Opiates vs. Opioids
When it comes to painkiller addiction, a lot of people do not understand the difference between opiates and opioids. Since the effects are almost the same, the terms have become interchangeable. Opioids are manufactured synthetically to copy the effects of opium. Certain opioids are entirely synthetic. Some contain natural opium, so they are only partly synthetic. Opiates contain active ingredients derived from opium. Both codeine and morphine are made using the opium in poppy plants.
Opiates and opioids depress the central nervous system and activate the brain’s Mu receptors. Once activated by either of these drugs, endorphins referred to as feel-good chemicals are released. This results in feelings of calmness and relaxation. These feelings can become extremely addictive. It makes no difference if the drug was chemically manufactured or came from a natural source. Opioids and opiates can potentially result in abuse and painkiller addiction. Before using either of these medications, the individual should speak to their physician about the risks.
When an opiate is taken in larger doses than the physician prescribed, the effects are often tranquil and euphoric. The carefree and pleasant feeling experienced by the individual is what results in destructive patterns and painkiller addiction. An addiction to opiates is characterized by the individual’s compulsive need to have the drug. The individual may visit numerous physicians to try to get more of the drug. When an individual sees several different physicians in an attempt to acquire new prescriptions, it is referred to as doctor shopping.
The urges are pathological. The need for the drugs may drive the individual to steal, purchase, or borrow the drugs from their family and friends. In some instances, the individual becomes so desperate they start looking for heroin. This illegal substance imitates the effects of opiates reasonably closely. Heroin is often purchased on the streets. Even though the dangers of heroin are exceptionally well known, it is generally cheaper and easier to get than opioid pills. According to the results of a survey, 94 percent of the individuals admitted they chose heroin as opposed to prescription painkillers since it was easier and cheaper to acquire.
Abuse Statistics for Painkiller Addiction
There are millions of individuals struggling with a painkiller addiction. Unfortunately, the loved ones and family members of the individual are also affected. In 2014, approximately 23 percent of all individuals who had used heroin additionally developed a painkiller addiction at the same time.
One of the most frequently seen results of abusing opioid painkillers is an overdose. The most common cause of an overdose is taking an excessive amount of the substance at any one time or using a combination of different substances. This is the most common with depressants for the nervous system, such as alcohol or benzodiazepines. The number one cause in the United States of accidental deaths is drug overdoses. Painkillers cause approximately 38 percent of these deaths.
An overdose can result from just painkillers. When other substances are being used simultaneously, the risk significantly increases. A good example is an individual mixing opioid drugs with another prescription drug like benzodiazepines or alcohol. The signs of a drug overdose include:
- Clammy or cool skin
- Constricted pupils
- Restricted or shallow breathing
- Being unable to wake up or extreme sleepiness
Seeking Help for Painkiller Addiction
Numerous individuals were encouraged to seek treatment due to an overdose. Other individuals still hesitate to go to rehab despite an overdose. Feeling ashamed of substance abuse or fearing the judgment of others is very common during treatment. The truth is the individuals encountered in rehab offer support for those needing help. They do not scrutinize the individual for suffering from drug abuse.
The staff and therapists at the center work hard to make sure the treatment remains completely confidential and free of any judgment. This is because they believe the individual can overcome their addiction. The center will do everything they possibly can to provide the individual with the motivation and confidence they will need as they recover from their painkiller addiction.
The Withdrawal Symptoms
The symptoms of withdrawal when the individual stops taking opioid pain relievers after forming a dependence are generally extremely uncomfortable. This is the reason quitting any drug suddenly is not recommended. The drug should be tapered off gradually over a specific period. This will enable the brain to re-stabilize and recover. Medications and detox are only a portion of the solution for eliminating pain pills and remaining off of them.
Once the drug has been eliminated from the body, and a safe physical balance has been established, the emotional aspects of the painkiller addiction need to be addressed. Relapsing is very common. After a period of abstinence and detox, this can be dangerous. This is why therapies and counseling are so crucial for minimizing and preventing a relapse.
Behavioral therapies teach the individual to manage and recognize any potential relapse triggers while showing them how to control their cravings. The individual learns how to handle stress using healthy coping mechanisms. In most cases, both group and individual formats are used for counseling and therapy sessions.
Treatment Programs for Painkiller Addiction
Residential treatment programs for painkiller addiction is usually recommended if the painkiller abuse is long-term or severe. These types of programs were created for the promotion of overall wellness and healing by addressing emotional and physical needs. Counseling and therapy improve emotional balance and self-reliance. A structured sleep schedule, regular physical activity, and healthy and balanced meals enhance physical health.
Chronic drug use often results in malnutrition. Healing is promoted through healthy eating habits, exercise, and sleep. Time is necessary for balance to be restored by the brain once the individual stops using drugs. A comprehensive treatment program for addiction gives the mind enough time for this to happen. The strong foundation provided by treatment programs helps prevent relapse while maintaining abstinence for the future.
The individual needs to stay in the treatment program long enough to establish healthy habits while the brain is healing. The recommendation is staying in the treatment program for a minimum of ninety days. Support groups are important. This offers the individual a healthy social environment with their peers. The individuals relate to and sympathize with one another. The connection between the treatment program and the individual remains through alumni programs.
When the individual is surrounded by people with the same goals, the encouragement and support help with their recovery. The individual must continue working with the program. When there are cravings, the individual needs to reach out to a friend, family member, mentor, or a trained professional. Open communication will help the individual resist temptation.