Approximately 10 percent of the US population has admitted to abusing opiates at some point in their lifetime, including street opiates such as heroin and prescription opiates like Vicodin and Oxycontin.Opiates are commonly prescribed to treat severe pain. Opiates effects are produced by activating opiate receptors throughout the brain and body. After ingestion the opiate reaches the brain and immediately activates the opiate receptors in the brain producing pleasure and pain relief. When taken as prescribed by a Doctor, Opiates are safe and have a lower risk of addiction but when the user takes larger doses for the effects such as euphoria it produces it can be highly addictive.
How Opiate Addiction occurs…
Long term use of opiates will affect the nerve cells in the brain. These nerve cells normally produce endogenous opiates which are natural painkillers, or endorphins. With long term opiate use the body stops producing endorphins. As a result a physical dependency to opiates occurs because of the degeneration of these nerve cells. When abruptly stopping the use of opiates the addict will experience both physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms such as;
- Strong cravings
- Goose bumps
- Muscle aches
- Runny nose
Withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person depending on the severity of their addiction. The symptoms can set in hours after abruptly stops using opiates. The fear of withdrawal can make opiate addicts return to its use, avoiding the painful flue like symptoms. These symptoms are typically not life threatening but for those with severe opiate addiction there is a possibility of seizures or other fatal complications.
Adverse Effects of Opiate Use
- flu-like symptoms
- muscle and bone pain
- extreme irritability
- muscle spasms
Most adverse effects of Opiate use are not life threatening. Although there is a risk of severe adverse effects such as respiratory depression, confusion or stupor, coma, clammy skin, circulatory collapse and cardiac arrest, these can be fatal. As well as the risk of overdose that can to be fatal.
Opiate Addiction Treatment
Opiate addiction can be overwhelming and require the assistance of a treatment facility. Each persons treatment needs are different, this is why when entering into the treatment facility you will go through an assessment process.
- Some may only need outpatient serves, gradually weening off opiates and receive counseling to get to the root cause of the addiction as well as teaching the addict the key tools on how to live a life of sobriety.
- For others with a more severe opiate addiction they will require inpatient treatment. The detoxification process will cleanse the addicts body of any chemicals and toxins. This process can be done under sedation in a medical hospital or with the assistance of a prescription medication such as; methadone, suboxone or subutex.These medications are also opioids, they block the symptoms of withdrawal and help manage drug cravings. The addict will also receive counseling in both a group and individual setting. This will help the addict learn how to deal with daily stressers and experience life’s pleasures without the use of drug.
The treatment process for opiate addiction will take place in a safe and calm environment under the supervision of a medical professional. With the assistance of a treatment facility the addicts success rate is greatly increased and reaching the goal of sobriety is just a step away. Support groups will be a key role in maintaining ones sobriety in daily life. There will be 100% support to help prevent relapse and to stay on the road of sobriety.