Opiate drug use has become the fastest growing addiction and accounts for the highest rates of drug-related fatalities in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, opiate drugs accounted for 73.8 percent of prescription drug-related deaths in 2008. This amounts to 14,800 out of 20,044 prescription-related fatalities in 2008.
Opiate abuse can cause long-term physical and psychological damage. Opiate addiction treatment provides recovering addicts with the medical care, counseling and support needed to overcome an opiate addiction. The high addiction potential associated with opiate drugs makes the need for opiate addiction treatment all the more necessary.
Physical Effects of Opiates
The brain and body house millions of opiate receptor sites that secrete the body’s natural pain-killing endorphins. Endorphins not only manage pain sensations throughout the body but play a crucial role in establishing a person’s sense of overall well-being. When opiate drugs come into contact with these receptor sites, the body responds by secreting endorphins in its usual way. In effect, these cell receptor sites cannot tell the difference between opiate drug effects and its normal secretion processes.
Over time, the body’s ability to secrete endorphins becomes impaired as opiate drug effects take over. In the process, progressively larger doses of the drug are needed to maintain normal body functions. Once a person reaches this point, attempts to stop using become all but impossible to carry out.
Opiate addiction treatment offers the types of physical supports needed to stop using opiates. Over the course of an addiction, opiates can cause considerable damage to digestive, liver and heart functions. Opiate addiction treatment can help the body repair itself and in some cases reverse damage done by opiate drug use.
Psychological Effects of Opiates
Ongoing opiate use affects the brain in much the same way it affects the body. Over time, chemical imbalances in the brain offset normal functions to the point where the brain becomes unable to regulate body functions without the effects of opiate drugs. Brain chemical imbalances tend to wreak havoc on a person’s emotional and cognitive processes. A person’s ability to think, concentrate and reason become increasingly impaired from ongoing opiate use.
Opiate addiction treatment offers psychotherapy and group counseling services as a means to help retrain mental and emotional processes. Addiction in and of itself tends to breed unhealthy coping behaviors that become ingrained after long-term opiate use. Opiate addiction treatment enables recovering addicts to replace unhealthy coping skills with more healthy coping behaviors.
The Need for Opiate Addiction Treatment
The way opiate drugs take over a person’s physical and psychological capacities makes it all but impossible for someone to stop using drugs on their own. Even in cases where a person does manage to get through the first month or two without using, opiate withdrawal effects can persist for months, and in some cases years at a time.
Through opiate addiction treatment recovering addicts can receive the type treatment and support needed to maintain abstinence on a long-term basis. For long-term opiate users, opiate addiction treatment provides the best chance of recovering from opiate addiction and staying drug-free for years to come.