We live in a rapidly changing society. Many would say we are progressing in the right direction for the most part. However, drug addiction is just one area where progression seems painfully slow. In the past five years alone, the attention to fighting opioid addiction across the country has become an essential topic of discussion. Politicians have made it a focal point in their campaigns and policy changes. Community activists have also weighed in, shedding light on how easy it is for citizens to obtain the drugs. All of this is for the betterment of the communities we live in. Opioid addiction is not something that should be taken lightly. This is especially true for those experiencing it or those trying to help a loved one beat the disease. For more information about our substance abuse treatment programs at Silicon Beach Treatment Center, contact 213.460.1706 today.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are medications that doctors use to treat pain. This pain can either be constant (backaches, headaches, muscle spasms, etc.) or temporary and acute. These types of medications (also known as narcotics) can be purchased on the street or prescribed by medical doctors.
When someone uses opioid medications, the drug goes to the opioid receptors in the brain. This triggers the release of endorphins, which block some of the pain signals in the body and disrupt their messages to the brain. Not only do endorphins block pain, but they also release the brain’s feel-good chemicals. The feeling of being at ease after going through physical pain feels good. However, when the feeling wears off, some people want that intense sense of well-being back as soon as possible. This is where the adverse effects of overusing opioid medications come into play.
Many individuals experiencing opioid dependency become addicted to the feeling that the medications give them. Chasing this pleasurable feeling can become an obsession when addiction develops and use becomes inappropriate. The fact that opioids are so easily accessible makes it hard to stop the addictions compared to other street drugs.
Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Addiction
If you suspect a loved one is abusing opioids, the best thing you can do is show them you love them and not enable their addictive behavior. You typically can’t force a person into treatment, and it’s rarely successful if you can. A person will not look to recovery until they are ready to make that choice for themselves. While opioid addicts can be very manipulative and sneaky with their use, you will see that might tell you if a person is abusing drugs.
A person who frequently hangs out with different groups, constantly changes friends, or seems to be ignoring longtime friends for a new crowd might all be signs that a person is developing an addiction. In addition to this, those using opioids will spend significant time alone and avoid friends and family for long periods. They will display little interest in previously enjoyed activities, undergo frequent and unexplainable mood changes, and often a decline in their personal hygiene. Other signs may also include:
- Getting into trouble with the law
- Frequently exhibiting flu-like symptoms
- Stealing from family or friends
- Experiencing financial struggles
- Missing notable appointments
- Being unable to attend work or school
Effects of Opioid Addiction
Using opioids comes with several unpleasant side effects. These side effects vary depending on the frequency and duration of use. The side effects someone might experience simply by taking the drug as prescribed include:
- A sense of elation
- Physical and psychological dependence
Opioids also significantly affect a person’s psychological, behavioral, and well-being. They cause a wide array of psychological symptoms ranging from depression, psychosis, and lowered motivation to euphoria and improved self-esteem. In addition to this, the drug might increase a person’s anxiety or even bring on anxiety attacks. Behavioral symptoms might consist of planning your life around the drug, using opioids for longer or in greater numbers than intended, or unsuccessful attempts to reduce the amount taken. A person struggling with opioid abuse disorder will abandon activities that were once important to them and spend large amounts of time obtaining, using, or recovering from use. Physical symptoms might include increased heart rate, high blood pressure, or constricted pupils.
While these side effects may not seem harsh, these are just the start of what has resulted in many deaths from the misuse of opioids. We want to inform those currently experiencing opioid addiction or seeking to help loved ones addicted to opioids not to take this list lightly.
The symptoms that are most severe and most commonly associated with opioids are the symptoms of withdrawal that are brought on after a person has become physically dependent on the drug. Some of the most common withdrawal effects associated with stopping the use of opioids include:
- Nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Stomach pain and body aches
- Muscle tension
Overdosing on opioids comes with severe consequences in the long run. Individuals who have overdosed on these drugs can experience hypoxia. Hypoxia is a condition that decreases the amount of oxygen to the brain and slows down or stops breathing altogether. The latter has resulted in individuals going into a coma, permanent brain damage, and death in the worst-case scenario.
Treatment for Opioid Addiction
If you are an individual that is going through an opioid addiction problem, we want you to know that there is hope. The sooner you stop your addiction, the sooner you can get back to living your normal life and avoid major health complications. We know that overcoming addiction does not happen overnight, and this is a process. Depending on what you were using, how frequently, and the amount can all play a role in how long your recovery process takes.
If you are a friend or family member looking to help a loved one overcome their opioid addiction, there are a few tips we want to share with you. When you sit down with your loved one, it is best not to make them feel attacked by your words or actions. Showing them that you care for their health, safety, and lives make having a talk with them about their addiction a little bit easier. When someone going through an opioid addiction feels like they are being verbally attacked, that may trigger emotional points in their mind. In turn, this may result in them relapsing or overdosing again.
Begin Recovery at Silicon Beach Treatment Center
As a drug rehab center, our mission is to try and help individuals experiencing opioid addiction. At Silicon Beach Treatment Center, we provide the necessary information, tips, resources, and treatment to individuals seeking and needing help. Above all, we believe that everyone deserves a chance to change their lives for the better. We want individuals who have misused or overdosed on opioids to know that we care for their well-being. No one is perfect, and it is okay to make mistakes. These mistakes are better treated sooner rather than later.
Would you like to seek assistance from our highly trained professionals? We are looking forward to helping you (or your loved one) as soon as possible. To reach our staff via phone, please feel free to call our opioid rehab center in Los Angeles at 213.460.1706.