Are Opiates and Opioids Different?

Substance Abuse Treatment Centers in Wilmington NCYou might hear the words “opiates” and “opioids” at substance abuse treatment centers in Wilmington NC and think they’re interchangeable.  Originally, they had different meanings but now the word “opioid” is often used to describe the whole family of drugs from each one.

The origins of each drug make them different. An opiate is a substance derived from natural sources, while an opioid is a chemically made substance. It was created to mimic the effects of an opiate. Each aims to relieve pain, so they are similar in that respect.

How do opioids work?

An opioid binds to the receptors in the brain and causes a soothing effect that blocks pain, slows breathing and makes the user feel at ease. They do not actually make the pain go away but they change how the user responds to it by sending messages to the brain that make it think the pain is gone.

They are prescribed to treat chronic pain and as a temporary treatment after major surgery. However, the pleasing effects can cause some people to become addicted to them.

What types are available?
Opioids are classified into four groups:

1. Endogenous opioid, also known as endorphins, which are naturally produced in the body.
2. Opium alkaloids, which include morphine and codeine. They are derived from the opium poppy.
3. Semi-synthetic opioids, which include heroin, oxycodone and Buprenorphine.
4. Fully synthetic opioids, such as methadone.

A few of the brand names for opioids include Percocet, Percodan, OxyContin, Vicodin, Lorcet, Lortab and Demerol. Each type is used for different purposes when it is prescribed by a physician.

• Morphine – used to treat moderate to severe pain. Usually given after major surgery.
• Codeine – A narcotic pain relieve and cough suppressant. It is an ingredient in prescription cough medicines.
• Methadone – A pain reliever with a longer half-life than morphine. Often used in addiction treatment programs.
• Oxycodone – Twice the strength of morphine and as potent as heroin.
• Hydrocodone –Derived from codeine, cannot be taken intravenously.
• Fentanyl – This drug is 100 times as potent as morphine and is dangerous because it is often cut with heroin which has led to an increase in overdoses due to its strength.

It’s important to be aware of the signs of opioid abuse in order to recognize this in yourself or a loved one. Legacy Freedom, one of the top substance abuse treatment centers in Wilmington NC, wants to help you become free of your addiction. If you feel like you need help overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol, Legacy Freedom can help you. We offer a wide variety of treatment options to meet your needs. We want to help you start living the life you deserve. All you have to do is pick up the phone.

How does the body react to an opioid?
The drugs block pain and cause other effects depending on the dosage. In low to moderate doses the drug does what it is supposed to do – relieve pain – but it causes a warm and comforting feeling that is different from a high caused by other drugs or alcohol.

If taken at a higher dose, the drug causes the user’s breathing to slow. Respiratory depression is the cause of many deaths due to opioid use. When other drugs or alcohol are mixed with them, it increases the chance of death because of the slowed respiratory function.

How are opioids taken?
Prescription opioids come in pill form, which can be swallowed. However, many are created to have an extended-release period, meaning they won’t cause a high someone who is abusing them may seek. Often users crush them and snort them in order to increase the euphoric effects.

Heroin comes in different forms, so it can be snorted, smoked or injected.

How does someone become addicted?
substance abuse treatment centers in Wilmington NCThe brain remembers good feelings and associates them with the activity that caused it. This type of reward system in the brain is hijacked by the drug when it is flooded with pleasurable feelings. Someone can become addicted to a drug from repeatedly taking the drug and feeling the effects. The brain starts to crave the feeling after a while, and may even need more in order to get the same high.

Even someone who was prescribed an opioid for a medical issue is at risk of becoming addicted, but in many cases it happens when people take them recreationally.

Recently there has been a rise in heroin use because people who originally took prescription opioids ran out of their supply and couldn’t afford them anymore, so they turned to heroin, which is cheaper. It is also more dangerous in part because many dealers have started cutting it with fentanyl, which is extremely strong.

What are the signs of an opioid addiction?
If you suspect someone is addicted to opioids, he or she may begin showing symptoms such as:

• Lack of energy, drowsiness
• Unable to concentrate
• Lack of motivation
• Changes in mood, behavior
• Disheveled appearance

If he or she seems secretive and is having problems going to work or school, he or she may be struggling with addiction. Another sign of addiction to opioids in particular is doctor shopping, or going to different physicians claiming he or she is in pain in order to get pills.

Addiction to opioids is serious and can be life threatening. If you think your loved one is addicted to this drug, call us at Legacy Freedom Treatment Center. We have admissions counselors available to answer your questions so that you can help your family member or friend get the help he or she needs.

Reliable Substance Abuse Treatment Centers in Wilmington NC For 2017

If you're searching for substance abuse treatment centers in Wilmington NC, please call us in 2017. At Legacy of Wilmington, we provide you with the tools you need to have a successful recovery from drugs or alcohol.

We know that one method doesn’t work for everyone, that's why our Wilmington treatment center is different. We create a plan based on your needs. Our treatment is not like any other and we have the success rates to show for it. Call us today to speak with an admissions counselor about how we can help you break free from addiction and get on the road to recovery in 2017.

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