The number of people who are abusing and becoming addicted to opioids has been on the rise over the recent past. This is regardless of the numerous campaigns that the government, as well as private institutions and against the advice of physicians, has carried out in an effort to create awareness about the dangers that come with the use of these drugs.

One thing to acknowledge is that for most people it never starts as a desire to abuse these drugs. In fact, many times it is a genuine and innocent desire to manage chronic pain resulting from injury, accidents, or surgical operations.

Opioids or opiates belong to a category of drug that are derived from the poppy plant and mainly used as palliatives mainly due to their effectiveness in pain killing. In the pain killing or palliative process, these drugs alter the functioning of the nerve cells in one’s brain. Normally, the nerve cells produce pain relieving chemicals known as endorphins when one is in pain. However, when the drugs are introduced, they substitute the naturally produced endorphins in relieving pain.

Opioid Addiction

When taken for prolonged periods of time, it means that the body will no longer be producing the endorphins; but, rather depending on the opiates. In this case, the nerve cells known to produce the endorphins will degenerate. This would actually signal dependence on the opiates.

Aggravating the dependence is the development of chemical tolerance after taking the drugs for some time. The body would become used to having a particular dose of the drugs in the system, in which case the initial doses will be rendered immaterial in producing the desired results. To recapture the initial effects, an individual will take more of their preferred drugs. Even in instances when the new doses succeed in bringing back the effects, the individual will occasionally need to increase the drug since chemical tolerance will continue building up. This underlines the dangerous nature of the addiction, in that the individual may end up overdosing on the drugs, which could have lethal results.

One of the dangers that comes with taking opiates is respiratory system failure, mainly resulting from an overdose. If unchecked, this could lead to a permanent breathing cessation, coma and, eventually, death. It is always important that opiate addiction be arrested as early as possible. This calls for knowledge of or differentiation between abuse and addiction. True, there is a very thin line between these terms. However, opiate addiction is characterized by the unexpected cropping up of cravings which lead to compulsive consumption of the preferred drugs. Addicts will not be in control of their consumption of opiates.

Opiate addiction treatment is best carried out in a rehabilitation center. However, it always starts with making a conscious decision to quit the drugs and live a life free of them. It is important to acknowledge that at no time will opiate addiction treatment be an easy task, at least not when withdrawal symptoms set in. However, with the guidance of healthcare professionals and the customization of the treatment programs to suit your particular needs, you can be sure of kicking the dependence.

Categories: Opioid Addiction

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