How Opioids Work
What are Opioids
Opioids are a type of pain medication that can also be called narcotics.
These medicines naturally come from the opium poppy plant.
Today, some are still made from this same plant, but others are made by scientists in labs.
These medicines are usually used to treat moderate to severe pain, especially for people with chronic pain or terminal cancer.
Opioids can also make you feel relaxed and give you a “high,” which is what can make opioids so addictive.
At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we know how difficult dealing with an opioid addiction can be.
Let us help you understand more about these drugs, as well as ways we can help you overcome an opioid addiction.
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The word opioids refers to a class of drugs that includes many different varieties. This includes hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, morphine, codeine, and fentanyl. Heroin is also an opioid, though it is considered a street drug and never used as medicine. Opioids work in the brain by blocking pain receptors. At the same time, opioids cause the brain to release a “feel-good” chemical called dopamine. This is what makes you feel happy and relaxed when taking an opioid. It is also what makes opioids dangerous. Your brain learns that opioids cause this release of dopamine, and makes you crave them. This is what leads users to an opioid addiction.
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What are the Effects on Your Body?
When taken for short periods of time, opioids are very effective at relieving pain, and make you feel relaxed. However, they can still have negative effects. These can include drowsiness, confusion, constipation, depression, nausea, vomiting, and slowed breathing. The longer you take opioids, the worse your symptoms can become. Opioid misuse can have even more serious side effects. One of these side effects, called hypoxia, is especially dangerous. Hypoxia is a condition where not enough oxygen reaches the brain, and can happen when opioids cause your breathing to slow too much. Hypoxia can cause both short term and long term health problems, including brain damage, coma, and even death.
How Can You Abuse Opioids?
While you may think that you can only abuse opioids by taking them without a prescription, or just for the sake of getting high, this simply isn’t the case. Many people who end up addicted to opioids did in fact get it from their doctor in order to treat pain. In this case, opioid abuse happens when you take the medicine in a way other than the doctor prescribed it to you. This can mean that you are taking it more often than you are supposed to, or that you are taking it in higher doses. If you aren’t sure whether or not you’re abusing opioids, here are some questions that you can ask yourself:
- Are you taking larger amounts of opioids, or taking them for longer than you were supposed to?
- Have you tried to cut down or stop taking opioids, but find that you can’t?
- Do you spend a lot of time getting opioids, or dealing with their side effects?
- Do you crave opioids when you aren’t taking them?
- Are you having issues at work, school, or home?
- Have you stopped doing things you used to enjoy so that you can take opioids?
- Do you need to take more opioids in order to feel better?
- Do you experience withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking them?
If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, there is a good chance that you are abusing opioids and may already be addicted. Now may be the time to consider speaking to Resurgence about our drug rehab options.
Mental Illness and Opioids
Opioid addiction can have many different negative effects on your mental health. People who are addicted to opioids are twice as likely to suffer from at least one mental health condition. The most common issues are depression, anxiety, hallucinations, mood swings, and aggression. If you suffered from a mental illness before you became addicted to opioids, it is likely that you will find opioids make these symptoms worse. People with severe depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are at a higher risk of developing an opioid addiction. Often this can happen because a person tries to treat their mental illness symptoms with opioids to feel better. No matter when your mental health issues first appeared, it is very important to get both these symptoms and your opioid addiction treated at the same time.
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An addiction to opioids means that your body is physically dependent on the drug. If you reduce the amount you are taking, or stop entirely, you can experience withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms usually come in two stages. The first stage will start within a day, though for heavy opioid users it can start in just a few hours. The symptoms of this stage include agitation, anxiety, muscle aches, watery eyes, runny nose, trouble sleeping, insomnia, and sweating. The second stage can start within a day or two. These symptoms include stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, dilated pupils, and goosebumps. Opioid withdrawal symptoms usually peak in about three days before slowly tapering off. The withdrawal process usually takes a week. While the symptoms are rarely life-threatening, they can be very unpleasant to deal with. That’s why Resurgence has both social and medical detox programs available to our clients. This way we can ensure that you are as comfortable as possible during your detox process.
Treatment Options for Opioid Addiction
At Resurgence, we know that the best way to help you overcome your opioid addiction is through a personalized drug rehab program. Our medication-assisted treatment, or MAT, program is one of the most effective ways to treat opioid addiction. It uses a combination of medication and therapy programs to help you get through detox and overcome your addiction. Medications help lessen the effects of withdrawal while reducing cravings for the drug. Therapy, whether in one-on-one or group sessions, helps give you a fuller understanding of your addiction, as well as ways to avoid future drug use. We will also make sure that any mental health problems you may be experiencing are addressed as well, so that you no longer have to struggle with these issues.
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Get the Help You Need From a Dedicated Team
The first step in your journey to overcoming your opioid addiction is simple: contact us! At Resurgence, we pride ourselves on building an affordable, personalized recovery plan for each client – without sacrificing quality.
Our free insurance verification allows us to help you figure out exactly what your insurance will pay for. We accept most PPO insurance as well as private forms of payment for treatment.
We will also communicate with your insurance provider to ensure that you receive every benefit that you are entitled to. You can complete a simple form right from our website, or call us directly.
At Resurgence, we believe that environment is just as important as treatment. That is why our locations are in peaceful neighborhoods, with plenty of open space for clients to take time to themselves as well as participate in our supportive community.
Our warm, sunny weather, as well as our nearby beaches and parks, means that, when you are ready and able, you can enjoy being outside. And our specially prepared nutritious meals help to support your total physical recovery.
Opioid addiction can be a very difficult thing to overcome. Between detox symptoms and trying to stay clean, there are many things that can stand in your way of a healthy life. But there is no reason that you need to do it on your own. Resurgence Behavioral Health’s team of dedicated addiction specialists can help you with every part of your recovery process, from detox to therapy, for a lifetime of success.
Let us help you with all of the tools and resources that you need to overcome your opioid addiction. Call us today to get started in a drug rehab program, and get on the path to a drug-free life.