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Understanding Opioid Addiction

Everyone has - at one point or another - experienced pain. The pain can be acute like that caused by fractures and deep skin cuts. Or it can be mild and debilitating, for instance, chronic arthritis or back pain caused by the natural process of aging.

Typically, most people seek pain medication when experiencing pain. In fact, when you considered that in 2008, there were about 750,000 methadone prescriptions written for pain relief, then it's easy to understand just how much people rely on pain medication. However, with that reliance comes the danger of opioid addiction.

What Causes Opioid Addiction?

Opioid addiction is caused by opioid pain medication, also called painkillers. Generally, opioids work by diminishing the feeling of pain. They attach to pain receptors in the brain, and stimulate the increased production of dopamine, which is commonly called the "feel-good hormone."

While our bodies are already capable of producing endorphins that reduce the sensation of pain, taking opioids magnifies this effect. However, opioids only achieve this effect and after it wears off, the feeling of pain becomes stronger. This leads to many people taking opioids repeatedly, so the pain doesn't come back.

With time, the body's opioid receptors become less sensitive, and not only does the person have to take the opioid frequently, but they now also have to take a larger dose to achieve the same effect. If this happens for longer than three weeks, the body becomes incapable of producing endorphins naturally, relying on opioids instead. In the long run, the person suffering from opioid addiction becomes depressed and unable to manage their pain.

How to Prevent And Treat Opioid Addiction

The best way to prevent opioid addiction is to only take them for a shorter period. Also, it's best if your doctor gives you the lowest dose possible, and it's important that you follow the prescription instructions as much as possible.

However, if you are already suffering from opioid addiction, it's time to seek treatment For instance, you can seek treatment at a suboxone clinic, which focuses on medication-assisted treatment. Therefore, a suboxone clinic will generally prescribe medication to prevent relapse, while also focusing on behavioral therapy to help patients enjoy a more normal life.

Opioids can be beneficial since they help many people manage their pain. However, when taken excessively and for longer, they can lead to addiction, which has many wide-reaching negative effects. Fortunately, opioid addiction can be treated, for instance, by seeking help at a suboxone clinic.

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