Opioid Addiction Counselling

Addiction Involving Opioids

In our society today, increasing numbers of people are prescribed opioids for physical health symptoms. Unfortunately, without proper monitoring and appreciation of the risk of Addiction, what starts off as pain management can uncover unmanageability with Addiction involving opioids. Wherever the journey with opioids started, often by the time people are seeking treatment they are finding themselves using more frequently, in higher doses, and with less benefit than they had experienced in the past. Addiction involving drugs is a chronic medical condition that requires assessment and treatment. With Addiction involving drugs, the ability to make healthy choices becomes no longer possible. The drug(s) begin to start controlling your life, making life more unmanageable. With Addiction, drug use is a symptom of what is happening in the brain and the person is seeking escape, relief and/or reward. Unfortunately there is no off switch and there is an ever increasing desire for more.

You may have Addiction involving opioids if you:

  • An overpowering urge to keep taking opiates/opioids despite problems
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Unmanageability in life
  • A great deal of time is spent around thinking about, gaining access to, using, and recovering from the use of substances
  • Other parts of life are impacted, like work, school, and/or relationships
  • Physical health has deteriorated
  • Motivation is low
  • Getting used to (also known as developing a tolerance) the effects of opiates/opioids
  • You are increasing the amount of opiates/opioids you take to get the same relief or effect you had when you first started using them
  • A physical need to keep taking the opiates/opioids, to ward off withdrawal symptoms, which only gets stronger with the amount of opiates/opioids you take and the length of time you take them increases
Doctor treating a patient | Health Upwardly Mobile Inc., (HUM) | Addiction and Mental Health Counselling Team | Calgary

How our counselling for opioid addiction works

As Addiction involving opioid dependency is a primary, chronic brain disease, continuing care is necessary to optimize outcomes and reduce relapse risk after the withdrawal period. Successful withdrawal management and detoxification will be part of the treatment process but should not be seen as an end in itself. Often people are preoccupied with getting off the substance and have difficulty focusing on recovery beyond abstinence. Social and peer support is essential and participation in 12-step groups such as AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and NA is encouraged. In addition, other recovery actions such as meditation and journaling are recommended as part of the bio-psycho-social-spiritual framework of recovery.

Available Services For Opioid Addiction

If you are concerned about your opioid use, it is recommended to start with the comprehensive assessment. The assessment includes 3 appointments and is designed to get to know you, determine the acuity of your issues and appropriate treatment recommendations that are individualized based on your needs. The 3 appointments include an initial nursing assessment, an assessment with a registered psychologist or social worker and thirdly with a medical doctor.

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At HUM, we use a range of techniques based on experiential relationship building, dialogue, communication and behavior change that are designed to improve the mental health of an individual,and improve relationships with others (eg. family). Our goal is to provide an open, supportive, and confidential environment for you to address the issues that are concerning you. These principles can also be provided through couples/family sessions.

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This provides the opportunity to clarify boundaries, identify what may be individual issues for people to work on, while addressing issues jointly without telling each other what to do.

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The recovery support groups are process oriented therefore the structure of each group is fluid and reflective of the needs and current issues raised by group members. Group members have an opportunity to process their life issues and reflect on their recovery including successes and challenges they are facing. Group therapy allows individuals to discuss issues with the support of others in recovery, provide and offer feedback, build a recovery network and increase accountability.

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The IOP is spread out over 3 Phases and 3 months with a weekend family/friends program included. The IOP is designed for those wanting more intensive treatment who have identified having an issue with Addiction, Mental Health and/or Chronic Pain.

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Methadone and Suboxone are available by prescription for patients at HUM. These medications may be used as part of the treatment plan for Addiction involving opioids as needed after consultation with a HUM medical doctor.
This is available to individuals who have completed the comprehensive assessment and are patients at HUM. The aim is to provide the appropriate level of support and minimize the risks associated with detoxification and withdrawal. Detoxification will be initiated during the day on an outpatient basis so it is necessary for the individual to have appropriate support overnight during the detoxification period. All patients are monitored by Dr Hajela during the detoxification/withdrawal period. This is important as withdrawal is more tolerable and safer when there is an understanding of the pharmacology and physiology of withdrawal to determine appropriate use of medication to modify the withdrawal process.
All medications that an individual may be including prescribed or over-the-counter are reviewed to determine their efficacy and interactions. Medications may be prescribed during withdrawal management, tapering or maintenance treatment. We consider symptom triggered withdrawal management that is individualized to be more beneficial than protocol driven prescriptions.