Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment Options

Opioid Addiction

Opioids are the class of drugs that includes Fentanyl,
Oxycontin, Codeine, Morphine, and Heroin. Opioids
cause people to feel relaxed, relieve pain and are often
prescribed for medical reasons but in many individuals,
they also give a feeling of euphoria that is addictive.
People have been known to become addicted to opioids
in as little as five days.

What is Opioid Addiction

Most of the time, medications that are classified as opioids are given in a hospital setting and only when necessary. They have a powerful ability to reduce pain and when the body is no longer in traumatic pain, it can heal, and patient blood-pressure and heart rate will stabilize. They are valuable in saving lives in times of horrific pain.

Sadly, many people develop a tolerance to the drugs so that it takes more and more to have the same usefulness. In these people, dependency on the drugs becomes reality all too quickly. Opioid addiction happens rapidly in these cases. They begin to do whatever it takes to get more and more of them, illegally and by getting multiple doctors to prescribe them – referred to as doctor shopping, or pill shopping. Opioid abuse then becomes a lifestyle; a means of survival to the addicted individual.

When the supply of drugs run out, people who are addicted will become desperate and often resort to any illegal means to gain them. This leads people into lives of crime, both robbery, and white-collar crime. People have embezzled funds from their workplace in order to gain access to illegally purchased opioids on the black market.

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Opioid Addiction: Signs + Symptoms

Opioid addiction is a tough issue because the withdrawals from the drugs are very harsh and most people don’t seek help for fear of retribution. Using drugs illegally can land you in jail and many people fear the fines, penalties and jail time they may need to serve. Quitting on your own is nearly impossible because the symptoms of withdrawal will make you want to honestly do anything to get another dose of the drug in your system.

Symptoms include:

  • Irritability and anxiety
  • Runny, watering eyes
  • Body aches and pains – like prolonged flu
  • Hot and cold sweats
  • Abdominal cramping, diarrhea, vomiting, and dysentery-like symptoms

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Opioid Withdrawal: Signs + Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms begin at approximately 12 hours after the last opioid dose. They increasingly get worse and peak at roughly 5 days. As they begin to show improvement, they can cling for as long as 4 to 6 weeks. Imagine having the worst case of flu, combined with dysentery, for up to 6 weeks. Mentally, all you can think about is taking drugs that will make you feel wonderful again. Many people go right back to them for this very reason.

More support needs to exist for helping people break the cycle so that they can recover and better options to opioids need to be used in medicine to avoid addiction in the first place. For example, statistics show that 10 to 30% of people who are prescribed opioids end-up addicted to them.

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Since opioids are highly addictive, treatment can be difficult. However, with dedication and commitment, recovery is possible. There are many treatment options available to those who are suffering from opioid addiction.

The first step towards recovery requires the body to be free of the harmful toxins brought on by opioid addiction. This is called detoxification, or detox. Since the body and brain have become dependent upon the presence of opioids, a sudden stop of usage results in a series of uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can range from moderate to severe or even life-threatening. In some cases, medically-supervised detox is required. Medical professionals will monitor the client and administer certain medications that will safely manage withdrawal symptoms.

Opioid addiction is not treated successfully with detox alone. Different therapeutic modalities are used to treat the individual as a whole. Many times, there is an underlying mental health condition that has contributed to the addiction. In order to treat addiction and prevent future relapse, different types of individual, group, and family therapies are used to treat the core issue and help clients achieve long-term recovery. Although it can be challenging, recovery IS possible. AmHealth Behavioral is dedicated to finding clients the best treatment option for their individual journey.

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