Several addictive substances negatively impact our lives, from illegal drugs like cocaine, and heroin to the common use of alcohol. But, amongst all, opioid drugs, both legal and illegal, are particularly of concern as they directly affect the functioning of your brain.
As per data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, somewhere between 20-30% of people who have been prescribed opioid medications have actually misused the medications. Only 8-10% of them use opioid medications taken to treat chronic pain, but the rest take the medicines to support their drug dependency. Hence, it becomes very important to know why opioids are so addictive and what increases a person’s chance of developing an addiction. In order to combat this, Alliance MD’s opioid addiction treatment plan, helps people recover from addiction.
What Is the Link Between Opioids and Brain Functioning?
Research shows that opioids change the neurotransmitter balance of the brain. When opioids act on the opioid receptors in your brain. This then further triggers the endorphins naturally present in the brain which act as neurotransmitters. This increases the feelings of pleasure and reduces the perception of pain in your body.
The body quickly adapts to the powerful sense of ‘feeling good’ that opioid medications create in mind. Though this effect happens after the initial dose of opioids, later on, with neuroadaptation the opioids stop producing the same effect. Hence, opioid users start to seek more opioids to trigger endorphins in order to get the same feeling they initially experienced.
Difference Between Opioid Dependence and Addiction
Dependence is referred to something that people take for a long period. If anyone stops taking opioids, they will go through many withdrawal symptoms. These range from physical symptoms like muscle cramps to mental symptoms like anxiety.
A smaller number of people will develop addiction, wherein the person experiences serious negative effects, forcing them to seek more opioids. Consuming drugs will become a priority over jobs, relationships, health, and social life.
What Are the Effects of Opioid Doses?
There are legal and illegal ways for taking opioids. Commonly prescribed opioid drugs include Codeine, Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Morphine, and Oxymorphone. These medicines are sold under Percocet, Vicodin, and OxyContin brands etc. The side effects of opioids include sleepiness, confusion, fatigue, nausea, and constipation. At higher doses opioids cause respiratory depression, shallow breathing, reduced heart rate, and loss of consciousness. In addition, individuals taking prescription opioids, once they become dependent, experience drug cravings, withdrawal symptoms, vomiting, insomnia, anxiety, abdominal pain, diarrhea, etc.
Opioid and heroin addiction has become a significant cause of mortality for Americans and globally. Around 2 million people have opioid use disorder in the USA.
At Alliance MD, our team understands that each patient has his or her own set of health conditions and goals. Therefore, we customize the treatment as per individual requirement, severity of illness of the patient and find the most effective and efficient way to treat them.