Drug addiction being a disease or not continues to be an ongoing discussion amidst the epidemic sweeping the nation. While some believe that drug addiction is a choice, studies and statements from leading medical institutions are proving otherwise and it’s reshaping our perspective on drug addiction as a whole. The National Institute on Drug Abuse… read more
Getting Real with Opioid Abuse: Living a Full Life Without the Addiction
Doctors prescribed opiates as a medical management to treat moderate to severe pain. Even though opiates can effectively relieve pain it can also generate addiction. A person can quickly develop dependency even if they following a medical prescription.
Withdrawal symptoms and tolerance can manifest in drug dependency. This can result in the need to take higher doses of the drug. Meanwhile, compulsive abuses along with physical and mental desires characterize addiction.
If you are hesitant about your opioid use, here is a list of some signs and symptoms that you may have an opioid addiction problem.
- Do you take more than the prescribed medications?
- Do experience negative implications because of your opioid use?
- Do you always think obsessively about using your choice of drug?
- Do you choose to take your drug instead of doing other things?
- Has your opioid use increased over time?
- Have you made attempts to cut down or stop taking drugs but failed?
- Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking your drug?
If you answered yes to more than two of the questions above, then chances are you are already addicted to opioids. It is also best to seek medical attention to ensure effective and safe treatment for drug addiction. Tapering off from addiction seems impossible at first, but it doable.
Half of the battle is won, when you decide to stop your drug addiction. This means you are willing to change the bad habit and turn your world around to live a happy and healthy life. The next step will require you to prepare a recovery plan.
A recovery plan includes (but not limited to):
- Determination to quit
- Evaluate your level of drug abuse
- Stop or avoid opiates at all cost
- Anticipate withdrawal symptoms
- Follow your doctor’s orders
- Consider getting a rehabilitation program
- Detoxification program
- Determination to quit
Addiction is an intricate physical and mental dependency on your drug of choice. Determination plays a very significant part of overcoming addiction. Admitting you have an addiction and willing to solve the problem remains the most important step of your recovery.
You may also want to join a support group it can help you to understand more the source of your addiction. People in a support group can recognize your feelings since these are the same individuals fighting the same battle. Even though you may already have supportive family and friends, it can help you a lot to know individuals who are currently in the same situation as you are.
Evaluate your level of drug abuse
If you are taking opiates because of medical reasons and taking only what on the presctiption, then you can stop using the drug without tapering down your usage. You may feel an increased pain after ending your medication but should not experience any major withdrawal symptoms.
However, if you are consuming opiates daily and acquires moderate to severe dependence, you may need to reduce your intake.
- Prolonged exposure to opioid use can cause dependency. Users continue to use opioid to avoid experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
- The main purpose of the user’s dependency on opioid is to relief pain rather than to get the ‘high’ or the euphoric feeling.
- On the other hand, addiction acts in the reward area if the brain directing it to compulsively take the drug. When users take opioid with an intention of getting high rather than to treat pain, it is called an addiction.
- Users can develop opioid dependency but not addicted to the drug. However, most drug abusers can show signs of physical and mental dependency.
Avoid opiates at all cost
When you reduced your dosage intake you can safely stop opiate use. Once you stop, it is important you avoid opiate use in the future, unless instructed or recommend by your doctor.
- Always get a medical advised from your doctor about discontinuing your opioid use.
- Depending on your medical condition, and the level of your opiate use, the duration of the taper varies. There is no concrete plan about tapering off from opiate abuse.
- On the other hand, there is situation which you can control. If you obtain opiates from a source like drug dealers then you can cut your connection to them.
- Eliminating all possible access to opiates can significantly increase your chances your success in recovering.
Anticipate withdrawal symptoms
People who already develop opioid dependency or became addicted to the drug can experience mild to severe withdrawal symptoms. Going “cold turkey” serves as the biggest challenge for users to stop their addictive behavior. Withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the drug of choice but usually include:
- Erratic heartbeat
Follow your doctor’s orders
Always trust your doctor about your opiate use. They can easily detect people vulnerable to opiate addiction. Here are the usual medical reasons why doctors advised patients to reduce opiate intake.
- Most patients who suffer from chronic pain take higher doses of the drug to relief pain. They also take opiates to have overall mood elevation and performance skills.
- Once doctors noticed less pain or it becomes more manageable, they will discontinue opiate medications.
- In some instances, patients may experience dangerous or unpleasant side effects of opiates. These include sedation, constipation, sleep apnea and overdose.
- Doctors will put an abrupt use of opiates once they noticed patients developing an abusive behavior towards opiates.
Consider getting a rehabilitation program
Some users can successfully end opiate use without any medical assistance. However, for most cases, users need medical professionals to assist them in tapering off from the drug. Experts may recommend inpatient detoxification for long term or severe addiction. One of the advantages going into inpatient rehabilitation is the safety and comfort of the users to undergo detoxification process. Medical practitioners can monitor the vital signs of the users who suffer from extreme withdrawal symptoms.
- Experts typically recommend users to check into inpatient rehabilitation program if they are medically unstable. Also, users who already tried to quit opiate addiction in an outpatient setting but were unsuccessful.
- Users who need to detox from several substance addictions can benefit really well in inpatient rehab.
- Inpatient detox program can last three to four days, some may longer depending on the user’s level of abuse. Most inpatient detox has a 28-day rehab program to effectively treat the addiction.
There are several detox programs available in the medical community. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages. It is always best to talk to your doctor or a rehab expert on what serves as an effective detox program that will suit you.
- Medical detox
In this plan, it involved reducing the dosage of opiates in safe levels. This can promote comfortable withdrawal symptoms compare to abruptly stopping the drug intake.
- Rapid detox
This program increasingly grows popularity. This program involves ending all opiates intake immediately. Users are then given anesthesia and intravenous opiate blockers like naltrexone, nalmefene, and naloxone. These drugs can block any opiates you will take afterward. The body then goes sudden and quick withdrawal but the user will not suffer any unpleasant symptoms. Within 48 hours the patient can then be discharged from the health care facility.
Methadone program is the most frequent method of opiate detox. Doctors recommend methadone treatment to assist users to end opiate addiction.
Approved clinics can administer methadone for 21 days until users stop their opiate addiction. Users can still experience intense withdrawal symptoms. This program may not guarantee you from developing other opioid addiction.