When chronic pain keeps you from living a full life, pain-relieving medications can seem like magical solutions. Doctors sometimes prescribe strong painkillers known as opioids for legal use, unlike opiate drugs manufactured only for abuse. Still, people abuse both opioids and opiates. So, opioid vs opiate: What’s the difference?
Opioid vs Opiate
Opiates are organic compounds from plants that cause physiological reactions in humans. Known as alkaloids, their organic origin is the opium poppy. Opium is a very strong pain reliever that’s a source for multiple medications and illegal drugs.
Opiates include opium, morphine, codeine, and heroin, which is the most well-known of the group. All of these are derivatives of opium.
Unlike opiates, people manufacture opioids. These drugs are at least partly synthetic and made to work like their natural cousins. Chemical synthesis in a lab makes the active ingredients in these potent painkillers. In fact, the resulting medications act like opiates in the body because they’re made up of similar molecules. Opioids include methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, pethidine, hydromorphone, and fentanyl.
Whether you use opioids or opiates, these drugs work similarly in your body. Therefore, most resources and articles call all natural and synthetic drugs of these types by the same name. While it isn’t necessarily “correct” to do so, it makes talking about drug abuse and addiction much easier.
Opioid vs Opiate: How They Work
Both opioid and opiate drugs alter pain perception. This means that while the drugs numb pain, they don’t make it go away entirely.
To accomplish this changed pain perception, the drug attaches to your brain’s opioid receptors. This attachment progresses to the nerve cells that send messages to the brain, changing the pain measure through these signals. In essence, the drugs confuse your brain so that you experience less pain or no pain at all.
At the same time, these drugs affect how your brain feels pleasure. If you’re not in pain while using opioids or opiates, you experience elation, relaxation, and eventual sleepiness.
Whether you use opioids or opiates, continued use leads to addiction. An increased tolerance is one of the first signs of progression toward an addiction. Tolerance means you need more of the drug to feel its same effects. Increasing your use to feel the effects takes you further and further into opioid addiction.
Southern California Help You Need for Addiction
Located in Southern California, Serenity Lodge provides opioid treatment along with programs for other addictions. Along with evidence-based addiction therapy methods, we offer an array of amenities, including:
- Movie theatre
- Swimming pool, hot tub, and sauna
- 1,500 square foot fitness therapy gym
- Meditation, massage and nutritional, prepared meals
- Racquetball and golf
- Professional recording studio
- Gender-specific programs
If you or someone you love suffer opioid or other substance addiction, call Serenity Lodge now at 866-379-4365. Serenity Lodge is a relaxing place where your life comes back together. You can have the future you want, with Serenity Lodge’s help. So make this call.