Opioids have their place in the medical world as they are often used as medicines but are unfortunately misused by many people. This misuse can lead to dependency or addiction, which is referred to as ‘opioid use disorder’ in the medical world.
Opioid use is prevalent in the United States. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, approximately 808,000 people reported using heroin sometime during the previous year, and 11.4 million reported narcotic pain reliever use without a prescription.
When a person abuses opioids, or opiates, they can become physically dependent on the drug and feel trapped within their addiction, often exhibiting behaviors that are centered around using the substances that interfere with daily life – but that is not the only problem. In addition to physical dependence and problems with daily life, there are significant health-related risks associated with opioid misuse and self-detox, which is why the safe detox from opioids with the help of trained professionals is of utmost importance.
Opioids fall into a class of drugs derived from the opium poppy plant and are often used to treat pain. These drugs include prescribed painkiller medications and street drugs. The most common opioids used today include:
Opioids produce many effects on the brain, with the primary impact being pain relief. Opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other organs in the body are activated when opioids are used. Pain signals are thus blocked from the brain to the body during this process, and large amounts of dopamine are released. Opioids also typically make people feel happy or relaxed and sometimes even “high.” These positive feelings can be pleasurable to people but can also make the user want to repeat the experience, potentially leading to opioid addiction.
Many opioids are taken via the mouth in pill form, but there are other means for taking them as well. Some people take opioids as lollipops or lozenges. Some are administered through a vein through an IV or via injection. Opioids can also be delivered with a suppository or through a patch that is placed on the skin.
You can safely use opioids to manage pain under the supervision of a physician. Using opioids without guidance from doctors who specialize in pain management can be risky.
Although opioid medications are effective for pain management, the same reasons can make them dangerous. Lower doses of opioids can make you feel sleepy and less sensitive to pain, but higher doses can slow your breathing and heart rate. Using opioids can also make you feel pleasure, making you want to continue using the drug, leading to addiction.
Repeated misuse of opioids can lead to a substance use disorder (SUD). When a person uses opioids and experiences feelings of pleasure, the brain’s reward system is stimulated, which can make a person want to continue to experience that feeling, potentially leading to addiction.
Stopping opioid use can lead to specific psychological and physical symptoms, also known as withdrawal symptoms. When a person uses higher doses of opioids, especially over more extended periods, these symptoms may be exacerbated. Symptoms of withdrawal can begin the first day a person begins the process of detoxing from opioids. These symptoms may include:
Detox from opioids and opiate withdrawal may be the most challenging parts of overcoming opioid addiction. Getting help from professionals is important.
The process a person goes through in order to detox from opioids involves uncomfortable side effects, but services are available in order to not only reduce the side effects but to do so safely. Medical detox is recommended. This involves a variety of medications that are administered as needed to reduce the symptoms of withdrawal and shorten the duration of the detox process. The professional and caring recovery team at Sober Mind Recovery is dedicated to helping those who suffer from opioid addiction, offering a foundation of hope. Sober Mind Recovery Center provides addiction treatment programs in Southern California. Do not hesitate to contact us today if you feel defeated by opioid use, whether for yourself or a loved one.