Everything You Need to Know About Opioid Abuse and How to Prevent It

by | Aug 20, 2020 | Health Featured

Substance abuse and drug addiction can often lead to devastating effects that impact not only you, but your loved ones. Some of the hardest drugs to kick are opioids. Sure, your dentist and clinician may prescribe them if they feel like it’s warranted. With so many people that have grown dependent on it, it’s become a national crisis in the United States.

Even if it’s your first time ingesting an opioid as a pain treatment, you can become addicted. A prescription can be the first step to substance use for many, especially young adults. Roughly 29% of people with prescriptions for chronic pain develop a dependence on it. In 2017, the opioid epidemic became a public health emergency in the United States, and it’s still ongoing. If you or a loved one think that they might be suffering from opioid addiction, read on for more information.

What are opioids?


The substance is a treatment option for a variety of chronic pain. Opioids include dangerous synthetic drugs like heroin. However, they also include prescription medication like oxycodone, hydrocodone, morphine, and codeine. Opioids are a treatment for severe pain. This pain can include migraines, toothache, neck pain, or myofascial pain. For most dental procedures, oral surgeons use a local anesthetic with the substance.

If you have any chronic pain that includes facial pain, or jaw pain, you may need orofacial pain treatment. However, it’s a good idea to find alternative treatment options. For example, a doctor can form a treatment plan for orofacial pain without using opioids. Depending on the type of pain, a topical anesthetic or analgesic pain medication can help too.

How dangerous are they?

Opioids are treatment options for severe, generally chronic pain. Still, it would be best if you did not take them for prolonged periods. You may not intend to fall into a cycle of drug abuse when you start the medication, but it can still occur. Opioids also cause euphoria, which makes drug abuse easier to misuse. Their ability to help all types of pain is also an incredible relief for patients with chronic pain. So, even when managed by a specialist, they can lead to all sorts of dependence and substance abuse issues.

Addiction to opioids is hard to beat, and can also be devastating for your health and wellness. It can cause mental health issues, physical ailments, and long-term health damage. Overuse can reduce effectiveness, so the drug will stop working for your chronic pain. Sometimes, it can lead to a fatal overdose.

What are the signs of addiction?

How do you know if you’re addicted? Do you pop more of these pills than you should? Do you find yourself restless, isolated, and uninterested in anything else? You can also have trouble sleeping, lose or gain weight, and feel increased fatigue. Physical ailments occur after a while but aren’t unheard of during the initial stages.

People with substance abuse issues often form a dependency on the drug that is difficult to beat. You may find yourself suffering from mental health issues, and you could find yourself irritable for no reason. Other effects include constipation and GI issues (opioids tend to not be super kind to your stomach). You may go through short periods of sobriety. And your finances will suffer if you’re trying to procure the drug illegally. A craving for and inability to say no to the substance is the first sign that you may have a problem.

How do you prevent addiction?


It’s not easy to prevent addiction because any substance use (even prescription drugs), can put you at risk. It’s because the substance itself is addictive. You can also develop a substance use disorder, mental illness, or physical ailments. Since it’s a dangerous and often fatal drug, prevention is key here.

If your only exposure to an opioid is with a local anesthetic, you don’t have to worry. If you get opioids as a medication for any severe pain, it may be essential to tell a family member. They can help you control your use and ensure you do not develop a dependency. If your prescription is for a chronic illness, regularly see a psychologist or psychiatrist. Try to balance symptoms of physical pain with things like physical therapy. This way, you don’t have to use the medication for every ache. Don’t shy away from seeking help if you feel like sober living is too hard to do on your own.

How do you treat addiction?

An opioid abuse issue is hard to treat, but it’s not impossible. An alcohol treatment center can cure alcohol-related substance abuse issues. In the same vein, a drug rehab center can help with opioid addiction. Substance abuse treatment comes in many forms. Some depend on the specific treatment team and the underlying cause of addiction. Rehab centers are often expensive. So, lower-income addicts may need different patient care avenues. However, there are still several options for those who need help.

If you do find yourself in need of help, don’t hesitate to call a clinic. However, make sure you pick one where the level of care meets your individual needs. To find the best treatment center, you need to do proper research. Some insurers cover aspects of substance abuse treatment, so see what you’re eligible to get. To ensure success, you need long-term sobriety. So, pick a rehab clinic with an excellent clinical team.

Also, ensure the center has treatment options for mental health disorders as well. A place like the Los Angeles drug rehab branch of the CAST Centers clinics, for example, is a good choice. Here, you can get mental health care and address substance abuse simultaneously. A place like this usually has proper outpatient treatments. Additionally, it has a better team of health professionals, which means better chances of success. The inclusion of therapy and a medical detox instead of only abstinence is an added benefit.

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