevent withdrawal from occurring altogether. Research suggests that medication-assisted treatment combined with therapy offers the best chances of successful recovery from opiates.

The Second Step of the Opiate Rehab Process: Treatment

Treating the addiction is far more complex than treating the physical dependence on opiates. During inpatient opiate treatment, you’ll enjoy a high level of supervision and support from staff and peers in recovery as you work to end your addiction. Through both traditional and complementary therapies, high quality opiate addiction treatment centers help you:

  • Address a wide range of issues, such as relationship, health, legal, emotional, and financial problems.
  • Develop the skills and strategies you need to cope with cravings and triggers.
  • Find purpose and meaning in a drug-free life.
  • Repair your relationships.
  • Replace harmful thought and behavior patterns with new, healthy ways of thinking and behaving.

Aftercare is Essential

After treatment ends, you’re not tossed out on your own. The last step of the opiate rehab process is aftercare, which is an individualized plan to help you navigate the early months of recovery. The aftercare plan will include ongoing therapy, case management, and other programs as needed. Engaging fully with an aftercare plan has been shown to dramatically improve your chances of successful recovery.

WhiteSands Treatment Can Help You End Your Addiction for Good

WhiteSands Treatment Center offers a high quality, holistic treatment program that will help you get off drugs and stay off. Contact us today, and let us help you get on the road to long-term recovery and a higher quality of life.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.