Opioids belong to a class of drugs that comprise illegal drugs like heroin; synthetic opioids like fentanyl; and prescription painkillers like hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and many others. Unfortunately, more than 130 people succumb to opioid overdose every day.

The abuse and addiction of opioids including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription pain relievers is a national health crisis posing a huge burden on public health and economic and social welfare. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), prescription opioid misuse in the United States costs $78.5 billion per year comprising lost productivity, health care costs, criminal justice involvement, and substance abuse treatment.

Therapeutically, opioids are primarily used for the management of pain, including anesthesia. In addition, these are used to stop diarrhea, suppress cough, control opioid-induced constipation, and reverse opioid overdose. Exceptionally potent opioids like carfentanil are used only in veterinary medicine. Non-medically, these are used for their euphoric effects and for the prevention of withdrawal symptoms.

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Side Effects of Opioids

Some of the common side effects of opioid abuse are nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, constipation, gradual overdose, sexual dysfunction, and respiratory complications. For people using opioids recreationally, another side effect of opioid abuse is the development of tolerance because of which, the body needs an increased amount of the drug to produce the same euphoric effects.

The body adapts to opioids because of repeated exposure resulting in tolerance and withdrawal when use is suddenly stopped. Withdrawal symptoms could include cold flashes, vomiting, insomnia, muscle and bone pain, restlessness, diarrhea, goose bumps, and involuntary leg movements.

Long-term opioid use can also lead to decreased white matter in the brain leading to physiological changes and the development of mental disorders. White matter is important for the process of decision making and regulating an individual’s behavior.

Adjuvant Drugs

Many people use additional drugs, like stimulants, local anesthetics, antidepressants, anticonvulsants, and corticosteroids, with opioids to increase their effectiveness and strengthen the high they experience. Opioids should never be used concurrently with benzodiazepines, antihistamines, barbiturates, or alcohol as these drugs can slow the breathing process and the combined effect may lead to severe respiratory distress.

Symptoms of Opioid Intoxication

When a recent exposure to an opioid causes severe problematic psychological or behavioral complications, it might signal an opioid intoxication. The symptoms of an opioid intoxication are:

  • Initial euphoria followed by apathy
  • Strong sense of unease
  • Hand-wringing and pacing
  • Uncontrolled tongue movement
  • Slowed movement and cognition
  • Impaired judgment
  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Drowsiness
  • Coma
  • Slurred speech
  • Attention or memory impairment

The signs of a drug addiction are manifested by a strong craving for the opioid, an inability to function in its absence despite emotional, physical, and financial adverse effects, and a total loss of control over use. Sometimes, even a single large dose can lead to severe respiratory dysregulation.

Treatment of Opioid Addiction

Opioid use disorder (OUD) is treatable. The drug addiction treatment comprises a medically supervised detoxification process and treatment modalities including the use of medication and therapy. For the elimination of withdrawal symptoms and relief from cravings, a synthetic opioid known as methadone is frequently used. It is used for people addicted to heroin as well as opiates. Research has established that methadone, combined with behavioral therapies, reduces many health problems associated with opioid use and also decreases overdose death rate.

Another synthetic opioid, buprenorphine, is also used in drug addiction treatment for heroin and other opiates. In addition, naltrexone is used for preventing a relapse. A short-acting opioid, naloxone is also used widely to treat overdoses.

Behavioral therapies comprise family therapy, counseling, support groups, and psychotherapy.

Opioid Addiction at Invictus Health Group

Opioid addiction is a menace that has destroyed the life of many individuals. However, seeking substance abuse treatment at the right time for this brain disease can ensure long-term drug recovery. Invictus Health Group is a leading name in treatment for opioid addiction. Our partner’s certified-medical team offers research-backed detoxification process that ensures safe with-drawl, complemented by medications and alternate therapies.

We pride ourselves for working with well-structured, safe, evidence-based facilities for anyone battling opioid addiction. To learn more about how Invictus Health Group can help you or a loved one overcome their addiction to opioids, get in touch with a substance abuse treatment specialist by calling our helpline 866-548-0190. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.

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