The word opiate describes a category of drugs – generally considered to be those drugs derived from opium. The category of opiates has now been expanded to include opioids. Opioids are synthetic substances molecularly analogous and similar in effect to those drugs derived from opium. Opiates have been known to medical science for thousands of years and have long been used for pain relief and cough suppression. When abused, opiates can produce a euphoric revelry in which the user feels comfortably sedated and immune from any and all unpleasant feelings. Some examples of opiates are heroin, morphine, codeine, Vicodin®, OxyContin® and methadone. All of these substances have a high potential for abuse.
Opiates produce their high by binding to naturally occurring endorphin receptor sites in the brain and, eventually disregulate the brain’s endorphin neurobiology. Endorphins are made and used by the brain to relieve physical and emotional pain. As the endorphin neurobiology becomes increasingly imbalanced, physical tolerance develops and the addict needs more and more of the opiate to get the desired mood-altering effect. Soon the addict becomes physiologically dependent on the opiate, needing ever increasing amounts of the drug to stave off painful withdrawal symptoms.
At Cottonwood Tucson’s addiction rehab, the treatment of opiate addiction usually starts with medically-managed detoxification. Our doctors prescribe medications that help the patient safely negotiate the opiate withdrawal process. Our counseling staff then focuses on helping the opiate addicted patient find more adaptive ways of managing emotional pain, anxiety and an often-present sense of boredom, restlessness and dis-ease. Mind/body therapies can help our opiate addicted patients become more aware of how and where in their body they carry these feelings. It is also sometimes necessary to address issues relating to the addict identity and lifestyle.
Addictions to substances like opiates and prescription drugs often exist in tandem with co-occurring mood disorders like anxiety and depression, or with other addictions. Learn more about Cottonwood Tucson’s Arizona rehab and commitment to identifying co-occurring disorders.