Opioid Addiction

Substance abuse is a disease that can have profound effects on your health and behavior. Drug addiction starts when the pleasurable effects of the substance makes you crave for it and want to keep using it.

One of the most abused drugs is opioid. Opioid dependence can change your brain in a way that a strong urge to use this drug controls your behavior. It destroys not only one’s health but also the abuser’s relationship with others.

What is opioid?

Opioid is a chemical substance used as pain relievers (analgesics). In addition to the relief from pain, it also creates a degree of sedation and a sense of euphoria. Opioid is also used as a cough suppressant as it also suppresses the respiratory system.

The term "opiates" is sometimes used interchangeably with opioids, since almost all opiates derive from the opium poppy. Opioid drugs include the following: opium, fentanyl, hydrocodone, morphine, paregoric, codeine, heroin, methadone, oxycodone, and sufentanil.

What are the signs that you’re addicted to opioid?

Opioid addiction doesn’t strike everyone prescribed to take painkillers. As a matter of fact, many people stop using them when they don’t need them.

But many others develop an addiction, which is manifested in many ways. One is considered opioid dependent when he or she exhibits at least three of these behaviors for a 12-month period:

  • Tolerance to opioid, to the point that the person needs to take more medications just to achieve the same effects;
  • Withdrawal becomes apparent as soon as the medication is discontinued;
  • Taking significantly higher dosages without the doctor’s prescription or when they aren’t actually needed;
  • Engrossment with getting more medication; and
  • A radical change in lifestyle or habit, such as ignoring responsibilities, skipping social engagements, or committing petty crimes.

How can you break opioid dependence?

You have to realize that you have the control over your own behavior. First, commit yourself to quitting. Second, seek professional help. Your doctor can be your biggest helper. He or she may give you prescription that will help stop your urge to take opioid.

Confiding with your counselor about your opioid addiction can also be helpful. Third, you need to get some support. Contact such organizations as Narcotics Anonymous or Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which are committed to helping substance dependent people.

What happens when you start to detoxify?

Withdrawal can be very discomforting. You will feel the opposite of the effects of taking opioid. Withdrawal symptoms can begin after a few hours of the opioid dependent’s last dose.

Symptoms include the following: excessive sweating, runny nose and eyes, vomiting, muscle aches and cramps, irritability and anxiety, yawning, diarrhea, shivering and goose bumps, restlessness and insomnia, and loss of appetite.

Depending on the type of opioid abused and the length of dependence, symptoms can last from a few days to a few weeks. Opioid dependents recover through a carefully structured and personally tailored medical, nutritional, and psychological treatment.