If you or someone you love has a problem with opiates, help is available for addiction. Opiates can come in the form of pain medications or in the form of heroin. This type of drug was created to help people who experience chronic pain or have a severe illness, but is also highly addictive. It can sometimes be hard to know whether or not a person has a problem with prescription medications, but there are signs to look for. Recent statistics show that more overdoses are a result of prescription medications than both heroin and cocaine combined – an epidemic of which is occurring all over the world. The first step toward recovery from such an addiction is acknowledging that a problem with opiates exists.
The Disease of Addiction
Addiction is sly, confusing and powerful. Only about one in 10 people are afflicted with the disease of addiction, which can happen for a variety of reasons. Some people are genetically predisposed to addiction based on familial history with the disease. Studies have shown that addicts react differently to substances and situations which stimulate their brains that most people aren’t affected by. The frontal lobe of the brain has many responsibilities that include self-awareness, impulse control, the ability to analyze one’s self and moderate activities that may have negative consequences. In an addict’s brain, this frontal lobe is over-stimulated when dopamine is released in the system, causing a euphoric effect that the individual begins to crave. A person’s addiction can also develop over time, as well. The longer someone uses or abuses substances, the more the mind and body become dependent, which can cause damage to the frontal lobe.
Because of the effects on the frontal lobe, addicts are in an unknowing state of denial that often deters them from seeking help for addiction. Their basic survival instincts kick in and they’ll go to any length to get and use more, even if it’s hurting themselves and the ones they love. It’s important to remember whether you’re suffering from addiction yourself, or if you have a friend or family member who’s addicted, that this is a legitimate illness. Although it may seem as though addicts make extremely selfish and amoral decisions, most would quit if they had the power to. Addiction causes an individual to lose the power of choice in the situation, and it’s important to seek outside help.
Help for Addiction
When a person is seeking help for opiate addiction, the individual should always consult an addiction specialist at a treatment center first. The specialist will evaluate the person’s history of using and plan the best course for medical detox, as quitting “cold turkey” can be uncomfortable and dangerous. Medical detoxification uses addiction medications to help the person’s mind and body lose the dependence from opiates while keeping the individual as safe and comfortable as possible and minimizing symptoms of withdrawal.
Once a person has gone through detox, the individual can begin addiction rehabilitation. In treatment, addicts learn that not only can they recover from addiction, but it’s possible to live a healthy and happy life without the use of opiates. Addicts learn about avoiding potential relapse triggers and about alternative methods to deal with chronic pain. Above all else, individuals learn how to lead a better life free of substances.
If you or a loved one would like more information on recovery from opiate addiction, please call our helpline at 800-447-9081 today.