Learn More About Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction is when someone is not able to stop using opioids, has withdrawals from opioids, or continues use when it negatively affects their daily life.

Within the past two decades, opioid addiction has become a national epidemic in the United States. While opioids can be effective at managing pain, they also come with a high risk for abuse and addiction. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 100 people die every day from a fatal overdose of opioids. And the number of drug overdose deaths has increased with each year over the past four years.

If someone you know suffers from addiction, please seek professional help right away. Opioid addiction is a serious condition that can lead to life-threatening consequences, but there are treatment options available that can help you or your loved one recover.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs that includes both prescription and illicit substances. Prescription opioids are typically used to treat chronic pain, while illicit opioids are usually bought and sold illegally on the street. Both types of opioids work in similar ways and can be just as addictive.

Some common prescription opioids include:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxycodone
  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl

Common illicit opioids include:

  • Heroin
  • Illegal fentanyl

Regardless of whether they’re prescribed or not, all opioids work in the brain in similar ways. They bind to receptors that are responsible for pain relief, but they also affect other areas of the brain that control emotions and pleasure. This can lead to feelings of euphoria and calmness, which is why opioids are often abused.

Opioids By Name

There are many opioids and opiate drugs out there. Here are some of the most commonly abused:

Codeine: Codeine is an opioid that is often prescribed as a cough suppressant or pain reliever. It is found in brand name drugs like Tylenol 3, Empirin 3, Robitussin A-C, Fiorinal, and Percocet.

Morphine: Morphine is a very strong opioid that is usually given to cancer patients or those who have suffered severe injuries. It is found in brand name drugs like Avinza, Kadian, MSIR, Roxanol, and Oramorph SR.

Oxycodone: Oxycodone is a very strong opioid that is usually prescribed for moderate to severe pain. It is found in brand name drugs like OxyContin, Percocet, Roxicodone, and Tylox.

Hydrocodone: Hydrocodone is a strong opioid that is usually prescribed for moderate to severe pain. It is found in brand name drugs like Anexsia, Dolacet, Hycodan, Hydrogesic, Hydroset, Hycomine, Lorcet HD, Margesic H, Medipain 5, Stagesic, Vicoprofen, and Zydone.

Opioid addiction can develop after taking any of these drugs for a period of time, even if they are taken as prescribed. Opioid addiction is a serious medical condition that requires treatment. 

If you’re trying to get help for someone you know who is suffering from addiction, there are solutions available. Keep reading to learn more.

Using Opioids

Opioids are designed to mimic the pain-reducing properties of endorphins, which are naturally produced by the body. Opioids bind to and activate opioid receptors on nerves in the brain and throughout the body to decrease the perception of pain. 

When used as prescribed by a doctor, opioids can be an important part of treatment for some conditions. However, because they produce feelings of pleasure and relaxation, opioids also have a high potential for abuse and addiction.

People who misuse or abuse opioids may take them in ways other than prescribed, such as taking someone else’s prescription or taking more pills than prescribed. They may also crush pills and then snort or inject them to get a stronger, faster effect. Some people who abuse opioids start by using them for non-medical reasons, such as to get high.

People who use opioids regularly can develop tolerance, which means they need increasingly larger doses of the drugs to achieve the same effects. Tolerance can lead to physical dependence, a condition in which people feel withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. Withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable and may include sweating, shaking, and nausea.

People who are dependent on opioids may continue taking them despite negative consequences, such as job loss or relationship problems. Some people with an opioid use disorder turn to illegal sources of the drugs when they are unable to obtain them through legitimate means. This can lead to further legal and financial problems.

What Is the Difference Between Drug Tolerance, Dependence, and Addiction?

People often misuse the terms “drug tolerance,” “drug dependence,” and “drug addiction.” It is important to understand the differences between these three concepts.

Drug tolerance is whenever a person needs larger and larger doses of medicine or drugs to achieve their desired effect. Tolerance is a common phenomenon with all drugs, both legal and illegal. For example, someone who regularly drinks coffee may find that they need to drink more and more coffee over time to feel the same level of alertness.

Drug dependence is when a person’s body adapts to the presence of a drug and begins to experience withdrawal symptoms. This happens when the drug is no longer present. Withdrawal symptoms are often physical (i.e., nausea, sweating, tremors) or psychological (i.e., anxiety, depression).

Drug addiction is a disease of chronic, compulsive, and relapsing drug seeking and use. This behavior continues despite the negative consequences. Addiction is a brain disease that affects both the mind and the body.

People who are addicted to drugs often continue to use them even when they are aware of the harmful consequences. They may be unable to control their drug use and may feel like they need the drug just to get through the day. As a result, many addicts doctor shop in an attempt to get more medicine.

The good news is that addiction is treatable. There are many effective treatments available that can help people recover from addiction and lead healthy, productive lives.

Common Signs of Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences. If you know someone who has an opioid addiction problem, it’s important to be aware of the common signs and symptoms.

One of the most common opioid addiction signs is a strong craving for the drug. People who are addicted to opioids often feel an intense need to use their drug of choice, even when they don’t really want to. They may try to quit using opioids multiple times but find that they can’t stay away from the drug for very long.

Another common sign of opioid addiction is tolerance. This means that a person needs to use more of their medication or drug to get the same effect. As tolerance increases, so does the risk of opioid overdose.

People who are addicted to opioids may also experience withdrawal symptoms when they try to quit. Withdrawal symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, and anxiety. These symptoms can be very unpleasant and make it difficult for people to stay away from the drug.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosing opioid addiction can be difficult because it often involves assessing a person’s psychological state, which can be subjective. Treatment for drug addiction typically includes behavioral therapy and medication. Medications used in the medical treatment of opioid addiction include methadone and buprenorphine.

As difficult as addiction may be, there is thankfully help available. If you know someone who has a problem with addiction, please contact our professionals today at NJ Rehabs. We are passionate about helping patients find solutions to their addiction problems and will work tirelessly to help them get on the path to recovery.