Opiate addiction is recognized as a central nervous system disorder that is caused by the abuse of such drugs like oxycodone, morphine, oxycontin and opium. Opiate addiction is very dangerous and recovery often requires long term treatment. Physical dependence is one of the main characteristics of opiate addicts although some people may not ever become psychologically or physically addicted to opiates even with recreational use. However, prolonged use of opiates in general can lead to severe never damage in the brain which is usually the root cause of physical dependency on opiates and this is what leads to addiction.
Opiates can be consumed in a variety of ways like heroin which can be snorted, smoked or injected. Opiates that are prescribed are typically taken in pill form and sometimes alcohol may be taken with opiates to intensify the effects of the opiates. The combination of pills and alcohol is always dangerous and increases the health risks of opiate use and addiction. Using needles to inject opiates such as heroin have resulted in a substantial amount of new hepatitis, AIDS and HIV cases. No matter how opiates are consumed there is always significant threat of overdose. Overdose deaths from prescription opiate abuse are more common than death from heroin abuse.
Opiates are so addicting because of the euphoric feelings experienced almost immediately after taking the drugs which can last several hours or longer. Short term effects of opiate consumption may include vomiting, restlessness, cold moist skin, nodding and nausea. The long term effects are a lot more serious and include liver disease, pulmonary complications, and physical dependency, higher tolerance to the opiate which could lead to ingesting larger amounts, clogging of the blood vessels and infection of the heart and valves. Heroin and oxycodone abuse make up a high amount of emergency room visits according to studies.
Since many prescription opiates are legal this can cause the risks and possibilities of opiate addiction to be overlooked. So even though they are intended for medicinal purposes this can lead to abuse, addiction and cause problems in the addicts life by interfering with their relationships with family and friends or poor performance at work. Most addicts who attempt to stop using opiates cold turkey relapse shortly after because of the extremely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms include cramps, nausea, diarrhea, sweating and aches.
If you or someone you love needs help with opiate addiction, please contact me today and I can make a referral.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.