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The beginnings of an opiate addiction are actually triggered by that initial rush of pleasure you get from the drug. On the other hand, the point wherein regular misuse or abuse of opiates transitions into compulsive drug use and cravings for the drug vary with each user and is dependent on a number of aspects.

Once you begin to use opiates, it may take several weeks to a few months before cravings start to appear. Along with the cravings are other drug-seeking behaviors that are most of the time associated with “bad” acts. There is yet to be a reliable source written on the exact timeline these manifestations show themselves.

The time it takes for you to develop an addiction can be altered based on several factors like:

  • What type of opiate are you taking and how strong is it?
  • How fast does your opiate make changes on the reward system of your brain that can imprint addiction?
  • How much of the drug are you taking?
  • How often are you using it?
  • How often do you ramp up your dosage?
  • Are you using multiple drugs?
  • Are you taking opiates simply for the treatment of pain?
  • Are you abusing it for the euphoric rush?

It does not take long for potent drugs like opiates to establish an addiction.

Whether you abuse an opiate or follow the prescription but for a prolonged time, your body needs to make adjustments for the presence of the drug as well as its effects. This is known as building drug tolerance. As your body is able to tolerate the amount of drug that you take in, you will have to take in more and more of the drug in order to attain the effects that you desire including the euphoric high and pain relief.

The moment you become tolerant, dependence will be creeping in afterward.


You can become an opiate dependent the moment you feel that you just cannot function normally when you are not taking opiates. There is no sure prediction or timeline to know how quickly this develops as it varies with each individual.

Those who start abusing copious amounts of opiates develop tolerance and dependence more quickly while for others, dependence and tolerance may take a slower onset even when you are using opiates the way it was prescribed.

The relapsing mental disease can overtake users in a number of ways.

Opiates are so powerful that caution must be taken when you use this type of drug. You must also watch out for the warning signs of a drug dependency and an addiction.

You may be addicted to opiates if you have reached a point that even willpower is not enough to stop or even just reduce your use of opiates. You may find that you are unable to control your need to take in high levels of opiates with increasing frequency. You may also be compelled to prioritize finding and using opiates more than anything in your life.

As such, other more important things like your work and your relationships no longer take center stage. The longer you use or abuse opiates, the more inevitable an addiction becomes.

Your genetic make-up can make you more susceptible.

You may be more at risk of drug abuse and addiction if another important person that makes up your genes was previously or is still addicted to opiates.

Your level of stress can make you an addict more quickly.

Stress can increase the level of cortisol in your system, increasing the activity of your limbic reward system and shortening the time it takes of the changes of addiction to take place in your brain.

Your psychological issues may cause an addiction.

Schizophrenia, depression, and other psychological issues may increase your likelihood of abuse and addiction as well.

Your environment plays a key role in the development of tolerance, dependence, and addiction.


You can be more susceptible to abuse opiates frequently if you are surrounded by an environment where it is easy to obtain and use drugs.

Even your metabolism can affect how quickly the drugs clear from your body. It is highly likely that you will increase the frequency of use just to stave off the symptoms of withdrawal.

Are you or a loved one is struggling with addiction to opiates? Don’t wait. Get help now before it’s too late.



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