Opioids are a classification of narcotics
that include naturally occurring chemicals in the opium
poppy, or synthetic substances made to mimic their effects. The term opiate is commonly used incorrectly in place of opioid. Opiates include alkaloids naturally found in the opium poppy such as morphine
, and thebaine. Semi-synthetic and synthetic opioids include hydrocodone
, and methadone
. Doctors commonly prescribe opioid for pain relief or cough suppressants. However, the side effects of euphoria and sedation often lead to opioid abuse.
Opioids have a high risk for addiction, both psychologically and physically. Opioids bind to a protein in the brain called opioid receptors. Upon binding, the opioid receptors can block pain, cause respiratory depression, and euphoria. Opioid abusers develop a quick tolerance to the drug increasing frequency and amount of use. As opioid use increases, the brain becomes accustomed to their presence and cannot function normally without them. When the brain becomes accustomed cessation becomes difficult. Withdrawal symptoms become increasingly worse as opioid addiction progresses. The majority of opioid abusers who attempt to quit on their own relapse as a result of withdrawal effects.
Opioid Withdrawal and Detox
Medical detox is recommended for heavy opioid abusers. Withdrawal
from opioids may seem unbearable and the intense physical and psychological pains drive many to abuse drugs again. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, sweating, muscle pain, fatigue, and irritability. The user experiences strong cravings to use drugs again, as they know it is the quickest solution to the pain. At medical detox facilities, doctors help guide you through the detox process. They may prescribe drugs such as Suboxone or Subutex, which have several benefits. As opioids, these drugs curb the drug cravings and numb many of the withdrawal symptoms. Strong binding opioids, such as Suboxone and Subutex, block opioid receptors preventing any effects street opiates produce.
Opioid Addiction Treatment
Opioid addiction is a serious condition and requires treatment. Residential treatment centers
offer programs that are designed to help the individual find a solution for their opioid addiction. While enrolled, the patient lives on-site and partakes in therapeutic services as well as possible twelve step meeting participation. The environment is drug-free, and staff are well trained to deal with any problems you may have. There are also outpatient clinics in which the individual attends during the day, but is permitted to leave after groups. They are similar to residential programs in their treatment but hold a higher risk as the individual is allowed some freedom. Transitional living houses offer a safe residence for newly recovering addicts to live.