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Opioid Addiction and Early Life Challenges


Molecular Psychiatry published a study last December that provided insight on the link between opioid abuse and early life challenges.

The study showed that individuals with early life challenges are much more likely to become addicted to opioids.

Additionally, a family history of opioid addiction is more susceptible to developing an opioid addiction.

Much of the motive for this study comes from the recent opioid epidemic that has swept the nation in overdose deaths.

Approximately, more than $78.5 billion are spent on this crisis annually.

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What are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of psychoactive substances that provide pain relief. Some opioids are prescribed by a physician to relieve moderate to severe pain and to relieve symptoms of a severe cough.

Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain.

It can also bind to the spinal cord, stomach, and other parts of the body.

The opioid receptors then block signals from the brain to the body and release a great amount of dopamine. Short-term effects include increased pain tolerance, euphoria, drowsiness, calmness, nausea, constipation, and slowed breathing.

Long-term effects include brain damage, liver damage, and coma. It can also lead to death. Opioids are an extremely hard drug to stop using, especially when it is abused.

The withdrawal symptoms of opioid addiction are intensely uncomfortable and painful, which compels an individual to avoid these unpleasant symptoms by continuing to use the drug in order to feel “normal”.

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Commonly used opioids include:

  • Prescription pain medications such as Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and Codeine
  • Heroin
  • Fentanyl
  • Morphine

The Opioid Epidemic

The opioid epidemic is now the number one cause of preventable and accidental deaths in the U.S. Approximately, 40,000 people die each year from an opioid-related overdose.

This is equivalent to 115 deaths from opioids per day. Opioid drugs include substances such as heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, fentanyl, and morphine. Opioid addiction does not only target one demographic but rather it is prevalent among the entirety of the population.

This includes urban, rural, and upper-class communities, teenagers, veterans, and people with preexisting mental health conditions. The opioid epidemic does not only affect the individual using opioids, but it also detrimentally affects all of the individual’s loved ones.

There are a plethora of reasons as to why an individual decides to use opioids. A common trend among prescription opioid abuse and addiction is how an individual develops dependency.

Often, an individual has been prescribed an opioid medication such as hydrocodone or oxycodone to treat moderate to severe pain. However, opioids carry a high potential for dependency due to the powerful recreational effects it produces in the body.

Tolerance is easily developed, which causes the individual to use more than his or her prescribed dosage. This leads to opioid addiction.

The Neurobiology of Opioids

Opioids are highly addictive; the reason for this is because of the way opioids work in the brain, and how it eventually alters brain chemistry, resulting in brain damage.

During the early stages of opioid abuse, the compulsion to consume the drug increases due to tolerance and physical and psychological dependence. When opioids are consumed, it enters the bloodstream and reaches the brain.

It then binds to the specialized proteins mu-opioid receptors, which are located on the surfaces of brain cells sensitive and susceptible to opioids.

When these chemicals are linked, stimulation of the biochemical brain activity occurs, which produces feelings of intense pleasure and euphoria, as well as reduces pain.

Opioids also release the neurotransmitter dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a part of the brain that dictates the user’s desire to keep ingesting the drug, to maintain pleasure, and to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Prolonged use of opioids on its own will result in brain damage.

Early Life Adversity

Early life adversity is considered traumatic events in an individual’s childhood which result in maladaptive thoughts and behaviors in his or her adulthood. Early life adversity includes trauma such as sexual abuse, mental abuse, emotional abuse, neglect, lack of parental guidance, domestic violence, divorce, death of family, incarceration of family, parental suicide attempts or mental illness, and drug addiction.

All of these factors can detrimentally affect an individual’s adulthood. Researchers believe that early exposure to adversities can not only create challenges as adults but can also create dysfunctional attachment styles in relationships during adulthood.

Researchers found that children who experience early life adversity are eight times more likely to smoke cigarettes, four times more likely to develop an anxiety disorder, five times more likely to have panic attacks, six times more likely to develop depression, two times more likely to develop alcohol dependency, and 1 times more likely to use drugs intravenously.

Drugs and alcohol are often used to cope with trauma.

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Substance Abuse Treatment Centers

Mental health treatment also includes substance abuse and addiction treatment. Treatment for substance abuse and addiction is commonly treated at substance abuse treatment centers or rehab.

Individuals can be treated for a variety of mental health disorders in addition to substance abuse and addiction. Most substance abuse treatment centers provide outpatient and inpatient services.

An individual receiving outpatient services does not require him or her to remain at the center at all times. The individual will attend treatment services at the substance abuse center a determined number of times per week.

An individual receiving inpatient services requires him or her to remain at the center for the duration of his or her treatment. Common services provided by substance abuse treatment centers typically include medical detoxification, individual and group therapy, specific psychotherapies and other life skills and coping training, and medication management.

Teletherapy and Telemedicine

Telemedicine is an accessible, convenient, and cost-effective way of receiving healthcare services through telecommunication via electronic devices.

The means of communicating through electronic devices include smartphone applications and web-based services designed specifically for telemedicine. Healthcare providers and patients to share information virtually and remotely.

This form of healthcare service has recently been used by mental health professionals and drug rehab centers to provide therapy and addiction treatment. This allows more people from rural areas to receive healthcare treatment, without having to commute to the nearest healthcare facility.

However, it is a new component of mental health treatment and is currently being evaluated for its effectiveness and efficiency compared to physical appointments.

Payment for Treatment and Our Free Insurance Verification

Seeking treatment for your dependency is one of the bravest things you can do for yourself.

Do not let your situation stop you from contacting Resurgence Behavioral Health.

We provide honest and accurate pricing information for all of our treatment options.

We offer free insurance verification. Call us today to see if you qualify.

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Reach Out and Receive Treatment Today

Do not wait any further! Help is available to you when you need it. You are not alone in this struggle.

The trained professionals at Resurgence Behavioral Health genuinely care about you and dedicate their lives to make sure you can live yours.

To overcome substance addiction, proper drug therapy treatment is required. It is not an easy walk, but our treatment is the best option when it comes to your health.

We provide the most professional treatment to give you a fighting chance in a rough battle.

Let today be the day you reach out to Resurgence Behavioral Health so that you can begin to reclaim the life you have been missing!

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