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Opiate Addiction

The Dangers of Opiate Addiction

Which do you believe is more common: death by opiate overdose, or deadly car accidents? Well, in the United States today, the sad truth of the matter is that opiate drugs are killing more people. But unlike the random and unpredictable nature of car accidents, opiate overdose is preventable.

Opiate drugs are being prescribed in record numbers for pain management. However, due to the unique chemistry of opiates, these drugs also have the potential to alter human brain chemistry and become addictive. And as one might expect when addictive drugs are being prescribed in record numbers, the total number of opioid addicts and opiate-related deaths are on the rise as well. Some of the drugs which get prescribed most often are:

  • Codeine
  • Vicodin (hydrocodone)
  • Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
  • Methadone
  • Demerol (Meperidine)
  • Morphine
  • Percocet
  • Oxycontin
  • Oxycodone

If you suspect that you’re having trouble with any of the drugs in the list above, or if you suspect that someone you care about might have a problem, it’s important to get help for yourself or for them as soon as possible. It’s also important to understand how the addiction works, so that you can get them the right kind of help.

The Cycle of Opiate Addiction

Opiate addiction can happen to anyone. And it starts out innocently enough, usually with a prescription for an opiate painkiller, written by a doctor, to help someone treat pain. But somewhere along the line, the patient with the opiate prescription develops both a tolerance for and a physiological dependence on the opiates – meaning that not only do they have to keep taking more and more of the drug to get the same effect, but that if they stop cold turkey, the withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous or even fatal.

Opiate addiction becomes a little more complicated when you consider that some of the patients on these drugs are taking them for chronic pain. And that pain isn’t going to go away when the patient stops taking opiates. In fact, it may even become worse. For this reason, people suffering from an opiate addiction need special attention during the aftercare process to find ways to manage their pain without opioid drugs.

More often than not, especially in recent years, opiate addictions have a tendency to escalate into a full-blown heroin addiction. Some states have tried to combat the opiate epidemic by passing stricter laws which make opiate drugs less available. While their hearts are in the right place, this legislation has the unfortunate side effect of pushing people who are addicted to opiates towards illicit street heroin in order to avoid withdrawal. Opiate withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Muscle Aches
  • Runny Nose
  • Yawning
  • Sweating
  • Abdominal cramps/pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Dilated pupils
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

While in most cases withdrawal isn’t necessarily life-threatening, it can be extremely uncomfortable. Many people suffering from an opiate addiction might think about using again rather than facing the unpleasant withdrawal process. For this reason, going through withdrawal and beginning the road toward recovery is best done in a rehab facility where trained medical staff can help the patient through their detox. Both medical care and addiction counseling services can help the patient stay on the right path during the withdrawal process. This insures a strong start towards recovery.

Getting Help is the Best Option

If you or someone you love is struggling with an opiate addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out for help today. Connecting with an addiction specialist can help you find resources, rehab centers near you, and get you or your loved one started on the road to recovery.