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What is Opiate Addiction?

Opiate addiction is dangerous and can negatively impact your life. Learn more about opiate addiction and resources that can help.

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What is Opiate Addiction?

Opiate addiction involves continuous abuse or misuse of opiate drugs. Someone struggling with opiate drug addiction will likely keep using opiates despite the negative consequences experienced in their life. Opiate addiction side effects can be severe and have many negative effects on someone’s health and wellbeing.

Opiate Addiction

Opiate Addiction Meaning

    The term opiate addiction refers to continued misuse or abuse of prescription opiates or recreational opiate drugs. Opiate drug addiction can be caused by several factors but will usually be characterized by frequently taking opiates at high doses for an extended period.

    Opiate Addiction Statistics

    Opiate addiction statistics show just how dangerous opiate abuse can be.

    • Approximately 902,000 people reported using heroin in 2020, and 13,165 people died from a heroin overdose.1
    • An estimated 33 million people use Codeine every year. Within the last 20 years, approximately 500,000 people have fatally overdosed on opiates like Codeine.2
    • 10% of the U.S. population has abused an Opiate drug in their lifetime.3

    Opiate Addiction Treatment Success Rate

    There haven’t been enough studies on opiate addiction treatment success rates to determine an exact number of successful recoveries. However, a research study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services determined that about 42% of people who enter treatment for drug or alcohol abuse complete it. With proper treatment protocols and methods in place, the success rate of addiction treatment can be even higher.4

    Opiate Addiction Causes and Risk Factors

    Many causes and risk factors can contribute to someone developing an opiate drug addiction. During treatment, it’s important to understand and determine the cause of addiction to treat the individual properly. Understanding the cause or underlying conditions that may be contributing to the addiction can help treatment professionals better understand the individual and provide the best possible care. This helps lead to better rates of recovery during treatment.

    What Causes Opiate Addiction?

    Many factors can cause someone to develop an opiate drug addiction. Common causes of opiate addiction include:

    • Injuries or health conditions: If someone is prescribed opiates to deal with pain from an injury or other health condition, there is also a chance they could become addicted to the drug. Misuse or abuse of prescription opiates is a common cause of addiction.
    • Mental health issues: If someone struggles with mental health issues, they may be more likely to struggle with addiction. Many who struggle with mental health may use drugs as a form of self-medication.
    • Past trauma: Past trauma can also lead someone to turn to drugs to cope with their past experiences rather than dealing with the trauma itself.
    • Peer pressure: Peer pressure can contribute to addiction, especially in younger individuals in high school or college.
    • Stress: Stress can be a contributing factor in someone abusing opiate drugs. Those who feel high amounts of stress with work, school, or family responsibilities may turn to opiates to unwind or relax when they feel overly stressed from daily responsibilities.

    Opiate Addiction Risk Factors

    Several risk factors can play a role in someone developing an addiction. Common risk factors of addiction include:

    • Genetics: Scientific studies have found links between genetics and having a higher risk of addiction. Addiction is moderate to highly inheritable, so genetics can play a significant role. If someone has a family history of addiction, they may be more susceptible to developing an addiction themselves.
    • Environment: Someone’s environment and what they’re exposed to daily can contribute to the development of an addiction or a higher chance of experimenting with drugs or alcohol. Environmental factors such as an unstable home environment, parental drug use, or the presence of drugs at home or school can all make someone more susceptible to substance abuse.
    • Social: Social factors such as peer pressure or trying to fit a certain image may cause someone to abuse drugs. Recreational drug use is common in places like parties and clubs where there will be more social influence encouraging drug use.5

    Signs and Symptoms of Opiate Addiction and Withdrawal

    It isn’t always easy to determine opiate addiction symptoms since those struggling may try to cover it up and act like they’re fine. However, there are some common opiate addiction symptoms and signs you can look for to help determine if someone is struggling.

    Common Signs of Opiate Addiction

    Common signs of opiate addiction may include:

    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Irritability
    • Lack of motivation
    • Mood swings
    • Neglecting responsibilities
    • Physical agitation
    • Poor decision making or risky behavior
    • Shallow or slow breathing

    Opiate Withdrawal Symptoms

    If someone with an opiate addiction suddenly stops taking opiates, they’ll experience withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms can range from uncomfortable to severe, so going through the withdrawal and detox process at a treatment center is a good idea to make sure you stay safe and as comfortable as possible while withdrawal symptoms occur. Common opiate addiction withdrawal symptoms include:

    • Abdominal cramping
    • Anxiety
    • Dilated pupils and blurry vision
    • Excessive sweating
    • Eyes tearing up
    • Fast heart rate
    • High blood pressure
    • Muscle aches
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Restlessness
    • Runny nose
    • Trouble sleeping6

    Side Effects of Opiate Addiction

    Opiate addiction side effects are serious and can have many lasting effects if the addiction isn’t treated. Opiate side effects can affect someone who abuses opiates in both the short and long term.

    Short-Term Side Effects

    Common short-term opiate addiction side effects include:

    • Constipation
    • Drowsiness
    • Nausea
    • Slowed breathing
    • Unconsciousness

    Long-Term Side Effects

    Common long-term side effects of opiate addiction include:

    • Developing a tolerance
    • Health problems in the heart, liver, and kidneys
    • Insomnia
    • Muscle and bone pain
    • Overdose
    • Physical dependence and addiction
    • Problems with the immune system
    • Withdrawal symptoms if opiate use is stopped

    Opiate Overdose

    One of the dangers of long-term opiate abuse is an increased risk of overdose. Since someone can develop a tolerance to opiates, increasingly higher doses of opiate drugs will need to be taken over time to get the same effects. Taking high doses of opiate drugs is dangerous and can lead to an overdose. Common symptoms of an opiate overdose include:

    • Cold or clammy skin
    • Discolored lips of fingernails
    • Significantly slowed or stopped breathing
    • Snoring or gurgling sounds
    • Unresponsiveness or unconsciousness

    If someone is experiencing these opiate overdose symptoms, they must receive immediate medical attention. You should call 911 or take them to the emergency room immediately as soon as you recognize the symptoms. Ensure that you tell paramedics that an opiate overdose may have occurred so they can provide the proper medical procedures necessary for treating an overdose.

    Opiate Addiction

    Treatment for Opiate Addiction

    If you or someone you know is struggling with an opiate addiction, treatment options are available. Opiate addiction recovery is possible, and you don’t have to go through it alone.

    Opiate Addiction Treatment Programs

    If you’re looking for an opiate addiction treatment program, many options are available that can help. Choosing the right program will depend on the individual, the type of addiction, and the severity of the addiction. To decide which treatment program is the best option, you can talk to your doctor or contact an opiate addiction treatment center to find out more about what services they offer.

    Inpatient Rehab for Opiate Addiction
    Inpatient opiate addiction rehab may be a good option. Inpatient rehab involves staying at a treatment center while working through a treatment program. Inpatient treatment will provide you with around-the-clock medical support and attention, and you’ll be able to stay in a safe environment away from temptations. Most inpatient treatment programs will also include therapy, group therapy, and other activities that will help build life skills for long-term success and sobriety.

    Outpatient Treatment for Opiate Addiction
    Outpatient treatment for opiate addiction may also be a good option. Outpatient treatment involves going to a treatment center at designated times throughout the week to receive treatment and work through a recovery program. The main difference with outpatient treatment is you’ll be able to return home each night after treatment has been completed. Outpatient treatment can be a good option for those with a less severe addiction or for those who have work or family responsibilities they don’t want to leave behind while receiving treatment.

    Medications for Opiate Addiction
    Opiate addiction medications may also be used during treatment to help ease withdrawal symptoms and prevent a relapse. Common opiate addiction medications used during treatment are methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. All these medications have been scientifically studied and proven effective for opiate addiction treatment.

    Get Opiate Addiction Treatment at Great Oaks Recovery Center

    If you’re in the Houston, Texas, area and looking for opiate addiction treatment, Great Oaks Recovery Center is here to help. Great Oaks provides evidence-based addiction treatment proven to get the best possible results. The friendly and educated staff at Great Oaks will help you create a personalized treatment program and be there with you every step of the way as you detox and work towards recovery.



    Questions About Treatment?

    Our knowledgeable team is ready to discuss your situation and options. Your call is confidential with no obligation required.