Because opioids are among the most commonly abused substances in the United States, recognizing opioid addiction symptoms has been increasingly important since the early 2010s. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that “over 2.5 million Americans suffer from opioid use disorder which contributed to over 28,000 deaths in 2014.” But while opioid abuse saw a drastic rise in the 2010s, the problem actually began over a decade earlier.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services notes that in the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies lobbied the medical community to prescribe more opioid pain relievers. At the same time, they assured doctors that these drugs were not addictive. However, the CDC says almost 450,000 people died from opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2018.
Rehabilitation Treatment Care Center can equip you with the information and tools you need to manage or eliminate your opioid addiction symptoms. Our consultants will help you gain an understanding of your problem and find the treatment you need for a life free of opioid abuse. Call us at 405-583-4390 today.
Treating pain with painkillers seems simple and logical enough, but sometimes the simplest things can bring major consequences. Learn more about these consequences below.
Pain Pill Abuse
Opioids are a group of drugs used to reduce pain. They come in a variety of forms, with one of the most popular being prescription pills.
At times, opioid addiction happens by circumstance (i.e. painkillers prescribed after a major car crash are the only things that take away physical pain), and the opioid abuse symptoms can remain camouflaged for a long time because the need is legitimate.
Prescription drugs have side effects aside from addiction if the patient does not use them as directed. Some of those same pills affect the body like heroin, which is also an opioid albeit an illegal one with no legitimate medical applications. Heroin shoots to the brain to activate the euphoria users want to feel. However, after the euphoria ends, the National Institute of Drug Abuse says, “users usually will be drowsy for several hours; mental function is clouded; heart function slows; and breathing is also severely slowed, sometimes enough to be life-threatening.”
Pain pills normally treat chronic pain due to major injuries, procedures, or conditions. When a user exceeds the recommended dosage, they will get the same euphoric feeling as heroin but are also risking overdose, brain damage, and even death.
Symptoms To Watch Out For
If you have been taking an opioid steadily, there is a good chance you are already feeling opioid addiction symptoms but haven’t accepted it as such. Regardless, getting to know the symptoms will give you a better idea of how concerned you should be.
Opioid abuse symptoms can appear subtle, but they are a sign of serious danger. If unnoticed and untreated for long enough they can even be fatal. Thus, when it becomes clear that opioid addiction symptoms are present, your next step should be to do something about it as quickly as possible.
You will know for sure that you have a problem when you skip a dose or two and see what happens. Cravings and sweating are likely to begin within a few hours, along with other signs of withdrawal. The reason for this is the dependence you have built by using the drug consistently. If the dependence is strong enough, the withdrawals can be severe enough to disrupt everyday bodily functions like digestion.
The following is a list of the most common opioid abuse symptoms:
- Tolerance—meaning you might need to take more of the medication for the same pain relief
- Physical dependence—meaning you have symptoms of withdrawal if you stop the medication
- Increased sensitivity to pain
- Nausea, vomiting, and dry mouth
- Sleepiness and dizziness
- Low levels of testosterone
- Itching and sweating
In addition, mixing other drugs and alcohol with opioids only makes matters worse. This is one of the opioid abuse symptoms that most predict a potential overdose. According to the CDC, the risk of death by opioid overdose is especially high for those combining opioids with benzodiazepines. If you, or someone you care about, are suffering from an addiction then call us today. Our staff of experts is standing by ready to take your call and help you start on a healthier journey.
What To Expect From Treatment
Treatment is available to anyone looking for it, but it can be a difficult and unpleasant process depending on how severe your opioid addiction symptoms are. When beginning treatment, medical practitioners will usually start with detoxing the body. Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT, is a method that alleviates opioid abuse symptoms by using other forms of medicine to calm the cravings.
The NIDA believes MAT is an efficient method for decreasing the need for opioids as it “increases social functioning and retention in treatment.” Doctors use a mix of buprenorphine and naltrexone during MAT. Despite serving as opioid replacements of a sort, buprenorphine and naltrexone don’t create the high feeling that opioid users usually experience, making them ideal to smooth the transition to sobriety.
Specifically, buprenorphine mimics the effects of opioids but at a lower level, helping addicted individuals to step down their dosage. Naltrexone, meanwhile, blocks opioid receptors so that the user no longer gets high when taking their drug of choice. This treatment usually doesn’t begin until after withdrawals, but can serve as a longer-term plan to help prevent relapse. Naltrexone is also not to be confused with naloxone, an emergency treatment for overdose victims.
While both these medications serve a useful purpose in treating those with opioid addiction symptoms, they are only part of the MAT puzzle. Therapy and counseling are still essential.
Individual counseling consists of one-on-one sessions. An individual showing symptoms of opioid use works with a licensed counselor to develop their own strategies for sobriety. They will analyze and break down the patient’s history with drugs as well as core beliefs and triggers that have contributed to the substance problem. However, they will need to find ways of coping with these triggers that don’t involve taking more opioids. Counselors will encourage patients to celebrate themselves and their small victories, but also push them to be active in support groups and their own families, in order to stay secure in their decision to quit.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy concentrates on teaching new coping skills. Through shorter therapy sessions, for instance, CBT encourages a patient to:
- Identify automatic thoughts
- Challenge core beliefs and underlying assumptions that may be wrong
- Understand that present feelings and beliefs are rooted in the past
- See other people’s actions and motivations more clearly
- Develop positive mental habits
- Become more aware of their own mood
- Replace avoidance with a practice of facing fears and challenges head-on
Most addiction sufferers have negative mental habits that contribute to their condition. They have unexamined beliefs that come from trauma and low self-worth and tend to draw harsh conclusions about life situations, other people, and themselves. Thus, CBT involves quite a bit of un-learning. Addiction is rooted in how a patient sees the world, and recovery can’t succeed without a change in perspective.
Group counseling is another common method used to reinforce recovery by building a community around it. It’s much easier both to communicate and to build trust with someone that can relate to your personal struggles. Group members can hear each other out and share ideas on how to handle the past, recovery, and post-rehabilitation life.
Residential programs are also available for those looking for an immersive treatment experience free of temptation and distraction. For patients with more severe addictions, this can be the only thing that works. Medline Plus notes that as in group counseling, residential programs offer the social benefits of “living with your peers” and having the ability to “support each other to stay in recovery”.
Residential programs support patients with a wide variety of initiatives including:
- 12-step programs that encourage mutual support, such as Narcotics Anonymous
- Faith-centered support groups
- Screening for bloodborne diseases such as hepatitis and HIV
- Individualized case management
- Support for career or education goals
- Assistance with finding suitable housing, transportation, and employment
Do you need more information about what treatment is right for you? Then call us today. Our specialists will work with you to find you the best path to take for you and your needs.
A Change is Coming
Since recognizing the United States’ opioid problem as an epidemic in the early 2010s, the federal government continues with various strategies to lower the percentage of the U.S. population addicted to opioids or showing opioid addiction symptoms.
The Obama Administration released the National Drug Control Strategy as “efforts to reduce illicit drug use and its consequences in the United States” with stated goals such as:
- Preventing drug use in our communities;
- Seeking early intervention opportunities in health care;
- Integrating treatment for substance use disorders into health care and supporting recovery;
- Breaking the cycle of drug use, crime, and incarceration;
- Disrupting domestic drug trafficking and production;
- Strengthening international partnerships; and
- Improving information systems to better address drug use and its consequences.
An article from the Annual Review of Public Health says the 2011 Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan was added to the Obama Administration’s National Drug Control Strategy by implementing “four action steps to reduce prescription opioid misuse”:
- Educate parents, youth, and patients about the dangers of abusing prescription drugs while requiring prescribers to receive training in the safe and appropriate use of these drugs.
- Implement prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMPs) in every state, and enhance PDMPs to make sure they can share data across states and are used by healthcare providers.
- Develop convenient and environmentally responsible prescription drug disposal programs to help reduce prescription drug diversion.
- Provide law enforcement with the tools necessary to eliminate improper prescribing practices and reduce “pill mills” and “doctor shopping.”
We’re Here to Help!
Efforts are ongoing to ensure a safer and more educated U.S. population when dealing with opioids and their effects. Medical practitioners continue to delve into new research as they work on finding the best solutions for their individual patients. If you cannot seem to find a way out of your addiction and realize your pain pill addiction signs are getting worse by the day, call Rehabilitation Treatment Care Center now to take advantage of our treatment resources and make your dream of living a life without opioids a reality.
To summarize, our team is available to assist anyone looking for help with any addiction they have, or anyone looking to help a friend or loved one suffering from addiction. The treatment facilities in our network include outpatient and inpatient care as well as detoxification techniques catered to whatever addiction a potential patient suffers from.
Call us today at the number below to find a center near you!
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