If you are not an opiate addicted person, it can be extremely difficult to develop an understanding of addiction. When people heard the word addiction and opiate – it was not uncommon for most people to think of a junkie with a needle in his arm – homeless sitting on the street corner. However, that is rapidly changing as the faces of addiction are shown on the evening news no matter what town you live in across the United States.
Commercials and other media are reporting on the epidemic issues related to prescription drug use, abuse and dependency. Chances are fairly good either you or somebody in your family knows at least one person who is struggling with opiate addiction. Understanding opiate addiction is becoming something more familiar to everyone in America due to the overwhelming number of people who have been affected by it.
In order to truly understand opiate addiction, we should begin with a definition of addiction.
“Addiction is defined as brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences,” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). “It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors.”
However, medicine has come a long way where we are able to see the affects to the brain and reverse it. There is a difference between dependency and addiction and addiction evolves from a dependency not treated.
What is an opiate? Although this list is not all inclusive, it gives you an idea of how many prescription pain killers are opiates.
- Oxycodone (Percocet, Roxicet, Oxycontin, Tylox, Oxycet)
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Norco)
- Hydromorphine (Dilaulid)
An opiate is a substance derived from the poppy plant (which contains opium). Opiates are sometimes called “natural” since the active ingredient molecules are made by nature, not manufactured by chemical synthesis. Common opiates include morphine and codeine, both made directly from poppy plants.
An opioid is a substance (molecule) that is synthetic or partly synthetic, meaning the active ingredients (molecules) are manufactured via chemical synthesis. Opioids may act just like opiates in the human body, because of the similar molecules. opiate – narcotic analgesic derived from an opium poppy (natural) opioid – narcotic analgesic that is at least part synthetic, not found in nature The terms are often used interchangeably. On the street, “heroin” may mean synthetic, natural, or semi-synthetic compounds. Manufactured opioids like OxyContin are sometimes called “synthetic heroin”, also adding to the confusion.
Genuine “heroin” as originally formulated is technically considered an opioid, since it is chemically manufactured, although molecules from the opium plant are used in the process. Some of heroin’s active ingredient molecules are not found in nature. Currently many references are using opioid to refer to all opium-like substances (including opiates and opioids), and limiting the use of “opiates” to only natural opium poppy derived drugs like morphine.
Although opiate addicted individuals were sometimes thought of as people who wanted to live that way, the reality is becoming starkly clear that nobody sets out to become addicted. Understanding opiate addiction can be challenging even for the person who has become dependent or addicted. What started out as taking a pill that your doctor prescribed for you to temporarily alleviate pain can quickly become an obsession of the mind, as well as the body. Opiate dependent patients find they need a larger dosage to feel the same effect. This can lead ordinary people to behave in ways completely uncharacteristic as their descent into addiction begins.
When patients find out their doctor is tapering off their milligrams or the number of pills they are supposed to take each day, this may lead them to go doctor shopping. If they fail to achieve their goal of finding a provider willing to write them prescriptions for their desired quantity and potency, the next step is often stealing from family, who may have old pill bottles with unused opiates, or unsuspecting friends, who may offer the addict a few pills to help with their pain. When all other options are exhausted, the addict usually does not give up. They instead turn to the streets to purchase prescription opiates just like the heroin addict buys his bag of dope from the drug dealer in the neighborhood.
The risk-taking behavior is just one symptom that illustrates where opiate addiction can take people, who may never have drank alcohol and/or experimented with illegal drugs. The good news is opiate addicted individuals do not have to continue to suffer. There is help in the form of a non-traditional treatment option, which has proven to be successful.
Waismann Method Rapid Opiate Detox Center
Please contact us to learn more about how we can help without judgment or belittling anybody who has developed an addiction to opiates. We understand and we want to help you get your life back.
If you think you have a problem with opiate addiction, or if someone you love is struggling to stop taking prescription painkillers, please contact us today. The Waismann Method is a Rapid Opiate Detox Center, a facility that utilizes the most advanced treatment to treat opiate dependency.