Opioids Treatment in Atlanta, GA
Introduction to Opioids
When people think of opioid drugs, it often calls to mind the current addiction crisis in the United States. Each year, thousands of people lose their lives due to complications arising from untreated opioid addiction. If you are looking for opioid treatment centers in Georgia, Atlanta Recovery Place is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how our Georgia drug and alcohol rehab can help you overcome your addiction.
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What Drugs Are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drugs that includes illegal substances like heroin, synthetically produced (manufactured) opioids like fentanyl, methadone, and suboxone, and prescription painkillers (narcotics) such as morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, etc. Opioids act on nerve cells throughout your body and brain to produce feelings of calm and euphoria. Many also reduce pain. Even when opioid drugs are used as prescribed, they can lead to tolerance, dependency, and addiction.
Methadone and suboxone are two opioids frequently used in the addiction treatment setting, medically supervised addiction treatment. When used under supervision, these drugs can help manage the severity and intensity of symptoms that occur during detox and withdrawal. Unfortunately, suboxone and methadone are also frequently misused, leading to severe withdrawal symptoms and addiction.
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Opioid Abuse Statistics
Opioid drugs, including prescription painkillers, are key contributors to the ongoing national opioid crisis. Data from a 2019 National Institute on Drug Abuse report indicated that almost 50,000 people died from an opioid-related overdose in the United States in 2018. While prescription painkiller addictions evolve from using these medications because a medical provider prescribes them for various reasons, abuse and misuse of opioids are common. Studies suggest up to 29% of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain conditions misuse them. Also, 80% of people with a heroin addiction first misuse prescription opioids.
Heroin, an illicit opioid, is a highly addictive drug with a significant risk of overdose. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for someone who chronically uses heroin to develop a tolerance for the drug needing more and more of the substance to maintain or achieve the high they reached early on. As their tolerance builds, so does the risk of overdose.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid analgesic (pain reliever). It functions like morphine yet is up to one-hundred times more potent and extremely dangerous when misused. Without comprehensive addiction treatment, developing a tolerance for fentanyl will, in many cases, lead to overdose. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fatalities related to synthetic opioids are rising.
Methadone is an opioid drug used as part of medically assisted addiction treatment. Although beneficial when used as directed, methadone use is not without risk. In 2019, less than 1% of the population reported misusing methadone. The likely reason for low methadone abuse rates (compared to other opioids) is the strict regulations on prescribing and dispensing methadone. Still, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that in 2017 more than 3000 overdose deaths involved methadone.
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What Causes Opioid Addiction?
Anyone who uses an opioid drug, even one prescribed by their doctor, is at risk of developing an addiction. Opioids trigger the release of endorphins, specifically dopamine, which act as your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. Endorphins dull your perception of pain and discomfort while boosting feelings of pleasure. They create a temporary but powerful sense of happiness, euphoria, and overall well-being. When an opioid dose wears off, people often find they want to return to those good feelings as soon as possible, so they take another dose (even if it might be too soon). This is the first step on the path toward potential addiction.
How Do Opioids Affect the Body?
Opioid use leads to both short and long-term effects. Many serious physical effects of opioid use, such as stomach bleeding, sweating, slowed breathing, muscle aches, and chills, can begin shortly after you use the drug. The most common physical effects of opioid use include:
- Hypoxia (too little oxygen reaching the brain and body tissues)
- Slowed breathing
- Physical dependence
Other, more uncommon effects of opioids include immune dysfunction, irregular heartbeat, itchy skin, and dry mouth.
What Are Symptoms of Opioid Abuse?
Opioid use disorder is characterized by the inability to stop using opioid drugs despite knowing the harm they cause. There are various signs and symptoms of opioid use disorder. Some of the most common include:
- The inability to reduce or stop using
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Changes in diet often leading to weight loss
- Decreased libido
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Changes in exercise patterns
- Self-isolation and avoiding spending time with family and friends
- New or worsening financial problems
- New or worsening legal challenges
- Stealing from family, friends, or co-workers (to get money to buy substances)
- Stealing prescriptions
- Doctor shopping
Anyone who uses opioids of any kind is at risk for abuse or addiction. Although it may be difficult to recognize the signs and symptoms of addiction initially, it is important to remember that early treatment and intervention are essential to achieving sobriety and recovery.
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Atlanta Recovery Place Provides Comprehensive Opioid Treatment Programs in Atlanta
Regular opioid use can lead to tolerance to their effects which often leads to physical and psychological dependence. Painful and unpleasant symptoms (withdrawal symptoms) can develop when you depend on a substance and stop using it. In the case of opioid addiction, these symptoms can sometimes be dangerous and even fatal.
Opioid withdrawal occurs when you actively stop using or try to reduce your use of opioid drugs after developing a dependence on the effects of the drug. Many opioids cause withdrawal symptoms, including commonly prescribed medications such as Oxycodone, codeine Hydrocodone, and Morphine. Illicit drugs, including heroin, and prescribed medications used to help treat addiction, including methadone, will also cause withdrawal symptoms if someone who is addicted tries to stop using them.
Depending on the specific opioid, withdrawal symptoms can present in as few as six hours after your last dose. Examples of the most common withdrawal symptoms include body aches, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramping, sleeping problems, anxiety, sweating, and agitation. Other, more severe withdrawal symptoms can include irregular breathing and heartbeat, shaking, and seizures.
The more severe and unpredictable symptoms related to opioid withdrawal make detoxing in a safe environment essential.
Many who choose to quit “cold turkey” often fail and relapse when withdrawal symptoms become too overwhelming to manage without support. In a medically supervised detox program, skilled medical and mental health providers can guide you through detox and ensure your safety while assisting with symptom management. Detox is often challenging, but it is the first, essential step on the road to recovery.
Overcoming opioid addiction can be especially challenging without help and support.
If you are searching for addiction treatment, Atlanta Recovery Place can help. Contact our outpatient drug rehab in Atlanta to learn more about how treatment approaches can help you overcome your addiction issues.