What are Opioids Doing to Pennsylvanians?

In Pennsylvania, there have been over 47,600 opioid deaths in a year. Pennsylvania is in the top ten states for opioid addiction. Every day 10 citizens of Pennsylvania are lost to opioid overdose. This does not take into account other opioid-related deaths not directly related to an overdose. Some of these causes are: being involved or being the victim of drug-related crime, extreme neglect of personal hygiene and health, disregard of personal safety, and being involved in car crashes influenced by drug use.

 What Goes into Opioid Withdrawal?

Withdrawal from opioids involves two factors, physical withdrawal, and psychological withdrawal. The physical symptoms usually subside after 1 week. Psychological dependence can linger for much longer. For many people, drugs have caused them to alienate almost everyone, if not everyone in their lives. Most people have trouble committing to drug rehabilitation because of this. Many compare the feeling of stopping drug use to the feeling of losing a good friend.

Some factors of this emotional dependence on drugs occur because drugs have become the only thing in their lives that offer gratification. In fact, one of the side effects of long-term drug use is numbness. The drugs make it hard to experience pleasure from anything except the drugs.

Why is it So Hard to Stop Using Drugs?

Many have likened withdrawal from drugs to having the same symptoms as a very bad case of the flu. While this comparison might not seem reassuring many people who are going through withdrawal, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Most of the physical withdrawal symptoms of withdrawal either ease or completely quit after the first week.

When Does Physical Withdrawal Begin? 

In the first 12 hours, the physical withdrawal will begin. This can be foreseen by many victims of addiction. Many people who have an addiction disorder have gone through some level of detoxification when they cannot get and take opioids quickly enough to maintain a consistent level of the drugs in their bodies. This can cause apprehension for some people. Fortunately, clinics like DreamLife Recovery offer medication-assisted tapering.

Medication-assisted tapering involves using methadone and/or other approved drugs to wean the victim of addiction off of the drugs slowly. While this means that the withdrawal process will last longer, medication-assisted tapering makes the symptoms of addiction detoxification much more manageable. Some people prefer to go “cold turkey” but that can be very dangerous. However, professional clinics often have around the clock care by medical professionals who can intervene if the patient starts to show extreme symptoms of withdrawal, like dangerous seizures.

When is a Recovering Victim of Addiction Most Likely to Relapse?

Relapse is tempting when physical withdrawal begins. It is especially tempting in the first 48 hours. This is why many clinics keep their patients in a residential treatment facility or a specialized detoxification facility for this process. It is much harder to access drugs in a controlled environment. Patients are searched upon admission to ensure that drugs are kept out of the clinic. Even in aftercare programs drug testing is often a part of the treatment plan. This gives the patient the feeling of accountability both to themselves, their support system, and their caretakers in their treatment program.

 What are Some Other Symptoms of Withdrawal?

Some of the psychological symptoms of withdrawal are:

  •       Agitation
  •       Anxiety
  •       Aggression
  •       Possible panic attacks

 It is important to be in a good, clean, environment because two more common symptoms of opioid withdrawal are: diarrhea and stomach ache. Unfortunately, loss of appetite is also common. It is very important to stay hydrated. It can be hard to sleep during the first 3 days. This is why many clinics have televisions in the bedrooms of detoxifying patients and keep them busy during the day with activities and therapy.

 Do Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms Stop After 48 Hours?

After the first three days, shivers, sweating, and stomach aches can still occur. Fortunately, most of the physical symptoms of withdrawal will be subsiding by now. It is important to eat a healthy, balanced diet. A reputable rehabilitation clinic will take care of your nutritional needs, making it easier to focus on other aspects of learning personal care like developing a healthy work out routine.

What Affects the Outcome of Recovery from an Opioid Addiction?

Working out can release serotonin, a natural pain killer, into your system. While you are adjusting to the rush of returning feelings our mental health professionals will be with you every step of the way. This return of feelings is both physical and psychological. For many victims of addiction physical and emotional sensations can disappear during the length of the addiction but when they come back, they can be confusing to a long-term victim of addiction.

What is Physical Withdrawal from Drugs Feel Like After 1 Week?

Physical withdrawal is generally over by the end of 1 week. While psychological symptoms will continue much longer the majority of physical suffering is, for the most part, over. Unfortunately, some victims of addiction have to battle the psychological symptoms for a lifetime.

When is a Person with an Addiction Disorder Most Likely to Relapse?

The victims of addiction who detoxify even partially sometimes attempt to take the same dose of drugs they were taking before the detox. Unfortunately, the recovering victim of addiction does not have the same tolerance that they used to and they often die from an overdose. This is one of the reasons that staying in your rehabilitation for the full time recommended by the clinic’s medical staff is important.

What is the Opioid Withdrawal Timeline? 

  •       Detoxification lasts around 4 days
  •       Partial Hospitalization Programs last around 16 days
  •       Residential treatments can last around 90 days
  •       Outpatient treatment can last around 180 days
  •       Aftercare is provided for 365 days

Some people’s initial recovery journey might take longer, and some people’s journey might be shorter.

How are Psychological Symptoms of Withdrawal Combatted?

Some of the psychological symptoms of withdrawal are combatted, by necessity, through a more creative approach. Therapy is a cornerstone of psychological addiction treatment. For many, therapy is needed long term. Group therapy is also beneficial. Family therapy is often needed. Many people push away family members because of the negative effects of their addiction. Some of the effects and examples of negative opioid abuse are:

  •       Aggression (methamphetamine)
  •       Lack of personal hygiene (heroin)
  •       Possible criminal activity to obtain drugs (all)
  •       Paranoia/psychosis (methamphetamine)
  •       Medical problems from damage to organs/organ systems (fentanyl)

It is important to continue family therapy. Often, the issues brought up in therapy can be hard to deal with and, sometimes, embarrassing. However, it is important to address these issues. A strong support network is essential to recovery. Marriage counseling is also important for victims of addiction and their spouse or significant other. While sometimes their spouse or significant other is also a victim of addiction, it might help bring them around to decide to begin their healing journey.

Group therapy during detoxification and during residential treatment is often also instrumental in creating a strong support network of fellow victims of addiction who are also in recovery.

Can Equine Therapy Help with Drug Rehabilitation?

There are several methods for treating the psychological stress of initial addiction recovery. One of which is equine therapy. One of the most soothing things about equine therapy is that the horses do not judge anyone. They are very accepting, specially trained and temperament tested to be valuable therapy tools and kind influences in recovering patient’s lives. Not only is the experience of interacting with these animals healthy, but mental health professionals also guide their patients to come to realizations, find peace, and rediscover parts of themselves that they previously thought that they had lost to addiction. While there is research that the presence of animals is soothing, therapy horses are specially trained to provide quality therapy.

Can Adventure Therapy Help with Recovery from Drug Addiction?

Another important tool in combatting the problem of psychological withdrawal is adventure/wilderness therapy. In adventure therapy patients venture into the wilderness under the direction of health professionals. Together they learn new skills that utilize problem solving and teamwork. The professional(s) with them take note of their progress and help guide them through team issues at the end of the day.

How do I Continue My Drug Rehabilitation Journey After a Drug Rehabilitation Clinic?

There are several support networks available to continue combating psychological addiction after initial rehabilitation and clinic provided aftercare. Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is one of these organizations. Although NA is self-reliant and does not associate or rely on any outside organizations or people, we can direct you to an NA near you.

What is Important to Consider When Detoxifying from Opioids?

It is important to address both the physical and psychological effects of opioid withdrawal. For some people, the initial discomfort of detoxification/withdrawal will lead a person to relapse and return to opioid abuse. For many more people, the continued psychological draw of opioids is a powerful factor in relapse.

While the journey to recovery is life-long there are many benefits to going through withdrawal and a clinical program. You can get back to your family, friends, and your life. When you are ready to start your journey please contact us at (844) 402-3592. 








Seeking help for any medical condition can be a harrowing experience. Few things are as scary as seeking help for an addiction disorder. There is a stigma attached to having an addiction disorder, even for people who are seeking help. But you are doing the right thing. Being able to turn away from your old life and to find a new path to the future is a mark of bravery. You are taking the right step. Addiction treatment often takes two forms: mental health treatment and addiction treatment.

What Happens in General Mental Health Hospitalizations? Mental Health Treatment

Mental health treatment consists of several intensities. The most intense program is hospitalization. Hospitalization for mental health treatment usually takes a four-step approach:

  • Admission

During admission to a psychiatric hospital, the facility will take your, weight, height, and other vitals as well as information on what medication you are or have stopped taking. 

  • Evaluation

During the evaluation stage of hospitalization for mental illness, a person is evaluated or reevaluated for treatment and diagnostic purposes. Someone who is going through mental health issues that are unrelated to addiction goes through hospitalization because they: lose contact with reality, stop taking their medication, are being improperly/inadequately treated for their disorder, or have become a danger to themselves and/or others. There are other reasons that someone might be hospitalized for mental health issues but these are the most common.

  • Stabilization

While someone is in the hospital for mental health issues, the person has their medication corrected to better fit with their diagnosis and personal needs. Hospitalization for mental health virtually never means lifetime hospitalization any more. The patient also receives therapeutic counseling and often goes through group therapy. These treatments are designed to give patients insight into their condition and to help them develop strategies to prevent future mental health problems.

  • Discharge

When a patient is discharged from the hospital, they are often set up with a caseworker and referred to a therapist and therapeutic groups within easy distance of themselves. Many caseworkers are willing to travel to different meeting spots like public places near the individual or they are often able to go directly to the person’s home to help them. Caseworkers are wonderful resources and are often able to put their clients in contact with other community resources if they, themselves cannot solve or help solve their client’s problem(s).

What Are the Treatment Options for Addiction vs Other Mental Health Issues?

Hospitalization for addiction is a similar process but if the person goes through an addiction treatment the process can take longer. One of the reasons for this is that addiction is much less medically responsive than other conditions like depression and anxiety. 

Medication can vastly improve mental health disorders like bipolar and there are many treatment options available. Unfortunately, there are no medications for addiction available that provide a similar service as drugs as Abilify or Zyprexa do for schizophrenia.  The only known way to manage an addiction is through complete sobriety. Someone who is recovering from alcohol addiction cannot have even a sip of alcohol no matter where they are in their recovery journey.

Health What is Hospitalization for Addiction Like?

Hospitalization for addiction often follows the same lines as a treatment for other mental disorders. Patients are admitted, diagnosed, treated, and discharged. However, hospital-related treatment for addiction lasts much longer than hospital-related treatment for other mental disorders. 

Both people who have addiction disorders and those who have other mental health disorders can relapse, though for different reasons. Many scientists and doctors consider addiction a mental health disorder, but they have been referred to as separate in this article for clarity. 

  • Admission

The first step in treatment for addiction treatment is often also hospitalization. The drug rehabilitation center takes you weight, height, asks what drugs you are/have been addicted to, and other basic information. They also ask what substances you have taken and currently take.

  • Evaluation

The evaluation covers things like what the underlying reasons for the addiction are and whether other mental health disorders are also present in the patient. Evaluation can be an ongoing process. During treatment, as the patient starts to feel more comfortable expressing their situation to doctors, therapists, and other mental health personnel the treatment plan for the patient evolves.

  • Treatment

During treatment, the patient receives a wide range of health care services including, but not limited to: individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy if the patient consents, equine therapy, etc. Treatment for addiction is an ongoing process. The patient continues treatment with therapists, and/or group therapy such as Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and/or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) after they complete their aftercare program. 

This is no different than how someone with other mental health disorders would need to regularly see a therapist who specializes in their field of mental health. However, AA and NA groups are often more prevalent than other specialized mental health groups in many areas. Addiction is a nation-wide problem. You are not alone. If you currently live in Pennsylvania and plan to move to a different state you can continue with AA and/or NA after your discharge if you still want to move. AA and NA are nation-wide organizations.

  • Discharge/Aftercare

Some rehabilitation programs offer robust aftercare programs. Here at DreamLife Recovery, we offer to pair you with a caseworker, continued group therapy, continued individual therapy, group activities to further encourage a strong social/support network among recovering patients, and many more support activities. Your discharge is carefully planned out between you and your health care team to ensure success.

What Are Some Questions I Should Ask About the Treatment Program at my Addiction Facility?

While all reputable rehabilitation centers will offer an assortment of treatment options, here are some questions you should ask as you work to find the right program for you:

  • Does the facility provide dual diagnosis care?

Sometimes, patients who enter rehabilitation centers have other underlying mental health issues that they are unaware of until they are diagnosed. It is important to find a recovery center that will be able to provide you with proper medical treatment no matter what your situation is.

  • What are the qualifications of the team treating me?

It is important to find a facility with personnel that is qualified to treat you. If you have a dual diagnosis like PTSD and addiction then it is important to have a treatment team that is qualified to treat your PTSD as well as your addiction.

  • Will the center provide an aftercare program?

Having a good aftercare program is vital to recovery success. Many people who are recovering from addiction feel bewildered if they are simply told to go home after living in the hospital. They do not know what to do with their new life. We, at DreamLife Recovery, provide a year-long aftercare program.

What Should I Look for in an Addiction Facility?

Here are some more questions that will help you choose a facility that will be beneficial to your personal needs:

  • What kind of activities will I be involved in?
  • When will I be able to discuss my treatment/treatment plan with my doctor?
  • Will, I have to share a room with someone or are single rooms available?
  • Will I be able to leave the treatment facility grounds during my stay?
  • Is there a set bedtime? When will this be? Is it flexible if I have insomnia or other conditions?
  • What will my daily schedule be?

What Does an Addiction Clinic Allow?

 Some personal comfort questions to ask are:

  • Can I place calls to friends?
  • Can I call family members?
  • If I can call friends and/or family when can I call?
  • If I have dietary restrictions like veganism or celiac disorder will I be accommodated?

 What are Some of the Restrictions in Addiction Clinics?

 A few more institutional related questions are:

  • What happens if I leave the treatment center grounds without permission?
  • What happens if I am caught bringing drugs and/or alcohol into the facility?
  • What happens if I violate treatment center rules like sneaking out at night to visit other people in the facility if I do not leave the center?
  • What happens if my family and/or friends try to come to see me without the center’s approval?
  • What happens if my friends and/or family try to sneak drugs and/or alcohol into the center for me with or without me asking them?

Is Choosing the Right Addiction Clinic Hard?

Choosing the right mental health and addiction care facilities can be bewildering. There are a lot of options available. The most important thing is to choose a clinic that can provide you with the care you need. Dual diagnosis clinics provide treatment for both addiction and other mental health disorders. Roughly 50% of people who have a serious mental health disorder also have an addiction disorder.

Here at Dreamlife Recovery, we encourage you to make the right choice. Getting help for a mental health disorder like addiction is hard. It is even harder to seek help when you do not know the root cause of your addiction.

We are here to help you stand up to your addiction and say, No, you do not control me anymore.

Contact our website or call us at: (844) 402-3592.








Verify Your Benefits DreamLife Recovery accepts most major insurances including: