Understanding How Opioid Addiction Occurs
Knowing how opioid addiction occurs remains vitally important, whether you are taking these powerful drugs yourself or managing a friend or family member’s medication. These drugs can be life changers when used appropriately, but opioid pain medications can also be dangerously addictive, and recognizing the point when use turns into abuse could be critical.
It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, or what you do for a living; if you take opioids for pain relief or any other reason, you could be at risk of opioid addiction. As with so many aspects in the medical field, the best way to approach a potential opioid addiction is with a preventative approach.
Anyone Taking Opioids Can Develop an Addiction
It is easy to think that opioid addiction happens to other people and even easier to believe you are too strong and too self-aware to develop a dependency on the medication your doctor prescribed. These perceptions are all too common, and they have unfortunately driven much of the opioid epidemic.
In many cases, this unfounded confidence means that patients in chronic pain fail to reach out to their doctors, even as their use of opioids ramps up and the amount of pain relief they receive lessens. There are unintended side effects of opioid use, which can increase pain perception in many patients.
The truth is that anyone who uses opioids can be at risk of opioid addiction and dependency, no matter what the reason. It does not matter how strong you are, how careful you are about your usage, or where you come from; if you take opioids for any reason, you could be at risk.
How Opioid Addiction Starts
Opioid addiction can start innocently enough, with a prescription from your doctor or pain treatment following an operation or even a dental procedure. But over time, the use of these powerful medications can cross the line into addiction, creating a dangerous situation for yourself and the people you love.
Since opioid addiction can often begin silently, it is essential to monitor use carefully, whether it is your own or someone else in your household. Knowing how opioid addiction occurs is half the battle, and the other half is seeking quality addiction treatment.
Risk Factors for Developing Opioid Addiction
While everyone is at risk of opioid addiction, some factors can make dependency more likely. The risk factors for opioid addiction include:
- The use of other drugs, including alcohol
- A history of substance abuse
- Severe pain that could lead to abuse and misuse
- Overprescribing, including issuing a 30-day prescription when seven days would do
Short and Long Term Effects of Opioids
The use of opioids can be an intelligent move for certain pain conditions, including post-operative pain that can be treated at home and severe discomfort from serious medical conditions. But these powerful drugs can also have dangerous side effects, and it is vital to understand how addiction happens.
Knowing how opioid addiction happens is essential, as is recognizing the following short and long term effects in yourself or someone you care about:
- Euphoria is a common short term side effect
- Depression often sets in long after addiction has happened
- Agitation and anxiety can occur in both the short and the long term
- Addiction is one of the most severe long term side effects of opioid use, and opioid addiction is an emergency
- Overdose is probably the most dangerous long-term effect of opioid addiction, and the best way to avoid it is to get your loved one into treatment right away.
How to Prevent Opioid Addiction
Preventing opioid addiction is not easy, but there are some actions you can implement to make dependency less likely. If someone you care about has been prescribed opioids for pain relief or sent home with a prescription after a recent surgery, here are some strategies you can employ:
- Talk to the doctor about the responsible use of opioids
- Develop a plan upfront for getting off opioids
- Keep the prescription bottle in a safe and controlled location
- Count the pills carefully and monitor usage
- Contact your doctor if you experience a resurgence of your pain
Opioid Addiction Treatment at WhiteSands
If someone you care about has been struggling with opioid addiction, you may feel like you are all alone, but you have more help available than you might think. If you are tired of your addiction and ready to seek help, we encourage you to reach out to the staff at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today.
At WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab, we have the expertise, the medical facilities, the training, and the desire to heal from your opioid addiction. Your journey to recovery begins with a single phone call. So please pick up the phone today, give us a call and take the first step on the path to a better and safer life.
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.