Opioid Addiction

A Quick Breakdown Of Opioid Addiction

Articles, Australia, Education, International, LGBTQ, Understanding Addiction, United Kingdom, United States
What Are Opioids?

Opioid Addiction – Opioids are powerful, painkilling narcotic drugs that are supposed to be prescribed by a doctor for severe pain. However; many people illegally purchase opioids on the street from drug dealers and use them to catch a buzz.

Opioids are highly addictive substances that wreak havoc on the individual, their families, and society at large. Opioids are a multi-billion-dollar business for pharmaceutical companies and drug cartels internationally. Millions of people around the world are addicted to opioids.

Opiates VS. Opioids? What’s The Difference?

For years, people only used the term “opiates.” Now, people are using the term “opioids.” What’s the difference?

To be clear, opiates are natural substances derived solely from the opium plant, which is grown in tropical climates around the world. Heroin, Codeine, and Morphine are all considered opiates because they are natural derivatives of the opium plant.

Opioids are synthetic substances, which means they are partially derived from opium and partially chemically manufactured. Oxycodone, Fentanyl, and Percocet are all examples of synthetic opioids because they have to made in laboratories.

In the past, people commonly used the word “opiates” to refer to heroin and other all-natural substances that came from opium. In recent times, people around the world have started referring to opiates as opioids. Now, everything that comes from the opium poppy plant is considered an opioid. It may seem confusing, but we hold that clears things up a bit.  

Types of Opioids

Here is a list of the most popular opioids:

  • Hydrocodone (Lorcet, Lortab, Norco, Vicodin)
  • Fentanyl
  • Codeine
  • Oxycontin (Oxycodone)
  • Methadone
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Percocet
How Opioid Addiction Works  

Opioids create a euphoric and intoxicating effect that causes the user to want more of the stuff. They work by binding to opioid receptor sites in the brain. To put it simply, the brain loves opioids.

When someone takes opioids for an extended period of time, they quickly build up a tolerance. Tolerance is what happens when your body becomes accustomed to processing a certain chemical. When tolerance takes hold, more of the drug is required to get the same effect. Before long, someone who takes opioids will develop a physical dependence.

If someone tries to quit taking opioids, they will go through the process of withdrawal. Withdrawal takes place when your body is used to processing a chemical and you remove that chemical from your body. Opioid addiction is an incredibly difficult addiction to kick because of this excruciating and painful process, which is also known as detox.

Here are the symptoms of opioid withdrawal:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Head-to-toe body aches
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Tremors
  • Seizure, Coma, Death (In extreme cases)

Opioid withdrawal is so uncomfortable, users will continue using opioids to avoid the pain of detox.

Medical Detoxification Is Highly Recommended To Anyone Who Wants To Quit Opioids

If you are addicted to opioids, you should not stop using the stuff on your own – and you don’t want to. Opioid withdrawal is extremely unpleasant. People who have quit opioids cold turkey compare the experience to hell on earth.

More importantly, you can have seizures, go into a coma, or die if you attempt to stop using opioids on without medical assistance. Medical detoxification is recommended for anyone who has an addiction to opioids. This involves the use of medication to safely and comfortably remove the opioids from your system. This takes place in the safety and comfort of in-patient rehabilitation center, detox, or medical facility.

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Anne -

Anne Lazarakis joined the DARA Rehab team from Sydney, Australia. She writes about addiction and mental health on a global, local and community level. She also relays personal accounts of substance abuse and recovery through the stories of our clients, their families and our own team members.
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