The United States is currently battling an opioid epidemic. According to a 2014 Department of Health & Human Services report, over 2.5 million Americans suffer from opioid use, which caused more than 28,000 deaths. What are opioids? Even with such alarming statistics, understanding what they are and why they continue to be prescribed can arm you against the epidemic.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are poppy-based medications. They decrease pain signals that transmit through a person’s nervous system. The effects suppress the person’s perception of pain.
Various types of opioids include:
- Fentanyl (Duragesic)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin)
Doctors may prescribe opioids in different forms such as liquids, pills, or suckers. Other prescription methods include a skin patch, suppository, or a shot. These narcotic pain medications can help some individuals experiencing intractable pain. However, because opioid addiction and overdose risks are high, medical professionals typically don’t prescribe them as a first-line defense for managing pain.
What Are Opioids Used For?
For most headaches or muscle pain, an over-the-counter pain reliever is usually all you need to feel better. However, if your pain is severe, your physician might recommend a stronger prescription opioid. Prolonged use of opioids to treat acute pain lessens the effectiveness and pain could get worse. During this time, your body could develop a dependence on the drug even though it no longer eases the pain.
Dependence causes withdrawal symptoms that make it difficult to stop taking opioids. An opioid dependence can become so bad that it disrupts your everyday life.
Signs that you or someone you love might be abusing opioids may include:
- Constricted pupils
- Doctor shopping to get multiple prescriptions
- Dramatic mood changes
- Noticeable euphoria
- Slowed breathing
- Social isolation
- Sudden financial problems
Opioid Abuse Treatments
Opioid addiction treatment methods vary. Alleviating cravings and withdrawal symptoms may require medications. Generally, inpatient support programs paired with medications are the most successful.
Medical treatment during a drug detoxification process is based on individual circumstances. Treatment history also factors into whether an onsite, multidisciplinary approach is best. Receiving professional advice and support can help to resolve underlying issues that may have led to addiction.
Specialized therapies of small group counseling and individual counseling can help during the treatment process. These sessions to treat anxiety, anger, depression, grief, trauma and chronic pain can improve your chances of remaining drug-free after treatment ends.
Take the First Step Towards an Opioid-Free Life
If you or someone you know and love is seeking to enter a recovery program, you have come to the right place. A sound program does more than help you deal with opiate withdrawals. It will guide you towards lasting change. Call us today at 866-313-6307 before another day passes that you live with this addictive behavior.