Opiate Addiction

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Opiate Addiction

Opiates, also known as narcotics, are a type of drug that includes prescription painkillers and illegal drugs.

Opiates depress the central nervous system, relieving pain and giving you feelings of happiness and euphoria.

Opiates are drugs derived from the opium poppy or substances that have similar effects on the brain and the body. Artificial substances that mimic the effects of the opium poppy are known as synthetic opioids.

Prescription drugs like codeine, fentanyl, and morphine are all variations of opiates, as are some illegal drugs, including heroin.

Opiate Addiction Overview

What Are Opiates?

While opiates can be very useful for medical treatment, they are highly addictive drugs.

If you repeatedly use opiates, you may develop a substance abuse disorder, which is dangerous to your mental and physical health.

Being addicted to or abusing opiates increases your risk of accidental overdose. An opioid overdose may lead to breathing problems, coma, and even death. According to Center for Disease Control and Protection data, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the United States, with opiate drugs making up 70% of the cases.

If you or a loved one has an opiate addiction, it may seem like recovery and normality are impossible to achieve. But with expert help and support and proper treatment, anyone can return to a life without opiates.

Cirque Lodge is a luxurious drug treatment center situated in the breathtaking landscapes of the rocky mountains. Our treatment program offers a combination of experiential and behavioral therapies to help you reconnect to life without opiates and guide you to lifelong recovery.

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What Are Opiates Prescribed For?

Doctors usually prescribe opiates to help relieve moderate to severe pain.

They are often used if you are suffering from a serious injury, after surgery, or are experiencing chronic pain. Doctors may also prescribe opiates if you have terminal cancer or some other kind of terminal illness.

CDC research found that doctors distributed 153 million opioid prescriptions across the United States in 2019. This equates to almost one prescription for every two people.

Commonly prescribed opiates include methadone, morphine, and codeine, and you would usually take these in pill form.

While opiates are very effective for pain relief, they are also highly addictive. It is possible to develop an opiate addiction even when using the drug exactly as your doctor prescribes.

What Causes Opiate Addiction?

Opiate addiction is when you compulsively seek and use opiates, even when you know it is harmful to your health and well-being.

When you take an opiate, your body is flooded with chemicals known as dopamine and endorphins. These chemicals result in experiences of intense happiness, euphoria, and other feelings of pleasure.

Endorphins naturally occur in our bodies. Our brain releases them when we exercise, eat chocolate or listen to music. But the sensations you experience after taking opiates are much more intense than those that result from naturally produced endorphins. It is these feelings of overwhelming pleasure that cause people to abuse opiates.

If you use opiates over an extended period, your body will stop naturally producing these chemicals. You may become physically dependent on the drug to experience feelings of pleasure, a condition known as Anhedonia.

Repeated use of opiates also causes you to develop a tolerance to the drug. You will need larger doses of the drug to feel the same effects. Ultimately, your body adjusts to the drug so that when you try to stop taking it, you experience a range of withdrawal symptoms.

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What Is Opiate Abuse?

Opiate abuse is when you use an illegal opiate or take prescription opioids in higher doses than your doctor prescribed.

For instance, taking illegal opiates like heroin is opiate abuse, as is taking prescription opioids at higher doses than your doctor prescribes. Taking opiates for their pleasurable effects rather than their medical benefits also classifies as substance abuse.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of an Opiate Addiction?

If you recognize any of these signs and symptoms in yourself or your loved one, you may be struggling with opiate addiction.

Symptoms of opiate addiction can be physical or psychological.

Physical signs and symptoms include:

  • Confusion
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tiredness
  • Constricted pupils
  • Moments of loss of consciousness
  • Notable drowsiness
  • Unusual levels of euphoria
  • Slow breathing

Behavioral signs and symptoms include:

  • Social isolation
  • Getting prescriptions from more than one doctor
  • Mood swings
  • New financial problems
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia

If you recognize any of these signs and symptoms in yourself or your loved one, please contact us as soon as you can. Our compassionate admissions counselors are here to answer your questions and help you start your journey to recovery.

What Are Some Commonly Used Opiates?

Tramadol

Tramadol is a prescription opioid painkiller that doctors usually use to treat moderate to moderately severe pain. While it is considered one of the safer kinds of opiate, it is commonly abused because of its pleasurable effects.

While a high dose of tramadol can give you feelings of euphoria, constant use is hazardous to health. Tramadol abuse can lead to seizures, convulsions, and problems breathing.

Hydrocodone

Hydrocodone medication is the most commonly prescribed medicine in the United States. It is also an opiate with addictive properties. Like most opiates, if you take it in high doses, you experience feelings of euphoria and relaxation.

Doctors usually prescribe hydrocodone as a pain reliever. Even when used exactly as prescribed, there is still a risk of addiction. If you take the drug for its pleasurable effects, the risk of addiction is much higher.

Codeine

Codeine is a natural opiate that doctors usually prescribe as a painkiller. You can find codeine in both strong and mild doses, and it can be found in ordinary cough syrups. In some states, medicines containing codeine can be bought over the counter without a doctor’s prescription.

Compared to many opiates, codeine is easy to acquire and is one of the more commonly abused opiates.

At low doses, codeine produces feelings of euphoria and relaxation. At higher doses, however, it can be perilous. A codeine overdose may lead to coma or even death.

Heroin Addiction

Heroin affects the brain much quicker than any other opiate. Because of this, people with opiate addiction often prefer it to other drugs. Heroin can be taken as a powder that you sniff or melted and injected directly into the body.

Street dealers usually mix or ‘cut’ heroin with powders of a similar appearance, such as caffeine, flour, or talcum powder.

A heroin user may inject up to four times per day. Injecting heroin into your veins gives you the highest intensity and fastest rush of euphoria, around 7 to 8 seconds. Injecting heroin into the muscle gives a slower onset of euphoria, usually 5 to 8 minutes, and if you sniff or smoke heroin, the euphoria peaks in about 10 to 15 minutes.

Heroin is an extremely dangerous drug with a high risk of overdose. Just one injection of heroin can result in a coma or even death. The intensity of its effects also means you may become addicted after just a few uses.

If you or a loved one are struggling with heroin addiction, please contact Cirque Lodge as soon as you can. Our admissions team is here to answer your questions and will be able to advise you on the next steps to take.

Opiate Withdrawal and Detox

The first stage to recovering from a substance abuse disorder is withdrawal. When you stop taking opiates, you will experience several withdrawal symptoms as your body readjusts to functioning without the drug. These symptoms can be uncomfortable, and without proper care, can even be dangerous.

It is important for your safety that you withdraw from opiates with the support of medical professionals. At Cirque Lodge, there will always be a medical team available to offer you 24-hour support. Our treatment center is designed with your comfort in mind, and our team is ready to meet your every need.

During detox, our medical team may offer you other medication to help ease withdrawal symptoms if required. We may use Methadone, Subutex, and Suboxone to make the process as comfortable as possible.

Opiate Addiction Treatment

Recovery from a substance abuse disorder takes a long time. It requires changing the behaviors that caused you to take drugs and committing to living without them.

Situated in the great outdoors of the Rocky Mountains, Cirque Lodge is the perfect place for you to learn and develop these skills. Our experiential therapies program is made up of a variety of indoor and outdoor activities to help you rediscover your love of life without opiates and reconnect with yourself and the world around you.

The best approach to drug addiction treatment is through a combination of different therapies adapted to suit your personal needs. Alongside experiential therapy, we offer individual counseling, support groups, and family programs as part of our treatment.

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Cirque Lodge offers a combination of experiential, behavioral, and group therapies to provide a holistic and enriching treatment experience.

If you or a loved one is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, please contact us today. We can help.

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