Thank you so much for joining me again! Today I’d like to talk to you about opioids, what they are and how to handle things when someone you love is abusing them.
Opioids are medications that relieve pain. They reduce the intensity of pain signals reaching the brain and affect those brain areas controlling emotion, which diminishes the effects of a painful stimulus. Medications that fall within this class include hydrocodone (e.g., Vicodin), oxycodone (e.g., OxyContin, Percocet), morphine (e.g., Kadian, Avinza), codeine, and related drugs.
Opioids are effective pain relievers if used only as prescribed, however, when abused, a single large dose can cause severe respiratory depression and death. Regular use or abuse can lead to dependence and then to addiction, resulting in the individual increasing their dosages or intensifying their experience by taking the drug in ways that it wasn’t prescribed (by snorting or injecting, for instance).
Opioid abuse can happen easily and seemingly without conscious choice, meaning that you start off by taking an extra pill because the pain is bad and you think… “this won’t hurt me”…..but the pain doesn’t seem to get a lot better and then you take another, etc. etc. Opioids tend to fool you and lose their efficacy and you find yourself taking more and more.
Opioid use can lead to abuse which can lead to dependence and the need to increase the dosage to get the same effect (the same pain relief, the same high) that they originally felt, if that even happens. Folks often find themselves chasing the pain relief and chasing the high, never to really find either.
This can just be a terrible state, and you can feel just awful, physically, emotionally and spiritually. You can lose faith that you’ll feel better, and if you start to feel the desperation of pain (whether real or imagined) you can develop a sense of fear and hopelessness.
If you know someone who is suffering from opioid abuse or addiction, contact me today. I will help you to break the addiction cycle and work with your loved one to manage their pain.