Opiates are naturally occurring substances that are derived from the opium poppy plant. Substances like morphine, heroin, opium, and codeine are all considered opiates. Not to be confused with opioids, which are substances that are semi or fully synthetic, most opiates are illegal to use, except for codeine. Codeine has long been used as a cough suppressant, however many people abuse it solely for recreational purposes.
Regardless of if an opiate is prescribed or not, abusing one or more of them can be extremely dangerous, and often life-threatening. While morphine, codeine, and opium are not nearly as talked about as heroin and prescription painkillers in today’s society, they are still behind several overdose deaths during a time where an opioid crisis is sweeping the nation.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 115 people die every day in the United States because of opioid overdose. The opioid crisis includes opiates, as all opiates are opioids but not all opioids are opiates. Therefore, thousands of people’s lives are being jeopardized at the hands of these substances, and more and more people are becoming addicted to them.
Despite there being several different forms of care designed to treat opioid addiction, people do not reach out for help. In fact, more people who are addicted to opioids either refuse or do not get addiction treatment than those who do. As a result, overdoses continue to add up.
Types Of Opiates
Naturally occurring opiates like opium and morphine have a long history of use throughout the world. During the American Revolution, opium was used to treat pain in soldiers. This same substance was used to treat soldiers in the Civil War, which lead to thousands of soldiers returning home addicted to opium. Within the United States alone, opiates have gone from being available“over-the-counter” painkillers to being banned from use, to being made into legal, controlled prescription painkillers. Even though America is in the midst of an opioid crisis, it is certainly not the first time that the country and its people have been caught up in the catastrophic effects of opiate addiction.
Today, people are still abusing opiates despite knowing how dangerous doing so can be. Some of these opiates are described below.
Heroin is easily the most well-known opiate in the world. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that in 2015, approximately 5.1 million people were using heroin in the United States. It is also reported that heroin addiction is most common in those 18-29 and 30-44.
Someone who is addicted to heroin can experience several effects of that use, including:
- Going in and out of consciousness
- Heart arrhythmia
- Low blood pressure
- Respiratory depression
- Cognitive damage
- Liver and/or kidney disease
As an individual continues to abuse heroin, he or she is not only as increased risk for experiencing these effects and then some, but he or she is also more likely to overdose.
Morphine is typically injected or swallowed when being abused. The majority of people who turn to the use of morphine are either attempting to control severe physical pain on their own, or because they are looking for an outlet for emotional distress. However, morphine abuse can lead to depression, apathy, confusion, and more, such as:
- Severe constipation
- Collapsed veins (when used intravenously)
- Suppressed immune system
- Respiratory depression
The more that a person abuses morphine, the more he or she is going to need to use in order to achieve the desired effects that it produces. As a person continues to take larger and larger doses, these effects can become a harsh reality.
Codeine addiction is most popular amongst younger individuals, as they will mix it with soda or alcohol, which is known as “purple drank”. However, it is also abused in its own liquid form independent from other substances.
When someone is abusing codeine, he or she can experience any number of effects, especially if it is mixed with alcohol. Common symptoms of codeine abuse include:
- Excessive sleeping
- Shortness of breath
- Weight loss
- Stomach pain
Since codeine is a depressant substance, when used individually, it can already produce a multitude of respiratory problems. However, when it is combined with alcohol, those risks for respiratory problems double, making it more likely for an individual to asphyxiate or suffer respiratory distress.
Opium is largely produced in countries such as Turkey, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, however, the United States consumes the majority of the world’s opium.
Opium is extremely potent and can be consumed several different ways, including being heated and then inhaled through a pipe. Those who abuse opium are at risk for the following symptoms:
- Respiratory distress
- Weight loss
- Suicidal thoughts
- Vital organ damage
Similar to other opiates, opium can completely ravage through an individual’s personal, social, and professional life to the point where he or she is left with more problems than solutions.
Not only does opiate addiction cause a number of physical and psychological complications, but it can also be extremely complicated to stop using. The best way to stop opiate addiction is to seek professional help, as the symptoms of withdrawal can be exceptionally painful and cause individuals to go back to using in an effort to get some relief.
The withdrawal symptoms that one experiences will depend on things such as how much, how often, and at what dose he or she was using. However, withdrawing from opiates can produce the following symptoms:
- Mood swings
- Muscle twitching
Thankfully, professional treatment centers provide medication-assisted treatment (MAT) where controlled prescription medications can be administered to ease the pain caused by opiate withdrawal. In turn, those recovering from opiate addiction can make it through the withdrawal phase and into therapy, where they will develop the skills needed to remain opiate-free for a lifetime.
Do You Need Help?
Being addicted to any substance, never mind opiates, can be very distressing for both you and your loved ones. And, the longer that you use for, the more difficult it can be to stop. However, with the right treatment for opiates, you can finally end your opiate addiction and begin creating a life that is happy, healthy, and free from addiction.
Do not allow your opiate addiction to continue. Reach out by contacting us right now so that we can help you get started on your road to recovery. We will not only help guide you along the way, but also help you develop the skills you need in order to effectively manage your own well-being after leaving treatment.
Do not wait. Call us right now.