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Opiate Abuse and Detox: What You Need to Know

“Opiate Abuse and Detox: What You Need to Know”

It’s understandable why many people get confused over the differences between the words “opiates” and “opioids”. For most purposes, they can be used interchangeably. But if you want to get a bit more technical, opioids refer to all substances derived from opium, both natural and synthetic ones.

Opiates are used in a more traditional pharmacological sense. Mostly, they are the natural substances derived from opium, and none of the mixtures and synthetic substances.

The term “opiates” is often used in the legal sense when referring to drugs of high abuse potential—those that are related to opium, of course. They can easily cause addiction and a wide array of adverse effects. These potent substances are very dangerous when used recreationally. This is why they are tightly controlled by governments all over the world.

Morphine, heroin, oxycodone, codeine, Fentanyl, and hydrocodone are all common examples of opiates.

Most of these drugs are legal as long as they are prescribed by a doctor and used strictly within the prescription. The only exceptions are heroin and opium, which are illegal under all circumstances, given that they have no medical uses.

Signs of Opiate Abuse

Despite the laws that regulate its production, distribution, and abuse, opiate addiction is still a problem in the US, as well as many parts of the world. Once a person gets addicted, the problem quickly becomes a downward spiral that affects their health, their family, their relationships, and the community around them.

You can help prevent this early on by looking for the signs of opiate abuse. For those who were prescribed with opiates, they should be warned not to take the drug in larger doses or for longer than is recommended.

A person who is abusing opiates will naturally run out of it before they are supposed to. They may display a relaxed, sleepy, confused, or euphoric vibe. They may also exhibit drowsiness for no apparent reason.

Another sign of opiate abuse is when someone tries to get the same prescription over and over again by visiting different physicians. This is called “doctor shopping”. Abusers tend to take advantage of the accessibility of prescription drugs.

Effects of Opiate Abuse

Opiates, when abused, can have short term and long term effects on abusers. Its effects can damage the person physically and psychologically. However, these adverse reactions and their intensity may vary from person to person.

On the short term, users may experience vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, and headaches. They may also have noticeably delayed reactions to their surroundings.

Long term effects can include gastric problems, respiratory depression, organ damage, and problems with the immune system. Additionally, users that take opiates intravenously are at risk of contracting blood-borne diseases.

With prolonged abuse, a person can develop tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

Tolerance forces a person to take more and more of the drug just to get the same euphoric effects. This easily leads to dependence, wherein the body cannot function properly without the presence of opiates.

Addiction involves the compulsive need to take the substance, even when its health effects are already making you suffer.

If a person tries to quit opiates at this point, they may suffer from intense withdrawal symptoms including insomnia, diarrhea, profuse sweating, and fatigue.

Opiate Addiction Treatment

It is necessary for an opiate addicted individual to get treatment from a detoxification center. The process will be medically supervised, so that their symptoms can be addressed by trained professionals.

Inpatient treatment means that round-the-clock care can be provided for them.

Opiate recovery typically begins with an assessment or an examination of the patient’s condition. The best treatment plan will be created for their specific needs. Sometimes it’s just a series of questions. The doctor will inquire about their drug habits, drug history, and symptoms. This will allow them to determine the best approach when it comes to detoxification.

The patient’s health will be stabilized as their opiate intake is gradually lowered. Medication may be used to suppress some of the adverse withdrawal effects.

Do not let a patient attempt detox on their own.

It is best for them to enter residential rehab—or if applicable, an outpatient program. These programs will allow them to readjust to the drug-free lifestyle. They will learn how to deal with their cravings. And in no time, they can go back to living a happy, sober life.

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