Opiates Information and the Effects of Opiates
Opiates and their synthetic counterparts opioids, suppress pain, reduce anxiety, and at sufficiently high doses produce euphoria. They can be taken by orally, smoked, snorted or injected. Opiates and opioids act on opioid receptors in the spinal cord, brain, in the tissues directly. Opioids stimulate the opioid receptors of the central nervous system resulting in a depression of the system.
Natural opiates are extracted from the opium poppy and opioids are manufactured in a laboratory. Common opiates are heroine, opium and morphine. Synthetic opioids include Oxycodone, Hydrocodone, Methadone, Darvocet, Demerol, Dilaudid, Vicodin, Lortab, Oxycontin and Percocet.
Opiates and the Body
Physical dependency or opiate addiction develops when an individual is exposed a sufficient dose for an extended period of time. The opiate addicted person’s body adapts and develops a tolerance, and intern requires higher doses to achieve the drug's original effects. Opiates mimic the action of chemicals in your brain that send messages of pleasure to your brain's reward center. They produce pleasurable effects by acting like normal brain messenger chemicals, which produce positive feelings in response to signals from the brain. Increased dependence and confidence is placed in the opiates while normal feelings are ignored and bypassed.
Opiate addiction or abuse can bring about significant and long-lasting chemical changes in the brain. These changes cause intense cravings, physical discomfort and negative emotions when the dependent person attempts to stop. Because of the altered chemical state of the dependent brain, the majority of the people in recovery require medication in order to tolerate withdrawal.
Opiate addiction and dependency produces many unpleasant side effects including anxiety, involuntary movement of the eyes, blurred vision and double vision, constipation, chills, depression, itching, cramps, dizziness, rash, diarrhea, drowsiness, seizure, nightmares, light headedness, fluid retention, nausea tremors and faintness.
As opiate addiction worsens or dependence increases, the dependent person continues to consume more opiates and can possibly overdose. Overdose symptoms include slow breathing, seizures, dizziness, weakness, loss of consciousness, coma, confusion, tiredness, cold and clammy skin, constricted pupils, blurred vision, nausea, vomiting and impaired mental abilities.
When opiates are withheld, withdrawal begins very rapidly. Withdrawal is very painful and is accompanied by tiredness, hot and cold sweats, heart palpitations, constant and excruciating joint and muscle pain, vomiting, nausea, uncontrollable yawning, diarrhea, insomnia and acute depression.
A drug is available that allows the opiate dependent person to achieve total opiate detox with minimal withdrawal symptoms or pain. Buprenorphine, sold exclusively under the name Suboxone, has been developed over the past several decades. Suboxone is a partial agonist, a drug that has mechanisms of action that are similar to opioids but with less potency. Suboxone stays firmly attached to the brain's receptors, blocking the effect of other drugs. That means that opiate addicted or dependent individuals who take Suboxone won't get any additional effects from using other opiates. It clings to the receptors longer and makes the detoxification process gentler. Suboxone treatment has been compared it to sliding down a hill than falling off a cliff.
Suboxone alone is not totally successful in the treatment of a complex disorder such as opiate addiction. Appropriate counseling, psychotherapy and cognitive behavior therapy are also neccessary to affect change in the dependent individual. People suffering opiate addiction or dependencies do not have to reach the extreme late stages of dependency to get help.