When you’re addicted to opiates, your world can be a very lonely one. Your addiction will make you secretive and more cut off from family and friends. In time, you may even lose yourself.
Here at 12 Keys Rehab, we understand just how difficult your journey towards a healthy and clean life can be when addicted to opiates, and we want to help you overcome that. Focusing on holistic and complete treatment modalities for your mind, body and spirit, together we can work towards a healthy and productive life.
If you’re worried about your own opiate addiction or concerned about the addiction struggle of someone close to you, we’ve put together a wealth of information that will help you understand the important aspects of an opiates addiction.
What are Opiates?
To begin, it’s necessary for you to have a good understanding of what opiates are. Opiates are pain-relieving medications that stimulate the opioid receptors within your nervous system and brain, reducing the intensity of the pain signals that reach your brain. They also affect the areas of the brain that control your emotions, diminishing the effects of any painful stimulus.
Opiates, as the name suggests, produce effects that are similar to those that opium has on your body. Opium, derived from the opium poppy, has been used for centuries to treat diarrhea, sleeplessness and pain.
Today, the terms opioid and opiate are generally used interchangeably when talking about this class of drugs. However, “opiate” is still sometimes used to describe only drugs that are derived either directly or indirectly from actual natural opium.
Opiates are intended for short-term use, due to their nervous system-depressing effects that slow down your body functions and reduce both your psychological and physical pain. They are also highly addictive, especially when taken against prescribed directions.
What are Opiates Usually Prescribed for?
As opiates are powerful pain relievers, doctors may prescribe them for a variety of conditions that cause chronic or severe pain. These include:
- Morphine — used both before and after surgical procedures
- Codeine — for milder pain
- Hydrocodone — for injury and dental-related pain
Certain combinations of the drugs, such as codeine and diphenoxylate (Lomotil), are used to treat other issues, such as severe diarrhea and coughs.
What are the Different Types of Opiates?
There are various types of opiates available on the market today. Often times, opiates are only used to treat moderate to severe pain conditions that haven’t responded well to other medications.
The opiates your doctor prescribes are usually taken orally. However, the opiate Fentanyl is available in a patch that enables the drug to be absorbed through your skin. Some opiates, such as morphine, can be administered intravenously while in the hospital.
Common types of opiates include:
- Fentanyl (Fentora, Duragesic, Actiq)
- Hydrocodone (Zohydro ER, Hysingla ER)
- Hydrocodone/Acetaminophen (Lortab, Lorcet, Norco, Vicodin)
- Hydromorphone (Exalgo, Dilaudid)
- Meperidine (Demerol)
- Methadone (Methadose, Dolophine)
- Morphine (Avinza, Astramorph, Ora-Morph SR, MS Contin, Kadian)
- Oxycodone (Roxicodone, Oxecta, OxyContin)
- Oxycodone and Acetaminophen (Endocet, Roxicet, Percocet)
- Oxycodone and Naloxone (Targiniq ER)
Key Statistics about Abuse and Addiction to Opiates
When learning about opiates addition, it’s helpful to know that you are not alone, as the below key statistics depict.
- Since the 1960s, heroin use has become increasingly common in both North America and Europe, according to the World Health Organization.
- Since 1985, worldwide production of heroin has almost tripled.
- An estimated 13.5 million people globally take opioids.
- In addition, data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, shows that in 2011, 4.2 million U.S. citizens admitted to using heroin at least once.
- Estimates suggest that the nonmedical use of opioids costs insurance companies as much as $72.5 billion per year in terms of health care costs.
- According to figures from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 4.4 percent of pregnant women have used illicit drugs within the past month.
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What is Being Done About Opiates Addiction?
With the issue of opiate addiction becoming increasingly endemic across the country, there have been significant efforts made to reduce the misuse of opiates. These include:
- Prescription drug monitoring programs.
- Primary prevention through school and community education.
- Overdose education for opiate users.
- Naloxone distribution programs for opiate users - Naloxone reverses or blocks the effects of opioid medication, such as loss of consciousness and slowed breathing.
- More aggressive policing to address the problems of pill mills and doctor shopping.
- Sending people with substance abuse issues to Drug Courts.
- Better access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
- Formulating drugs that are less likely to be abused — e.g., slower release opioid analgesics.
How Did You Become Addicted to Opiates?
The path to addiction often begins with medication that’s prescribed for genuine pain. If you like the effect the drug has on you, it can be tempting to keep on using, even after your medical issue has cleared up.
This can lead to you becoming dependent on the drug, as you need to take higher doses to get the same feel-good effect. This can then result in you going from doctor to doctor, or “doctor shopping,” to try to obtain your medication after your original doctor discontinues treatment.
As long-term opiate use changes the way the nerve cells work in your brain, your brain consequently gets used to having the drugs in your system. When you suddenly deprive your brain of opiates, you’ll experience withdrawal symptoms.
There is no sure way to know if you’re at risk of becoming addicted to opiates. However, if you have family members who struggle with addiction to opiates or other substances, your chances of becoming addicted may be higher.
In fact, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, your genetics are responsible for approximately half the risk of becoming addicted to substances. Also, if you’ve abused other substances in the past, you’re more likely to be at a higher risk of abusing opiates.
If you’ve experienced trauma in your life, or suffer from mental illness, you may also be at a higher risk of developing an opiate addiction, as you may find that the drugs make you feel better about what’s been troubling you. It might also make you more prone to having a dual diagnosis, meaning that you have a substance abuse disorder along with another disorder, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. Here, at 12 Keys Rehab, we specialize in helping clients who are experiencing opiate addiction in conjunction with another disorder.
How Addictive Are Opiates?
Opiates are extremely addictive, and according to figures from SAMHSA, 21.5 million Americans had a substance use problem in 2014. Of these people, 1.9 million had a problem with prescription painkillers, and 586,000 individuals had an addiction to heroin.
Part of the reason behind these alarming figures is that when you take opiates, they are responsible for feelings of euphoria and enhanced well-being. Even if you are using them legitimately for treating pain, you can become tolerant to their effects, needing to take more and more to get the same feeling of relief.
That is why becoming addicted to opiates is so easy. When you need higher quantities of the drug just to get through the day, you know you have a problem. Furthermore, when this leads to obsessively thinking about opiates or engaging in illegal activities to obtain them, it’s time to seek help from a rehab center, like 12 Keys Rehab.
Here, we provide you with all the resources you need to begin — and to maintain — your recovery from opiates. Our staff is comprised of many recovering addicts like you, who understand how challenging the road to recovery can be. Together, we can help you manage the stresses of everyday life in a clean and positive way.
What are the Signs of an Opiates Addiction?
If you’re worried that you or someone close to you may be suffering from an opiate addiction, there are some warning signs of opiate addiction to look out for. These include:
- Taking a drug more often than prescribed
- Taking more and more of a drug
- Taking a drug in ways that are not as prescribed
- Doctor shopping
- Being unreliable in both work and personal circumstances
- Suffering financial issues, as more money goes to buying the drug
- Issues within personal relationships
- Forging prescriptions
- Obtaining the drug illegally
- “Losing” prescriptions to get more pills
- Stealing other people’s medication
What are the Symptoms of an Opiates Addiction?
The symptoms of opiate addiction can be very upsetting for you to experience or to see in someone close to you. These include:
- Analgesia (not feeling pain)
- Euphoria (an opiate high)
- Small pupils
- Slow or shallow breathing (respiratory depression)
- Flushed or itching skin
- Slurred speech
- The “opiate nod” (when you look like you’re nodding in and out of sleep)
- Poor judgment
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What is an Opiates Addiction Like?
It is natural to feel ashamed and worried about how others may perceive you when you’re suffering from an opiate addiction. You may think that people will consider you to be “weak,” or to have a lack of morals. While this may be true for some people who have addiction issues, it certainly does not account for everyone caught in the grip of addiction.
Often, you may have become addicted to opiates as a result of a legitimate pain issue. Perhaps, your use has spiraled out of control without you even realizing it. Whatever the reason you’ve become addicted, it’s true that once it has set in, you’ll need to seek out larger quantities of opiates in order to curb the agony of withdrawal symptoms.
While to others, some of your drug-seeking actions may seem ugly and devious, your body is unable to function without another “fix,” so it’s likely that you will do many things that are normally out of character to obtain what you need.
People who have never experienced the debilitating effects of first-hand drug use will wonder why you can’t stop, and may not understand why your body relies so heavily on opiates.
You may be experiencing a wide array of worrying opiate abuse related behaviors, such as:
- Manipulating others to get what you need.
- Failing to follow through on promises.
- Neglecting important responsibilities.
- Unpredictable mood swings, and more.
Opiate addiction is a series of highs and lows, and as you need higher drug quantities to achieve those highs, you will begin to feel awful without the drug. In time, you will only be able to feel “normal” with the drug in your system, and the thought of stopping altogether can become frightening.
It is true that quitting opiates will be one of the biggest challenges you will ever face. However, with our continuing support and help here at 12 Keys Rehab, living a clean life is entirely achievable.
You may have tried to quit opiates by yourself in the past, and will have found that withdrawal symptoms are extreme. With the right opiates addiction treatment, understanding and help, getting your life back on track can be achieved.
It is important to remember that opiates addiction can affect anyone, from any walk of life. Recognizing that you have a problem and seeking help for it, is the first step to regaining control of your life and to ensuring that you remain drug-free in the future.
Does an Opiates Addiction Cause any Permanent Damage?
When taken as prescribed, opiates can help you effectively and safely manage pain. When abused, however, just one large dose can cause respiratory depression and even death.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, researchers are currently studying the relationship between the lack of oxygen that reaches the brain in the case of opiate-related depressed respiration and it’s potentially permanent damaging effects on the brain.
Studies have also shown that heroin use can make the white matter of the brain deteriorate, which could result in a negative effect on stress responses, decision-making abilities and the ability to regulate behavior. In addition, opiates can also cause liver damage that can be irreversible.
In terms of taking opiates, if you inject opiates, you are at risk of pulmonary embolisms, heart problems, localized gangrene and even blood infections if the injection site becomes infected.
Using unsterile needles also puts you at risk of chronic infections such as HIV and viral hepatitis. If you feel concerned about any of these potential health issues, it’s important to contact us for help as soon as possible.
What Types of Co-Occurring Disorders Exist with Opiates?
If you’re abusing opiates, you can suffer from a co-occurring disorder. What this means is that you could have a psychiatric or emotional illness underlying, while also struggling with your addiction issues.
When you’re experiencing a dual diagnosis, you'll find that you’re facing a very confusing range of psychosocial issues, and you may even be experiencing more than two illnesses at the same time.
It is very difficult to escape the cycle of addiction when you’re living with mental health issues. Whether your mental problems began before, or after your addiction, real help is available at 12 Keys Rehab.
It is true that any mental illness can co-occur with opiate abuse. Some of these conditions include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Antisocial personality disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Eating disorder
- Attention deficit disorder
- And more
The Impact of Opiate Addiction on Pregnancy and Newborns
Opiate use among pregnant women is more common than you may think. As you will imagine, using drugs during pregnancy increases the chance of harming your unborn baby.
The current care standard for opioid dependent pregnant women is referral for methadone therapy. However, there is evidence to suggest that buprenorphine may be appropriate.
If you’re pregnant and you abruptly stop the use of opiates, fetal distress can result, as well as preterm labor and even fetal death. The effects that opioid use can have on your baby are vast — birth defects and heart trouble are just some of the problems that can arise.
It must be noted that after birth, some babies of opiate-using moms can have withdrawal symptoms. Thankfully, your healthcare provider can help treat this. The signs of withdrawal in your baby will usually show within a day of their birth. However, they can still occur up to two weeks afterward.
Some of the signs to be watchful for include:
- Extreme drowsiness
- Breathing difficulties
- Poor feeding
It is incredibly important that if you're pregnant and using opiates, you seek out opiate addiction help as soon as possible.
Is There a Link to Heroin Addiction?
It is very common to see someone who has become addicted to prescription opiates turn to heroin when their drug of choice becomes more difficult to secure. Heroin is much cheaper than most prescribed opiates and is very easy to get ahold of.
Whether you take your opiates in ways the doctor has not indicated, or you have moved on to illicit drugs, there can, and will most likely be, some dire potential consequences that could even result in death.
How is an Opiate Addiction Treated?
12 Keys Rehab offers one of the most comprehensive spiritual, mental, and physical healing plans for opiate addiction recovery. Treatment programs last for 30, 60, or 90 days or more. You will receive a completely personalized schedule of group, one-on-one, and family counseling sessions. This individualized treatment approach is perfect if you’re looking for help for opiate addiction.
Through interventions, such as Motivational Interviewing, Biofeedback, Cognitive Behavior Therapy and others, any of your underlying issues are brought to the surface and faced head on, allowing you to take back the power to live your life to the best of your ability.
With ample time to rest, relax, and make new friends, you’ll learn all you need to know about your opiates addiction and on how to deal with it on a daily basis.
As you approach the completion of your time with us, we will work with you to create the aftercare plan that you need to maintain your sobriety long after you’ve successfully completed your program with us.
If you are feeling lost, confused and alone with your opiate addiction, there is real help, and a real future to look forward to. By taking the first step and contacting us today, you can be assured of non-judgmental discretion and real help for both you and your family.
How Do You Safely Detox from Opiates?
When you’re caught in the jaws of addiction, detoxing can seem a million miles away from your current reality. However, you can get there with the correct treatment and support.
Addressing the root cause of your addiction helps you fully understand why you arrived where you are at this moment in time, and is key to your recovery from opiate addiction. With support and courage, you can face your addiction head on, and regain control over your own mind, spirit and body, in order to overcome your addiction.
It is dangerous to attempt to detox from opiates on your own. The process should be undertaken under the supervision of trained professionals in a rehab for opiates. As the risk of relapse is far higher when you try to detox alone, choosing a residential rehab treatment option, such as that offered by 12 Keys Rehab, will equip you with all the tools you need to be successful.
Following our successful 12-step program and using a combination of therapies, we focus on treating all the underlying issues that brought you to where you are today. With a full complement of certified, licensed and highly trained staff, we assure you that your health and wellbeing is our utmost concern.
How Long Does It Take to Withdraw from Opiates?
There is no set time that it takes to withdraw from opiates, as everyone is different. There are, in fact, various factors to take into consideration, including:
- Your general health.
- The severity of your addiction.
- Your frequency of drug use.
- When you last used drugs.
- The amount of the drug you have been using.
- The type of opiate you’re addicted to.
- How long you have been using
As a general rule, however, the first week of withdrawal is the most challenging. That being said, you must be prepared for some symptoms to last for several weeks.
It’s important to note that you can still suffer some withdrawal symptoms for as long as six months after you’ve quit opiates. Here at 12 Keys Rehab, we have plenty of support in place, no matter what stage you’re at in your recovery journey.
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What are the Stages of Opiates Withdrawal?
Withdrawal from opiates is a challenging process. However, the feeling of being healthy and clean again makes all the difficult work worthwhile. There are three main stages of opiate withdrawal:
The first stage of withdrawal is the most uncomfortable and painful due to the bone, muscle and joint pain usually experienced. It’s also possible that you’ll experience:
- Panic attacks
- Drug cravings
- Profuse sweating
- Loss of appetite
- Runny nose
The first stage of opiate withdrawal is often likened to a severe case of the flu, and should only last for a few days. However, it can last longer for some people.
Because it’s so uncomfortable, you need to be careful that you don’t give up and relapse. Things will — and do — get so much better if you tough it out. Here at 12 Keys Rehab, our staff all have personal experience of withdrawal, and will do all they can to help and support you through this difficult stage.
It’s possible that you'll still be in some pain and discomfort during this second stage of your opiates withdrawal. Thankfully, it will have lessened and become far more bearable. Stage two symptoms include:
- Abdominal cramping
It is important to stay hydrated throughout this stage, and to eat well in order to keep your strength up. You also need to rest as much as you can, so your body can begin to heal.
This second stage of withdrawal generally lasts between one and three days. However, the time it takes is dependent on factors, such as your intensity of opiate use, as well as your own personal tolerance levels. Additionally, the drug you’ve been using can cause the withdrawal period to be shorter or longer than this general timeframe.
The diarrhea and vomiting should now be over, and you will be feeling more like your old self. It is important, however, not to resume all your normal activities immediately. You may still be suffering from insomnia, anxiety and nausea. You could also be feeling depressed. You should not let these symptoms go untreated.
Resuming your daily activities slowly and eating well is imperative at this point. This third stage will last for at least a day, sometimes longer, and it’s still possible to experience cravings, and other psychological issues throughout this time. Just remember to be kind to yourself.
The opiate withdrawal stages you experience will be uncomfortable. However, with proper holistic care, you will get through them.
Complications of Opiates Withdrawal
In some cases of withdrawal from opiates, complications can occur. There are three main issues that you need to watch out for:
- Aspiration: This involves vomiting and inhaling the contents of your stomach into your lungs, which can then result in a lung infection.
- Dehydration: Vomiting and diarrhea can cause you to become dehydrated
- Relapse and overdose: The process of withdrawal reduces your tolerance to the drug. Therefore, if you have just gone through withdrawal, and begin taking the drug again, you can easily overdose on a far smaller dose than you have been used to taking.
The potential for these complications makes it essential that you go through withdrawal under expert care.
How Can I Help My Loved One Recover from Opiates Addiction?
Here at 12 Keys Rehab, we work with you throughout every stage of your loved ones opiate addiction treatment. It is true that it can be scary and confusing when your loved one is an opiate addict. You may not know what to do that’s best for them, and you may inadvertently alienate them through trying to get them sober without proper guidance.
It’s easy to let your love for your opiate-reliant relative take control, and accidentally enable their behaviors by giving too much. This can lead them further down the road to self-destruction, so you need to ask for professional help and assistance as soon as you can.
When you’re taking care of your relative or friend alone, there will usually be little incentive to change. Perhaps you are giving them shelter and money, as you don’t want to see them become homeless and hungry. Again, this just enables them to carry on with their self-destructive behaviors, even though your intentions are well-meant.
If you’re feeling lost, and are unsure how to help your loved one recover from addiction, there are three key things you can do:
Don’t enable your loved one: By enabling, we mean that you shouldn’t give opiate addicts money or housing, or any other type of resource that will allow them to continue living their negative lifestyle.
Of course, it goes against everything you feel for your loved one, to deny them these things. However, it will help them significantly in the long term.
Seek professional support: At 12 Keys Rehab, we are on the end of the phone 24/7 to help both you and your loved one. In a crisis, just pick up the phone and call our professional team at 888-854-3911.
With the right support in place, a genuine lifeline will provide your loved one with all the tools necessary to lead a clean and productive life again. We’ll also provide you with the much-needed support to stay strong and gain a better understanding of their addiction.
Work on positive enabling: When you end those negative enabling behaviors, you can begin to work with your loved one on helping them to change positively. Do not dictate to them. Rather, tell them that you love them, but that you are unable to continue to help them stay addicted.
Discuss with them their options for 12 Keys support, which is proven to bring about quality and sustained sobriety. We offer all our clients a plan that takes into account their spiritual, physical and mental healing, through 30, 60, or 90-day treatment programs.
What is the Outlook for Opiate Addiction Recovery?
Our staff at 12 Keys Rehab believe that opiate recovery is achievable regardless of how long or how heavily you have been abusing opiates. Through participating in a fully tailored and comprehensive plan, every aspect of you, as an individual, will be healed. You will also gain a better understanding of who you are and the things that trigger your addiction.
Through following a world-renowned 12-step program, you will regain control of your life. In taking each day as it comes, you will find that you feel healthier and more positive each day.
There is always someone to talk to in your times of need. Together, we can help you incorporate the 12-steps into your daily life to maintain your sobriety. Contact us today to start your journey to recovery.
The History of Opiates
For centuries cultures around the world have relied on the opium poppy for a variety of purposes, but primarily for pain reduction. Morphine is the psychoactive ingredient in the opium poppy, and its painkilling and addictive effects have been well documented.
There are hundreds of drugs that derive from morphine. Some are weaker than others, and some are more suitable for long-term use than others. Opiates are used to control pain, relieve cough and halt diarrhea. All forms are addictive and can cause fatal overdose.
Raw opium was originally used to relieve pain and anxiety. In 1804 a scientist synthesized opium to create morphine — the benchmark by which all other painkillers are measured. Codeine was created in 1832, and heroin was discovered about 50 years later in one of the biggest blunders in pharmaceutical history.
Bayer pharmaceuticals synthesized and sold heroin as cough medicine and a morphine addiction treatment. Although opiates effectively remedy cough, using heroin as a morphine addiction recovery tool proved an enormously embarrassing mistake.
The federal government banned the import, manufacture and sale of heroin by 1924, but by then scientists had done more work on the powerful compound morphine. Other drugs soon became popular in the medical community for a variety of purposes. Some drugs, such as fentanyl and heroin, are even more powerful than morphine. Other drugs, such as codeine, are not. Codeine is the most commonly prescribed drug in the world.
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