What are Opiates?

Heroin, codeine, morphine, methadone, OxyContin, Vicodin, Demerol, Dilaudid, Percocet, Meperidine, and other pharmaceutically created painkillers are all in the drug class called opiates.

This group of narcotics is derived from opium that comes from the poppy plant. When used properly, the drug reduces pain and cough. Opiates work by mimicking chemicals that naturally occur in the human brain. The synthetic versions go right to the places where the natural chemicals would go, and essentially takes their place. The drug used then takes action on the limbic system and the central nervous system.

Emotions are altered by opiates. Narcotics can cause a sense of pleasure, relaxation, and contentment that take the user to a painless place of peace. The problem, as you can imagine, is that this happy place is not real. When the high wear off, you are left feeling even more pain than before, and real life lacks enjoyment. Taking more opiates is usually the solution, and this class of drugs is highly addictive.

In what starts out as appropriate pain regulation with a doctor’s written prescription for a painkiller, can accidentally progress to the point of daily intake. When you need a refill and your doctor asks if you are still in physical pain, you may answer yes without accurately gauging the true pain level. You are given another month of opiates, and you are unknowingly headed down a path to addiction.

Another reason people continuing to use opiates without a real medical need is when withdrawal symptoms occur. If you’ve been using any opiate and you then stop, the physical, mental, and psychological effects are brutal. You are sick with what feels like the flu, your body aches, pain returns tenfold, and you just want it to end. The easiest solution to curing opiate withdrawal symptoms is using an opiate again.

The cycle of painkiller use is difficult to break, and even when an opiate addict has made it through withdrawal, the desire to use is constant. Once you have experienced a world without pain, it is nearly impossible to choose real life.

Treatment for opiate addiction must focus on breaking down the barriers to recovery. What is keeping this person addicted to a painkiller?

Personalized care with traditional and holistic approaches to healing are necessary for every opiate addict. What started the narcotic use? What continued it? What does this individual need at each stage of recovery to stay drug free?

The treatment team at Balboa Horizons will help you, or your loved one, answer these questions and create a treatment plan accordingly. Healing starts at Balboa Horizons, call now!

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