It is not always easy to tell if someone needs an opiate rehab program. Opiates can be prescription medications, so it might not seem unusual to see them taking the drug, especially if they have an injury or illness. Taking certain prescription medications can lead to symptoms of opiate abuse, so it’s important to know what to look for and why it matters.
What Are Opiates?
Opiates are medications that come from opium. Opioids and opiates are terms people use interchangeably. Opioids, however, are a class of drugs that act on the opioid receptors in the body.
Opioids come in two forms: natural and synthetic. A natural opioid made from the opium poppy plant is an opiate. Some common opiates are fentanyl, heroin, and morphine. Both synthetic and natural opioids are potentially addictive.
What Is Opiate Abuse?
Since opiates are often prescription medications, it can be difficult to know if someone is abusing them. Opiate abuse means taking the drug in a way not intended by the prescriber. That might mean ingesting more than the stated dosage or taking someone else’s medication.
Signs Of Opiate Abuse
Often it is friends and family that first recognize the signs of opiate addiction. Some common signs include:
- Drowsiness that can include “nodding” off
- Changes in sleep
- Lack of hygiene
- Isolation from family and friends
- Stealing medication or money
- Weight loss
People who develop an opiate use disorder can also doctor shop. That means going to different doctors to get prescription medication. They may go to the emergency room with pain that is difficult to identify, such as the lower back.
They may also go to different doctor’s offices when one refuses to refill a prescription opiate. Some people end up buying heroin on the street because they can no longer get a prescription.
What Causes Opiate Addiction?
Opiate addiction can happen to anyone. Taking opiates triggers the release of chemicals in the brain that make you feel good. These chemicals, called endorphins, muffle the feeling of pain but, at the same time, boost pleasure.
When the feeling wears off, some people want it back, so they retake the drug. Eventually, they develop a dependence on the medication, so if they try to stop, they experience withdrawal. Feeling withdrawal is the major symptom of opiate addiction. Withdrawal occurs because brain chemistry becomes unbalanced without the drug.
What To Do If You Notice Symptoms of Opiate Abuse
The truth is you may know something this person doesn’t realize yet or isn’t willing to accept. That means you need to have a conversation with them and help them find treatment options.
During your talk, it’s important to listen and to show support. You should be consistent with your message, as well. The message is they need treatment.
When considering treatment programs, look specifically for one that handles opioid addiction. Also, you want a facility that has a full continuum of care, meaning they go through the various stages of treatment with you.
Opiate Treatment at CeDAR
CeDAR, located across the street from UCH Hospital in Denver, is a comprehensive treatment program that does offer a full continuum of care. Services at CeDAR include:
- Medical detox
- Residential treatment with gender-specific living arrangements
- Dual diagnosis treatment
- Outpatient services
- Family therapy
- Partial hospitalization
Opioids & Chronic Pain
Taking opioids prevents people from feeling pain, but it doesn’t treat the underlying causes of that pain. By offering residential care, partial hospitalization, and outpatient services, CeDAR gives you flexible treatment options. As an affiliate of UCHealth, we also can treat underlying conditions like chronic pain or mental health disorders and psychiatric conditions. You don’t have to wonder about opiate abuse. Give us a call at 720.848.3000 or go online and fill out our contact form. Our addiction experts can answer any question you have about opiate abuse.