How To Identify And Treat Opioid Addiction

The last few years have seen growing awareness and publicization of the problems of opioids in developed societies. The opioid addiction pandemic is sweeping across the length and breadth of the American union. More importantly, it is affecting people of all age groups, including everyone from teenagers to senior citizens. 

Opioids are prescription medicines that doctors give to patients to treat a wide range of health issues and ailments-

  • Dental problems and toothache
  • Surgery procedures
  • Accidental injuries
  • Cancers

In simple words, opioids act as pain relievers. They tend to lessen the effect of pain on an individual that is struggling with any of the above problems. They work by numbing the effect of the brain to the source of pain. This results in the affected individual experiencing lesser or no pain after consumption. 

Addiction to opioids is a common occurrence and according to Gallus Detox, watching for signs of opioid addiction and treating the same proactively should be done. 

Opioid Addiction: How does it work?

Opioids are common medications that are often prescribed by doctors. The chemicals in these medications send signals to the brain, which in turn creates a numbing effect. In other words, the pain signals, going from the source of the injury to the brain get lessened in terms of the severity. 

Opioids contain artificial endorphins, which create the feel-good factor that makes people come back for more. Over-exposure to opioids makes the brain dependent on these artificial endorphins. When the brain becomes dependent, it loses the ability to create endorphins naturally. 

Most experts agree, that while using opioids in specific case situations is alright, the dangers emanating from them being misused. It is only when the misuse starts to take place much more regularly, that an addiction case is made. 

Here are some of the common drugs that fall into the opioid category- 

  1. Morphine
  2. Codeine
  3. Oxycodone
  4. Oxymorphone
  5. Fentanyl
  6. Opium
  7. Tramadol
  8. Methadone

You should also note that a lot of medicines that are prescribed for colds and coughs also contain opioids. 

List of Symptoms that can help you identify an Opioid Addiction

The first thing you should know about opioid addiction is that it is a form of substance abuse. Just like any other form of substance abuse, opioid addiction affects an individual physically, emotionally, psychologically, and financially. 

If you or someone you know is not able to stop consuming opioids even after being completely aware of the dangers, then an addiction case can be made. 

Below are some of the symptoms which can act as tell-tale signs for an individual going through an opioid addiction problem- 

  • Breathing Rate and Pattern- 

We have already mentioned how opioids act as numbing agents. They not only numb the sensation, but also slow down body functions. One clear fallout is the changes in the breathing pattern of patients suffering from opioid addiction. Doctors point out that individuals are likely to experience slow or shallow breathing. The respiratory system weakens in opioid addiction.

  • Mood Swings and Temper- 

An individual that is fighting opioid addiction is likely to become quite temperamental. They can start experiencing severe bouts of anger. They can also appear to be very calm in situations that demand urgency and action. Violence can also be noted if the individual is unable to consume the opioids when their brain triggers them to take them. 

  • Drop-in Motivation Levels- 

Opioid addiction forces an individual to lack motivation or enthusiasm for personal or professional pursuits and engagements. A patient suffering from opioid addiction is likely to witness decreasing levels of focus and concentration. This makes them miss deadlines or fall in terms of study grades. There is no desire to engage in real-life situations or events. 

  • Shirking Responsibilities- 

Since there is no desire to engage with the outside world in any shape, way, or form, a patient always looks to abandon all sense of responsibility. They do this with the intention that being responsible might take them away from their addiction. If you are responsible, you will be required to get on with your normal work or life. If you do this, when will you consume it?

  • Depleting Financial Resources- 

This point is true not only for opioid abuse but also for any other type of drug-related problem. An individual going through this will always be low on funds. They will start stealing, lying, or stopping paying their day-to-day bills just so they can pay for the drugs. Over a period, they can even go to lengths like selling their car, house, or other personal valuables. 

How to Treat an Opioid Addiction Problem?

The first thing that you should know about opioid addiction is that it is a chronic medical condition. The treatment for the same requires one to deal with this in the same way one would deal with diabetes, cancer, or any other chronic medical illness. 

Treating an opioid addiction problem requires an approach that needs to be followed under the guidance of experienced medical professionals. The treatment plan might require you to check into a detox facility or a rehab recovery center. 

There are two things that form the focus of opioid addiction treatment and recovery- 

  1. Medications– Fighting opioid addiction means preparing for withdrawal symptoms. Doctors that are caring for you will prescribe a range of medications to help counter the effects of opioids on the brain. These can include Buprenorphine and Naltrexone. These medications help in countering the effects of the opioids and your doctor might ask you to take them for your entire life as well. 
  2. Therapy/Counselling– The urge to fight any addiction starts with controlling the brain. In this regard, mental health, stability, will power, motivation and rational thinking are all essential forces that can help you fight addiction. Therapy sessions and counseling groups are important components in the fight to overcome opioid addiction in individuals. This can go for longer durations as the need to prevent relapse is there. 

The Bottom Line

Acknowledging that a problem exists is often the first step that an individual can take towards recovery. Seeking help, asking for support, and checking into a specialized facility all make you a strong human being. Commit to quitting and then start acting on it by taking help from experts. If you have any other questions or doubts on opioid addiction, feel free to write to us in the comments section below. 

Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].