Opioid Addiction & Symptoms
Causes of Opioid Addiction
Several factors can lead to opioid addiction including:
- Peer pressure
- Emotional distress
- A chaotic home environment
- Parent’s use and attitude toward drugs
- Depression, anxiety, or a low-self esteem
- A person’s DNA (accounting for about 40% – 60% of a person’s risk)
- Teenagers and people with mental health disorders are more at risk for drug use and addiction than other populations.
Over time a person can develop a drug tolerance, requiring the use of more drugs to maintain the same “high.” Eventually, a person can develop a physical dependence on drugs.
How long it takes to become physically dependent varies with each person. When the person stops taking the drugs, the body needs time to recover. During this recovery time, those with physical dependence may develop withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from opiates can occur any time long-term use is stopped or cut back.
In the United States, about 948,000 people used heroin during 2016.
In the same year, about 11.5 million people were non-medical users of narcotic pain relievers. This means they were taking narcotics that were not prescribed to them. Narcotic pain relievers include:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Oxycodone (Percocet or Oxycontin)
Symptoms Of Opioid Withdrawal
Symptoms from withdrawal are very uncomfortable but are not life threatening.
Symptoms usually start within 12 hours of last opioid use.See Our Programs
Early symptoms include:
- Runny nose
- Muscle aches
- Increased tearing
- Abdominal cramping
- Goose bumps
- Dilated pupils
Recovery From Opioid Addiction With Us
There is hope! At Ascend Health, our medical team provides evidence-based solutions to help you break free from the cycle of alcohol or drug abuse.
Contact us today and get started with a compassionate out-patient treatment Suboxone program personalized specifically for you.
Addiction is a Disease
Before we can talk about why or how MAT works, it is critical to understand that over the last decades it has become more clear that opioid addiction is a chronic disease.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:
“Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long-lasting, and can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who abuse drugs.”
There are still holdouts that insist that addiction is a moral failing of the addict. While the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary, after continued use a person’s ability to exert self control becomes seriously impaired. Studies indicate that physical changes in important decision making areas of the brain are brought on by long-term opioid abuse, which further diminishes an addict’s ability to control their demand for more. According to a Harvard Health Publication:
“The hippocampus and the amygdala store information about environmental cues associated with the desired substance, so that it can be located again. These memories help create a conditioned response (intense craving) whenever the person encounters those environmental cues.”
Different people have different triggers. Some might feel the “conditioned response” when they drive by a certain location, others might feel a trigger when they are with old friends with whom they used to consume drugs. Some who used to inject heroin, report that they feel a strong craving when they touch tin foil. The research shows, that these responses are due to physical changes to their brains as a result of addiction.
Treating the disease, opioid addiction, defined as “opioid use disorder“, through Medication Assisted Treatment and a Suboxone Program, improves outcomes.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Medication Assisted Treatment:
- Improves patient survival
- Increases retention in treatment
- Decreases illicit opiate use and other criminal activity
- Increases patient ability to gain and maintain employment
- Improves birth outcomes among women with substance use disorders