Opioids are drugs often prescribed to induce surgical anesthesia, relieve acute post-surgical pain, and treat other moderate to severe acute pain. When opioids are taken short-term and as prescribed, they can be effective and relatively safe. However, when misused or taken illegally, they present a high risk of addiction and overdose. Fortunately, undergoing an opioid addiction treatment program can help you or a struggling loved one overcome addiction. Contact BlueCrest Recovery today at 888.292.9652 to learn more about our opioid rehab center and our substance abuse treatment in New Jersey.
What are opioids?
Opioids send signals to the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body to increase relaxation and dull pain perception. The drugs also interact with the brain’s pleasure and reward center to increase dopamine levels and other chemicals, increasing feelings of pleasure, well-being, and euphoria. Although these same signals can be triggered naturally in the brain, opioids deliver the effects at a higher intensity, which can lead to addiction as users continually seek to repeat the effects. As opioid use is continued, the brain adapts to the dose and demands more of the drug to produce the desired effect, leading to tolerance and addiction.
The opioid crisis has cast much scrutiny on the frightening rise in opioid addiction and deaths in the last few decades. Consequently, physicians are becoming more cautious about prescribing opioids for conditions other than cancer pain, palliative care, and end-of-life comfort.
Signs of Opioid Abuse
Many physical, mental, and behavioral signs may warn of opioid abuse or addiction.
Common behavioral changes may include:
- Taking higher doses than prescribed or more often than prescribed
- Stealing or forging prescriptions
- Requesting prescriptions from several different doctors
- Reporting a prescription as lost and requesting a new one
- Asking for early refills
Fluctuations in mood and energy levels, including rapidly swinging from high to low levels, can be a sign of opioid abuse, as can sleep disorders and risky behavior, including unprotected sex or injecting drugs.
The signs and symptoms of opioid abuse include:
- Feeling high (euphoria)
- Slowed breathing rate
- Poor coordination
- Increased dose required for pain relief
- Worsening or increased sensitivity to pain with higher doses
Older adults may be at a greater risk of adverse side effects from opioids, as they may take longer to metabolize drugs, take multiple prescriptions, and have other chronic diseases.
Opioid overdose is a medical emergency. Signs of an overdose often include pinpoint pupils, unconsciousness, and respiratory depression. Other symptoms may include blue-tinged skin as a sign of poor circulation, an individual who is awake but unable to talk, choking sounds, an irregular pulse, and vomiting. If breathing becomes dangerously slow and shallow, too little oxygen may reach the brain, causing hypoxia. Hypoxia can lead to coma, brain damage, and death.
If you suspect an opioid overdose, contact emergency services immediately. If help arrives in time, naloxone can reverse the effects and prevent death. Most first responders now carry naloxone.
What to Expect from Our Opioid Rehab Center in New Jersey
At BlueCrest Recovery, our addiction specialists have decades of experience helping people recover from addictive behaviors. Using a holistic approach that treats the mind, body, and spirit, we facilitate the healing of the whole person.
Our staff is compassionate and empathetic and includes some who have also traveled the road to recovery from addiction. Our counselors work with those in recovery to address family and other relationship issues, parenting, work-related issues, legal issues, and more.
Our opioid rehab program is offered on an outpatient or intensive basis, allowing clients to continue working, going to school, and living at home while getting the support they need from a structured treatment program.