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Understanding Opioid Dependence

The term opioid is used for the entire family of opiates including natural, synthetic and semi-synthetic.

Over 2 million people in the United States suffer from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers. Abusing pain medication such as oxycodone, codeine and vicodin is one of the most common types of drug problems in the United States. As much as 10% of the U.S. population will abuse them at some some point during their life and there are roughly 700,000 annual hospital stays annually. This is a growing problem with serious consequences.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug dependency is defined as;

” Dependence develops when the neurons adapt to the repeated drug exposure and only function normally in the presence of the drug. When the drug is withdrawn, several physiologic reactions occur.”

Some Possible Side Effects

While some prescription opiates have a valuable medical purpose (primarily as a pain killer), like all pharmaceutical products, they also come with side effects. Opiate side effects are relatively tame in moderation:

• Drowsiness
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Constipation

a person surrounded by pills

opioid dependence often starts with a pain medication prescription from the doctor

But, when these side effects are experienced over a long period of time, they become significant health risks. Nausea and vomiting over a long period lead to malnutrition, while prolonged constipation can lead to intestinal infections. Drowsiness is rarely dangerous physically, though it does increase the likelihood of accidents when using heavy machinery like automobiles and it usually has psychological and social repercussions.

Additionally, while it is not a direct side effect of the drugs, opiate dependence is an extreme financial burden. Both legal and illegal opiates are expensive to acquire and victims of this addiction requires the drug in increasingly higher quantities. The financial burden, combined with the altered mind state can easily lead to illegal activities like theft or assault in order to acquire the needed drugs.

 

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Recognizing When There May Be a Problem

Opioid dependence can be difficult to identify because the side effects, even when they are present, are often no distinguishable from many other maladies. Instead, the easiest way to identify if there is a problem is to look for signs of withdrawal. An addiction to opiates requires regular use of addictive substance and mild withdrawal symptoms often appear after a relatively short time without the opiate. Major symptoms will commonly appear upon waking in the morning, due to an entire night spent without a fix. The following are common signs of withdrawal:

• Tearing
• Muscle aches
• Sweating
• Runny nose
• Anxiety
• Anger
• Difficulty sleeping
• Dilation of the pupils
• Vomiting
• Diarrhea

Someone who is addicted to opiates will most likely show these signs first thing in the morning, after school, after work, or after other long activities (like a car trip) where the person can’t find time away from others. The likelihood of addiction is particularly high if the person has ever been prescribed opiates in the past for a major injury or some form of ongoing pain.

At the first sign of addiction, it is critical to contact medical professionals that can confirm the diagnosis and provide a safe and healthy environment for recovery.

Drug Abuse Treatment at Inspire Malibu

Inspire Malibu is an inpatient drug rehabilitation with the facility and personnel needed to treat opioid dependence, no matter what level of severity. The staff is composed of medical professionals with decades of experience in the field of drug dependence, rehabilitation, and treatment. Inspire Malibu uses multiple different therapeutic approaches to rehabilitation. This allows the staff to develop a customized treatment regimen for each patient based on his or her particular needs, level of addiction, and support structures.

Additionally, withdrawal symptoms are harsh and quite sudden with opioid dependence. Many of the stronger symptoms require 24 hour medical care to properly combat. An inpatient facility is the only place where a patient can assuredly and safely receive that care during the worst stages of the withdrawal process. An inpatient facility also has trained medical professionals that mitigate or slow the withdrawal process when it is too taxing for the patient.

After the initial withdrawal process, patients will remain within the Inspire Malibu facilities until all of the lingering dependence issues have been dealt with. This means that staff will help the patient identify any stress triggers or social influences that may have caused the addiction and will take positive action to remove those influences and triggers. Inspire Malibu also provides psychological therapy for any mental disorders, like anxiety, aggressiveness, or depression, that result from the addiction. Finally, all patients are trained to identify future signs of addiction or addictive behavior and are taught the tools needed to combat that once they leave the facility. This training is also made available to friends and family that are the support structure for the patient.

Whether the patient is abusing legal drugs, illegal drugs, or both, the patient is acquiring enough opiates to feed the addiction. The only way to prevent that access is to place the patient in a location where it is simply impossible to acquire any opiates, except for those administered by a medical professional.

Prescription misuse is one of the most common addictions in the U.S. It can be successfully treated. Inspire Malibu offers high quality, effective treatment that can help anybody escape the trap of addiction.

Patients at Inspire Malibu with drug addiction will receive dedicated attention from a staff that cares about conquering the addiction. This means more than just providing medical attention during the withdrawal process, but also psychological, emotional, and mental support as well. All treatment for drug addiction at Inspire Malibu treats both the body and the mind.

 

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