First of all, plan to fail.

I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but over 2.5 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder, which contributed to over 70,000 overdose deaths in 2017.

Once the brain gets basically highjacked by opioids and is being held hostage or damaged, don’t expect much in the way of good, near-term decision-making. The opioids take on the quality of air: the brain perceives them as necessary for survival.

That’s why it’s a good idea when a person has finally made the decision to stop using opioids once and for all, to plan to fail.

Let me explain.

Signs of Opioid Relapse Prevention

A person can quit opioids, go to therapy, change their friends, change their lifestyle, and change their environment as much as possible, but inevitably something will happen that will put them in the direct path of opioids again.

You just can’t control every environment. Too often, a person in early recovery will find himself in a situation that catches him off guard and triggers him beyond anything he’s prepared for.

This where Implementation Intentions come in. A well-researched idea in motivation psychology, Ben Hardy, author of Willpower Doesn’t Work (2018), describes it this way:

“Implementation intentions come down to knowing ahead of time exactly what you’ll do if you veer off course, as well as defining precisely what veering off course means for you. It’s planning to fail so you can proactively respond.” (page 111)

As you can see, preventing relapse from occurring is much more than just telling yourself "no" and removing all scenarios that could hinder your road to recovery. Understanding that relapse is quite common and requires a secure prevention plan with treatment, is the first step. With both in hand, you can feel safe in knowing you have the right account for the physical, emotional, and situational triggers that could very well occur during your detox journey. Overtime, your tolerance to the opioids will very well decrease and when it does, you will not be able to handle the levels you once were used to, resulting in a potential for overdose and even fatality.

Warning Signs of Opioid Relapse

  • Behavioral Changes
  • Emotional Stress
  • Negative Feelings
  • Financial Burden
  • Resisting Treatment
  • Reminiscing on the "High"
  • Doubtful of Recovery

  • Accelerated Opioid Detox Treatment

    In 2022, 1.6 million individuals qualified for having an opioid use disorder (OUD), and over 100,000 lives were taken due to overdose. This is exactly why the Coleman Institute has created a safe space and a means for using long-lasting formulations like Naltrexone, to firmly commit patients to stop the use of drugs in a comfortable, efficient way. Once a patient has completed our rapid, our accelerated, outpatient detox, the naltrexone becomes the built-in implementation intention.

    It's not that we don't have confidence in our patient's intentions or motivations, but we know how difficult it is for the damaged brain to give up the idea of ever using opioids again. And, early recovery is an extremely vulnerable time. That's why with the Coleman Method, you can ensure a treatment plan of as little as three days to rid your body from opioids and get back the life you deserve.

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    How does a Rapid Opiate Detox Work?

    Because the opioid receptors are occupied when using a long-lasting formulation of naltrexone, patients feel no physical cravings for opioids. This is one of the single best strategies for beginning the next phase of recovery and building the groundwork for a lifetime free of craving and using drugs. Furthermore being able to take back what patients truly value; their health, family, friends, and loved ones. We find that when enrolling in the outpatient detox program, individuals have a 98% completion rate and finish the treatment plan in as little as three days.

    With the combination of naltrexone (or any evidence-based, Medication Assisted Treatment--MAT) and counseling, it is beyond important to during the detox. Although some patients do stay on naltrexone for many years (it's a very safe medication), at some point, most people want to stop. Working with trained therapists who can guide patients to create strategies for the inevitable roadblocks when they are no longer under the safety net of naltrexone, is another form of implementation intensions.

    The Coleman Institute for Addiction Medicine has locations around the country specializing in safely, comfortably and affordably getting people off opioids and onto long-acting naltrexone therapy.

    Please call us if you have any questions going forward about how this works and if it’s the right therapy for you or your loved one.

    Joan R. Shepherd, FNP

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