Opiates are a class of drugs also known as painkillers. The drugs may be available by prescription, such as Vicodin or OxyContin, or they may be street drugs like heroin. Any time people use opiates for non-medical reasons, they can be highly addictive and dangerous. In fact, most people who take these drugs recreationally eventually require help from an opiate addiction treatment center.
Prescription opiates typically come in pill form and are for oral use. However, some users will crush the pills into a powder that they can snort or mix with water and inject, which gives them a faster, more intense “high.” Heroin also comes in powder form or it can be found in a sticky tar-like substance known as black tar heroin. Heroin may be snorted, smoked or dissolved in water and injected.
How Do Opiate Addictions Develop?
Opiate addiction is one of the most common substance addictions in the United States. This is due to the fact that many adults have opiates in their homes. Anyone who has chronic pain or underwent surgery probably received a prescription for opiate painkillers. These substances, although legal, carry a high risk for addiction.
This is especially true for people with chronic pain. Long-term opiate use often leads to dependency, which leads to addiction. The only way for people to combat the effects of an opiate addiction is with the help of an opiate addiction treatment center. Otherwise, they run the risk of relying on opiates and moving onto illicit substances that produce similar effects, such as heroin.
Why are Opiates So Addictive?
Opiates cause changes to the brain that lead to a surge of euphoria, followed by extreme relaxation. They do this by occupying opioid receptors in your brain. When you use these drugs, they also cause your body to release dopamine, which is a “feel good” hormone. People who use them long-term eventually stop releasing dopamine naturally. This is why people who suddenly stop using opiates experience uncomfortable, and sometimes painful, withdrawal symptoms.
Some of these symptoms include gastrointestinal upset, shaking, depression, and anxiety. Because these symptoms are so miserable, individuals often turn back to opiates rather than going through the withdrawal process. This is where a detox facility comes in. Through a medical detox program, you can get the support you need to help ease these symptoms for a more comfortable withdrawal process.
Effects of Opiates on the Mind and Body
First and foremost, opiates suppress pain. Most doctors prescribe them post-surgery or after a painful accident. While their pain reducing effects are useful, there are a number of unpleasant side effects that come with opiates as well.
Some of the most uncomfortable effects that you may experience with opiate use include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slower respiratory rate
- Drowsiness and confusion
- Lower body temperature
- Memory lapses
Over the long term, the effects of opiate use can be devastating on both the mind and body. Because the drugs tend to suppress appetite, they can lead to weight loss and even malnutrition. Some studies also suggest street opiates like heroin may damage the white matter in the brain, which may be a permanent effect even after the drug use ends.
This is particularly concerning considering the fact that many people that start out abusing prescription opiates may turn to heroin late on because the street drug is cheaper and easier to get. For many, the only way to end an addiction to this drug is through heroin addiction treatment.
Signs of Opiate Abuse
If someone in your life has an opiate addiction, the following signs may appear:
- Needing more of the drug to get the same effects (tolerance)
- Increases sensitivity to sights and sounds
- Erratic mood shifts and personality changes
- Withdrawal from family, friends, and activities
- Neglecting responsibilities at work and at home
- More time spent using and recovery from the effects of the drug
- Doctor “shopping” to get more prescriptions
- Extreme weight loss and signs of malnutrition
- Withdrawal symptoms and cravings when drug use ends
Opiate Addiction Treatment Center Austin
Opiates are highly addictive and difficult for users to stop taking without the professional opiate addiction treatment Austin TX offers. The Last Resort staff works with those addicted to both prescription and street opiates, helping them turn away from the addiction to discover a life of improved health and long-term sobriety. We offer many addiction treatment programs including:
- 12 step program for addiction treatment
- Exercise and addiction recovery
- Family program
- The Brave Heart experience
To learn more about our opiate addiction treatment center at The Last Resort, contact us today at (512)750-6750.