Opiate abuse has been around for years, however the amount in which they are currently being abused is unprecedented. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over 1.9 million people meet the criteria for opiate abuse in the United States alone, and the numbers keep rising. Opiates can include prescription drugs such as Vicodin, Percocet, Morphine and Hydrocodone, as well as hardcore street drugs like heroin. Opiates cause the user to develop a strong physical and mental dependency unlike any other substance in the world. This potential for addiction has led the Center for Disease Control to deem opiate abuse an epidemic, meaning that more people than expected through statistical research are abusing these kinds of drugs.
It can be nearly impossible to carry on an opiate addiction quietly, as the signs of use can become so invasive for not only the user, but those around them. The symptoms of this use can include:
Mood swings: Behavioral changes are generally one of the first recognizable signs of addiction, as the presence of opiates in the system can ultimately make the body go haywire. Ranging from extreme feelings of euphoria to the darkest depression, opiate users can go from zero to 60 in just a matter of seconds.
Physical appearance: A user’s physical appearance is likely to change. This includes weight loss, poor complexion, bloodshot eyes, and overall poor grooming habits. The lack of personal upkeep is due partly as result of losing the drive to remain responsible.
Psychological issues: Psychological issues such as anxiety and depression are common in opiate users. Signs of these mental disturbances can include paranoia, feelings of hopelessness, fear, experiencing suicidal thoughts and displaying irrational behaviors. It is common for a drug as powerful as an opioid to cause mental illness in a user as the drug begins to change brain chemistry.
Desperation: Because opiates are so highly addictive, the need to constantly use can become a priority for a user. Without the consistent use of opiates, a user is going to experience withdrawal symptoms that can be so painful that it keeps fueling their use even if they don’t want to use anymore. This desperation can drive a wedge between the user and his loved ones.
Opiate addiction can it lead to a user becoming unrecognizable to their friends and family and maybe even themselves. What is even worse about this drug is that even when a user tries to quit, they run into the obstacle of dependency, making it extremely challenging to do so.
As opiates slowly become the core of a user’s life, it can be extremely challenging to withdraw from a drug. It can be so devastating that it can end up with a user being hospitalized if done incorrectly. Major symptoms related to opiate withdrawal can include:
Some of these symptoms can be easily managed, some are extremely uncomfortable, and others can create a need for hospitalization. These are the types of side effects a user will experience when he is first without opiates. It is highly recommended that detox occur at a hospital or treatment center where it can be monitored to ensure the health of the user.
When an opiate user decides to accept treatment, friends and family have a reason to rejoice. Even though they are excited to see their loved one accept treatment, the battle is not yet over. Opiate addiction treatment can be just as difficult as the addiction itself, and sometimes users end up leaving before completing their program. If a user chooses to stick with their recovery plan, however, they have a stronger likelihood of staying sober for longer. During opiate addiction treatment, a user will experience the following:
Detox: Detox is the most crucial step of treatment, as it allows the body and mind to slowly become free and clear of any lingering opiates that can impair the user’s learning or judgement during their treatment process. While it can bring on all the withdrawal symptoms that an opiate user fears, they only last a short period of time and will likely serve as the last major battle for the user.
Individual therapy: Most opiate users have an underlying cause for their addiction. By working with a therapist, the user can begin to address the issues that fueled the use. Coping skills can be developed to ensure that problems are addressed in a healthy manner rather than through opiate use in the future.
Group therapy: While individual therapy often serves as a place to express a user’s inner most feelings, working in a group can also be extremely beneficial. Not only can a user begin to relate to others through experience, but they can also begin to learn how to trust other people again by opening up and sharing their own stories. Reconnecting to this dynamic of working and coexisting with others is a major step toward recovery.
In therapy, users will also learn how to avoid temptation to use, as well as hone in on their coping skills when needed. Understanding opiate addiction and why it occurs is extremely important for a user, as it will provide him with the right tools necessary to kick his habit once and for all.
La Ventana Treatment Programs offers detox and outpatient treatment for opiate addiction. Licenced and trained therapists work on underlying issues that cause the addiction rather that simply treating symptoms. Call 1-800-560-8518 to get started on the path to recovery today.
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