You’ve probably heard growing concerns in the media about the opioid crisis. Much ink has been spilled on the subject of prescription drug misuse and addiction. Even Hollywood has begun to tackle the subject matter.
The opioid epidemic refers to an increasing number of deaths and hospitalizations due to addiction and misuse of opioids. Opioids take many forms but are most commonly understood and seen as the kind of prescription painkillers a doctor might prescribe a patient.
What is causing the rising numbers of deaths? How does opiate dependency work? If you’re unfamiliar with the crisis, you might not know the answers to these questions. Read on and we’ll walk you through everything you need to know.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids get their name from the synthetic material that all forms of the drug are derived from. These opium-based drugs, such as methadone, help to dull the body and prevent pain in recovering patients.
They also produce a ‘high’ state of mind for the user that can be enjoyable. Opioid ingestion can release endorphins in the brain that result in feelings of euphoria or pleasure. Fentaynl, codeine, hydrocodone, and many others are examples of opioids that many people are familiar with.
What Caused The Opioid Epidemic?
Many people trace the beginnings of the current problem back to the 1990s. As pharmaceutical companies began to push new forms of painkillers, synthetic opioids grew in popularity.
These companies advertised these new drugs as being safer and less addictive than morphine, which was more commonly used at the time. Doctors had no qualms about pushing the product, and the business of synthetic opioids grew steadily to the size it’s at today.
It’s not true that these drugs are non-addictive. In fact, their effect on the brain is highly addictive, and it’s easy to see how patients can find themselves craving more. Sometimes people become addicted to opioids during a recovery period and don’t even realize it until their dosages are up.
An addiction to opioids and painkillers can quickly lead to heroin use as well and there are over 70,000 opioid-related deaths per year.
Treatment For Opioid Addiction
Those struggling with an addiction to painkillers need much help and encouragement to make it through recovery. Withdrawal symptoms from an opioid addiction can be quite severe and painful. But fighting through this withdrawal is the only way to break the addiction and return to a normal life.
Recovering addicts are advised to enlist the help of a rehabilitation center, where they can be monitored and assisted throughout the process. These centers also offer helpful therapy services. They can use CBD for opiate withdrawal as well, which might help to lessen certain symptoms.
What can others do? Understanding the symptoms of opiate addiction can help to notice red flags in the behavior of friends and family. Catching an addiction early can help increase the odds of a successful recovery for an individual.
Understanding Opiate Dependency
The opioid epidemic is a very serious problem that is affecting hundreds of thousands of people across the United States. Recognizing and identifying signs of opiate dependency can help to prevent tragedy in our own families.
Explore other sections of our blog for more information on medical emergencies and what you can do to help.