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Everything You Need to Know About Prescription Opiates Addiction

Going to the doctor for pain medication seems like a minimal daily task for most people. Chronic pain is frustrating to handle, and a steady source of strong pain relievers can help manage this pain. However, developing an addiction to pain medication, specifically opiates, is common and extremely dangerous. Prescription opiates addiction affects more than 10 million people in the United States.

This type of addiction often leads to abuse of other drugs as well. If you or someone you know is concerned about opiates addiction, here is everything you need to know to understand and help them overcome addiction.

What Are Opiates and How Does Addiction Form?

Prescription opiates are substances derived from opium, which is commonly found in poppy seeds and other plants. Because of this derivation, opiates prescribed for mild to severe pain often are abused due to their intense calming effects.

Most users of prescription opiates do not intend for abuse to occur. However, increased use over time causes many patients to develop a tolerance to the drug’s effects. When this occurs, prescription opiate users often return to their doctor to ask for higher doses. Increased dosage over time creates a physical reliance on the drug.

Once reliance on the drug develops, cravings occur and lead many users to take more than the prescribed dosage. Repetition of this behavior leads to the formation of addiction. Prescription drug addiction is a serious neurological disease, which feels inescapable to the person who suffers from addiction. Overcoming addiction is no easy feat and requires support and treatment. Understanding the physical and behavioral signs of addiction is essential to helping others get the treatment they need.

Know the Signs of Addiction

Developing an addiction to opiates happens over time, and sometimes the symptoms of addiction are subtle. However, there are several symptoms to watch if you are concerned about a friend or loved one developing an addiction. Outward signs include changes in eating or sleeping habits, trouble finishing tasks at work or school, mood swings, or quitting hobbies.

Additionally, you may notice those with drug addiction finishing prescriptions early or not using them as instructed. If you see someone around you taking more medications than necessary or taking them longer than needed, an opiates addiction may form. Understanding the signs of addiction helps aid the recovery of those around you who are in need.

Learn About Common Addictive Opiates

Preventing opiate addiction is easier when you understand the type of medication that commonly leads to addiction. There are many prescription opiates in the market, and their use depends on the reason for the prescription. A typical drug for mild to moderate pain is codeine, and cases with moderate to severe pain often receive morphine or oxycodone prescriptions. When a patient is experiencing severe pain – which can be chronic or temporary – fentanyl and hydrocodone are commonly prescribed. Fentanyl users sometimes cut illegal substances to give the appearance of increased potency as well. When this occurs, the result is often an overdose (which can be fatal).

When a person develops an opiate addiction, it often leads to abuse of cheaper, more accessible drugs such as heroin. Heroin is derived from morphine and has no practical medical use. Since many people with drug addiction purchase their opiates without a prescription, heroin is the cheaper option that provides the same result. In the United States, 80% of heroin users have a previous addiction to opiates. If you or a loved one take any of these pain medications, be aware of the symptoms and monitor any changes in behavior that could indicate addiction.

Find Treatment for Opiates Addiction

The best way to handle a prescription opiate addiction is to get help. The Bridges of San Diego is an intensive outpatient drug treatment center with medical professionals on staff to help you or your loved one overcome addiction. Our program focuses on education and support throughout the entire recovery process.

Intensive outpatient therapy provides support and education to anyone overcoming addiction. In our program, outpatient treatment includes education about the disease based on scientific information, counseling for a variety of topics (such as anxiety, depression, etc.), physical health and wellbeing, and more. We offer a variety of scheduling options to accommodate the needs of any patient.

We also offer partial hospitalization programs for those who need additional support. This program involves a short-term, comprehensive treatment plan. Our team also teaches the skills to cope with depression, anxiety, and more. Patients return to their home or sober environment at the end of each day upon completion of treatment. Contact The Bridges of San Diego to discuss and schedule a treatment for yourself or your loved one today.

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