Opium is made from the poppy plant, which is the source of the most popular drugs on the planet. Other drugs made from the poppy plant include heroin, which is made from the morphine alkaloid contained inside opium. Opiate-based drugs are becoming increasingly popular, and that’s not a good thing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 191 million opiate prescriptions were written in 2017 and more than 11 million people in the US have described themselves as having an opiate addiction. But, what is opium, and why is it so addictive?
Opium is an extremely addictive narcotic derived from the seed pods of the opium poppy plant. The alkaloids inside the poppy plant are used to make substances like heroin, codeine, morphine, and papaverine. Synthetic opiates are made from opium derivatives. Examples of synthetic and semisynthetic opiates include fentanyl, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and methadone. The world’s supply of opium comes from Afghanistan and Latin America.
Opium is taken from the opium poppy. In its pure version, this drug is hard to find. Long ago, opium was more accessible, but nowadays other opium poppy derivatives are more easily found, for example, heroin, methadone, Oxycodone, etc. The most widely used and abused painkillers on the market today are often derived from synthesized or synthetic opium. For this reason, opium and all of the derivatives of the opium poppy are considered to be popular drugs – and this is not a good thing. It is estimated that nearly 120 people die each day due to opiate-related overdose. Most opiate addicts find themselves moving from prescription opiates to other opiates, in fact, 80% of heroin addicts in the US started their addiction with a prescription to opiates.
Addiction to opium can be a dangerous, scary and isolating experience, but help is available today. If you or a loved one finds themselves addicted to opium, the important thing to do is identify the addiction and get immediate help to prevent further harm.
Addiction to opium looks different than addiction to other opiates, stimulates, and etc. People have different symptoms of their addiction based on their individual life and circumstances of their use. That said, there are different things to look out for when it comes to opium addiction. These symptoms may affect their physical, mental, and psychological health; and may cause issues with family, friends, career, and schooling. Drug use takes a toll on the mind and body, this is the same for opium use and abuse.
One of the most common signs of opium addiction is the person displaying drug seeking activities. A great example of this is doctor shopping, which is one someone goes out and purposely seeks multiple doctors and multiple prescriptions to fuel their addiction. A person who is addicted may go outside of their prescription and purchase or borrow drugs on the side. At some point, their regular prescription is simply not enough. A person experiencing addiction may also turn to other drugs when they can no longer get their drug of choice or the results they need from their drug of choice. Opiate users will often move up to heroin or fentanyl when their prescription drugs are no longer enough. Addicts might also begin to change their behavior. Perhaps they were social before, when addiction takes its toll, the person becomes withdrawn and antisocial. They start to take part in manipulative behaviors, like asking for money from family or friends or even going so far as to take money without asking.
An individual currently using and/or abusing Opium may show the following signs of use:
Any opiate a person ingests interacts with the opioid receptors inside that person’s brain. This means that when a person begins to rely on opiates to feel “normal,” stopping those opiates from coming in results in a painful and difficult withdrawal. Going cold turkey or even weaning from the drug will result in withdrawal symptoms. Some people experience horrific, severe withdrawals after years of continuous use. Withdrawal symptoms include:
These symptoms can be moderate but may have severe side-effects. Anyone attempting to withdraw from opium should seek out medical attention in the form of medical detox, where withdrawal symptoms are monitored to ensure the safety of the patient.
Withdrawal from opium usually lasts about two week, but can last for a longer period depending on individual history of use and whether the person was using slow-release versions of the drug. Those experiencing withdrawal should always seek medical attention and get themselves into a medical detox. Under the care of a professional, withdrawal symptoms are consistently monitored in order to make sure the patient is safe.
When treating opium addiction, the best start is to begin with medically assisted detox and then move forward with individual counseling, behavioral therapy, and training. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and other therapies are used to help with the primary therapy. This includes group counseling. The person in counseling will also learn skills, coping skills, and relapse prevention.
At Virtual Treatment Center, we believe quality addiction recovery and mental health services should be easily accessible to those that want or need them, because ease of accessibility is what most often leads to success. That’s why we’re committed to providing top-tier virtual mental health teletherapy and addiction recovery services to all residents of California. Although we’re located in Orange County, our online teletherapy can be accessed throughout the state. In addition to providing addiction recovery services, we treat a variety of mental health issues and offer Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT). Our teletherapy sessions are done via two-way, live interactive video or by telephone. Therapeutic visits are conducted on Zoom most often, or on other virtual platforms that adhere to HIPAA compliance requirements.
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