Opioids or narcotics are highly addictive drugs that are killing over 130 Americans a day. Opioids in a prescription form are prescribed for pain, but very quickly, the patient becomes addicted. With opioid addiction so prevalent, it is important to know the opioid addiction treatment options and to get help as soon as possible.
What are Opiates?
Opiates, including controlled prescription substances, are made from opium, a chemical that naturally occurs in poppy seeds and plants. These drugs, used for treating pain in patients, are also referred to as “narcotics.” Due to their calming effects, narcotics have very high rates of abuse, which leads to addiction.
“In the United States, 259 million opioid painkiller prescriptions were written in 2012. An estimated 2 million people later developed an addiction.”
An addiction to opioids often starts after being prescribed the medication for pain after an accident or injury. Patients take the medication, never thinking they can get addicted. “The doctor prescribed it, so it is safe, right?” That is the misconception of many people. But the body can become addicted after just a few uses. And over time, the patient builds up a tolerance to the drug and needs to take more to get the same relief.
As the patient continues to build up a tolerance, and they take more medication than prescribed, their addiction to the opioid medication becomes stronger. The body is now dependent on the drug and can no longer function “normally” without it. At this point, the addiction is having negative consequences on the patient’s life, but the “cravings” are too strong, and their addiction to opioids continues.
The patient’s addiction is “full-blown” once their life has spun completely out of control, and they do not care. Their addiction to opioids is more important than their mental and physical health. Addiction is a serious neurological disease that takes the addict down a deep, dark “rabbit hole” with the feeling of no escape. The only and safest way out of opioid addiction is through a caring and skilled treatment center.
Types of Opioids
Opioids are prescribed for multiple different medical needs. Opioids are broken into two categories:
- Antagonists-An antagonist blocks all the effects of opioids by blocking the receptors in the brain. Examples are naltrexone and naloxone. They are less addictive though the possibility of addiction does exist.
- Agonists-An agonist opioid activates the opioid receptors in the brain resulting in the full opioid effect. Examples of agonists are heroin, oxycodone, methadone, hydrocodone, morphine, opium, fentanyl, and others. These types of opioids have a very high possibility of addiction.
The Most Common Opiates
- Codeine – Prescribed to relieve mild to moderate pain and coughing, codeine is less potent than other opioids. It is obtained with a prescription and in some over-the-counter medicines.
- Darvocet/Darvon – Now banned by the FDA, Darvocet and Darvon were responsible for thousands of hospitalizations and deaths before being taken off the market. Even though they are no longer being produced, they are still available on the black market.
- Demerol – Used to treat moderate to severe pain, Demerol is often the last effort to fight pain due to its highly addictive qualities. Demerol has euphoric effects like morphine.
- Dilaudid – Dilaudid is also known as “hospital grade heroin,” Dilaudid is a powerful painkiller and has an extremely high potential for addiction. Dilaudid can cause severe breathing problems and even death.
- Fentanyl – Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times stronger than morphine. Fentanyl is only prescribed in severe cases of pain when nothing else is working. Fentanyl is extremely addictive, and a very small amount can cause a person to overdose or die.
- Hydrocodone – Hydrocodone is found in many painkillers such as Vicodin. Hydrocodone is normally mixed with ibuprofen or acetaminophen. It is used to treat mild to severe pain, due to its addictive qualities; it is normally prescribed for 7 days at a time.
- Methadone – Methadone is an opioid that is used to treat severe pain and to help some addicts fight the cravings of heroin withdrawals. But do not let that fool you. Methadone is extremely addictive, and use should be monitored closely by a physician.
- Morphine – For some people who suffer from chronic pain, Morphine is the only drug that helps the pain. Morphine is one of the most highly addictive and most abused drugs being prescribed. Overdose and/or death is highly likely if taken other than prescribed.
- Oxycodone – Oxycodone is also known as OxyContin and Percocet. It is a widely prescribed painkiller and has a high potential for abuse.
Opioids vs. Opiates
It is hard to remember the difference between opiates and opioids because, for the most part, they produce the same effects.
Opiates have active ingredients that are naturally found in opium. Opium comes from the poppy plant. Examples of opiates include morphine and codeine.
Opioids are synthetically manufactured and mimic the effects of opium. Some opioids are fully synthetic, while others are only partially synthetic – meaning they still contain natural opium
Opiate Effects and Abuse
When a patient starts taking more medication than they have been prescribed, opioids produce tranquil and euphoric effects. Because of the great way opioids make a person feel, they have a high tendency of being abused.
Because doctors will only prescribe a patient so many, a patient turned addict will “doctor-hunt” in order to feed their addiction.
The cravings that come with opioid addiction are so intense the addict has no choice but to find more medication in order to feel “normal.” Addicts will lie, cheat, and steal from friends, families, and strangers to be able to get opioids. When an addict can’t get any more medication from their doctor, they turn to heroin.
An overdose occurs when a patient takes too much medication, or they combine their medicine with other substances. Overdose is a sad and devastating consequence of opioid addiction. Opioids mixed with alcohol or benzodiazepines have deadly consequences. They all work by slowing down the central nervous system, so combining any of them can cause your body to shut down. Almost 40% of overdose deaths are blamed on opioids and are the leading cause of accidental deaths in general.
Due to the fact that opioids can be swallowed without anyone noticing, it is important for everyone to know the signs of an overdose
The following are sure signs of an opioid overdose:
- Constricted pupils
- Shallow breathing
- Cool skin
- Extreme sleepiness or inability to wake up
Treatment for Opiate Addiction
There are many types of treatment available for drug addiction, but for opioid addiction, the most successful program is an inpatient program. A person addicted to opioids needs the closely supervised and extremely regimented schedule that an inpatient treatment program can offer.
Inpatient Treatment Program
An inpatient program is an extremely structured and well-supervised live-in program. An inpatient program lasts on average 30 to 90 days and involves a multitude of treatment options. An inpatient treatment program gives the addict a safe place to express themselves while living in a drug-free environment. Every program has programs that are unique to them, but the most common programs include the following.
- Detox– A complete and medically supervised detox program is extremely important for an opioid addict. Detoxing off opioids can be dangerous and life-threatening if not monitored by medical staff.
- Mental health therapy– Individual and group therapy helps the addict discover the true reasons that lead them to addiction. And with help from counselors and other patients, discover healthy life choices.
- Cognitive behavior therapy– Treatment that uses hands-on learning to teach healthy, positive coping methods.
- Support groups- Addicts can get support from addicts who know exactly what the other is going through.
- 12 step program– A program where addicts seek support and accountability for their sobriety with the help of a mentor.
- Relapse prevention– Teaches addicts the best way to handle scenarios that may come up in life.
- Aftercare planning– Aftercare planning is a program that helps put a plan in place to help guide an addict on their life of sobriety.
Some inpatient programs also offer:
- Equine therapy-Working with horses and taking care of them has been proven beneficial with mental health.
- Art therapy– Art therapy is a great way for addicts to express things that drugs have suppressed.
- Yoga– Yoga improves stress, anxiety, depression, and overall good health.
- Meditation– Meditation helps calm the mind and body. It is very beneficial for an opioid addict while they are fighting cravings.
- Acupuncture-used to restore the balance of the mind and body
- Nutrition– Good eating habits help a person feel good and restores a sick body to a healthy one.
- Hypnotism– Has been proven to prevent cravings and thoughts of going back to opioids.
- Homeopathic therapy-Natural remedies to help ease the symptoms of detox and opioid cravings.
Ken Seeley Rehab
Ken Seeley has a comprehensive inpatient treatment program designed to help opioid addicts rebuild a successful life of sobriety. From the highly qualified medical staff to help you through the detox process to the caring counselors and staff that guide you to living a sober life, they are all waiting for you. What are you waiting for? Click here to take the first step.