Opiate Addiction in Cumming & Suwanee

TREATMENT FOR PAINKILLER & HEROIN ADDICTION IN GEORGIA

Opiate addiction has been receiving more attention in the United States recently. Though addiction to painkillers was a generally well-known dilemma, few people realized that opiates, the key ingredient in many painkillers, is also found in heroin. Opiates are highly addictive, and should only be taken according to an experienced physician’s specific instructions. The side effects of opiate abuse are serious, but the effects of overdose are worse and could be lethal.

This is not intended to scare you. While heroin and painkiller abuse are serious, it can be treated just like any other addiction. At The Carter Treatment Centers in Suwanee and Cumming, GA, we offer alternative drug treatment programs that are customized to meet the needs of each and very patient. Addiction recovery is not easy, but it leads to a better brighter future. We are here to help you through your journey, and we’ll continue to support you for the rest of your life.

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Opiates and Opioids- What’s the Difference?

If you’ve searched the internet for opiate addiction, you’ve likely found results for both opiate and opioid addiction. For the purposes of addiction recovery, the difference between these terms does not matter too much, but understanding what each one means can be beneficial when researching addiction.

  • Opiates – Opiates are a natural extract from opium. Opium contains morphine and codeine and is used in the production of both these drugs, among others.
  • Opioids – This is the synthetic version of opiates. They have similar properties, but are man-made and used for the manufacturing of heroin, methadone, oxycodone, and other substances.

Differentiating between these terms is slowly fading out of fashion, and it is expected that either opiates or opioids will become the dominating term at some point.

Commonly Abused Opiates

When prescribed a painkiller, patients may not be made aware that they are taking an opiate. Opiates are used in a wide variety of pain medications using different brand names. There are two main types of opiates: antagonists and agonists.

Antagonists are often used during detoxification to ween patients off opiate addiction. These are the less addictive version of opiates and can help patients manage withdrawal symptoms.

Agonists are more powerful opiates that replicate the effect of endorphins. Powerful pain killers, such as morphine and fentanyl, are made with agonists and have a high potential for abuse.

The following are some commonly found opiates:

  • Codeine – A less potent painkiller used to treat moderate pain. Can be found in some over-the-counter medications. People abusing the drug will often mix it with sugary drinks.
  • Darvocet & Darvon – This is a powerful painkiller that has resulted in numerous deaths and hospitalizations. It has since been banned by the FDA, but can still be found on the black market.
  • FentanylA highly potent synthetic painkiller prescribed to treat patients in extreme pain. Abusing this drug can easily lead to overdose when used with other painkillers.
  • Methadone – Typically used in detox, methadone is a less potent painkiller that still has a risk of creating an addiction.
  • Morphine – One of the most common prescription painkillers, and one of the most commonly abused opiates.
  • Oxycodone & OxyContinThese drugs can be found under many different brand names. They are commonly prescribed for pain treatment and frequently abused.

What to Expect From Treatment

Once you or your loved one has decided to address an opiate addiction, the first step is to undergo detoxification. Completely cutting yourself off from a painkiller right away is dangerous. In detox, patients are monitored during withdrawal and given treatment to help manage the symptoms.

Detox should be followed with a stay at an inpatient rehabilitation facility like The Carter Treatment Center. During this phase of treatment, patients will be removed from temptations to use and spend the majority of their day in therapy and therapeutic activities. This is also an opportunity to make connections and establish a sense of community.

Following inpatient rehab, patients will resume their normal lives. This is a challenging step, but not one that anyone needs to do alone. We maintain several outpatient treatment centers throughout Georgia. These centers give patients a safe space to discuss the successes and challenges of recovery with trained rehab professionals, as well as others in recovery.

Start Your Recovery at The Carter Treatment Center

The Carter Treatment Center allows you an opportunity to overcome addiction in a safe, monitored environment. Trying to recover from addiction alone is virtually impossible and increases the chance of suffering a relapse. Our knowledgeable and dedicated team can start developing your treatment plan for long-term recovery.

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Symptoms of Opiate Addiction

Painkillers work by creating artificial endorphins that block pain and create a pleasant feeling. While effective, it is easy to see how this sensation could develop an addiction in some people. Like most drugs, the body builds a tolerance to opiates over time. This results in increased consumption to feel the effects, which in turn leads to more potent side effects and a risk of overdosing.

If you or a loved one take painkillers, you should speak with a doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Constipation
  • Reduced coordination
  • Lethargy and drowsiness
  • Slurred speech
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Paranoia
  • Difficulty breathing

If you find yourself craving painkillers or other opiate substances, you should speak to your doctor as soon as possible. Addictions can build gradually over time, allowing you to rationalize increased usage as it develops into a problem. Once an addiction has taken hold, professional rehabilitation is needed.

Opiate Addiction FAQs

  • What should I do if I suspect a loved one is addicted to opioids?

    It can be difficult to know what to do if you suspect a loved one is struggling with an opioid use disorder. First, know that the situation is not hopeless. However, your loved one must be ready to receive help, and you cannot make them change their behavior or choose to enter recovery. Opioid addiction is a disease that affects the brain, and it can be extremely challenging for those struggling with this disease to take the initial steps needed to heal. A good place to start is educating yourself about opioid addiction. It can also be helpful to express your concerns to your loved one. However, be ready for your loved one to become defensive, and know that talking about your concerns may be challenging. Often, it is easier to talk to a loved one with the help of another person, such as a family member, a clergy member, or even a counselor. It is also important to choose the right time to talk to your loved one and always approach the conversation with love, compassion, and support. Avoid making threats, accusations, or ultimatums. If you feel yourself becoming angry, frustrated, or upset, know that your feelings are valid but the best thing to do is pause and revisit the conversation at another time. It is important that you take care of yourself and your own mental health; consider attending support groups, such as Nar-Anon, or visiting a therapist or counselor. It is also a good idea to have a concrete plan in place in the event that your loved one does admit to needing help. Knowing which actionable steps to take, such as setting up an intake appointment with a nearby detox center, can help your loved one get started on the path to recovery. 

  • Can prescribed medicine lead to opioid addiction?

    Yes, people who are prescribed various opioid medications can develop a dependency and addiction to these drugs. In fact, most people who eventually begin using illicit opiates, such as heroin, do so after being prescribed and/or taking opioid medications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 191 million people across the U.S. were prescribed opioids in 2017 alone, and approximately one in four people who are prescribed opioids for long-term use become addicted. In 2016, approximately 11.5 million people in the U.S. admitted to misusing prescription opioids. Additionally, prescription opioids can cause fatal overdoses. The CDC notes that the most common prescription opioids involved in these fatal overdoses include oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), and methadone. 

  • Why are opiates so addictive?

    Opiates are highly addictive due to the ways in which they alter brain chemistry. These substances work by binding to receptors in the brain and releasing an excess of various “feel-good” neurotransmitters, like dopamine. This floods the brain with feelings of euphoria, happiness, and ecstasy—but it also makes it harder for the brain to produce these feelings on its own. Over time, opiate users are unable to experience happiness, joy, or pleasure without taking opiates, meaning they are more likely to turn to these substances in an attempt to recreate the initial high and feel any type of positive feeling. Once an individual has begun to develop an increased tolerance for and dependency on opiates, they will also begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they stop. These symptoms can be extremely uncomfortable and often drive people to seek out and continue using opiates in an effort to ease withdrawal. This quickly becomes a vicious negative feedback loop, which can be very difficult to break free from without professional help. 

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