People often need prescription drugs to treat physical or mental health problems. However, many people abuse prescription drugs, including opioids. Prescription opioids, which treat pain, often act as a gateway drug to other opioids like heroin.
Between 21% and 29% of all patients who use these opioids abuse or misuse them, while up to 12% of patients using opioids to treat chronic pain develop an opioid addiction. Opioids create powerful and intense feelings of euphoria, which can make it difficult to avoid misusing them. When you develop a prescription opioid addiction, treatment is typically necessary in order to recover.
What are Prescription Opioids?
Prescription opioids are synthetic medications that emulate naturally occurring opiates like codeine and morphine. Opioids are most commonly used by doctors to treat severe, chronic, and traumatic pain. While opioids like hydromorphone and oxycodone are very effective in limiting pain, they are prone to abuse.
When you use prescription opioids, your brain releases a pleasurable rush of neurotransmitters that creates positive emotions and sensations. Once your brain connects opioids to pleasure, it changes and alters your brain chemistry. Your brain positively reinforces your opioid use, which leads to your brain becoming dependent on opioids in order to release neurotransmitters.
Opioids can cause both psychological and physical dependency. When you develop a physical dependency, your body needs opioids in order to feel normal and you experience withdrawal symptoms when you don’t use it. Since your brain associates everything that reminds you of opioids with pleasure, triggers can create very intense cravings that make it difficult to quit using without help.
Prescription opioid addiction can lead to:
- Liver damage
- Financial problems
- Strained relationships
- Fatal and non-fatal overdoses
Another reason treatment is usually needed to overcome a prescription opioid addiction is because it takes time for your brain and body to heal from addiction, as your brain needs to re-learn how to properly release neurotransmitters and your body has to adjust to operating without the use of opioids.
How Addiction To Prescription Opioids Is Treated
The two main types of treatment for addiction to opioids are inpatient and outpatient programs. Inpatient and residential rehabs offer 24/7 access to members of your treatment team, as well as more structure. Most inpatient programs also offer medically supervised detox services, as well as detailed discharge and aftercare planning.
Inpatient programs can offer both short-term and long-term treatment options. During inpatient treatment, you’ll have the ability to engage in individual, group, and family counseling. Outpatient programs, such as partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs, are less intense and allow you to return home at night. Outpatient programs allow you to continue to work or go to school during treatment and offer an excellent follow-up option after inpatient care.
Reaching Out for Help Today
If you are struggling with an addiction to prescription opioids, your life can feel overwhelming and out of control. Treatment offers you the support, guidance, and tools you need to recover. To find out more about our specialized prescription opioid treatment programs, call us today at 855.786.1978.