Millions of people across the United States are experiencing addictions to opioids. Getting off opioids can be a struggle and is usually more successful when people engage in treatment, rather than try to get clean by themselves. In Missouri, the National Suboxone Center offers professional, confidential advice and treatment for anyone with an addiction to opioids.
What are Opioids?
Opioids and opiates are a large family of prescribed and illicit drugs, often referred to as Narcotics. Opiates are naturally derived from the opium plant, and opioids are man-made, synthetic drugs.
However, ‘opioids’ tends to be a term that covers all opioid and opiate substances. This family of substances includes painkillers such as Codeine, Fentanyl, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, and Morphine, as well as heroin.
Due to their painkilling properties, opioids are often used as a prescription medication for patients who experience moderate to severe pain. When used appropriately, they are an effective medication to relieve acute pain. They muffle a person’s perception of pain by attaching to the opioid receptors in the brain. This can also lead to feelings of pleasure if too much of the opioid is taken.
What is an Opioid Addiction?
In simple terms, an addiction is when someone becomes dependent on something and struggles to stop a behavior, even if it is harmful. Addictions can be physical or psychological, or both. With opioids, the body becomes dependent on the drug.
This means that once a person has been taking the medication for a prolonged period, or has been taking high doses of opioids, they will experience withdrawal symptoms when they don’t take anymore. Withdrawal symptoms can include some, or all, of the following:
• Muscle aches
• Feeling cold
• Teeth chattering
• Runny nose
• Watery eyes
• Nausea and vomiting
• Slurred speech
• Racing thoughts
• Loss of interest in activities
People experience opioid withdrawal in different ways. However, these common symptoms can make it very difficult, both psychically and psychologically, for a person to stop taking opioids. For that reason, it is often beneficial for Medication Assisted Treatment to be used to minimize the effects of the withdrawal symptoms being experienced.
Knowing if You Are Addicted to Opioids
Understanding whether you are addicted to something can be difficult. If you experience any of the withdrawal symptoms listed above when you try to take less of the drug or stop taking it at all, then that would indicate that your body has become reliant on it.
However, there are also other signs that your drug use, even when you are taking prescribed medication, has become a problem. If you are taking painkillers even though you are no longer in pain, or if you are taking high doses of drugs to get the same feeling, then you may be dependent on the drug.
You may also have an addiction if you have tried to reduce or stop taking your medication or drugs but have failed to do so. If you feel defensive or you justify your drug use when someone is concerned about you, then you may be showing signs of being addicted.
Treatment for Opioid Addiction
Some people try to give up opioids by going ‘cold turkey’. This means stopping taking all opioids and experiencing the withdrawal symptoms while hoping it doesn’t last too long. It does work for some people, but quite often people relapse.
An alternative to this is Medication-Assisted Treatment, where medications are used to ease the withdrawal symptoms. This allows people to transition from being addicted to being free from opioids in a safe and managed way. This gives people the best chance of not experiencing a relapse.
Confidential, Discreet Treatment at the National Suboxone Center
At the National Suboxone Center, we use Suboxone, often referred to as Buprenorphine, to help people to overcome their addiction. Suboxone works as an opioid agonist/antagonist. This means it blocks other opioids from having any impact on the brain, whilst also reducing the withdrawal symptoms.
If you think you may have an addiction to opioids, whether prescribed medication or illicit drugs, the first step to take is to talk. Our professionals are ready to have confidential and discreet conversations with you about your drug use to help you decide what the best next step will be.
Get in touch with us today, and let us talk through your options.