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Opiate Addiction

A narcotic sedative which slows down the activity of the central nervous system is called an opiate drug. Opiate drugs lessen pain and stimulate sleep. Like every drugs prescribed by physicians, this drug gives benefits to our body. Yet, when taken abusively can lead to addiction.

Getting dependent to opiate is a disorder in the body’s central nervous system. Constant and extensive opiate use causes the nerve cells in the brain to stop functioning as they normally and stop producing natural endorphins. Opiate substitutes endorphins in the body. This makes the nerve cells to deteriorate and opiate dependency would then occur. Scientists have found that the brain has its own opiate and opiate receptors, which are concentrated in the parts of the brain that control pain and emotions. Drugs that bind to opiate receptors in the reward centers of the limbic system that enhances the release of the brain chemical dopamine in another brain area called the nucleus accumbens. Dopamine gives an individual a high feeling of pleasure and relaxation which can lead to addiction.

Normally, a substance dependent would take actions to conceal the addiction. But eventually it will start to show, both in their behavior and in their attitudes. Some symptoms of opiate addiction include obsessing over medications, obsessing over doctor appointments and the need to get more medicine, being restless, irritable, and angry when not getting enough opiates, being preoccupied with getting more drugs, lying about how much they have used or when they got the medicine, and lying to doctors or faking injuries or illnesses in order to get more medicine. An addict may even go out of their way to the point of inflicting injury to one’s own body to get medication.

Treating opiate addiction is similar to treating any other drug addiction. And, the common denominator is that the patient should be willing to stop the addiction. Professional help is also needed for a high possibility of recovery from the addiction. First step of the treatment is the process of detoxification. In the process of the treatment, withdrawal symptoms can happen. Opiate detox and withdrawal can occur when one suddenly stops the amount of opiates after heavy and extended use. Opiates could be an illegal drug or prescription drugs. Actually, it is the occurrence of withdrawal syndrome that makes the person to continue using the drug. Furthermore, opiate users often experience drowsiness, vomiting, nausea, muscle soreness, constipation and dry mouth.

Opiate dependency was once viewed as a condition with no solution. Patients with opiate physical dependency were said to have acquired an addictive personality or psychological disorder or to have suffered with a dysfunctional family life. However, studies have been made on how to cure this kind of addiction. After more than a decade of NIH-supported animal and human research, buprenorphine was discovered to help stop opiate dependency. The discovery of the opiate receptor determined that buprenorphine worked like a treatment already available, termed methadone, by activating opiate receptors and mimicking opiate drugs of abuse. Receptor-activating medications can help relieve drug cravings and control a person’s addiction. Medications should also be paired with cognitive treatment such that the patient is encouraged to feel and be hopeful that the addiction would later on subside. To help deal with the addiction, behavior should be modified.

Opiate is a drug usually used to alleviate severe and chronic pain. Prescription drugs may be safe to take but exploiting it could always lead to danger. Opiate can be tolerated by the body and later on may lead to addiction. Treatment may be hard but it is the only way out.

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