Opiate Addiction: Personality Types and Rehab Challenges

Opiate addiction is very serious and can cause serious adverse side effects. People who get addicted to opiates develop a very strong physical dependency, and they are at risk for developing long-term neurological disorders. Common opiates include heroin, oxycontin, codeine, morphine, dilaudid and methadone. It’s believed that about 9% of the population abuses opiates over the course of their lives.

When a person stops taking the drugs, they need a lot of time to recover, and intense withdrawal symptoms will occur. The withdrawal process occurs in anyone who reduces or stops use of the choice opiate.

Early symptoms of opiate abuse include agitation, anxiety and insomnia. Some later symptoms are diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Opiate Addict Personality Types

Some people are more likely to abuse opiates than others, and they usually have a stand-out difference in their personalities. Two of the main personality types associated with opiate addiction are described in detail below.

People with Poor Interpersonal Relationships and Impaired Mood
Those who struggle with interpersonal relationships are more likely to abuse opiates. They aren’t able to control their emotions as well as most people, and those high-flying mood shifts can lead to them abusing opiates.

People with Thought Disorder
Thought disorder causes impaired cognitive skills and organization that is similar to psychotic mental illness. A person will think and converse illogically and lack proper sequencing, usually caused by delusion and bizarre thinking. In short, unorganized thought leads to unorganized speech. People afflicted with thought disorder may speak quickly, switch topics mid-sentence, or use rhyming inappropriately.

The most common thought disorder is schizophrenia. People with schizophrenia may hear voices that aren’t there, or they may believe that people are reading their minds and controlling their thoughts.

Opiate Rehab Challenges

Opiates are only outdone by alcohol when it comes to being a widespread and persistently used drug. There are two main challenges when it comes to drug rehab for an opiate addiction. First, the withdrawal symptoms can be quite severe. And secondly, many people are not able to break their addiction to opiates and are kept on maintenance doses of methadone, which can lead right back to stronger drugs.

Withdrawal Symptoms:

  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Bone pain
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Clouded thinking
  • Irritability
  • Psychosis
  • Impulsivity

These detox symptoms usually need to be managed by drugs that minimize the intense pain of the physical symptoms of withdrawal; the most popular one is methadone.


Methadone is given to addicts in rehab to help them overcome the detox symptoms associated with coming off opiates. It must be given by a licensed inpatient detox facility, and all patients are fully evaluated to determine the best detox treatment program and correct dosing of methadone.

Methadone is intended to help the patient because its a less powerful opiate with a lower risk of serious side effects, designed to get the patient away from hard street drugs, such as heroin. However, some patients see it as just substituting one drug for the other, which can lead to them going right back to heroin because “what’s the difference?”

However, methadone gives the addict a chance to avoid the serious side effects and debilitating effects that stronger opiates cause, allowing them to rebuild their lives and begin to live normally again.

Getting Help

Opiates are very addictive drugs that come with serious negative physical, emotional and neurological effects. Long-term use of opiates can result in disorders such as epilepsy and neuropathy, so it’s imperative that treatment is sought as soon as possible. If you or someone you know has an opiate addiction, please take action to help yourself or that person immediately.

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