Opiod Addiction

Addiction Treatment

Opioid Abuse, Addiction & Treatment

Providing Alternative Addiction Treatment In Arizona

Opioids are psychoactive drugs primarily prescribed for pain relief. Over the last two decades, the misuse of opioids has escalated into a widespread epidemic, resulting in thousands of overdose deaths in the United States. While opioid misuse can initially begin with a legitimate prescription, it often leads to adverse health effects, overdose, and addiction. Seeking assistance for opioid addiction is crucial and can be a life-saving decision.

Opioid Abuse

When prescribed opioids for chronic pain, such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), or codeine, adherence to the doctor’s recommendations is essential. Deviating from the prescribed dose—taking higher quantities, more frequently, or for an extended duration—constitutes prescription drug abuse. Additionally, using opioid painkillers without a prescription is a form of abuse, and self-medication should be avoided. The opioid crisis underscores the inherent dangers associated with these medications.

Methods of Opioid Misuse

While most individuals who abuse opioids consume them orally, some resort to crushing the pills to snort the resulting powder or preparing a solution for injection. Although the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that a small percentage of prescription opioid abusers transition to heroin use, the majority of heroin users opt for the illegal drug due to its cost-effectiveness and accessibility compared to the regulated opioid prescribing process.

Opioid Addiction and Legal Consequences

Opioids belong to a highly addictive drug class, necessitating careful prescription monitoring. All opioids are classified as controlled substances, and possessing them without a valid prescription can lead to legal repercussions. The allure of heroin often arises from its affordability and accessibility, circumventing the regulated channels associated with prescription opioids.

Mechanism of Action

Opioids exert their effects by acting on receptors in the brain that intercept pain signals, resulting in pain alleviation. Simultaneously, they slow down the central nervous system and elevate dopamine levels, inducing feelings of relaxation and euphoria. Tolerance to opioids can develop even with prescribed use, leading to reduced effectiveness over time. Healthcare providers typically prescribe opioids for short durations to mitigate the risk of tolerance. Prolonged use can prompt the brain to produce fewer natural chemicals, fostering dependence on the drugs and diminishing pleasure derived from healthy activities like exercise.

Most Commonly Abused Opioids

While prescription opioids can effectively manage pain when used as directed, several opioids are commonly abused, leading to serious health risks and addiction.

Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction manifests as a loss of control over drug use, often persisting despite adverse health effects or negative life consequences. Both heroin and prescription opioids alter the functioning of the brain, creating a situation where dependence on opioids becomes essential for daily functioning.
Additional signs of opioid use disorder may include:
Overcoming opioid addiction typically requires more than sheer willpower. Most individuals benefit from a comprehensive healthcare program that not only addresses the addiction but also imparts healthy habits to replace reliance on opioids.
For further information on Opioid Use Disorder, please refer to additional resources.

Opioid Treatment

Treatment for opioid addiction often commences with medical detoxification to ensure a safe cessation of opioid use. The detox process may involve a tapering schedule, gradually reducing the dosage, or substituting the opioid with a less potent drug.
Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) is a valuable approach for individuals dealing with opioid use disorder, particularly those facing persistent cravings after discontinuing heroin or other opioids. MAT combines medication with behavioral therapy to alleviate withdrawal symptoms, enhancing the likelihood of successful recovery.
Three FDA-approved medications are commonly used in MAT for opioid addiction:
Effective opioid treatments involve a combination of therapies tailored to individual needs. Treatment services may encompass therapy, counseling, and experiential methods such as yoga, art, and music, fostering a healthier lifestyle.
For more information on opioid treatment programs and personalized rehab plans, contact a treatment specialist at Heartfelt Recovery today.