What Are Opiates and Why Are Opiates So Addictive?

Opiates and opioids are a group of drugs that are prescribed by doctors for treating pain. Opiates are derived from opium. The term “opioids” is more generalized, addressing both synthetic and natural drugs that produce similar painkilling effects. All these drugs are highly manipulative on many systems in the mind and body, resulting in the development of dangerous opiate addiction for many people.

Because opiates are often prescribed by doctors, many people think these drugs are safe. However, whether purchased from a pharmacy or illegally, these drugs can be deadly. At Clearbrook Treatment Centers, we offer opiate addiction treatment with personalized opioid addiction treatment plans to help patients find their sobriety. Opioids are very controlling substances that are reaching epidemic levels nationwide, but sobriety is possible with the help of inpatient rehab programs in Pennsylvania.

How Opioids Affect the Brain

When a person takes opioids, the drug travels through the bloodstream and enters the brain, releasing chemicals that attach to opioid receptors [1]. This triggers a biochemical process that rewards users with feelings of pleasure, motivating repeated drug use not for pain relief, but for pleasure [1]. Specifically, opioids flood the brain with dopamine [2]. Genetic predispositions may leave certain people more susceptible to this dangerous pathway that leads to opioid addiction.

Chronic use can lead to the development of brain abnormalities that makes it so addicts need to continue using opioids to avoid withdrawals and simply feel normal. There are also social and environmental factors that lead to the worsening of opiate addiction. At Clearbrook Treatment Centers, we are here to help patients find sobriety with a personalized opioid addiction treatment plan.

Warning Signs of Your Loved One’s Opiate Addiction

  • Disorientation
  • Constricted pupils, also known as “pinned” pupils
  • Sudden changes in alertness. Person is awake one moment and falling asleep the next. This is also known as “nodding out”
  • Sudden weight loss. The person appears to look ill or malnourished.
  • Constant itching
  • Raspy or hoarse voice
  • Slurred speech
  • Strange sleeping patterns. They usually stay up all hours of the night and sleep during the day
  • Seems to always be coming down with the “flu”. Withdrawal symptoms can mirror those of the flu, such as body aches, sneezing and vomiting.

Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Muscle & joint pain
  • Restless legs
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Body chills
  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sweating

Common Opiates

  • Codeine
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin or Hycodan)
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin or Percocet)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Fentanyl (Duragesic)

Developing an Opioid Addiction Treatment Plan

Treating opioid addiction starts with a personalized opioid treatment plan. For more than 40 years, our treatment team at Clearbrook Treatment Centers has helped hundreds overcome their opioid addiction. Treatment plans include medically monitored detox, along with opiate addiction vivitrol treatment. How does vivitrol work? Vivitrol works by acting as an antagonist, blocking opioids from binding to the receptors in the brain [3]. When prescribed after detox and during treatment, vivitrol helps strengthen recovery. Vivitrol may not be necessary for every patient, and our professionals will help determine the best treatment path.

Following detox, patients work on underlying factors of their addiction, such as the emotional or environmental factors. We offer individual therapy, group therapy, and additional addiction treatment programs to help address all factors of an active addiction. Contact our professionals to learn more about treating opioid addiction.

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