When you hear the word addiction, you might think of illicit drugs or alcohol. However, there is one type of addiction that is rampant in the US: pain pill addiction.
Why is Opioid Pain Pills Detox Necessary?
When you hear the word addiction, you might think of illicit drugs or alcohol. However, there is one type of addiction that is rampant in the US: pain pill addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, around 2.1 million Americans have an opioid use disorder, with around 20-30% of this number taking misusing prescription opioids. In 2018, around 11.4 million Americans used opioid pain pills without a prescription.
It can be difficult to draw the line between being dependent on opioid pain pills, and being addicted to them. However, if you feel that you have crossed that line, you can become free of this addiction by getting opioid pain pills detox.
How do Opioids Affect the Brain?
Prescription opioids are used to manage pain. This is why some of the effects include relaxation, drowsiness, and slowed breathing and heart rate. People have also reported feeling a sense of happiness and wellbeing when using opioids.
Opioids work in two ways. First, opioid receptors in the brain are stimulated to release increased amounts of dopamine – also known as the happy hormone-, which leads to the feeling of happiness and wellbeing. Second, the presence of opioids blocks pain signals from other parts of the body. Thus, the person feels that they are not only free from pain, but feeling euphoric as well.
Some common prescription opioids include:
- Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- Oxycodone (OxyContin or Percocet)
When a person is on prescription opioids, they find that they tend to build up a tolerance over time. This leads to a person needing to take a higher dose of the drugs to feel the same sense of relief that the felt on lower doses.
Can a Person Overdose on Prescription Opioids?
In a nutshell, yes. A person can overdose on prescription opioids, and what’s more, it is easy to overdose if a person misuses them. Misuse can occur when a person takes too many pills in a short amount of time or takes opioids that have not been prescribed by a medical professional.
When a person misuses prescription opioids regularly, they become dependent on the drug. This means that their body can no longer function normally unless they take opioids. A dependence on opioids can easily lead to an overdose since the person can no longer tell if they are taking the right amount.
When a person overdoses on opioids, life-threatening side effects can happen. Too many opioids causes breathing to slow down drastically or even stop completely. This results in a lack of oxygen to the brain and can lead to permanent brain injury, coma, or death.
When Does Opioid Dependence Become an Addiction?
A person who is addicted to opioids starts to exhibit uncontrollable and drug-seeking behavior in order to satisfy their need to take the drug. They will take increasing doses of opioids, regardless of prescription. Many people tend to become secretive about their opioid addiction in fear of getting shamed or judged by family, friends, and their peers. They may also resort to illegal ways of getting opioids if they are no longer satisfied by the amount that they receive through their prescription.
Recognizing Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
Recognizing opioid use disorder can be difficult, especially when the person does not display any changes in their behavior or social interactions. However, when a person is severe addicted to opioid use, opioid withdrawal symptoms can manifest quickly.
In some cases, opioid withdrawal symptoms can appear as soon as two hours after their last dose. Here are some of the most common symptoms of opioid withdrawal:
- Excessive sweating
- Mood swings
- Elevated blood pressure
- Drastically increased heart rate
- Body aches
How Long Does Opioid Withdrawal Last?
The duration of opioid withdrawal will vary from one person to another. Some people go through withdrawal within a matter of days, while for others, it can last weeks. There are many factors that affect how long opioid withdrawal lasts, such as the type of opioids taken, the dose, and the frequency of doses.
What Happens During Opioid Pain Pills Detox?
When a person decides to become sober from pain pill addiction, they must undergo detox to completely remove all traces of the opioids from their body. If they are taking short-acting opioids such as hydrocodone or morphine, withdrawal symptoms can manifest as early as 8-12 hours after the last dose. The withdrawal process typically lasts anywhere from one to three days, although some people can take up to seven days to finish their detox. The withdrawal symptoms peak at around 48-72 hours, which means that this is when the person feels the most discomfort or pain.
However, if the person is taking long-acting opioids such as methadone or oxycodone, the detox process usually lasts longer. Withdrawal symptoms can take longer to manifest – sometimes up to 36 hours after the last dose. The whole process can last up to 14 days or even longer, depending on the severity of the addiction. It can be difficult to pinpoint a “peak” phase for long-lasting opioids, as the symptoms tend to come in waves. This means that there are points when the withdrawal symptoms present more severely than others.
Finding the Right Opioid Pain Pills Detox Facility for You
If you or a loved one is struggling with pain pills addiction, it can be heartbreaking. There is often an increased sense of isolation from friends and family, as well as a withdrawal from social activities. Home or work life is also affected negatively.
However, you are not alone in your battle. There are numerous resources where you can find support and information about pain pill addiction and how you can overcome it. The first step is always the hardest, and admitting that you need help is your first step in conquering pain pill addiction.
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