Opioid Use Disorder: An Overview

Looking at Opioid Use Disorder

Opioids are pain medications. Some opioids that doctors commonly prescribe are morphine, fentanyl, oxycodone and hydromorphone. There are illegal opioids such as heroin, as well. If someone has opioid use disorder (OUD), they are abusing these types of drugs. Those who have a moderate to severe OUD may have an addiction.

If you or someone you know is abusing opioids, there are treatments available. Learning more about this disorder can help you figure out what to do next.

Side Effects from Opioid Use Disorder

Some people have a prescription for opioids. The medication can help to manage their pain. However, if they abuse prescription opioids or illegal opioids, they might encounter many side effects.

Some side effects from abusing opioids include:

  • Low blood pressure
  • Breathing issues
  • Low heart rate
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Increased energy or lethargy
  • Coma

Chronic abuse of opioids can cause a lot of damage to the body. Some people overdose on these drugs, too.

Signs of Opioid Use Disorder

If you have been abusing opioids, you might have an opioid use disorder. Some signs of this disorder include:

  • Can’t control when or how much of the drug you use
  • Using more of the drug than your doctor prescribes to you
  • Using opioids for longer than you originally wanted to
  • Try to stop using opioids but start using again
  • Spend a lot of energy and time getting opioids
  • Experience cravings for opioids
  • Have withdrawal symptoms when missing a dose
  • Continue using opioids despite the problems it causes in your life
  • Quit taking part in activities you enjoy because you get high
  • Put yourself in risky situations to get opioids
  • Have built up a tolerance to the drug

If you are experiencing any of these, you may need help to overcome opioid addiction or OUD.

Treatments for OUD

Now you know more about the signs of OUD. If you have any of the ones above, you may want to seek treatment. There are numerous treatment options for this disorder. The treatments can help you detox, control cravings, manage and relieve withdrawal symptoms, learn recovery techniques and prevent relapse.

Some treatments for opioid use disorder or addiction include:

  • Medication-assisted treatment (receive medications to help you get off the opioids you were taking and get your body healthier – over time, you may wean off these medications)
  • Outpatient (attend group and individual therapy a few times each week for about an hour)
  • Intensive outpatient (go to therapy sessions multiple days a week for a few hours or more each time)
  • Partial hospitalization (get intensive treatment without having to live in the rehab center)
  • Inpatient (stay at the rehab center for 30 days or more while receiving around-the-clock care)

You may not be sure which treatment would help you the most. You don’t have to decide this on your own. Reach out to rehab center professionals today to get the help you need.

Urgent Medical Attention for Opioid Overdose

Unfortunately, many people overdose on opioids. This requires immediate medical help. Ambulance drivers and other emergency medical personnel can give people naloxone. The medication helps to reverse overdose effects. If the person receives the medication quickly enough after overdosing, it can save their life.

There are take-home naloxone packages. If you have a loved one who abuses drugs and hasn’t gotten help yet or has a high risk of relapsing, it may be a good idea to have one of these packages on hand.

Alternatives to Opioids

If you have chronic pain, you might use opioids. However, if you have an addiction to opioids, it is crucial to use alternatives to opioids instead.

Some alternatives for pain management include:

  • Massage therapy
  • Over-the-counter pain medications such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen
  • Water therapy
  • Chiropractic services
  • Meditation
  • Non-opioid prescription pain medication
  • Physical therapy
  • Surgery
  • Acupuncture
  • Nerve blocks
  • Spinal cord stimulation
  • TENS unit
  • Heat therapy
  • Cold therapy

If you haven’t yet, try some of these options for your pain. Many people develop an addiction to opioids. Some people become reliant on them within a couple of days of getting a prescription for opioids. You can manage your pain safely with these alternatives.

Overcoming Opioid Addictions

Unfortunately, many people become reliant on opioid medications. Some people develop an addiction to prescription opioids. Other people might use illegal opioids. It’s important to know you can overcome opioid dependence or addiction.

Don’t wait any longer to start getting past your addictive lifestyle. Reach out to us today to enroll in an opioid use disorder treatment program.