Opioid addiction is a chronic disease that causes major health, social, and financial issues. Since millions of opioid prescriptions are given each year, more people are seeking opiate addiction treatment. Still, given the clear evidence of this drug use issue, there is much confusion regarding opiates and opioids, along with their effects on people who use them. Learn more about the difference between opiates vs. opioids, signs of opioid addiction, and types of opiate addiction rehab at Kingsway Recovery today.
Opiates vs. Opioids: What Are They?
Often, people use the terms “opiates” and “opioids” interchangeably because these substances produce similar effects. However, they are not the same drug. Opiates, for example, are natural opioids such as morphine and codeine. Opioids are chemically created and include OxyContin, fentanyl, and hydrocodone.
Opioids and opiates both activate receptors in the brain and depress the nervous system. When brain receptors are activated they release endorphins or “feel-good” chemicals. As a result, a person feels relaxed and calm. However, these feelings can lead to misuse and addiction. It is crucial to discuss the risks of taking opiates vs. opioids and the signs of opioid addiction to watch out for.
Types of Opiates
Typically, individuals receive opiates to treat moderate to severe pain. However, they treat a wide range of medical issues. Opiates are classified as either antagonists or agonists.
- Antagonists – considered less addictive than agonists, may be used in the detox process, includes Naltrexone and Naloxone
- Agonists – mimic natural endorphins, most powerful pain relievers, very high risk of abuse and addiction, includes Morphine, Fentanyl, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and heroin
The most common opiates include codeine and morphine.
Codeine: Codeine treats mild to moderate pain. It is easy to obtain because it is less potent than other opioids. This drug is sold over the counter in some cough syrups. For this reason, teenagers often misuse this drug by mixing it with sugary drinks.
Morphine: Morphine generally treats chronic severe pain. But, it is also the most addictive substance and is responsible for killing tens of thousands of people.
Common opioids include Darvocet, Demerol, Dilaudid, heroin, hydrocodone, methadone, and oxycodone.
Darvocet: Darvocet was responsible for thousands of deaths and hospitalizations. As a result, the FDA has banned this drug. Although doctors can no longer prescribe Darvocet, it is still available on the black market.
Demerol: Demerol treats moderate to severe pain. However, it is highly addictive and medical professionals do not often prescribe it. With similar effects as morphine, Demerol is the brand name for meperidine.
Dilaudid: Dilaudid is a powerful drug and is often called “hospital grade heroin”. It is highly addictive and can lead to fast-onset breathing problems and even death.
Fentanyl: A synthetic drug, fentanyl is 100 times more potent than morphine. For this reason, it is only used for severe pain. If individuals use fentanyl along with other painkillers (such as heroin), it can cause an overdose and even death.
Heroin: Heroin is a powerful opioid made from the Asian poppy plant. It can be smoked, snorted, or injected. Heroin is extremely addictive because, when used, it goes straight to the brain. Heroin use depresses breathing and can cause serious long-term medical problems.
Hydrocodone: Hydrocodone is often the main ingredient in painkillers such as Vicodin. While the FDA has approved pure hydrocodone medications, it is generally mixed with acetaminophen or ibuprofen.
Methadone: Methadone treats moderate to severe pain. Additionally, methadone helps in treating addictions such as heroin addiction. However, methadone is addictive, and its use in treatment should be closely monitored.
Oxycodone: Brand names for oxycodone include OxyContin and Percocet. While it is very commonly prescribed, it has a potential for abuse.
How Do Opioid and Opiate Addictions Develop?
When individuals take opioids for any length of time, their body slows down the production of endorphins. This is because opioids have been responsible for their release. However, over time, the same dose of opioids stops producing the same feelings. When this happens, the body has built a tolerance to the drug. As a result, individuals increase their dose to achieve the same feelings. This is the beginning of an opioid or opiate addiction.
Today, doctors are aware of the addiction risks of opioids vs. opiates. In addition, there are laws in place to help minimize opioid addictions. These laws prohibit doctors from overprescribing opioids and opiates.
Unfortunately, when doctors stop refilling prescriptions, people are already dependent on the drug. So, they turn to illicit opioids. However, many illegal drugs are laced with more potent drugs such as fentanyl. This combination of drugs increases the risk of overdose and death.
What Are the Signs of Opioid Addiction?
The first sign of opioid addiction is increasing the dose without a doctor’s recommendation. However, the signs of opioid addiction include physical, psychological, and behavioral changes.
Physical Signs of Opioid Addiction
- Slurred speech
- Loss of coordination
- Shallow or slowed breathing
- Nausea and vomiting
Psychological and Behavioral Signs of Opioid Addiction
- Mood swings
- Lack of motivation
- Poor decision-making skills
- Changes in sleeping patterns
- Isolation/avoiding friends and family
- Ignoring responsibilities
- Financial issues
If you or someone you love exhibits any of these signs of opioid addiction, it is crucial to seek help right away. When a person has an opioid use disorder and stops or lowers their dose, it can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms. But, opiate addiction treatment centers offer medical detox programs to minimize the symptoms of withdrawal.
How Can Kingsway Recovery Help Those Suffering from Depressant Abuse in New Jersey?
Treatment for opioid addiction requires a comprehensive approach. For this reason, each person who enters Kingsway Recovery receives a complete mental and physical evaluation. This evaluation helps therapists design a personalized treatment plan based off:
- The severity of addiction
- The needs of the individual
- Any co-occurring mental health disorders
Typically, opiate addiction rehab begins with a medical detox program. Whether a person is struggling with opiates vs. opioids addiction, the body quickly becomes dependent on the substance. Medical detox is crucial to detox from depressants safely. Furthermore, it can be difficult to focus on the underlying issues while dealing with cravings and withdrawal symptoms.
We understand that personal responsibilities are often an obstacle in seeking opiate addiction rehab. However, we want everyone to succeed on their recovery journey. For this reason, we offer various treatment programs, including:
Once an individual completes our detox program, they typically enter our partial care program. This program offers the freedom to be home with your family at night while attending treatment for opioid addiction during the day. Likewise, our IOP and traditional outpatient program offers individuals the opportunity to get the help they need while still living at home or in a sober living facility.
Treatment for Opioid Addiction at Kingsway Recovery
Perhaps you have tried to stop using depressant drugs, and maybe you have even gone through detox a time or two. But you keep relapsing. Detox is not a cure for addiction. Furthermore, there is no cure for addiction.
Addiction is a chronic disorder. Therefore, you will always have to be aware of your triggers. Psychotherapy or individual therapy is crucial to understanding your addiction, triggers and treating any underlying issues and traumas.
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to opioids or any substance, we can help. We are committed to helping each person who walks through our doors achieve lasting recovery. Contact us today and find out how we can help you.