From 1999-2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recorded nearly 500,000 overdose deaths from opioids in the United States. With fentanyl use on the rise, it’s essential to understand opioids and the consequences of abusing this class of drugs.
What are Opioids?
The National Institutes of Health define opioids as a class of drugs that includes illegal drugs such as heroin and synthetic opioids like fentanyl. Prescription pain relievers also fall into the opioids category, including oxycodone (OxyContin®), hydrocodone (Vicodin®), codeine, morphine, and many others.
Opioids interact with opioid receptors in your cells, and prescription opioids can treat intense and chronic pain. Common conditions for which doctors prescribe opioid medications include cancer pain, post-surgical pain, vascular pain, and acute pain (short-term).
Types of Opioids
- Heroin (Made from morphine)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin®, Percocet®)
- Oxymorphone (Opana®)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin®)
- Morphine (Kadian®, Avinza®)
Why are Opioids Abused?
Opioids trigger a release of endorphins in the brain, aka feel-good neurotransmitters. Because of this, they are incredibly addictive. Some opioid addictions develop after long-term prescription drug use or when used illegally, often in dangerous doses. After an extended period of time, the brain becomes dependent on the drug, commonly leading to substance abuse.
What are opiate abuse behaviors?
These are patterns of behavior that occur in individuals who abuse opiates. Typically, opiate abuse behaviors may look like the following:
- Taking a higher-than-recommended or prescribed dosage
- Using illegally obtained or another person’s prescription opiates
- Developing a strong tolerance to opiates
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not taking opiates
- Engaging in risky behavior in order to obtain drugs
- Neglecting responsibilities and self-care (e.g., missing work and school deadlines, canceling or not showing up to family obligations, not showering or getting adequate sleep, etc.)
- Continuing to take opiates despite experiencing negative side effects
What Does it mean to be opioid addicted?
Individuals who are opioid addicted have a physical and psychological dependence on opioid drugs. If they don’t have the substance, they’ll experience withdrawal and strong cravings. The intense need for the drug can cause them to take part in risky behavior in order to obtain it.
How Does Opioid Addiction Affect the Brain and Body?
Despite opioids’ ability to offer pain relief, they come with a lengthy list of severe risks and side effects.
Common side effects of opioids:
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Nausea and vomiting
Uncommon side effects of opioids:
- Muscle rigidity
- Delayed gastric emptying
- Extreme response to pain (hyperalgesia)
- Immune system and hormonal dysfunction
- Muscle twitches and jerks (myoclonus)
- Risks of falling into a coma
- Slowed breathing
Adverse effects of long-term and opioid misuse:
- Slowed breathing and heart rate
- Liver damage
- Brain damage
- Physical dependence and opioid use disorder
- Respiratory depression (lung failure)
- Opioid overdose
Soul Surgery’s Opioid Addiction Program in Arizona
Soul Surgery offers individualized drug addiction treatment programs that fit and prepare you for success in recovery. Our top professionals are compassionate, with many having experience in recovery.
Our treatment centers in Scottsdale, AZ, offer various services to aid in your recovery journey, including:
- Supportive Housing
- Equine Therapy
- Inpatient Treatment
- Daily Group Therapy
- Residential Treatment
- Mental Health Treatment
- BioFeedback & Bio Sound Therapy
- Dual Diagnosis Treatment
- MedSpa Holistic Treatment
- Outpatient Treatment (IOP)
- Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)
Does Soul Surgery Offer Support with Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms?
Our Silkworth Center in Scottsdale provides a medical detox process. Clients will detox in a relaxing and monitored environment. Medical detox manages withdrawal symptoms for a smoother transition into sobriety.
Step into Recovery with Soul Surgery
At Soul Surgery, we’re committed to your recovery. Reach out to us to learn more about how to get started with our programs and begin healing today.
Soul Surgery accepts many major health insurances, including:
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