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Addiction Treatment

Opiate Addiction Treatment

Opiate addiction is outranked only by alcohol as the world’s oldest, most widespread, and most persistent drug problem. Although opiate addiction treatment researchers have been seeking solutions for over a century, more than one million opiate addicts still remain in the United States alone. Still, in recent years new drug treatment programs are offering some hope of relief from this epidemic. Many of the opiates and related drugs have been extracted from the seeds of the opium poppy or synthesized in laboratories. The poppy seed contains morphine and codeine, among other drugs. Synthetic derivatives include hydrocodone  oxycodone, hydromorphone, and heroin. Some synthetic opiates with a different chemical structure but similar effects on the body and brain are propoxyphene, meperidine, and methadone. Physicians use many of these drugs to treat pain. They fail to warn their patients much of the time how extremely addictive these ‘pain relievers’ actually are.

Opiates enhance the effects of the neurotransmitters called endorphins by acting at nerve receptors for these natural body chemicals. They suppress pain, reduce anxiety, and at sufficiently high doses produce a very intense euphoric sensation. Anyone who takes opiates regularly for a long time, nerve receptors are eventually going to adapt and begin to resist the drug, causing the need for higher doses.  Most can be taken by mouth, smoked, or snorted, although addicts often prefer intravenous injection, which gives the strongest and most immediate pleasure.

Opiates cause addicts to neglect their health and safety for many reasons, including a tendency to ignore pain and other normal physical warning signals. The use of intravenous needles can lead to infectious disease such as Hepatitis C and HIV, or an overdose. Intravenous administration often causes respiratory arrest and death. The other side of this tolerance is a physical withdrawal reaction that occurs when the drug leaves the body and receptors must readapt to its absence.

Going through opiate addiction treatment is not easy. Even recognizing and acknowledging the need is difficult, because addicts conceal, rationalize, and minimize, while friends and family may fear being intrusive or having to assume responsibility. The addiction is a chronic disease with no lasting inexpensive cure. Recovery, when it occurs, is precarious, and relapse is a constant danger.

The only real solution for someone who is lost in the chaos of opiate addiction, is a long term inpatient treatment center. Finding the right inpatient treatment is very important since this is where they can address the physical as well as the mental aspects of this serious problem. This is why it is important for the treatment to be long term. The addict will slowly be taught a new way to live without the use of drugs.

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