What are Opiates?
Opiates are a group of drugs that can be prescribed by your physician for treating pain. The most common forms come in a pill or capsule, but they have also been known to come in the form of a liquid, patch and even a lollipop. Opiates, like many other drugs, can be highly addictive and dangerous to a person’s health and well-being. Opioids increase a person’s level of endorphins, which are brain receptors responsible for a person’s mood, pleasure and arousal, also known as the “feel good” receptors.
When used and prescribed in the appropriate fashion, opioids can be highly effective in treating an individual who is experiencing high degrees of pain and/or chronic pain. Unfortunately though, this is not always the case. Since opiates are prescribed by a practicing medical professional, many live under the misconception that these drugs are harmless.
Often times, this misconception is a leading factor for opiate addiction. What was intended to be a helpful solution to chronic pain, soon turns into a problem in and of itself. Opiates, even those prescribed legally from a doctor, can cause destruction within a person’s life, ranging from health problems, relationship issues and employment difficulties.
The Effects of Opiates on the Body
Although the legitimate use for opiates is to treat pain, these drugs can produce a sense of euphoria in a person, similar to the effects heroin creates in the brain. However, even when opiates are used for pain relief, it’s easy to develop a tolerance to the drug. Often times, opiate addiction is sparked after a major surgery or chronic pain.
Many individuals who receive pain medications from their doctor, do not understand the risk they run. While their intention is genuine, dependence to the drug often develops. Most recent statistics show that 8 out of 10 heroin addicts first began their use with pain medications prescribed by a doctor.
Opiate addiction can lead to engaging in illegal activities, such as visiting several doctors to obtain a prescription for the drug, also known as “doctor shopping”. Furthermore, as the tolerance to the drug becomes higher, so does the risk of danger. By taking a large enough dose, you can cause respiratory depression or a heart attack. As of 2014, over 14,000 people died from overdoses caused by prescription opiates.
Opiate Addiction in America
Opiates are derived from opium which comes from the poppy plant. Dating all the way back to 3400 B.C., the Sumerians referred to opium as the “joy plant”.
Although we have seen changes and variations throughout the years, opiate addiction is not something new to our country. As early as the 1800’s, opioids were used in America for medicinal purposes. As the rate of addiction and death began to increase, heroin became the better alternative to morphine. Soon after realizing that heroin was not the answer, the government made it illegal in 1924.
Although opiate addiction continued after that time, it did not reach epidemic proportions until after the creation of Percocet and Vicodin in the 70’s and OxyContin in the 90’s. Large pharmaceutical companies sold the idea that pain medication was the better alternative to surgery, and prescriptions such as OxyContin had little to zero chance of having addictive qualities. The number of prescriptions written skyrocketed over the next 20 years, leaving us with the addiction crisis we have today. As of 2014, roughly 2.2 million Americans are addicted to opiates of some variety.
Warning Signs of Your Loved One’s Opiate Addiction
- 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.
- Muscle & Joint Pain
- Restless Legs
- Body Chills
- Excessive Sweating
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin or Hycodan)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin or Percocet)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Fentanyl (Duragesic)
Clearbrook Opiate Addiction Treatment Program
For more than 40 years, the drug and alcohol rehab Clearbrook Treatment Centers has helped hundreds with their opiate addictions. We offer a customized opiate addiction treatment program for anyone who is suffering from dependency and addiction to opioids.
Opiate withdrawal can be extremely severe on the body. Trying to detox from opiates can be a very difficult and an uncomfortable experience. We do not recommend that you attempt to detox on your own and without medical supervision. Doing so can easily lead to a relapse and is usually the number one reason why opiate addicts return to active addiction.
Clearbrook offers a safe, medical detox for your opiate withdrawal. This means that you will receive medical treatment that will help you withdraw from opiates in a safe manner without risking your health or increasing your chance of relapse. When you are admitted to Clearbrook Treatment Centers, you will be assessed by our medical team and staff. After a proper evaluation, our doctors will able to craft individual treatment plans and order prescriptions to ease withdrawal symptoms, when necessary. With our around-the-clock medical supervision, patients can rest assured knowing that they are in safe hands.
When you have successfully completed detox, our staff will create a personalized opiate addiction treatment program which will include group therapy sessions, family educational programs, relapse prevention education, didactic lectures, gender specific groups, and an introduction to the 12-step philosophy and local meetings. In a safe and serene environment, you will gain the tools you need to regain a healthy lifestyle, free from all mood-mind altering substances.
During the 28 days you will spend with us, our clinical team will work closely with you, your family and/or support system, to develop the proper aftercare plan best suited for your needs. A continued care plan is essential to maintaining sobriety and laying the foundation to a healthy lifestyle.
If you or a loved one is addicted to opiates, do not wait any longer. Help is available. Contact Clearbrook Treatment Centers and enter our opiate addiction treatment program today.