What are you to do if a friend or family member has an opioid addiction? Realize that this addiction is more than just tough on you. This is a constant physical and mental battle for anyone addicted to these substance and if they could stop, they certainly would.
Opioid addictions carry the potential to destroy families and relationships, but you can play a pivotal role in the recovery process for an addicted person. Opioid addiction is a nationwide epidemic, and there are a number of reasons why an individual would struggle to quit even if they wanted to.
How Users Get Addicted to Opioids
Opioids are drugs that are naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Some opioids, both prescription and illicit, are made from this plant or within labs by chemists. In either type, opioids alter physical and mental capabilities of the human body.
Prescription opioids are typically administered for moderate to severe pain and are to be taken for short periods of time. When taken long-term, opioids are extremely addictive. Users enjoy the immediate relaxation effects of these drugs as they reduce pain and eliminate cares and concerns.
People can grow dependent on opioids in a number of ways, but a couple of the most common tend to be:
- Taking prescribed medication in doses stronger than prescribed
- Taking someone else’s medication for pain or recreationally
- Using medication or illicit drugs recreationally in a social setting
Regardless of how an individual was introduced to opioids, or how they use them, the impact to the brain and body is undeniable.
Physical and Mental Effects of Opioid Use Disorder
You should not outwardly judge an opioid user. In fact, these individuals need your support now more than ever. With opioid abuse, many people will go to great lengths to get their desired drug or medication to prevent the debilitating symptoms of withdrawal.
Non-addicts often forget that this is a tolerance-based substance. This means as use increases an individual will require higher or more frequent doses to receive its effects. Problems occur when the brain grows dependent on opioids because the neurons adapt to the presence of the drug.
Simply telling an addict to quit won’t work. Chronic opioid users often need medical assistance to fully quit the drug, or they will continue to crave it. In almost all cases, stopping opioid use abruptly leads to the following uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms:
- Muscle aches
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Abdominal cramps
There is Help for Opioid Addiction
If a friend or loved one is struggling with an opioid addiction, you have the power to make a difference in their life. Extending a helping hand goes a long way when you remain patient and educate yourself on the nature of opioid addiction. Avoiding harmful behaviors such as verbal criticism, enabling and stereotyping can keep recovering addicts on a healthy path.
Recovery from an opioid addiction is not an overnight process, and every addiction is different from the next. You can show your support and introduce an addict to AppleGate Health Services.