Author: Gary Jackson

Opioid Use Disorder: What It Is, Symptoms & Treatment

Opiates come in several different forms and can be consumed a number of ways. Typically, these drugs are prescribed as oral capsules or tablets. While a majority of people legally obtain a prescription from their doctor, others may borrow or steal pills from family members or friends. However, using another person’s medications is illegal and constitutes abuse. When you stop using opioids, you will experience a period of withdrawal.

  • The person’s environment and access to supportive family members and friends can also play important roles.
  • As prescriptions for opioid painkillers have soared over the last two decades, so have rates of opioid addiction.
  • Naloxone is used in the acute treatment of an opiate overdose and can be given subcutaneously, intramuscularly, intravenously, intranasally, or by inhalation.
  • Medical attention is still urgently needed after the administration of naloxone.
  • “You get lots of side effects such as nausea and constipation. It’s really not pleasant.

Some people are able to shed their abuse and addictive habits by talking to their doctor about adjusting their current prescription. Others may consider joining a 12-step program or meeting with a substance abuse counselor. However, those who have fallen victim to addiction will generally require intensive care at an inpatient rehab center. The length of treatment for OUD should also be individualized for each patient.

Long-Term Side Effects Of Opiates

If you suddenly stop taking an opioid or lower your dose after a long period of use, you may develop uncomfortable, flu-like withdrawal symptoms. The syndrome appears to be closely related to opioid-induced hyperalgesia, a phenomenon whereby people become overly sensitive to pain as a result of their chronic use of opioids. Morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone and other opioids can cause a wide range of short-term effects. Nausea, vomiting, dizziness and sedation are among the most common reactions to the drugs.

signs of opioid addiction

Learn how to identify and treat an addiction to these types of prescription drugs. The first step toward recovery is recognizing that you have a problem with opioids. If you think you have an addiction, know that there is help for you and begin to seek it. Addiction is a disease that is treatable if you are ready to make changes. In general, you are more likely to avoid addiction if you use opioid drugs no longer than a week.

What causes addiction to opioids?

The false endorphins can even produce a high or feelings of euphoria. Opioid use can cause your brain to depend on these endorphins, or even to stop producing its own endorphins. Unfortunately, people with OUD are at the highest risk of death in the first four weeks of OUD treatment and in the four weeks after treatment ends if they relapse. During CBT, a mental health professional helps you take a close look at your thoughts and emotions. Through CBT, you can unlearn negative thoughts and behaviors and learn to adopt healthier thinking patterns and habits. Treatment for OUD often requires continuing care to be effective, as OUD is a chronic condition with the potential for both recovery and relapse.

With short-acting opioids, such as oxycodone or hydrocodone, symptoms typically arise within six to eight hours after the last dose. Symptoms typically peak within two to three days and resolve within a week. Withdrawal from longer-acting opioids, such as methadone or OxyContin, may not begin for 24 to 72 hours and will peak within a week to 10 days. Because opioids depress the central nervous system, high doses can dangerously slow or stop your breathing.

Medical Professionals

It’s important to seek help as soon as possible if you think you’re developing a dependence on opioids. Though its cause is not yet fully understood, contributing factors may include how opioids affect an individual’s brain as well as family history and environmental and lifestyle factors. Like other diseases, opioid use disorder has specific symptoms and a pattern of progression (it tends to get worse over time), and treatments may help bring it under control. The presence of 6 or more of these diagnostic criteria indicates severe OUD. Physical findings and complaints consistent with opioid withdrawal include muscle aches, diarrhea, rhinorrhea, nerve excitability, and chills with cessation of use. After a relatively brief period, many patients taking opioids demonstrate opioid dependence.

Opioids are potent drugs that can dull sensations of pain and trigger intense feelings of pleasure. The drugs can also produce a range of unwanted effects, ranging from nausea and constipation to extreme sedation, breathing problems and even death. Because an addiction overpowers the brain’s sense of awareness and judgment, a person may not realize how their actions have affected their loved ones. However, only about 1 in 4 people with OUD receive professional treatment. Left untreated, the prognosis (outlook) for opioid use disorder is often poor.