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Opiate Abuse: Signs, Symptoms, Treatment and More


Opiate addiction is a scary, difficult and unfortunate issue for anyone to go through. You may not know how you ended up at this point, but accepting that you are here and thinking that you may have a problem is a great first step.

These medications which are given out for pain, have become extremely popular with Americans, according to The American Society of Addiction Medicine, in 2012, there were 259 million prescriptions written in the U.S. For prescription opiates. With opiates being handed out at this rate, there is no wonder people are developing addictions to prescription drugs at epidemic proportions.

You should not feel like a bad person for developing an opiate addiction. There are plenty of people just like you who unintentionally developed the same habit, but took the time to learn a new way to live. You do not have to spend the rest of your life dependent on opiates. You can start the changing process today and get the help that is out there for you.

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Opiate Addiction and Abuse

Under your doctor’s care, prescription opiates are an effective way to treat pain associated with surgery or injuries. However, opiates are highly addictive because of the sense of pleasure and relief of pain one feels when using the medication. It is not uncommon for someone to be prescribed opiates for pain, build up a strong tolerance, and become addicted and dependent on their medication.

There are even some occasions where a friend or loved one, who has been prescribed opiates offers them to someone else in pain. That person in turn can become addicted to drugs, because for some it only takes one dose of an opiate to become addicted. So, while it is not your fault that you are here, you have a responsibility to make a change today and start fighting back against your opiate addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Opiate Abuse

Identifying yourself as an addict is not an easy thing to do for anyone. We understand that it may seem like your prescription makes you feel good and removes the pain from your life, but that’s not really the case. There are a number of short- and long-term effects that come along with an addiction to prescription drugs, as well as overdose signs. So it’s important to know the signs and symptoms of abusing opiates so that it’s easier to understand why rehab treatment is beneficial to you.

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Short-Term and Long-Term Effects of Opiates

Opiate abuse can take a real toll on your body and is something to take seriously when considering your long term health. It is important to quit while you can, because all it takes is one large dose to kill you.

Research is still being conducted on opiate abuse and how extensive use can result in long term brain damage. However, according to Drugabuse.gov researchers believe the respiratory problems caused from opiate abuse leads to a lack of oxygen to the brain, which results in brain damage.

Besides the physical stresses and risk of death, opiate addiction can ruin your social and personal life as well. There are stories of people addicted to opiates who have done just about anything, even hurt or rob their family, just to get money to feed their addiction. This is an unfortunate side effect of addiction that a number of people experience. However, if this happens to be you, you should feel some remorse, but also understand that recovery from your addiction can give you plenty of time to make amends for your actions.

You do not have to be another statistic, there is no shame in admitting you have a problem with opiate addiction. Sometimes the urge can be too overwhelming to resist on your own, by entering a treatment center you will learn new tools to live a new, healthy, drug free life.

Overdose Symptoms of Opiates

Out of the 44,055 lethal overdoses in 2014, prescription opiates were responsible for 18, 893. These numbers are according to the American Society of Addiction Medicine. Prescription opiates are by far the number one culprit of lethal overdoses in America, which is why it is important to seek treatment for your abuse.

While it can be difficult to tell if someone is very high or experiencing an overdose on opiates, there are still some symptoms to watch out for. Here are some symptoms of an opiate overdose:

  • Awake, but unable to talk
  • “Nodding Out” Falling asleep
  • Face is very pale of clammy
  • Fingernails and lips turn blue
  • Slowed breathing and pulse
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of consciousness

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Opiate Withdrawal and DetoxOpiate Detox and Withdrawal

Opiate withdrawal can be a very painful experience, and occurs when you try to quit using opiates after a heavy period of abusing your prescription. Basically, once your body develops a dependence on opiates it tells your brain that you are in more pain than you are, just to get the fix from the medication. Choosing to ignore this urge is what leads to withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawals for opiate addicts can be bad enough to where some give in and go back to using instead of fighting through the symptoms. This is one reason why we recommend supervised inpatient drug detox treatment programs for opiate addicts.

The detox program for opiates is tricky, because everyone will experience different pain levels. While in rehab it is important to be honest about your pain levels so the professionals can properly treat you. The doctors will do their best to ween you off you opiate addiction through the use of medication or occasionally using holistic approaches if you so choose.

We understand that the withdrawal and detox process can be a deterrent for some looking to get into a rehab treatment center, but it can be necessary for those abusing opiates. By undergoing the withdrawal and detox process under close medical attention, you can have the chance to experience less severe withdrawal symptoms and successfully overcome your addiction.

Opiate Treatment and Rehab

If you are looking into treatment for your opiate abuse then you are on the right track to making a better life for yourself. There are many different rehab treatment options that you can explore for your addiction, and the options will vary on many different factors such as:

Commonly Abused Opiate Prescriptions

  • Demerol

  • Darvocet

  • Morphine

  • Oxycodone

  • Suboxone

  • Codeine

  • Fentanyl

  • Hydrocodone/Vicodin

  • Methadone

  • Tramadol

  • Length of Stay

    1 year, 6 months, 90-30 days, 30 or less days

  • Insurance Coverage

    Some insurance plans will cover up to 100% of the rehab cost

  • Facility Type

    Drug specific, all men/women, luxury, etc.

  • Demographics

    All men, all women, teen rehab, etc.

  • Treatment Plan

    12 Step, holistic, faith based

If you are worried or nervous, you shouldn’t be! There is usually a similar process at all facilities which we can fill you in on, to help ease your nerves.

You will be assessed by professionals at the facility and be asked questions about you and your drug use. It’s important to be honest about your drug use because this will determine how they treat you through detox and the rest of your stay.

You will be carefully monitored as your body withdrawals and recovers from the effects of your opiate abuse.

This is where your treatment plan comes in to action. You will learn tools needed to stay clean in the outside world when leaving rehab.

After you have completed your rehab process, there is an option for outpatient therapy. This option is usually close to home local, allows you to be slowly introduced back to your life and responsibilities.

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Opiate Abuse Signs

Recognizing the Signs of Opiate Addiction

It may be difficult to admit your addiction, but this does not mean you are a bad or weak person. There are many preconceived notions about addiction, that you should not concern yourself with. For now, if you believe you are abusing or addicted to your opiates, the last thing you should be worried about is what someone else thinks. You should be focused on you, and your addiction, and what you can do to better your life.

Coming to Terms with Your Opiate Addiction

You may be in denial about your opiate addiction, but just know that this is the addiction telling you that. Your body will become dependent on the opiates to feel normal, and will tell you that you need more, but this is not true. You do not need opiates for your pain, and if you do then you need to have them held by someone who can hand them out to you as prescribed.

Still not sure if you are abusing your opiate prescription? Then consider the following:

  • Are you using opiates for a longer amount of time then intended?
  • Have you had unsuccessful attempts to decrease the amount you take?
  • Do you spend large amounts of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the drug?
  • Have you abandoned important activities or responsibilities because of your opiate use?

Opiate addiction is a major problem in America, and you should not feel less than because this happened to you. If you want to make amends to your loved ones and yourself then the first thing you need to do is to own and accept your addiction to opiates, and the mistakes that came with it.

Opiate addiction can be conquered, there are plenty of people just like you who have fought and beat their addiction. You can meet these people when you begin your treatment and journey of recovery.

Helping a Friend or Family Member Address Their Opiate Addiction

If you are here to gather information about opiate addiction for a loved one, then good for you. We hope this has been an informative and helpful experience for you. If you are concerned that a loved one may be struggling with an addiction look for some of these symptoms of opiate abuse.

  • Small pupils
  • Itching or flushed skin
  • Constipation
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shallow or Slow breathing
  • Track marks or holes on arms or other body parts from injecting

If you believe that your loved one is addicted we recommend that you have a conversation with them about getting them into treatment. This can be a difficult conversation, the addict in your life may become defensive, emotional or irrational. For this we recommend a few things to do and not to do when having a conversation about drug use and treatment with your loved one.

  • Remain calm, and listen to what he or she is saying

  • Let them know that you care about them, love them, and forgive them

  • Tell them that there is hope

  • Bring up the conversation when he or she is in a good place mentally

  • Raise your voice and make them feel bad about their addiction

  • Confront him or her while they are under the influence

  • Let them convince you they do not need treatment

  • Give them reasons to leave

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The Bottom Line: You Can Beat Opiate Addiction

If you’ve reached this point it is hard to deny the fact that you’re serious about beating your opiate addiction, and that is something to have pride in. Your life matters and there is no reason why you should allow a pill to dictate the rest of your life when help is available. Remember, choosing to go into a rehab treatment center for opiate abuse will help you rid yourself of the horrible side effects you’ve had to endure, extend your life span, and most importantly place you on track towards regaining you own life. So don’t fight addiction alone. Instead allow us to help you live the life you deserve to have.

Payment Options for Opiate Abuse Treatment

The cost of your treatment for drug abuse will vary depending on the many different factors that were previously discussed, such as length of stay, insurance, and treatment options.

Sometimes in life the best things are the hardest to achieve. Opiate addiction treatment is not easy, but the reward of starting a new life free of your addiction is worth fighting for. If you are tired of going through the feelings of withdrawal, and the other physical and emotional pains that come with opiate addiction then call us today.

We understand finding the right treatment center that accepts your insurance and will tailor a treatment program around your specific needs is difficult, frustrating, and can take a long time. At Elite Rehab we’ve identified all the top prescription drug rehab centers in the U.S. We know how much they charge and which insurance plans they accept.

Call us today and let us help you get on the road to recovery!