A Brief Introduction to Opioids and Opioid Addiction
We live in a rapidly changing society. For the most part, many would say we are progressing in the right direction. However, there are some negative elements in society that may never change, regardless of how hard we may try. 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 a major topic of discussion. Politicians have made it a focal point in their campaigns as well as policy changes for the betterment of their city/state. Community activists have also weighed in on this epidemic of opioid usage due to how easy it is for adults and underaged individuals to obtain the drugs. Opioid addiction is not something that should be taken lightly especially for those who are experiencing it, or those that are trying to help loved ones beat the disease.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are medications that are used to treat pain within the body that is either constant (for example, 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.
The intended/appropriate use for opioids is that they have proteins, which go to parts of the body where an individual is experiencing pain. When opioid medication is used, the proteins go to the opioid receptors in the brain, which block the pain signals in the body and disrupt their messages to the brain. The feeling of being at ease after going through physical pain feels good, and this is where the adverse effects of overusing opioid medications come into play.
Many individuals that experience opioid dependency become addicted to the feeling that the medications give them. The pleasurable feeling can become an obsession, this is when addiction develops and use becomes inappropriate. The fact of opioid medications being so easily accessible makes it hard to actually stop the addictions compared to other street drugs. How long has opioid addiction been a problem?
History of Opioids
The opioid epidemic began in 1991, which was when the rise of deaths from overdose became noticeable to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). The CDC is a federal agency in the United States with the purpose to provide, support, and conduct positive promotions towards public health. This can include diseases that are unpreventable (for example cancer and chronic diseases). However, the CDC also works to protect and fight diseases that can be controlled through preventative health such as opioid addiction.
Between 2002-2013 the increase in the misuse of opioid medications rose by 286%. This is when heroin related deaths became a main focus in order to decrease opioid addiction. Heroin (the illegal street drug) became the next wave of individuals seeking to feed their opioid addiction. Individuals began to use an illegal method of obtaining opioids (which would be turned into heroin from those that were legally prescribed to use opioid medications. The way that heroin is taken is through injection within the veins of an individual with a needle. As individuals started to share these needles and/or use dirty needles already tainted with heroin, overdosing was not the only reason causing the rise in opioid related deaths.
The next wave of the opioid epidemic started in 2013 and is currently the era that we are in now. Individuals whom want to feed their opioid addiction in different ways have started using fentanyl. Fentanyl is one of the worse ways that an individual can try to misuse and feed their opioid addictions. This is a synthetic opioid that (when used properly and medically provided by a doctor) used to treat severe pain to patients, especially those that may have recently gone through surgery. Fentanyl is a medication that is legal and often compared to morphine.
Unfortunately, the use of fentanyl, and other synthetic opioids have now become the most commonly used ways for those addicted to opioids.
What are the side effects of misusing opioid related medications/drugs?
As with many prescribed medications and illegal usage of opioid medications by themselves or mixed with illegal drugs, there are harsh side effects that we want you to know about. The side effects of overdosing on the opioid drugs that we have mentioned earlier include the following…
– Hard problems breathing
– Uncontrollable feelings of happiness
While these side effects may not seem harsh, these are just the beginning of what has resulted in many deaths misusing opioids. Many individuals that have endured opioid addiction believe that because the side effects are not that bad, they are going to be okay eventually. We want to inform those that are currently experiencing opioid addiction or seeking to help loved ones that are addicted to opioids to not take this list lightly.
Overdosing on drugs such as opioids, synthetic opioids, and heroin come with more severe consequences in the long run. Individuals whom have overdosed on fentanyl or any mix of the drugs we have mentioned here can experience what is called hypoxia. Hypoxia is a condition that decreases the amount of needed oxygen to the brain in addition to slowing down/stopping breathing all together. The latter has results including putting individuals in a coma, permanent brain damage, and in the worse case scenario death.
Where can you seek treatment for opioid addiction?
If you are an individual that is going through an opioid addiction problem, we highly suggest that you stop using the drug(s)/opioid medication(s) that you are using immediately. The sooner that you stop your addiction, the sooner you can get back to living your normal life, and avoiding health complications. We are aware that overcoming an addiction is not something that happens overnight… this is a process. Depending on what you were using, how frequently, and the amount can all be factors to how long your recovery process takes.
If you are a friend/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 to not make them feel attacked by your words and/or actions. Showing them that you care for their health, their safety, and their lives makes 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, which may result in them relapsing or overdosing again.
What can we do for you?
As a rehab center business, it is our mission to try and help individuals experiencing opioid addictions. We are here to provide necessary information, tips, resources, and treatment to individuals needing/seeking help. We believe that everyone deserves a chance to change their lives for the better. We want individuals whom have misused/overdosed on opioids to know that we care for their well-being. No one is perfect, and it is okay for people to make mistakes. These mistakes can be treated better sooner than later.
Would you like to seek assistance from our highly trained professionals? We are looking forward to help you (or your loved one) as soon as possible. We are located in Los Angeles, CA. To reach our staff via phone, please feel free to call us at 833-LA-REHAB. If you would like to reach our team via e-mail, please feel free to visit the “contact” tab on our website. All information that we collect from those that are seeking help or loved ones looking to help someone are all confidential and never shared with any third-party entity.