Drug Dependence: Understanding Opioid Addiction

Drug Dependence: Understanding Opioid Addiction

Thousands of people suffer from opioid addiction, including some high-profile celebrities. This epidemic is different from other drug use because opioids are technically prescription medications. People willingly take the drug as a solution for pain after an injury or surgery. At some point, however, they become addicted. Being dependent on a drug can creep up on some individuals. Learn more about opioid addiction and the telltale signs that go along with it.

Opioid’s Function

Under a doctor’s supervision, opioids have a positive effect on the body. This drug is designed to shut off a certain level of pain that’s recognized by the brain. If you’re recovering from a surgery, relieving the pain is necessary for healing purposes. You simply stop taking the opioids when the wounds are fully healed.

A problem that develops in some patients is overuse. Putting too much of this drug into your body will cause the pain receptors and nerve signals to change. The result is addictive cravings that can be lifelong afflictions.

The Science Behind Opioid Addiction

The benefit of taking opioids is the pain relief offered to the individual. However, this science can backfire when misuse is in play. The pain abates because the body is filled with artificial endorphins. These synthetic hormones mimic the real endorphins that you feel when you exercise or experience a joyful scenario.

An issue arises when you take opioids on a regular basis. You have too many artificial endorphins so the body responds by not making its own hormones. Over time, you stop making endorphins altogether. Addiction is a real problem now.

Subsequent Moodiness

With the addiction pathway defined, it makes sense that one of the main signs of opioid addiction is moodiness. Without natural endorphins balancing out your mind, emotions tend to run high. You feel elated at one moment, but then the depths of despair kick in.

To combat this moodiness, dependent people turn to opioids. The drug seems to balance out the moodiness, which only contributes to further addiction. Other emotions, from depression to irritability, will also be present as a person deals with the constant cravings.

Constant Thoughts Surrounding Drug Use

Addiction becomes a real problem when the individual thinks of nothing but the drug. You think of taking opioids, where to find them and how to go about your daily life with the drug in play. People will abandon certain responsibilities in lieu of taking the opioids, for example.

Opioid users may not realize that their minds are so focused on the drug until it’s a serious issue. This particular drug has many forms, such as fentanyl and oxycodone, so finding a substitute is never difficult.

Possible Overdose

Overdosing on opioids is a life-threatening situation. The reason why overdose is so prevalent is due to tolerance levels. You might take two or three pills at a time, but the “high” isn’t strong anymore. Dependent people simply increase the amount of opioids taken at a given time. Adding just one pill to a large amount can result in an overdose.

Symptoms of an overdose include:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Irregular heartbeat

Medical professionals must revive an overdosed person. A hospital stay will often accompany a medical intervention.

Seeking Help

Opioid addiction isn’t a habit that can be stopped on your own. It’s a combination of psychological and physiological factors that go into the addiction itself. Ideally, you need to seek out opioid withdrawal treatment.

Reputable, treatment centers will treat the entire person. The first step toward a healthier life is admitting to a problem. Many individuals believe that an admission is the hardest part of recovery. The journey only gets easier afterward.

Detox, Rehab and Beyond

When you enter a treatment center, you go through detoxification first. Your body must physically rid itself of the opioids. Professionals oversee your experience so that pain remains managed the entire time.

Rehabilitation includes private and group counseling. You’ve rid the body of the drugs, but the psychological dependence is still there. Learn why you crave the drug and how to deal with it. Understanding your triggers will help you stay clean.

Support groups will help you out as treatment ends. Sobriety will always be a struggle, but staying clean is possible with the right treatment supporting your needs.

It’s important to remember that addiction isn’t a choice. Being drug dependent is a disease that requires treatment. Every person who deals with dependence must come to the conclusion that help is necessary. As a result, recovery and a healthy life are possible.

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