Opioid Addiction


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If you are using opioids, then, there is a significant risk that you might develop an addiction to it. While how long you have been using it or what your history is of using it is a factor in determining the chances of your dependency on the drug, it cannot be predicted. According to data, opioids are one of the leading causes of overdose deaths in the U.S.

What Is Addiction?

Addiction is when a person cannot live without “something” as used for pleasure. Doctors explain it as similar to the overwhelming and compulsive use of drugs despite knowing the consequences. One of the most addictive drugs is opioids.

Although originally intended to treat pain or provide relief from other addictions, opioids themselves can readily be abused, leading a person down a seemingly never-ending cycle of abuse. — John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

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Endorphins are released whenever people use opioids, making people temporarily feel good. But once it wears off, it makes people want the feeling back, which eventually leads to the addiction.

Short-Term Versus Long-Term Effects Of Opioids Addiction

Constant use of opioids will slow down the production of endorphins and eventually stop you from experiencing pleasure when using it. This is also known as tolerance. Those who have developed tolerance tend to increase the dosage to feel good again, but that is how the addiction manifests.

Doctors are now stricter with increasing the dosage of a patient or renewing the prescription due to the addiction risks. This makes some users turn to other methods of getting the drug illegally. There are illegal drugs like Fentanyl that is more powerful than opioids due to the contaminants in it. Fentanyl also caused a lot of deaths compared to heroin.

One group uses the substance to dull the pain of their anger. These imbibe quietly, often when they are alone, using the substance to “drown their sorrows.” If they get high enough, they can blunt their pains for a while. —

If you’ve developed a tolerance to opioids, consult your doctor immediately. There are ways on how this issue can be solved but stopping the medication without the doctor’s advice isn’t allowed.

Opioid Addiction Risk Factors

The drugs become more addicting if it is used other than the prescribed way like snorting or injecting it. This can even be dangerous especially for long-acting formulation pills. It can lead to accidental overdose. Increased dosage can increase the risk of developing the addiction too.

How long you have been using the drug is also an issue. Using it for more than a few days increases your risk of getting addicted to it. If you use opioids for five days, there are chances you’ll still be using it after a year.

Other additional factors also come to play with this like the genetic, psychological, and environmental.  These can happen either quickly or after years of use.

Here are some of the significant risk factors for opioid abuse and addiction:

  • Poverty
  • Problems with previous employers, family members, and friends
  • The family history of substance abuse
  • History of criminal activity or legal issues like DUIs
  • Heavy tobacco use
  • Stressful circumstances
  • Risk-taking behavior
  • Unemployment
  • Personal history of substance abuse
  • Young age
  • Constant contact with high-risk people or environments
  • History of severe depression or anxiety
  • Prior drug or alcohol rehabilitation

Women have different unique risk factors for opioid addiction. As compared to men, they’re more likely to experience chronic pain. They will be prescribed the drug in higher dosages and advised to use the drug longer. Women are also more likely to depend on prescription pain relievers like opioids than men due to their biological tendencies.

Given how fundamentally emotional distress factors into the development and maintenance of substance abuse disorders, participants would benefit from having emotional management and regulation being included as essential elements of their recoveries. — Guy Winch Ph.D.

Steps To Prevent Opioid Addiction

It’s safe to use the drug for three days or less when managing pain like after surgery. Talk to your doctor and try to have the lowest possible dose for the shortest time possible.

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Opioids are a safe way of treating chronic pain. There are other more reliable, more effective, and less-addictive pain medications and therapy. Try to get a treatment plan that won’t give you opioids as much as possible.

Prevent the chances of addiction happening within your family by securing the opioid medications and using or throwing away the unused ones. The local enforcement agency or the DEA or Drug Enforcement Area can help take back medicines that you don’t want anymore or for proper recycling of trash. If you can’t find any takeback programs, make sure to ask your pharmacists.

No one is safe from opioid addiction so try to reach out if you think your or someone you love is at risk.

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