An Integrated Approach to Young Adult Mental Health Rehab

Opioid Abuse

Opioid Treatment Options for Young Adults

The most effective opioid treatment options address the underlying causes of prescription opioid abuse, not just the drug abuse itself. In order for youth rehab to result in sustainable recovery, young adults need comprehensive opioid abuse treatment that acknowledges and treats mental health challenges.

Furthermore, effective treatment is vital, because an opioid overdose can be lethal. When a young adult overdoses on opioids, or mixes opioids with alcohol, it can slow down their heart rate and breathing to the point that they can go into a coma or die.

Moreover, deaths from prescription opioid abuse are on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), overdose deaths involving opioids are almost six times higher today than they were 20 years ago. In 2018, two-thirds of drug overdose deaths involved an opioid, the CDC reports. In addition, CDC statistics show that for every young adult overdose death, there are 119 emergency rooms visits as a result of opioid use.

What are opioids and how do they work?

Opioids are a category of drugs that includes synthetic opioids such as fentanyl and prescription pain relievers like oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, and morphine. The illegal drug heroin is also an opioid.

Derived from the opium poppy, opioids work by stimulating the body’s natural pain-relief chemicals, causing a feeling of euphoria and flooding the brain with dopamine. These repeated dopamine rushes can cause cravings for the drug and eventually create opioid addiction.

Know the Facts

Young adults (ages 18–25) are more than twice as likely as teens to have an opioid use disorder.

Symptoms of Prescription Opioid Abuse

Here are some of the most common physical and behavioral signs of opioid addiction:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Slurred speech
  • Poor coordination and reduced motor skills
  • Lying about opioid use
  • Using more of an opioid medication than was prescribed
  • Obtaining opioids illegally without a prescription
  • Financial problems as a result of opioid use
  • Inability to meet work or academic responsibilities
  • Withdrawal from relationships with family or friends; problems in romantic relationships
  • No longer taking pleasure from activities and hobbies that used to be enjoyable

Causes of Opioid Abuse Disorder

Anyone can be vulnerable to opioid addiction. However, there are a number of factors that increase the likelihood that a young adult will develop an opioid addiction that requires youth rehab. These factors include the following:

  • A history of mental health problems, such as trauma, depression, or anxiety
  • Witnessing a family member overdose
  • Having a friend group that misuses prescription drugs
  • Dealing with acute or chronic pain as a result of a sports injury or other physical health problem.

Furthermore, most young people who abuse opioids obtain them from friends or family members.

Know the Facts

A young adult who lives with a relative who uses prescription opioid medications is three times more likely to overdose on opioids.

Is there a link between opioid abuse and mental health?

Yes, opioid abuse and mental health are connected. In fact, substance abuse of any kind is a behavioral symptom of an underlying mental health condition. Young adults who abuse prescription opioids typically use the drug to self-medicate emotional pain. One study found that people who misused prescription opioids were between 40 and 60 percent more likely to have suicidal thoughts.

Even if they originally started using prescription opioids for an injury or chronic pain, most young adults who become addicted to opioids are suffering from depression, anxiety, trauma, or another mental health disorder. Because mental health disorders can create physical pain, they may use opioids to address this issue, and then become dependent on the drug. In fact, more than half of all opioid prescriptions in the United States are written for patients with anxiety or depression.

Furthermore, opioid use can catalyze or exacerbate mental health problems. Research shows that opioid medications can contribute to an increase in depressive symptoms.

Know the Facts

Young adults with mood or anxiety disorders are twice as likely to use misuse opioids.

Diagnosis of Prescription Opioid Abuse

What should I expect in an assessment for opioid addiction?

A comprehensive assessment by a physician, psychiatrist, or other qualified healthcare provider will determine whether a young adult is suffering from prescription opioid abuse. The assessment should include a complete physical exam, lab tests to find out how opioids have affected the patient’s physical health, and an in-depth interview regarding frequency of use and other behavioral issues. An assessment for opioid abuse should also include a mental health screening that pinpoints underlying symptoms of trauma, anxiety, and/or depression. Finally, the healthcare provider will give the patient information on opioid treatment options

Opioid Treatment Options for Young Adults

Opioid abuse can be treated in an intensive outpatient or partial hospitalization program, or in a residential setting. Detox is the first step in youth rehab. Medically assisted detox supports young adults in coping with common opioid withdrawal symptoms, such as

  • Agitation and extreme moodiness
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Chills and goose bumps
  • Nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea, and/or vomiting
  • Body aches.

However, getting the drug out of the patient’s system is only the beginning of the treatment process. Effective opioid abuse treatment programs support young adults to uncover and heal the root causes of their substance abuse.

Know the Facts

Only one out of every 10 people with an opioid use disorder receives any opioid treatment options.

Care at Newport Institute

At Newport Institute, we treat young adults using a combination of evidence-based clinical and experiential modalities. Our integrated approach takes into account the unique challenges faced by emerging adults during this formative stage in their development. Therefore, we not only guide young adults toward sustainable healing, we also provide them with the tools and life skills to move into the next phase of their growth with confidence and a sense of connection with self and others.

Our team of compassionate and highly experienced clinicians, medical staff, experiential therapists, recovery counselors, and life skills teachers is dedicated to supporting young adults at this critical juncture in their lives.

What should I expect when I enter Newport Institute’s youth treatment center?

Every young adult who enters our residential or outpatient treatment programs receives a tailored treatment plan designed in accordance with their unique history and needs. Hence, the daily treatment schedule includes the following therapeutic approaches:

  • Individual therapy using modalities such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to shift negative thinking and behavior patterns and substitute healthy coping mechanisms
  • Trauma-focused therapy such as EMDR to help young adults work with underlying trauma that can triggers prescription opioid abuse
  • Experiential modalities—including expressive arts and Adventure Therapy—to support processing and regulation of emotions
  • Group sessions to build empathy, connection, and relationship skills
  • When appropriate, family therapy to repair disruptions in the parent-child relationship that may have contributed to opioid abuse in young adults
  • Life skills training to enhance self-mastery and executive functioning.

With the right treatment, young adults can recover from prescription opioid misuse and move into fulfilling and meaningful lives, within a supportive community of peers and family. Contact us today to learn more about opioid treatment options at Newport Institute.

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Marks of Quality Care

Our innovative approach to mental healthcare earns accolades from press around the world, but it is our dedication to our client success that has helped us achieve accreditation from The Joint Commission, exceed licensing standards of care, and nurture affiliations with the following:

Newport Institute

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