What Exactly is Opioid Addiction?

image of opioids and needle

Across the nation, an epidemic of addiction to opioids is flourishing. And sadly, each year the number of deaths related to the abuse of opioids is rising. Just what is an opioid?

An opioid is a type of medicine that is used to relieve pain. The way that opioids work is by limiting the number of pain signals that are sent to the brain. They also end up changing the way that the brain responds to these pain signals. Opioids are usually prescribed by doctors for the following reasons:

- Tooth problems and dental procedures
- Bodily injuries
- Surgeries
- Chronic and painful conditions such as cancer

Opioids are usually safe when they are used in the correct way. If you have been prescribed opioids by a doctor, therefore, it is of the utmost importance that you use them in the way that you have been instructed. Any deviance from this can lead to addiction. But just what is opioid addiction?

Addiction occurs when an individual begins to "need" something that is actually unsafe or not something that a person should be exposed to for long periods. Addiction can be of the body or in the mind, and it is a disease that can cause a person to change their behavior and actions. When opioids are first introduced to an individual, they have control over the drug in question. There is always a choice when it comes to starting drugs.

Over time, when a drug becomes misused, the pleasurable effect that is given off by the opioid causes the individual to not want to give up using it. And when even more time has passed, the urge to use the drug is so strong that it cannot be resisted.

There are many symptoms of opioid addiction. These are good to look out for in yourself and those close to you so that something can be done about addiction sooner rather than later. These symptoms include poor concentration and coordination, drowsiness, a shallow state of breathing or slow breathing, constipation, nausea, vomiting, speech that is slurred, sleep that is more or less than it normally is, mood swings, a feeling of euphoria (a high), depression, irritability, anxiety attacks, and a lower feeling of motivation.

If you know of anyone who has become addicted to opioids, it is important to watch out for signs of overdose. These signs include no response when there is an attempt to rouse, slow breathing or no breathing whatsoever, a very slow pulse or no pulse, vomiting, and small pupils.

So what is opioid addiction? It is something that is taking over our nation and has for many, many years. It is a serious issue that needs to be addressed before it gets worse and claims more of our citizens. So if you or someone that is close to you is suffering from opioid addiction we implore you to seek out help today. Getting help can be the difference between a happy life and a tragic accident. So choose life without opioid abuse. You'll be glad you did.