Opioids are powerfully addictive because they are so effective at relieving pain; unfortunately, that’s also what makes them so dangerous when they are taken in greater amounts than intended or by people who were not given prescriptions by their doctors or health care providers to use these drugs or others like them to treat pain conditions.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drugs that includes drugs like morphine, codeine, oxycodone (OxyContin), heroin, and fentanyl.
Opioids are mainly prescribed by doctors as painkillers for patients with severe or chronic pain who can’t be treated with other types of medication (e.g., anti-inflammatory medications).
Opioid use has increased in recent years because of its effectiveness in treating pain while not being addictive in nature; however, they have become a major problem due to its addictive nature and the lack of education on how dangerous it can be when misused.
Opioid Addiction is a Growing Problem
Opioids are a group of drugs that act on the brain in a similar way to heroin or morphine, but with less intensity than either drug.
They are commonly used for pain relief after surgery or an injury because they produce strong effects in a relatively small dose when compared to other types of pain relievers such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. These drugs can also cause sedation at higher doses and euphoria at lower doses depending on which drug is taken.
Taking opioids for an extended period of time can lead to dependence on these drugs which often requires medical detoxification before treatment can be initiated for an opioid use disorder.
In some cases, this dependence can result in withdrawal symptoms such as nausea or vomiting when trying to discontinue use or increase dosage levels.
These withdrawal symptoms are often severe enough that many people continue taking these drugs because they fear the detoxification process itself more than continuing use even though it may be damaging their health and quality of life in the long run.
The Dangers of Opioid Addiction
A recent study found that drug overdoses now kill more people than either car crashes or guns. Opioids are responsible for the majority of these overdoses.
The most commonly prescribed opioid analgesics are oxycodone (such as Percocet), hydrocodone (such as Vicodin), and morphine sulfate (such as Kadian). These drugs are powerful narcotics and have a high potential for abuse.
Prescription pills can be addictive because they contain chemicals that change how your brain functions. Opioid use disorder occurs when a person becomes dependent on a drug and experiences withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it.
If this continues over time, users may require increasingly higher doses to get high enough levels of euphoria-inducing chemicals in their system or avoid withdrawal symptoms entirely. The DEA estimates that nearly four out of five new heroin users started out with prescription pills first.
Unfortunately, some addicts turn to heroin because prescription opiates became too expensive. Heroin is also cheaper and easier to access on the black market. Heroin itself has no color or smell, making it difficult to identify without being told what it might look like by somebody else who knows.
Risk Factors of Opioids Abuse
Opiates are a type of narcotic drug derived from the opium poppy plant. Opioids are synthetic drugs that have similar effects as opiates but are not derived from poppy plants.
The most commonly abused opioid in America is heroin, but there are other types of opioids that can be misused such as fentanyl or oxycodone.
These drugs act on receptors in the brain and produce pleasurable feelings like euphoria or relaxation which make them highly addictive when used over time. People who abuse opioids may find themselves neglecting responsibilities at work, home, or school.
The longer people abuse opioids, the more likely it becomes for them to develop physical dependence and require medical detoxification services before withdrawal symptoms begin.
How Can I Tell If Someone is Addicted to Opioids?
If someone is addicted to opioids, they may start displaying a number of different symptoms that can be difficult for friends or family members to spot on their own.
Some of these tell-tale signs include:
- Appearing distant or detached from those around them
- Failing to show up when expected
- Neglecting personal appearance or hygiene
- Becoming uncharacteristically hostile or aggressive when challenged by loved ones
- Risky behavior like refusing offers of help and support. withdrawal from physical contact or other previously enjoyed activities, disorientation in time or place
- Obsessive focus on getting more drugs, such as repeatedly calling doctors’ offices to ask for prescriptions
- Physically shaking when unable to get more drugs
- Sleeping excessively all the time
- Tolerance to the drug– needing higher doses over time just to feel high, which means tolerance will keep increasing without intervention
- Shaking hands or body at rest
- Dilated pupils
- Constantly chewing gum or cigarettes instead of smoking them
- Being secretive with money or suddenly having a lot of it even though nothing has changed in their life
- Nausea and vomiting with no known cause
What Can I Do If I Suspect That My Loved One is Addicted to Opioids?
If you’re concerned that a loved one may be using opioids or developing an addiction, there are steps you can take to help.
First and foremost, talk with your loved one in private about your concerns; don’t confront them in front of other people who might react negatively or say something hurtful that would make the situation worse.
Explain how their behavior has been worrying you and ask them whether they’ve been taking any drugs – including prescription opioids – without getting medical advice first.
Therapy and Rehabilitation for Opioids Addiction in a Treatment Center
Opioids can be addictive because they affect the same brain receptors as heroin or morphine. Opioids are highly addictive even when taken as prescribed by a doctor for a short time period for pain relief.
There are many treatment methods for opioid abuse including therapy and rehabilitation in a treatment center that provides counseling, education on opioid misuse/abuse, group discussions with fellow patients, social support from other people in similar circumstances, and drug-free lifestyle strategies to help them avoid relapse after leaving the facility.
It’s important that once rehab has been completed there is still follow-up care available like psychotherapy or motivational interviewing so they can maintain their sobriety while feeling supported throughout their journey of recovery.
The more knowledge one gains about these medications the more likely it is that they will be able to protect themselves against developing an addiction.
Opioids Rehab at North Jersey Recovery Center
Opioid abuse is a crisis of epidemic proportions in our nation. Sadly, opioid abuse often leads people down a path of drug dependence that can quickly turn into a life-threatening condition called opioid addiction.
The good news is that at North Jersey Recovery Center, we can help those who are struggling with an addiction to opioids regain control over their lives and free themselves from this terrible disease so they can begin living again.
We help people with opioid dependency to get back on the right track by offering them residential treatment at our center for detoxification followed by long-term rehabilitation therapy