Opioid 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.
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.
There are several commonly-prescribed opioids. Some of the main ones, used by doctors in pain management situations, include:
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.
Opioid addiction can have a number of effects on one’s physical and mental health. Some common symptoms of opioid addiction include:
When used for prolonged periods of time, opioids can lead to respiratory arrest or cardiac arrest—and in the end, they can prove fatal.
In addition to these physical and mental effects, there are also some behavioral symptoms to be aware of. Some of these include:
If you witness any of these behaviors, in yourself or in a loved one, it could point to a problem with opioid addiction.
One 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.
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:
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.
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.
If you or a loved one needs help getting sober, Experience Recovery can help. Our admissions line is open 24/7.