Opioids are narcotics that may be prescribed to treat severe or chronic pain, or sold illegally on the streets for recreational use. They are among the most addictive drugs in the world, so much so that they’ve contributed to a drug epidemic that’s persisted since the late 1990s. Between then and now, millions of people have been affected by opioid abuse in some way. If you or a loved one are seeking opiate addiction treatment, our Massachusetts treatment center offers that and more to help.
Signs and Stages of Opiate Addiction
When opiates first enter the body, they attach themselves to opioid receptors in areas of the body like the spinal cord, digestive tract, and brain. They activate the reward center and stimulate the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine, which reduces pain and creates feelings of pleasure.
An opioid high is what makes these drugs so addictive. Although a drug addiction may not be immediately obvious, eventually, the individual may begin to exhibit certain physical and psychological signs of a problem. Some common warning signs of opioid abuse include:
- Taking medication not prescribed to you
- Sudden changes in alertness
- Strange sleep patterns
- Raspy or hoarse voice
- Flu-like symptoms from periods of withdrawal
- Constant Itching
- Sudden weight loss
- Frequent mood changes
- Neglecting responsibilities
- “Pinned” pupils (constricted pupils)
- Withdrawing from loved ones
- Secretive behavior
- Abandonment of responsibilities at home, school, or work
- Mood swings
There are also various stages of opiate addiction, such as:
- Tolerance – Repeated use can change your brain chemistry and your brain adjusts to the dose you take and gets used to functioning on opioids.
- Dependence – If opioid use becomes a regular part of life, then your body will eventually adjust to it and depend on the drug to function properly. Withdrawal can set in at this stage with symptoms like pain, cramps, diarrhea, chills, and vomiting when drug use is reduced or cut off.
- Addiction – The loss of judgment and impulse control are two of the signs doctors look for when diagnosing someone with addiction or a use disorder.
Opioid abuse doesn’t always start intentionally. Oftentimes, a person who’s taking prescription opioids for pain relief may grow tolerant to a certain dose, at which they may no longer experience the safe relief. In an attempt to alleviate their pain, they may increase their dose a bit.
If this continues, an addiction eventually occurs. Many people who start abusing prescription opioids often turn to more accessible and cheap drugs like heroin to continue their addictions.
If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these signs, then it may be time to start opiate recovery. The stages of opiate addiction may continue to progress if the person fails to receive opiate addiction treatment for their disorder.
Opioid Addiction Help
Our opioid recovery center in Massachusetts offers various programs for opiate addiction treatment. Before starting treatment, patients undergo a clinical assessment to determine which course of programming is best for them. Usually, patients with opioid use disorders begin their treatment with medically monitored detox, during which they receive 24-hour care and medication assisted treatment (as needed) to recover from withdrawals.
After detox, patients at our opioid rehab then move onto our residential level of care, during which they live at our facility while participating in individual and group therapy sessions with our counselors. Our Northeast addictions treatment center even offers a family program for the spouses, parents, and siblings who also wish to receive therapy to heal from the impact of their loved one’s substance abuse.
Getting sober on your own can be challenging and dangerous, and detox and withdrawal symptoms can sometimes even be deadly. Don’t take the risk. If you recognize any signs of opioid abuse in yourself or a loved one, contact Clearbrook Massachusetts and let us help start your treatment.