Opiate abuse is a severe problem in the United States and this specific class of drugs is responsible for countless drug-related deaths every year. If you or someone you love is suffering from opiate abuse, it is critical that professional treatment be sought immediately.

What is Opiate Abuse?

Opiates are a class of drugs that are commonly prescribed to patients who need moderate to severe pain management. Common types of opiate-based drugs include morphine, heroin and codeine. Opiate abuse begins when the patient starts taking the medication on their own terms, more frequently than what their doctor has recommended. But opiate abuse isnt found only in patients who are prescribed the drug. Because of its popularity as a street drug, opiate abuse is even more prevalent in those who use it as a recreational drug.

From Opiate Abuse to Addiction

Over time, the body will begin to tolerate opiates. This means that the patient or recreational user will have to start increasing their use of the drug in order to achieve the results they are looking for. When this occurs, opiate abuse is in the beginning phases. The main problem here is that one does not remain in the opiate abuse phase very long. Due to its highly addictive properties, the abuse quickly evolves into a physical dependence, or addiction. Once an individual is addicted to opiates, withdrawal symptoms begin as early as a few hours after the last administration, making it extremely difficult to stop using the drug.

Side Effects of Opiate Abuse

When an individual uses opiates, there are a wide range of side effects that can occur. Of course, as the opiate abuse progresses, these effects will become more pronounced and dangerous. These can include:

  • Intense craving for the drug
  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Cold flashes with goose bumps
  • Leg spasms

Find Treatment

While opiate abuse can quickly evolve into an addiction if left untreated, alternatively, it can be overcome with the administration of the proper treatment. In most cases, this requires admission into a residential drug rehab center, preferably one with an on-site detox program.

The key to a successful recovery from opiate abuse is to find the treatment program that best fits your needs. To help maximize this potential, there are many different types of programs available, some offering specialized care for dual diagnosis patients, members of the GLBTQ community or other distinguished cases.