Opioids are a deadly class of addictive drugs. The opioid class encompasses opiates like heroin, as well as synthetic opioids like oxycodone and fentanyl. Opioids are extremely addictive and can cause chemical dependence in just a few uses.
Opioids come from the poppy plant, which is synthesized to create opioids like morphine, percocet, codeine, and heroin. People usually begin using opioids for their euphoric and pain relieving effects. However, tolerance to opioids builds very quickly, resulting in increased dosages and chemical dependency.
Over time, opioids have evolved into a palate of different drugs. Most heroin users actually begin with prescription painkillers and eventually progress to heroin use. People begin prescription painkiller use after surgeries or for chronic pain. Eventually, their prescriptions run out and they resort to heroin.
Most people who become addicted to opioids also experience withdrawal symptoms and severe cravings when they try to stop, making it very difficult to get sober. Identifying opioid withdrawal, addiction, and understanding health concerns are critical in getting help.
Signs of Opioid Abuse
Recognizing opioid abuse is critical in getting help for a loved one. It is also important to understand that there are many different types of opioids and strengths, as stronger opioids will present more apparent signs of abuse. For example, codeine is one of the weakest opioids available, while fentanyl is one of the strongest.
Codeine is sometimes given in cough medicine, and also found in a pill form combined with tylenol for mild pain. However, despite being one of the weakest opioids, thousands of people died from codeine overdose in 2015.
Conversely, fentanyl is one of the strongest opioids available. Fentanyl can be up to 100 times stronger than heroin, and is also frequently used to cut heroin and make it stronger. This technique is causing a drastic increase in overdoses.
Common Signs of Opioid Abuse Include:
- Slurred speech
- Falling asleep or nodding out of consciousness
- Constricted pupils
Risks of Opioid Abuse
Opioids all act similarly, with some being stronger than others. However, stronger opioids like fentanyl, heroin and hydromorphone present a higher danger and risk of overdose.
Short-term Risks of Opioid Abuse
- Irregular heartbeats
- Blood pressure problems
- Tremors and convulsions
- Overdose, coma, and death
Long-term Effects of Opioids Abuse are Severe and Include:
- Weak immune system
- Respiratory depression
- Liver damage
- Brain damage
- Overdose, coma, and death
Heroin and Fentanyl
Over the last decade, fentanyl has become a growing problem, as well as a cause of overdose. It is one of the strongest painkillers on earth, with just a few grains of the substance being able to cause an overdose. Once street dealers realized they could cut their heroin with fentanyl to make far more money, fentanyl overdoses began to skyrocket.
Getting Professional Help
Opioid dependence is extremely difficult to overcome without professional help. People frequently try to stop using on their own but are unable to do so. Opioid cravings are severe and often compulsive, and withdrawal symptoms make it nearly impossible to stay stopped.
Detox and inpatient care are the most effective way to overcome opioid addiction. Detox helps alleviate withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Our inpatient programs help treat the underlying conditions as well as any medical concerns that arise.
Withdrawal symptoms from opioids typically last anywhere from 7 days to a couple weeks, with post-acute withdrawal symptoms lasting up to 6 months. However, severe withdrawal symptoms typically begin to fade after just a few days.
Opioid withdrawal symptoms include:
- Extreme depression
- Body ache and pains
- Sweating and chills
People often try to quit using opiates at home or on their own, only to experience severe withdrawal symptoms, discomfort, and cravings. These uncomfortable symptoms and cravings often lead even the most willful people to relapse. People who quit using for a couple days then relapse are also more likely to overdose.
Withdrawal symptoms are often the cause of compounding addiction, leading people to continue using in a vicious cycle. For many people, the only way out of addiction is to enter an inpatient program. The ability to have their withdrawal symptoms alleviated while having underlying issues treated is life changing.
Our programs begin with an over the phone assessment, which helps us determine the specific needs of the individual. Our staff of doctors and nurses then use that assessment to build an individualized treatment plan and recommend a level of care.
Most people struggling with opioid addiction require detox. We utilize medications and therapies to help alleviate withdrawal symptoms as comfortably and effectively as possible. Our state of the art detox facility is fully equipped to treat even the most severe cases.
The detox process usually lasts between 5 and 7 days. After detox, many people enter a residential level of care. This allows for intensive inpatient care and stabilization following detox. During residential treatment, we use evidence based therapies in conjunction with medical care to help treat the entire person.
The ability to receive therapy while under medical supervision is valuable to those who are coming off of opioids. We are proud to have effectively treated thousands of people and helped them find a life of sobriety and recovery.
Following residential care, we usually recommend continuation of treatment through outpatient care. We offer outpatient levels of care at our outpatient facility, the Recovery Team. We are strong proponents of utilizing all levels of care and continuation of treatment for as long as possible.
Our Admissions Process
We understand that getting help for addiction can be a difficult process. We try to make it as simple as possible, guiding you every step of the way. Our experienced admissions counselors begin by getting a better understanding of the problem. This is followed up by an assessment that includes medical history, substance use history, and any other pertinent information that could impact effective treatment.
Following the assessment, we work with you or your loved one to create a treatment plan backed by evidence based therapies and effective medical treatment. It is our goal to provide the most comfortable and safe treatment, allowing for a lifetime of recovery.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction please call us at 561-328-8627