A Look At Opiate Addiction
Opioid or opiate addiction has reached crisis levels in the United States. A common medication used to help alleviate pain is now changing into a go-to drug for an “easy high.” Sadly, using this potent substance can quickly lead to addiction. The opiate crisis includes a variety of opium based narcotics including Heroin, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Codeine and others
The Statistics are Scary
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, in 2015 there were 20,101 drug overdoses associated with prescription opiate based drugs and 12,990 deaths attributed to heroin overdoses, an illegal form of opiate drugs. We have continued to see overdoses from opiates surge. This accounts for more than 2/3 of all drug overdoses that occurred that year. The Institute also cites that emergency room visits for overdoses that did not result in death has grown by 70 percent over the last decade. These startling figures show the dangers of opiate addiction.
2016 figures are even more startling according to a report made by CDC Wonder, a firm who tracks overdose death rates. The report stated, “Among the more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2016, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with over 20,000 overdose deaths.”
Options for Addiction
Thankfully, there is help available. Drug rehabilitation centers can save your life offering people facing the harsh reality of an opiate addiction a way to overcome this problem and learn to live life drug free.
What Are Opiates?
Opiates are drugs made from opium. Opium is a plant based substance that has been harvested for thousands of years. One of the beneficial qualities of opium is that it has the ability to mask pain sensors in the body by interacting with receptors in the brain. The opium floods the brain with “feel good” hormones which for many people also causes a state of euphoria.
Over time the feel good hormones take more opiates to trigger. So people begin to use more drugs to achieve the same high. This can progress over time until an eventual overdose or drug related death occurs.
Opiates are highly addictive. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) a person can become addicted mentally to an opiate based drug in as little as 10 days, and physically in as little as 21 days. This is why it is imperative that anyone who uses these types of medications for a medical condition do so under strict medical guidance.
What Types Of Drugs Are Considered Opiates?
Any type of medication that is based from the opium plant or a synthetic version of opium is considered an opiate. Here are some of the more popular names associated with opiates:
Opiate Addiction Causes Significant Health Problems
When you become addicted to an opiate based drug, you put your life at risk. The opiates in the drugs slow body functions to dangerously low levels. As a result, many people who use opiates also experience health issues:
- Heart Attack. The opiates slow the heart rate to a point where it can no longer function properly. This can lead to heart failure or heart attack.
- Loss of Lung Function. Lungs are also impacted by opiates. Your breathing can become so slow that your lungs will have to labor hard to make sure you intake enough oxygen. Too much opiates may cause your lungs to just stop working.
- Severe Constipation. Your intestines are continually moving to process the food that you eat. This movement helps the body digest food and absorb nutrients. When this process is slowed by the opiates, you can become constipated. Overuse of opiates can lead to severe problems that will require surgery to correct.
- Nausea. Because your digestive system is not working properly you can experience regular nausea. This is a very common issue with opiate abuse. Sadly this often leads to people not wanting to eat to avoid the problem which in turn creates more health problems.
- Confusion and Mood Swings. Opiates directly affect your brain chemicals. Because of this you can experience confusion, mood swings, depression, and mania.
The good news is that once you have entered rehab you can overcome and correct many of these problems. One of the main issues addressed in rehabilitation centers is how to stay healthy after you have beaten an addiction.
Overcoming Your Addiction
When you are in the grasp of an addiction it may seem like there is no way to every break the hold the substance has on your life. The good news is that if you want to break the addiction you can. Wanting to overcome a problem is the first step to success.
Working closely with a quality rehabilitation center is your next step to overcoming your addiction. You will need to choose between inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation. During rehab you will learn about the physical and mental issues that have led to your addiction or are the result of your addiction and how to make the necessary changes to overcome these problems.
Your substance abuse counselor will work with you at every level of your recovery to help ensure that you take the steps necessary to leaving your addiction behind. Whether you are in a live in program or attend recovery on an outpatient basis, your counselor will be your guide throughout the entire recovery process.
You can stop using opiates, even if you still face issues with pain. There are many alternatives now available that are just as good or better at managing the pain without the awful effects of addiction.