Why Are Addictions to Opiates so Common?
Arguably among the most addictive substances are opiates. An opiate is an entire classification of drug, sometimes referred to as an opioid (which used to be the term for the entire class of opiate drugs but it has since changed to be interchangeable with the word opiate). All opiates are derived from the poppy plant, which is where morphine comes from. Each opiate has a varying degree of morphine potency. The higher the potency, the more addictive the substance is. Currently there is an opiate epidemic affecting all corners of the nation, but why?
Many painkillers prescribed to patients after sustaining injuries, surgeries, and those who are in need to chronic pain management are prescribed highly addictive opiate pain medications. The abuse risk for opiate medications are high and easily hook those who are prescribed these medications physically. In essence this means those who are actively taking opiate medications become physically addicted to the substance. But how is this so?
Many who are experiencing great amounts of pain sometimes double dose, or take two pills when they’re only supposed to take one to treat their conditions. Opiates develop tolerance quickly within the body and establish a physical dependence quickly when taken outside of the parameters of the prescribed dosage of medication. Almost ten percent of the population will abuse opiates at one time in their lives.
Opiates give their users a feeling of euphoria and induce them to feel whole, happy, and fulfilled- which is why many users who become addicted to the substance are unable to stop without professional help. Between the physical and psychological dependence to opiates breaking an opiate addiction can seem impossible- and it is for many who do not seek out the resources in which to safely and effectively overcome addiction.
In a nutshell, many become addicted to opiates because their dependence on their prescribed medications creates a physical need for opiates in the body. Others become dependent on opiates when they use them recreationally. Many who are prescribed prescription opiates are given medicines which far exceed the patient’s needs. If you stubbed your toe you wouldn’t run to take six advils, which is essentially what big pharmaceuticals and medical doctors are doing to their patients- and it’s affecting the rest of their lives.
Types of Opiate Addiction
An opiate addiction is derived from substances in this drug classification, but there are a few staples which are most common. Please note not all users who use one opiate (like heroin) necessarily abuse others (like vicodin). Although, because opiates all contain the same addictive properties and stimulate the body’s innate opiate receptors, it’s not uncommon for opiate addicts to switch between opiates should one source dry up. In fact, many who are prescribed opiate medications transition to heroin once their prescriptions are no longer refilled. Those who attempt to buy them illegally on the streets generally make the switch to heroin because the substance is much less expensive.
Types of opiate addictions include:
- Heroin Addiction
- Painkiller Addiction (Vicodin, Oxycodone, OxyContin, Dilaudid, Fentanyl, etc.)
- Methadone Addiction
How to Beat Opiate Addiction
Many never seek opiate addiction treatment because they’re afraid of undergoing the addiction treatment process, and specifically the withdrawal period. Withdrawal occurs when your body has become dependent on opiates, and cannot function normally without them. Depending on one’s level of addiction, a mere number of hours can spiral them into the uncomfortable state of withdrawal. It is because of the illnesses associated with withdrawal, many don’t believe completing opiate dependence treatment is possible.
Opiate dependence treatment has evolved considerably, and now implements the use of medically assisted treatment, or maintenance treatment. During medically assisted drug treatment the signs and symptoms of withdrawal are entirely erased, making opiate addiction treatment possible, and the risk of relapse drop considerably.
Enrolling into treatment for opiate addiction will not only save your life from a fatal overdose, it will solidify your commitment to getting your life back on track. Those who have suffered from untreated opiate addictions for a number of years are entirely capable of living productive, successful, and lucrative lives after the throes of addiction. Beating opiate addiction is a small matter of getting help.
Understanding Opiate Abuse Treatment
Many who are in need of opiate abuse treatment don’t know enough about it to make an informed decision about getting help. Because of the nature of opiate addiction, it’s typically recommended for those with chronic addiction to attend a residential drug rehab program to help redress the symptoms of addiction and teach recovering addicts how to move beyond their dependence to opiates by changing the way they think and react to stressful situations.
The cornerstone of effective opiate abuse treatment is when recovering addicts are no longer at risk of relapse, whether that is with the assistance of medically assisted drug treatment or not. Many scoff at treatments which include maintenance therapies such as methadone, suboxone, and naltrexone- which are designed to help heroin addicts transition from heroin to sobriety. Some drug therapy groups, most notably Narcotics Anonymous, look down upon medically assisted treatment.
The important thing to remember is medically assisted drug treatment is not a permanent solution to addiction, and is merely a transitory means to help you complete the entire gamut of overcoming opiate addiction.
Beyond residential, or inpatient opiate addiction treatment, recovering addicts typically enroll into outpatient treatment where they begin to apply the coping techniques and strategies learned in residential addiction treatment. Completing all the steps in opiate dependence treatment is essential in making a full recovery. Each stage is designed to help you overcome addiction from the underlying causes of the disease. Without redressing the catalysts of addiction, recovering addicts typically relapse. Going to treatment for opiate addiction saves users from suffering a fatal overdose.
Signs of Opiate Abuse
If you’re suspicious a loved one of yours may be experimenting with opiates, look for the following signs:
- Disappearing or dirtied spoons
- Waning Motivation
- Mood Swings; Depression, irritability
- Sensory Sensitivity
- High Blood Pressure & Heart Rate
Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms
Without the assistance of a medical professional, those who opt to undergo withdrawal on their own from opiates (which is potentially fatal, and often results in immediate relapse) will suffer the following opiate withdrawal symptoms:
- Intense Cravings
- Tremors, Quivering
- Profuse Sweat
- Bone Pain
- Muscle Tenderness
Choosing an Opiate Addiction Treatment Center
Getting opiate dependence treatment is often a matter between life and death. Now more than ever with rising heroin overdose rates around the nation, enrolling into an opiate addiction treatment center is imperative to prevent tragedy.
Harbor Village Detox has a specialized heroin addiction treatment program, in addition to opiate addiction treatment options which are personalized for individual clients, Harbor Village Detox excels in helping recovering addicts redress addiction by uprooting the underlying causes of the disease entirely.