Opioid addiction can be one of the most difficult addictions to overcome, and users who become addicted to opioids generally suffer from a combination of a physical and mental addiction. Oftentimes, individuals with an opioid addiction will resort to drastic drug-seeking behaviors if the substance is not taken frequently. Being addicted to opioids can make everyday living extremely difficult, leaving individuals feeling stigmatized, desperate, and lonely.
Addicts who need help with opioid abuse should seek treatment at a professional drug rehab center. If you or a loved one is suffering from drug addiction and need more information about opioids and addiction treatment, please know help is available and recovery is possible with AION Health Group.
What is Opioid Addiction?
Opioids are widely known in the medical world for their efficacy in treating acute and chronic pain. Despite their beneficial properties in pain management, opioids can be highly addictive if misused.
Opioids work by altering the chemistry of the brain by rapidly binding to opioid receptors, blocking pain signals, and releasing massive amounts of the neurotransmitter, dopamine (also known as the “feel-good” hormone).
Whether users are taking prescription opioids such as Percocet or OxyContin for chronic pain, or using an illicit form like heroin, addiction can happen quickly and without forewarning. An otherwise healthy individual can be prescribed opioids after a routine surgical procedure and find them helpful with pain management; however, prescription misuse can lead to new painkiller addiction and dependence.
Users can find themselves returning to opioids and requiring higher doses to achieve the euphoric, pain-free high that opioids can provide. It’s the pursuit of a high that oftentimes hooks everyday people into the difficult cycle of opioid addiction.
As users dive deeper into addiction, it’s common for individuals to resort to desperate measures such as “doctor shopping” to find new prescriptions for opioids, mixing prescription meds with other drugs and alcohol, or resorting to using cheaper, street versions like heroin.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drugs organically found in the opium poppy. For thousands of years, the opium poppy has been used for its powerful medicinal properties such as pain relief.
Some prescription opioids are made from the poppy, while others are created by pharmacologists utilizing the same chemical structure. As mentioned before, opioids work by attaching to opioid receptors in nerve cells and producing a powerful surge of dopamine that blocks pain and leaves patients with an intense feeling of relaxation. With time, the brain can develop an insatiable craving for that “high”, which can easily lead to opioid addiction.
There are three groups of opioids: opiates, semi-synthetic, and synthetic.
Group 1: Opiates – Naturally occurring agents that are derived from the opium poppy and include morphine, codeine, and thebaine.
(Keep in mind that opiates are drugs that are derived from the naturally occurring opium compounds in the opium poppy plant. Opioids refer to all-natural, semi-synthetic, and synthetic opioids; however, terms are commonly used interchangeably).
Group 2: Semisynthetic – This group is synthesized from naturally occurring opium and is structurally very similar to Group 1. Semi-synthetic opioids include hydrocodone, oxycodone, hydromorphone, oxymorphone, buprenorphine, and heroin.
Group 3: Synthetic – This group is engineered and not naturally occurring. Group 3 agents have some structural commonalities to Groups 1 and 2 and include fentanyl, methadone, meperidine, tramadol, and propoxyphene.
Opioid Addiction Statistics
It’s no secret that America is experiencing an opioid crisis. Opiate addiction statistics show that 70% of the more than 67,000 drug overdose deaths in 2018 resulted from prescription or illicit opioids.
This grim reality presents a huge challenge to those suffering from addiction, and begs the question of our healthcare system: how did this get so out of control?
In the late 1990s, pharma companies told physicians that opioids weren’t habit-forming. This led to doctors prescribing opioids at greater rates, which led to widespread use and abuse before it was publicly acknowledged that opioids can be very addictive. In fact, roughly 21% to 29% of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain management will misuse them, and approximately 80% of people with a heroin addiction first abused prescription opioids.
These staggering figures highlight the very real crisis going on and show how easy it is to slip into the throes of addiction. With all of this known, it’s important to remember that you or your loved one are not alone in this fight against the national opioid epidemic. Help is always available.
Signs of Opioid Addiction
Opioid use disorder is a serious medical condition in which a person cannot stop taking opioids and centers their life around cyclical use. While not everyone becomes physically dependent on opioids, it’s a common side effect for addicts to start experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms upon cessation.
Opioid addiction can seep into every crevice of a person’s life affecting their social, economic, physical, and psychological world, which is why it’s vital to get professional help to overcome this addiction.
Opioid addiction symptoms can look like:
• Lack of self-control or regulation in taking opioids as prescribed by a doctor
• Intense or uncontrollable cravings for opioids
• “Chasing the high” or requiring greater doses of pain killers to achieve the same effect
• Seeking opioids by any means possible (stealing, doctor shopping, buying heroin on the streets, etc.)
• Resorting to crushing, snorting, or injecting opioids via hypodermic needle
• Acquisition of blood-borne diseases from intravenous drug use such as HIV, hepatitis B or C
• Loss of job, marriage, familial ties, custody of children, etc.
While there can be other signs of opioid addiction, these are some of the most common.
Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
Opioid withdrawal can be quite uncomfortable as the body has become dependent on either prescription or illicit opioids to achieve a feeling of painlessness and euphoria.
Patients withdrawing from opioids can experience a range of symptoms that can last a few days to a few weeks including but not limited to:
• Body aches and cramps
• Dilated pupils
• Hot or cold flashes
• Increased blood pressure
• Increased heart rate blood pressure
• Intense nausea
• Runny nose
No one should or deserves to undergo opioid (or any drug) withdrawal alone, which is why it’s important to seek professional help to aid with a transition back to life without drugs. With the right help, successful withdrawal can happen.
Opioid Addiction Treatment
There’s no way around it, opioid addiction is serious. If you or your loved one are ready to take the first step in conquering addiction, AION Health Group is here to help.
At AION Health Group, we offer patients a comprehensive approach when it comes to addiction recovery. Patients can choose from a wide range of treatment programs through one of our three, Florida-based AION treatment facilities.
Rehab South Florida offers partial hospitalization addiction treatment plans, along with outpatient detox, intensive outpatient, and MAT therapy (medically assisted treatment). Rehab South Florida takes a comprehensive approach to addiction treatment, and one-on-one support provides patients with the individualized care, treatment, and counseling they require for a successful recovery.
Detox of South Florida treatment center offers customized MAT treatment to manage withdrawal symptoms due to alcohol and drug addiction. With a primary focus on detoxification, patients can start a recovery journey with a clean slate.
AION Recovery provides an abstinence-based recovery program* with personalized care while integrating exciting and proven-to-work activities that support a positive patient outcome. Aside from award-winning support, “Gold Seal” Joint Commission Accreditation, and hundreds of wonderful patient testimonials, AION Recovery also offers a total-wellness approach that includes fitness, nutrition, psychological and medical support, as well as alternative pain management techniques.
Contact AION Health Group Today
AION Health Group is an evidence-based group of recovery centers offering holistic-focused treatments aimed at providing each patient with total healing and long-term recovery from opiate addiction. Every day we help patients beat addiction with comprehensive and personalized recovery plans that combine our evidence-based and adventure-focused treatment models.
On-going opioid use can result in serious medical problems and even death. If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid addiction and are ready to receive the support you need and deserve, call for help today at 888-912-2454 or contact us online for 24/7 help. Our qualified and compassionate Admissions staff is standing by for your call or email. Stop suffering and start living, you can overcome addiction. AION Health Group is here to help.
*abstinence-based recovery means patients will not receive medical comfort while detoxing.