How Should We Treat Opioid Addiction?
It is important to bear in mind that addiction is an illness that can be treated with the right medications. There are widely held misconceptions surrounding addiction that have led us to stereotype sufferers as no-hopers who have made a negative lifestyle choice. In fact, addiction is something that affects people from all walks of life and even more so in recent times, with the rise of dependence on prescription opioids.
How Has Opioid Addiction Become An Epidemic in the US?
Prescription opioids are generally used to treat chronic pain with medications such as fentanyl or carfentanil although they can also be bought illegally as heroin. For people who are suffering a painful condition, they can develop a tolerance to the painkilling effects of prescribed drugs over time, often resorting to upping the dosage to get the desired results. As the body becomes more immune to the effects of opioids, dependence on its effects becomes progressively more severe and the result is full-blown addiction.
There are more than 2 million Americans currently suffering an opioid abuse disorder of varying severity. Every single year, more than 60,000 people die in the US from fatal opioid overdoses and yet the crisis continues to escalate. Such is the severity of addiction to opioids that professional rehabilitation is essential in order to fully recover from the sometimes serious damage that can be done to someone’s mental and physical health.
However, there is a positive outlook for all people suffering with addiction and plenty of rehab facilities to cater for all medical needs. The main obstacle to gaining treatment is often the addict themselves, meaning that many are admitted into rehab as a result of family intervention. It is crucial to know that addiction to opioids is unlike any other substance, mainly because of the effects the drug has on neural function. To avoid potentially devastating long term illness as a result of prolonged opioid misuse, rehabilitation is a step that simply has to be taken.
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