Opioid addiction and dependence:
Although we may normally think of opioids as coming from external sources, they actually are produced naturally in our bodies and include endorphins, dynorphins, and endomorphins. This class of opioids is called endogenous, which means originating within an organism. They work to block pain and to produce a general calming effect. They are effective; however, the body doesn’t produce enough opioids to block severe pain. In addition, the body won’t produce an excessive amount that could lead to an overdose.
Opioids found in nature and produced synthetically also block pain and create feelings of relaxation and pleasure. Morphine and codeine are found in the seeds of the opium poppy. Heroin is processed from these seeds as well. Synthetic opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone, and hydromorphone. These have been used to relieve pain for centuries.
On the flip side of the coin, opioids or opiates have also been abused for centuries. In 1914, the “non-clinical” use of opioids was outlawed in the U.S by the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. In 1970 the severity of this law was reduced by the Controlled Substances Act.
Effects of Opioid Dependence/Addiction
Abusing opioids, whether intentionally or unintentionally, can lead to dependence in which an individual has a psychological and physical need for continued use. A person who is addicted to opioids can’t simply stop taking the drug. Treatment administered by a trained professional is necessary.
There is a myriad of negative effects associated with opioid dependence or addiction whether it occurs as a result of overusing prescription drugs or using illegal opioids. These include:
- Loss of control: the drug is used longer than was originally intended
- Unable to stop using: an individual may have tried to stop using but is unsuccessful
- Physical effects: these include sweating, nausea, pain, dilated pupils, watery eyes, yawning, sleep disturbances
- Mental effects: depression, anxiety, lack of interest
- Tolerance: amount needed to achieve the same effect increases over time
- Time: a majority of the day is spent planning how to get the drug, using the drug, and recovering from its effects
- Relationships: these are invariably impacted in a negative manner
Diagnosing opioid-related disorders consists of patient interviews and observations. After the diagnosis is made a treatment plan is formulated. At Tallahassee Health and Wellness our team of professionals provide the expertise to help you on your road to recovering from this addition. We urge you to give us a call at 850-656-2006.