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. Continuous and extensive opiate use can cause the nerve cells in the brain to discontinue functioning as usual and stop giving off natural endorphins. Opiate substitutes endorphins in the body. This makes the nerve cells to deteriorate and opiate dependency would then occur. Studies show that the brain has its own opiate and opiate receptors, which are concentrated in the parts of the brain that manages 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.

Normally, a substance dependent would take actions to conceal the addiction. However, the addiction will always show on the person’s attitudes and behaviors. 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. Opiate addicts can go out of their way to the point of inflicting injury to one’s own body to get medication.

Treating opiate addiction is similar to treating any other drug addiction. All treatments always start with the addict willing to overcome the addiction. Professional help is also needed for a high possibility of recovery from the addiction. First step of the treatment is the process of detoxification. In the procedure of the treatment, withdrawal symptoms could occur. Opiate detox and withdrawal happens 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.

Opiate dependency was once viewed as a condition with no solution. Patients with opiate physical dependency were said 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 heal this kind of addiction. After more than a decade of NIH-supported animal and human research, buprenorphine became one of the daily-administered medications most recently approved to treat opiate addiction. 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 behavioral therapy such that the patient is encouraged to think positively 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. Small things can always lead to dependency where treatment is the only way out.

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