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Opioids Addiction - Treatment, Symptoms and Causes

What is Opioids Addiction? Causes of Opioids Addiction. What is the symptoms of Opioids Addiction? Treatment of Opioids Addiction. Prevention to avoid Opioids Addiction. Withdrawal symptoms of Opioids Addiction.

What is Opioids Addiction?

Opioids addiction is when a person is not able to stop himself from the temptation of opioids. Opioids are the medicine used as a painkiller. These drugs include opium, heroin, morphine etc. In India, more than 1 million cases are reported annually in opioids addiction which is increasing rapidly. The most affected people being from the age range 19-60. Opioid addiction changes a person emotionally, professionally and interpersonally. It disturbs people mentally, weakens them physically and breaks them financially.

These drugs generate artificial endorphins which help in blocking pain and make a body feel good. Too much of opioids can lead to dependence of brain on these artificial endorphins making a person addicted to it.    

Causes of Opioids Addiction.

According to National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 75% of opioid addiction starts with people using medicine that wasn't prescribed to them and are referred by friends, family, relatives, and people who don't have enough knowledge about medicine. In addition, some factors which cause this addiction are:

  1. Genetics: If an individual’s older generation are suffering or have suffered from the addiction, it is more likely that this person will suffer from opioid addiction. The reason being the genes inherited in the person from the older and addicted generation.

  2. Environment: If a person lives in an environment where drug use is common due to any purpose, the person is more susceptible to drug addiction.

  3. Stress and Peer Pressure: Can trigger a craving in the person to use opioid as a method to relieve himself from these sufferings.

  4. Pleasure: Opioids cause a feeling of extreme happiness in a person. The happiness is so large that person wants to feel it again and again. One of the reasons can be to escape from the difficulties she might be facing in her daily life. This increases her love for opioids and leads to what we called an addiction.

What is the symptoms of Opioids Addiction?

The Symptoms associated with this addiction are:

  • Behavioral Symptoms- Person runs away from his responsibilities, families, friends, relatives and work. He tends to spend most of his time with the opioids- fighting them, embracing them and craving for them. Bipolar, Schizophrenia, slurred speech, loss of motivation to anything might strike the person.

  • Psychological Symptoms: Anxiety, Stress, Euphoria, Mood Swings, Consciousness depletion, Memory Loss, Suicidal ideas are some of the psychological symptoms a person might face.

  • Physiological Symptoms: Weakness, sedation, low blood pressure, slow heart rate, numbness of body parts, change in sleeping habits etc. can be observed in addicted person.

Treatment of Opioids Addiction.

Different bodies react differently to opioids. So to turn a person from addicted to non- addicted, various treatment strategies have been developed. Let’s go through them one by one

  1. Opioid replacement therapy (ORT): In this, the opioids such as heroin used by a person are replaced by less addictive and with longer life opioid such as methadone and buprenorphine. These help in reducing the number of withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings bringing stability in a patient's life.

  2. Behavioral Therapy: It is not effective as ORT, however, have shown good outcomes in some cases. It involves improving the mental health of a person and changing their perspective of seeing the problem.

  3. In an opioid overdose case, emergency medical treatment is required. A nasal spray called naloxone (Narcan) is available for such cases which give some instant relief.

  4. Smart Opioids: The opioids which will only relieve pain and non- addictive in nature is expected to join the treatment methods soon. It will not affect a person’s nervous system as the current opioids do.         

Prevention to avoid Opioids Addiction.

The increasing opioid addiction can be prevented by the following methods:

  • Educating people about both pros and cons of taking opioid through books and social media.

  • Checking photo identity of patients at the dispensaries while they have come to buy the opioids through prescription.

  • Keeping a track of the opioid amount in country and issue of selling license to few dispensaries only. Prescription monitoring programs may help in it.

  • At individual level- self monitoring can be of great help. This includes- not depending on pills for healing, keeping a check on medications taken regularly etc.

Withdrawal symptoms of Opioids Addiction.

The withdrawal symptoms of opioids are:

A stage called delirium tremens can develop which have all the above symptoms and can lead to the death of an individual. The first phase of Opium Withdrawal starts after the 12 hours of last opioid intake and can last for 1- 4 weeks. The Second phase could last up to two years. Therefore, it is advised to decrease the dosage of opioids slowly and slowly until a person becomes non-addicted to it.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am taking tablets buprenorphine2 mg (addnok 2 mg). I take 2 tablets 1 in morning and 1 in Evening. I wanna leave it. How I can leave it?

MB BS, MD - Psychiatry, MBA - Healthcare
Psychiatrist, Davanagere
If you are taking the tablets with a prescription from a psychiatrist, we recommend that you consult your psychiatrist regarding going off of buprenorphine. It usually is tapered very slowly over 2-3 months depending on the dosage. If you need fur...

I have Opioid addiction, help required.. I am suffering from this addiction from a long time, I need help for the same. I am getting treated but I am not getting required results.

BASM, MD, MS (Counseling & Psychotherapy), MSc - Psychology, Certificate in Clinical psychology of children and Young People, Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Certificate in Positive Psychology, Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health
Psychologist, Palakkad
Hello and welcome to Lybrate. Opioid addiction should be treated with de-addiction therapy. You can contact me for further advice and treatment options. Let me know if I can assist you further. Take care.

Me 6 mahine se hiroin ka sevan kar raha hu pr me ise chodna chata hu me jis din ny leta us din mujhe nind ny aati or thandi garmi lagti he mujhe iske liye koi aisi davai ya or kuch aap bataye jisse mujhe raat me thandi garmi na lage or me so jau or mujhe bharosa he kuch din agar me aisa karuga to me ise chod sakta hu.

Assistant professor, Senior resident , MD - Internal Medicine, MBBS
Internal Medicine Specialist, Mumbai
aapko opiod dependence ke liye tab naltrexone shuru krne ki zarurat hai. treatment ke regarding mujhe aap detail me lybrate pr msg kr skte ho

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