Opioid Addiction

Opioids are powerful drugs often prescribed for severe or chronic pain. The body naturally produces chemicals which do what opioid drugs do: activate dopamine to cover the pain and calm the nerves. However, humanmade opioids are more powerful than the natural chemicals found in the body and can have adverse effects.

Opioids are highly addictive. It is also possible to build up a tolerance towards them, which is very dangerous. For example, if someone broke her femur and was in horrible pain, opioids might be given to help with the pain and allow her to sleep (as opioids also cause drowsiness).

However, after a few weeks, the bone has healed wrong and must be adjusted. The girl is still in pain, but now requires a more massive dosage of opioids. She does not feel happy without it, and can’t sleep without taking it. Slowly, her immunity builds up, and she becomes dependent on the drug, even after her leg has healed. The addiction is built up, and now she tries to get opioids even though she no longer needs them for the pain.

There are a lot of things opioids are prescribed for, but primarily they are used to help with pain from injuries or chronic conditions.

Some symptoms of opioid addiction include the following:

●    Anxiety Attacks

●    Loss of Coordination

●    Sleeping Much More or Less

●    Abandoning Responsibility

●    Awry Decision-Making

●    Vomiting

●    Drowsiness

●    Constipation

●    Moodiness and Irritability

●    Feeling Disconnected or High

●    Shallow Breathing

If you have been taking opioids and recognize these symptoms in yourself, or if you have a loved one being affected by opioid addiction, there are treatments and help available.

The most effective treatment for opioid addiction is discontinuing use of the drug. This is difficult for clients, so it is best paired with recreational activities and medication that help with withdrawal.

Discontinuing the use of an opioid will cause withdrawal. The withdrawal phase length and severity depends on how heavily and for how long the opiates were being used. Generally, the withdrawal phase begins a couple of hours from the last dose and ends after three or so days, although the client is still susceptible to relapsing. Therefore, discontinuing the use of an opioid will need to be monitored for a while to make sure the client is coping well and does not relapse.

Some general symptoms of opioid withdrawal include anxiety, restlessness, flu-like symptoms, or insomnia, and more severe symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, muscle spasms, and very heavy opiate cravings.

These withdrawal symptoms can be treated with some non-addictive medications, such as Clonidine or Buprenorphine. These medicines are prescribed to help with the high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, or restlessness associated with opioid withdrawal.

Another way to monitor and help a client through the detoxification and withdrawal period is by turning their focus to recreational activities. These can include games, reading, going on walks, or visiting with others. They also do well with art.