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Are You Addicted to Prescription Opioids?

Are You Addicted to Prescription Opioids?

The US has seen a drastic rise in addiction to prescription opioids in the past few decades. Since 1999 the US went from 16,849 opioid-related overdose deaths to over 70,000 a year. Opioids continue to be one of the most addictive and dangerous substances in the world, in part because of their high risk of overdose, but also because of their massive market presence and their difficulty in treatment. Our Orange County rehab center provides many options for those suffering from addiction to opiates, or the families of those who are addicted. Many Americans take legitimate, prescription opioids for pain, surgery, rehab, and a number of other serious medical complications. In fact, in 2006 there were over 255 million prescriptions for opiates dispensed. Even when taken at recommended doses, for legitimate reasons, prescription opioids can still be highly addictive, so it’s important to understand what could constitute an addiction.

The Presence of Prescription Opioids

What kind of presence do opioids have on your life? Many people have a relationship with ibuprofen, vitamin C, and some drugs, chemicals, and substances in our lives… but we don’t’ spend all day thinking about them. If you’ve ever met someone dependent on coffee, you would notice it immediately. They’d be waiting around a coffee pot, they’d be groggy without it, they might be moody or irritable. The same goes for prescription opioids. It might be a part of your daily needs to reduce pain, make you more productive, or help you move around, but if you’re spending a good portion of your mental energy thinking, worrying about, or in anticipation of an opiate, your body might be developing an unhealthy dependence. What kind of presence does your current prescription opioid have on your life?

Opioids Impacting Your Quality of Life

On the further end of the scale, opioids could already be affecting your life seriously and negatively. Have you ever skipped an important event, like a workday, meeting, or family gathering with opiates as your reason? Either you were too affected by the opiate, or you didn’t want to leave the house without taking it? Have you experienced serious medical side-effects from an opiate and continued to take it? Have you considered “doubling” a recommended dose for a greater high? Have you considered or attempted a crime under the influence of opiates, such as driving while impaired?

These are all serious risks of opiate addiction and need to be addressed immediately. If your quality of life, your relationships with your family, friends, or your career suffer because of your medication or the side-effects of the prescriptions you are on, it’s important to speak with a medical professional as soon as you can.

What Can I Do About an Addiction to Prescription Drugs?

There tons of resources for those looking to heal from substance dependency. Narcotics Anonymous (NA.org) is one great starting place for those looking to meet a healing community and learn more about the process of rehab and detox. A professional and full-service drug and alcohol rehab clinic should also be an essential part of your recovery plan. Opioids have serious withdrawal symptoms that can be dangerous without professional guidance. After rehab, you will also need a series of skills and therapies to help you resist withdrawal symptoms, triggers, and other causes of relapse. Recovery from a prescription opioid addiction is possible and can be made safer and simpler with a professional rehab program. If you’re looking for a rehab and detox in Orange County, or want to know more about addiction treatment, call us at (714) 782-3973 today.

Addiction Treatment

Congratulations to Dr. Mario for Publication in the CSAM Newsletter

Mario San Bartolome, MD

Dr. Mario’s Article Published by the CSAM

Experience Recovery is proud to announce that our very own Dr. Mario San Bartolome (“Dr. Mario”) has published an article in the California Society of Addiction Medicine’s prestigious newsletter. His article entitled, “Applying Your Addiction Medicine Know-How” appears in the Spring 2018 issue. We would like to congratulate Dr. Mario on his accomplishment – it is quite an achievement to be published by the CSAM.

Our Mission and Vision

At Experience Recovery, our mission is to be committed to ethical and professional healthcare services for individuals and families. Our vision is to empower those we serve. Dr. Mario’s CSAM article, and his continued dedication to making a positive impact on the field of addiction medicine demonstrates our mission and vision in action.

Clients who come to us for professional addiction treatment services typically don’t realize how much goes on behind the scenes in the realm of substance abuse treatment. There are governmental guidelines, insurance policies, and state and federal regulations that directly impact access to addiction treatment services.

Dr. Mario Encourages Colleagues to Step Out of Their Comfort Zone

In his CSAM article, Dr. Mario encourages those who provide addiction treatment services to extend their influence beyond the realm of individualized care. He recognizes that those who treat addicted people one-on-one are quite comfortable doing so, but Dr. Mario asks his colleagues to step out of their comfort zone and become involved in matters that affect rehabilitation outside treatment centers.

“It’s time to get involved in activities outside of the individual patient care bubble as well. You have a unique skill set and this is a particularly vulnerable time for the country’s leadership,” Dr. Mario writes in his article.
He continues, “As addiction medicine specialists, we have a duty to serve our patients whether in the clinic or the boardroom, and the addiction medicine professional is in a unique position to help keep policies relevant, effective, and humane.”

Experience Recovery Applauds Dr. Mario’s Positive Impact on Addiction Treatment

At Experience Recovery, we applaud Dr. Mario’s efforts to make a positive impact on addiction treatment by reaching out to his colleagues and asking them to step up their game. It is important for those who treat addiction to recognize that there is work to do when it comes to changing policies, influencing legislation, and changing regulations that negatively impact addiction rehabilitation.

Because we know Dr. Mario personally, we know how passionate he is about advocating for improving access to care and quality of treatments for people with substance use disorders through leadership at the local, state and national level. Dr. Mario also enjoys teaching students and colleagues about Addiction Medicine.

To put it simply, the world needs more addiction specialists like Dr. Mario. By publishing his article in the CSAM newsletter, he performed a great service for the addiction community by sharing his wisdom and insight. His article is nothing short of a motivational call to action for those who serve on the front lines of addiction treatment.

At Experience Recovery, we appreciate Dr. Mario’s professionalism and commitment to excellence. He is a forward-thinking and active member of the professional community of addiction medicine. Dr. Mario genuinely cares about every client he treats and has a sincere desire to see that every person who struggles with addiction find freedom and fulfillment. We are confident we will continue to see great things from Dr. Mario and consider it a great privilege to have him as one of our staff members.

Opioid Addiction and Pain Management Issues

For those with real, chronic pain issues, relief can seem hard to come by. That’s why, when doctors recommend prescription painkillers—many of them opioids—it’s often very welcome. Over time, however, opioid painkillers can lead to problems of their own. In fact, opioid addiction is a nationwide epidemic, and it’s not uncommon for it to begin with a perfectly innocent, normal, and legal attempt to mitigate pain.

For those who become addicted to opioid drugs, then, the problem is twofold. On the one hand, these individuals need freedom from substance abuse; at the same time, they still have the chronic pain issues to deal with. Weening themselves off of opioids, even if it were an easy thing to do, would still leave them with some real healthcare problems to consider.

Addiction Treatment and Pain Management

A two-pronged approach to opioid addiction recovery is possible—and at Experience Recovery, we are zealous about helping our clients to find freedom both from drug addiction and from the pain that afflicts them.

The first part of this process is addiction recovery. Historically, opioid addiction treatment has come in three basic forms.

Structured Opioid Use

Structured opioid use is a method in which the opioid user is guided back toward a safe, controlled use of opioid painkillers—meaning he or she can continue taking opioids to help with the pain. This is really not a viable option for true addiction recovery, however; it’s really just for those who are slightly misusing opioids, and thus is not really part of the program we offer here at Experience Recovery.

Medically-Assisted Recovery

In other cases, those who are addicted to opioids can be transitioned off of their painkillers and on to substances such as methadone or Suboxone—both of which can help with the pain as well as the withdrawals. The problem is that these substances can sometimes become addictive in themselves, so this is not a recommended solution for everyone.

Abstinence-Based Treatment

The best solution for most individuals is an abstinence-based approach—which may mean residential treatment, partial hospitalization, or intensive outpatient treatment. Rather than using powerful narcotics to assist with detox and recovery, this treatment method uses non-additive treatments to provide lasting freedom from addiction.

Dealing with Chronic Pain

These options can each lead to sobriety, but they don’t necessarily address the issue of ongoing pain. At Experience Recovery, however, we take a whole-person view of recovery, and want to help individuals find relief from whatever physical discomfort they are in, without the need for powerful drugs.

An addiction counselor will help you address your specific pain management needs. Speaking broadly, however, we can offer a wide range of solutions—including yoga, exercise, meditation, acupuncture, and massage therapy, all of which can reduce the inflammation that leads to chronic pain. And, in the cases that do require medicine, we can offer some safe, natural, and non-habit-forming alternatives to opioids.

Experience Recovery—from Addiction and from Pain

Often, opioid addiction begins as a response to chronic pain. As such, a good recovery program has to address both the addiction itself, and its underlying cause. At Experience Recovery, that’s a charge we take seriously.

Our addiction counselors are here to talk with you about the addiction recovery options that are available to you. No matter your specific needs, we invite you to contact us today to start developing a treatment plan that’s tailored to you.

Side Effects of Opioids

What are the Side Effects of Opioids?

What are the Side Effects of OpioidsOpioids can be effective tools for pain management; in fact, doctors have long turned to opioid drugs to help those suffering with chronic pain, cancer, or other ailments. As time goes by, however, the treacherous side effects of opioids become increasingly clear. Not only are they powerfully addictive, but they can damage the body and the mind in a number of ways—and in some cases, they can even prove fatal.

In this post, we’ll list some of the most common side effects of opioids—and we’ll also explain the promise of opioid rehab and recovery.

How Do Opioids Affect the Body?

First, it is important to understand how opioids work, basically.

  • Opioids—which include such prescription painkillers as morphine, and OxyContin, among many others—depress the central nervous system.
  • Opioid drugs mitigate feelings of pain, while creating an intense feeling of pleasure or wellbeing.
  • Over time, opioids actually rewire the nervous system, and make it impossible to feel a sense of wellbeing without the use of drugs.
  • Those who become addicted to opioids may require higher or more frequent doses just to experience that same feeling of euphoria.

What are the Physical Side Effects of Opioids?

There are a number of ways in which opioids affect the physical body. A few of these physical side effects of opioids include:

  • Prolonged periods of constipation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Constricted pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Inability to feel good without opioids

In some of the most extreme cases, opioid addiction can even result in death. Usually, it is specifically due to either respiratory arrest or cardiac arrest. The risk of death is most pronounced when opioids are abused in tandem with other drugs or with alcohol.

What are the Mental or Emotional Effects of Opioids?

There are some subtler effects of opioid addiction that are worth noting—some various ways in which opioid drugs can impair mental health. A few of the most significant ones include:

  • Restlessness, or inability to fall to sleep at night
  • An intense feeling of elation
  • Feeling “down” or depressed, especially as a dosage of opioids wears off

These effects may initially be harder to observe in friends or loved ones, yet they are clear indications of a problem with opioid abuse.

What are the Behavioral Effects of Opioids?

There are also a number of ways in which opioids can impact behavior. Here are some of the most common behavioral side effects of opioid use:

  • Lying, stealing, or being secretive in an attempt to cover up drug use
  • Doctor shopping—going to different physicians to try to get more prescriptions
  • Using prescription painkillers longer than is necessary
  • Losing interest in activities that once brought pleasure
  • Neglecting school, work, or family responsibilities
  • Social withdrawal—losing interest in relationships or friendships

These forms of behavioral are all classic symptoms of drug addiction, and of opioid abuse in particular.

What are the Effects of Opioid Withdrawal?

Because opioids impact the brain in such a powerful way, their effects can be difficult to undo. In fact, attempts to stop taking opioids can result in withdrawal symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:

  • A general sense of anxiety or jitteriness
  • Aches in the muscles
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Profuse sweating
  • Dilated pupils of watery eyes
  • A fast heart rate

At times, the pain associated with non-medically supervised opioid withdrawal can be so intense, it causes relapse or even overdose. For this reason, home detox is not recommended. A medical detox facility can help you remove opioids from your system as quickly, effectively, and as safely as possible, all while keeping these withdrawal symptoms in check.

Is There Hope for Opioid Recovery?

Is There Hope for Opioid RecoveryTo summarize, the effects of opioid addiction can be intense, long-lasting, and even life-threatening. They do not have to be permanent, however. Opioid recovery is attainable, and it begins with clinical intervention.

Through opioid rehab, you can find freedom from your dependence on opioids—and also eliminate these physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms.

To learn more about recovery from opioid addiction, we invite you to contact us at Experience Recovery. We can help you develop a personalized plan to detox from opioids, safely and smoothly, and then to lay a foundation for lifelong addiction recovery. If you’ve faced any of these opioid symptoms, contact the team at Experience Recovery today.

What Kind of Drugs are Opioids

What Kind of Drugs are Opioids?

What Kind of Drugs are OpioidsYou’ve probably heard mention of the opioid crisis—an epidemic of drug addiction, centered on a specific category of narcotics. Despite all the media attention surrounding opioid addiction, there remains much misunderstanding about what opioids really are.

In this post, we’ll define the category, and offer some insights into what separates opioids from other types of drugs. We’ll discuss how opioids affect body and mind, and also list some specific examples of opioids. Finally, we’ll offer a few words about opioid rehab—and provide some hope for those who are struggling with opioid addiction.

What are Opioids?

  • Opioids are originally derived from the poppy plant.
  • They have been around for thousands of years, used in both recreational and medical settings.
  • Some opioids come from raw, natural opium, while others are synthesized in a lab and made to resemble opium.
  • While some opioids are classified as illegal narcotics, others are commonly used by physicians—in particular, to manage pain.
  • Opioids are known for their pronounced effect on the body’s central nervous system; this makes them helpful in pain management, but it also makes them addictive.
  • While opioid addiction is serious—even life-threatening—recovery is always attainable.

What are the Different Types of Opioids?

There are three main categories of opioid drugs:

  • Naturally occurring opioids, derived from opium. Morphine is an example.
  • Partially synthetic derivatives of morphine, such as hydrocodone and oxycodone.
  • Entirely synthetic drugs, made to resemble the chemical structure of opium; examples include methadone and codeine.

Below are some further points about each type of opioid.

What are Natural Opioid Drugs?

As the name suggests, these drugs are all derived from a naturally-occurring source—specifically, poppy plants. These opioids are sometimes considered to be less powerful and therefore less addictive than their synthetic counterparts, yet they still have a significant impact on the body’s nervous systems—and as such, they can still be quite addictive.

There is a long history of natural opioids being used to mitigate pain, yet there is also a track record of these medicines—including morphine—being used to get high, illegally.

What are Semisynthetic Opioids?

The second classification of opioids includes those that are made from both synthetic and natural opioid ingredients—making them sort of a hybrid version. They were initially developed to provide a safer alternative to their synthetic counterparts, yet they have both the same basic structure and the same serious effects as opioids in other forms.

What are Synthetic Opioids?

Finally, there are the opioid drugs that are made in a laboratory and designed to have a similar chemical structure to natural opioids. In other words, these are made without the chemicals found in morphine, opium, and/or poppy plants.

Often, these drugs are used to treat opioid addiction—but the cruel irony is, they can be powerfully habit-forming and addictive in and of themselves. Indeed, they are potentially just as dangerous as natural and semisynthetic opioids.

How Do Opioids Work?

No matter the type of opioid in question—natural, semisynthetic, or synthetic—they all work in roughly the same way:

  • Opioids depress the central nervous system, masking the presence of pain and creating a sensation of euphoria.
  • This sense of wellbeing, and this minimization of pain, is exactly what makes opioids effective in treating chronic pain.
  • However, over time, the nervous system can be thrown off balance by opioids—and the individual may find it impossible to feel happiness without opioids.
  • Increasingly large and frequent doses of opioids are needed to maintain this sense of wellbeing.
  • Those who become addicted to relatively low-level opioids, such as prescription painkillers, may later become addicted to heroin or other powerful street drugs.

What are the Most Common Kinds of Opioids?

There are a few specific types of opioid drugs to be aware of; again, they all work in roughly the same way, even if some are a bit more potent than others.

  • OxyContin. Often called “hillbilly heroin,” this is a prescription painkiller that often leads to addiction and abuse, even when prescribed for legitimate reasons.
  • Hydrocodone. Another prescription painkiller, this one is often sold under brand names like Lorcet and Vicodin. It is highly addictive, and, again, often becomes abused.
  • Codeine. The most widely-used opioid in the world, codeine has a reputation for being relatively safe—yet it can still be dangerously addictive.
  • Methadone. Initially developed to be used as a morphine substitute, methadone can have all the same ill effects as naturally-occurring opioid drugs.

What are the Symptoms of Opioid Addiction?

Again, there are subtle variations in these different forms of opioid drugs, yet the ultimate symptoms and signs of opioid addiction are fairly similar. Some of the primary ones include:

  • Intense elation or euphoria
  • Sedation or drowsiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Chronic constipation
  • Constricted pupils

There are also some behavioral symptoms to be aware of:

  • Doctor shopping, trying to get more prescriptions for more opioids
  • Misusing opioids, or taking them for longer periods of time than needed
  • Loss of interest in things that once brought pleasure
  • Social withdrawal
  • Lying, stealing, or secrecy in order to maintain an opioid habit

And, for those who are in opioid withdrawal, some common symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeplessness/insomnia

What’s the First Step Toward Opioid Addiction Rehab?

No matter what kind of opioid you are addicted to, or how many symptoms you have experienced, it’s important to know that recovery is always possible—and it starts with clinical treatment.

Take the first step toward your own addiction recovery. Reach out to our team today. Experience Recovery helps individuals develop lifelong sobriety, and prevent against relapse. We individualize our approach, and provide an opioid treatment plan that fits your specific needs. Begin a new life, free from the ravages of addiction; call and ask us about opioid rehab today.

Why Do People Use Opioids

Why Do People Use Opioids?

Why Do People Use OpioidsOpioid addiction is serious, and in many cases it can even be life-threatening—yet often, it starts off fairly innocently. Opioids include some illicit street drugs, but also a number of perfectly legal medications, foremost among them prescription painkillers. It is not uncommon for an individual to use these legal opioids according to a doctor’s orders, only to have addiction spiral out of control and lead them into more dangerous drugs.

But what effects do opioids have? Why exactly are they used in the first place? We’ll answer those questions in this post, and also provide some counsel for those who are currently struggling with opioid addiction.

What Drugs Qualify as Opioids?

  • Opioids include drugs that are derived from opium—that is, the poppy plant—as well as drugs that are synthesized in a lab and made to resemble opium’s chemical structure.
  • Opioids work by depressing the nervous system; they can mitigate pain while producing a feeling of intense elation or euphoria
  • Opioids include both a number of prescription pain medicines as well as illegal drugs, the most common of which is heroin.

Why are Opioids Prescribed?

Because of their impact on the central nervous system—and the effectiveness with which they mask and mitigate pain—opioids can be useful in the treatment of chronic pain. Sometimes, they are used to bring comfort to those who are undergoing cancer treatments. Opioids can even be used as pain management solutions for those who have recently undergone surgery.

What are Some Examples of Legal Opioids?

There are several commonly-prescribed opioids. Some of the main ones, used by doctors in pain management situations, include:

  • Morphine. This is a natural opioid, meaning it’s derived from the poppy plant. It is highly addictive.
  • Meperidine. This is a synthetic alternative to morphine, and it has largely the same effect.
  • Codeine. This is generally regarded as the most commonly used of all prescription opioids. That’s because it is less potent and less dangerous than morphine, yet it can still be highly addictive.
  • Hydrocodone. A semisynthetic opioid, meaning it’s made from both natural and artificial ingredients; includes common brands such as Vicodin.
  • Oxycodone. Similar to the above, this is a semisynthetic opioid, and encompasses familiar brand names like OxyContin and Percocet.
  • Fentanyl. A totally synthetic opioid, this painkiller is most commonly prescribed as a skin patch.

How Do Opioids Impact the Body?

Again, it’s important to stress that most opioid use starts off legitimately. The prescription painkillers listed above really are effective at mitigating pain, and many respected doctors continue prescribing them—though in general, opioid use has become increasingly frowned upon.

The problem is that, over time, their effect on the nervous system can become too pronounced. It can become impossible for the individual to feel any kind of happiness or euphoria without opioids. From there, higher or more frequent doses are needed. It is not uncommon for an addiction to pain pills to later become addiction to harder, more dangerous drugs—even heroin and similar street drugs.

What Effects Does Opioid Addiction Have on the Body?

Opioid addiction can have a number of effects on one’s physical and mental health. Some common symptoms of opioid addiction include:

  • Elation or euphoria
  • Sedation or drowsiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Chronic constipation
  • Constricted pupils

When used for prolonged periods of time, opioids can lead to respiratory arrest or cardiac arrest—and in the end, they can prove fatal.

How Does Opioid Addiction Impact Behavior?

In addition to these physical and mental effects, there are also some behavioral symptoms to be aware of. Some of these include:

  • Doctor shopping, seeking addition prescriptions for more opioid drugs
  • Misusing opioids, or taking them for longer periods of time than needed
  • Loss of interest in things that once brought pleasure
  • Isolation, or withdrawal from relationships
  • Lying, stealing, or acting with secrecy in order to maintain an opioid habit
  • Wild mood swings—including bouts of euphoric behavior or periods of feeling “down”

If you witness any of these behaviors, in yourself or in a loved one, it could point to a problem with opioid addiction.

Opioid Withdrawal

Opioid WithdrawalOne of the reasons why opioids are so powerfully addictive is that they actually change the nervous system, and rewire the brain. Unfortunately, this also means that opioids can be difficult to “kick,” and the withdrawal symptoms can be extreme.

For this reason, home detox is not recommended. In attempting to stop using opioids, the pain may become too intense—causing you to relapse and potentially to overdose.

Instead, it’s best to seek out medically supervised detox. This will provide you with a safe and supportive environment in which you can rid these harmful drugs from your system, laying the foundation for a full recovery.

How Does Opioid Addiction Treatment Work?

Following detox, clinical intervention can help break addiction’s hold—but be aware that opioid rehab can vary from one individual to the next. Some common components of opioid rehab include:

  • One-on-one therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Life skills coaching
  • Relapse prevention plans
  • Holistic elements—meditation, nutrition, fitness, etc.

As you seek opioid rehab, it’s important to look for a program that’s tailored to meet your individual needs. A one-size-fits-all approach is seldom a good idea, while personalized treatment can result in lifelong freedom from opioid addiction.

Seeking Recovery from Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction is tragic, especially since it so often begins as a perfectly legitimate attempt at pain management. The good news it, it does not have to be permanent. Clinical intervention can lead to lasting recovery—and that’s something we take seriously at Experience Recovery.

No matter how your opioid addiction began, there is hope for you to find freedom. It all starts with an individualized treatment plan. Take the first step today. Reach out to Experience Recovery, and ask us about opioid rehab.

What are Signs of Opioid Addiction

What are Signs of Opioid Addiction?

Signs of Opioid AddictionOpioid addiction can have a disastrous effect on one’s physical, mental, and emotional health; in some cases, it can even prove fatal. If it’s not treated promptly, opioid addiction can truly do lasting damage to the individual, and it can be shattering to friends and family members, too.

The good news is that treatment does work, and with the proper clinical intervention, opioid rehab is possible. What’s crucial is that first step of seeking out medical care. That’s where opioid education comes in. Everyone should know the signs and symptoms of opioid addiction, and be ready to identify them either in your own life or the life of a loved one.

In this post, we’ll detail some of the ways in which opioid addiction can affect a person—physically, psychologically, and behaviorally. We’ll also take a look at some of the opioid recovery options that are available—ending on a note of possibility and hope.

What is Opioid Addiction?

Before we get into signs and symptoms, let’s step back for a big-picture view. What are opioids? And how does opioid addiction impact the brain?

Opioids are substances derived from opium; these include a number of prescription painkillers, as well as illegal street drugs, like heroin. Opioids work on the brain’s pleasure sensors, producing a feeling of intense wellbeing and euphoria. This euphoria can mitigate any feelings of physical pain.

The problem is that opioids are powerfully addictive—and over time, they can actually make it impossible for the brain to feel any pleasure without increasingly high and frequent doses. This kind of dependence is the primary sign of opioid addiction—though there are several more that we can mention.

Signs of Opioid Addiction

It’s important to note that opioid addiction impacts different people in different ways; the symptoms one person experiences may be a little different than the symptoms someone else experiences. Speaking generally, though, here are some of the most common hallmarks of opioid addiction.

Psychological Symptoms

Due to the ways in which opioids interfere with the brain’s pleasure receptors, it should come as no surprise that the psychological effects can be varied—and extreme. Some possibilities include:

  • An increase in overall anxiety or jitteriness
  • Acute anxiety attacks
  • Intense euphoria
  • Psychosis
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • A decrease in motivation

Physical Symptoms

Opioid addiction can also result in some effects on the physical body. A few to be aware of include:

  • Increased alertness
  • Increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli—including visuals, sounds, etc.
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Increased heart rate and/or high blood pressure
  • An increase in overall energy levels
  • A decrease in appetite
  • Physical agitation
  • An increase in sexual arousal
  • Insomnia, or restlessness while trying to sleep

Behavioral Symptoms

Finally, note that opioid addiction can impact a person’s actions and behaviors in a number of ways. Here are just a few of them to be aware of.

  • Increased secrecy, or trying to keep drug use hidden
  • Lying or stealing in order to acquire more drugs
  • Needing higher or more frequent doses of opioids just to feel good
  • Taking prescription painkillers more often or for longer periods of time than directed
  • Taking someone else’s prescription painkillers
  • Doctor shopping in order to get more prescriptions
  • Being unable to stop using opioids without serious withdrawal effects
  • Abandonment of important activities, or negligence of responsibilities
  • Losing interest in things that once brought great passion

If you witness any of these signs and symptoms, in yourself or in others, it may be time to seek a clinical intervention.

More Signs of Opioid Addiction: Abuse, Withdrawal, Etc.

Over time, and with regular consumption of opioid drugs, it’s possible that some more serious physical effects can emerge. Some of the most common examples include:

  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Bronchospasms
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain

In some cases, abusing opioids can even prove fatal—usually due to either heart failure or respiratory failure. This is even more likely when opioids are abused in conjunction with other dangerous drugs.

Opioid Withdrawal

Because opioids exert such a strong effect on the body, withdrawal can be painful. Here are a few of the most common withdrawal effects that accompany opioid addiction.

  • Intense physical or psychological cravings
  • Nausea and stomach pain
  • Cold sweats and chills
  • Vomiting and diarrhea
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle tension
  • Shaking or quivering
  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Pain in bones or joints

Help and Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Help and Treatment for Opioid AddictionThis list of symptoms may seem dire—and it is. The good news is, there is hope available for those who struggle with any or all of these symptoms. Opioid recovery is possible when you seek the proper help and treatment.

The first step is detox—ridding the body and mind of opioids and all their ill effects. It is highly advisable to do this in a controlled clinical setting, where pain and withdrawal effects can be mitigated, and where the risk of accidental overdose is kept in check.

From there, an individualized plan for opioid rehab can be developed. This may involve one-on-one therapy, group sessions, therapeutic activities, and the development of coping skills and relapse prevention strategies.

What’s important is that you find an opioid rehab center that fits your needs—and that you seek treatment as soon as you identify any of these symptoms.

Opioid Treatment from Experience Recovery

At Experience Recovery, we take a clinically proven, data-backed approach to opioid treatment. Everything we do has been proven to be safe and effective. And, we tailor our approach to each client. There is no one-size-fits-all strategy here.

We invite you to learn more about opioid addiction. Continue your opioid education by reaching out to Experience Recovery today—and ask about the options available for opioid rehab and recovery.

What is Opioid Addiction

What is Opioid Addiction?

What is Opioid AddictionIf you’ve watched the news or read the headlines in recent months, you’ve probably heard about America’s opioid epidemic. Throughout the country, people are becoming addicted to opiate-derived medications as well as street drugs—and the effects have been dire. Even so, there remains a lot of misinformation about what opioids actually are, and how opioid addiction impacts body and mind.

In this post, we’ll define some terms, and talk about common examples of opioids. We’ll look both at opioid addiction as well as opioid treatment, and ultimately help you understand what people are talking about when they mention the opioid crisis.

What are Opioids?

To begin with, let’s define what an opioid is. These are drugs derived from opium—that is, from poppy plants. This is a class of substances that is most commonly associated with the treatment of pain; that’s because they work on the mind’s pleasure receptors, minimizing feelings of pain while producing feelings of euphoria. This euphoric sensation is what makes them effective, though, as we’ll see in just a moment, it’s also what makes them addictive.

Opioids are powerful substances, which is why many of them are illegal—yet some remain widely prescribed, especially for those who deal with chronic pain.

Common Opioids, Legal and Illegal

Indeed, there are a number of common opioids we could name. The opioid crisis tends to focus on prescription drugs, and there are several opioid pain relievers that have been linked with addiction—despite doctors’ best intentions. A few names you might recognize include:

  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Fentanyl

In addition, a number of street drugs are technically opioids, including heroin. These drugs are typically more potent than their medically-allowed counterparts, yet it’s fairly common for opioid addiction to begin with prescription drugs, then gradually shift into more dangerous, illegal drugs. To understand why, it’s important to understand how opiates actually work—and how they lead to opioid addiction.

Opioid Addiction: How it Starts

We’ve already hinted at the way opiates work. Essentially, they impact the brain’s pleasure center, providing an intense rush of happiness, or euphoria. This sense of overall wellbeing mitigates any feeling of pain, which is why opiates have legitimate use as pain management tools.

The problem is that, over time, the brain gets used to that sense of wellbeing—and it can become difficult to experience any kind of happiness or euphoria without the assistance of opioids. Therefore, higher and more regular doses are needed just to feel good; when this happens, it is not uncommon for an individual to turn to more dangerous drugs, swapping prescription pills for street drugs, or else to misuse those opioid prescriptions.

The Consequences of Opioid Addiction

Tolerance to opioid-induced euphoria grows faster than tolerance to its side effects—which means that, over time, the individual who is addicted to opioids is at an increasingly high risk of overdose.

And high doses of opioids can be fatal. They can lead to death by cardiac arrest, or by respiratory arrest. That’s why, for those who do have opioid addiction, it is imperative to seek opioid rehab as soon as possible.

Signs of Opioid Addiction

But how do you know if you have a struggle with opioid addiction? There are a few common symptoms and signs of opioid addiction to be aware of, though it’s important to remember that addiction impacts different people in different ways.

The most obvious signs of opioid addiction is that sense of euphoria that we mentioned—and a loss of that euphoric feeling when you stop using opioids. If you need to take opioids to feel happy or secure, that’s a sure sign of addiction. Likewise, if you discontinue taking the drugs but experience intense paint or sadness, that’s also a symptom of opioid addiction.

Some additional physical signs of opioid addiction include:

  • Sedation or drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Constricted pupils
  • Slowed breathing
  • Nodding off, or even loss of consciousness
  • Constipation

Some behavioral signs of opioid addiction include:

  • Doctor shopping, trying to get multiple prescriptions for opioid painkillers
  • Misusing opioid painkillers, or taking prescription drugs longer than you need to
  • Lying or stealing to continue your drug habit
  • Being secretive about your drug use
  • Withdrawing from activities or relationships that used to bring pleasure

Finally, there are some signs of opioid withdrawal:

  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to sleep
  • Overwhelming anxiety

If you or a loved one exhibit any of these symptoms, it could mean that there’s an opioid addiction problem. The good news is, opioid treatment can effectively break addiction’s bond, and restore physical and mental health.

Opioid Addiction Treatment

Opioid Addiction TreatmentWhat does opioid addiction treatment actually involve? It varies from one person to the next, especially if there are co-occurring disorders (like depression or PTSD) present. With that said, there are a few opioid addiction basics that hold true across the board.

The recovery process always begins with opioid detox. It is necessary to rid your body and mind of opioids before you can pursue recovery. This process may take a few days, or in some cases a couple of weeks. Medically supervised withdrawal can minimize the pain and discomfort, and also protect against accidental overdose.

From there, opioid treatment at an opioid rehab center might involve individual therapy, group therapy, and more. It’s ultimately a journey that lasts a lifetime, but the results are worth it—freedom from addiction, and the ability to feel happy without the need for opiate substances.

Experience Recovery from Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction is a true crisis in this country—and for individuals wrestling with it, it can feel hopeless. The good news is that opioid recovery is always possible, and it begins when you seek treatment.

Begin that journey toward a healthy and hopeful life today. Reach out to Experience Recovery, and ask about the best path forward out of opioid addiction.

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