When people talk about the opioid epidemic, it is usual to refer to the victims as a monolith. Since the term “addict” does not distinguish the reasons for each person’s opioid dependence, many just assume that opioid addiction can be overcome by willpower and drug treatment.
The fact is that opioid addiction is not a simple thing to manage.
Even those having the strongest willpower still struggle with overcoming it. Apparently, physiological dependence is only half of the problem as mental health also has a key role in the addiction along with individual physical and mental characteristics that elevate the risk of drug dependence.
Drug treatment programs only find success once all of these factors are taken into consideration. Once the patient is accepted as he is and the treatment is tailored to his specific needs, the program can better point out the root causes of the addiction and help minimize chances of relapse.
Opioids can be so powerful as to cause the body to be naturally primed to the use of it.
Our brain makes use of endorphins, a natural opioid, to raise our mood and help alleviate pain. You may even feel a rush of energy when exercising, cleaning, or working; this is actually how natural opioids work. An artificial opioid, on the other hand, may act like endorphins but more, giving off an even stronger effect on our brain. This is also why it is easy for anyone who uses opioids to become dependent on them.
While everyone who makes use of opioids is at risk of drug dependence, there are those who are more likely to face addiction.
For instance, those who feel a rush of energy when using morphine is more likely to become addicted on the drug than those who feel tired when on morphine. Likewise, those having a family history of drug abuse may find it harder to quit. The whole process is affected by genetic factors as well as the behavior of other people around you. Just like obesity, diabetes, or high blood pressure, opioid abuse affects not only the addicted individual but also those around him; it is just that there are those more naturally disposed to it.
While it is important to take into account the physiological nature of dependency, emotional health must also be accounted for.
Many of those who become dependent on the drug use it to self-medicate anxiety, depression, and anything else that causes emotional pain. In part, this is why drug treatment centers and rehabs cannot ensure a full recovery.
Health authorities, policy makers, and drug treatment providers offer several solutions to the global crisis caused by opioids. Solutions include making use of less potent opioids as well as making the use of marijuana as substitute medication a legal one. However, these may not obviate the particular needs of each individual.
Therefore, we should better educate ourselves and understand all aspects of the addiction disorder in order to effectively handle a very serious public health crisis. Opioid addiction need not be a life sentence. It can be a temporary condition as it is possible to treat.
On This Page
- 1 The fact is that opioid addiction is not a simple thing to manage.
- 2 Opioids can be so powerful as to cause the body to be naturally primed to the use of it.
- 3 While everyone who makes use of opioids is at risk of drug dependence, there are those who are more likely to face addiction.
- 4 While it is important to take into account the physiological nature of dependency, emotional health must also be accounted for.