Opioids are substances that are often prescribed for the treatment of pain ranging from moderate to severe. These prescription painkillers are given to patients whose conditions cannot be managed by over-the-counter drugs. This includes cancer pain, post-surgical pain, and traumatic pain.
Opioids are very similar to opiates. Both are derived from the opium poppy plant. However, there are certain distinctions that set them apart from one another.
The term opiates refers to the natural derivatives of the opium poppy plant. On the other hand, the term opioids include the synthetic and semi-synthetic derivatives. Regardless of how they are defined in the medical industry, both terms are seen as interchangeable in common usage because of their similarities.
Both types of substances are incredibly potent, and are quite habit-forming. If a person misuses their prescription, they may easily find themselves addicted to it. Developing addiction for these substances can be dangerous due to the adverse effects associated with them.
So how long do these substances stay in your system? What are the factors that affect drug processing within your own body? Let’s find out.
Opioid Abuse and Addiction
All opiates and opioids have a high potential for abuse. In fact, even those who are taking it at pharmaceutical dosages may experience side effects every now and then. Imagine the danger for those who willingly ingest high dosages of opioids.
People abuse opioids because they create a euphoric high as they block out the pain. These drugs alter the way the brain perceives pain. At the same time, they make the user feel good. In no time, people start seeking out this high, and eventually get addicted.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime 2012 World Drug Report, around 36 million people all over the world abuse opiates.
Opioids and Drug Processing
Both opiates and opioids tend to leave the body quickly, because they have short half-lives. However, their effects can last for several hours, dependody fat content, and their overall health condition.
It’s a different story entirely for people who repeatedly abuse opioids though. Additional factors will change their drug processing. For example, the quality of drug, the dosage taken, the frequency of use, and their substance abuse history will affect this.
Long term abuse of opioids can lead to further complications. If the person develops dependence, then that means their body has grown used to the presence of opioids. This means they will no longer be able to quit the drug without relapsing.
Their brain will detect a chemical imbalance if they attempt to quit at this point. This leads to intense craving and withdrawal symptoms.
How to Recover from Opioid Addiction
The only way to safely recover from opioid dependence and addiction is through a combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy.
The process of rehabilitation must be done under the supervision of trained medical professionals. Some withdrawal symptoms are very painful or unpleasant. Through medical detox, the patient’s drug intake can be lowered gradually. Their symptoms can be managed, and their health will be restored eventually.
Behavioral therapy, on the other hand, helps the patient adjust to a life without drugs. It teaches them ways on how to cope with their cravings, and how to live life post-addiction.
A proper treatment plan will be made based on the patient’s specific needs. Opioid addiction is different for everyone, after all.
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