Opioid Addiction Treatment Program Texas
Opioid addiction has become a national crisis for the United States. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, an alarming 2+ million Americans abuse opioids, while 90 Americans, on average, die every day as a result of opioid overdose.
Why Are Opioids So Addictive?
Anyone who takes opioids runs the risk of addiction. While the duration of opioid use and your personal history do play a role, it is quite hard to accurately predict who will or will not eventually become dependent on these drugs.
Addiction starts out as a pleasurable activity before turning into something that you cannot live without. In the medical world, drug addiction is defined as:
- An overpowering urge for the drug
- A compulsive, out-of-control use of the drug
- Continued use of the drug despite harmful consequences
Opioids are highly addictive, especially since they activate the reward centers of our brains. These drugs trigger the production of the feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. This release of endorphins is what muffles our pain perception and creates a temporary but powerful feeling of pleasure and wellbeing. Hence, when the opioid effect wears off, people may find themselves craving those good feelings again. They want those feelings back as soon as possible, and this is the first step on the painful journey to addiction.
Risk Factors for Opioid Addiction
The chances of opioid addiction go up significantly when someone takes the drug in a manner different to how it was prescribed (for example, crushing a pill to be able to inject or snort it). This habit becomes even more dangerous if the pill is extended- or long-acting formulation. Taking more than the prescribed dose – or taking it more frequently than prescribed –also increases the chances of addiction.
The duration of use also plays a vital role. According to researchers, people who use opioids for more than a few days are likely to become dependent – and eventually addicted – to the drug. If you use opioids for more than just five days, the odds that you will still be using the drug a year later go up significantly.
Various additional factors – environmental, psychological, and genetic – play a role in addictions.
Below are the known factors that can lead to opioid addiction or misuse:
- Young age
- Personal or family history of substance abuse
- Regular interaction with high-risk people or environments
- History of legal problems or criminal activity
- Problems with friends, family members, or employers
- Thrill-seeking or risk-taking tendencies
- Stressful circumstances
- History of severe anxiety or depression
- Heavy use of tobacco
- Stressful life circumstances
- Prior alcohol or drug rehabilitation
What Are the Signs of Opioid Addiction
People addicted to opioids display a number of physical, mental, and behavioral changes, with some of the most common being:
- Spending more time alone or avoiding time with friends and family
- Changing friends or mixing with different groups of people
- Losing interest in everyday activities
- Sudden weight loss
- Marks on veins (for people who inject the drug)
- Poor hygiene (not changing clothes, bathing, or brushing teeth, for example)
- Being overly tired or sad
- Abnormal increase or decrease in appetite
- Being abnormally energetic, talking too fast, or saying things that make little or no sense
- Abnormal sleeping habits (sleeping at odd hours, for example)
- Being cranky or nervous
- Missing important appointments
- Abrupt changes in mood
- Attending school or work sporadically or on erratic schedules
- Undergoing financial hardship
- Getting into trouble with the law
In addition, women have a unique set of risk factors that makes them more vulnerable to opioid addiction than males.
Women are almost twice as likely to suffer from chronic pain (pain lasting more than 12 weeks). Since opioids are primarily prescribed for chronic pain, women are likely to consume higher doses of the drug or stay on them for much longer, increasing their chances of dependency. Oxycodone prescribed for women having gone through a C-section, and benzodiazepines prescribed for menopause are just two examples of how specific female health issues makes the gender more vulnerable to opioid addiction.
Opioid Addiction Treatment Program Texas
It is important to remember that people addicted to opioids are not weak. Addiction is a serious medical condition brought about by prolonged use of the drug. Hence, the road to recovery is a long and challenging one, and requires immense support from both loved ones and medical professionals.
By altering the reward behavior circuits in our brain, substance addiction changes the very way it functions. Hence, it is not advisable to stop taking the drug abruptly (cold-turkey), and doing so can lead to a host of dangerous and potentially fatal symptoms:
- Immense cravings
- Nausea and vomiting
- Paresthesias(prickling and tingling of the skin)
- Changes in consciousness
- Heart attack
At MAT (Medically-Assisted Treatment) Texas, we utilize a combination of medication and therapy to treat opioid addiction and maintain long-term recovery. In other instances, MAT is also used to reduce or prevent opioid overdoses. In fact, the combination of medication and counseling is considered to be the Gold Standard when it comes to opioid addiction.
MAT is primarily used to treat opioids like heroin and pain-relieving prescription drugs that contain opiates. The medications used to treat opioid addiction, which include Suboxone and Methadone, help correct brain chemistry, reduce urges and cravings, and reduce the euphoric ‘high’ resulting from opioid use. When combined with behavioral therapy and psychological counseling, these medications help relieve cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, thereby letting the patient focus on positive behavior changes.
MAT Texas comprises a team of licensed therapists, nurses, and board-certified physicians that works to assess and treat opioid addiction patients.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an opioid addiction, MAT Texas may be able to help. To discuss further, please reach out to us today.