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Opiate Addiction Resources
What Are Opiates?
Opiates and opioids are interchangeable terms used to describe any drugs, both natural and synthetic, which are derived from the opium plant. This drug class is among the most used in the world, over the past 20 years there has been a massive spike in popularity throughout the United States. The most common opiates are; heroin, OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, morphine, methadone, Codeine, hydrocodone and fentanyl.
Abuse is on the rise, every day thousands of people will try opiates for the first time. Some of these people may have had these drugs prescribed to them by a doctor, while others sought them out for their mood and mind-altering effects. No matter how the person started using these drugs, they are at a high risk of becoming physically and mentally dependent on them. Opiates target the brain’s reward system and flood it with dopamine.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates one’s emotions, motivation, pleasure and movement. Dopamine acts as a chemical messenger between brain cells, it is very important for a lot of our daily behaviors. Commonly referred to as a “reward chemical” it is released in normal amounts when a person eats food, exercises, hears a funny joke and during a multitude of other activities. Opiate use releases a large amount of this reward chemical, giving the person intense feeling of pleasure and euphoria covered with a sense of happiness and wellbeing. When used as prescribed over a short period of time, these drugs can be very helpful, but if someone begins abusing them they will change the chemical makeup of their brain
What is Heroin?
Heroin is an opioid drug which is derived from morphine. It is commonly sold as a fin white or brown powder or a black sticky substance referred to as black tar heroin. This drug can be used in a variety of ways; it can be snorted, smoked and injected. Heroin is considered a short-acting opioid, meaning it enters the brain rapidly and quickly binds to the opioid receptors. This drug is among the most dangerous and addictive in the world. Over the past decade, it has become one of the leading causes of death throughout the United States. Drug dealers have begun “cutting” heroin with synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil to increase the potency of their product. These drugs can be 10,000x stronger than heroin and are just as addictive, they do not care how many families this drug destroys, they only care about making money.
The number of heroin users in the United States has jumped from 404,000 in 2002 to nearly 950,000 in 2016, a 135% increase. Even more devastating, the number of people who have had a fatal overdose, which was directly linked to heroin use, has skyrocketed. From 2,089 deaths in 2002 to over 13,000 in 2016, that’s a 533% jump in fatal overdoses. These numbers prove that we are in the middle of an epidemic. The lethality of the opioid epidemic has taken roots across the country. Something must be done to help save lives.
Opiates Addiction Treatment
If you or a loved one are struggling with opiate abuse or addiction, please seek out professional help from an opiate addiction treatment center. These programs are designed to help users overcome the physical and mental withdrawal symptoms that are associated with the abuse of this dangerous drug class. Some users report feeling mentally hooked after trying these drugs just once. Physical addiction takes a bit longer to set in. After around a week or two of daily use, the user will find themselves physically dependent. Once their body requires these substances to function it will be extremely difficult for them to overcome the physical withdrawals without the help of an opiate addiction treatment center. The most common signs of opiate abuse are:
- Profuse sweating/cold sweats
- Muscle Aches
- Joint pain
- Intense drug cravings
- A runny nose
- Upset Stomach
- Crawling skin sensation
- Watery eyes
The withdrawals associated with opiate abuse are among the most difficult to overcome, especially when attempted without medical assistance. The severity of these withdrawals will vary user to user and will be determined by three main factors; how long, how much and how often the person has been using opiates. Their age, physical health and weight will also play a role. The physical withdrawals from opiates can be described as flu-like, but there are no over the counter remedies to help ease the pain of these calamitous withdrawals.
Heroin Detox Centers
The withdrawals from heroin are extremely difficult to overcome without professional help. A lot of users will continue to get high just to avoid the painful withdrawal symptoms, but overcoming them is a necessary part of the recovery process. Users have two ways to conquer withdrawals. One option is they do it at home and without proper medical supervision. This approach is not only extremely painful but very unsuccessful. Most users will relapse within the first 48 hours when they attempt a cold turkey detox. This is one of the many reasons that most users will seek out help from a heroin detox center. When someone is physically comfortable throughout their detox, the chances of them successfully competing it are much higher. The most common signs of heroin abuse are:
- Financial issues
- Change in sleep patterns
- Problems at work or at school
- Caught lying time after time
- Items from your home are suddenly missing
- Easily agitated/bothered
- Pinned pupils
- Track marks (marks over veins on hands or arms from shooting up)
- A different group of friends
- Paraphilia found (small plastic bags, stamped wax bags, needles, foil, straws, rolled up dollar bills, empty plastic pill caps)
If you have noticed some of these signs, then it is time to approach them and help them find a new way of life. Before sitting with your loved one, we suggest purchasing an over counter drug test from a local pharmacy. Once in the grip of addiction, it will become second nature for users to lie. These drug tests are 99% accurate and only cost around $20-30.
How Can an Opiate Addiction Treatment Center Help Me or a Loved One?
Opiate addiction treatment centers and heroin detox centers give users an amazing opportunity at a life free from drugs. Clients will be able to overcome the physical withdrawals with minimal pain and discomfort while in a safe environment. Being separated from people, places and things will allow the client to focus on themselves and rest while they get their body back to normal. Medications will be prescribed to help the client through this difficult time. Overcoming the physical withdrawal is just one part of the recovery process, it is common for drug users to struggle with underlying issues that must be addressed. The first step toward overcoming opiate abuse/addiction will be to rid the drugs from the user’s system, this is done at an inpatient detox facility. Once the user's body is back to normal, it is time to work on their brain.
Some opiate addiction treatment centers will design custom treatment plans around each client's specific needs. Various therapies will be integrated into their stay that will help them learn how to handle cravings and prevent relapse. Client’s must learn how to handle the stress of daily life without going back to their drug of choice. Addressing underlying mental health issues is extremely important. Some users will get high to help them cope with anxiety, depression, PTSD and bipolar disorder. When one on one therapy is combined with group sessions, EMDR, cognitive behavioral therapy, relapse prevention courses and other therapies; client’s will have an amazing chance at finding a new way of life.