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Opium Addiction: Making it Through the Holidays Alive

Parties, events and celebrations become more the norm than the exception during the holiday season as friends and family make it a point to spend time together. Television specials, talk shows and the media in general paint a perfect picture of warm feelings and good will for this time of year. Unfortunately, real life seldom comes out picture perfect.

With opium addiction rates reaching an all-time high, family pressures, money expenditures and the desire to have a happy holiday can quickly become a source of stress for people struggling with opium addiction. Understanding the dangers of opium abuse and addiction, and the risks that come with this time of year may help get you one step closer to getting needed treatment help.

Opium Overdose Statistics

With the rise in heroin and prescription pain pill abuse, opium-based addictions have skyrocketed over the past 10 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, on average, 44 people within the United States die every day from opium-related overdose.

In 2013 alone, overdose deaths in general totaled 43,982. Of this number, 22,767 resulted from prescription pain pills. Whether it be the need to escape, emotional turmoil or the cycle of addiction itself driving drug use, opium abuse can kill, especially during times of stress and pressure.

The Stress Effect

Stress may cause you to abuse drugs.

Stress may cause you to abuse drugs.

Most all addictive drugs work by interacting with certain key areas of the brain, most notably the brain reward system. Incidentally, the effects of stress, whether short-term or long, interact with these same areas.

This relationship between opium and stress accounts for why someone struggling with opium addiction turns to drug use during periods of stress. With work and home responsibilities, attending family get-togethers, financial strain and the expectations that go with gift-giving, a non-addicted person’s stress levels can easily reach the point of overload, let alone someone who’s battling opium addiction.

Inability to Control Intake

More than anything else, the brain’s ability to tolerate opium effects accounts the drug’s potential for abuse. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, opium works by forcing brain cell sites to release neurotransmitter substances in excess. Over time, these effects weaken cell sites to the point where they require larger and larger drug doses to produce the same desired effects.

Over time, you may not even notice the dosage increases until your drug supply runs out. This cycle of drug use and its effects on brain cells is never-ending, a process that sets the stage for overdose episodes to take shape as dosage amounts reach monumental proportions.

The Mental Component

After popping so many pills or snorting (or smoking) so many lines of heroin to cope with stressful situations, opium effects start to reconfigure the brain’s reward system. In a nutshell, this system determines a person’s motivations, priorities and drive within any given day.

With repeated drug use, opium takes on top priority in the brain reward system. Once conditions reach this point, opium use is no longer a choice, but a central part of your psychological make-up. These developments lie at the heart of opium addiction.

While the pleasant effects of an opium high may seem like the reprieve you need to cope with the holiday rush, the damage this drug causes is ongoing and barely noticeable. That’s why no one ever expects an overdose episode to happen.

If you’re struggling with an opium addiction this holiday season and want more information on how to break addiction’s hold on your life, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at call 800-405-7172.

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