Do you have an opioid addiction?
Opioid addiction affects millions of Americans every year. Recent surveys have highlighted the unprecedented spike in nonmedical use of opioids and marijuana abuse in the United States. As per a report published by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), among the 20.5 million people aged 12 or older who struggled with a substance use disorder (SUD) in 2015, nearly two million of them displayed the symptoms related to the prescription pain relievers while the rest 591,000 were affected by heroin abuse.
Opioids are a group of drugs administered for the treatment of pain. However, they are immensely addictive in nature and have the potential to induce tolerance, dependence and eventually addiction. Due to numerous misconceptions related to the safety of opioids, the culture of prescribing such medication for all kinds of pain has become complex.
As defined by the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), opioid use disorder (OUD) is a problematic pattern of opioid use that has become a leading cause of disability in the U.S. Opioid addiction can be identified through various symptoms. Some of them are discussed below:
- Increased use of opioids over time: Opioids are known for their potent addictive characteristics. When used in medical settings, these drugs work by masking pain, i.e., they alter pathways in the brain by binding to the receptors in the brain. As a result, they release an enormous amount of unnatural endorphins in the brain that gives one an intense sense of pleasure and well-being. Such drugs possess the potential to comfort the users for a short time, which in turn may make them dependent on the drug.
- Experience withdrawal symptoms on stopping the drug: Tolerance, dependence, and addiction to opioids manifest as a result of the chronic opioid abuse. Due to the persistent use of opioids for a prolonged period, the brain becomes adaptive to their effects. With time, the brain becomes more tolerant and dependent on higher doses. However, under such circumstances, when a person tries to quit, or when the effect of the drug wears off, users tend to experience a host of withdrawal symptoms like diarrhea, restlessness, abdominal cramping, piloerection, sleep issues, anxiety, excessive sweating, high blood pressure, etc.
- Tendency to misuse drugs: The abuse and addiction to opioids like heroin, morphine or prescription pain relievers can cause adverse consequences that can affect users’ socioeconomic welfare and overall health. Moreover, narcotic drugs carry a high risk of overdose even when administered by doctors. When people abuse or misuse such drugs by taking more than the prescribed dose or couple it with alcohol or other illicit drugs, they are likely to increase their risk of developing an addiction or may end up overdosing on the drug.
- Experience a persistent desire for the drug: Opioids work by reducing the perception of pain and triggering the pleasurable chemicals to activate the reward system of the brain. Hence, they compel the users to indulge in drugs by inciting cravings.
- Struggle to cut down the obsession: As a person develops tolerance to opioids swiftly without any warning, he or she is likely to develop an increased level of dependence on the drug that can pose serious challenges to him or her in overcoming the obsession. Moreover, despite the recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused by the drug, it becomes a toilsome task to quit.
Road to recovery
Apart from the above-mentioned symptoms, users trying to withdraw from opioids and other substances may indulge in malpractices and other unhealthy or illegal measures to obtain the drug of abuse. Therefore, a large number of patients are often involved in criminal activities like theft and doctor shopping.
When suffering from an addiction to opioids, one is recommended to consult an expert and undergo the process of detoxification, which is the first step to recovery. By undergoing detox, one can expunge the stored toxins and move closer to sobriety.
If you or your loved one is suffering from opioid abuse, contact the Colorado Detox Helpline to get adequate information on treatment. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-730-5807 to access details about various detox centers in Colorado. You can also chat online with our experts for further information.