Opioids have been used to control acute and chronic pain for many hundreds of years. The name is from Opium Poppy plants. Opium and its derivatives became more popular in our society during the mid-19th century. Morphine was an early derivative of opium. It was addictive then as it is at present. Oxycodone was developed in the early 20th century and continues in use today. The “Controlled Substances Act” was passed by the United States Government in 1970. This US Federal Act regulates certain narcotics, steroids, hallucinogens, stimulants, and depressants. The United States government has declared the opioid epidemic a crisis of epic proportion in the country.
How do Opioids Work?
Opioids work to control pain to the brain. There are actual receptors on nerves that can utilize the opioid. The body produces natural endorphins that act like opioids in the body. However, the body cannot make enough to quell the serious or major pain. The opioids affect the end of nerves, and that blocks the pain to the brain. You still have the pain-producing problem; the brain cannot perceive the feeling of pain. Unfortunately, the opioid has other effects on the brain and bodily functions.
Side Effects of Opioids
Opioids cause unpleasant side effects that can include:
- Breathing – The rate and depth are depressed
- Emotions – Depression and sedative behavior
- Restlessness and Anxiety
- Urinary Retention
- Hearing Loss
- Headache and Drowsiness
- Physical Dependence
Death from opioid ingestion has happened more frequently than one would believe. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that since 2000, and over the following 15 years more than a half a million people have died due to overdose (legal and illegal drugs). They go on to report that approximately 91 Americans die each day due to an overdose. This information includes legal and illegal opioid drugs.
What Type of Opioids are There?
Opioids can be divided into compounds that are derived from a natural source of opium. The second type of opioid is synthetic and devised in the laboratory.
How do Opioids Become Addictive?
Problems develop not from the short-term use of the medication, but long-term use. The nervous system (nerves) and brain become accustomed to the feeling and depend upon the medication. The nervous system begins craving the drug and its effects. It becomes a vicious cycle.
What Happens if I Suddenly Quit Taking Opioids?
Quitting “cold turkey” can have serious consequences. See your doctor to begin a process of detoxifying. Failure to follow the doctor and therapists instructions could drive a patient deeper into addiction and other consequences. It can take a few or even more weeks to bring your body back to its “normal” or pre-addiction state. Some of the side-effects going cold turkey can include the following:
- Generalized body aches, worse than the flu
- Significant agitation and anxiety
- Sleep Issues
- Sweating Profusely
- Abdominal Cramping
- Feeling Very Cold and Shivering
- Vomiting and Loose Stools
- Eyes Red and Tears
How Can I Stop Using Opioids?
The right step is to see your doctor and talk about the problem. The doctor can set you up for an addiction treatment program. It’s a good bet that they will have an idea of what centers are good for the patient’s addiction. This process goes through 3 main stages:
- Detoxification – The patient is assisted in helping to remove the toxins from the body. No access to the offending drug.
- Possible Medication Replacement – Medicine has drugs that “trick the body” into thinking it is getting the opioid. These include drugs such as Methadone and Suboxone.
- Therapy – The need for professionals that have a background with addiction issues.
Natural Methods for Pain Management
Naturally, allows chronic pain to be controlled and managed after the patient has been detoxed. Studies are underway in healthcare with chiropractic management and other natural approaches to chronic pain for control of pain without strong medications that could become addictive. This office treats patients with chronic lower back and neck pain and works with other health care practitioners, counselors and therapists.