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What Is Opioid Addiction

Learn more about opioid addiction, side effects of opioid use, and how to seek care for opioid addiction at Ripple Ranch Recovery.

Effects of Opioid Use

Opioids are substances that act on opioid receptors in the brain and nervous system to produce euphoria or feelings of relaxation and well-being. They also work by suppressing pain signals from the brain, thereby acting as analgesics.

Opioids also have antitussive properties by suppressing specific portions of the brain responsible for coughing. Opioids include opium, heroin, morphine, codeine, and fentanyl.1 

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Origin of Opioids

Opioids are derived or synthesized from the opium poppy plant. The first step in manufacturing involves harvesting the Papaver Somniferum of the opium poppy plant. The plant's flowers are then dried, and the dried flowers are ground into a fine powder. This powder is then mixed with other ingredients to form different types of opioids2

Opioid Use

Opioid drugs can be used medically as painkillers or to help people with chronic pain deal with their symptoms. 3

When taken for recreational purposes, opioids cause a feeling of euphoria and reduced pain; however, these effects don't last long, and tolerance builds up quickly. Opioid addiction facts show that opioid use disorder has affected 3 million U.S. residents and 16 million other people globally. 4

Common Signs of Opioid Addiction

It can be hard to tell if someone is addicted to opioids without closely monitoring them or an addiction test. But a few things may indicate a substance use addiction to opioids.

Indication of Opioid Misuse

The following are some of the signs of opioid abuse or opioid addiction:

  • The inability to control opioid abuse
  • Uncontrollable cravings
  • Drowsiness
  • Changes in sleep habits
  • Weight loss
  • Frequent flu-like symptoms
  • Decreased libido
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Changes in exercise habits
  • Isolation from family or friends
  • Stealing from family, friends, or businesses
  • New financial difficulties

Side Effects of Opioids

Every medication has the potential to induce side effects irrespective of the quantity ingested. Opioids have varying side effects ranging from short to long term. These effects may be mild and, in certain cases, highly debilitating and dangerous. Therefore, during opioid use, patients and clinicians should monitor side effects to avoid adverse drug reactions. 

Short-Term Side Effects of Opioids

Majority of opioids are short acting opioids which have a short half-life, so they induce various short-term side effects. These include:  5

  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Constipation
  • Unconsciousness
  • Coma
  • Nausea

Long-Term Side Effects of Opioids

Long-term effects of opioid addiction usually become apparent in a person on opioids within a year of starting to take the drug. They include the following:  6

  • Opioid diarrhea characterized by chronic constipation and gastrointestinal system disruption
  • Respiratory issues and irregular breathing
  • Cardiovascular system issues like atrial fibrillation
  • Reproductive system shutdowns
  • Susceptibility to bone fractures

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What Should You Do If You or Someone You Know Is Addicted?

Addiction involves ongoing substance use in the presence of negative consequences to the user. If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid misuse or addiction, here are some tips to help you get started on the road to recovery.

Don't Deal with Addiction Alone

It's not always easy to overcome addiction in solitude. Support, love, and care can help make opioid addiction treatment a lot easier to deal with. If you're feeling overwhelmed or isolated, open up and seek support from family members and close friends who can help provide guidance.

Also, if you know someone with an opioid problem, try not to be judgmental, but help them at their own pace without enabling drug-seeking behavior.

Seek Out Help From a Professional

If your friends have no resources or support, try contacting local agencies like groups that have meetings and rehabilitation centers. These people are trained to help you get through this difficult time in your life and will be able to provide the kind of assistance that's needed for recovery.  

Be Strong and Be Prepared to Stick to Getting Treatment

Remember that it's not just about drugs or alcohol; it's about how these addictions affect life as a whole. Addictions can take a heavy toll on your finances, health, and relationships with other people. No matter the number of relapses or disappointments, you must keep being motivated toward overcoming addiction.

How Can You Avoid Addiction to Opioids?

Opioids have a relatively high addictive potential and can cause dependence. Here are some ways you can avoid addiction to opioids.

Avoid Unnecessary Opioid Use

Opioid dependence can make users more likely to become addicted if they use them repeatedly or in large doses. Go for other, safer pain killers, or if you need opioid drugs for any reason, seek professional medical help beforehand. 

Do Not Take More Than the Recommended Dosage of Opioids

While on opioid medication, try not to take higher doses than what has been prescribed by a health care practitioner. Also, avoid taking opioid medication longer than the recommended treatment period. If an extension of opioid therapy is required, seek professional advice first. 

Tackle Signs of Opioid Abuse Early

Opioid abuse can cause withdrawal symptoms such as irritability, anxiety, and insomnia as the drug leaves the system. While taking legal opioid medications for pain management, if you notice any withdrawal from opioids, talk with your doctor about reducing or stopping your dose or switching to another opioid medication less likely to lead to addiction problems. 

Opioid Addiction Risk Factors

Opioid addiction can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or socioeconomic status. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that people who use opioids will often develop a tolerance to the drug and need more of it to get the same effect. This can lead to dangerous habits that may not stop at just one dose. 

Tolerance to Opioids

Some people continue opioid abuse even after they've developed tolerance and begun having physical problems due to long-term use. This is very common in pain medication addiction. There are several addictive opioids and causes of opioids related addiction.

Risk Factors

However, to facilitate opioid treatments, researchers have identified several factors that increase the risk of developing opioid dependence. These include: 

  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Personal history of substance abuse
  • Regular contact with high-risk people or high-risk environments
  • Problems with past employers, family members, and friends
  • Risk-taking or thrill-seeking behavior
  • Heavy tobacco use
  • History of severe depression or anxiety
  • Stressful circumstances
  • Prior drug or alcohol rehabilitation

What Are the Symptoms of An Opioid Overdose?

Opioid overdose is a condition in which opioid drugs are taken at a much higher dosage than the recommended amount, leading to harmful side effects. Overdosing on opioids can be life-threatening and has been known to result in death in severe cases.

Indications of Opioid Overdose

The possible symptoms indicating overdosing on opioids include:

  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Inability to talk
  • Blue skin color and dark-colored lips
  • Snoring or gurgling sounds
Opioid Addiction

Get Treatment for Opioid Addiction at Ripple Ranch

Pain medication addiction as well as opioid addiction and dependence can be hard to treat. Still, with the right care delivered by experts, individuals struggling with the effects of opioid addiction can get the right therapy they need. The first step in addressing opioid dependence is recognizing a problem and taking action. Ripple Ranch Recovery is a safe place for people struggling with opioid misuse established to help people worldwide get the necessary treatment.  

Most individuals recovering from opioid addiction may need detoxification or withdrawal syndrome management before starting any program or therapy. This process can help with cravings while facilitating treatment without uncomfortable symptoms related to withdrawal from opioids. We are also fully specialized to deliver opioid overdose treatments and symptoms of opioid use (opioid diarrhea, respiratory issues) whenever necessary. 

Begin Recovery Today

We aim to ensure that everyone who walks through our doors receives quality care. Our team of professionals is experienced and has been treating opioid addiction for years. We're dedicated to helping people worldwide beat the odds and overcome addiction. 

Contact us now at Ripple Ranch Recovery if you're ready to take the first step to recovery. We'll provide information about opioid addiction and the various treatment options available at Ripple Ranch Recovery.