In today’s world, it is not uncommon to know someone who has a problem with drugs or alcohol. Addiction is no longer hidden away in back alleys among homeless people; it can be found in any neighborhood, rich or poor. Young adults spend their weekends in bars or at parties where drugs are easily available, and are not concerned that they could be developing a life-long addiction. Many people who suffer from chronic pain find themselves dependent or addicted to the prescription painkiller they must take in order to have some level of quality of life. The culprit in most of these addictions is opiate-based drugs, and currently in the United States over seven million people suffer with opiate addiction.
What Are Opiates?
Opiate-based drugs are derived from opium poppy plants and are narcotic, pain-relieving drugs that work on the central nervous system as depressants. When these drugs are taken in excessive amounts, they produce a euphoric state, which is why these drugs are so popular with anyone wishing to get high. Addiction develops when a person repeatedly abuses the drug, increasing their tolerance level to the point that they need dangerous amounts of it to get the desired results. At this point, the only option for overcoming opiate addiction is to enter a professional, residential treatment facility that is qualified and equipped to deal with these specific substances.
Some of the more familiar opiates are:
Whether natural or man-made, each of the above carries a high risk for addiction that can result in life-threatening consequences.
How to Recognize a Possible Opiate Addiction
As with any other drug or substance when a person is abusing them, there are warning signs of possible addiction that could alert someone to seek help for their loved one or friend. Although these signs could be the result of something such as stress or depression, they could also be evidence that there is a problem with drugs. Being aware of what to look for could make all the difference in saving someone’s life. Some of the warning signs include, but are not limited to the following:
- When the drug becomes their main focus daily
- Makes excuses for needing more of the drug, fakes pain
- Secretive behavior, new group of friends
- Mood swings, anxiety, aggression, depression
- Lack of interest in hygiene, nutrition
- Lost interest in daily responsibilities
- Doctor shopping to obtain prescriptions
- Seeking drugs on the internet or on the streets
- Financial problems, lost job
- Stealing from family members, selling or pawning possessions
- Legal problems
Any, or all, of the above could take place when someone is addicted to opiates. In most cases, the individual is in denial about the extent of the problem and won’t seek help. At this time, family members and friends can conduct an intervention to help the person get treatment before they overdose or cause harm to someone else.
Dangerous Effects of Opiate Overdose
Someone who has taken too much of an opiate might complain of dry mouth, heavy limbs, and will have a flushed appearance. They may also experience periods of alternating between being alert and then suddenly “nodding off.” In most cases, these effects wear off in a couple of hours. The more serious effects of overdose occur when the person experiences trouble breathing; this can lead to respiratory failure and death. Other problems such as lung, heart, or liver infections or disease are also serious consequences of prolonged opiate addiction.
How to Find the Best Treatment Program
The fact is that many people who have succumbed to opiate addiction never intended for their life to turn out that way. No one deliberately becomes an addict, but they can deliberately recover. The first thing they must do is admit that they are no longer in control of the situation and then seek professional help. When trying to select the best facility or program, the variety of options can become overwhelming, but there are a few guidelines and questions to keep in mind that might help with this important decision such as:
- Is the facility and staff licensed and CARF accredited?
- Do they provide detox on site?
- Is the program flexible and adaptable to specific needs?
- What type of program is it: traditional, holistic, faith-based, or something different?
- Is it a 30-60-90 day program, or an open-ended program?
- Do they offer aftercare services?
- Are there financial arrangements available?
These are a few of the most common questions asked, but you may have quite a few more. Make a list and call today to learn more about our program. One of our counselors will be happy to answer any questions you have about opiate addiction and how we can help you overcome this powerful force.