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Butorphanol Addiction Treatment

Butorphanol is a type of narcotic painkiller used to relieve headaches. It is similar in structure to heroin, morphine, codeine, oxycodone, and methadone.

Butorphanol is sold as a nasal spray and used in small doses to treat headache pain. In most cases, the drug should be used in only one nostril at a time. Long-term use can cause physical or psychological dependence. In some cases, dependence develops after only a couple of weeks of use. Some people begin to enjoy the feelings of mild euphoria or drowsiness that accompany the use of butorphanol. They may begin to use this drug recreationally in order to get the pleasant effect.

Butorphanol is a synthetic opiate, so it is related to oxycodone, methadone, codeine, and heroin. Unlike those drugs, however, butorphanol is entirely lab created.

Butorphanol Abuse

All recreational use of butorphanol is considered drug abuse and may indicate a need for butorphanol addiction treatment. When butorphanol is used for pain relief, abuse can be more difficult to define. Because the specific dose of butorphanol you take depends on the strength of the specific formulation you are using and the degree of pain you are experiencing, there is no set amount that is considered too much. However, any use beyond that prescribed by your doctor can be considered abuse. This includes taking multiple doses at a time, taking a dose in each nostril instead of just one, or taking doses more frequently than recommended. If you find yourself needing more butorphanol than your doctor has prescribed, ask about having your dose changed.

Side Effects

When you take butorphanol, there is always the possibility of side effects. Common side effects people experience when on butorphanol include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Constipation

Butorphanol use can also put you in danger of accidents, including car accidents and home accidents, because it affects your ability to concentrate and react quickly when necessary. Like all opiates, there is a risk of respiratory distress when using butorphanol. If you overdose on this medication, it could be fatal. Anyone who experiences severe side effects when using butorphanol and who cannot stop using this drug should consider enrolling in a butorphanol addiction treatment program.

People who have previously been addicted to any narcotic, including heroin, morphine, or narcotic pain relievers, are more susceptible to becoming addicted to butorphanol than people who have not experienced previous addictions.

Physical Addiction

A physical addiction to butorphanol can develop when a person uses this drug for long periods of time. It is more likely in people who use excessive doses of butorphanol than in people who use the drug for its intended medical purpose. One major sign of a physical dependency on butorphanol is the occurrence of cravings for the drug when you go without it for a short period of time. Cravings may begin within a few hours after taking the last dose, or they may take up to 24 hours to develop after you enter a butorphanol addiction treatment program. The time before onset and the severity of the cravings both depend on the degree of addiction, the amount of butorphanol normally taken, and the individual physiology of the addict. Another sign of physical addiction is the development of tolerance. When a user becomes tolerant to butorphanol, he or she requires more of the drug over time because it’s effects become less pronounced as the brain gets used to it.

Psychological Addiction

Psychological addiction develops when a user thinks that he or she needs butorphanol to cope with pain or otherwise live a normal life. It can also develop when the user gets into the habit of using butorphanol and has trouble breaking the habit of using it on a regular basis. A psychological addiction can be just as debilitating as a physical addiction and just as difficult to overcome. Someone who has a mental addiction to butorphanol may become preoccupied with the drug, abandoning hobbies and activities in favor of spending time high on butorphanol.

In some cases, a user develops both a mental and physical addiction. An effective butorphanol addiction treatment program helps treat both forms of addiction. If only one form of addiction is treated and the other is left untreated, a relapse is likely.

Some people take butorphanol or other opiates to relieve symptoms of depression, and these drugs are being actively investigated as treatments for this mental illness.

When to Seek Treatment

Any person who abuses butorphanol can benefit from treatment, but there are a few sure signs that treatment is necessary:

  • A feeling of loss of control over your drug use
  • An inability to quit using butorphanol, even after multiple attempts
  • Daily preoccupation with butorphanol to the point of abandoning work, school, or family responsibilities
  • Deteriorating relationships due to your butorphanol use
  • Financial or legal problems resulting from your use of butorphanol
  • Hiding your butorphanol use from concerned friends or family members

Rehab usually involves entering an addiction treatment program at an inpatient facility. Most inpatient centers treat patients with a wide variety of addictions, including addictions to other opiates. A good rehab center should have staff members trained in treating all types of opiate addiction. Before you start your course of treatment, a doctor or therapist should assess you and tailor the treatment program to your individual needs. A personalized course of treatment ensures that you have the best chance for a full recovery.

Rehab centers can be public or private. Private centers provide more personalized care. Some are intended for a specific group, such as teens, women, or executives. Others espouse a specific philosophy, such as holistic rehab or rehabilitation with a spiritual component. The vast array of different programs can make it difficult to choose the right one for you.

Rehab may also be done on an outpatient basis for people who are unable or unwilling to commit to a stay in a residential facility. People participating in outpatient programs may be at a higher risk of relapse because they remain exposed to the temptation of drug use at home or in social situations. Some people combine the two methods and begin treatment at a residential facility and later transition to outpatient care after detoxification is complete and the course of treatment is well established.

Therapeutical Models

Therapy is an important component of a butorphanol addiction treatment program. During your stay at a rehab facility, you may participate in individual or group counseling sessions that help you recognize your drug-seeking behaviors and develop ways to combat them and break the habit of drug use. If your family is willing to participate, family counseling can be an effective way to help you get the support you need to stay clean and sober after release from rehab. Motivational therapy and motivational incentives are another form of counseling available during treatment. In this type of program, the recovering drug user is rewarded for achieving specific recovery goals, such as remaining clean for a specific number of days.

Other Considerations

Addiction Treatment


Addiction treatment can help a drug or alcohol addict recover from addiction and return to a substance-free life. Getting prompt treatment for your addiction is essential because long-term drug and alcohol use can have serious health effects. Read More

Addiction treatment may include treating other concurrent conditions as well as your addiction to butorphanol. Any underlying mental illness or physical ailment that could slow or halt your recovery should be addressed during treatment. If you are addicted to any other substance, including other drugs or alcohol, you should receive treatment for these addictions at the same time as your butorphanol addiction treatment.

If you initially started taking butorphanol to ease headache pain, you will need to find another method of pain relief during your course of treatment. This may mean working with a doctor to find an effective type of pain medication that does not carry a risk of addiction. You might also find relief using alternative methods, such as acupuncture or meditation. A holistic treatment facility can help you find a method that works for you if you are reluctant to rely on medication in the future.


After care is necessary for a full recovery from butorphanol abuse and addiction. After care involves ongoing trips to a doctor or therapist to ensure that you do not start using the drug or other opiates again. Some people join a support group, such as Narcotics Anonymous, SMART Recovery, or LifeRing Recovery, as part of their follow-up care. These programs help you stay clean by providing a peer group of other people who are also recovering from drug abuse or addiction. Part of long-term recovery is learning ways to face temptation. Peer groups and counseling can both help you learn specific techniques to use when faced with the prospect of using butorphanol again.

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