Prescription opioids or opioid painkillers are meant to provide pain relief but now there are a high number of well documented cases where overdose, injuries and deaths have occurred as historically they have been heavily marketed and are often self-administered improperly. Examples of these include oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and tramadol. The illegal drug heroin is also an opioid. People often break tablets or open capsules, dissolve the powder in water and inject the liquid into a vein. Users and those addicted commonly short the crushed and powdered form too.
The addiction to prescription painkillers often starts innocently enough. Painkiller addiction typically starts after someone is prescribed pain medication after an accident or injury. Patients are given a prescription and a recommended dosage from a doctor, without any purpose of misusing the drug. Nevertheless, a person may feel, over a period of time, that the medication is no longer as efficient as it was at first. This sensation is triggered by an increased tolerance of the painkillers, meaning that the drug has built up within the body.
Effects Of Prescription Opioids To The Brain And Body
Even medical use of specific drugs can permanently alter brain structure. The harm which drugs can do to the brain can be permanent and potentially life-threatening especially when abused in large amounts. Opioids are highly addictive, primarily because they stimulate powerful centres of reward within your brain.
Opioids trigger the release of endorphins; the neurotransmitters that make the brain feel good. Endorphins muffle the pain perception and improve feelings of satisfaction, producing a fleeting yet strong sense of well-being. The person would find wanting the good feelings back quickly when a shot of opioid wears off. This is the first step on the road to future dependency.
The short- term effects of using prescription opioids include:
Some of its long-term effects are:
Abruptly stopping these medications can cause severe side effects, including pain worse than when you started taking opioids.
Opioids affect the part of the brain that controls respiration. If people take large doses of opioids, this can lead to an overdose, with breathing weakening or stopping, and sometimes even death. Signs of opioid overdose are:
It is important to know how to respond when this is happening as this is a life or death situation. Surviving an overdose was the pivotal moment for many individuals which prompted them to seek help. Many individuals do, however, refuse to seek therapy immediately after an overdose. The reality is, individuals who do wake up after an overdose would seek out the drug and use it again.
Ready To Get Help?
It is normal to experience a feeling of shame as well as the fear of being judged by others about your struggle with substance abuse. This is why at The Arden Centre, your utmost privacy is protected and ensured. The serene, spacious environment is more than just comfortable - it’s carefully set up to provide optimal success in the road to recovery from substance or behavioural addiction.
The Arden Centre’s pool of highly trained therapists is warm and supportive and with one goal in mind - for the suffering individual to be better and reclaim a sense of self.
I am an energetic and committed Senior Health Care Manager with a passion for developing staff through education and mentoring.