The Centers for Disease Control now says that prescription opiates surpass heroin and cocaine for number of caused deaths in the United States. The use and abuse of opiates has reached epidemic proportions. This epidemic started because of the way that opiates work on the brain and body. Unfortunately, once addicted treatment is usually necessary to prevent relapse due to how easy it is to become addicted to these prescription drugs.
How are Opiates Addictive?
Humans are pleasure and reward driven creatures. When something stimulates the reward centers of the brain, you automatically seek it out again. Most people operate like this. Opiates activate the reward and pleasure centers of the brain. This activation causes the body to feel euphoria and other pleasurable sensations. Since people are easily addicted to pleasurable sensations, they begin to crave opiates as a replacement for the endorphins that normally pleasurable things provide.
Why are Opiates Addictive?
It is natural for humans to want to feel good. Opiates are addictive because of this natural drive. Most people who are opiate addicts do not start out looking for pleasurable sensations but the opiates trick the body into thinking that it is experiencing intense pleasure.
Who gets Addicted to Opiates?
People who experience normal pleasurable sensations and have relatively normal happy lives do not usually get addicted to opiates. It is when that normally pleasurable life is interrupted by pain such as:
- pain after surgery
- chronic pain from osteoarthritis
- pain due to cancer
- chronic pain due to rheumatoid arthritis
- pain after an injury
- painful diseases such as fibromyalgia
This interruption causes someone to take an opiate pain medication. The opiates then start to change the way that a person experiences pain and pleasure. It is part of why they work. They fill the opioid receptors and cause the body to release dopamine. Dopamine is one of the chemicals that makes you feel pleasure.
People who get addicted to opiates are those that become dependent on the way that the opiate makes them feel. Usually those that become addicted suffer from depression or anxiety as well as a painful condition.
Anyone Can Get Addicted
Anyone taking opiates can get addicted. The pleasure response they provide is intense and the euphoria is very hard to give up. Most people who take opiates for an extended period and take more of them than the doctor recommends will wind up with an addiction.
Unfortunately, opiates are extremely difficult to stop using once you start. The effects of withdrawal make it extremely easy to go back to using them. So not only are they easy to get addicted to because of the amount of pleasure they provide, the severity of the withdrawal symptoms makes it easy to want to go back to them. This is why most people need treatment to get away from using opiates. For more information on the ease of addiction and how to break the addiction cycle, call us at 800-405-7172.