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Opiate Addiction

Opiate Addiction Facts

What is an Opiate?

Opiates are drugs that are normally prescribed for pain. These types of substances are derived from Opium. Opium comes from the poppy plant. Some well-known opiates include Codeine, Vicodin, and Morphine. Some of the most powerful opiates are Ocycontin, Dilaudid, and Fentanyl. Heroin can also be included in the class of opiates. Opiates can be taken by mouth, snorted, or smoked.

How is an Opiate Used?

Opiates can treat moderate to extreme pain. They can also bring on a sense of well-being or even euphoria when taken in higher doses. Sometimes, when a doctor no longer prescribes the opiate, a person will resort to illegal methods to keep getting the drug. The more they are used, the more a person can develop a tolerance for these types of drugs. The person will then need more and more to achieve the same results. High levels of the drug can lead to an overdose. An overdose may result in death due to a respiratory or cardiac arrest.

Opiate Addiction Symptoms

A person who is suffering from an opiate addiction may show several different signs or symptoms. The most obvious symptom is increased use of the drug or unsuccessful attempts to lessen the amount that is used. Other symptoms include irritability, increased anxiety, and a lack of interest in normal activities. Physical signs of opiate addiction may include high blood pressure, decreased appetite, a higher level of energy, and a change in sleeping patterns.

Opiate Addiction Withdrawal

After a person attempts to stop opiate use a number of withdrawal symptoms may be present. The most obvious will be an overwhelming craving, both physical and psychological, for the drug. Other symptoms a person may have are nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain. A person going through withdrawal may experience chills, cold sweats, muscle tension, and agitation. Enlarged pupils, shaking, and quivering may also occur. If these symptoms are occurring it’s important to get an individual to a hospital or treatment center. In some cases seizures, coma, and even death can occur.

Opiate Addiction Treatment

Treating opiate addiction will usually begin with detoxification. This should be done in a medical environment with close supervision by a doctor. Sometimes methadone is prescribed to help alleviate the symptoms during detoxification. After the physical aspects of withdrawal have been addressed a person can deal with the social and psychological aspects of addiction. A combination of counseling and long term maintenance therapy is often recommended to help keep a person from relapsing into addiction.