Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms

It’s dangerously easy to become addicted to prescription medication, and it can happen even when they’re taken as prescribed. Opioids and prescription painkillers are the most prescribed drugs in America and therefore, invite the highest levels of substance abuse because of the ‘high’ they produce in large doses and their quick development of dependency.

Addiction is when someone is physically dependent and has a psychological compulsion to use drugs or alcohol. When someone continuously uses painkillers, it can lead to a physical dependence on them. This is usually marked by a built up tolerance to the drug as well as withdrawal symptoms upon discontinued use. The psychological compulsion is when someone chooses to continue use in spite of negative consequences.

Commonly Addictive Painkillers

  • Codeine:  This was made to relieve mild to moderate pain and coughing. It is a less potent opiate that can be easily prescribed by a doctor. Codeine is often combined with sugary drinks and can be referred to by its street name of ‘purple drank’ or ‘sizzurp.’ This drug can be a gateway drug and may lead the user to actively engage in other opiates that offer a similar high
  • Darvocet/Darvon: Although this drug is now prohibited by the Food and Drug Administration, Darvon and Darvocet were painkillers that had put thousands of people in hospital care and just as many graves during the height of its use. Nowadays, these drugs, or similar ones, may still be found in circulation.
  • Demerol: This narcotic is used to treat moderate to severe pain. It’s not prescribed as much in now because of its high probability of addiction. Demerol is the brand name for meperidine and gives a very similar high to morphine.
  • Dilaudid: Sometimes referred to as ‘hospital grade heroin,’ this drug is a very powerful opioid-based painkiller. It’s available in an extended-release form and can be dangerous if the individual taking it does not have tolerance to opioids and its high potential for abuse.
  • Fentanyl: Fentanyl is a synthetic painkiller that can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine. This drug is only used in cases of extreme pain where the patient also has a pre-existing tolerance to opioids. When used at the same time as other painkillers, it can swiftly cause an overdose as well as other dangerous side effects.
  • Hydrocodone: This drug is an essential ingredient in painkillers and can be found in drugs like Norco and Vicodin. Usually, it is mixed with ibuprofen or acetaminophen, but the FDA has also approved of pure medication to be prescribed and used. All of them are very addictive substances.
  • Methadone: Methadone is an opioid meant to treat moderate to severe pain as well as a way to diminish cravings from other opiates such as heroin. Although it is used for helping treat other types of addiction aside from opioids, methadone is still an addictive substance and should be used under professional supervision.
  • Morphine: This opiate is very potent and has been given unending praise from people with severe chronic pain. It is also one, if not the most, addictive substances and is responsible for a vast number of overdose deaths across nationwide.
  • Oxycodone: An extremely addictive prescription drug, oxycodone is sold under a multitude of brand names. It’s one of the most commonly prescribed painkillers.

Among the most addictive drugs in the world is the opiate, Heroin. Heroin makes its users dependent by rigging be brain’s reward system and creating an unnaturally high flow of feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins.

Heroin comes from morphine, which comes from the seeds of the poppy plant. Because opium comes from poppies and heroin and morphine comes from opium, they are known as opiates.

Street heroin is commonly combined with dangerous additives like fentanyl or the highly addictive morphine. 

About four million Americans have tried heroin in their lifetime. Those who undergo prolonged heroin use may experience symptoms such as severe itchiness, depression and collapsed veins.

Many who have tried it describe it as a feeling of intense well-being. When it is injected, it is common to experience a ‘rush’ because of the speed in which the chemical reaches the brain. This rush typically lasts for about two minutes. The high of heroin lasts for about four to five hours.

Some of the side effects of using heroin include:

  • Contentment
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Relieved tension
  • Drowsiness
  • Apathy

Although these effects may feel normal while the user is experimenting with the drug, eventually the individual cannot feel normal without the drug in their system because of the way that it restructures their brain and functions over time. As the user increases their doses of heroin, they become more and more at risk of fatally overdosing.

The symptoms of heroin overdose are:

  • Shallow breathing
  • Dry mouth
  • Tongue discoloration
  • Very small pupils
  • Slow pulse
  • Bluish lips

Heroin is one of the most dangerous drugs out there and should not be dealt with alone. It’s always a great idea to have a medical professional assist and individual through the detox and recovery process.

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