Opioid Addiction: Getting into Recovery

An Epidemic that is Sweeping the Nation

The opioid epidemic that is sweeping the U.S. is hard to ignore. Individuals are becoming so heavily addicted to these strong pain medications that the number of overdoses as a result of these drugs is growing exponentially. Recent studies have discovered that close to 80 individuals across the country will die each and every day as a result of an opioid overdose and over half of these deaths are from an overdose on prescription pain killers. Unfortunately, too many individuals end up abusing their prescription medication as they experience withdrawal symptoms if they do not take them.

What are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drug that binds to receptors in the brain referred to as opioid receptors. Naturally, our brain produces endorphins which are responsible for making us ‘feel good’. Opioids work to enhance these ‘feel good’ hormones creating sort of a high. There are both semi-synthetic opioids, such as heroin, and synthetic opioids. Some semi-synthetic opioids are:

  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Meperidine

Some fully synthetic opioids that are manmade are:

  • Fentanyl
  • Pethidine
  • Levorphanol
  • Methadone
  • Tramadol
  • Dextropropoxyphene

Whether the opioid is legal (prescription drugs such as codeine and morphine) or illegal (heroin), they are life-threatening and extremely dangerous drugs. The individual will gradually build up a tolerance to the dosage and require a larger amount of the drug in order to feel its effects. This can set the stage for a very unfortunate outcome; that outcome being death by overdose.

Treating an Opioid Addiction

For those who are heavily addicted to opioid drugs, a period of medical detox may be required. This is so that the individual can safely be weaned off of the drug in a safe and controlled environment while also helping to manage withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the severity of the addiction, individuals may go through detox for a period of three to seven days. Quitting opioids abruptly can bring on intense withdrawal symptoms which can be unbearable. Having the proper anti-craving and detox drugs administered to you can help you better manage the side effects of withdrawal.

If you are unsure if whether or not your prescription opioid use is developing into a problem, keep a detailed journal of how often you use these pharmaceuticals against the prescription dosage. If you are taking more than the recommended dosage because you no longer feel the effects of the medication than you may be headed down a very dangerous and risky road.

If you feel as though you may be developing a problem with opioids, it’s advised that you seek support and help right away. Since addiction is a progressive disease, your problem will continue to worsen. You should never feel ashamed to ask for support as there are resources available that can help you get back on the right track.

Commit to your goal of sustained your sobriety as you will live a much more fulfilled and productive life. A life of addiction is one where everything is controlled by this disease. This is no way to live at all. The key to getting better is seeking appropriate help today.

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/principles-drug-addiction-treatment-research-based-guide-third-edition/evidence-based-approaches-to-drug-addiction-treatment/pharmacotherapies

https://medlineplus.gov/opioidabuseandaddiction.html

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.