Understanding Opioid Addiction
Although initial drug or alcohol use may be voluntary, addiction itself is a disease, a mental health disorder that no one would ever knowingly embrace. This is true of opioid addiction, which is so fast growing that it has been dubbed a true American healthcare crisis. Though opioid addiction is serious, it is also treatable—and with treatment, lifelong recovery can be attained.
What are opioids? Opioids are any narcotic substances made from opium, derived from poppies. This class of drugs includes both legal and illegal substances, the most common being prescription painkillers and heroin, respectively. Opioid addiction can often occur along with related mood disorders; through dual diagnosis care, Seacliff Recovery can provide a foundation for ongoing hope, wholeness and healing.
What Happens When People Abuse Opioids?
Opioids attach to opioid receptors, proteins that are found in the brain and throughout the body. The effect is one where pain is diminished and pleasure increases. This is what makes opioid narcotics so effective for those who deal with chronic pain. Over time, however, it becomes impossible for the body to experience pleasure or painlessness without the aid of opioids—causing a dangerous level of chemical dependence. To be freed from this addiction, clinical intervention is needed, which is exactly what our caring, compassionate team offers here at Seacliff Recovery.
Which Comes First, Drugs or Mental Illness?
Since opioid addiction and mental health disorders often go hand in hand, there are many who wonder—which comes first, the addiction or the related mental illness? This can be like a chicken-and-egg scenario in which the true answer is elusive. In many cases, addiction and mental illness may stem from the same genetic component—the same underlying cause. In other instances, addiction can actually arise from self-medicating. Regardless, clinical intervention can provide a path to ongoing recovery.
Causes of Opioid Addiction
The precise causes of opioid addiction can be difficult to ascertain. Biological factors can certainly contribute; there may be a genetic component, or an issue of brain chemistry. At the same time, environmental factors cannot be discounted, and experiences of abuse, trauma or peer pressure may all contribute to addiction.
Opioid addiction can occur even when prescription opioids are taken according to a physician’s notes. In some cases, prescription painkiller abuse creates a need for “harder” drugs—and the individual may even turn to heroin. Although opioid addiction escalates, recovery is always a possibility for those who actively seek out clinical care.
How Do You Know if There’s a Co-Occurring Disorder?
Opioid addiction and mental health disorders often occur at the same time; when this happens, the related mood disorder is called a co-occurring disorder. This can present some diagnostic challenges. Most symptoms are attributed to addiction whenever it is present, which means that underlying mental illnesses can sometimes go unrecognized and untreated—potentially worsening over time. The solution is to seek dual diagnosis care. This is the best way to identify the true underlying conditions you are struggling with, and Seacliff Recovery is proud to provide compassionate, holistic dual diagnosis care.
Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Addiction
It may also be helpful to review some of the signs and symptoms of opioid addiction. The specific symptoms of opioid addiction can vary from one person to the next, but some of the most common are as follows:
- Euphoria and a sense of elation
- Sedation and drowsiness
- Difficulty breathing
- Dramatic shifts in mood
- “Doctor shopping” to get access to more pain pills
- Taking someone else’s prescription opioids
- Taking prescription painkillers after the initial problem has subsided
- Social withdrawal and isolation
Opioid Addiction Rehab Treatment Center
Any of these symptoms can be taken as signs of potential opioid addiction, and as such they require urgent attention. If you are aware of any of these symptoms in your own life or in the life of a loved one, reach out to Seacliff Recovery to ask about dual diagnosis treatment and care.
Our team of compassionate, clinical caregivers can help identify the underlying issue—addiction, a co-occurring disorder, or whatever else—and provide a road map to lifelong freedom and recovery. Begin your new life, free of opioid addiction, today. Reach out to Seacliff Recovery to inquire about dual diagnosis care.