Opiate Use Disorder
The CDC defines opioid use disorder as “a problematic pattern of opioid use that causes significant impairment or distress.” The disorder is sometimes called opioid abuse, dependence, or addiction. People who believe a loved one is struggling with opiate use disorder in Dedham, MA, must understand first what an opioid is and second, the symptoms of opiate use disorder.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids can be found naturally, or synthetic chemicals created to mimic the properties of those found naturally. These chemicals interact with receptors on nerve cells within the brain and body. These receptors reduce the effects and feelings of pain.
This class of drugs includes both heroin and prescription painkillers. Doctors prescribe opioids to treat acute (like after surgery or an injury) or chronic pain. They are also used in cancer treatment, palliative care, and with end-of-life protocols. Many people use the prescriptions under a physician’s care without negative consequences.
An opioid dulls the feelings associated with pain, but it can also have some negative side effects. Those side effects include nausea, drowsiness, constipation, mental confusion, and euphoria. At high doses, they can also affect your breathing. Prescription opioids include morphine, codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), and oxycodone (Oxycontin); synthetic opioids include such products as tramadol, fentanyl, methadone, and carfentanil (an extremely potent form of fentanyl).
Symptoms of Opiate Use Disorder
It’s essential to recognize the symptoms of opiate use disorder to seek help as early as possible. Opioids give people high levels of positive feelings, increasing the chances that those people will keep using them even with negative consequences looming. Some of the most serious potential effects include disability, relapses, and even death. To accurately recognize opiate use disorder, people in Dedham, MA, should watch for at least two of the following symptoms within a single 12-month period.
- Taking the drugs longer than intended or in larger amounts
- Persistent desire or unsuccessful attempts to cut down on opioid use
- Spending a large amount of time getting or using an opioid or recovering from the effects of taking an opioid
- Craving or a strong urge to obtain and use an opioid
- Issues fulfilling work, home, or school obligations
- Continued use even after issues with interpersonal or social relationships begin
- Giving up activities because they want to use the drug instead
- Using opioids in a situation that could cause physical harm
- Using opioids continuously, even with physical or psychological issues that can be made worse by using them
- Tolerance, meaning the person seems to need more of the drug to feel relief or that using the same amount no longer works as well as it did
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms or taking opioids to relieve the feeling of withdrawal
There are some unique aspects to opioid use disorder that people in Dedham, MA, should be aware of. For example, physical dependence can occur in as short as 4-8 weeks. Suddenly stopping use can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms in chronic opiate users. The severity of the withdrawal symptoms often prompts the person to continue using the opioid in an attempt to avoid withdrawal.
Someone who suspects their loved one in Dedham, MA, has become dependent on opiates should seek professional advice on ways to help their loved one. Opioids give the perception of pain relief but can have severe negative consequences if their use is left unchecked. Recognizing the signs of opiate use disorder is the first step to overcoming the issue.