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Opioid Addiction

Opioid Addiction

Opiates are a group of drugs that are used for treating pain.

About

Opiates come from opium, which comes from the poppy plant. Opiates go by a variety of names including opiates, opioids, and narcotics.

Symptoms

The symptoms of using opiates include: Mood/Psychological symptoms:
  • Increased general anxiety
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Euphoria
  • Psychosis
  • Improved self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Lowered motivation
Behavioral symptoms:
  • Opioids are used for longer or at a greater amount than intended
  • Unsuccessful attempts to decrease the amount taken
  • Large amount of time spent obtaining, using, or recovering from the drug
  • An abandonment of important activities
Physical symptoms:
  • Improved alertness
  • Increased sensitivity to sensory stimuli
  • Constricted blood vessels
  • Increased heart rate
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased energy
  • Decreased appetite
  • Increased sexual arousal
  • Physical agitation
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Over arousal and hyper-vigilance
Withdrawal symptoms:
  • Physical and psychological cravings
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Cold sweat
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Muscle tension
  • Shaking or quivering
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Enlarged pupils
  • Pain in the bones

Causes

There is no specific known causes to opiate addiction. Although, there are factors that have been linked to contributing factors in the addiction. These factors include:

  • Genetic. Family studies have shown that when an individual has a first degree relative with an opioid addiction they are more likely to develop the disorder than those who don’t have a similar family history.
  • Social influences.  Its been shown that when associating with people who have addictions, due to peer pressure, or the feeling of being left out, one will try a drug thinking nothing will happen. Once the drug has been taken in the preferred way, it becomes addictive and the person craves more. Addiction can also be a learned behavior, if a child grows up witnessing a parent using drugs; they are more likely to become experimental with drugs as an adolescent or adult.

Treatment

Medications and behavioral therapy, used together are important key factors in a successful therapeutic process that usually begins with detoxification, followed by treatment and relapse prevention. Easing withdrawal symptoms is important in the beginning of the specified treatment; preventing relapse is necessary for maintaining the treatment effects. Many times as with other chronic conditions, episodes of relapse may require a return to prior treatment plans or facilities. A constant care that includes a customized treatment plan addressing all needs of an individual's life, including medical and mental health services with follow up appointments can be important to a person's success in achieving and maintaining a drug free life.