Opiate drugs are medications or illegal drug that is either derived from the opium poppy, or that mimics the effect of an opiate (a synthetic opiate). These drugs are narcotic sedatives that depress activity of the central nervous system, reduce pain, and induce sleep.
Side effects may include over sedation, nausea, and constipation. Long term use of opiates can produce an opiate addiction, and overuse can cause overdose and potentially death.
Why Opiate Addiction Treatment is Essential
America is currently facing a huge opiate epidemic with thousands of people addicted to painkillers and heroin. Thousands of people need detox and opiate addiction treatment.
In general, the treatment for those with an opiate/heroin addiction need to undergo clinical, supervised detoxification in order to manage the withdrawal symptoms.
Research has shown that the best combination of treatment for opiate addiction help includes medication to manage the withdrawal symptoms as well as therapy to address the behavioral and psychological issues that contributed to the addiction in the first place.
The following is a list of components that may be included in your opiate addiction treatment:
- Opiate detoxification
- Medical treatment and supervision
- Psychological assessment
- Methadone maintenance treatment (the use of methadone to help a person safely and slowly wean off opiates)
- Participation in a addiction treatment program
- Behavioral therapy
- Family therapy
- Wellness therapy
- Psychosocial support (housing, vocational rehabilitation, etc.)
- 12-step meetings
Obviously, opiate addiction treatment may include various methods. For instance, another type of medication sometimes used to treat this addiction is non-addictive drug Vivitrol. This medication blocks the opiate receptors in the brain. And in life threatening emergencies, Naloxone may be used to save the life of someone who is in the middle of a heroin overdose.
How the Lakehouse Recovery Center Can Help
Eventually, in order for a person to sustain sobriety, they will need to create a new lifestyle that includes making different daily choices to promote health and well being. They may also require a strong support system as well as a reexamination of thoughts and behaviors that may have contributed to the cycle of addiction.
During opiate addiction treatment, as this craving for the drug is not met, withdrawal symptoms will become more severe, possibly even including depression. In short, withdrawal is a dangerous state, and it is both dangerous and ineffective to try to detoxify “cold turkey” and without medical supervision.
If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to heroin or prescription drugs, contact the Lakehouse Recovery Center today. This addiction has already taken the lives of millions of people around the world. If you’d like to save your life or the life of someone else, get help immediately.
How Do You Become Addicted?
One of the biggest problems facing in the medical community today is the problem of opiate abuse–not by patients, but by doctors. Few would disagree that opiate drugs like hydrocodone, oxycodone, and methadone are being over-prescribed, but there are also few that would do anything about it.
A large part of this problem stems from doctors lacking time or resources to treat a number of their patients. When someone is suffering from chronic pain or a similar ailment, it can be hard and time-consuming to find a proper course of treatment for opiate addiction help. Many doctors don’t know how to effectively manage their patients’ pain, and many more simply don’t have the time to be able to attend to these patients in detail.
As a result, physicians will prescribe potent painkillers for patients to anesthetize the pain. This makes the patient’s pain go away, but is often a solution that reeks of overkill. Patients then take the painkillers, unaware that their doctor has no clear objective of how or when to end the course of narcotics, and the patient is soon dependent on the drug.
What Is Opiate Addiction?
Opiate addiction is characterized by behaviors of the individual which include:
- Lack of control over drug use
- Compulsive use of the specific drug
- Continued use regardless of the physical, emotional and social consequences
- Continued craving for the drug
- A state of tolerance exists in that the addict adapts to the effects of the drug over time and consequently, higher doses are required to provide the needed results.
The danger of accelerated heartbeat can result in coma or death. The addict displays marked changes in attitude and behavior and relationships with family members deteriorate.
Addiction to opiates is believed to be a disorder of the central nervous system resulting from continuous use of opiates. Because of prolonged opiate use, natural pain killers, known as endorphins, no longer function normally.
Endorphins are no longer produced by the body because it is instead receiving opiates. Since these nerve cells in the brain have degenerated, a physical dependency results wherein the body must have a supply of opiates from an external source. If and when the individual no longer has a supply of opiates, the body experiences the trauma of withdrawal symptoms.
When you are addicted to drugs, the opiates in the drug stimulate “receptors” in the brain. When those receptors don’t get the opiates they crave, the brain tells the body and the body responds by going into “withdrawal.” These symptoms, i.e., anxiety, sleeplessness, muscle aches and pains, diarrhea, etc., are often accompanied by physical and psychological cravings for the drug.
The package is most unpleasant and symptoms can last, in many cases, for weeks.
Symptoms of Addiction
Some of the signs and symptoms of addiction to opiates include:
- Hyperactive behavior
- Poor physical coordination
- Inability to concentrate
- Poor judgment
- Slurred speech
Withdrawal symptoms vary among people, even those addicted to the same drug. However, it is certain that these will include intense anxiety and a craving for the drug. As this craving is not met, withdrawal symptoms will become more severe, possibly even including depression.
Opiate withdrawal can be dangerous and painful. Symptoms include:
- Muscle and bone pain
- Restless leg syndrome
- Flu-like symptoms
Because of this, it is recommended to get opiate addiction help and detox under the care of a licensed physician.
How Do You Become Dependent?
Opiate dependence is characterized by the inability to stop using opiates, including: morphine, heroin, codeine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, etc. Opiate dependence in this setting is defined as a combination of physiological, behavioral, and cognitive activity in which the use of a psychoactive drug becomes paramount to the user, especially in comparison with all other responsibilities and activities.
It is characterized by an incessant need to obtain and use the drug. The World Health Organization and Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders diagnose “dependence” as a condition including three or more of the following characteristics:
- A strong desire or compulsive need to use a substance
- Difficulties controlling the amount or frequency of drug use
- A physiological withdrawal state when drug use is stopped
- Evident tolerance to drug effects over an extended period of time
- Increasing neglect of responsibilities and hobbies due to drug use and/or obtainment
- Persistence of drug use after negative physical affects have started to occur
Opioids are typically prescribed for pain. The anti-depressive, anxiolytic and antipsychotic effects of opiate derivatives are believed to be why they can be so addictive.
What is the Difference Between Addiction & Dependence?
Addiction, as opposed to dependence, refers to the changes in the brain once opioids are used for an extended period of time. Studies show that the circuitry of the brain actually changes in response to the use of opioids.
Our brains are trained to recognize life-sustaining activities, ensuring that we will perform them again. It associates these activities with pleasure or reward. This reward system can “hard-wire” such memories in the permanent wiring of the brain’s function. Over time, the brain teaches itself that this opioid use is necessary for survival, such as eating and breathing.
Simultaneously, the brain attempts to adapt to the extreme stimulation of this pleasure pathway. The brain tries to reduce the highs and lows that can happen during the cycles of opioid use and withdrawal. As a result of this problem, the user may experience lessened pleasure and joy from regular life activities. After a period of time, even their addiction will not spark this reward memory. A user will get to a point where the opioid is only used to function, not to experience a high.
These changes in the body and brain can result in cravings and memory recall for months, even years after Opioid withdrawal and termination of use.
Many people have heard of heroin addiction and many have heard of prescription drug addiction. However, both of these addictions fall under the same addiction – an addiction to opiates. Heroin and painkillers are both opiates and both require opiate addiction treatment and help.
Is There a Difference Between Heroin and Prescription Pills?
Because heroin and prescription drugs are the same type of substance, one addiction can easily lead to the other. Mostly commonly, a prescription drug addiction might slowly lead to a heroin addiction.
Because painkillers require a prescription and can be expensive, it’s easy to make the switch to heroin, which has dropped in value in recent years. In fact, there has been a flood of heroin at very low prices, making it very accessible to wide groups of people.
The abuse of prescription painkillers has reached epidemic proportions in America. Close to half of the nation’s 38,329 drug overdose deaths in 2010 involved painkillers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. For those who are continue to struggle with a prescription drug addiction, heroin addiction may not be so far behind.
If you are suffering from either, the sooner you reach out to an opiate addiction treatment center, the better off you will be.
Is There a Difference Between Opiates and Opioids?
Opiates are a naturally occurring substance extracted from the seedpod of the Asian poppy plant. It can be used as a strong pain reliever and many medications are derived from it, including:
However, opioids are synthetic drugs that are meant to work in the same way as opiates. Opioids have a similar effect on a person’s body compared to opiates because the two closely resemble one another in makeup. Types of opioids include:
- Percocet, Percodan, OxyContin (oxycodone)
- Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab (hydrocodone)
- Demerol (pethidine)
- Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
- Duragesic (fentanyl)
Programs Available at the Lakehouse Recovery Center
Contact us today if you need help with opiate addiction, alcohol addiction, or other drug addiction.