Opioid abuse and addiction are part of a nationwide epidemic. While many people are prescribed a short course of opioid painkillers after oral surgery, major and minor procedures, or injury, many also take opioids for chronic pain. When someone uses these drugs regularly, opioids are highly addictive and ineffective. Despite their highly addictive nature, opioids are still commonly prescribed for a wide array of conditions. Unfortunately, people regularly taking opioids frequently become addicted. However, an opioid addiction treatment program can help.
If you or someone in your life is taking opioids for chronic pain, Baltimore Detox Center can help you transition to other types of pain management. Reach our Baltimore, MD staff at 833.714.1575 to learn more about our opioid recovery programs.
What Is an Opioid?
Opioids are very common prescription painkillers. Opioids originally come from the opium poppy. People have been harvesting poppy plants for centuries for natural pain relief and euphoric experiences. Today, drug manufacturers process the poppy seed to make various prescription opioids. These painkillers block pain receptors in the brain, offering people relief and euphoric feelings. Popular prescription opioids include:
Sometimes opioids are only prescribed during a hospital stay or after surgery. This option may be safe for those who are not predisposed to addiction. Short courses of opioids can also lead to addiction, drug-seeking behavior, and overall changes in behavior. Frequently, those experiencing chronic pain receive long-term opioid prescriptions.
Chronic Pain and Opioid Addiction
Opioids change a person’s brain. The longer a person takes opioids, the more their brain adjusts to their dosage. This means that regular opioid use for pain relief requires higher and higher doses. Someone may take a 10 or 20 mg dose of OxyContin and experience relief for a few weeks. Once their brain builds up a tolerance, they might move to a 30 or 40 mg dose. Eventually, as opioids lose their effectiveness, people may try crushing and snorting them for a more intense effect. They may combine opioids with illicit drugs or alcohol to increase their efficacy. Many people taking prescription opioids switch to heroin for accessibility and price.
Most times, opioids prescribed for chronic pain lead to addiction. Signs of opioid addiction include:
- Mood swings
- Erratic behavior
- Seeming intoxicated all the time
- Increased alcohol consumption
- Changes in sleep and eating patterns
- Running out of prescriptions early
Like any addictive substance, opioids can change a person’s behavior. This can happen quickly with prescription opioids. In some cases, a family member on opioids may seem unrecognizable. They may lie, manipulate, and do anything they can to support their opioid use. This change in behavior results from opioids changing a person’s brain. Long-term opioid use causes the brain to believe it cannot exist without opioids. When the individual tries to stop taking opioids, they experience a withdrawal called dope sickness. During this time, a person develops flu-like symptoms and irrational behavior. Because of this reaction, it’s almost impossible to quit opioid use cold turkey.
Alternatives for Opioids for Chronic Pain at Baltimore Detox Center
Unfortunately, opioids are not ideal for chronic pain. They temporarily mitigate pain. However, their long-term effects on the brain and body make them a controversial prescription painkiller. If you or someone you love is currently taking opioids for chronic pain, call Baltimore Detox Center today. Our intimate live-in facility treats co-occurring conditions for mental health concerns and drug or alcohol addiction. As one of the first freestanding detox centers in Baltimore, we understand the trials of opioid detox. Don’t let opioids control your life. Call us today at 833.714.1575 to learn more about our opioid detox programs.