Useful Guide To Opioid Drugs
Opioid drugs are currently one of the most controversial narcotics in the United States and throughout the world. In recent years, the use of opioid drugs has become so widespread that many officials are considering the problem to be an epidemic. President Trump has even been commissioned to label the problem as a national emergency. If you want to avoid the potential repercussions of the use of opioid drugs, then it’s important to understand how they work and what they can do to your body. This will help to ensure that you don’t develop a serious dependency and that you know how to stop using the drugs safely without any dangerous side-effects.
What Is An Opioid?
Opioids are a class of narcotics that are used medically as painkillers, or analgesics. They are very powerful medications and elicit serious, potent effects on the brain and the body. For this reason, opioids are also extremely popular for illicit drug users.
List Of Common Opioid Drugs
- Morphine is the most commonly used opioid narcotic in most hospitals, isn’t as strong when compared to other opioids. However, it can be just as habit forming and dangerous.
- Heroin, also known as diacetylmorphine, is very similar in effects but much more potent than morphine. Heroin crosses the blood-brain-barrier much easier and is thus much more habit forming and addictive.
- Fentanyl is one of the most potent opioids that is readily available, and is largely responsible for the opioid epidemic and the massive surge in overdoses that the United States has seen in recent years. Fentanyl, which is much stronger than heroin, is being unwittingly sold to heroin users, leading them to overdose.
- Codeine is a weak opioid that’s usually available over-the-counter in combination with acetaminophen or other low-grade painkillers.
- Loperamide, brand-name Imodium, is a non-psychoactive opioid that is used to control diarrhea. At regular doses, it’s not intoxicating, but can still lead to physical withdrawals.
Regardless of the opioid in question, excessive use can result in addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
Opioid Addiction Symptoms
Opioid addiction can emerge very quickly and it’s important that you recognize the symptoms of addiction and abuse before they become too serious. If you’re taking your medication as prescribed by a doctor, you may want to look into alternative treatments for pain such as CBD. Any long-term use of opioids will result in addiction and dependency, so they’re best avoided if possible.
Opioid addiction usually emerges with some of the following symptoms:
- Tolerance increase. This occurs when you need more of the drug to feel the same effects.
- Cravings or feeling that you need the drug to feel normal.
- Taking more than your prescribed dosage
- Hiding your use from your friends or family
- People who are close to you expressing concern about your usage
- The emergence of withdrawal symptoms
Signs of Opioid Withdrawal
Withdrawal and tolerance are the two most surefire symptoms of opioid addiction. It’s best to try and wean yourself off of opioid drugs (more on this later) before you experience withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can be intensely uncomfortable and can lead someone into a serious pattern of addiction and dependency in an attempt to eliminate the discomfort of withdrawal.
- Intense sweating
- Extreme insomnia
- Pain in the muscles and bones
- Restless legs syndrome and constant agitation
- Emotional turmoil, aggression, depression, irritability
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme diarrhea or constipation
- Inability to eat anything
- Confusion, brain fog, mental discomfort
- A feeling of bugs crawling under your skin
While these are the most common withdrawal symptoms, everyone’s body chemistry is different and different symptoms may emerge that are not listed here.
Minimizing Opioid Withdrawal Danger
Opioid drugs should be taken with the utmost caution, if at all. Unfortunately, this isn’t always easy to do. A lot of doctors aren’t specialized in treatment with opioids and don’t know how to properly prescribe them, and illicit users don’t always have this information available to them.
The most important thing to know is that you should never quit cold-turkey after using opioids for any length of time. Cold-turkey means that you simply stop using the drugs one day. Instead, you should wean yourself off by gradually reducing your dose by 25%-50% every couple days until you’re hardly using any at all.
Doing this will acclimatize your body to smaller amounts of the drug and allow you to wean off opioids without experiencing serious withdrawal symptoms.
Another way to prevent the buildup of tolerance and addiction is to use an NMDA antagonist, like Memantine or Dextromethorphan. The body’s NMDA system is highly involved in the formation of memory and the buildup of tolerance, and taking these drugs can prevent you from building up a tolerance as quickly and can also prevent you from acting out on impulsive, addictive behaviors.
It’s important to understand how these drugs work so you can minimize the chance of experiencing withdrawal and getting addicted. If possible, seek treatment from a physician that is specifically experienced with opioid drugs before getting a prescription. Opioids are a very powerful class of medication that can be incredibly useful when used for the short-term relief of pain. Unfortunately, they’re also incredibly addictive and can easily lead someone to develop an intense addiction and dependency.
- Opioid pain medication https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/narcotic-pain-medications
- Opioid addiction, withdrawal and crisis https://www.addictionsandrecovery.org/opioid-opiate-recovery.htm
- DXM prevents morphine tolerance in rats https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8951930