Am I An Opioid Addict?

Cliffside Malibu does not condone the use of the term “addict” when referring to people suffering from the disorder of addiction. However, we do understand that others still may use the term in order to find information. Many people may find themselves asking the question, “am I an opioid addict?” if they feel as if their use has spiraled out of control. There are many ways to find out if you may have become addicted to opioids, as well as ways to get help and find treatment.

How Opioid Addiction Begins

Nearly 80% of heroin users started with prescription opioids, which puts prescription drugs and pharmaceutical companies at the core of the opioid epidemic. Opioid medications were first deemed as safe and nonaddictive when they first came about in the 1990s. However, it very quickly became apparent that these drugs were, in fact, addictive once people started overdosing and dying at alarming rates.

Opioids can be effective for individuals suffering from any type of chronic pain. This can include a traumatic injury, surgery, certain cancers or other chronic pain conditions. Opioids bind to receptors, interfering with the brain’s communication to nerves and pain points. This allows people in chronic pain to relax and get much-needed relief from their pain while they heal. However, opioids also offer an addictive euphoria, which makes it difficult to stop taking them after recovery from the injury is complete. Individuals may also turn to street opioids, such as heroin, instead of prescription drugs to save on cost and obtain them quicker.

The Reward System

When an individual is prescribed opioids and they experience the euphoric high that it offers, their brain’s reward system is activated. The reward system is activated when other euphoric things happen as well, such as eating delicious food, looking at a beautiful view, or watching a funny movie. All of these things release dopamine into the body, which makes people feel good. This drives the body’s behavior and leaves the individual looking for more things that make them feel good. Opioids hijack this system, releasing extremely large amounts of dopamine, and tricks the brain into thinking that opioids are good for the body and necessary for survival.

There is a cause-and-effect that occurs with that large amount of dopamine that is released. The individual is left feeling anxious, depressed, and physically sick. In order to alleviate these negative feelings, people seek more opioids to get back the euphoria they once felt. It takes more and more each time, eventually leading to dependency and addiction.

Signs You Might Be an Opioid Addict

Everyone who takes opioid drugs runs the risk of becoming addicted to them. In fact, everyone who is prescribed opioid medication forms a small amount of dependency on them, which is why they need to be slowly tapered off in every case. That said, it can be difficult to understand whether or not you have become an opioid addict and when it might be time to get help.

  • Drug cravings. Do you feel strong cravings for opioids when you’re not taking them? This is one of the first signs of addiction, so make sure you talk to your healthcare provider or a trusted support system if you are experiencing this.
  • Taking more than prescribed. Are you taking a higher dose than your medical provider prescribed to you? If so, a dependency may be occurring, which can quickly lead to addiction if you do not act now.
  • Loved ones expressing concern. Sometimes, the person suffering from addiction is the last one to know. If your loved ones are expressing concern that you take too much, have changed, or don’t look well, it is time to look into treatment options.
  • Experiencing negative consequences. If you have experienced negative consequences due to your use — whether legal, at work, financial hardships, within your marriage or other relationships — it is time to look into treatment options.

How to Get Help

Realizing that you might have become an opioid addict can be a scary thought, but do not be afraid. Luckily, opioid addiction is a treatable condition. Clicking with the right treatment program will make all the difference, allowing you to live a healthy life. There are so many different treatment programs and facilities available, but it is important to do research and find the one that will work best for you.

Opioid Detox

Opioids are almost impossible to detox from cold-turkey, and complete abstinence isn’t always realistic for individuals suffering from addiction. As mentioned, opioids need to be slowly tapered off when prescribed under medical supervision, and the same can be done for opioid addiction.

Medication-assisted detox with an on-site addictionologist helps make individuals more comfortable throughout the detox process by keeping withdrawal symptoms at bay. Clients are more quickly able to participate in behavioral therapy to learn how to deal with triggers and to address any underlying mental health conditions.

About Cliffside Malibu

If you are asking yourself, “am I an opioid addict?” you probably already know that your opioid use has gotten out of your hands. Luckily, treatment is available and there are other options to help with the chronic pain you may still be experiencing.

Since no two addictions are the same, Cliffside Malibu offers an individualized treatment plan for every client. We are committed to providing evidence-based treatment through a continuum of care model including medically supervised detox, residential treatment, day treatment, and outpatient services. Our program also includes family therapy and holistic therapy, as well. Whether an individual is suffering from substance abuse and/or alcohol addiction, our programs are structured to create a supportive environment where healing can begin.

In addition to world-class treatment, Cliffside Malibu offers luxury accommodations, a serene environment, five-star dining, and plentiful amenities. We understand that addiction treatment is a rigorous process. Therefore, we provide for your comfort and relaxation at every turn, allowing you to rejuvenate, and meet the demands of treatment with your greatest energy and attention.

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