Opiates or Opioids are commonly known as a group of medications/drugs that treat pain. Original natural opiates are derived from the dried milk of the opium poppy. Use of “the milk of the poppy” goes back to prehistoric times. In present day, there are synthetic opiates that are used for many reasons, ranging from medical to recreational. The misuse of opiates is at an all-time high, as it is extremely attainable and addictive.
How Opiates affect your body and brain
Opiates/Opioids work by attaching to specific receptors in the brain called opioid receptors. Once they attach the opioid blocks the transmission of pain messages to the brain. This in many cases allows the user to experience a feeling of euphoria, caused by the opioid affecting the brain regions that arbitrate pleasure. The euphoria or high most opiate users explain is one of a warm, drowsy, content feeling. Along with the “high” a user may experience a relief of stress and discomfort that is created by the detachment of “pain”. Because of this “high” the chance of becoming addicted to opiates is extremely likely. Not only do the brain receptors become dependent but the user is in constant pursuit of the euphoric feeling opiates provide. Tolerance to opiates is almost always built in a short amount of time, causing the user to take a higher dose to have the same effect obtained in the beginning of use. Because of this, overdose becomes extremely likely as the user has no judgement on how much is too much.
Types of Opiodis
There are many different types of opiates/opioids that range from prescription medications to illicit drugs. The most commonly prescribed opiates are Fentanyl, Methadone, Suboxone, OxyContin, Oxycodone, Morphine, Hydrocodone, Codeine, Opana, Butrans, Percocet and Dilaudid. These are just a few of many highly addictive Opiates that may be prescribed by a Doctor. The most common illicit Opiate is Heroin, also known on the street as “black tar”. Because it is much more affordable than most prescribed Opiate medications, many prescription drug users will turn to heroin as it is easier to obtain and the cost is significantly lower. Most street heroin is cut with many other substances including poisons. Users typically inject the substance although it can be snorted and smoked. When used intravenously the highly euphoric feeling is achieved extremely quick, making it an attractive way to use Heroin.
The effects long term Heroin and Prescription Opiate use has are devastating. Because both are psychologically and physically addictive, its effects ripple to not only the user but to family members and loved ones. Most users report, after extended use of an Opiate/Opioid that they seem to lose their center of self, drive to live and function as they once had before Opiate use. Common long term physical effects that Opiate use can cause are a weakened immune system, brain damage, abnormal pain sensitivity, slowed breathing rate, increased chance of infertility, testosterone depletion, Galactorrhea, coma, nausea and vomiting, body aches, collapsed veins and/or clogged blood vessels. Along with increased risks of different disease such as HIV or hepatitis when used intravenously.
Opioid/Opiate detox comes with many side effects and levels of discomfort if not approached in the correct way. Attempting to “cold turkey” off of any Prescription Opioid/Opiate or Heroin is extremely difficult. The users’ body and brain becomes so dependent on the substance that stopping abruptly comes with many excruciating side effects that will seem unbearable if not detoxed the proper way. Common symptoms of Opiate/Opioid withdrawal are extreme agitation and anxiety, muscle and body aches, excessive tearing, insomnia, sweating, yawning, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, goose bumps, dilated pupils, restless leg syndrome. Fortunately detox does not have to be so excruciating if necessary things like a taper and supportive non-habit forming medications are used to treat withdrawal symptoms in a quick efficient way to keep discomfort to a minimum. Going through a “comfortable” detox is extremely pertinent in the steps to recovery. Often times a user is expected to “tough it out” during detox, which in the past was thought of as a teaching mechanism in avoiding future use of Opiates/Opioids. Unfortunately the “tough it out” approach has proved useless as the user may stop or leave detox because the discomfort level is unbearable. A medical detox with I.V. Therapy alongside a caring compassionate staff can provide all the amenities required for a safe comfortable detox. With the right Detox Center the patient can detox in a peaceful calm atmosphere that will allow them to move to their next step of recovery in high spirits, hope and determination for their reclaimed future.