Addiction Treatment

Are Opiates Physically Addictive?

Written By:

Becky Babb

Are Opiates Physically Addictive?

    Prescription drug addiction is a fast growing problem in the United States. Opiate addiction signs include doctor shopping (visiting various doctors to get multiple prescriptions for drugs) or taking more medication than prescribed. Addiction can be treated several different ways, usually through opiate substitution prescribing or through behavioral changes. Opiate substitution prescribing is typically more favored, as behavioral change is generally a long, hard process to complete. Many people do not realize that just because a doctor prescribes the medication, doesn’t mean it’s safe or that you are free from worrying about the possibility of addiction.Opiates prescribed for pain treatment are intended for short-term use only. Typical medications are variations of hydrocodone or oxycodone, which are not meant to be introduced to the body for extended amounts of time. The built-in pain relievers, or endorphins, are created by the pituitary gland. They bind to the receptors in the brain when we are experiencing pain to lessen the effect. If you are in severe pain, the opiate medications are used to further bind to the receptors to cause faster, more powerful pain relief.After 1 or 2 weeks, the brain begins to change because of the opiates, and you may become physically addicted. The opiates send messages to the glands that say no more endorphins are needed, essentially shutting down the pituitary glands creation of the body’s natural pain relievers. At this point, opiates are needed to feel normal and relieve everyday pain. The receptors multiply, requiring more frequent and larger amounts of opiates to keep the body feeling healthy.Opiates are highly addictive, and you should be aware that extended treatment can cause addiction. Just because a doctor prescribes the medication does not mean it is safe. If you or a loved one are addicted, there are many ways to seek treatment for the opiate addiction. Contact 512-750-6750 for help with treatment. Therapy is available if the addiction is mental as well, or is caused by other factors than physical addiction alone. The Last Resort is here to help.

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