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Opioid Addiction

Opioid Addiction

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


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


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


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.


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.