There is growing concern around the dangers of opioid addiction amongst chronic patients, but there is still some uncertainty of what these are or the dangers associated with the misuse of opioids, and whether there are ways to alleviate this worrying addiction. Opioids encompass a wide spectrum of drugs that are used for pain relief, for example, morphine is a substance that is extracted from opium poppy plants and is widely known for its rapid pain relief capabilities. While popular and lauded for its effectiveness in lessening acute and chronic pain morphine is known for its dire dependence side effects. Other opioids like fentanyl can be synthesized by scientists and they are reportedly more potent and addictive than morphine and heroin.
You are probably wondering how something that is prescribed by medical professionals can be considered dangerous and addictive. The science behind how this happens is seemingly straightforward because of how opioids function by binding themselves to the receptors in your brain cells which will cause a reaction of your cells releasing a hormone called dopamine. When this hormone is released it will create a stimulating and heightened feeling of happiness while numbing your excruciating pain. However, since opioids are drugs they can change the way that you think, feel, and behave by disrupting the way that your nerve cells in your brain communicate.
Due to their potency, it is unsurprising that most people end up leaning on these drugs to help forget about the aftermath of surgery. Most people end up not following the strict dosage instructions that they’re medical professionals provide them. The temporary feel-good “high” that you can experience from medications like morphine can result in you taking higher and more frequent doses than necessary resulting in the brain being unable to produce dopamine naturally as it used to. The problem with dependency escalates when you cannot receive your prescriptions for your pain relievers anymore and the transition from morphine to heroin happens and an opioid use disorder ensues.
The risks associated with opioid addiction are too many and nobody who uses opioids is immune to being addicted to them. There is more risk for people who have to use them for a prolonged period but research also suggests that your genetics, environmental and psychological factors have an impending effect on opioid addiction. Other common factors include but are not limited to the following.
- Heavy tobacco usage.
- History of substance abuse.
- Stress and other mental health ailments.
While the reasons behind it remain inconclusive research does suggest that women are more prone to chronic pain than men and as a result, they are susceptible to the risks of opioid addiction more than men.
As the adage goes “prevention is better than cure”, so it is always safe to follow steps that will decrease your chances of addiction. You can always try to use these preventative measures to avert dependency.
- It is always safe to use opioids for a few days to manage any acute pain.
- It is advisable to avoid opioids if you are someone who is living with chronic pain by using alternative treatment options.
- Protect your prescription from anyone who might be an addict in your home.
The good news is that once you realize that you are addicted to your prescribed opioids your doctor can work with you to provide efficient ways to manage your problem. A prescription drug named suboxone is used to help with easing the dependency on opioids like morphine. Your doctor will give you strict instructions on how to take suboxone because it can have major withdrawal side effects. If you are struggling with opioid dependency, you need to speak to someone that you trust or inform your doctor to find the help that you deserve.
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