An opiate is a synthetic opioid used to create painkiller medications. Opioids are an addictive substance used in the creation of heroin and, unfortunately, opiates have proven to be just as addictive and dangerous. Opiates are classified as a type of opioid, and the terms are often used interchangeably.
Opiates are an ingredient in many prescription painkiller medications, including:
- Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
Because opiates are typically part of a prescription medication plan, people tend to underestimate the risk these drugs can present. It is of the utmost importance that a patient stick to the doctor’s exact medication plan to avoid building a tolerance or dependence on painkillers.
If you or someone you love is suffering from opioid addiction, the experienced and multidisciplinary team at Silver Ridge can help. Our rehabilitation center provides addiction treatment for adults who are looking for a quiet, discreet facility where they can start their recovery.
Symptoms of Opiate Addiction
What begins as a prescribed medical treatment can devolve into an unhealthy addiction. In addition to relieving pain, opiates create a sense of euphoria in the brain. When taken inappropriately, the brain starts to depend on the chemicals released by opiates and stops producing its own feelings of pleasure. As a result, the user begins to rely on the drugs for feelings of joy and happiness.
The following are signs that you may have an opiate addiction:
- Taking opiates more often than originally prescribed
- Continuing to take opiates even after a doctor says you don’t need them anymore
- Continually using opiates even when they interfere with work or relationships
- Procrastinating responsibilities in favor of taking opiates
- Constantly thinking about when you can next take opiates
- Failing to cut back on opiate use even when you want to
- Obtaining illegal opiates after your initial prescription runs out
If you notice these symptoms and are concerned about an addiction, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible. The longer a person uses opiates, the more it changes their brain and increases their dependence. It’s never too soon to quit if someone wants to.
The Importance of Detoxification
Even if someone tries to make a conscious effort on their own to stop taking opiates, they will usually relapse once the withdrawal symptoms hit. Withdrawal occurs when the body has been cut off from a substance it has become dependent on. Without continued use of this substance, the body will go through uncomfortable sensations as it gets used to life without the drug.
Opiate withdrawal is not usually life-threatening unless it was taken in combination with other drugs. However, the effects can still be difficult to deal with, which is why it is important to receive treatment at a detoxification center when someone decides to quit.
Opiate withdrawal symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramping
- Hot/cold sweats
- Muscle aches and pains
- Low energy
Experiencing these symptoms makes it harder to maintain sobriety. The symptoms can last between one week and one month, during which time the temptation to use again is very strong. Even when the initial withdrawal symptoms subside, secondary effects such as mood swings and anxiety can last for up to two years. Treatment can help someone handle these side effects.
Detoxification is important for getting clean, but it is not a treatment for addiction. Only a dedicated rehabilitation center will provide someone with the individualized therapy and counseling they need to address the causes of their addiction and maintain long-term sobriety.
Treating the Opiate Epidemic
More than two and a half million Americans died from
Whatever a client’s specific needs may be, our team is here to help them and their loved ones through this difficult time. Recovery is possible for anyone, and we are here to help you down your own path.