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24 hours rehab
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24 hours rehab

Call Now for Immediate Confidential Help and Advice 02038 115 619

24 hours rehab
Immediate Access for help and advice

Treatment & Rehab for Opiate Addiction

Opiates – a class of drugs derived from opium, which are in turn a category of opioids: substances acting on opioid receptors in the brain and body to produce various morphine-like effects – are some of the most addictive and potentially damaging drugs to be found anywhere; the opiate class includes morphine, codeine, oxycodone and a number of other substances used medicinally but also commonly used and abused recreationally, while heroin – although not technically an opiate, but an opiate ester – is also usually categorised in the opiate class

Hundreds of thousands of people in the UK suffer from opiate addiction, and thousands die each year from the condition. If you are addicted to any opiate, with every day that goes by you are placing your own life in greater jeopardy. However, help is at hand: there are now a number of excellent treatment organisations and clinics across the UK treating and healing opiate addicts, and if you are able to acknowledge your addiction and request help, you could soon be receiving the treatment you need – and which could save your life.

Where to Get Help for Opiate Addiction/Substance Abuse

If you have an opiate addiction, and have decided to seek help, you may already have discovered just how complex the UK’s addiction treatment landscape can appear; indeed, the range of choices available to you can prove extremely daunting initially. However, do not let that put you off seeking treatment: both your GP (who should always be your first port of call, so that they can give you a full assessment and if required refer you for further treatment) and a professional addiction specialist can help you understand the options before you and assist you in making the best decisions regarding treatment.

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Importance of treating opiate addiction & when to seek treatment

As a rule of thumb, the sooner you can start to overcome any addiction, the better the prognosis – but in the case of opiates it can be extremely difficult to beat your addiction without professional help. Therefore, as soon as you reach the point of being able to acknowledge that you have a problem, and reach out for help, get in touch with your doctor and/or an addiction specialist to get the process underway as quickly as you can.

There is definitely no wrong time to get into treatment – while the right time is always “now”! If you have already attempted to give up opiates, but have been unable to do so; and/or if your opiate habit has begun to harm you or anyone around you, you should get help urgently before further damage is done.

Understanding opiate addiction treatment and rehab options

Addiction treatment takes numerous forms; similarly, there are a number of different organisations and facilities to which you can turn for help. However, bear in mind that not every single clinic or approach to treatment will be appropriate for you: the kind of treatment you receive and how, where and for how long you receive it will depend on various factors, including the state of your health, your financial situation, your location, and your family and professional obligations.
Nevertheless, whether you end up opting for treatment by the NHS, by a charity, or by a private treatment organisation, what is important is that you do get treatment of some kind. If you do not, your opiate addiction could kill you – and even if you survive it, it could destroy everything you hold dear.

  • Charities
  • NHS Options
  • Private Rehab
  • Residential Care

Private rehab vs free treatment options for OPIATE addiction

The NHS provides free addiction treatment services across the UK, as do a number of charities. Unfortunately, places in free treatment services are often very limited and waiting times can in consequence be very lengthy – and tragically often such delays prove too long for opiate addicts who succumb to their addictions whilst waiting for treatment.

Because of this – and because having reached the point where they decide to seek help many opiate addicts are in extreme distress – many people choose to go down the private addiction treatment route. Of course, this type of treatment does come at a cost – but many clinics now offer credit or easy payment terms, while health insurance covers opiate addiction treatment for many people. An addiction specialist can give you more information on ways to pay for private addiction treatment.

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Executive/luxury rehab programmes for opiate addiction

Some people who work in senior, high-pressure and/or high-profile roles do not feel able to take time out from work to receive treatment, fearing that to do so may jeopardise their careers. However, no work is a higher priority than beating an addiction that could well kill you: if you believe yourself to be in this situation, investigate executive rehab programmes providing facilities such as videoconferencing and secure internet which can keep you in contact with the office whilst still giving you the treatment you need so urgently.

Similarly, some treatment organisations now provide luxury rehab programmes for high net worth individuals.In luxury rehab, you can receive treatment in a facility on a par with high-end hotels and holiday resorts, enabling you to relax in luxurious surroundings and have your every need catered for while you focus fully upon your treatment and recovery.

What Happens in Opiate Rehab

No two experiences of opiate addiction treatment are alike, and no two treatment facilities are the same; while you may be able to learn a great deal from other addicts’ treatment journeys, in the end your experience will be yours alone and it is important not to go into treatment with too many preconceptions. Having said that, understandably some similarities may be found between different treatment organisations and clinics and the processes they operate, and a rough guide as to what to expect when you enter rehab may be given.

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Opiate rehab admission process

When an opiate addict seeks help they are often in a very bad way psychologically and any extra stress could prove intolerable, potentially undermining their decision to go into treatment. As a result, it is in rehabs’ interests to make their admissions processes as straightforward as they can be to reduce to a minimum their impact upon potential clients.

When you make contact with a treatment organisation you will be required to give some basic details about your situation and condition and the nature of your addiction; based on this conversation the organisation will then recommend a particular clinic to you, a place at which will be reserved for you once you have paid a deposit (in the case of private organisations). When your place is confirmed you can make your way to the clinic (or perhaps be transported there by staff, depending on the facility) and your opiate addiction treatment can begin.

Opiate addiction assessment

Before commencing treatment doctors will need to get as complete an understanding as possible of your physical and mental condition and the severity of your addiction; therefore, your first stop when entering the clinic will be a full medical assessment, on the basis of which your doctors will draw up a comprehensive addiction treatment plan which will govern your treatment during the course of your stay at the clinic (but which will, of course, retain a degree of flexibility to take into account developments during treatment).

Because this assessment will inform your treatment to such an extent, and because doctors may decide to prescribe medication, it is absolutely imperative that you are fully honest with them during your assessment about every aspect of your addiction and your health. Providing your doctors with incorrect or incomplete information at this point (perhaps because you are ashamed or embarrassed about certain things) can jeopardise your treatment and place you in danger; always cooperate fully and be totally candid throughout your assessment.

Acceptance of the problem

One thing doctors will be especially keen to observe during your assessment is an acceptance that you do have a problem with opiates. No addiction treatment will be successful unless you genuinely want to stop your substance abuse, and this means admitting to your addiction and committing yourself to treatment. Some addicts find this difficult as they do not wish to appear weak, but if you cannot acknowledge your addiction your doctors will be concerned that you will not engage fully with treatment and may even disrupt the treatment of other addicts in the clinic as a result, and they could even recommend that you seek treatment elsewhere or come back when you are prepared to accept fully that you have a problem requiring professional help.

Medically assisted/controlled detoxification

Once your initial assessment has been carried out, you will move into the first phase of your treatment: detoxification (detox), during which your system will be cleansed of opiates and other substances of abuse. Because opiate addiction typically features opiate dependence, as you go through the detox period you are likely to go into withdrawal – which in the case of opiates is notoriously uncomfortable and can even be dangerous. Because of this, medically assisted detoxification (detox during which medication is provided to alleviate symptoms of withdrawal) is the norm in rehab, with doctors possibly giving you your first dose of medication immediately following your initial assessment. Regardless of whether or not you are given pharmaceutical help, doctors will be available 24/7 to ensure your safety and comfort.


Once you have completed detox, and any withdrawal symptoms which developed have been reduced to a tolerable level or disappeared completely, you will progress into the next phase of your treatment, which is sometimes known as rehabilitation (a term also used to describe addiction treatment as a whole, as well as the clinic in which treatment is provided). Rehabilitation is founded upon therapy (addressing the root psychological causes of your addiction and giving you an array of tools and techniques which you will takeinto your recovery), as well as upon a focus on physical healing through bespoke fitness and dietary plans and activity in any facilities such as gyms or pools which your clinic may possess.


Once you complete your addiction treatment plan, you will be equipped with a host of defence mechanisms against relapse and with new capabilities to deal with life outside the clinic. However, this does not mean that your recovery is complete: indeed, it is a long-term endeavour which you will need to work hard to sustain, and many former addicts prefer to consider themselves in recovery indefinitely as that fosters a healthy mindset encouraging constant diligence and dedication. In order to give you all possible support during the tricky initial stages of recovery, good clinics will provide up to a year’s free aftercare: make sure you get full details of aftercare plans from any clinic you investigate during your research.

What is an Inpatient Rehab Programme?

As the name suggests, inpatient rehab programmes see clients being treated on a residential basis, staying in the clinic for the duration of their treatment plans. Inpatient programmes typically last for between 30 and 90 days, during which clients will be treated in safe, substance-free, peaceful, friendly and confidential environments conducive to healing, thoughtfulness and recovery. Clients in inpatient treatment will have 24/7 access to medical staff, and will benefit from the company of other addicts going through treatment who understand the impact of addiction and whose advice, support and companionship can be invaluable during trying times.

What is Outpatient Rehab?

If you do not feel it is possible for you to take the time away from family or work required by residential rehab, you should investigate clinics offering outpatient addiction treatment. In outpatient rehab, clients visit the clinic for appointments including therapy sessions, prescriptions, and check-ups, but the remainder of their opiate addiction treatment plans need to be carried out externally.

The flexibility of outpatient treatment can be very attractive, but it is not without its challenges: outpatient programmes can last several months or more, while they do not take addicts away completely from their daily environments within which addiction has been allowed to develop, making relapse much more likely.

Intensive outpatient programmes

Intensive outpatient treatment sees clients participating in longer (usually between three and five hours) and more frequent (upwards of four sessions a week) onsite appointments than would be the norm in standard outpatient programmes, but then being able to lead more or less normal lives outside those sessions (which could feasibly include going to work if this can be arranged around their treatment schedules). Intensive outpatient rehab programmes are usually of significantly shorter duration than traditional outpatient options, which can be very attractive; however, the amount of time clients have to themselves outside the clinic gives plenty of opportunity for relapse, and therefore anyone going through intensive outpatient treatment will usually be required to undergo regular drug testing to ensure they are remaining compliant with their opiate addiction treatment plans.

Day programmes

A growing number of clinics now offer day programmes in which clients receive treatment onsite during the daytime (for between one and seven days each week) but return home (or to other accommodation) overnight. Such programmes can be especially beneficial for clients who live near the clinic; who have obligations such as young babies at home, which mean spending nights elsewhere is undesirable; who have strong support networks in place to help them avoid temptation when not at the clinic; and/or who have already completed a treatment programme but who want significant supplementary support during the recovery period.

On the other hand, day programmes would not be considered advisable for clients who live more than, say, an hour or so from the clinic; who do not have reliable support structures in place; or who have cooccurring health problems which are likely to complicate opiate addiction treatment.

Ongoing care

Ongoing care – more usually known as aftercare – is care which a clinic provides after a client completes treatment. During recovery, clients often require and/or desire supplementary support, which can be quite substantial; in recognition of this, aftercare plans usually comprise a schedule of appointments (including therapy, counselling, check-ups, and possibly ongoing prescriptions) which may be conducted either onsite or via phone/email, and which usually decrease in frequency as the client moves through recovery. Aftercare plans commonly also include a requirement to attend support group meetings and/or engage in individual counselling.

Good rehabs typically provide up to a year’s free aftercare; some clinics also make their services available on an emergency basis outside of an aftercare schedule. Always get full details of any aftercare provisions from any clinic you are considering attending for treatment.

How is Medication Used to Treat Addiction?

While at the current time there is no pharmaceutical “cure” for addiction (though much research is being carried out in this field), medication does play numerous important roles in addiction treatment. Certain medications are prescribed to alleviate cravings; others can be given to help addicts lower their dosages over time; some others can disincentivise substance abuse (including opiate abuse specifically) via various mechanisms; others still may be given as safer and legal substitutes for some harmful and illegal substances of abuse (for example, methadone is commonly prescribed as an alternative to heroin).

In rehab, medication is used most widely to address withdrawal symptoms of various kinds, both during detox and, if symptoms persist, through the rehabilitation phase and even onwards once a client leaves the clinic. Medication is also available in cases of emergency if a client’s health is deemed to be in danger.

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Medications used in addiction treatment & rehab

A wide variety of medications have been approved for use in addiction treatment in the UK; however, not all of these are relevant to or useful in every case of substance use disorder (as an opiate addict, for example, you would be unlikely to benefit from medication designed to disincentivise alcohol consumption) while some medications can be counterproductive or even dangerous in some cases (for instance if they might interact dangerously with other

medications or other substances of abuse, and/or exacerbate any cooccurring mental health disorder from which you may suffer). As a result you must never attempt to self-medicate any aspect of your opiate addiction; only ever take medication which has been prescribed to you by your doctor.The role medication plays in your treatment, and which medications if any you are prescribed, will depend on your doctors’ assessment; you should not conclude if no medication is prescribed that your condition is not a serious one, nor that your treatment is any less likely to be successful in the end.

  • Naltrexone (Vivitrol)
  • Buprenorphine (Buprenex)
  • Methadone
  • Disulfiram (Antabuse)
  • Acamprosate (Campral)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Modafinil (Provigil)
  • Desipramine (Norpramin)
  • Mirtazapine (Remeron)
  • Bupropion (Buproban)
  • Gabapentin (Fanatrex)
  • Vigabatrin (Sabril)
  • Baclofen (Kemstro)
  • Topiramate (Topamax)

Psychotherapy for Opiate Addiction Treatment

While detox (possibly medically assisted) can tackle the immediate pressures of dependence, it does nothing to address the root psychological causes of substance abuse and addiction; for that, therapy is required. Therapy forms the heart of all addiction treatment (including the treatment of opiate addiction): it identifies and remediates the problematic behaviours and thought processes which have contributed to your opiate abuse and addiction, and equips you with a broad range of techniques and coping strategies which you can forward into recovery.

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Coping-focused psychotherapy

Coping-focused psychotherapy – in which “coping” meansputting conscious effort into solving personal and interpersonal problems in order to minimise, overcome, or tolerate conflict and stress –is very commonly deployed in addiction treatment; most rehabs offer at least one, if not both, of the two most prominent coping-focused models: cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT).

Most of us develop healthy coping strategies as we grow into adulthood; some of us, though, adopt negative coping strategies including substance abuse, with obvious implications. Coping-focused psychotherapists work with clients to examine why the coping strategies they have employed previously have been ineffective and potentially damaging, and to develop now and much healthier coping mechanisms which they can put into practice once they return to the outside world.

Social skills/interpersonal/growth psychotherapy

Inadequate interpersonal skills can make life extremely difficult, and there is a strong connection between such poor skills and addiction: people who cannot develop or sustain important and treasured relationships can experience significant psychological challengesincluding profound loneliness and unhappiness, and frequently adopt substance abuse as a means of coping with such challenges. This can lead to addiction, which in turn can further inhibit interpersonal development as the addict grows increasingly isolated.
Interpersonal psychotherapists work with clients to improve social skills with the aim of enabling them to form stronger and more fulfilling relationships, including professional and romantic ones. The increased happiness and confidence which can result can make substance abuse vastly less appealing and unnecessary as a coping mechanism, while an improvement to interpersonal skills can feed positively back into treatment as clients become increasingly able to articulate their thoughts and emotions in therapy.

Exploratory psychotherapy

Exploratory psychotherapy – sometimes known as psychodynamic psychotherapy – focusses on the links between past experiences and behaviour in the present. Challenging experiences – and trauma in particular – are a major contributor to addiction, and therapists work with clients to explore how any such difficult experiences they have bene through have affected their thinking and behaviour, in particular their relationship with substances of abuse.

Because exploring trauma can be very difficult and distressing for the client, exploratory psychotherapists need to work very carefully, and the process can often be a protracted one; however, the benefits can be profound in the form of greatly enhanced self-esteem, mood regulation and self-awareness.

Types of psychotherapy used in OPIATE addiction treatment

Many different therapy methodologies are used in the treatment of addiction – but, understandably, only a certain number of therapy models can be provided at any one clinic. If you have a particular interest in a certain methodology, you may want to attend a clinic which offers that methodology; speak with an addiction specialist about which rehabs offer which therapy models.

If on the other hand you are unfamiliar with therapy, you might want to experiment with a number of methodologies before settling on an approach which suits you. Bear in mind, though, that not all clinics will permit such experimentation; ask staff at any rehab you are thinking of attending how much flexibility you will be given when it comes to trying out different therapy types.

  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Cognitive behavioural therapy
  • Counselling
  • Dialectical behavioural therapy
  • Experiential therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Fitness therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Holistic therapy
  • Individual therapy
  • Meditation
  • Music therapy
  • Psychodynamic therapy

The Recovery Process

Once you have left the clinic, it will be tempting to conclude that “the job is done” in terms of defeating your addiction: after all, you will have achieved abstinence and will be newly equipped with a host of tools and techniques to keep you away from substance abuse. This can however be a dangerous mindset as you run the risk of lapsing into complacency; in some ways, the hardest part of your journey is only just beginning, and you should always think of recovery as an ongoing process to which you will need to remain dedicated for a long time to come.

Elements of recovery

Whilst in treatment, it can be very useful to divide the recovery process up into a number of different elements, each of which you can focus on in therapy in order to improve the skills and competencies you have relating to each component (indeed, some therapy models are specifically designed with certain elements of recovery in mind).

Remember that everyone has different skillsets and you will not be expected to demonstrate perfect capabilities in every element; if you feel less capable in certain areas, you should use this as a guide for where you need to focus your efforts particularly strongly during your opiate addiction treatment.

  • Developing hope
  • Secure base
  • Sense of self
  • Supportive relationships
  • Empowerment
  • Social inclusion
  • Coping skills
  • Giving meaning

How Long are Opiate Rehab Programmes?

A typical stay in residential rehab for opiate addiction treatment will last between one and three months (some clinics offer shorter and more intensive, and/or longer and more gentle, treatment programmes); outpatient treatment, understandably, usually lasts significantly longer. However, this is more a rough guide than anything else as how long you will need to stay in treatment will depend on a broad range of factors: your physical and mental condition, the type of treatment you undergo, the severity of your addiction and more will all have a say in how long you need to stay in treatment. Bear in mind, too, that you may need to adjust your projected treatment timeframe as treatment progresses: you may respond especially well to treatment and complete your opiate addiction treatment plan faster than originally anticipated, while on the other hand you may encounter difficulties which mean you need to stay in treatment for longer than planned.

What does Opiate Rehab Cost in the UK?

It is very difficult to give anything like a precise figure when it comes to the cost of private opiate rehab; although very roughly speaking standard residential opiate addiction treatment costs somewhere between £4,000 and £15,000 per month, costs differ so radically from one rehab to the next (and even within the same clinic between different treatment programmes) that even such ballpark figures may not be relevant to your situation.

Treatment costs can be affected by numerous factors including the duration of your stay in rehab, the standard of the clinic you attend and the type of treatment you receive, and before coming to any firm decision regarding whether or not you can afford treatment you should get precise costings from any clinic you speak with during your research phase. An addiction specialist can give you more detailed information regarding costs, and may be able to suggest more affordable treatment options.

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Opiate Addiction Recovery and Aftercare

Quality rehabs offer up to a year’s free aftercare to clients who complete addiction treatment programmes successfully. Once you leave the clinic, even if you are reluctant to return to be reminded of your recent struggles, you should embrace every aftercare opportunity you are given, in order to get the greatest possible support through your recovery. The sudden adjustment between life in the safe confines of the clinic and life back in the outside world can be very destabilising, and even months after you complete treatment you may still benefit significantly from the ongoing care which your rehab can give you.

Recovery and community

Your friends and family can play a vital role in your recovery – but do not think of them as the only support structure available to you. There are now many thousands of recovering addicts in the UK, many of whom are very active in helping other addicts with their own recoveries, and that community is certainly one you can turn to for support if you feel you need it. You may also find therapeutic benefit in helping others in turn, perhaps becoming a sponsor for someone who is not as far along the recovery journey as you are.

Support groups

Numerous support groups – the most famous of which is Narcotics Anonymous (NA) – provide valuable help, advice and companionship to recovering opiate addicts across Britain. Support group organisations usually host meetings on a weekly basis, with admission typically free (the only criterion being a commitment to leading an abstinent life). If you would like to learn more about the various support groups active near you, get in touch with an addiction specialist.


NA operates the 12-step methodology which was initially developed in the 1930s by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Countless lives worldwide have been saved by 12-step organisations, and you could benefit greatly from the model (though it should be pointed out that some people find 12-step programmes incompatible with certain personal beliefs. Speak with an addiction specialist to discover more aboutthe 12-step model, and any groups offering it in your area.

Ready to Start Rehab?

The sooner you can get help in fighting your opiate addiction, the greater your chances of a permanent recovery – whereas the longer you go without seeking help, the likelier it is that your addiction will end in tragedy. If you are able to acknowledge your condition and reach out for help, don’t delay: do so today.

Take control of your life – get started on the road to recovery

Any addiction can make you feel like you have lost control of your life; an opiate addiction is all the more likely to do so because of the potency of the drugs in question and the savage nature of opiate dependence. However, with professional help it is possible to take back that control. Call your GP and/or an addiction specialist today to get that help and set out on the path to an opiate-free life. Making that call could literally mean the difference between life and death – so choose life, and seek help today.

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