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Opium and its derivatives have long been used to deal with pain, but all of them have the potential to be addictive. Abuse of the drug has led to the fastest growing epidemic of the present time. In 2012, over two million Americans were struggling with painkiller abuse and another nearly 500,000 struggled with heroin abuse.
Opium comes from the poppy of the same name and contains 12 percent of the primary component of morphine. Morphine is an alkaloid that is used in the production of heroin, but it is also a potent painkiller. Opiate and opioid are often used interchangeably but refer to two different classes of drug. Opiates are natural derivatives while opioids are synthetic compounds that have the same effects on the body as opiates. Both types of drugs have an effect on the central nervous system by slowing down chemical reactions.
The human body contains its own pain management system in the endogenous opioid system. It contains opioid receptors that bond with peptide materials made by various glands within the system. The body responds to opioid drugs the same way it responds to these molecules. The term opioid can actually cover all other designations as it can also refer to this system in the body.
The primary use of opium throughout history has been for pain relief. Opiates and opioids fall into three different categories, including full agonists, antagonists, and partial agonists. Full agonists stimulate opioid receptor sites and cause them to release endorphins, the body’s pleasure chemicals. The endorphin release then causes neurotransmitter chemicals to activate throughout the brain and central nervous system. These chemicals regulate several important physical functions, including circulation, cognition, respiration, body temperature and more.
Full agonist drugs include well-known names like heroin, morphine, hydromorphone, and oxycodone. These drugs have the highest potential for abuse and addiction. Antagonist opioids bind to the body’s receptors but do not activate them. In the process of binding, these drugs block other opioids from binding. Partial agonists have both antagonist and full agonist effects.
Ideally, opioids should only be prescribed for the short-term management of pain. When used in higher dosages or for a long period of time, these opioids have a high risk for dependence and addiction. Opioids change the body’s chemical processes and over a period of time, actually alter the workings of the brain and body. The user becomes physically dependent on the drug, needing it to feel normal. Eventually, the user also becomes psychologically dependent on the drug, believing that they need the drug’s effects in order to function.
As abuse continues, withdrawal comes on swiftly when drug use stops. Opioids produce a tolerance after time, which requires the user to take more and more of the drug for the same effect.
Treatment for addiction to opioids usually begins with a period of detox. Withdrawal symptoms tend to be extremely uncomfortable and carry some risk of fatal complications. The risk of relapse is high when users attempt to withdraw on their own. Residential drug rehab for opioid addiction may be the best choice as it removes the risk of obtaining the drug during treatment.
At Beaches Recovery in Jacksonville, Florida, we offer inpatient opioid addiction treatment along with a full range of other treatments like PHP and outpatient care. Our addiction treatment programs specialize in addressing both the physical and psychological effects from long-term opioid use.
Treatments and programs at Beaches Recovery include:
Addiction to opioids changes a person’s psychosocial belief systems. Psychotherapy and social support can help rebuild the person’s sense of identity and ability to function in society.
Bring your life back from painkiller or heroin addiction by getting treatment at a quality drug rehab like Beaches Recovery. Give us a call today at 866-605-0532 to find out how we can help you reclaim your life, opioid-free.