Opioid Dependence

Opioid Dependence

Opioid Dependence

Opioids are substances that mainly act on receptors in the central and peripheral nervous system and the gastrointestinal tract. These receptors mediate both the mind-changing and bodily effects of opioids. Opioids are mostly prescribed to provide pain relief. They can also be prescribed to treat diarrhoea or induce cough suppression.

Opioids are frequently used recreationally for their euphoric effects. They can be ingested orally, injected, or snorted. Opioids include substances such as heroin, morphine, fentanyl, codeine, oxycodone, and hydrocodone. Side effects of opioids may include itchiness, sedation, nausea, respiratory depression, constipation, and intense feelings of happiness.

Prevalence

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were approximately 47,000 prescription or opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States in 2018. Heroin was involved in approximately 16,000 deaths, and prescription painkillers were involved in approximately 15,000 deaths. The opioid crisis was declared a nationwide Public Health Emergency on October 27, 2017.

Diagnosis of Opioid Dependency:

OUD is a problematic pattern of opioid use leading to distress, with at least two of the following occurring within a 12-month period:

  1. Taking larger amounts or taking drugs over a longer period than intended
  2. Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control opioid use
  3. Spending a great deal of time obtaining or using the opioid or recovering from its effects
  4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use opioids
  5. Problems fulfilling obligations at work, school, or home
  6. Continued opioid use despite having recurring social or interpersonal problems
  7. Giving up or reducing activities because of opioid use
  8. Using opioids in physically hazardous situations
  9. Continued opioid use despite ongoing physical or psychological problem likely to have been caused or worsened by opioids
  10. Tolerance – need for increased amounts to get the same “high”
  11. Experiencing withdrawal – opioid withdrawal syndrome
  12. Taking opioids or a closely related substance to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms

Opioid withdrawal syndrome is characterized by:

  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhoea
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Low mood
  • Anxiety
  • Goosebumps

Risk factors for Opioid Dependence:

Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is a chronic lifelong disorder with serious potential consequences including disability, relapses, and death.

Risk factors for OUD include a history of substance use, substance use among family and friends, mental illness, low socioeconomic status, and race.

Complications of OUD include the acquisition of blood-borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C in users who inject and share needles and overdose, which in many cases is lethal.

Long-term opioid use occurs in approximately 4% of people following their use for trauma or surgery-related pain. Onset is often in young adulthood, and males are affected more often than females.

Treatment for Opioid Dependence:

  • Medication – Individuals with OUD are often treated with opioid replacement therapy using methadone or buprenorphine. Receiving such treatment reduces the risk of death. The medication naltrexone may also be useful to prevent relapse.
  • Therapy – Additionally, individuals may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy and other forms of support from mental health professionals such as individual or group therapy and peer support programs.
 

Diagnosis of Opioid Dependency

OUD is a problematic pattern of opioid use leading to distress, with at least two of the following occurring within a 12-month period:

  1. Taking larger amounts or taking drugs over a longer period than intended
  2. Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control opioid use
  3. Spending a great deal of time obtaining or using the opioid or recovering from its effects
  4. Craving, or a strong desire or urge to use opioids
  5. Problems fulfilling obligations at work, school, or home
  6. Continued opioid use despite having recurring social or interpersonal problems
  7. Giving up or reducing activities because of opioid use
  8. Using opioids in physically hazardous situations
  9. Continued opioid use despite ongoing physical or psychological problem likely to have been caused or worsened by opioids
  10. Tolerance – need for increased amounts to get the same “high”
  11. Experiencing withdrawal – opioid withdrawal syndrome
  12. Taking opioids or a closely related substance to relieve or avoid withdrawal symptoms

Opioid withdrawal syndrome is characterized by:

  • Nausea
  • Muscle aches
  • Diarrhoea
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Low mood
  • Anxiety
  • Goosebumps
 

Risk factors for Opioid Dependence

Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is a chronic lifelong disorder with serious potential consequences including disability, relapses, and death.

Risk factors for OUD include a history of substance use, substance use among family and friends, mental illness, low socioeconomic status, and race.

Complications of OUD include the acquisition of blood-borne viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C in users who inject and share needles and overdose, which in many cases is lethal.

Long-term opioid use occurs in approximately 4% of people following their use for trauma or surgery-related pain. Onset is often in young adulthood, and males are affected more often than females.

 

Treatment for Opioid Dependence:

  • Medication – Individuals with OUD are often treated with opioid replacement therapy using methadone or buprenorphine. Receiving such treatment reduces the risk of death. The medication naltrexone may also be useful to prevent relapse.
  • Therapy – Additionally, individuals may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy and other forms of support from mental health professionals such as individual or group therapy and peer support programs.