What are opioids: Why are opioids addictive?

Addiction treatment specialists see firsthand the devastating effects of opioid addiction on individuals, families, and communities. Opioids are a class of drugs that include prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone and hydrocodone and illegal drugs like heroin. Here we review what opioids are, why they are addictive, and the different types of opioid addiction treatment options available.

What are Opioids?

What are opioids: Why are opioids addictive? Olympic Behavioral Health PHP IOP and OP levels of careDefinition of Opioids

Opioids are drugs that interact with the nervous system to relieve pain. They are derived from the opium poppy plant or are synthetically manufactured to mimic its effects. Opioids bind to specific receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other body parts. They thereby reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain.

Types of Opioids

There are two main categories of opioids: prescription opioids and illicit opioids. Healthcare providers prescribe prescription opioids to treat severe pain. Examples of prescription opioids include oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and fentanyl. Illicit opioids, however, are often sold on the street, including drugs like heroin and illegally manufactured fentanyl.

 

Common Opioid Brand Names

Some common brand names for prescription opioids include OxyContin, Percocet, Vicodin, and Demerol. Heroin is an example of an illicit opioid, and fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that can be prescribed or sold illegally.

Opioid Abuse Statistics

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), opioid abuse has become a serious public health crisis in the United States. In 2019, an estimated 10.1 million people misused prescription opioids, and 1.6 million had opioid use disorder. Additionally, over 50,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses in 2019 alone.

Why are Opioids Addictive?

How Opioids Work

Chemically, opioids bind to specific receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other body parts. When they do, they activate the reward system in the brain. The reaction causes a surge of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. This surge of dopamine produces the euphoria or “high” that many people experience when they use opioids.

Tolerance, Dependence, and Opioid Withdrawal

One of the primary reasons opioids are so addictive is that the body can quickly build up a tolerance to them. This means that over time, a person needs to take higher doses of the drug to achieve the same level of pain relief or euphoria. As a person continues to use opioids, they can also become physically dependent on the drug. That means their body has adapted to the presence of the drug, and they will experience withdrawal symptoms if they try to stop using it. Withdrawal symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle aches, and anxiety.

Social and Psychological Factors of Opioid Addiction

In addition to the physical effects of opioids, social and psychological factors can contribute to opioid addiction. For example, some people may begin using opioids to cope with stress, anxiety, or depression. Others may have started using opioids recreationally and then become addicted. Additionally, genetic factors may increase a person’s risk of developing an opioid use disorder.

The Risk of Opioid Overdose

Another reason why opioids are so dangerous is that they can be deadly in high doses. Opioid overdose can cause respiratory depression, meaning a person’s breathing slows down or stops. This can lead to brain damage or death unless quickly treated with naloxone. Illicit opioids like heroin are especially risky because the user may not know the strength or purity of the drug they are using.  That often increases the risk of overdose. Some prescription opioids are highly potent, and taking even a small amount more than prescribed can lead to overdose.

The Role of Opioid Prescribing Practices

The opioid epidemic in the United States has been linked, in part, to the overprescribing of opioids for pain management. In the 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured healthcare providers that prescription opioids were safe and non-addictive. As a result, healthcare providers began to prescribe opioids more frequently for chronic pain, increasing opioid use and addiction. Today, there are stricter guidelines for opioid prescribing practices, and healthcare providers are encouraged to use alternative pain management strategies whenever possible.

Types of Opioid Addiction Treatment

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT)

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a common form of opioid addiction treatment that uses medications to help manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The most commonly used medications for MAT are methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. Methadone and buprenorphine are both opioid agonists. They activate the same receptors in the brain as other opioids but are longer-lasting and less euphoric. Naltrexone, on the other hand, is an opioid antagonist, meaning it blocks the effects of opioids in the brain.

Inpatient Opioid Addiction Treatment

Inpatient treatment, aka residential treatment, involves staying in a treatment facility to receive intensive treatment for opioid addiction. This type of treatment can benefit those who need a structured environment to help them overcome their addiction. During inpatient treatment, clients receive various treatments.  Clients participate in medication-assisted treatment, individual and group therapy, and support for co-occurring mental health disorders.

Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) for Opioid Addiction Treatment

What are opioids: Why are opioids addictive? Olympic Behavioral Health PHP IOP and OP levels of careA Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP) in Florida is for opioid addiction, providing a structured and intensive level of care. PHP’s are designed for individuals who require more support than traditional outpatient treatment but don’t need 24-hour medical supervision. During PHP in FL, individuals attend treatment for several hours a day, several days a week. It includes medication-assisted treatment, individual and group therapy, and support for co-occurring mental health disorders.  A PHP in Florida also provides other services, including case management, vocational counseling, and family therapy.

Partial hospitalization programs can be a good option for individuals who have completed inpatient or IOP treatment but still require high support to maintain their recovery. It can also be a good option for individuals who have recently relapsed or are experiencing worsening symptoms.

Olympic Behavioral Health offers a comprehensive PHP program for individuals struggling with opioid addiction. Our PHP program is evidence-based and tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual. We provide services, including medication-assisted treatment, individual and group therapy, and support for co-occurring mental health disorders.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)

Intensive outpatient treatment (IOP) in Florida is a form of opioid addiction treatment several days a week for a few hours daily. IOP in FL can be a good option for people who do not require 24-hour medical supervision. Anyone that still needs intensive treatment to help them overcome their addiction should attend. The programs include medication-assisted treatment, individual and group therapy, and support for co-occurring mental health disorders. They’re a good option for individuals who have completed inpatient treatment. These clients may still require high support to maintain their recovery. It can also be a good option for individuals unable to attend inpatient treatment due to family, work, or other commitments.

Olympic Behavioral Health offers a comprehensive IOP program in Florida for individuals struggling with opioid addiction. Our IOP program in FL is evidence-based and tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual. IOP services include medication-assisted treatment, individual and group therapy, and support for co-occurring mental health disorders. During IOP, individuals attend treatment for three hours a day, three to five days a week, for 9 to 15 hours per week. The program typically lasts for eight to twelve weeks, but the length of the program can vary depending on the individual’s needs.

Outpatient Opioid Addiction Treatment

Outpatient treatment involves receiving treatment for opioid addiction on an outpatient basis. This can include medication-assisted treatment, individual and group therapy, and support for co-occurring mental health disorders. Outpatient treatment is a good option for that has completed inpatient or IOP treatment and are transitioning back to their everyday lives or require less intensive treatment.

Choose Olympic Behavioral Health for Opioid Addiction Treatment

opioid addiction treatment, drug addiction treatment, drug detox, floridaIf you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, Olympic Behavioral Health can provide the support and treatment you need to overcome your addiction and reclaim your life. Our addiction treatment programs are evidence-based and tailored to meet the unique needs of each individual. These programs include medication-assisted treatment, individual and group therapy, and support for co-occurring mental health disorders.

Located in South Florida, Olympic Behavioral Health is conveniently located for anyone that needs addiction treatment. Experienced addiction treatment professionals are dedicated to providing compassionate and comprehensive care to help overcome addiction and achieve lasting recovery.

At Olympic Behavioral Health, we understand that addiction is a chronic disease that requires ongoing support and care. We offer relapse prevention programs to help our clients after treatment. Recovery management services include ongoing therapy, support groups, and access to community resources.

If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, don’t wait to seek help. Contact Olympic Behavioral Health today to learn more about our addiction treatment programs and how we can help you achieve lasting recovery.

Start Opioid Addiction Treatment with Olympic Behavioral Health

Getting started with Olympic Behavioral Health is easy if you’re ready to take the first step toward recovery. To get help, contact us to schedule an initial assessment with one of our addiction treatment professionals. During this assessment, we will evaluate your unique needs and develop a personalized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs.

At Olympic Behavioral Health, everyone deserves access to high-quality addiction treatment services. That’s why we work with most major insurance providers to help make our services more affordable and accessible. We also offer flexible payment options for individuals who do not have insurance or whose insurance does not cover addiction treatment services.

Don’t let opioid addiction control your life any longer. Contact Olympic Behavioral Health today to take the first step toward lasting recovery. Here’s why you should get addiction treatment in Florida. Our experienced addiction treatment professionals are here to help you every step of the way.

Which is the Best Florida Rehab?

Finding the best rehab in Florida can be daunting, but opting for an addiction treatment program with accreditations and certifications from various reputable organizations can provide peace of mind. Organizations like LegitScript, CARF, The Joint Commission, Psychology Today, ACHA, and FARR evaluate addiction treatment programs to ensure they meet high quality and safety standards. These accreditations indicate a well-rounded approach to addiction treatment, addressing the disorder’s physical, emotional, and psychological aspects. Choosing a program with multiple accreditations can help individuals struggling with addiction find the best treatment center in FL, providing them with the support and care they need to begin their journey to recovery.

Is There Still a Stigma About Rehab?

The term “addict” carries a stigma that can hinder individuals with substance use disorders from seeking treatment. However, the treatment industry recognizes substance use disorders as complex medical conditions influenced by various factors such as genetics, environment, and psychology. As a result, more person-centric alternatives such as “person in recovery” or “individual with a substance use disorder” is being used in the treatment industry to reduce stigma and promote compassionate care. Acceptance of these alternatives is crucial for individuals to feel comfortable seeking treatment and to receive the support they need to overcome addiction. By recognizing substance use disorders as complex medical conditions, we can begin to break down the barriers to treatment and provide more effective and supportive care for those struggling with addiction.