How to Deal with an Opioid Addiction
Opioid addiction has become more widely discussed and debated in the news recently. It’s been called an epidemic and a public health crisis. While the news is probably nothing new to you, it is important to understand the severity of the issues surrounding opioid addiction but also to bring greater public awareness and support for recovery efforts. The recent wide-spread discussion of opioid addiction and treatment options may be part of why you’re here looking for help and resources.
So, what is opioid addiction and what does it mean to you and your family?
What are Opioids & What is Opioid Addiction?
Opioids are a class of drugs, derived from opium (the poppy plant), that’s been used down through history in various forms to treat pain. Opioids now refer to a whole range of drugs from codeine, hydrocodone, and morphine to oxycodone, hydromorphone, and fentanyl. While opioids have been successful in relieving pain and discomfort, the drugs offer a euphoria that becomes an obsession. Since opioid users build up a tolerance to the drug, addiction means that they need a higher dose to get the same euphoria. Opioid addiction can quickly become associated with illegal activities in an effort to get the drugs that will produce that euphoric high, but opioid use can quickly lead to overdose and even more serious consequences. It’s deadly.
What are the Symptoms of Opioid Addiction?
If you or your loved one has a problem with opioids, the signs are typically pretty clear. The symptoms usually entail a range of behavioral, psychological and physical clues. While some signs of substance abuse are more obvious than others, the combination points toward the fact that you have a problem and you need help.
Respiratory: You may experience a slowing of breath or shallow breathing.
Exhaustion/Lethargy: You may sleep a lot, feel drowsy, or just feel “out of it”.
Emotional: You may be on a roller-coaster ride of emotions, with feeling great one minute and extremely irritable the next.
Just Not Yourself: You may lose interest in the things that you were once passionate about. You may feel depressed, unmotivated, and you may have made poor decisions.
The range of symptoms for opioid addiction can be varied, but the same experience applies. The opioids inspire your brain to create artificial endorphins, which blocks pain, gives you that euphoria, but also can make you rely on that false feeling. (The brain can stop producing its own endorphins.)
What is Opioid Withdrawal?
Withdrawal sounds scary, and it can be painful. You experience symptoms of anxiety, insomnia, irritation, severe abdominal cramping, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Your body is reacting to the absence of the drug in your system, and that is never a pleasant experience. It’s not easy to quit “cold turkey” and that’s why there are so many treatment facilities available to you.
What Can You Do About Opioid Addiction?
If you’re reading this article, you’re already on the path toward educating yourself about addiction and treatment.
- You’ve (hopefully) learned the signs and symptoms to watch out for.
- The next step is to get help or plan an intervention.
- Set firm boundaries.
- Be consistent and caring.
- Treatment and recovery is a process, but you can’t do it for your loved one.
- Be there for your loved one offering encouragement.
- Recovery is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight.
At The Ajna Center, we offer detox, inpatient and outpatient services to support your recovery from substance abuse in the San Diego area. We also offer medically appropriate intervention treatments and therapies to assist you in dealing with in some of the more uncomfortable aspects of withdrawal. Our goal is to not only to support your immediate withdrawal and detoxing process but to offer a framework for life-long change and wellness. Call now to learn more about our services.