Opiates are highly addictive drugs, making opiate addiction (opioid addiction) a very real possibility. When an abuser takes an opiate, the drug enters the brain through the bloodstream, creating a flood of artificial endorphins and dopamine Б
responsible for feelings of reward, pleasure and satisfaction. This creates a rush of happiness and euphoria. This high is so unlike any naturally-occurring rush of dopamine or endorphins that the only way a person can experience it again is by using the drug again. After repeated use, however, the brain will stop creating dopamine and endorphins, limiting a personБs ability to experience these feelings again to only when they use opiates. Because of the strong and desirable feelings that flood the brain, and because they cannot feel pleasure naturally any longer, it is easy to crave an opiate high. People choose to abuse opiates in order to lessen their pain and continue experiencing these euphoric feelings on demand. This is one of the main reasons opiates are so highly addictive and why opiate addiction (opioid addiction) is such a concern. There are several. The first is tolerance Б when a person has to use increasingly larger doses of opiates to experience the same high. Next comes physical dependence, when the body will enter withdrawal if the abuser stops taking the drug. Finally, psychological dependence, or cravings for opiates set in Б the hallmark of opiate addiction (opioid addiction). Many people who are in the grips of opiate addiction (opioid addiction) become addicted unintentionally.
For some, they begin using the drugs with a legitimate prescription in response to an accident or surgery that would have caused them pain. By the time they no longer need the drugs for their pain, however, opiates have taken hold in the brain and cause a physical dependence starting an opiate addiction (opioid addiction). Some abusers will fake continued pain symptoms in order to get refills on their prescription, or Б Б and visit different doctors to obtain multiple prescriptions at once. Prescription painkillers are also available on the black market or dark web, but can be very expensive. For this reason, many who start their opiate addiction using prescription opiates will end up abusing heroin, as it is cheaper to use and easier to get a hold of. In fact, a survey in 2014 found that nearly all of the respondents in treatment for opioid addiction resorted to using heroin because prescription pills were more expensive and harder to obtain. Long-term opioid use changes the way nerve cells work in the brain. This happens even to people who take opioids for a long time to treat pain, as prescribed by their doctor. The nerve cells grow used to having opioids around, so when they are taken away suddenly, the brain has a volatile reaction. This results in unpleasant feelings and reactions, known as withdrawal symptoms. One of the hallmarks of opiate addiction (opioid addiction) is a person who abuses opiates even though it has admitted negative effects on their life. They have strong urges to take opiates Б called cravings Б and they no longer feel satisfied by natural rewards (like chocolate, sex, TV or a walk on the beach).
With stigma still being attached to the word addiction, many people avoid going to treatment and end up endangering themselves. We believe that there is no shame in opiate addiction, opioid addiction or any addiction Б it is a disease. And, as with any disease, it requires medical care and attention. With the right course of action, detoxification, treatment plans and supervision from the best staff, you can put opiate addiction (opioid addiction) in the past and go about living a happy and successful life. There is no better time to seek treatment than now. Opiates are some of the most powerful, and powerfully addictive, drugs. They have important medical uses. This does not mean they are harmless. The same properties that make them work as painkillers also make them harmful. Understand how opiates work. Learn how and why addiction is a risk. Know that recovery help and hope are available. What Are Opiates? Drugs in the opiate class originate from poppy plants. The gooey sap inside the pods of mature flowers can be removed and processed. Resulting products are smoked, eaten, sniffed, or injected. Further refining results in many of the opiates available by prescription. Natural opiates include morphine and codeine. Semi-synthetic products include oxycodone and hydrocodone. Fully synthetic products are some of the most dangerous and addictive. They can be manufactured to be much stronger than any natural product.
Fentanyl is one of several synthetic opiates. Forbesб explains, БFentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is 50-100 times more potent than morphine and 25-50 times more potent than heroin. Б Fentanyl may work БbetterБ than other opiate drugs, but the risks match or exceed the possible benefits. The more powerful an opiate drug, the more likely side effects like addiction become. What Do Opiates Do? Opiate receptors exist throughout the body. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, Б[Opiates] act by attaching to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are found on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs in the body. Б When opiates attach to these receptors, they change how the brain perceives pain. They produce feelings of pleasure or euphoria. They also slow essential body functions like heart and breath rates. Wanted and unwanted effects are often almost instantaneous. The stronger the opiate, the faster and more powerful the effects. Who Gets Addicted? Opiates act on the brain and body. Addiction is a disease that develops in response to opiatesБ effects. It is not a matter of personality, willpower or weakness. Anyone can become addicted, but nobody wants to. Opiate use often begins with the best intentions. People want to manage physical or mental pain. They may receive a prescription from a medical professional or borrow pills from a friend or family member. This use quickly escalates. Even if opiate use involves a prescription, it is dangerous. Opiate use puts health at risk.
Overdose rates have reached epidemic levels. The Centers for Disease Control reports, БIn 2015, drug overdoses accounted for 52,404 deaths in the United States, 63. 1% of which involved an opioid. Among opioid-related deaths, approximately 15,000 (approximately half) involved a prescription opioid. In addition, an estimated 2. 0 million persons in the United States had opioid use disorder (addiction) associated with prescription opioids in 2015. Б Opiate addiction is a common story. Opiate overdose is a common result. It doesnБt have to be. Addiction is a serious situation, but there are many reasons to have hope. The number of effective, available treatments is increasing. Stigma is beginning to decrease. You can access immediate, appropriate care for yourself or an addicted loved one. Recovery professionals help people address addiction. They help people develop skills and strengths for sobriety. If someone you love is abusing opioids, Reach out to Black Bear Lodge. We can help you understand addiction and your options. Our evidence-based therapies offer real hope for recovery. Please call. We have so much to share with you. We want to, and can, help. Walton, Alice. Б. Б Forbes. 9 Apr. 2016. Accessed 8 Aug. 2017. Volkow, Nora. Б. Б National Institute on Drug Abuse. 14 May 2014. Accessed 8 Aug. 2017. The National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment. Б. Б Accessed 8 Aug. 2017. Guy, GP; Zhang, K; Bohm, MK. Б. Б Centers for Disease Control. 7 Jul. 2017. Accessed 8 Aug. 2017.