Table of Contents
What is Opium?
Opium comes from the opium poppy plant. Opium is then used to create certain opioid pain medications such as morphine. Morphine is often administered before and after procedures in medicine. As well as morphine, opium serves as the basis of the illicit drug heroin, also classified as an opioid and a narcotic.
Synthetic opioids are created for medicinal purposes to replicate some of the effects of opium. There are also synthetic opioids specifically manufactured for use in illicit drugs.
Why is Opium So Addictive?
While opium itself isn’t necessarily a commonly used substance in the U.S., opioids and opiates are a big topic of discussion. The opioid epidemic in the U.S. has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives. Opium is the basis of these drugs.
Opiate and opioid are often terms that are used interchangeably with one another, but they are different in the strictest terms. An opiate is a drug naturally derived from the opium poppy. Opioid, on the other hand, refers to synthetic drugs or substances that are created to replicate the effects of opium.
Either way, both opiates and opioids can be extremely addictive. Opium and drugs that are derived from it, or synthetically created, all bind to certain receptors throughout the central nervous system. These receptors, when activated, can create a feeling of euphoria in users along with pain relief, relaxation and drowsiness.
The Effects of Opiates
When the opioid receptors are activated, it can also slow the functionality of the central nervous system. Functions controlled by the central nervous system include breathing and heart rate.
Opium and opioids are addictive because when these receptor sites are activated, it creates a reward cycle in the brain. The brain then wants to continue seeking out the trigger that created the pleasant or euphoric feelings. In this case, it was a drug. When someone is addicted to opium or any other opioid, their use of it becomes compulsive and out-of-control.
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Signs someone could require rehab treatment for an opium addiction include:
- The user is unable to stop using opium or related substances despite trying
- The user has repeatedly tried to stop using opium and has been unsuccessful
- Many people with addictions to opium, opiates or opioids withdraw from friends and family
- Not meeting responsibilities at school or work, or declining performance
- Continuing to use opium even when there are negative consequences or outcomes
- Preoccupation with getting more opium or using more
For people who are addicted to opium, they may also have a physical dependence. Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain requiring specialized treatment. Physical dependence is separate from addiction, but the two often occur together.
What is Physical Dependence to Opium?
Physical dependence on opium means that a person’s brain and body have become used to the presence of the drug. The central nervous system needs opium to function in what’s become sensed as “normal.” When someone stops using opium suddenly after forming a dependence, they may go through withdrawal.
Stopping opium suddenly is called stopping cold turkey. Symptoms of opium withdrawal can include:
- Runny nose
- Teary eyes
- Insomnia and sleep disturbances
- Muscle aches and cramps
- Changes in mood such as aggression or irritability
- Depression or anxiety
- Dilated pupils
- Nausea and vomiting
- Extreme fatigue
- High blood pressure
Symptoms of withdrawal from opium can range in severity and duration. For anyone who uses opium, the best option is to participate in a medical detox. During a medical detox, patients receive constant care and monitoring from medical professionals as they come off opium.
A medical detox facility can be part of a rehab center or may be a standalone facility.
Medical detox can help ease the symptoms of opium withdrawal, and help patients safely and comfortably prepare for addiction treatment.
Along with a medical detox for opium, which is the highest level of care, there are other types of treatment available. Because of the powerful and overwhelming nature of opium addiction, inpatient rehab is often the best option. There are some key features of inpatient rehab for opium addiction which include:
- There is constant supervision from the staff of the facility
- Patients can’t come and go as they choose
- Overnight stays are required
- There is a lot of structure and scheduling during opium inpatient rehab
- Inpatient rehab facilities can vary from bare-bones to luxury treatment
A partial hospitalization program for opium or any other drug is an intermediate step between inpatient and outpatient rehab. Partial hospitalization programs may include the following features:
- Day treatment usually lasts for most of the day
- Patients return home in the evening
- Patients might return to a sober living facility rather than their home in the evenings
An opium outpatient program is the most flexible and the least restrictive. Outpatient rehab is usually the final step in a larger treatment program that starts with a medical detox and inpatient rehab. Outpatient rehab may include the following:
- Time commitments vary but are usually a few hours a week
- Participants continue going to work or school as usual
- Patients live at home or a sober living facility
- The therapy approach can vary significantly from program-to-program
- Outpatient rehab tends to be the least expensive treatment option
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The opioid epidemic has overwhelmed individuals, families, communities and the entire country. Drugs like opium are powerful and can lead to addiction and dependence quickly. However, there are options available for people addicted to opium or opiates and opioids.
If someone is searching for residential opium treatment or other opium facility options, they can begin exploring what’s available locally, but also out-of-state treatment centers.
An addiction to opium can wreak havoc on a person’s life. It can destroy relationships and their entire family. It can also damage or destroy their career, and everything they’ve worked toward.
Seeking treatment for an opium addiction can help stop or prevent this damage. The goal of opium treatment should be for the person to return to their daily life mentally and physically healthy, and ready to contribute to society as well as to the lives of their loved one.
If you’d like to learn more about opium treatment including opium inpatient rehab and opium outpatient rehab, we encourage you to contact us.
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