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Opioids and Opioid Addiction

In this Opioids and Opioid Addiction post we will take a look at the improper use of opioids and why it is becoming more and more widespread and resulting in opioid addiction in many adults. Continue reading to find out more about opioids and opioid addiction.

First off, let’s find out what opioids are and why they are prescribed.
An opioid is a synthetic, or man made, narcotic that is meant to resemble natural opiates. Opioids are prescribed to reduce moderate to severe chronic pain. The increase in the dosage of opioid, the more effective it can be. However, with increased dosage, there comes a greater risk of opioid addiction. Opioids are generally taken in the form of pills, liquids, suckers or shots in the skin. Sometimes they are in the form of a patch that is attached to the skin. Opioids work by suppressing a person’s perception of pain and by calming the emotional reaction to pain through a reduction of the number of pain signals sent to the person’s nervous system. This results in the brain’s reduced reaction to those pain signals.

Opioids can cause side effects such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Weakness
  • Sedation
  • Confusion
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty urinating

opiate side effects

Opioid Addiction
If you take opioids as prescribed, there is a lesser risk of addiction. However, that risk increases if you have a history of substance abuse or addiction. In some cases, more than one type of opioid medication may be prescribed to relieve pain without increasing the risk of opioid addiction. These methods have been proven to help avoid opioid addiction in pain victims that take the medication regularly. Physical dependence is also another possibility when a patient takes opioids for a long period of time. While this is not actual opioid addiction, it can lead to addiction and may cause physical symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, sweating, chills and shaking if the patient abruptly stops taking opioids and the body goes through opioid withdrawal.

Because of the high risk of opioid addiction in some patients, opioids were originally only prescribed for cancer patients or for those suffering from short-term pain. However, now doctors and medical experts agree that if opioids are taken carefully and exactly as prescribed, there should be no concern about opioid addiction even for those being treated for chronic pain.

Opioid addiction symptoms:

  • Cravings
  • Required for daily operation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Restlessness and insomnia
  • Anger
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Change in normal day-to-day behavior

It is important to pay attention to a person using opioids who demonstrate the above symptoms. It is likely the person may be experiencing opioid addiction. Remember, those who use opioids as prescribed should experience successful use of the drug. It is important to remain aware of smart prescription drug use. If you or a loved one is experiencing opioid addiction seek help from a medical professional right away.
Sources: webmd.com, myaddiction.com, opiate.com

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