Signs Of Opioid Use Disorder
Determining whether you or someone you know is addicted to prescription painkillers can be difficult, but there are certain risk factors and signs you can watch for. Common signs of an opioid use disorder include:
- Using more prescription opioids than you intended
- Using prescription opioids for longer than you intended
- Being unable to control or cut back on prescription opioid use
- Spending a lot of time getting painkillers or recovering from using them
- Having strong cravings to use painkillers
- Continuing to use prescription opioid drugs despite related social or legal problems
- Neglecting important activities at home, work, or school
- Continuing to use painkillers despite related physical or mental problems
- Needing more opioids to achieve the desired effects
- Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when you try to stop using painkillers4
Common Types Of Prescription Painkillers
Prescription opioids work by binding to pain receptors in the brain. Because of how strong they are, these painkillers can be helpful for people suffering from chronic pain. Some of the more common conditions painkillers help with include cancer-related pain, healing after surgery, and severe injuries.
The issue with prescription painkillers is that often people will try to get them long after the pain has left. Just like with any drug, there is room for abuse and addiction. This is doubly true for painkillers because of how strong they are and how easy it is to become dependent.
There are a lot of prescription opioids, some with mildly different effects than others. Because of how similar their effects are however, many people will treat them the same. Some of the most common prescription painkillers include:
Unfortunately, its all too easy to develop an OxyContin, Vicodin, or Percocet addiction. Its important to have a trustworthy doctor when using these medications. Dependence begins when your body starts going into withdrawal. The moment you or a loved one experiences withdrawal symptoms, talk to the physician who prescribed them. You may need rehab and treatment for painkiller addiction.
Can Opioid Addiction Be Prevented Or Avoided
Many people are able to use opioids safely without becoming addicted to them. But their potential for addiction is high. This is especially true if you use them for long-term pain management.
In general, you are more likely to avoid addiction if you can use opioid drugs no longer than a week. Research shows that using them for more than a month can make you dependent on them.
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What Is The Opioid Epidemic
The opioid epidemic is the crisis our nation currently faces in terms of the widespread abuse of opioid prescription painkillers. Much of the problem stems from the increased availability of these drugs. Four times as many prescription painkillers are provided each year now as compared with the 1990s. At the same time, were seeing an increase in opioid overdose deaths. Thanks to efforts to battle this issue, the numbers of opioid prescriptions and opioid-related deaths appear to have leveled off since 2012. Still, on average, 44 people in the U.S. die every day from an overdose of opioid prescription painkillers. This is double the number of deaths from heroin overdose.
Expect Exceptional Care When You Call Georgia Addiction Treatment Center
Painkiller addiction can lead to numerous health complications, mental health disorders, and an unhappy life. If you are ready to change this to start on a healthy future, call Georgia Addiction Treatment Center. Our team of dedicated professionals can answer all of your questions when you call or connect with us online.
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Treatment For Opiate Addiction
There are many treatment options to choose from, but research suggests the most effective form of treatment for Opiate addiction is inpatient detox followed by inpatient rehab. Inpatient rehab centers have specialized programs for individuals suffering from this type of substance use disorder. These programs help patients dig deep within themselves to uncover the root cause of their drug use. Knowing what caused patients to use drugs or alcohol in the first place will help prevent future triggers while in recovery.
Many individuals quickly find that the rewards of progressing through a treatment program far outweigh the high they formerly gained from drug use.
Featured Centers Offering Opiate Addiction Treatment
Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelors and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffreys desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffreys mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
What Exactly Is An Addiction
An addiction is a compulsive behavior that is very difficult to control. Its something that we consistently think and obsess about that interferes with our social relations and threatens to take over our life.
It is a behavior that we become somewhat dependent upon that helps us alter our emotional state-of-mind and satisfy our inner desires and drives. Its a behavior that gives us a sense of security and control. However, this control is an illusion that actually threatens our emotional well-being.
When we indulge in our addictions, they completely overshadow other priorities, commitments, and responsibilities we have to ourselves, to our families, colleagues, and friends. These addictions take over our lives and affect our work, health, and social life.
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How Opioid Addiction Works
Opioids increase the amount of dopamine in a part of the brain called the limbic reward system. Dopamine causes intense feelings of pleasure, which drives users to seek out the drug again and again.
They trigger the release of dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter that causes intense pleasure in parts of the brain that include the limbic system, according to Savage. It links brain areas that control and regulate emotions such as the pleasures of eating, drinking and sex. “This is a very ancient part of the human brain that’s necessary for survival,” says Savage. “All drugs that people use to get high tickle this part of the brain.”
People can become psychologically and physically dependent on opioids very quickly. Breaking the physical dependence involves a several-day nightmare called detox, when the body gets used to being without the drug.
“It is an amazing thing to see someone basically vibrating in their chair, feeling nauseated, looking like hell,” says Jeffrey Ferguson, a detox specialist at Serenity Place in Manchester, N.H.
Jack O’Connor put himself through detox 20 times, but that didn’t stop his addiction. O’Connor’s limbic reward system had hijacked other systems in his brain systems that drive judgment, planning and organization driving them all to seek that pleasure of getting high. This process can go on during years of sobriety, according to Savage.
“Somebody’s telling me I need to get high,” he thought at the time.
And that’s what he did.
How To Approach A Loved One About Painkiller Addiction
If someone you care about has a painkiller abuse problem, you may want to talk with them about seeking treatment. As someone who cares about them and who they care about, reaching out could help save their life.
When approaching someone who is dealing with addiction, show compassion and avoid blame or judgment. While you can express disapproval for the substance use, continue expressing support for the person and encourage them to find treatment.
It is possible to overcome addiction in fact, it happens every day. Although it may seem overwhelming now, your loved one can quit and lead a healthy, drug-free life. Below are various strategies you can use to influence your friend or family to seek help:
- Encourage them to see a doctor for an evaluation. Most people trust the advice of professionals.
- Reassure them that medical treatment is confidential and their privacy is protected by law.
- Listen to their fears and concerns. Validate their feelings and offer to write down any questions they have about treatment. Your loved one can refer to this list when talking to potential treatment centers.
- Remind them that every person is different and reacts to treatment differently. One approach may work for one person and not for another. They can try different treatments until they find one that works for them.
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What Are The Signs Of An Addiction
People addicted to drugs may change their behavior. Possible signs include:
- Mixing with different groups of people or changing friends
- Spending time alone and avoiding time with family and friends
- Losing interest in activities
- Getting into trouble with the law
- Attending work or school on an erratic schedule
- Experiencing financial hardship
Why Are Some People More Susceptible To Opioid Addiction
Nobody is quite sure why one person becomes addicted to opioids and not another. Typically, opioids produce pain relief, which is good after surgery. However, for some people opioids create a pleasurable effect. For example, caffeine is a reinforcing drug people like the effects.
That is true for about 80 percent of the adult population in U.S. But, some people avoid it because it makes them jittery or anxious. Early in the process of opioid use, people may take it because of the pleasurable effect, and some people actually dont like the effect of an opioid and may go on to avoid them. If you take an opioid and your pain is gone, and you find yourself saying, I feel really good, it may be a warning sign that you are vulnerable to misusing these medications.
Over time that good effect diminishes for people who like how an opioid makes them feel, and many people take more opioids because they hope to get that good feeling, and they also dont want to go through withdrawal.
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Why Are Veterans Addicted To Painkillers
Pain is a part of war and the training for it.
The Brookings Institution summed it up well, saying, by virtue of service to our country, especially in a period of ongoing war, veterans report higher rates of severe pain and chronic pain than the general population. Those realities create an environment where opioid therapies can become widespread and lasting. For veterans who are also disproportionately likely to experience mental health conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder .
With respect to pain, the National Institute on Drug Abuse puts some specific numbers to it, noting two-thirds report they experience pain. More than 9% reported that they experience severe pain, compared to only 6.4% of non-veterans, putting them at higher risk for accidental opioid pain reliever overdoses.
NIDA also reported that in 2009, military physicians wrote 3.8 million prescriptions for main medication 4 times more than in 2001.
Perhaps even more troubling is that suicide rates, which are already 1.5 times higher for vets than civilians, may be linked to the intensity of pain according to a study by the Department of Veterans Affairs .
A Six Step Process For Overcoming Addictions
Overcoming an addiction is never an easy or straightforward process. It requires conscious work, effort and time. There are however six steps you can follow that can help you overcome just about any addiction you may face.
Working through these six steps, however, doesnt replace the value you will gain from seeking professional help. Therefore, if in doubt, always seek guidance from a counselor or therapist.
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Why Are Painkillers Addictive
Painkillers are prescription opioid drugs. They work by interacting with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain to relieve feelings of pain.2 In the process, they also produce strong feelings of euphoria and relaxation.
With continued use over time, repeated use of prescription painkillers changes the way the brain functions. These changes can make you feel like you need the drug to feel normal. Once you are dependent on opioids, you begin to experience physical and emotional discomfort when the effects of the drug wear off, which can be a very strong motivator to take more. However, taking too much of a prescription opioid drug is very dangerous and is likely to cause an overdose, which can be fatal.
Although prescription painkillers are generally safe to use for a short time when prescribed by a doctor, chronic use of these drugs can cause tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Sometimes, a person may even become addicted when using a painkiller as directed.
More than 191 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed to Americans in 2017 and according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 10.3 million people misused prescription opioids in 2018.2,3
What Is The Difference Between Drug Tolerance Dependence And Addiction
Drug tolerance and dependence are a normal part of taking any opioid drug for a long time. You can be tolerant to, or dependent on, a drug and not yet be addicted to it.
Addiction, however, is not normal. It is a disease. You are addicted to a drug when it seems that neither your body nor your mind can function without the drug. Addiction causes you to obsessively seek out the drug, even when the drug use causes behavior, health, or relationship problems.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Prescription Painkiller Addiction
The symptoms of prescription painkiller abuse will vary among individuals based upon genetic makeup, length of the addiction, and frequency of abuse. There are some common symptoms that are seen in most who abuse prescription painkillers. These include:
- Stealing to obtain more painkillers
- Visiting multiple doctors in order to obtain additional prescriptions
- Increased risks for heart attack and other cardiovascular complications
- Respiratory depression
Painkiller Addiction Signs And Symptoms
Painkillers are a category of natural and semisynthetic substances that are derived from the opium poppy plant. When they are taken for legitimate medical purposes, these drugs are typically used to treat chronic and acute pain.
Depending on the type of painkiller being consumed, these substances can be smoked, snorted, injected or swallowed as a tablet. Painkiller interact with receptors in the brain that are associated with pleasure, reward and pain. When an individual consumes painkillers, they will typically experience elevated mood, relaxed euphoria and an alleviation of pain effects which can be highly addictive to some people. However, because the receptors that are triggered by painkillers are located in the area of the brain that also controls automatic functions such as heartbeat and respiration, failing to stay within appropriate dosages can be dangerous and even deadly.
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How Painkiller Abuse And Addiction Affects Lives
Overdose this is obviously a serious potential problem to painkiller addiction that you obviously do not want to happen. If you overdose on painkillers, and theres nobody around to get you some kind of medical assistance, there is a very good possibility that youre going to die. If you do overdose then oftentimes you have to get an injection of adrenaline shot directly into your heart in order to start your body up again. Obviously that is not an ideal situation to want to be in, so you should avoid this type of addiction at all costs unless you literally want to leave your life hanging in the balance.
Crime many people who get hooked on drugs eventually have no choice but to turn to a life of crime. And when you turn to a life of crime, you put yourself at risk to get physically harmed by the people you are trying to steal from and the police who are obviously going to be trying to stop you. This is obviously extremely unsafe, and if you try and rob drug dealers to get your drug of choice then you are really putting yourself in jeopardy because theyll do anything to protect their business and they will kill you at the drop of a hat instead of letting you get over on them.
This is a very scary situation and you obviously run the risk of either killing yourself or killing other people when you drive under the influence of painkillers.
This is a seriously stupid mistake and unfortunately, the consequences could be potentially fatal injury and disfigurement.
How Do Behavioral Therapies Treat Drug Addiction
Behavioral therapies help people in drug addiction treatment modify their attitudes and behaviors related to drug use. As a result, patients are able to handle stressful situations and various triggers that might cause another relapse. Behavioral therapies can also enhance the effectiveness of medications and help people remain in treatment longer.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy seeks to help patients recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations in which they’re most likely to use drugs.
- Contingency management uses positive reinforcement such as providing rewards or privileges for remaining drugfree, for attending and participating in counseling sessions, or for taking treatment medications as prescribed.
- Motivational enhancement therapy uses strategies to make the most of people’s readiness to change their behavior and enter treatment.
- Family therapy helps people with drug use problems, as well as their families, address influences on drug use patterns and improve overall family functioning.
- Twelve-step facilitation is an individual therapy typically delivered in 12 weekly session to prepare people to become engaged in 12-step mutual support programs. 12-step programs, like Alcoholic Anonymous, are not medical treatments, but provide social and complementary support to those treatments. TSF follows the 12-step themes of acceptance, surrender, and active involvement in recovery.
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