What are Opioids?
Opioids, also known as opiates, are medications used to relieve pain, including hydrocodone, oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and other related drugs. They work by reducing the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect the brain areas controlling emotion, diminishing the effects of a painful stimulus. Opioids produce a sense of well-being and pleasure. Those who abuse pain pills may crush the medication to snort or inject them.
Hydrocodone or Oxycodone are medications often prescribed to patients for a variety of painful conditions, including dental surgery or injury-related pain. Codeine is a drug often prescribed for mild pain. Morphine is a drug used before and after surgical procedures to alleviate severe pain.
Abuse and addiction to opioids including prescription pain medications, morphine, and heroin, are part of a serious global epidemic. It is estimated that worldwide approximately 26.4 million and 36 million people abuse opioids. These numbers continue to grow.
Addiction to opioids occurs through long-term changes in the way nerve cells work in the brain. Those taking opioids for a long period of time as prescribed by a doctor may experience this change. The nerve cells become accustomed to having opioids around, and when they are suddenly taken away the person can experience a number of withdrawal symptoms. When opioids are used only to treat and control pain, it is unlikely the user will become addicted to the drug.
Signs and symptoms of opioid abuse include:
- Slurred speech
- Small pupils
- Shallow or slowed breathing
- Flushed skin or itching
- Increased pain tolerance
Opioid abuse is treated with behavioral therapy and medication-assisted treatment. At Silicon Beach Outpatient Center our staff is specially trained to assist patients with the management of medications while seeking treatment at our facility.
If you or a loved one are struggling with opioid addiction our team of therapists provide individualized support. With more than 30 years of experience Silicon Beach Outpatient Center is a premier substance abuse treatment center in Los Angeles, California. Contact us today for help at 310.846.8215.