Addicted To painkillers: Opioid Use Disorder And Treatment

What is opioid use disorder?

Opioid use disorder is a medical condition, where the individual is dependent and can not stop using opioids even in spite of the harmful consequences. This disorder is characterized by the strong desire to use opioids and increased tolerance to opioids. Here are the signs and symptoms of drug addiction like opioid use disorder.

  • Drug-seeking behavior and using high doses of opioids.
  • Can not control using the drug.
  • Strong desire for the drug in spite of legal or social problems.
  • Have withdrawal symptoms.
  • Having more opioid cravings.

If a person tries to stop the opioid use abruptly, the individual may experience withdrawal symptoms which includes:

  • Anxiety
  • Muscle cramps
  • Sweating
  • Yawning
  • Palpitations
  • Shakiness
  • Tremors
  • Dilated pupils

How people get exposure to these kinds of opioids?

Most people approach a doctor for their ailments and doctors prescribe painkillers to alleviate pain. In this case, most of the people will be prescribed a medication called opioid and doctors call it as a narcotic or opiate. These painkillers are derived from the “joy plant” named opium poppy. The medicines made from the opium poppy to relieve the pain and in addition, it gives you a pleasant feeling(euphoria). Due to this, people begin abusing this medication and take a high dose to get a high feeling. 

In most of the countries, they banned using these pain relievers or limit the usage of it, since it has many side effects which majorly affects the internal organs like liver, kidney and etc. I relieved America, millions of people suffer from an opioid use disorder. People began using opioids for other purposes than intended by the doctor. The strong desire for this medication has turned into an addiction. This article will provide you with valuable pieces of information on opioid use disorder and its treatments.

Some of the Painkiller Substance

Opioid – The term opioid refers to natural and synthetic substances which mainly acts on three of the receptor systems (mu, kappa, delta). The way of consuming it involves:

  • Intranasal use – “snorting” or “sniffing”
  • Intravenous use – “shooting up” or “mainlining”
  • Subcutaneous use – “skin-popping”
  • Intramuscular use – “muscling”

Heroin – Heroin is a derivative of morphine and is the opioid most commonly abused by injection. It has chemical name diacetylmorphine, which is a derivative of morphine, a commonly used opioid. Through injection, people were abusing heroin. Other terms for heroin include dope, horse, smack, china white, junk, and tar.

Opium – It is obtained from opium poppy which contains morphine and codeine. It is consumed through smoking or it can be eaten too. The usage of opium is very low in the United States and it is the most commonly abused substance in Asia and the Middle East.

Endorphin – It is often referred to as a subclass of opioids, which contains endogenous peptides that relieve pain.

Prescribed OpioidsMedications using opioids were prescribed principally for pain relief. But they have the potential for abuse and addiction, hence the usage of the drug is monitored and regulated by the Controlled Substances Act in the United States.

Opiates – It is also referred to as a subclass of opioids, which contains alkaloid compounds that are naturally present in opium poppy.

Synthetic Opioids – Synthetic opioids are fentanyl, tramadol, and methadone, whereas the semi-synthetic opioids are Oxycodone and hydrocodone.

The medical professionals who have high exposure to these kinds of Oxycodone and hydrocodone are at a higher risk and the prescribed opioids have the highest chance of misuse and abuse.

Ill Effects of using Pain Killers

Science and medicine have improved the lifespan of the human race. Whenever a positive thing emerges, there might be some ill/side effects too. People depend upon medicines for they are well being, especially painkillers to get rid of pains. They don’t analyze or think about the harmless they are receiving because of consuming those opioids. They just need immediate pain relief. Many of them don’t know that pain killer is never going to treat your injury or repairs your body part, it only subsides your pain for the time being.

Those who consume it on a regular basis have analgesic and central nervous system depressant effects as well as the potential to cause euphoria. The OUD(Opioid Use Disorder) involves the misuse of prescribed or diverted opioid medications. It is typically a relapsing illness, chronic and more significantly associated with the increased rate of morbidity and mortality. To withdraw from this addiction and long term maintenance to avoid falling into relapse the treatment includes the usage of opioid agonist and antagonist or some go for nonmedication or abstinence-based treatment.

Diagnosis of opioid use disorder

With long-term opioid use, the individual has significant physical and mental impairments. Your doctor will decide whether you have opioid use disorder or not based on certain factors. The person takes more opioids than intended, spends more time seeking opioids, social withdrawal, increased tolerance, has strong cravings, unable to stop opioids use, and has withdrawal symptoms.

Health Consequences

Those who were using these painkillers for a long time can be observed with poor health conditions or they might look physically weak. This is the condition for those who overly abuse it, but these conditions would not appear in those who have very poor health conditions. Some of the more specific medical conditions which result the opioid usage are:

Prone to infection- They are easily affected through contaminated drugs and the usage of non-sterile injections, shared needles or syringes. Through these modes, there is a higher risk rate to bloodborne pathogens. And results to have many diseases like HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C.

Treatment for opioid use disorder

Treatment for opioid use disorder is based on how long the individual abused the drug and the severity of the addiction. The first step is to stop the individual from being dependant on the drug. For this detoxification is done, it can be performed in an outpatient or an inpatient rehab Omaha to make the patient abstinent. Based on the severity of intoxication, the individual experiences withdrawal symptoms. The doctor may prescribe some medications to ease the withdrawal symptoms namely methadone and buprenorphine.

Another treatment approach for the opioid disorder is medication-assisted treatment(MAT). Research shows that medication-assisted treatment is the most effective in treating people with an opioid disorder. MAT programs for opioid use disorder encompass the use of medications including Methadone, Buprenorphine, and Naltrexone. All these medications block the effects of opioids so that the person does not feel high. These medications come in tablet form or as an injection.

Opioid replacement therapy

Opioid replacement therapy sometimes also called opioid substitution therapy makes use of opioid medications that act as a substitute for opioids that were already taken and reduces the withdrawal symptoms. The medications used in this therapy suppresses the cravings for opioids. This replacement therapy stabilizes and maintains the patient’s condition thereby allowing them to proceed with further treatments through rehabilitation. The doses of the medication given in the replacement therapy are noted by the doctor and it does not alter the chemical reactions of the brain. However, replacement therapy alone is not sufficient, the patient has to go through individual counseling and other behavioral therapies to get sober and prevent relapsing. For the best opioid treatment programs, check the addiction centers listed by the addiction aide website.


  • In the United States, about 5.1 million people who were above the age of 12(it is around 1.9% of the total population) abuse heroin at some point in their lifetime. The heroin-related overdose has been increased in the state, which automatically increases the overdose death rates.
  • More than 3million people in the United States who age more than 12 misuses the prescribed pain medication in the year 2015. Among those, about 2.0 million had a DSM-IV disorder of opioid use or dependence during the past year. These prescribed medications are most commonly obtained from the prescription either provided for a self-use or they are referred to a friend or relative.
  • About ⅔ of people in the state who primarily use heroin, reported the usage of opioids additionally to get high. And the usage of heroin keeps on increasing at the first for the non-medical purpose.
  • Fentanyl, a highly potent synthetic opioid which is often used to cut heroin has been increased in the state. This contributes more to the overdose rate. 
  • Pregnant women —The usage of opioids among pregnant women are estimated to have increased more than fourfold from 1999 through 2014. The prevalence has been increased from 1.5 to 6.5 cases per 1000 delivery hospitalizations. Which automatically results in the increasing rates of neonatal abstinence syndrome and opioid use disorder in the general population. 

When you are addicted to painkillers, you might feel good and you often enjoy the feeling of being relaxed or away from any sort of pain. But the consequences you are going to face will push you into more trouble. It’s not too late to withdraw, you might get some help and try to be away from all these opioids and etc. Try to have a good work-life balance, healthy eating and more. Stay Sober! Be away from self-abuse!




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  1. Painkillers are really a bad form of addictive dosages. Even i too was having a habit of consuming a painkiller for may head ache and this becomes an addictive for me to consume it daily. Once the mg of the pain killer becomes resistant for me i could tolerate it more, then i visited the doctor for consultation. Now I am fully away from these kind of painkillers.

  2. When i have any type of pain i use to take painkiller but after reading this blog i understood that pain killer is not perment solution for my problem

  3. This blog gave a clear study about painkiller and its effects so from now I am not going to use any kind of painkiller I wanted to save my life and my family.

  4. Very informative. Keep up the good work!

  5. Most people need drugs for one issue or another. I am for natural herbs as a treatment but drugs are often stronger.

  6. Treatment for opioid use disorder is based on how long the individual abused the drug and the severity of the addiction. I like this article…thanks Katrina…

  7. Most of the people like this article. Thanks for sharing this good article, Katrina.

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