Opioid use disorder has become a serious cause of concern in the US with 2 million+ citizens struggling with the disorder at the moment. Their health and lifestyle have significantly changed. What’s worse, the numbers are constantly rising each and every year. Luckily, this disorder can be mitigated and eventually stopped after a certain period of time. Below is a complete guide to opioid addiction, signs, and treatment solutions that you should learn about. Please read on.
The Occurrence of Opioid Addiction
Opioids are highly addictive, especially when taken in large doses. These drugs have the potential to attach to and activate the powerful reward centers in your brain. The presence of the drug in your bloodstream triggers endorphin release hence giving you a good feeling by muffling how you perceive the pain. This way, your pleasure feelings will be boosted. This feeling will not last long, and this may tempt you to consume another dose of the drug as you try to bring back the powerful sense of well-being within the shortest time possible. The triggered release, however, just like any other drug abuse would do, is in excess amounts as compared to what your body actually needs.
If you’ve been taking opioids or have just started taking them, you’re at risk of developing an addiction. Even though the prediction of those vulnerable to eventual addiction, hence continuous abuse of these drugs can be a bit difficult, your individual history of substance abuse and the length of time you’ll be taking the drugs play a significant role. Currently, opioids have resulted in quite a number of overdose deaths across the nation. I doubt if anyone with a sober mind – you included – would want to be part of the statistics. But how can you tell if you’re becoming addicted to these drugs?
Signs of Opioid Addiction
The diagnosis of opioid addiction may be quite challenging because different people show different signs and symptoms. As a person begins to abuse the drug, a number of factors come into play. These include the period of abuse, opioid type, and overall physical and mental state of that individual. However, there are signs that are common with all during the diagnosis. These are inclusive of cognitive signs, behavioral signs, psychological signs, and physical signs.
A person intoxicated with taking opioids is bound to experience slurred speech, coma/drowsiness, agitation or apathy, impaired memory or attention, and constricted pupils. Some of the side effects of the drug’s abuse include headaches, mood swings, constipation, dry mouth, skin rashes, nausea, weight gain, bad dreams, abdominal cramping, menstrual problems, sexual dysfunction, depressed respiration, and depression. If the person has taken an overdose emergency, they’ll tend to experience bluish lips or clammy skin, cold, changes in the nervous system, or a decrease in the vital signs. Administering the drug through different routes from those prescribed, the victim will be at risk of experiencing euphoria.
Withdrawing from taking the drugs could also be challenging. You may experience severe withdrawal signs such as diarrhea, agitation, restlessness, insomnia, involuntary leg movements, vomiting, muscle aches, seizures, itching, paranoia, panic, yawning, rapid heart rate, difficulties in sleeping, mild hypertension, runny nose, and fever.
Opioid Addiction Risk Factors
Taking opioids using different methods from the ones prescribed by a qualified medical professional may speed up the addiction. If you, for instance, take a pill with an extended-acting formulation, you’ll be exposing yourself to a dangerous and life-threatening act, and the outcome may not be pleasing at all. An accidental overdose may occur if you take the drugs rapidly. While some factors such as environmental, psychological, and genetic factors play a part in addiction, you have the potential to prevent the addiction from happening.
Among the common opioid addiction risk factors include thrill-seeking behavior, young age, drug rehabilitation, serious anxiety, stressful situations, anoxia, impaired visual acuity, school or work-related issues, PTSD, poverty, mental disorder, and constant encounter with high-risk people and environments and people. The differences in the risk factors are profound in women than in men. Chronic pains, ease of getting addicted as compared to men, and longer periods of medications are common with women with these addictions.
Opioid Addiction Treatment Solutions
Any drug addiction can be treated, and opioid addiction disorder is not an exception. However, since addiction is a chronic disease, the treatment process and success is not that simple. In most instances, repeated and long-term care can be necessary to completely stop the addiction menace. Every treatment should focus on helping the victim achieve the following objectives: to stop the use of the drug, stay drug-free, and become productive both at home and at work. There are different effective methods that can be used to treat opioid use disorder. Finding medications that can alleviate the addiction symptoms and at the same time easing the withdrawal process is very vital. The following are some of the reputable treatment solutions available.
1. Rapid Detox Programs
Rapid detox programs allow the medical practitioners to proceed with the detoxification process through the application of significant dosage of opioid-blocking substance within the shortest time possible. The practitioners will in most instances – for the anesthesia-assisted rapid detox – make the patient sleep under sedation as they administer the medications. Rapid programs like the Waismann Method have been proven to be convenient and effective. For impressive results, however, you need to consult a reputable and certified medical professional.
This is a common treatment solution for attention deficit, anxiety disorder, high blood pressure, and hyperactivity disorder. The solution limits the acute stress response that may occur soon after you stop to take the drugs. However, this solution cannot be used alone.
3. Suboxone or Subutex
This is an effective solution for drug cravings that can prevent the withdrawal symptoms through the activation of the opioid receptors. Suboxone is used for both opiate relapse or maintenance prevention and acute opiate detox while Subutex is used only for acute opiate detox.
The functionality of this treatment solution is more or less the same as that of narcotics. It activates the opioid receptors and at the same time eliminates the withdrawal symptoms. The drug eases the cravings for opioids and prevents any occurrences of euphoria as a side effect. You won’t encounter any physical dependence following the administration of the drug as it will be tapered off slowly.
If you or a family member is having the opioid use disorder, it’s important to note that this is not a sign of weakness at all. It’s a serious medical condition that results from prolonged use of opioid drug causing the brain to suffer. While the effects of the addiction could become severe and the addiction recovery quite challenging and long-term, there’s light at the end of the tunnel. Effective professional counselling and treatment are very important. This piece will help you appreciate the importance of your health and of those close to you.