Opioid Addiction & Abuse: Causes, Symptoms & Detox in Wisconsin
The opioid epidemic has already claimed thousands of lives in Wisconsin alone. Even though many types of opioids are prescribed by doctors, they can all pose a major threat to your health. In addition to being highly addictive, opioids have a much higher risk of overdose than most other classes of pain relievers. As a result, opioid abuse and addiction are extremely dangerous.
So, if you or someone you care about is struggling with opioid addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out to Midwest Detox today. If you’re still on the fence about opioid detox, continue reading to learn more about opioid abuse, addiction, and recovery:
What Are Opioids?
Opioids are a class of drugs that include both natural and synthetic substances, most often derived from compounds in the opium poppy plant. These drugs have been used for centuries for their pain-relieving and sedative properties. They work by binding to specific opioid receptors in the brain and central nervous system, reducing the perception of pain and producing feelings of pleasure and relaxation.
Opioids can be classified into three main categories:
- Natural Opioids - These are alkaloids derived directly from the opium poppy plant, such as morphine and codeine. However, just because these are deemed “natural” does not mean that they are any less harmful or addictive.
- Semi-Synthetic Opioids - These are chemically modified versions of natural opioids, designed to enhance their potency or improve their pharmacological properties. Some common examples include heroin, oxycodone, oxymorphone, hydromorphone, and hydrocodone.
- Synthetic Opioids - These are entirely man-made compounds that mimic the effects of natural opioids. Examples include fentanyl, methadone, meperidine, and tramadol.
Opioids are commonly prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain, such as pain from surgery, injury, or chronic conditions like cancer. However, due to their potent pain-relieving and euphoric effects, opioids have a high potential for abuse and addiction. Misuse of prescription opioids, as well as the use of illicit opioids like heroin, has contributed to the ongoing opioid crisis, which has resulted in a significant increase in addiction, overdoses, and deaths.
It is crucial to use opioids only as prescribed by a healthcare professional and to follow their guidance on dosage and duration to minimize the risk of dependence and addiction. Alternative pain management strategies and non-opioid medications should also be considered whenever possible to reduce the potential risks associated with opioid use.
Opioid Addiction: Causes & Risk Factors
Opioid addiction, sometimes known as opioid use disorder (OUD), is characterized by regular abuse of and dependence on opioid drugs. Like any addictive drug, there are many underlying risk factors that can make you more susceptible to addictive behavior, from a family history of drug abuse to stress.
However, you can still become addicted to opioids without any of the most common risk factors. In fact, many people who have no interest in abusing drugs for recreational purposes get hooked on prescription opioids. What begins as a routine prescription for short-term or chronic pain can quickly lead to full-blown addiction. The risk of addiction is increased if the medications are not used exactly as the doctor has prescribed them.
Signs & Symptoms of Opioid Abuse
Many of the signs and symptoms of opioid abuse mimic those seen in other types of addiction. If you know someone who is abusing opioids, you are likely to witness the following:
- Lying or secretive behavior
- Social isolation
- Neglecting responsibilities
- Financial difficulties
- Impaired coordination
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Decreased appetite
- Respiratory depression
- Memory problems
- Lack of motivation
Drug Abuse Paraphernalia
- Needles or syringes
- Pill bottles
- Medication not prescribed to the individual
- Prescription pads
Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms
You might not think that you’re at risk of opioid withdrawal, but the symptoms can come on much faster than you may realize. If you’re at risk of developing an opioid addiction, you can become physically and/or psychologically dependent on the drug in as little as 3 days of regular use. Once you stop or reduce your opioid consumption, any of the following withdrawal symptoms could begin:
- Intense cravings
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle pain
- Dilated pupils
- Sensitivity to light
- Rapid heartbeat
- Mood swings
How Long Do Opioids Stay In Your System?
Since there are so many different kinds of opioids, the exact half-life will vary from one drug to the next. Additionally, the amount of time it takes your body to metabolize and fully expel the drug will depend on how much you have used, as well as individual factors like your weight and metabolism. That said, you can generally expect opioids to remain detectable within the following windows:
- Blood Test - Opioids can be detected in blood tests for up to several hours to a day after the last use, depending on the specific opioid. For example, oxycodone can be detected in blood for up to 24 hours, while fentanyl may be detectable for up to 12 hours.
- Urine Test - Urine tests are the most commonly used method for detecting opioids. Detection times can range from a couple of days to a week or more, depending on the opioid. For instance, morphine can be detected in urine for up to 2 to 3 days, while methadone may be detectable for up to a week or longer.
- Saliva Test - Saliva tests can detect opioids for up to 24 to 48 hours after the last use, although detection times can vary depending on the specific opioid and the sensitivity of the test.
- Hair Test - Hair tests can detect opioids for up to 90 days or longer after the last use.
Long-Term Effects of Opioid Abuse
The long-term effects of opioid abuse are completely dependent on the severity of your addiction. For example, if you use oxycodone (including Oxycontin, Percodan, or Percocet) for a few weeks and you work to overcome your addiction quickly, you may see virtually no long-term effects. On the other hand, if you abuse opioids for months or even years at a time, you are far more likely to experience negative physical and mental effects, including:
- Hormonal imbalances
- Weakened immunity
- Cardiovascular disease
- Respiratory problems
- Gastrointestinal issues
- Increased risk of infections
- Increased risk of cancer
- Panic attacks
Opioid Detox In Brookfield, Wisconsin
A thorough detox from opioids is a vital step toward recovery. It’s not just about clearing the drug(s) from your system; it’s also about making a choice to beat your addiction and pursue a healthier way of life. Fortunately, Midwest Detox offers a comprehensive opioid detox program that will allow you to recover in peace and comfort.
Do you live in Brookfield, Waukesha County, or the larger Milwaukee area? Are you in need of a private opioid detox center to begin your recovery? If so, Midwest Detox can provide everything you need to detox from opioids in a safe, comfortable environment. Visit our site or call us directly at 414-409-5200 to take the first step toward sobriety.