Opiate Dependency

A narcotic sedative which slows down the activity of the central nervous system is called an opiate drug. Opiate drugs lessen pain and stimulate sleep. Like every drugs prescribed by physicians, this drug gives benefits to our body. Yet, when taken abusively can lead to addiction.

Getting dependent to opiate is a disorder in the body’s central nervous system. Nonstop and extensive opiate use can cause the nerve cells in the brain to stop functioning as they normally and stop producing natural endorphins. Opiate replaces endorphins in the body. In return, the nerve cells start to degenerate and the body becomes physically dependent on opiates. Studies show that the brain has its own opiate and opiate receptors, which are concentrated in the parts of the brain that control pain and emotions. The nucleus accumbens is a region in the brain that enhances the release of dopamine. Flooding of dopamine in the brain produces a “high” of pleasure and relaxation which in turn could lead to addiction.

Usually an addict would do whatever it takes to hide the addiction. But eventually it will start to show, both in their behavior and in their attitudes. Some symptoms of opiate addiction include obsessing over medications, obsessing over doctor appointments and the need to get more medicine, being restless, irritable, and angry when not getting enough opiates, being preoccupied with getting more drugs, lying about how much they have used or when they got the medicine, and lying to doctors or faking injuries or illnesses in order to get more medicine. An addict may even go out of their way to the point of inflicting injury to one’s own body to get medication.

This type of addiction is treated the same as any other type of drug addiction. And, the common denominator is that the patient should be willing to stop the addiction. Professional help is also needed for a high possibility of recovery from the addiction. Detoxification is needed as a first step in treating the addiction. In the process of the treatment, withdrawal symptoms can happen. Opiate detox and withdrawal can occur when one suddenly stops the amount of opiates after intense use. Opiates could be an illegal drug or prescription drugs. Actually, it is the occurrence of withdrawal syndrome that makes an individual to continue using the drug. Furthermore, people using opiates often experience drowsiness, vomiting, nausea, muscle soreness, constipation and dry mouth.

Before, getting addicted to opiate is seen as a helpless condition. Patients with opiate physical dependency were considered to have acquired an addictive personality or psychological disorder or to have suffered with a dysfunctional family life. However, studies have been made on how to cure this kind of addiction. After more than a decade of NIH-supported animal and human research, buprenorphine was discovered to help stop opiate dependency. With the help of the opiate receptor discovery, researchers determined that buprenorphine worked like a treatment already available, termed methadone, by activating opiate receptors and mimicking opiate drugs of abuse. Receptor-activating medications can help relieve drug cravings and control a person’s addiction. Medications should also be paired with cognitive treatment such that the patient is encouraged to consider and be hopeful that the addiction would later on subside. To help deal with the addiction, behavior should be modified.

Opiate is a drug usually used to alleviate severe and chronic pain. It may be safe to think that prescription drugs are safe to take, however, dangerous effects may possibly occur due to misuse or abuse. Opiate can be tolerated by the body and later on may lead to addiction. Treatment may be hard but it is the only way out.

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