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You can overcome your addiction to opioids. The time to begin is now.

Expert Help for Opioid Addiction

SunCloud Health offers Effective, personalized treatment for opioid addiction.

“Not why the addiction but why the pain.”
― Gabor Maté

Hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. are addicted to the prescription pain medications known as opioids. If you are using opioids right now, you already know how powerful these drugs can be – and how incredibly difficult it is to stop.

If you’re ready to get your life back, the experts at SunCloud Health are here for you.

There is a lot to know about these drugs and the patterns that may have caused you to start using them. But the main thing to know is that recovery is possible. We have helped thousands of people overcome dangerous addictions – and we will help you make the journey, too.

The time is NOW. Starting today, you can take back your body, mind and spirit and embrace the health and happiness you deserve.

Here are a few things to know as you — or someone you care about — begins the journey to freedom and wellness.


At SunCloud Health, we approach opioid addiction treatment in a holistic, integrated and medically informed way. We meet you where you are and assist you in moving forward, one step at a time.

As a very wise teacher once said, “Only when compassion is present will people allow themselves to see the truth.” Your recovery begins with compassion for yourself – which empowers you to understand and even befriend the pain that underlies your addiction. When you begin to see pain as a valuable teacher, you are on the way to releasing the bonds that the drug has placed on your life.


Here are some basic facts about opiates that everyone should know. If someone you care about is struggling with opioid addiction, please take a few minutes to read these facts. The more you know, the better prepared you will be to help your loved one.

Opioids are a broad class of drugs that come from the opium poppy plant. They work in the brain to produce many effects, including pain relief.

Opioids include prescription medications that doctors give for pain following a surgical procedure, a severe injury, or chronic pain that is hard to control. Some well-known brands of opioid medications are OxyContin, Vicodin, Norco, Lorcet, Lortab, Dilaudid, Demerol, Exalgo and Tylenol 3.

Opioids also include illegal drugs such as heroin, which is made from the opium poppy. Fentanyl is a synthetic (lab-produced) opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine, a naturally produced opioid. Fentanyl may be prescribed by a doctor, but it is also available as a dangerous street drug with high risks for overdose and death. Many people who are addicted to prescription opioids also use heroin or fentanyl.

People who use prescription opioids may take them in their original pill form. Some opioids also come in an oral patch that dissolves in the mouth. Users may also crush pills and inhale them or inject them into the bloodstream using a needle and syringe.


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Beyond their power to control pain, opioids also make many people feel relaxed and happy. This pleasant “high” can be very attractive to almost anyone – but it’s especially dangerous for people at high risk of addiction, including those who live with a mental health condition.

Opioids work by targeting the brain’s reward system. They flood specific circuits in the brain with a natural chemical known as dopamine, which regulates movement, emotion, thinking and pleasure. The overstimulation of this system gives the euphoric effect that users crave – and it literally teaches them to keep using the drug.

It’s helpful to realize that drug addiction is a brain-based issue, not a character flaw or a lack of willpower. Our brains are wired to seek experiences that give us pleasure. Many of these experiences – such as exercise, enjoying good food, and sleeping – are necessary for a healthy life. But the same system that rewards us for doing healthy things can train us to crave substances that are clearly NOT good for our health.

Opioid use can be lethal. In fact, 2 out of 3 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. are caused by opioids. Fatal overdoses have increased by nearly 6 times in the last 20 years, which is why health experts view opioid addiction as a dangerous national epidemic.

Opioids have many potential side effects, including slowed breathing, constipation, nausea, confusion and drowsiness. You have probably experienced these if you are using opioids regularly.


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There is no simple test that can show us who will become addicted to opioids and who will not. However, we do know that addiction is often associated with other problems. Here are some of the risk factors you should know about.

Psychological issues. Many drug users are suffering from an underlying mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety. Often, these issues go undiagnosed and untreated for years – leaving the individual in a constant state of pain and confusion. Opioids may seem like a very good way to ease the symptoms of a mental condition that the user is not fully aware of – or has not taken full responsibility for addressing.

Brain chemistry. Since opioids trigger the release of pleasurable neurotransmitters in the brain, people who have a natural deficiency of these neurotransmitters may seek out opiates. The drug quickly becomes a way to feel better – and addiction is the result.

Early life influences. People who are raised in a home environment where parents, relatives or caregivers abuse drugs will face a much higher risk of addiction later in life. The power of example is very strong – and children who see adults using drugs will be likelier to believe that drug use is a natural part of grownup living. Studies show that those who begin to abuse drugs at an early age will face higher risks for addiction down the road.

Genetics. People who have a parent, sibling or other first-degree relative who struggles with addiction are at a higher risk for becoming addicts themselves.

Do you – or someone you love – have one or more of these risk factors working against you? Don’t give up. We are here to help you recover.


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The signs and effects of opioid use will vary, based on the person’s family background, frequency of use and the intensity of their addiction. If you or someone you love is addicted to opioids, you may see some of the symptoms listed below.

Mood symptoms

  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Elevated mood (often called euphoria or mania)

Behavioral symptoms

  • Lying to cover up drug use
  • Sudden or constant need for money
  • Problems with the law
  • Inability to fulfill obligations at work, home, or school
  • Increased risky behavior
  • Increased or decreased libido
Physical symptoms

  • Growing tolerance to the drug
  • Increased lung infections
  • Dry mouth
  • Heaviness or swelling in hands and feet
  • Slow, unsteady gait
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Physical dependence, marked by deep craving for the drug

Psychological symptoms

  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • A sudden break from reality (often called psychosis)


Opioid use can lead to physical addiction. When users try to stop, they often face severe withdrawal symptoms. This is why it is so crucial for those struggling with addiction to enter a medically monitored treatment program where withdrawal effects can be addressed.

Withdrawal symptoms from opioids can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscular pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Restlessness
  • Excess sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Watery eyes
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors

Remember – you don’t have to do it alone. Take the first step toward recovery by sending a confidential message now.


Help is one click or call away
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


People who struggle with opioid addiction often suffer from one or more forms of mental illness. This is known as a co-occurring condition. Here are some of the most common conditions seen in tandem with opioid use:

  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia

When these conditions go untreated, they often lead the person who is suffering to search for something that will make them feel better. This sets the stage for drug or alcohol use and often, addiction.


You may think of opioids as your “drug of choice.” But at SunCloud Health, we consider them your “drug of NO choice.” This is because your drug use has robbed you of the understanding that you have any control at all.

As addiction takes over, your ability to actually make good decisions is swiftly taken away. With the drug in command, you may feel totally powerless to manage your life. In helping you start on a path to wellness, we do not ask, “Why the addiction?” Instead, we’ll encourage you to ask yourself, “Why the pain?”

In our experience, addiction is driven by deeper causes that typically involve physical, spiritual or emotional pain. By dealing with the underlying pain, we will help you exchange unhealthy addictive behaviors for healthier ones – leading to a balanced, peaceful, more abundant life.


If you are using opioids and you find you can’t stop, we are here to reassure you that recovery is possible. The experts at SunCloud Health will help you take the first steps toward freedom and wellness.

We know that that treating drug addiction requires a blend of compassion with advanced medical and psychotherapeutic skill. Other sources of emotional pain – and even other addictive behaviors such as alcohol use – may have led to your problems with opioids. Therefore, we will help you address all of these related factors as you enter treatment.

We also realize that psychiatric conditions such as depression, trauma or anxiety may have played a role in your drug use. You may even be abusing other substances to cope with the side effects of your addiction.

Your treatment plan will reflect your unique needs, based on a thorough review of your current health as well as your personal and family history. Treatment may include medications such as methadone, naltrexone or buprenorphine. Our addiction experts will also recommend a course of therapy or therapies that have been proven to work for people recovering from opioid use.

Here are some forms of therapy that SunCloud Health can provide as part of a comprehensive, personalized plan to support your recovery.

  • Expressive and experiential therapy
  • Skills-based therapy such as DBT, ACT and CBT
  • 12-step recovery programs and facilitation
  • Education about the disease, its effects on you, your mind, your soul and your body
  • Group sessions teaching healthy interpersonal and relationship management
  • Regular psychiatric consultations
  • Family therapy, including family participation if appropriate
  • Yoga and body image therapy, when appropriate
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)

We are ready to help you move toward a healthy, satisfying life free of opioids. Get in touch with us today.


Help is one click or call away
(866) 729-1012 Or click here to send a secure message.


Emily Long discusses how patients benefit from an integrative treatment approach and how that contributes to a more effective treatment experience at SunCloud Health.


As an outpatient treatment center, SunCloud Health is in an ideal position to support you for as long as you agree our services are useful to you. With multiple levels of outpatient care, you may decide to stay connected through one of our aftercare outpatient groups – or you may want to continue seeing one of our individual therapists.  We are here to provide continuous, caring support for your recovery journey.

Though we understand fully that you don’t want to spend your life in treatment, we also know from experience that a lifetime commitment to wellness is the foundation of your well-being over the long term. We will work with you to maintain a healthy outlook, which means achieving balance, honesty, and health — physical, emotional and spiritual. Our goal is to create a care plan that you can take with you forever, wherever you may go.


Dr. Marcia Nickow, Psy.D., CADC, CGP shares her thoughts on hope for recovery at SunCloud Health.


Chris Stewart, MD. Board Certified Psychiatrist answers, does addiction treatment work?

The treatment team at SunCloud gets it. They practice what they preach, they are compassionate and they are true professionals.  They all understand what I am going through and they have guided me from a hopeless place of disease to recovery and a life worth living.  Most importantly they have helped me realize that I am worth something and that I don’t have to use in order to cope with life and all that comes with it.  Recovery can be amazing.  Trust me.  The work is not easy and it is totally worth it!   Today I am alive.

~ SCH patient

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