What is Opioid Addiction? – Opioid Addiction is a life-altering disease that can adversely impact the health and livelihood of the person suffering. Drugs classified as opioids come in both prescription and illicit forms and can be used for either medical or illegal recreational purposes. In either case, opioids are analgesic (pain relieving) narcotics with a high potential for abuse and addiction.
All opioids, regardless of form or potency, can produce central nervous system (CNS) depression. As such, they mitigate neurological activity in the body and produce pleasurable effects such as complete relaxation and euphoria. Abuse of opioids, however, can and does often result in life-threating complications such as extreme sedation, respiratory distress, coma, and death.
Opioids are chemically addictive because once they are administered, they take control of neurotransmitters in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine. These “feel good” chemicals are also involved in reward-seeking, which produces drug cravings, a means the body uses in an attempt to receive more reward (the drug.)
After a period of regular use, opioid consumption leads to dependence, a condition in which the user’s system becomes unable to properly function when he or she tries to quit or cut back. The user’s body is then put under a great deal of stress as it strives to reestablish balance, and this struggle results in highly unpleasant and often painful withdrawal symptoms.
When a person’s body is no longer reacting to the drug in a manner to which he or she is used, tolerance has developed. At this point, the corresponding opioid receptors in the brain have become desensitized to the drug, and subsequently, response diminishes. The user then has no choice but to use more opioids more frequently if he or she is to continue achieving the desired effect.
As these users continually increase drug use, they also considerably heighten the risk of severe drug-related complications such as respiratory distress, overdose, and death.
Although there is currently no cure for opioid addiction, persons who choose to undergo treatment can recover and expect long-term sobriety and wellness.
If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction is it never too late get help. At Midwood Addiction Treatment we understand!