What are Opioids?

what are opioids pic

Opioids? 

Opioid addiction and abuse is a serious problem that experts say has now reached epidemic levels in the United States. In fact, more than two million Americans are noted to be dependent on or have abused prescription pain pills and non-prescription drugs.

What are Opiates?

The term “opiate” refers to natural substances that come from opium.

Examples of opiates include:

  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Heroin

What are Opioids?

The term “opioid” refers to synthetic or semi-synthetic substances that act on the same receptors as opiates.

Examples of opioids include:

  • Fentanyl
  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone

 Opioids vs. Opiates

Opioids and opiates all act on the same opioid receptors in the brain, generating similar effects. For this reason, it is now widely accepted to use the term “opioid” for all natural, synthetic, or semi-synthetic substances that trigger the opioid receptor system. Opiates are now considered naturally occurring substances within the opioid class.

Signs of Opioid Abuse 

The clinical term for opioid addiction or abuse is Opioid Use Disorder. The number of Americans affected by Opioid Use Disorder has skyrocketed in recent years. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, approximately 11.5 million Americans (12 years and older) misused prescription pain pills in 2016 alone. What’s more, about 0.3% of the population used heroin in 2016.

It is important to note that many people begin using opioids as a way to address genuine, critical pain; however because opioids are one of the most powerful painkillers available, they carry an extremely high risk of addiction and abuse.

Physical Signs of  Opioid Abuse:

  • Extreme mood changes (i.e. extreme euphoria, sedation, tiredness)
  • Confusion
  • Falling asleep at random or loss of consciousness
  • Slower than usual breathing rate
  • Constipation (sudden use of laxatives)

Behavioral Signs of Opioid Abuse:

  • Withdrawal from commitments (i.e. school, work, family commitments)
  • Demonstrating nervousness, anxiety, secrecy, or dishonesty
  • Neglect to physical appearance
  • Demonstrating a need to take more pills than prescribed
  • Seeking opioids despite legal or social consequences (i.e. taking money, “doctor shopping” with fake symptoms, stealing or using someone else’s prescription)

Signs of Withdrawal:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Profuse sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety

Finding Opioid Addiction Treatment

We understand that seeking help for opioid addiopioid addiction treatment picction can feel overwhelming, but it’s an important first step to recovery. We are here to guide and support you through this process to find your best path to health.

While there are countless addiction treatment options out there, it’s important to know which one is right for you. Identifying the specific substance(s) you’re seeking treatment for can help to narrow down the type of treatment facility that you need. For example, a treatment center that focuses solely on opioid or substance abuse (rather than alcoholism) is a good way to target treatment options that will align with your needs.

We’re Here to Help You

Recovery options are one step away. Call or email now.