Opioids are medicines that doctors prescribe to treat chronic pain caused by health conditions such as cancer, surgery, dental procedures, etc. They include morphine, codeine, fentanyl, methadone, opium, heroin, hydrocodone, etc. When used correctly, opioids are safe and can help you manage chronic pain. However, when misused, such as in excess doses, you may develop a drug tolerance which eventually leads to addiction.
How do opioids work?
Opioids work by altering how your brain functions; they release endorphins that alleviate the pain and help you feel good. But with time, the brain gets used to the artificial endorphins that it stops releasing the natural ones. As you continue using opioids, you find that you need more to get the same effect, which can lead to an addiction.
Opioid addiction is very dangerous since you cannot operate without using the drug. Another sign of opioid addiction is if you cannot control the urge to use the drugs or you tend to use more than prescribed to experience the same effect. Some of the symptoms of opioid addiction include agitation, anxiety attacks, depression, poor decision-making, and low motivation when you don’t use them.
Opioid addiction treatment
Like any other substance use disorder, opioid addiction should be professionally treated to avoid unpleasant side effects and any chances of a relapse. The initial step of opioid addiction treatment involves a medical examination, including blood tests and testing for other mental disorders. It should be professionally monitored, and you should consult with a doctor trained in treating opioid addiction.
Opioid addiction treatment is not the same for every individual. The doctor tailors the treatment approach depending on your unique needs. Remember that addiction means that when you stop using the drugs, your body will react, and you start experiencing withdrawal symptoms. The doctor can prescribe certain medications to alleviate your withdrawal symptoms and control the cravings. Some of the medicines are naltrexone, buprenorphine, and methadone used to treat heroin addiction.
Buprenorphine also works like methadone. Methadone acts on the centers in your brain that opioids work on hence alleviating the withdrawal symptoms. The only difference is that they do not make you feel good like opioids do. They restore the balance in your brain over time, allowing you to heal.
Unlike the medicines mentioned above, naltrexone keeps you from feeling the high you would feel when you take opioids. It reduces the cravings to take the opioids hence preventing you from a relapse. According to addiction treatment doctors, the medicines are safe and used as part of comprehensive opioid addiction treatment.
Other techniques used to treat opioid addiction professionally involve behavioral treatments to help manage the psychological effects of the addiction. Such therapies help you avoid cravings, opioids and heal damaged relationships altogether. They include individual counseling, group therapy, and other cognitive therapies.
The Final words
If you suffer from opioid addiction, the best way to overcome it is through professional opioid addiction treatment. Generally, you are more likely to avoid opioid addiction if you use opioids for not longer than a week.