woman standing on beach has opioid addictionOpioid abuse, like that of prescription pain pills and heroin, is a global problem. Opioid addiction affects not only people’s health but also the economic welfare of societies. Data shows that opioid abuse is on the rise in the United States with no signs of slowing down. Below is more information about opioids and their dangers.

The Rise of Opioid Addiction

Opioid abuse is on the rise thanks to how easy it is for people to get these drugs. In fact, studies show that most opioid abuse starts with legitimate prescriptions from doctors. In 1991, physicians around the world handed out nearly 76 million opioid prescriptions. This number jumped to over 207 million in 2013.

People in the United States were the biggest contributors to this increase. The country accounts for nearly 100% of the world’s total hydrocodone usage. People know this drug better as its brand name Vicodin, but other popular brands include Norco and Lortab. Also, the nation accounts for 81% of all oxycodone prescriptions such as OxyContin and Percocet.

How Opioids Impact the Body and Brain

Opioid addiction typically starts when doctors prescribe these drugs. Vicodin and OxyContin help treat moderate to severe pain. Doctors often prescribe opioid drugs to people who undergo surgery or are in serious accidents.

Opioids attach themselves to opioid receptors in the brain. These receptors are also present in the spinal cord, nerve cells, and gastrointestinal tract. After attaching, the drugs cause the receptors to block pain and send signals of well-being to the brain.

Beyond addiction, opioids cause a number of other problems. Some of the common side effects of opioid use include:

  • Nausea
  • Constipation
  • Drowsiness
  • Mental confusion

Doctors typically take precautions to keep people from developing an opioid addiction. For example, they may limit the number of refills that they give patients. However, some people develop an addiction before they need a new prescription.

When doctors refuse to refill prescriptions, people who want more may engage in “doctor shopping.” They visit new doctors until they find one who will refill their prescription. This practice continues until they exhaust all of the doctors in their area. From there, they usually move on to illegal street drugs such as heroin, which is also an opiate.

Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

Addiction is hard to overcome. One reason for this difficulty is the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that people feel when they attempt to stop taking the drug. While withdrawal symptoms make it hard to quit, addiction is also a disease. Rather than something that people can control, addiction controls them.

Some common opiate withdrawal symptoms include vomiting, sweats, chills and anxiety. The severity of these symptoms varies depending on numerous factors. For example, the longer that people take opiates, the more intense their withdrawal symptoms will be.

Also, some opioids spawn worse withdrawal symptoms. For example, heroin often has more serious withdrawal symptoms than prescription pain pills. The reason is because heroin is an illegal street drug with no quality control. Heroin makers usually lace it with other drugs.

Getting Help for Your Addiction

At San Antonio Recovery Center, we pride ourselves on not being just another drug and alcohol rehab center. We believe that people need a full spectrum of treatment options. This approach differs from rehab centers that purely focus on one area of recovery, which isn’t particularly effective.

We also strive to make opioid addiction affordable. We don’t want the price to stop people from getting the help that they desperately need. Making our services affordable means that we get to help more individuals confront addiction.

San Antonio Recovery Center provides a wide range of services. These services all benefit from our 12-step philosophy. Some of our services include:

Don’t let opioid addiction control your life any longer. Find out how San Antonio Recovery Center can help you down the road to recovery. Contact us today at 866-957-7865 for more information about our addiction rehab programs.