One of the more serious forms of addiction is substance abuse disorder involving opioids. Opioids are highly addictive and make significant changes to the brain chemistry of a person using them. As a result, it can be extremely difficult, uncomfortable and even dangerous when the individual tries to stop using. If you have a substance use disorder involving opioids, this description probably fits you. However, the good news is that you have acknowledged that you have a serious problem, putting you one step closer to getting the help you so desperately need. No doubt, a big question in your mind is how long opioid recovery might take.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are a category of drugs that fall under Schedule I and Schedule II type drugs. They include illicit substances such as heroin but also legally prescribed drugs like oxycodone, oxycontin and other painkillers. Unfortunately, even when a person gets a legal prescription for certain opioids to manage their pain after a catastrophic accident and injury, they can quickly develop a dependence on the substance that becomes a full-blown addiction.
The person might find that they are unable to function normally without the drug, leading them to seek out more and more of it to get along on a daily basis even after their pain is long gone. Once they realize they have a serious substance use disorder, they cannot suddenly stop using due to the severe withdrawal symptoms they could experience and the inherent dangers associated with them.
How Do Opioids Affect the Brain?
Opioids work by binding to certain receptors in the brain to block pain signals being communicated between the brain and the body. However, these drugs also cause other effects such as relaxation, drowsiness, calmness and slower breathing. It’s also common for individuals to feel a sense of euphoria when they abuse opioids, which contributes to the development of an addiction.
This is achieved through the release of dopamine, which is found in the pleasure center of the brain. When a person develops a substance use disorder to opioids, they get that great rush of feeling high and feeling good. In addition to their pain being blunt, this is a huge reason behind the substance being so highly addictive. The person craves more and more.
What Are the Signs of an Addiction to Opioids?
There are certain signs to look out for that can signify an addiction to opioids. Most of these are short-term and include an array of both physical and psychological side effects.
They include the following:
- Rush of euphoria
- Flushed skin
- Disrupted thinking
- Slower heart rate that follows a rush of euphoria
- Heavy feeling in limbs
- Severe itching
Some people experience additional side effects that can last into the next day or even beyond that. Although many opioids are prescribed to treat pain after certain medical conditions or injuries, there are others that are illegally sold on the street that are not tested for safety. As a result, individuals who obtain those drugs can experience even more, highly serious side effects such as heart palpitations, headaches, anxiety, chest pain, shortness of breath and extreme shaking.
How Long Does Opioid Recovery Take?
It’s fair to wonder how long recovery from opioid abuse could take. The answer to that depends on the severity of a person’s symptoms, how long they have abused opioids and various other factors. The specific opioid abused, the person’s body type and weight, environmental factors and influences and their overall health and medical conditions they suffer can all play a part. For example, individuals who suffer from dual diagnosis, a co-occurring mental health condition, often have more serious addictions and could take longer with their recovery. Outside influences such as peers who also abuse opioids or other drugs, can be a huge factor in how long it might take to recover. Certain age groups might also have a more difficult journey toward recovery, as can those who have problems with their immune systems.
Get Rehab Addiction Treatment for Opioid Abuse
Although people might think it’s easy to quit opioid use cold turkey, that’s not the case. Doing so causes serious withdrawal symptoms that range from uncomfortable to dangerous. A person could experience serious complications that might even be life-threatening when trying to quit opioids on their own. Professional help in the form of rehab treatment is essential. It allows the person to undergo detox and treatment for their substance use disorder while in a facility with trained staff who can assist them 24 hours per day. Ready to get started? Call us today at 302-842-2390 and we can help.