There are many reasons why someone might need to take prescription pain medication, and opioids can have a variety of positive uses if you experience chronic pain. However, there is a dark side to this medication which can cause addiction.
Opioids for pain relief
For thousands of years, opioids have been considered a standard treatment for pain relief. Some of the earliest evidence of opioid prescription comes in the form of an 8,000 year old clay tablet from Sumer. These tablets, which prescribed opium for bodily pain, shows that we have been relying on opioids for pain management for a very long time. Throughout history, there have been many recorded accounts of people using various opioids to manage their pain. And, during this time, there have been varying amounts of concern about their addictive properties. In the past, opioids were made with naturally occurring compounds found in nature, including poppies. Now, many different drugs are synthetic and made in factories. However, both natural and synthetic drugs have the same properties and the same effects on the body.
What happens to your body?
Every time you take an opioid, the chemicals attach to the proteins in your brain, known as the opiate receptors, in order to disrupt the pain receptors. As the chemicals target the reward section of your brain, there is a rush of dopamine. This in turn, blocks the pain that you may be feeling in your body. As well as numbing the pain, your heart rate drops and your breathing slows. This provides a feeling of relaxation along with the dopamine release. But it is not just pain relief that the drugs will affect. They can also cause constipation, vomiting, and tiredness.
What are the uses for opioids?
Opioids have a variety of uses. As a perspective painkiller, they are used to manage chronic pain. Cancer pain and end-of-life treatments also employ the use of opioids. Morphine is one of the most used opioids in end-of-life care as it eases the pain a person is feeling and provides a feeling of euphoria at every dose. There are also illegal opioids such as heroin which carries a prison sentence if you are caught in possession of it. Heroin is used as a recreational drug rather than a painkiller, and the user experiences a “high” when they take it.
What happens when you stop taking opioids?
At Findlay Recovery, we know how opioid withdrawal can affect you. Depending on your reliance on opioids, there are many different things which may happen when you stop taking opioids. Some of the side effects may last around a week as your body adjusts to no longer receiving drugs but some of the withdrawal effects can be severe. It does not take long for withdrawal to kick in, and it can happen as quickly as 6 hours after the last opioid dose was taken. However, peak withdrawal happens between days 1 and 3 after the last dose. This is when your body begins its detox process and things can become difficult. However, if you can make it past these initial days, after a week, the withdrawal symptoms will begin to subside. You may still experience acute withdrawal symptoms for months or even years after your last dose.
Symptoms of opioid withdrawal
As your body begins to detox from drugs or alcohol, it will go through several stages. How bad the effects of your detox are will depend on a number of factors but the main one is how much you used and for how long. If someone has had a light dependency, the symptoms should be very mild. However, for a long term user, the symptoms can be terrifying. Although withdrawal is not life threatening, the physical and psychological effects can be alarming.
Some of the withdrawal effects can include:
- Stomach pains
- Muscle Spasm
- Craving more opioids
How can a rehabilitation facility help you?
As you can see, withdrawal from opioids can be very traumatic which is why you should consider checking into a rehabilitation center. Heroin is one of the most difficult drugs to detox from, and the symptoms are so severe that it is recommended by many medical experts that you have a medical detox rather than go cold turkey. If you know that you are suffering from an opioid addiction and would like to talk to someone, our friendly staff at Findlay Recovery Center in Ohio, are happy to talk to you and explain the options that we have available in order to rid you of your addiction.