Chronic pain has long-lasting consequences. It can affect your quality of life, resulting in other health conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Data released by the Nation Health Interview Survey (NHIS) in 2012 revealed that the majority of American adults live with some level of pain. According to the report, an estimated 25.3 million adults experience pain every day over a three month period. About 40 million adults were also reported to have been experiencing severe levels of pain.
In order to seek relief from excruciating pain, many Americans are now turning to alternative therapy approaches such as massage, yoga, and meditation. These complementary treatment approaches may help address associated symptoms not directly addressed by prescription medication or conventional medicine.
The number of people living with severe to chronic pain very striking and drives the need to research and develop more powerful pain killers such as prescription opioids. Opioids, on the other hand, are the leading cause of drug-related overdose deaths in the United States. The opioid epidemic has been described as a public health emergency, requiring the immediate attention of a host of public and private organizations. But how did we arrive at the present opioid crisis?
History of the Opioid Epidemic
The surge of the prescription opioid epidemic has its roots in the 1990s. Back then, leading pharmaceutical companies gave the assurance that opioid medications prescribed as pain relievers were safe to use and carried no risk of addiction. As a consequence, healthcare providers began prescribing them at an alarming rate. This led to a prevalence in the misuse of both prescription and illicit opioids such as heroin.
Only in recent years did it become obvious that these medications were far from being safe, and capable of causing long-term physical dependence. Abuse of natural and synthetic opioids has grave physical, mental and economic consequences. The CDC estimates the total economic burden of prescription opioid abuse in the United States to be about $78.5 billion yearly.
Opioid Medication Withdrawal Symptoms
Opiate-based drugs are highly potent and capable of producing long-term dependence. Because the body of addicts is already used to functioning with the drug, any attempt to quit the medication or cut back on your dosage can trigger adverse reactions, some of which can be very difficult to tolerate.
It is never recommended for you to try to stop using opioid medication on your own. You may be completely unprepared for the unpleasant experience that includes painful withdrawal symptoms. Some of the adverse reactions may be so intense that it could put your life at risk. This is a major reason many long-term addicts find it difficult to break the habit, even in the face of serious health risks.
The following are physical and psychological reactions you may experience if you try to cut off opioid medications abruptly, and without medical supervision:
- Heightened anxiety
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal cramps
- Engorged pupils
- Irrepressible twitching of muscles
- Nausea and vomiting
- Reduced energy levels
- Rapid heartbeat
Even though these symptoms are not fatal in themselves, they can be hard to manage on your own and expose you to other medical challenges. When they become overwhelming, addicts may experience a relapse. It is always advisable to seek professional help should you desire to withdrawal from any opiate pain killer. At Allure Detox, we have a medically-supervised inpatient detox program that makes opioid detox a smooth and comfortable experience.
Safer Alternatives to Addictive Opioid Painkillers
New and safer non-addictive prescription pain pills are needed to solve the current opioid crisis facing the United States. Luckily, many safer opioid alternatives are now available as over-the-counter medication or as prescription pills.
The Food and Drug Administration considers these non-opioid medications to be safe and incapable of causing addiction. It is vital to note that only opioid-based prescription painkillers cause physical or psychological dependence.
The following is a list of non-addictive pain pills that have been approved for the management of moderate to chronic pain:
- IV Acetaminophen (Ofirmev)
- IV Ibuprofen (Caldolor)
- Duloxetine (Cymbalta)
While these medications are not addictive, they also carry their own host of possible side effects. All prescription drugs need to be used with caution and under the careful supervision of a doctor.
Why Are Prescription Opiates Addictive?
Long-term opioid use can have negative consequences on our brain and body. Once they enter our bloodstream and get to the brain, opioids activate the production of certain “feel-good” chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins. These chemicals are produced by the brain during normal functioning. However, due to extended use, the brain begins to associate opioid misuse with the production of these chemicals by the brain’s reward system – leading to physical dependence and subsequently to addiction.
Once this occurs, addicts can no longer carry out normal everyday activities without resorting to the use of opioid medications. Getting addicted to opioids is easy; however, breaking free takes considerable effort and determination.
A lot of progress has been made in studying the science behind drug addiction. Earlier studies carried out in the 1930s seemed to portray addiction as a moral issue rather than as a mental health disorder. As a consequence, the emphasis was on punishing the addict rather than treating them.
As more advancement is made in the study of addiction, it became obvious that addiction is a disorder of the brain, requiring highly specialized treatment. Against this backdrop, a number of well-structured recovery programs have been developed, with emphasis on restructuring the brain’s chemistry and correcting the compulsive behavior.
What If I Am Already Hooked?
Regardless of the length of your opioid use disorder, you can recover completely by getting the right type of medical care. You’ll be glad to know that Allure Detox has helped set hundreds of chronic addicts free from the grips of opioid addiction.
Being addicted to opioids, benzos or alcohol does not mean you are doomed for life or a lost cause. You can replace your hopelessness with the joy that comes with being sober once again. Addiction develops over time, so it is only realistic to expect your recovery to take some considerable amount of time – perhaps a lifetime.
Is Breaking Free From Opioid Addiction Possible?
At Allure Detox, we offer a broad range of flexible addiction treatment programs designed to make your recovery as stress-free as possible. The following drug rehab programs are available at our treatment center:
- Inpatient medical detox
- Residential treatment
- Outpatient detox program
During your treatment stay at our state-of-the-art facility, you will receive around-the-clock help to manage your withdrawal symptoms in a painless way. There is really nothing to worry about as you have unrestricted access to our highly experienced team of recovery experts.
All our programs are affordable and customized to your addiction and situation. Getting admitted into our medically-supervised drug and alcohol detox is very easy. All you have to do is pick up your phone and call our addiction helpline. You can also fill our confidential online form, and one of our program experts will get back to you in 24 hours or less.
We are available to listen to your concerns, even if it is midnight or six in the morning. We understand that addiction doesn’t wait, and so we are available whenever you are ready to move on with your life. Feel free to call us at any time to discuss your treatment options or for advice on how to overcome your addiction.