Anybody who uses opioids is at high risk for developing an addiction. While your personal history and how long you have used opioids can play a part, it is impossible to predict who will eventually become dependent on these drugs. These drugs are the main cause of most overdose deaths in America today, whether legal or illegal, stolen, or shared.
Addiction refers to a state in which something once pleasurable becomes something you cannot live without. Doctors define drug addiction as an irresistible craving for a drug, and the compulsive use of a drug despite repeated unhealthy consequences. Because opioids activate your brain’s reward centers, they can be addictive.
Opioids trigger the release of endorphins, your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Endorphins can temporarily reduce your pain perception and increase feelings of pleasure. This creates a powerful feeling of well-being. You may feel the need to have those positive feelings back as soon as your opioid dose is finished, and this is the first step on your path to addiction.
Opioids can become addictive if you use them in ways that are not prescribed. For example, crushing pills so they can be snorted and injected. This can be life-threatening and even deadly if you are using a long-acting or extended-acting pill. Accidental overdose can be caused by the rapid delivery of all medication to your body and your risk of becoming addicted increases if you take more opioid medication than your doctor prescribed or if you take it more frequently than prescribed.
Prescribed opioids can also play a part in your life. Research has shown that opioid medication use for longer periods of time increases the risk of developing an opioid addiction. After only five days of opioid use, the odds that you will still be using opioids one year later are higher.
Opioids can be described as a combination of prescription pain medications and illegal drugs like heroin. Although opioids may be prescribed by doctors to relieve pain, misuse can lead to dependence or addiction. This is what medical professionals call “opioid use disorders”. Any person prescribed opioids should carefully follow the doctor’s instructions and only take the prescribed dosage.
Opioid abuse disorder refers to a medical condition that makes it difficult for someone to stop using opioids. It also includes any behaviors or actions that are influenced by opioid use which interferes with their daily lives. An opioid abuse disorder can lead to physical dependence and this is characterized by cravings and sweating. A person with an opioid abuse disorder may not show symptoms immediately. There may be signs over time that someone is struggling with opioid use disorder, and should be addressed as soon as possible to ensure proper treatment is administered.
Opioids are a class of drugs which block sensations of pain and cause euphoria. They are dangerous because they pose very high risks for addiction and overdose. Opioids are an ingredient in many pain-relieving medications. Since they are controlled substances, drug traffickers also sell them illegally. Opioids, both illegal and prescribed, have caused a surge of deaths in the US in the past 2 decades.
Heroin is a powerful and addictive Opioid. It is an illegal drug which poses serious risks for overdose. Heroin, especially Heroin mixed with Fentanyl (a very powerful Synthetic Opioid), has been a major contributor to the Opioid epidemic in the United States.
Methadone is commonly used to help treat Opioid Addiction but needs to be prescribed correctly. Methadone is typically provided in a clinic setting and can be used to treat cravings and withdrawal.
The medication buprenorphine relieves opioid cravings but does not give the same high as other opioids. This medicine is often prescribed by doctors in offices. It can be administered under the tongue as a daily dose or via thin tubes that are inserted underneath the skin. The effects last for six months.
Both of these medicines activate opioid receptors in your body, suppressing cravings. They are both safe and effective in safety and side effects. They are typically used for maintenance treatments and these medicines can also be used to reduce the effects of opioids. Patients are likely to relapse and doctors must do more with patients who have relapsed multiple times. This type of intensive outpatient treatment tends to be more effective for patients who are motivated and have a strong social support system at home.
Naltrexone, a completely different medication, doesn’t activate the opioid receptor but blocks the euphoric/sedative effects. Before naltrexone can be started, the patient must have completely eliminated all opioids from their system. You can either take it orally or once a month.
Vivitrol, one of our newer medications, is a monthly injection used to treat alcohol and opioid addiction. It contains naltrexone, which reduces the desire to drink alcohol and blocks the effects of opioids. It should only be used in individuals who have already gone through detoxification and abstained from drugs/alcohol for 7-10 days. It is an important tool in addiction treatment, used in combination with counseling and other support services.
Naloxone is available in emergency situations when respiratory arrest due to opioid overdose has occurred or is imminent. Naloxone can flush out opioid receptors and reverse an overdose. However, it is not an addiction treatment.
Sober living programs along with supervised detox are other alternative treatment methods that are proven effective and safe.