All in one guide for opiate addiction


Opiate addiction and the withdrawal from this addiction can cause serious medical complications.  In the past couple of years prescriptions written for opiate drugs have skyrocketed. However, lack of knowledge on how these particular drugs work has contributed to ever-growing numbers of painkiller addiction cases. 

Opiates are widely known to be some of the most addictive drugs in the world, Therefore, overdosing on such dangerous drugs is unfortunately easy to do once an individual becomes addicted to opiates. Acknowledging the origin and mechanisms of opiates is an essential step towards getting appropriate addiction treatment for someone who is suffering from opiates intake disorder. Therefore, opiates treatment centers allow patients to have complete knowledge on how to detox from drugs.

What opiates actually are?

Opiates belong to the type of drugs that are derived from the opium poppy. This makes it more dangerous as it is a naturally produced drug. Here are some naturally occurring opiates: 

  • Opium
  • Codeine
  • Morphine
  • Heroin

These opiates are often created with most parts of the poppy plant and some parts from others. Opiate derivatives are drugs which have opium poppy as the main component but also partially are synthetic as well. Following are the most common types of opiate derivatives:

  • Oxycodone (Percocet)
  • Long-acting oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)

A third group of drugs can also be found which are completely synthetic with chemical structure of opiates. This group of drugs includes methadone and fentanyl. Therefore, this class of synthetic drugs is specifically called opioids. The term opioids is used for any drug that binds the opioid receptors in the brain. For most cases, opioids and opiates can be taken as the same substance. A program to detox for drugs such as opioid and opiates mostly likely be the same and in most treatments one program covers both intake disorders.

How does opiates work?

Opiate drugs are chemically similar to certain neurotransmitters that are naturally produced by the body. These particular drugs can easily pass the blood-brain barrier to latch onto opioid receptors in the brain. However, these drugs also can act on cells throughout various parts of the body, some of which body parts are the gastrointestinal tract and spinal cord. 

After an opiate bind to an opioid receptor, it starts to work rapidly producing a variety of effects that can be felt throughout the body by the consumer. One of the most desirable effects is a dulling in the process of experiencing pain. These properties make different types of opiates to be included in a number of painkillers available in pharmacies. However, opiates can create feelings of euphoria that contribute to feeling a pleasurable high when the drugs are consumed from more than the period of prescribed time and therapeutic dosage. 

What are the health risks of opiates addiction?

Opiates are extremely addictive due to their ability to interfere with the brain’s normal functionality. It can take an individual just four to eight weeks to develop a physical dependence on an opiate drug. However, this process begins from the first time an opiate drug intake. Here are some of the side effects and health risks of opiate abuse. 

  • Fatigue
  • Drowsiness
  • Excessive sweating
  • Slowed breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Muscle aches
  • Confusion

Some people can experience more or less of these symptoms than others depending upon factors such as type, consumption amount, way of consumption, and time period of abuse. However, these side effects can be enough to discourage some individuals to continue the use and abuse of opiates for long-term.   For other patients the lure created by opiate euphoria leads quickly to a life-threatening long-term addiction which requires a proper detoxification program to recover the patient from opiate usage disorder.

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