Opiate Abuse and its Treatment


Opioids are highly addictive painkillers that lead to roughly 5 million opioid dependence cases and 17,000 opioid-related deaths every year. What’s more, opioid abuse contributes to about 11,000 cases of deaths due to overdose from prescription drugs per year. Thus, opioids drug addiction is a serious issue.

How would I know if a loved one is suffering from opiate abuse?

It is hard to spot opiate abuse considering the fact that most users can access the medications at home. There are times that you are not aware that you are abusing the drugs already, especially if you have been using prescription drugs for pain.

So, here are tell-tale signs that you or your loved one is already using the drugs out of habit:

  • You are intoxicated.
  • You look and feel drunk.
  • You are drowsy.
  • Your pupils constrict.
  • Your speech slurs, and in serious cases, you may find it hard to breathe.

Respiratory depression is one of the most dangerous effects of opiate abuse because it can lead to coma or death. You must also watch out for stupor because you or your loved one with opiate abuse may slump unconsciously and insensibly and get hurt in the process.

Another characteristic sign of opioid abuse is withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms depend on the length of drug use and the level of physical and emotional dependence on the drugs. Individuals withdrawing from opiates suffer from autonomic symptoms such as diarrhea, excessive tears, vomiting, and shivering. Diarrhea, excessive sweating, and runny nose are also common.

Opiate is a potent drug that causes changes to the central nervous system. It alters the way your brain works and responds to pleasure and pain. As your brain adjusts to its presence, it kicks off a series of withdrawal signs every time it detects the absence of drugs from your system leading to tremors, restlessness, and insomnia. You may also have an intense craving for the medication. Many opiate users on withdrawal also complain of muscle and bone pain and abdominal cramps.

When does abuse turn into opiate addiction?

If you have been using opiate drugs more than the required dose, keep on using it despite protests from loved ones, and your day seems to revolve around using it; you’re abusing opiates already. Abuse becomes an addiction the moment your tolerance to opiates increases, and you experience withdrawal symptoms whenever you try to quit.

What is the most effective treatment for opiate addiction?

If you are abusing opiates, but addiction has not yet set in, clinical detox can help you stop the habit. Lifestyle changes, behavioral therapy, and support groups can help you recover and return to your normal life. The moment you become an opiate addict, the treatment process becomes difficult. Aside from detoxification, you also need to undergo psychotherapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, medication-assisted therapy, and possibly residential rehabilitation to speed up your recovery process. Experts also suggest attending relapse-prevention training and attending support groups in your community.

To have an idea of an effective opiate abuse addiction treatment program and what it can do for you or your loved one, call a professional treatment center.