Opiate Detox

The United States of America has some of the highest statistics on drug abuse in the world. Opiates are the most common drugs for which American people develop addictions. The following are some recent statistics on opiate use and overall drug use in the US:

  • More than six million American children have parents with drug addictions.
  • American employers lose over 122 billion dollars a year on employee drug addictions.
  • Baltimore, Maryland has the highest amount of heroin addicted residents in the US.
  • Approximately 2 million people in the US are addicted to opiates.
  • More than 52 million people use opiate pills for non-medical reasons.
  • One out of every 20 high school seniors abuses OxyContin.

What are Opiates?

Opiate DetoxMedical experts use the term opiates to describe a class of medications that manufacturers derive from the poppy plant. Two main types of opiates exist, synthetic opiates and natural opiates. The three main types of natural opiates are opium, codeine, and morphine. Codeine and morphine can come in the form of powder or pills. Opium mostly comes in powered form. The drug heroin is also considered an opiate because the manufacturers derive if from morphine.

Synthetic opiates, or opioids, are those that are man-made in a factory, and they are designed to act as opiates. Such synthetic opiates include methadone, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Opiates and opioids are similar in their characteristics, and they are all extremely addictive.

How Opiates Work

Medical experts usually prescribe opiates for pain. These substances work by attaching themselves to the receptors in the person’s brain. These receptors control pain, mood, breathing, temperature, and digestive functions. Most people who take opiate pills will cease to feel pain anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours after they ingest them. Some people who become addicted to opiates choose to snort them or inject them into their bloodstreams because such processes speed up the effects of the drugs.

While a person in affected by opiate usage, he or she will not feel physical or emotional pain. In some cases, the person will even feel euphoric or extremely happy and calm. The effects of opiates can be so strong the individual will repeatedly start to fall asleep. Repeatedly falling asleep is also known as “nodding out” to chronic users. Such nodding occurs because the central nervous system becomes depressed. Every bodily function slows down, including the digestive functions.

Illegal Opiates vs. Prescription Opiates

Heroin was not created as a medicinal product. In fact, people who use heroin use it strictly for the euphoria that they experience. However, methadone was created to help people who developed heroin addictions to try to wean them from the dangerous substance. Unfortunately, some clients that use methadone become addicted to it because it is also an opiate.

Pharmaceutical companies make prescription opiate pills, and they are intended to relieve patients from pain. Doctors prescribe narcotic pain pills for a number of ailments such as back pain, broken limbs, migraine headaches, post-surgery pain relief, severe ovulation and menstrual pain, endometriosis, cancer, and other problems. The problem that arises in many situations is that the client becomes addicted to the pills after the first prescription. In such instances, it is neither the doctor’s fault nor the client’s fault. However, more doctors should try to come up with alternatives for opiate pain pills.

Medical professionals who capitalize off the addictive properties of opiate pain pills are continuing the dilemma. Many of these doctors know that their clients are addicted to opiate pills, but they continue to prescribe them long after the client’s original pain ceases.

Why People Start Using Opiates

Aside from pain relief, people start using opiates for a wide variety of reasons. Peer pressure is the number one cause of teenage opiate abuse. People with mental illnesses sometimes get involved with opiate pills because they relieve the person of some of the painful symptoms of their illnesses. For example, a person who suffers from depression and anxiety may be able to balance their mood with opiates.

Some individuals use opiates as an escape from their everyday lives. These people do not have to feel pain as long as they are ingesting the opiates. However, the cost of developing an opiate addiction is very high.

Opiate Addiction

Opiate addiction begins with a routine. The person uses the drug a few times and enjoys the effects. He or she begins to use it on a daily basis to feel the effects again. Eventually, the body becomes use to having the drug in its system, and it thinks it needs such a substance to function normally. Additionally, the person using the opiates will have to consume more to feel the same high as previously because the body develops a tolerance to the drug.

An addiction is apparent when a person believes that he or she cannot live without opiates. This person is psychologically and physically addicted to opiates. At this point, whenever the individual does not ingest opiates, he or she will feel painful withdrawal symptoms. Such withdrawal symptoms include diarrhea, sweating, muscle cramps, muscle spasms, restless leg syndrome, depression, irritability, anxiety, headaches, and extreme fatigue. The person may also think about the drugs for a majority of the day and perform dangerous or criminal acts to acquire them. His or her friend circles may change to include other people who perform drug-seeking activities throughout their lives.

Recognizing Opiate Addiction

If you or someone you know recognizes a loved one participating in drug-seeking activities, behaving erratically, running out of money, disappearing, or otherwise acting out of character, it may be time to speak with this person about opiate detox and recovery. Special facilities are in business to help people who have opiate addictions. Such facilities do not judge the addicted party, no matter how that person developed the addiction. Instead, they embrace the wounded party and encourage him or her to take steps toward an improved existence. Drug rehabilitation facilities are shelters that are full of hope and promise.

Help for Opiate Addiction

A person’s time within a rehab facility will begin with opiate detox. Detox is short for detoxification, which is the process of eliminating harmful materials from the body. Opiate detox usually takes approximately 3-5 days, but the withdrawal symptoms can last much longer. Withdrawal symptoms such as diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting will cease within a few days, but the depression and anxiety may linger. Experts within the facility will give the recovering party all the moral support and medical attention that he or she needs during detoxification. Once that stage is over, the individual can enjoy the wide variety of additional services the help facility offers.

Inpatient treatment in a facility may include additional services such as group counseling, individual therapy, and life guidance. Speaking with someone from a facility for an initial consultation is a step toward a bright future. The staff member will arrange a meeting for a party that is considering registration. During the meeting, the addicted person or his or her family member can observe the facility and ensure that it meets the appropriate hygienic and professional standards. Inpatient programs can last from a few weeks to several months, depending on the needs of the client.

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