Most of us have heard of opioids before. Either we’ve seen things about them, we’ve been prescribed them, or we know someone who has been prescribed them. Everyone may not know that opioids are one of the most addictive types of drugs in America because of the way they interact with the body. Not only are they widely prescribed, but they are also tightly controlled because they have the potential to become addictive. Even those who take them like they are meant to be taken are still at risk of becoming addicted.
At Recover Now, we know how important it is to understand the substances you’re putting in your body and how knowing what those substances are doing to your body can help you in keeping from getting addicted. In this post, we are going to focus on the effects of opioids, how opioids affect the body and why they are so addictive and how to find treatment for opioid addiction.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are a classification of drugs that are primarily involved in the relief and management of pain. They are prescribed for injuries, after surgeries, and for patients with chronic illnesses which cause severe pain, such as cancer and fibromyalgia.
Because of the usefulness of the drugs, they are some of the most widely prescribed drugs in the United States, despite the potential for addiction. Some of the commonly prescribed opioids include brands like Vicodin, Percocet, and the entirety of the “oxy” family of drugs. There are also completely illegal opioids, such as heroin and fentanyl, which are incredibly addictive and incredibly dangerous.
Besides being widely prescribed for pain, opioids come in two varieties: long-acting and short-acting opioids. Short-acting opioids last for a few hours and typically only remain in the system for about as long. Long-acting opioids are meant for pain management over a long period and can last for much longer and stay in the body for days at a time.
Another important thing to remember is that pain relievers can be prescribed that are considered non-opiate pain relievers. While generally rarer, they can be used as a substitute if someone has shown a history of addiction to opioids or has a general history of habit-forming behavior.
How Do Opioids Affect the Body?
Opioids work in the body by acting on the brain and the central nervous system. Once in the body, opioids work to calm the nerve receptors that detect pain and to slow the signals sent to the brain. This causes instant pain relief in the short term, and over the long term, it makes it so that the pain receptors themselves respond differently to pain.
Over time the body develops a resistance to this effect, so it is necessary to increase the dosage or change medication in order for the effects to continue, but it is for these reasons that opioids are so effective at managing even the most severe and chronic pain. They literally change the way the body feels and responds to pain.
Why Are Opioids So Addictive?
There are two reasons that opioids are so highly addictive.
The first reason is that many people enjoy the feeling that opioids give them when taken. In particular, opioids are known to produce a euphoric sensation that people find pleasurable, almost like a high of sorts. In order to continue to feel this, people will begin to take more and more, well beyond their prescribed dosage.
Secondly, opioids are addictive because, over time, they change the chemistry of the brain and central nervous system, which causes them to adapt to the presence of opioids. Without opioids, the body begins to go through what is known as withdrawal. The body becomes chemically dependent on the substance to function normally, and then eventually, a person becomes fully addicted to the drugs.
How to Find Opioid Addiction Treatment
If you or someone you know is suffering from an opioid addiction, the next step is to get help from a Louisiana treatment facility like ours here at Recover Now. We offer high-quality outpatient treatment in Louisiana.
This allows our clients to focus solely on recovery while the treatment plan works to give them the tools to return to a life free of opioids.
If you know someone suffering from an opioid addiction, contact Recover Now today.