Opiates have been used for many years as a form of pain management and are still prescribed today. In the early 1900s, heroin was used as a cough suppressant. This was before anyone was aware of its addictive nature. OxyContin, morphine, methadone, and hydrocodone are some of the opiates used to treat pain.
Opiate use releases endorphins, which produce a heightened sense of wellbeing. Over time, the brain is tricked into not releasing endorphins naturally. The only way a person can experience the same euphoric feelings is by continual use of the drug and in larger amounts. This triggers the cycle of addiction.
When endorphins are not released naturally, a person becomes sick or depressed unless he or she uses the opiate. Using the opiate is no longer about feeling the pleasurable effects, but avoiding the negative feelings without it. After repeated use, the brain stops creating dopamine and limits a person’s ability to feel the strong and desirable euphoria, and only happens when using the opiate again. That is why a person craves the next high. When receiving pleasurable feelings turns into avoiding bad ones, the person becomes addicted to opiates.
Opiates are usually prescribed to a person for pain management. Over time and prolonged use, a person develops a tolerance to the intended dose and needs to take more and more to achieve a similar effect. When a person takes more than he or she needs, they usually doctor shop to get more prescriptions from different medical professionals. Many people who use prescription painkillers switch to a cheaper, more potent opiate – heroin.
When a person addicted to opiates stops using them, withdrawal symptoms immediately occur. The withdrawal symptoms include depression, anxiety, disruptive sleep patterns, insomnia, nausea, and other physical and mental health conditions. The body becomes physically dependent on the opiate, and cravings set in.
Opiate addiction interrupts regular activities in a person’s life. The individual with opiate addiction focuses on getting his or her next high to relieve the severe withdrawal symptoms. Opiate addiction disrupts marriages, relationships, and causes poor job performance and dependability.
There are medications to help lessen the intensity of opiate withdrawal. A person living with an opiate addiction should never detox alone. The urge for relapse is extremely strong with opiate addiction. Detox must be done safely with medical supervision.
Recovery is possible and healing will take place in mind, body, and spirit. Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a holistic based, 12-step inspired, clinically proven program for alcoholism and co-occurring disorders. Call (844) 234-LIVE today for information on our partial care programs.