Second only to alcohol, opiate addiction is one of the most common and damaging addictions in the United States. In fact, without long-term treatment, opiate abuse often leads to death. However, opiate addiction treatment isn’t an easy road to travel.
Opiates change chemical reactions in the brain, causing the body to become dependent over time. Abruptly quitting after prolonged use usually leads to painful withdrawal symptoms. Before seeking opiate addiction treatment, educate yourself and know what to expect.
How Does Opiate Addiction Affect the Brain?
Studies show that prolonged opiate abuse leads to nerve damage in the brain. It prevents brain cells from producing their own endorphins or natural painkillers. Without endorphins, the body is incapable of stopping pain naturally, which causes pain to hurt more and last longer. In order to mask the pain, individuals begin depending on opiates to give them a euphoric feeling.
Seeking Recovery and Experiencing Withdrawal Symptoms
Once men attempt to stop abusing opiates, they suffer physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms occur because the body is adjusting to not receiving the drug. In some cases, the withdrawal symptoms can cause deadly complications. For this reason, most medical experts recommend detox and subsequent drug rehabilitation for individuals struggling with opiate addiction.
There’s no set list of symptoms that people will experience during opiate withdrawal. The severity and length of these symptoms depends on each individual. Typically, the average dosage and duration of opiate abuse play major roles in determining the impact.
Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Bone pain
- Muscles aches
- Stomach cramps
Sometimes, withdrawal symptoms become so severe that they make people relapse. Undergoing a medically monitored detox lessens that risk. To facilitate the process, some clinics even use medication to take the edge off of withdrawal symptoms.
Opiate Dependence and Addiction – What Is the Difference?
People often use “addiction” and “dependence” interchangeably when referring to opiates or other substances. However, there’s definitely a difference.
Opiate dependence is a state of adaption. Withdrawal symptoms occur when people have dependence but don’t take the drugs.
Opiate addiction is a neurological disease. With an addiction, a person craves the drug knowing the dangerous social, financial and even legal consequences. While dependence comes first, it can eventually lead to addiction without medical intervention.
Potential Gateway Drugs
Many men develop an opiate addiction after receiving a painkiller prescription after an injury or surgery. After the prescription runs out, they search for another way to fill the void. Unfortunately, people often fill that void with other street drugs like heroin. Unlike many pharmaceutically produced synthetic opioids, these drugs aren’t made to the same set standards. Because users often don’t know what they’re taking, the risk of overdose increases.
Get Help With Opiate Abuse at Serenity Lodge
At Serenity Lodge in California, we help men overcome opiate addiction and guide them throughout the addiction treatment process. Our wide range of therapeutic approaches will help you or someone you love discover the underlying cause of your addiction. Along with traditional individual and group sessions, we also offer family therapy sessions to involve your close friends and loved ones in the recovery process.
Our 22-acre, amenity-rich facility provides the perfect environment to focus on recovery. Some of those amenities include:
- Movie theater
- Nutrition therapy
- Pool and hot tub
- Meditation therapy
- 12-person sauna
- 1,500-square-foot gym
An opiate addiction is one of the hardest habits to break, but doing so can open doors to life beyond your wildest dreams. To learn more about our life-changing treatment programs, call Serenity Lodge today at 866-379-4365.