Opiates and Opioids
Opiates and Opioids
The United States’ opioid epidemic has affected millions of people across diverse backgrounds. Opioid and opiate addiction continues to be extremely serious problems due to the intensity and addictiveness of the class of drugs. Understanding what opiates and opioids are, and how they impact the body are a first step in prevention and recovery to addiction.
What are Opiates?
Opiates are considered any natural substance that comes from opium.
Common examples of opiates include:
What are Opioids?
Opioids are considered any synthetic or semi-synthetic substance that act on the same receptors as opiates.
Common examples of opioids include:
How do Opiates and Opioids Effect your Body?
Both opiates and opioids create the same effects in your body by triggering opioid receptors in your brain. The opioid receptors help to alleviate or numb pain, slow down respiration, blood pressure and alertness, and generate feelings of euphoria.
Side Effects of Using Opiates and Opioids
The side effects of using opiates and opioids are generally the same, and can include:
- Extreme mood changes (euphoria, sedation, tiredness, confusion)
- Decreased breathing rate
- Decreased blood pressure
Why are Opioids and Opiates so Addictive?
Opioids and opiates work on the pain and pleasure systems of the brain, simultaneously triggering a surge of happiness and relieving feelings of anxiety and stress. Both of these events tell the brain that opioids are rewarding. What’s more, these areas of the brain constantly communicate with your decision-making hubs in your prefrontal cortex, which can greatly impact your judgement about continuing to take opioids and opiates or taking more than necessary.
In essence, the brain hears, “This drug feels good. Let’s do more.” This can quickly develop into habits and cravings, leading to opioid and opiate abuse and addiction. This intense reaction on the brain and body create equally intense feelings of withdrawal. Case in point: Even after you take opioids away, the brain continues to fire neurons at a rapid pace, elevating blood pressure, and creating feelings of anxiety and stress. All of these effects feed into the desire to seek out more opioids to curb the negative feelings.
It takes courage and determination to reach out for help with opioid addiction or opiate addiction. We are here to support you through this journey and find the best possible treatment option for you. With so many treatment options available, it’s important to understand and target the specific issues you struggle with so that you can begin your journey to recovery.
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