Fortunately, just as modern medicine has learned to use opiates for healing, opiate addiction treatment has also made remarkable progress in the last few years. Yet with opiates commonly prescribed for all kinds of reasons, what are the signs that you or someone you love needs treatment for their addiction?
Let’s look at some of the basics of these drugs and what you need to know.
Opiates are any drug which is derived from an opium poppy plant. Traditionally, this meant opium, heroin, morphine, and codeine. Nowadays, however, there are also synthetic opiates like oxycodone (Percodan or OxyContin), hydromorphone (Dilaudid), hydrocodone (Vicodin), demerol, darvon, and even methadone.
With the exception of methadone, which is used for addiction treatment, opiates are mostly used in medicine for suppressing pain and treating anxiety. Here, they’re quite effective. At the same time, since they produce a feeling of euphoria in high doses, they can also be used recreationally.
Both medical and recreational users can easily and rapidly develop a physical and psychological dependence on the drugs, spiralling into addiction. The body rapidly adjusts to opiate use, with the result that it needs ever larger doses to get the same effect. An overdose, which may result in a fatal respiratory failure, happens when an addict takes more than their body can deal with.
Opiates can be taken in a number of ways: they can be smoked, snorted, swallowed, or injected. Long-time addicts mostly prefer to inject, since it results in the most intense and rapid “high.”
It’s also one of the riskiest, carrying a high chance of contacting an infectious disease.
The physical effects of opiates may include dry mouth, spastic muscle movements, shallow, slow, or laboured breathing, dilated pupils, intestinal and stomach spasms, low blood pressure, constipation, and mental symptoms like drowsiness, disorientation, and diminished mental capacity. As a result, opiate addicts can “nod” in and out of wakefulness.
Signs of addiction
People with opiate addictions tend to be emotionally detached. Their dependents may be neglected, sometimes they’re abused.
Those with an opiate addiction tend to find it hard to report to jobs regularly or even hold down a job. Since it’s hard for them to function without their drug, their main priority becomes looking for it, using for it, paying for it, and of course enjoying its effects.
Their other needs become a poor second. Since they usually want and need more than they can normally pay for, criminal behavior and theft tend to be part of their lifestyle.
Withdrawal from opiate addiction may result in symptoms like extreme restlessness, goose bumps, hot and cold flashes, muscle spasms, tremors, anxiety, bone and muscle aches, diarrhea, insomnia, vomiting, and more.
Fortunately, opiate addiction treatment is available. New Directions for Women takes a holistic approach, starting with intervention and detox if necessary and then treating our patients on the physical, psychological, emotional, and spiritual level to maximize the chances of recovery.
While our program is based in the 12 steps tradition, it also includes group and individual counseling plus holistic treatments like yoga, meditation, rock climbing, and more.