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What are Opioids?

Opioids are narcotic medications which have been designed to alleviate pain. The drugs are a derivative of opium, which comes from the poppy. Opioids are classified as the entire class of drugs including synthetic opiates.


These category of drugs work by binding to opioid receptors within the brain, spinal cords, and other regions of the body to reduce experience feelings of pain. Opioids are generally safe when used correctly, however they are commonly misused which often leads to addiction.


Opioids are very strong and highly addictive drugs which often causes its users to develop a physical dependency with continuous use.

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Opioid drugs includes:


  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • Hydrocodone
  • Codeine
  • Oxycodone
  • Fentanyl
  • Dilaudid
  • Methadone
  • … and more


Effects of Opioids

Opioid drugs have effects which produces a sense of well-being or euphoria which people often find addicting. Opioids are generally used for treating pain, when used for pain relief many people develop a tolerance, which causes them to need a higher dosage or more frequent use of opioids to achieve the same effects. Often once a tolerance onsets, an addiction soon follows.


Opioid drugs are often misused, whether they are in the legal form such as prescription pain pills or illegal form such as heroin. Tolerance for the euphoric effects develops faster than a tolerance for the dangerous effects which often leads individuals to overdosing by mistake trying to achieve a higher high by using too much.


A high dose of opioids can induce cardiac or respiratory arrest which often ends fatally.Some of the long and short term effects associated with an opioid dependence/addiction includes:

  • Vision problems
  • Dehydration of the skin and mucous membranes
  • Digestive difficulties
  • Hyperalgesia (heightened perception of pain)
  • Mood swings and abrupt changes in behavior
  • Reduced sex drive
  • Cardiovascular complications
  • Decreased immunity
  • Distorted perception of reality
  • Jaundice
  • Dependence on opioids to feel happy or content
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Damaged interpersonal relationships with friends, family, and peers
  • Death by overdose or toxicity


Treatment For Opioid Addiction

Treating an opioid addiction is possible by following proper treatment protocol. There is currently no single treatment which is effective in treating all individuals suffering from opiate addiction, therefore diverse treatment options should be implemented including the use of medications and psychotherapeutic approaches. Buprenorphine, naltrexone, and methadone are medications for opioid addictions which are most commonly use in treatment for opioid addiction.


It is most important to have a recovery plan in place upon completion of treatment, steps that should be implemented into one’s recovery plans includes: adopting relapse prevention skills, creating a strong support system, attending 12-step meetings and more!


If you or a loved one are struggling with an opioid addiction or may be abusing opioids, call us today to learn more about being effectively treated at one of our Recovery Centers.


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