People become addicted to opioids for a variety of reasons. Most common among them is by prescription. In fact, that applies to 80% of opioid addicts.
Reduce the Risk of Becoming Addicted to Opioids
People who take opioid painkillers like OxyContin or Vicodin run the risk of developing a tolerance to the drugs. That, in turn, can swiftly lead to addiction. Even when the opioids have been prescribed by a doctor or medical professional, there's a high risk of becoming dependent upon them. That may sound counterintuitive. Especially since following doctor's orders is usually recommended. But it's true nonetheless.
That’s not to say people shouldn’t trust their doctor/surgeon/dentist/nurse practitioner. They absolutely should! But over-prescriptions can happen. And addiction can develop quite rapidly. In fact, opioid dependence can occur after just five days of use. So it’s important to fully consult with those medical professionals beforehand. The better informed you are before taking opioids, the less likely you'll need to keep taking them once the prescription runs out.
What Are Opioids
Opioids include the prescription painkillers oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, and fentanyl, as well as the illegal drug heroin. All of these drugs are chemically similar. Consequently each produces a similar effect in the body. Opioids block feelings of pain of course. They also trigger a release of dopamine. Dopamine is basically the chemical in the body responsible for handing out gold stars to the brain. A dopamine rush = feeling good, feeling rewarded, and other warm-fuzzies. Except it doesn’t last. That makes the brain want more gold stars. Which can kickstart a dangerous cycle. Even if the point of taking the opioids is pain relief, rather than feeling rewarded. The brain then begins to seek opioids for rewards. And drug-free highs quickly become a thing of the past.
The more someone takes opioids, the more the brain adapts to having them around. The more the brain adapts to opioids being around, greater doses become necessary. That means developing a tolerance. When someone has taken enough opioids over time to require higher or more frequent doses in order to match the initial effects, they's developed a tolerance.
Opioid dependence happens with repeated use. The parts of the brain responsible for releasing dopamine stop functioning normally unless the drug is around. And when it’s not, withdrawal develops. Withdrawal symptoms include aching, fever, diarrhea/vomiting, sweating and chills. Think a bad case of the flu or a rotten order of clams, only worse, since the brain is still screaming for the one thing that could make it all stop.
Even worse, opioid addiction generally includes strong urges or cravings to take the drug. And those urges and cravings are followed, no matter what negative effects they may have on a person's health and/or welfare.
Treating People Addicted to Opioids
Recovery Boot Camp has developed a highly effective program for treating people who are addicted to opioids. It's called Basic Training. And it includes everything from extensive coursework (covering the dynamics of addiction and recovery) to comprehensive wellness (to treat mind, body and soul). RBC's Basic Training program also provides Medication-Assisted Treatment for co-occurring disorders, as well as a solid sober support foundation based on the practices and principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact, RBC adheres to the 12 Steps, as well as A.A.;s Big Book in all our affairs. Why? Because it's a successful guide to sober living. And it's served as a successful guide for nearly a century. And we never argue with that kind of success.
If you or a loved one is suffering from opioid addiction, please give us a call. We're here to help.