Opioids are being prescribed by doctors to manage severe, long-term pain that over-the-counter pain relievers such as acetaminophen, aspirin, and ibuprofen cannot relieve. Although effective in pain management, taking opioids even in the short-term can predispose patients to opioid addiction.
Reports published by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) show that young adults aged 18-25 years old abuse prescription opioid the most. Likewise, 21 to 29% of patients who were prescribed opioids to treat pain misuse the drug.
Drug misuse often leads to addiction, which is a long-term disease that can cause major problems in the patients’ physical, social, and emotional well-being. Patients are also bound to experience financial problems, as they strive to sustain their opioid addiction.
So, why does this happen?
Opioid in a nutshell
Opioids are drugs given to patients to manage chronic, debilitating pain. They act in the nervous system, block pain messages from reaching the brain, and elicit feelings of pleasure. Opioids that are commonly prescribed include buprenorphine, codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, and morphine. Heroin, on the other hand, is an illegal form of opioid.
How people get addicted?
Endorphins are substances produced by the brain to relieve discomfort, pain, and stress. They are also known as the “feel-good hormone.” Opioids act like artificial endorphins. When patients take opioids for a long period of time, their body’s production of natural endorphins decreases and the pleasurable feeling stops. The body becomes dependent on opioids as the artificial source of endorphins.
The longer patients take opioid medications, the higher the risk of an addiction developing. As patients develop a tolerance for the same dose, they will be driven to increase their intake to “chase highs.”
Patients who are addicted seek to continue taking the drug even when it is no longer needed to treat their medical condition. Opioid addiction may also disrupt the personal and professional life of patients, as they tend to prioritize taking the drugs over other errands and activities.
An opioid overdose is life-threatening and occurs when the patient takes high doses of opioids. This can lead to respiratory depression and even death if the patient is not given immediate medical treatment.
Is opioid addiction treatment possible?
Yes, with the help of experts in addiction treatment, Pompano Beach. There are several ways to treat opioid addiction. This includes a combination of pharmacologic treatment, rehabilitation, and counseling and behavioral therapy among others. Every patient’s addiction case is different, so a personalized approach is important.
If you have queries, this article on the common questions about drug rehabilitation may help.
Coastal Pain Medicine – Center for addiction treatment in Pompano Beach
Do you know someone who may be suffering from addiction and needs outside help? At Coastal Pain Medicine, we specialize in assisting people who are suffering from addiction. This includes drug dependency and alcohol.
Depending on the patient’s needs, we offer a variety of treatment programs, including:
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.