Opiate Addiction Resource

Opiate Addiction

Understanding Opiate Addiction and Finding Treatment

Opiate drugs are generally prescribed to those suffering from acute pain, chronic pain, post-surgery pain or a nagging cough. As a prescribed drug, many individuals feel comfortable using opiates, but they come with dangerous risks.

The opium poppy is responsible for a wide number of drugs – some legal, some not – that are more commonly referred to today as “opioids,” rather than opiates. Opioids come in many forms: pill, liquid, patch, etc. All opioids elicit at least some degree of euphoria, and this tempts many people to misuse them – and that can lead to addiction or overdose.

You’re probably well aware that there’s a current opioid epidemic going on in the U.S., so use this resource to learn more about the risks of opioid use and how treatment should be approached if you or a loved one is currently struggling with addiction.

Understanding Addiction

Understanding Addiction Opiate Addiction: Physical Effects

To clarify, “opiate” is a term for drugs naturally derived from the narcotic compounds found in the opium poppy plant, such as heroin and opium. The Sumerians first discovered the pain-relieving effects of the poppy back in 3400 B.C. As medicine continued to advance, medical experts identified the individual compounds of morphine (in the early 1800s), heroin (mid-1800s) and oxycodone (early 1900s).

The term “opioid” is used today to encompass all of the natural, synthetic and semi-synthetic formulations of opiates. These are also commonly referred to as painkillers or narcotics.

When ingested, opioids attach themselves to the dopamine neurotransmitters found in two sections of the brain:

  • The area that helps govern speech and physical movement, and
  • The area that activates the sensations of pleasure and reward.

When the dopamine neurotransmitters are stimulated, they produce feelings of enjoyment, causing your brain to want to replicate that feeling again and again. Taking an opioid drug does the same thing; they are excellent pain relievers and stress reducers, but are highly addictive if used incorrectly.

Your body produces dopamine naturally, and when these opioids are released, they attach to your neurotransmitters the same way endorphins do, blocking the receptors that signal stress and pain while calming your body with a rush of euphoric feelings. Opioid drugs are extremely addictive because of their potent effect on the brain. They too cause a release of endorphins and dopamine, but the effect is much more powerful, and something that your body can’t duplicate on its own.

However, just like any drug that mimics how our own chemical receptors work instinctively, consistent use of opioids causes the brain to slow or even stop the production of its natural dopamine and endorphins. Once this happens, the only way for an opioid addict to feel “good” again is to continue using the drug, often in increasing doses, so they can feed their craving and feel the pleasurable rush they’ve grown so accustomed to.

Common Types of Opioids

Opioid Addiction: Who Has It?

What we’re seeing in the current opioid epidemic is that painkiller addiction has impacted every state and touched all sectors of society – every race, socio-economic status, gender, etc.

We initially noticed that many opioid users started out using a prescription version before moving on to dangerous and unregulated heroin. Hence, many states are starting to restrict how many opioid pills a doctor can prescribe and whom they can prescribe them to.

However, we’re more recently finding out that many of these individuals misused a prescription opioid before developing an addiction. This means one of the following:

  • The patient stopped taking the pills when the pain subsided, had some pills left over, and starting taking those pills later on without the doctor’s recommendation – either for recreation or to self-medicate.
  • The patient took more of the opioids than prescribed, such as double dosing.
  • A family member or friend either asked for or stole leftover prescription pills that were never intended for them, and took the pills recreationally.

If you’re granted a prescription for opioid drugs and your pain subsides before the end of the bottle, please take those pills to the nearest pharmacy to be disposed of properly. Do not let them fall into the wrong hands.

Statistics on Opioid Use, Addiction and Overdose

If any of this criteria sounds like you, please get in touch with us for help: 1 (888) 789-4330
Treating Opiate Addiction

How Is Opioid Addiction Treated?

Searching for the right opiate addiction treatment center can be a daunting task that involves a difficult decision. We understand how challenging this is, considering that the individual is also struggling with the destruction that addiction brings to everyday life. Harmony Place is here to help families make that decision.

Whether the addiction is to heroin, prescription painkillers or multiple drugs (including alcohol), we can help. Our clinicians are also skilled in treating co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety and PTSD. It is imperative that all problems are treated simultaneously, and it takes an expert team to do this.

Long-term use of opioids alters the function of the brain and its neurons, so treatment almost always requires medically supervised detox, as taking the drug away suddenly can cause a violent reaction in the brain, both physically and mentally.

If you or a loved one is experiencing addiction to or withdrawal from opioids, we don’t recommend waiting to seek help. At Harmony Place, we offer medically supervised treatment from detox through the remainder of rehab, in addition to several treatment modalities that address the psychological effects of addiction.

Healing the Mind, Body and Soul

Frequently Asked Questions

Opioid Addiction FAQs

Have any additional questions about opioid addiction and what’s involved in the treatment thereof? Browse through our frequently asked questions to see if we have your answer:

How can I spot potential opioid abuse in a loved one?

What is opioid withdrawal like?

Is medication required to safely detox from opioids?

What family services do you offer to your clients in rehab?

Do you offer discharge planning to those in rehab and about to graduate?

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