Opioid Dependence2018-02-22T21:30:06+00:00

Opioid Dependence

Opioid Dependence

Opioid Dependence

Opioids (also called opiates or narcotics) are highly addictive pain relievers made from opium which comes from a poppy plant. Medicines such as morphine and codeine are natural products made from opium and are used to treat pain. Dependence happens after you have used opioids regularly for a long period of time and your body gets used to the dosage. Dependence is not the same as addiction, addiction means is when a person uses opioids to get high instead of using them for pain management.

Most drugs referred to informally as narcotics really are not. Technically, narcotics refer to opiate drugs, or synthetic or semi-synthetic opiates. Two drug classes have some similar effects to opioids, when abused such as:

  • Benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Barbiturates include amobarbital (Amytal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), phenobarbital (Luminal), and secobarbital (Seconal)
Benzodiazepines and barbiturates are considered sedative-hypnotics and do not have meaningful pain-relieving effects. Benzodiazepines, barbiturates and opiates all are sedating and can produce feelings of emotional well-being that can be attractive to people who are vulnerable to addiction. Long-term use of all three of these types of drugs can lead to tolerance and physical dependence over time, and withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking them.

Synthetic modifications or imitations of morphine:

  • Fentanyl (Duragesic)
  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone with acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Vicodin)
  • Hydrocodone (Zohydro ER, Hysingla ER)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Oxycodone with Acetaminophen (Percocet)
  • Oxycodone with Aspirin (Percodan)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)

Opioids (also called opiates or narcotics) are highly addictive pain relievers made from opium which comes from a poppy plant. Medicines such as morphine and codeine are natural products made from opium and are used to treat pain. Dependence happens after you have used opioids regularly for a long period of time and your body gets used to the dosage. Dependence is not the same as addiction, addiction means is when a person uses opioids to get high instead of using them for pain management.

Most drugs referred to informally as narcotics really are not. Technically, narcotics refer to opiate drugs, or synthetic or semi-synthetic opiates. Two drug classes have some similar effects to opioids, when abused such as:

  • Benzodiazepines include alprazolam (Xanax), diazepam (Valium), and lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Barbiturates include amobarbital (Amytal), pentobarbital (Nembutal), phenobarbital (Luminal), and secobarbital (Seconal)
Benzodiazepines and barbiturates are considered sedative-hypnotics and do not have meaningful pain-relieving effects. Benzodiazepines, barbiturates and opiates all are sedating and can produce feelings of emotional well-being that can be attractive to people who are vulnerable to addiction. Long-term use of all three of these types of drugs can lead to tolerance and physical dependence over time, and withdrawal symptoms if you suddenly stop taking them.

Synthetic modifications or imitations of morphine:

  • Fentanyl (Duragesic)
  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone with acetaminophen (Lorcet, Lortab, Vicodin)
  • Hydrocodone (Zohydro ER, Hysingla ER)
  • Hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)
  • Oxycodone with Acetaminophen (Percocet)
  • Oxycodone with Aspirin (Percodan)
  • Meperidine (Demerol)

Symptoms of Opioid Dependency:

  • Needing more of an opioid to get the same amount of pain relief as you did when you first started taking it
  • When attempts have been made to use less opioid medicine but are unable to.
  • Withdrawal symptoms when taking less of the opioid.

Opioid Dependence vs. Opioid Addiction

Controlling pain is the goal when opioids are used medically. Knowing the difference between dependence and addiction is important.  People who take opioids for pain relief for extended periods of time may need higher doses to ease their pain. They may develop tolerance to the drug and experience withdrawal symptoms if the medication is abruptly stopped. They become physically dependent on the drug.  Addiction occurs when narcotic abuse becomes compulsive and self-destructive, especially concerning an opioid user’s need to use the drug for reasons other than pain relief.

Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal

You may have the following signs and symptoms if you suddenly stop taking opioids or if you decrease the amount you normally take:

  • Yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills or goosebumps
  • Muscle aches or cramps
  • Anxiety

Treatment for Opioid Dependence:

Treatment can be found in a hospital or through outpatient programs.

There are three approaches to treating opioid dependence.

  • Stabilisation is usually by opioid substitution treatments to lower dependency levels.
  • Detox (withdrawal) from opioids.
  • Relapse prevention

Opioid Medicine Used For Opioid Detox

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine (Subutex)
  • Naloxone (a combination called Suboxone)
  • Clonidine
  • Naltrexone (a medicine that blocks opiate receptors)

Symptoms of Opioid Dependency

  • Needing more of an opioid to get the same amount of pain relief as you did when you first started taking it
  • When attempts have been made to use less opioid medicine but are unable to.
  • Withdrawal symptoms when taking less of the opioid.

Opioid Dependence vs. Opioid Addiction

Controlling pain is the goal when opioids are used medically. Knowing the difference between dependence and addiction is important.  People who take opioids for pain relief for extended periods of time may need higher doses to ease their pain. They may develop tolerance to the drug and experience withdrawal symptoms if the medication is abruptly stopped. They become physically dependent on the drug.  Addiction occurs when narcotic abuse becomes compulsive and self-destructive, especially concerning an opioid user’s need to use the drug for reasons other than pain relief.

Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal

You may have the following signs and symptoms if you suddenly stop taking opioids or if you decrease the amount you normally take:

  • Yawning
  • Runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills or goosebumps
  • Muscle aches or cramps
  • Anxiety

Treatment for Opioid Dependence:

Treatment can be found in a hospital or through outpatient programs.

There are three approaches to treating opioid dependence.

  • Stabilisation is usually by opioid substitution treatments to lower dependency levels.
  • Detox (withdrawal) from opioids.
  • Relapse prevention

Opioid Medicine Used For Opioid Detox

  • Methadone
  • Buprenorphine (Subutex)
  • Naloxone (a combination called Suboxone)
  • Clonidine
  • Naltrexone (a medicine that blocks opiate receptors)