Commonly Abused Opioids: Signs and Effects of Opioid Addiction

Commonly Abused Opioids

Americans are primarily aware that the country is dealing with an opioid epidemic. In 2017, there were over 47,000 overdose deaths involving opioids in the United States. Of those, approximately 36% were attributed to prescription opioids.

It’s important to know which opioids are commonly abused. However, more than knowing which opioids are highly addictive, it’s essential to recognize opioid addiction in yourself or someone you love and seek professional help. Alter Health Group provides substance abuse treatment in California and can help those struggling with opioid addiction get their life back on track. Call today to get started on your path to addiction recovery.

What Are the Most Commonly Abused Opioids?

There are three main types of opioids—prescription opioids, synthetic opioids, and heroin. The most commonly abused opioids include:

  • Codeine
  • Fentanyl
  • Heroin
  • Hydrocodone (Vicodin)
  • Morphine
  • Oxycodone (OxyContin)

These drugs are all powerful central nervous system (CNS) depressants. They work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which results in a decrease in pain perception and an increase in feelings of pleasure.

While all opioids have the potential to be abused, some are more likely to lead to addiction than others. For example, heroin is more potent than other opioids and produces a more intense high. Synthetic opioids like fentanyl are also powerful, and misusing them can easily lead to overdose.

Opioids are not only highly addictive but can also cause serious health problems. For example, codeine is a prescription opioid often used to treat pain and coughs. However, it can also cause drowsiness, constipation, and shallow breathing. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than other opioids. It is often used to treat severe pain but can also cause slowed breathing, drowsiness, and confusion.

What Are the Signs of Opioid Addiction?

Opioid addiction can be challenging to spot because it often starts with a legitimate prescription for pain relief. However, some warning signs may indicate a problem, including:

  • Changes in appearance or hygiene
  • Decreased interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Lying or stealing
  • Missing work or school
  • Mood swings
  • Withdrawal from friends and family

It’s essential to seek help immediately if you or someone you love shows any of these signs. Opioid addiction is a severe problem that can have life-threatening consequences.

What Are the Effects of Opioid Addiction?

A substance use disorder (SUD) involving opioid abuse can cause many physical and mental health problems. Some of the most common effects of opioid abuse include:

  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Increased pain tolerance
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Slow breathing

If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction, it’s vital to seek professional help as soon as possible.

What Should Clients Expect from an Opioid Addiction Treatment Program?

The first step of any addiction treatment plan is usually detoxification, which is the process of ridding the body of toxins. This process can be done in a medical setting where trained professionals can monitor people for withdrawal symptoms. After detox, people usually enter an addiction treatment program.

The type of addiction treatment program that someone enters usually depends on the severity of their addiction. People with milder addictions may join an outpatient program, which allows them to live at home while receiving treatment during the day. However, people with more severe addictions may need to enter an inpatient program, which requires them to live at the treatment center.

No matter what type of addiction treatment program someone enters, the goal is always the same—to help people overcome their addiction and main sobriety for the rest of their lives.

Ready to Learn More About Alter Health Group’s Substance Abuse Treatment Programs in California?

The first step in overcoming opioid addiction is to seek professional help. Alter Health Group offers a variety of substance abuse treatment programs in California, and our team is ready to help you or your loved one start the journey to recovery. Call us today to speak with someone from our team.