AZ Opioid Addiction Treatment
Battling opioid addiction can be isolating, but we’re here to remind you that you’re not alone. In fact, around 21 million Americans are suffering from an opioid use disorder. Successfully reclaiming your life from opioids takes finding a team that will support your recovery and provide you with the tools and guidance you need to live a healthy life without substances — and it also takes learning more about your opponent.
At The River Source, we believe that one of the key steps in fighting the spread of opioid addiction, is understanding what you or a loved one is up against. Read on to learn more about opioid addiction so that you can arm yourself against addiction with knowledge.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are a group of drugs that stimulate the body’s nervous system to produce either feelings of pain relief or pleasure. Some opioids, such as Vicodin, Percocet, and OxyContin, can be prescribed by a doctor to relieve severe pain. The category of prescription opioids include the following:
- Diphenoxylate (Lomotil)
- Fentanyl (Duragesic)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Morphine (Kadian, Avinza)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet)
- Propoxyphene (Darvon)
While opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and lab-made fentanyl are legal to prescribe, heroin and street-produced fentanyl are among those that are illegal to prescribe, use, and possess. Some, like the opiate codeine, are still used in over-the-counter medications in small amounts.
Opioid addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that makes a person physically and mentally dependent on opioid pain pills, and other forms of the substance. These drugs affect brain chemistry: when they’re consumed, the drugs’ molecules bind to opioid receptors in the central nervous system. Habitual use is common because of the resulting rush of dopamine, a naturally occurring chemical that causes feelings of euphoria.
Addiction can result from a combination of lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors. Often, patients who are prescribed opioids for pain relief will abuse opioids after their prescription runs out, and they will begin to seek more accessible, affordable drugs — the most common being heroin.
What is the Difference Between Opioids and Opiates?
You’ll sometimes hear the words “opioids” and “opiates” used interchangeably, which is sometimes correct, but not always. The simple difference is this: “opioids” are all drugs that interact with the opioid receptors in the body’s nervous system to create a feeling of euphoria and pain relief. “Opiates” refers to naturally-derived opioids. Here’s the difference between natural and synthetic opioids:
Opiates are naturally-derived opioids from the opium poppy plant. They include morphine, codeine, and thebaine.
Semi-synthetic opioids are made in a lab, but are derived from natural opiates. These include many of the most common prescription pain pills, including hydrocodone and oxycodone. Heroin is also a semi-synthetic opioid, although it’s often lumped into the natural category of opiates.
Fully synthetic opioids are made in a lab to mimic the effects of opiates. This category most commonly includes drugs like fentanyl and methadone.
Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Addiction
While an opioid use disorder should be diagnosed by a doctor, learning how to identify the common signs and symptoms of opioid addiction can help you determine if you or a loved one needs to seek help. Common signs that you may be experiencing opioid addiction include:
- An inability to control or stop opioid use
- Craving opioids
- Weight loss
- Changes in routine
- Flu-like symptoms
- Financial troubles
- Stealing from loved ones
- Poor hygiene
Addiction to opioids or opiates can affect your life significantly. One of the best ways to beat opioid addiction is to enter a professional substance abuse treatment program at a licensed rehab center in Arizona as soon as you notice any signs or symptoms of abuse.
Effects of Opioid Abuse and Addiction
Taking opioids will have an immediate effect on the user, but there are also serious long-term effects that occur after misusing the drug for a longer amount of time. In the short term, taking opioids can cause drowsiness, nausea, a feeling of euphoria, slowed breathing, and confusion. However, in the long term, opioids can cause gradual hypoxia, where not enough oxygen reaches the brain. This condition can lead to long-term brain damage, or even death.
Many of those who take opioids will develop a tolerance, meaning that they have to consume more of the drug to experience its effects. Because opiates/opioids are central nervous system depressants, they slow down the body’s system, including heart rate and breathing. That’s why overdoses to this category of substances is so much more dangerous than with some drugs — when opioid toxicity is too high, it can stop the processes that keep a person alive.
Arizona Opioid Detox and Withdrawal
When someone makes the decision to stop taking opioids after having become addicted, it’s important to seek out help in a professional drug detox program. This is because quitting opioids can cause uncomfortable — and sometimes life-threatening — withdrawal symptoms, including:
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal cramps
- Dilated pupils
- Runny nose
- Chills, goose bumps
Withdrawal symptoms usually begin within 12 hours of stopping opioid consumption, but the length that someone will experience these symptoms depends on the specific substance and the amount of time they’ve been using the substance, as well as genetics, health history, and the method of abuse. It’s important to seek out the help of professionals for detox, because they will have the medications and resources you need to manage withdrawal symptoms safely.
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Opioid Addiction Treatment in Arizona
It’s not just important that you find a licensed addiction treatment facility in Arizona to help you with opioid detox — it’s also important that you enter a drug rehab program that provides comprehensive recovery services for the period after detox. This is true for all types of addiction, but especially opiate addiction, because opioid tolerance is reduced after detox. This means that someone who has gone through withdrawal and detox is more sensitive to opioids, and they can overdose easily.
Truly healing from opioid addiction means healing the roots of the addiction and learning new coping mechanisms that will help you manage stress, avoid triggers, and prevent substance use relapse in the future. At The River Source, we’ve helped countless clients safely detox and begin a successful life in recovery by providing them with evidenced-based and holistic treatment services designed to help them heal and reclaim their life from addiction.
If you or your loved one are suffering from opioid addiction, you’re not alone. Our team is here to help. Give us a call at 866-294-9331 or click below to learn more about our treatment programs today.