Why are Opiates so Addictive?

What are opiates and how does opiate addiction start? To begin understanding more about opiate addiction and finding out the answer to the often asked question, why are opiates so addictive, it is important to learn more about opiates. The poppy plant is where the opiates are derived from. These plants have been in existence for thousands of years. People use all forms of opiates for both medicinal and recreational purposes. Now, let us find out more about opiate addiction.

What are Opiates?

Not all opiates are the same. Some opiates found come from the natural, raw opium, while other types of opiates are manufactured to have similar or the same chemical structure as raw opium. Opiates are legal and prescribed to relieve severe pain (excluding heroin and other illegal forms). However, prolonged use of the prescription opiates can lead to addiction. Some common opiates or opioids include:

  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Dilaudid
  • Heroin (illegal)

Opiate addiction has become the leading cause of all reported drug overdoses in the United States. There is an estimation of about 20,000 prescription painkiller deaths and about 12,000 heroin related deaths. The opioid epidemic is not stopping. It continues to take lives daily. Opiate addiction and addiction in general, is a disease that completely turns people’s lives upside down, taking everyone in its path. The disease of addiction has destroyed millions of lives and families.

Opiate addiction is a disease with no cure, but this disease is treatable. It can be treated by enrolling in a drug treatment center and remaining clean by utilizing tools learned while in rehab. To truly grasp the depths of addiction, more specifically, opiate addiction, it really is important to learn about the intended uses of these drugs as well as what makes them all so addictive.

Signs of Opiate Use

The obvious form of identifying a drug addict is knowing how to spot the signs of addiction. A huge indicator of addiction and opiate addiction is continued use of the drug regardless of the negative consequences brought on by using the drugs. Below, you will find several lists of signs and symptoms of some of the stages of opiate addiction. This will help to answer the question, why are opiates so addictive. Take notes of the lists below for future reference.

Physical signs a person may be addicted to opiates:

  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Elation
  • Euphoria
  • Confusion
  • Constricted pupils
  • Slowed breathing
  • Constipation
  • Nodding off

Other signs of addiction may include:

  • Doctor Shopping
  • Drastic mood changes
  • Extra pill bottles in trash
  • Isolation and social withdrawal
  • Financial issues

Why are opiates so hard to quit?

Any substance a person becomes addicted to, at some point, becomes difficult to quit. Answering the question, why are opiates so hard to quit, can be summed up to a person being addicted and not thinking rationally. The person will only think of their drug of choice. Opiates are the only thing the person cares about. If a person realizes he or she has become addicted, if they try to quit on their own, the withdrawal symptoms can be too much to handle, so they continue use to avoid withdrawal symptoms.

Withdrawal symptoms can seem flu-like. Symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

These symptoms can be so unpleasant, a person may believe continuing use is the only way they can feel normal answering the question, why are opiates so addictive?

Opiate Addiction Treatment

How does opiate addiction start? A person becomes dependent on the feelings produced by the opiate. Opiates create a type of artificial endorphin in the brain producing euphoric feelings in the user. When the body stops creating its own endorphins, an addict will feel depressed and sick when they stop use. There are many reasons why opiates are so difficult to quit. Opiates quite literally hijack natural neurotransmitters in the brain because they are far more potent.

The best attempt at getting clean is through a professional treatment center that can help ease the detox and withdrawal process, and teach addicts tools to help them live a life without their drug of choice. Getting professional help will give the best outcome.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.