Opioids: The Cause of Deadly Addiction Crisis But Still Necessary

Opioid addiction is common among people who get a prescription for the drug. Usually, this drug is taken to soothe and reduce body pain. When taken, it takes the edge off, reducing the feeling of pain and helping you relax. Therefore, it’s not surprising that some people use it for non-medical reasons.

Even when they are prescribed, opioids have every tendency to lead to addiction. The length of time you use it is usually a factor that decides whether or not you’ll become addicted to it. Even worse, as a result of how it works, it’s unlikely you’ll notice you’re abusing it.

While opioids can help you manage pain, you’re at risk of being dependent on it. Hence, you must know the dangers of taking them. This will easily let you know if you’re struggling with addiction.

We are sure it’s likely you have asked questions like, “why don’t doctors stop prescribing opioids?” With this blog, we will show you why although opioid addiction is a crisis in Canada, they are still a necessary evil.

What are Opioids?

They are painkillers that are naturally present in the opium poppy plant. Sometimes, they’re produced by using the chemical structure of the plant. The good side of opioids is they are fast in soothing acute pains.

When this medicine goes through your blood, its receptors bind to your brain cells. Therefore, stifling your awareness of pain and boosting your feeling of pleasure. At a lower dose, they will also make you sleepy.

Related Article: Things To Know About Quitting Opiods

Types of Opioids

Several kinds of substances lead to opioid addiction. However, they vary in their time of action, effect, and method of intake. Of them all, heroin is the most dangerous, and it’s never prescribed as a medicine. Here are the types of opioids that are used to treat discomfort.

Morphine

This is the most potent opioid. Once you take it, you’ll instantly feel relieved. Plus, the effects only wear off after a while. It’s mainly injected by a doctor at a clinic or hospital.

Fentanyl

Fentanyl is mostly available in candy-like form, and it often acts as a short pain reliever. Its effects commonly last for two hours. Since you often need to use it for results, it’s likely to cause addiction. Also, it has a long-acting form that can last up to 72 hours.

Codeine

Codeine is a popular pain drug that’s taken orally. After you use a dose, it lasts for a few hours. It’s used to treat mild discomfort. It works better when dispensed with paracetamol. However, some doctors prefer to combine it with aspirin or ibuprofen.

Oxycodone

This analgesic can either function as a short-acting and long-acting pain medicine. it’s sold under the brand name of Percocet and OxyContin. For best results, it can be used with aspirin. It’s available in liquid, capsule and tablet form.

Other kinds of opioids include:

  • Hydrocodone
  • Methadone
  • Pentazocine
  • Oxymorphone
  • Hydromorphone
  • Buprenorphine

The Medical Benefits of Opioids: Why They Are Necessary

With the debate surrounding opioid addiction, you may wonder why they’re still in use. Well, these drugs are very instrumental in soothing pain. Aside from this, they perform other functions in the body. They’re also used to treat cough, flu and diarrhea.

It offers a haven for people who continually have pains. When compared, the benefit of opioids certainly outweighs the risks. In a situation where you are experiencing acute pain, no other class of drugs will give you fast relief like opioids.

Causes of Opioids Addiction: The Contributing Risk Factors

What leads to opioid addiction? You may ask. The factors that cause its abuse are complex. It may be due to your gene, environment and lifestyle. Moreover, it can also be a result of the way the medication functions.

Opioids and drug tolerance are a synonymous concept. This means over time, you’ll require a frequent or higher dose to achieve the desired effect. Other risk factors that may lead to a need for opioid addiction treatment include:

Variation in genes

The variation in our genes is a vital risk factor for opioid addiction. While some genes serve as neurotransmitters in the body, others assist in controlling the growth of neurons. Now, your body system has “opioids” that control pain and addictive behaviours. While the external opioids function to activate the several receptors in your body.

When both opioids bind, they halt pain signals from the body to the brain. Plus, they release a large amount of dopamine. This release will strongly reinforce your act of using the pill. Ultimately, it’ll prompt you to repeat the experience.

Method of use

You’ll be at risk of abuse when you use more than your prescription. Why doctors prescribe opioids shouldn’t be a budding question. These experts have already specified how they should be used.

So if you take opioids outside of a specified prescription, you’ll be putting your health at risk. For instance, some people grind the pills to inhale or dissolve them in water. Others go further by injecting them into their veins.

Length of time

How opioids lead to addiction majorly depends on the duration you use them. This is another risk factor for its abuse. By taking them for an extended period, the chances are higher that you’ll form a dependence on them. Therefore, the absence of it will cause you to experience withdrawal symptoms.

Multiple factors play a role in addiction to this drug. Once you’ve experienced the pleasure it gives, several things can cause you to misuse it. Some other known risks that contribute to its addiction include:

  • Unemployment
  • Severe anxiety and depression
  • Work stress
  • Family history of drug abuse
  • Living with high-risk individuals or environments
  • Financial problems
  • Sensation-seeking behaviour
  • Involvement in criminal activities
  • Child abuse
  • Easy access to illegal opioids
  • Impulsivity
  • Mental disorder

Besides, women are more liable to get addicted to opioids. Discomforts like menstrual, back and muscle discomforts take a while to be treated. Hence, they’ll be administered higher doses for a longer time. No doubt, this can lead to drug dependence, which may later result in addiction.

How to Treat Opioid Addiction

There are various treatments you can receive for opioid addiction. You can get better with behavioural therapies and medications. Methadone and buprenorphine are also very useful in helping you recover.

When you use these drugs, they’ll automatically reduce your cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Another drug that’s effective is naltrexone. It blocks your opioid receptors and stops opioids from exerting an effect on you.

Behavioural therapies will enable you to rectify your attitude toward drugs. Besides, it’ll improve your lifestyle and assist with your medication treatment.

Examples of behavioural therapies include:

  • Multidimensional family therapy: This approach is mainly for young adults and adolescents with addiction. It’s designed to address the personal and family influences on your drug use.
  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy: This helps you to change the way you take opioids. Plus, it enables you to manage your stress and triggers

For full recovery, it’s better to combine therapy sessions with medication for opioid addiction.

Related Article: Addiction Recovery: What It Is and What To Expect

The Verdict on Opioid Addiction

Even with the tendency for addiction, there are several reasons why opioids are necessary. The vital thing is you know the risks linked to this drug. This way, you can take the necessary precautions when using this pill.

However, if you’re dealing with opioid addiction, it’s not the end of the road. There are treatment options that can help you kick the habit. Here at Inspire Change Wellness Centre, we can help devise a custom treatment plan to get rid of opioid addiction. Speak to any of our friendly counsellors today!

How Opioids Turn Unwitting Patients Into Addicts

It isn’t unlikely to see opioid patients become addicts over time. You may then wonder why medical professionals prescribe opioids despite knowing their effects. The reason is not far fetched — they are trying to alleviate the pain the patient is going through. In brief, opioids generally help in relieving patients of severe pains.

However, some opioid patients become addicts after long term usage. Consequently, the body starts depending on opioids to function. On the other hand, long exposure to opioids is not the only reason opioid patients turn into addicts. In this article, we shall be discussing several risk factors that contribute to opioids patients becoming addicts.

Also, we shall explore the cause of opioid addiction and its effects. Perhaps more importantly, we will conclude with the different ways to help people suffering from opioid prescription addiction.

Opioids: Prescription, Effects and Addiction

Opioids are “addictive” substances that are prescribed by doctors to treat lasting or severe pains. Since the ’90s, there has been an increased use of the substance by doctors on patients. Research shows that this increase is due to a rise in the population of people living with long-term pain.

Also, it has to do with the fact that opioids are hugely effective at relieving pain. That said, opioids can come in pill form, lollipops, or via injections or even suppositories. Usually, when opioids are a part of your treatment, there’s a strict guidance procedure from your doctor.

However, over an extended period, it is possible for monitoring levels to drop. This is why the most common cause of opioid addiction is prolonged exposure to the drug. With prolonged exposure to opioids, your body adapts to the pleasure and comfort that comes with the drug. Hence, your body starts depending on the drug for survival.

To maintain comfort even after relief from the pain, you may have no choice but to start misusing opioids. This explains why people abuse opioids after long exposure to the drug.

That said, there are different types of drugs belonging to the opioid class. They include:

  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Oxymorphone
  • Oxycodone
  • Fentanyl

It is of utmost importance to note that all these medications are sold under brand names. Whichever brand you buy, you are still taking opioids.

Meanwhile, opioids have some side effects when taken as a prescription. These side effects will include:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Sedation
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Delayed gastric emptying
  • Sleepiness.

Also, there can also be some life-threatening side effects that can occur due to opioid overdose. They include:

  • Slowed heart rate
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shallow breathing

Related Article: Things to Know About Quitting Opioids

How Do Opioids Turn Patients Into Addicts?

Chances are that you will abuse opioids even under medical supervision. Most people set out to get treated in the hospital then inadvertently become opioid addicts. Here’s how it happens:

Physical pain management

When you are experiencing severe pain, a doctor’s natural response is to administer morphine. As morphine is a type of opioid, it helps to relieve pain too.

According to WebMD, morphine blocks the natural production of endorphins in the brain. Endorphins are just natural biochemicals in the body that act as painkillers. Administering morphine will replace the function of endorphins in the body.

After prolonged exposure to morphine during recovery, the brain naturally stops producing endorphins. At this point, you’ll become so dependent on morphine.

So, cutting off morphine usage will allow for withdrawal symptoms like:

  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Mood swings
  • Poor coordination
  • Constipation or vomiting

Consequently, you start taking opioids to fill in for the lack of endorphins. This is when you start abusing the drug. From here, it’s a straight line to opioid addiction and dependence.

Negligence of medical attention

Another way patients end up needing opioid addiction treatment is their negligence in regards to medical advice. As you recover from drug addiction or even when you get discharged from the hospital, the doctor may prescribe opioids as medications. Some health care centers even ensure that you come back regularly for a checkup.

They do this to keep track of the effects of opioid withdrawal that you may experience. But, most patients fail to return. Hence, they fail to manage their withdrawal symptoms. Consequently, this leads to opioid misuse.

Here are a few tips to follow:

  • Always keep all doctor’s appointments.
  • Take note of opioid-related effects and inform your doctor when you meet.
  • Your doctor may tell you to stay off some activities. Ensure you follow this instruction judiciously.
  • Never alter your prescriptions without your doctor’s notice.
  • Never use someone else’s prescription.

Here is What To Do When Suffering From Opioid Addiction

Are you suffering from opioid abuse or know someone who needs prescription drug addiction treatment? This is for you.

Medication-assisted treatment

The most common way to treat opioid prescription addiction is through medication-assisted treatment. It involves the use of medication that can help patients control opioid addiction without becoming addicts.

A common medication is Buprenorphine. Buprenorphine helps to manage opioid withdrawal and dependence. Usually, it can be

taken alongside naloxone to prevent relapses. However, after buprenorphine has gotten rid of opioids in your system, you will get implantation of another form of buprenorphine. It is known as probuphine.

Additionally, methadone and clonidine can also help suppress opioid cravings too. But, we strongly advise that if you are treating prescription drug abuse, always have naloxone nearby. Naloxone is very effective in reversing an overdose.

Therapy and Counselling Sessions

Therapy sessions can help you understand the situations and conditions that trigger your opioid abuse. This way, you can develop strategies to counter them and possibly reduce the intensity of cravings. These counselling sessions for opioid addiction may be in the form of individual or group sessions max

Follow basic tips

Here is a list of things to help you manage opioid addiction and quicken your recovery process.

  • Always store opioids in cool and secured places to prevent children from abusing the drug.
  • Do not share your prescriptions as stages of opioid addiction differ.
  • Be careful when disposing of opioids.
  • Don’t alter your dose without your doctor’s knowledge.
  • Ensure you know the effect of the forms of opioids before taking them.
  • Prevent opioid overdose by avoiding its use with alcohol.
  • Finally, ensure that you follow all the tips wholly.

Related Article: Here’s What To Expect During Addiction Treatment

Closing Thoughts

As effective as opioids are in treating pain and some forms of drug addiction, they can turn patients into addicts. Opioids affect your body system and allow for dependence on the drug. Most times, patients are not aware of this and keep abusing the drug. However, there are ways to treat opioid addiction effectively.

In this article, we discuss an effective way to manage opioid addictions. We discussed methods like medicated-assisted treatments and counselling sessions. To avoid opioid overdoses, you mustn’t take opioids with alcohol, benzodiazepines and barbiturates.

Finally, we do not neglect the importance of medical attention in treating opioid addiction. Here at Inspire Change Wellness Centre, we offer world-class opioid detox services and accompanying addiction rehab. Contact us today, let’s help you chart a path to an addiction-free existence!

How to Prevent Opioid Addiction Relapse

It is one thing to know how to prevent opioid addiction relapse; it is another thing to follow the steps to full recovery. Most people who have an addiction to opioids often relapse. According to reports by the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the numbers are staggering — between 40% and 60%. This is a somewhat alarming rate. However, it isn’t a reflection of the moral ability of the patients. Neither is it a sign that recovery is impossible.

These patients don’t want to relapse into the addiction, but it’s going to take more than just moral standing to adjust fully to the paradigm shift. There are signs of an opioid relapse that one can watch out for, but most times, avoiding relapse is always beyond moral control. Opioid addiction treatment is certainly not an easy job, but with proactive treatment steps taken by opioid addiction treatment experts and the patient, careful management is possible. 

There are many variables involved in opioid addiction recovery. More importantly, there is a need to understand them when exploring how to prevent opioid addiction relapse. Over the course of this blog, we will discuss this unique situation and what you can do to prevent it from happening. 

Why Does Opioid Relapse Happen?

There are several recommendations on how to prevent opioid addiction relapse, but most times, it seems they don’t work. This has proven that the prevention of opioid relapse is beyond moral values and conviction. There are several physiological, situational and emotional reasons why relapses occur, and these include;

Need for modified treatment

In the early stages of opioid addiction recovery, there may be a need for frequent modification in the medications and treatment procedures. Without this, you may not have the skills needed to see through the withdrawal process. In the end, this may lead to a relapse. 

Emotional stress

When learning how to prevent opioid addiction relapse, emotional stress is a factor to look out for. Whenever you are subjected to stress emotionally, it becomes almost impossible to control the signs of an opioid relapse. In this case, you may need some extra help from experts, family members, and loved ones.

Absence of a support system

There is an increase in the probability of falling into a relapse if the patient is unable to get the needed medical and social support. If you are going through opioid addiction recovery, you shouldn’t be left alone, or in isolation, as this can increase temptations. Furthermore, it can increase the probability of falling into a relapse. Even with medical support, family and social support are very vital. 

Triggers

Addictions are a phenomenon that is mainly dependent on triggers. The patient’s inability to get away or do away with triggers is a major cause of relapse. For opioid users, there are specific situations that can trigger this urge. The possibility of relapsing is very high if you don’t have a support system to overcome these triggers. This makes this one of the most important facts to note on how to prevent opioid addiction relapse.

Signs of Opioid Relapse

Opioid relapse has some warning signs that can signal the need for intervention to a vigilant support system. Once these signs begin to show, it means the patient can’t control the urge, and they need third-party help. The following are signs of an opioid relapse:

  • Slurred speech
  • Reduction in sex drive
  • Reduction in the size of the pupil
  • Incoherent and dishonest behaviours by the patient
  • Nausea
  • Loss of weight
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Obsession with solitude
  • Lack of interest in a healthy lifestyle
  • Rekindled interests with old opioid addicts
  • Bad behaviours
  • Irresistible urge to borrow money
  • Overconfidence in the fact that they don’t need a support system

Whenever someone in recovery slips into a relapse, they are most often embarrassed by themselves. Most times, they don’t want to accept the fact that they are back to old habits. This would further prevent seeking help on how to prevent opioid addiction relapse.

If you have a friend or loved one that is in this stage of opioid recovery, it may be up to you to get opioid addiction treatment help for them.  

How to Prevent Relapse During Opioid Addiction Treatment

Opioid addiction recovery is an extensive process, one that can never be rushed through. The possibility of relapse is always very high, but with increased dedication from all the parties involved, you can recover and gain long-term sobriety. These steps are preventive measures that can help:

Frequent communication with addiction treatment experts. 

This should be stressed and enforced by the addiction treatment experts. With adequate communication, it is easier to make more informed decisions and suggestions for further treatments. With real-time communication, diagnosis is made per time, and changes are noticed early.

Personalized treatment strategy

Different patients with different body systems require different opioid addiction treatment plans. It may be hard to determine the perfect treatment plan at the outset. However, whenever there is a relapse, it is a strong indication of the need for a change in the treatment plan. Therefore, a personalized treatment strategy is the best way to prevent opioid addiction relapse.

Counsellor Support

When it comes to dealing with addictions, counsellors are critical. In these sessions, coping skills are learned and reiterated. This in turn helps the patient cope when alone. Also, during these sessions, the counsellor helps identify and bring the patient’s consciousness to triggers and signs of an opioid relapse, preparing them for what needs to be done in various scenarios.

Establishment of a relapse recovery plan

Even after weeks or months of recovery and maintenance, situational factors may cause you to fall into relapse. Hence, there is a need to create a prevention plan, which makes it easier to deal with a relapse. 

Coping strategies are a significant part of this plan. Additionally, it involves understanding that a relapse is not a reflection on you. It’s just a sign that you need a better way to deal with your addiction.

Establishing a sound support system

Recovery from opioid addiction goes beyond the efforts of the patient. It is a collaborative effort that requires every support the patient can get. When there is a sound support system in the form of friends and loved ones, the chances of a relapse drop drastically.

Group Participation

In addiction treatment, groups have always proven to be an essential aspect of helping patients get back into healthy living. The learning curve it can put you through goes a long way in ensuring preparation for every possibility and knowing the best thing to do in different cases. 

With participation in 12-step groups, you can relate with others in the same situation as yourself. This way, everybody comes together to share experiences and support each other when need be.

Final Take on Preventing an Opioid Addiction Relapse

There is no single process that is an answer to how to prevent opioid addiction relapse. Still, there are a variety of techniques and strategies the addiction treatment expert can recommend per time, based on observations. It’s always a long walk from freedom, and the recovery period may take months or years. 

Just as it is easy for patients of type 1 diabetes, asthma, and hypertension, to relapse, so also it is for opioid addiction. The very first step, however, to ensure a successful opioid addiction recovery is by reaching an addiction treatment expert near you.

Here at Addiction Healing Centre, we have years of experience handling opioid addiction cases. Our addiction treatment experts can provide you with the guidance and support needed to avoid a relapse. Contact us or call 888 508 9802 to speak with an expert today!

men-only drug rehab environment

Things to Know About Quitting Opioids

Opioids act on the opioid receptors in our bodies, creating an effect similar to that of morphine. Opioids are a very addictive type of drug, and there are wide range of substances grouped into this category including heroin, fentanyl and OxyContin.

In 2016, more than 2,800 Canadians died of opioid-related overdoses. The numbers average out to 8 deaths per day across the country, with the epidemic affecting every province.

For those opioid addicts who are preparing to quit their bad habit, there are a few things to know about quitting opioids to give you a better idea of this kind of journey.

You’re making a good decision

Even though there are a considerable number of people struggling with opioid addiction, not enough of them are getting the treatment they need. In fact, a mere 10% of people with opioid addictions actively seek treatment.

The reasons for not getting help are varied, but it is important to know that you are making a very uncommon, but very important decision to embrace a cleaner life.

You are not alone

Many users feel like they’re the only ones struggling with substance addiction. In fact, there are millions of people all over the world who are working towards their own recovery as well.

In terms of opioid abuse, in 2014 the world experienced its highest production numbers since the 1930s. With the surge in accessibility, many more people were exposed to opioids and the potential for addiction.

It’s important to know that you are not alone, and many others are in the process of quitting as well.

There are lots of options

When it comes to quitting, one approach isn’t going to work for everyone. Luckily, there are a few different ways to seek help for opioid addiction including meetings, outpatient rehabs and inpatient rehabs.

There are also a lot of options when it comes to recovery in post-rehab, so that you always feel comfortable and in control of your journey.

Learning is key

If you’ve made the decision to quit opioids, it is a good idea to gather some resources and information first. This might mean educating yourself about what you can expect, talking to family and friends about your decision, and gaining some insight from a health professional.

Preparation is a great way to ready yourself when you begin any addiction treatment, and you may be able to better your chances of success.

You might be saving your life

Even if it doesn’t feel like it, your addiction to opioids could be the thing that takes your life. Worldwide, there are more than 69,000 deaths per year due to opioid overdose.

Making the decision to quit could be the best thing you do for yourself, since this deadly drug has the power to take the lives of so many unsuspecting users. One of the most important things to know about quitting opioids is that you could be saving your life, and also saving the lives of loved ones around you.

Conclusion

Drug addiction is not a taboo topic; there are all kinds of resources, treatment options and programs that you can utilize to ensure your success.

Of all of the things to know about quitting opioids, the main one is that you are making a fantastic decision. Now is when you can begin embracing a drug-free life that you can enjoy and control.