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The opioid crisis has ruined lives and ripped families and communities apart. More than 130 people die every day in the United States from an opioid overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Prescription opioids are commonly prescribed by a medical professional after an injury or surgery. They are also used to treat chronic pain. Opiates can be highly addictive so it is important to know the signs of opiate use. Prescription painkiller medicines are known by many brand names, such as OxyContin and Vicodin. Opioids come in multiple legal and illegal forms, including:
When someone takes opioids longer than necessary, or at a higher dose than needed, they are at risk for drug abuse. Research shows that prescribed opioids can lead to physical dependence in as little as five days.
Some people become addicted after taking a prescription drug for legitimate purposes. Abuse of opioid medicines can lead to abuse of illicit opioids. A recent estimate suggests about 80% of heroin users first had a history with prescribed opioids. People who abuse drugs often end up mixing opioids with other harmful drugs, which puts them at higher risk for an opioid overdose.
Are you or a family member struggling with an addiction to opioids? If so, it may be time for opioid abuse treatment. See if you recognize these warning signs of opioid use in yourself or a loved one:
Chronic opioid abuse changes in the brain. Brain cells with opioid receptors become less responsive to the same dose of the medicine. This causes the person to take more of the drug to achieve the same effect. It becomes a constant need to get enough drugs to achieve the effects the person felt when they first started using. Eventually, the brain develops abnormalities that lead to opioid addiction. The person can no longer be without the drug or withdrawal will begin within hours. The brain slows or even stops producing natural feel-good chemicals.
Some of the physical side effects of chronic opioid use include:
Opiate addiction is a serious problem, but you should not try to deal with it alone. If you stop using opioids abruptly, or “cold turkey,” you may go into opiate withdrawal within a few hours. Opiate withdrawal can be dangerous. Signs of opioid use withdrawal may include:
No one knows exactly what leads to opioid addiction but research points to the following:
Opioid drug addiction takes thousands of lives every year. But there is hope. Lucida Treatment Center provides evidence-based opioid addiction drug rehab that includes:
If a loved one is showing signs of opiate use, Lucida offers compassionate residential treatment for addiction. We treat mental illness as well. Speak confidentially with a Lucida recovery advisor at 1.866.947.7299.