Heroin, morphine, and codeine are the opiates you most frequently encounter. Heroin’s a street drug while codeine contributes to the manufacture of the illicit Sizzurp or Purple Drank. Morphine finds medical application but also has significant abuse potential. Here are the signs of opiate addiction and ways to overcome the chemical dependency.
Understanding the Disease Model of Addiction
It’s a common misconception that people could stop using opiates at any time. That’s just not the case. While using or abusing the substance initially was a choice, it ceased to be so a long time ago. Now, you take the next hit whenever your body signals its need, which is among the signs of opiate addiction.
Because opiates are nervous system depressants, they shut down various communications from the body to the brain. Chemicals in the drugs alter the way your brain releases neurotransmitters. When you fail to take the next dose before the effects wear off, you suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Many times, these are painful and scary.
Typical Signs of Opiate Addiction
At medical offices, you engage in drug-seeking behavior. This means that you present a doctor with symptoms that almost inevitably lead to your receiving a prescription for opiates. When you don’t succeed at one office, you keep visiting others until you get what you want. You may repeat this behavior at multiple locations.
You may steal the drugs from friends or family members. Even though you know that you’re burning bridges by doing so, you can’t stop yourself. You’d do anything for the next fix. If you don’t do it, the pain starts.
The most definite signs of opiate addiction are the withdrawal symptoms that include extreme fatigue and shaking. You might get the chills and start sweating just moments later. Muscles cramp and cause severe pain. Pain responses increase all over the body.
If you’ve struggled with depression in the past, it’s now coming back. In fact, your depression may amplify because neurotransmitters don’t work well. At this point, you don’t care what happens; you just want another dose of the opiate. However, there’s hope in the form of treatment.
Overcoming an Addiction to Opiates
It doesn’t matter how you got there, but it’s time to get help. You recognize the signs of opiate addiction and want to quit. Because addiction is a disease, you need professional help. Therapists use a variety of treatment options that include:
- Medical detox as a means for overcoming withdrawal symptoms and stopping physical dependence without pain
- Smooth transition from medical to clinical care, which provides addiction therapy to program participants
- Psychotherapy that helps you uncover your reasons for using through pattern recognition
- Family therapy, which allows loved ones to find out how to help you, and themselves, after discharge
- Group therapy sessions that incorporate addiction education and relapse prevention training
Select a rehab facility that offers detox programs onsite. Doing so eliminates the lag time between the end of detox and the start of rehab. This gap is frequently a reason for relapsing. Also, doing rehab and detox at the same venue protects your privacy.
What Happens If You Do Nothing?
Ignoring the signs of opiate addiction is dangerous. You most likely will continue your use of the drugs. You might try to stop here and there on your own, but it typically doesn’t last. In the case of heroin, there’s an elevated danger of accidental overdose.
Of course, the same is true for other opiates as well. Mixing them with other nervous system depressants such as alcohol could be deadly. Usually, an overdose leads to breathing slowdown, coma, or death. Getting help is your only way out of addiction.
At the Santé Center for Healing, caring therapists routinely work with people just like you who want to quit using. These signs of opiate addiction won’t go away on their own. There’s no addiction so bad or long-lasting that it’s beyond help. Find out how the experts here can help you today. Dial 866-238-3154.