Opioid addiction grips millions of Americans every day. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction to opioids and opiates, then please know that you aren’t alone. With the right support, you can fight and overcome opioid addiction. For many people, the first step is to learn more about the substance that has done so much damage to their health and day-to-day lives.
Learn more with SOBA New Jersey's support. Call (888) 229-7989 today.
On This Page:
- What are Opioids?
- What is Opioid Addiction?
- Signs of Opioid Addiction
- Dangers of Opioid Use
- How to Help Someone with Opioid Addiction
What are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drugs used medically to treat severe or chronic pain. Although many people refer to “opioids” and “opiates” interchangeably, they are different. Opioids are all naturally occurring, synthetic, and semi-synthetic opioids; opiates are naturally occurring opioids, such as heroin, codeine, and morphine. While some opioids (including opiates) are legally available as prescription medications, they are highly regulated due to their high potential for abuse.
Examples of commonplace opioids include:
- Oxycodone (OxyContin or Percocet)
- Dilaudid (hydromorphone)
Typically, opioids come from the opium plant, but some are manmade (synthetic), such as fentanyl. All opioids stimulate the brain’s opioid receptors, which reduces feelings of pain and enhances feelings of pleasure. They also cause you to feel deeply relaxed and, in some cases, euphoric. Some people can have a paradoxical reaction to opioids, though, which causes them to experience fear and paranoia while “high” on the drug.
When used correctly, opioids can be extremely beneficial for individuals experiencing considerable pain. However, these drugs affect the brain’s natural processes and, when misused or abused, can quickly lead to increased tolerance, dependency, and addiction.
What is Opioid Addiction?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2018 almost 11% of U.S. adults reported using prescription pain medication within the past month. In 2017, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that almost 18 million U.S. adults used pain pills without a prescription from their doctor.
It’s important to note that anyone on opioids, not just those who misuse or abuse them, can become addicted because of their highly addictive properties. Furthermore, continued use of a prescription opioid will build your tolerance to it, so you will need a larger dose to get the same painkiller effect. This continual upward trend of dosage amounts is one of the greatest risk factors for addiction.
When you become dependent or addicted to an opioid, it can be challenging to stop using the drug. Even if someone wants to stop, their body may start to go through withdrawal, which is characterized by painful and sometimes dangerous symptoms. Even after detox, it can be difficult to avoid triggers and resist relapse without professional addiction treatment and support.
Signs of Opioid Addiction
Signs of opioid addiction typically include:
- Uncontrollable cravings
- Weight loss
- Frequent flu-like symptoms
- Decreased libido
- Inability to be happy when not using an opioid
Dangers of Opioid Use
The CDC reports that of the more than 67,000 overdose deaths in 2018 due to drugs, about 70% were caused by opioids. People who misuse or abuse opioids are at a higher risk of overdose, but it can happen to anyone if they are not careful with their dosage.
Symptoms of an opioid overdose can include:
- Slurred speech
- Slowed or shallow breathing
- Bluish or greyish skin
- Blue lips or fingernails
- Slow pulse
An opioid overdose can trigger a cardiorespiratory event or failure in the worst-case scenario. Without urgent medical care, it can be fatal. If you suspect someone is suffering an opioid overdose, call 911 immediately. Opioid overdoses can be reversed in many cases if medical care is administered quickly enough.
How to Help Someone with Opioid Addiction
No matter how severe opioid addiction becomes, it is always possible to fight it. If you or a loved one need help to overcome opioid dependency or addiction, call (888) 229-7989 and speak with an addiction rehab professional from SOBA New Jersey. We can create a personalized recovery plan that meets your specific needs, giving you a stronger chance of achieving sobriety that lasts.
Contact us now for more information about opioid addiction and how to fight it.
At times, you can feel lost and confused when struggling with addiction or mental health. Our team understands what you are going through and works with you to reclaim the life you deserve.