There are many different risk factors that can cause a person to become addicted to opiates. Some people become addicted over time, while others are genetically predisposed to opiate addiction. You may think that you’re immune to addiction because it doesn’t run in your family, but this is not the case. Over an extended period of time, the mind and body becomes dependent to any substance and it can eventually turn into an addiction. You must be careful when taking opiates, even if they’re prescribed to you for chronic pain or severe illness.
People who begin using opiates at a young age are at a very high risk to suffer from an opiate addiction, which could be fatal. The frontal lobe of the brain doesn’t develop until a person is in their 20s, and this portion of the brain is highly responsible for regulating the person’s response to controlled substances. The frontal lobe is also referred to as the “stop system.” One of its primary functions is to let the person be self-aware and control their impulsive behavior. When people start abusing prescription medications before this portion of the brain has matured, it can stunt its growth and begin to cause them to become reliant upon the substance without them even knowing it. The flow of dopamine in the system gives the person a euphoric feeling that another part of the brain sees as a reward and makes the person want to continue the action.
Another risk factor that can cause people to become addicted to opiates are the different life experiences that they have. Studies have shown that people who grow up in poverty or in lower-class neighborhoods are much more likely to become addicted to substances than those who live in the middle or upper classes. This is because they may begin abusing these substances as a way to escape their lives, even if it’s only temporary. Not only do they use opiates as an escape, but in certain neighborhoods these types of substances are available on a consistent basis.
One of the most common causes for opiate addiction happens when a person is prescribed opiate-based medications by their doctor to treat chronic pain or illness. Although doctors and physicians have the best intentions, when these pills are used on a daily bases for months or years the person will slowly become dependent upon them. These types of pain medications are meant to block pain receptors in the nervous system, but the effect they have on the brain can cause the person to experience pain that isn’t nearly as bad as they believe it is. Their injuries may actually be getting better over time, but because their body has become dependent on these medications their body will crave the drug or experience aches and pains as a symptom of withdrawal if they don’t continue taking the medication. The pain will seem much more amplified than it really is.
When the mind and body become dependent on opiates, the person can be in denial that their opiate use has become a problem. Their body’s craving for these medications can cause them to justify their continuous use because the medications were prescribed by a doctor. There are certain signs that you can look for if you believe you’re developing an opiate addiction, you should consult an addiction specialist right away if you think you have a problem. If you find yourself taking more of these medications than what’s prescribed or combining them with other medications to amplify the feeling you get, you may have developed an addiction.
If you’re struggling with an opiate addiction and want to learn how to live without being reliant on these medications, please don’t hesitate to call us today.