What Is An Opioid and Why Are So Many People Addicted?

Opioids are a type of drug derived from the poppy plant. Prescription opioids are prescribed for pain relief. Certain opioids are illegal and classified as street drugs such as heroin. The drug works by blocking the pain signals between your body and your brain. Opioids are effective for moderate to severe pain. Some of the side effects are addictive such as a high or happy feeling or a sense of complete relaxation. You may also experience side effects including:

• Slowed breathing
• Severe itching
• Drowsiness
• Nausea
• Constipation
• Vomiting
• Confusion

If you use opioids for a long period of time, the side effects often become more severe. This includes:

• Dependence
• Addiction
• Physical complications
• Overdose
• Death

Why Are Opioids Addictive?

When you use opioids, your body produces more than 100 times the amount of endorphins than natural. The impact on your nerve cells and brain is substantial. Your brain will stop producing endorphins when you are using opioids. This means the only way your body can receive endorphins is by increasing your dosage of the drug. Even if you have a doctor’s prescription, you can still become addicted.

Once you have developed a tolerance, your body will become dependent on opioids. This does not mean you should stop trusting your physician. Your best option is to talk to your doctor as soon as you realize there is a problem. You should have as much information as possible about this drug before you take your first pill. Both your physician and your pharmacist will be happy to provide you with information. The issue is you can develop an addiction within just five days.

Opioids include oxycodone, codeine, heroin, hydrocodone, fentanyl and morphine. When you use any of these drugs, the effect on your body is similar because the chemicals used for manufacturing the drugs are similar. The drugs will block your pain while releasing dopamine. Dopamine is often called the happy chemical because it makes you feel good, warm and rewarded by providing your body with a rush of sensation. You need to be aware this feeling will not last.

Your brain may start craving the drug, leading to a very dangerous cycle. You may have already reached the point where you are craving the effect of opioids as opposed to pain relief. The more of the drug you take, the more your brain will adapt. An opioid tolerance means you have been using the drug long enough where you need to take larger and more frequent doses. This is the only way you will get the feeling you crave. When you are unable to take more opioids, your life will become extremely unpleasant.

You will start to experience withdrawal symptoms. This is a lot worse than having the flu because your brain will demand more opioids to make the unpleasant sensations go away. The most common withdrawal symptoms include:

• Aches
• Vomiting
• Chills
• Fever
• Diarrhea
• Sweating

You may experience strong cravings for the drug despite all of the negative effects on both your life and your health.

Risk Factors of Opioid Abuse

There are numerous factors that may have contributed to your addiction. These are environmental, psychological and genetic. Addiction can occur quickly or may take numerous years of using opioids. The risk factors for opioid addiction and misuse include:

• Young age
• Heavy tobacco use
• Substance abuse in your family
• Unusual stress
• Frequent contact with a high-risk environment or high-risk individuals
• Poverty
• Alcohol or drug rehabilitation in the past
• History of substance abuse
• History of anxiety or depression
• Issues with friends, family or employers
• Unemployment
• Thrill-seeling or risk-taking behavior
• Legal issues or criminal activity such as DUIs

The risk of opioid addiction is higher for women. Women experience chronic pain more often than men. Women are also prescribed opioids more often than men, for a longer period and in higher doses. Numerous women have a biological tendency for dependency on pain medication. There are a lot of people currently addicted to opioids. The good news is help is available.

Getting Help

If you are addicted to opioids, you may feel like your entire world is collapsing. There are facilities created to provide you with the help you need. Please call us today at 833-846-5669 to start the process of recovery.