Opiate Treatment Services
Southern California Sunrise Recovery Center
What are Opiates?
Opiates are extremely addictive narcotic drugs that are naturally derived from the sap of the opium poppy. You may have also heard of the term ‘opioid’ and asked yourself what the difference is between these two narcotic drugs.
Both terms describe a class of drugs. The term opioid is a broader name for all drugs that act on the body’s opioid receptors. Opiates are opioids, but not necessarily the other way around. Opiates are directly derived from the opium poppy plant, whereas synthetic opioids are synthesized in a lab.
Drugs such as codeine and morphine are opiates. Semi-synthetic opioids derived from both of these drugs can be much more potent. For example, semi-synthetic diamorphine (better known as heroin) is about three times as strong as morphine and is a morphine derivative. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is roughly 100 times more potent than morphine. And fentanyl’s analog carfentanil is about 10,000 times stronger than morphine. Certain synthetic opioids like methadone, buprenorphine, naloxone, or naltrexone can actually be used to get off opiates and opioids. You can read about them on our opiate detox page.
Regardless of potency, all opioids and opiates can cause chemical dependency. Opiates morphine and codeine are most commonly used as prescription drugs given for pain, but their potential for abuse is extremely high. All abused opiates and opioids share a similar high, though they vary in strength and duration. Naturally, they’re all incredibly addictive.
It’s quite easy to become addicted to opiates. When a person takes an opiate, it causes a flood of endorphins and dopamine to rush into their brain. Opiates and their metabolites are closely linked to feelings of pleasure and satisfaction in the brain. However, the amount of endorphins and dopamine released by opiate use is so powerful that it eclipses any organic feeling of euphoria.
Opiates generally don’t leave a punishing hangover as alcohol would either. Even in heavy opiate abuse, users might think of their high as an enjoyable, comfortable experience. Those fond memories become a trap, and the drug user’s mind will tell them to use it again. And again.
Many people are introduced to opiates through a legitimate doctor’s prescription. Opiates are often given to people who are recovering from surgery or major illness in order to manage pain. The unfortunate path from prescription pain medication to heroin is well worn, with 80% of heroin users reporting that they began their drug addiction with legal drugs.
The unfortunate path from prescription pain medication to heroin is well worn, with 80% of heroin users reporting that they began their drug addiction with legal drugs.
Often, people addicted to prescription painkillers will resort to buying heroin off the street because prescription pills are more expensive and harder to get. It’s a similar feeling, but these street drugs are filled with an uncountable amount of different potential fillers. Usually, these street drugs are marketed as heroin.
Heroin could come as black tar, brown tar, white powder, or brown powder. Virtually, no user buying street opiates or opioids truly knows what they’re putting into their system. It’s scary, but the reality is that there could even be carfentanil in there. With something that strong, making a standard dose becomes impossible.
Long-term opioid use can change the way an opiate addict’s brain functions. Over time, the brain will cease producing dopamine and endorphins on its own because it has become accustomed to the artificial influx of these chemicals.
This opioid and opiate addiction is also known as opioid use disorder (OUD). In OUD, users have developed irresponsible behaviors that directly correlate to their usage of opioids. Addicts will have social, psychological, and physical problems not only relating to themselves but also family members, friends, coworkers, and associates. They might give up valuable items, their bodies, past favorite activities, and anything else just to use and feel “normal”.
When opiate use stops, the addict’s body will recoil, resulting in a variety of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms.
GETTING CLEAN FROM OPIATES
When a person who abuses opiates is confronted with withdrawal symptoms, ceasing use of the drug becomes extremely difficult. Even if an addict experiences major repercussions like losing their job, family, or friends, the relapse cycle for opiates is hard to break.
Opioid and opiate withdrawal symptoms are notorious for their grueling mental and physical consequences:
- Unrest and unpleasant thoughts
- Anxiety and depression
- Muscle aches and an increased chance of tearing them
- Fever and cold sweats
- Inability to sleep despite fatigue
- Restless leg syndrome
- Abdominal cramping
- Nausea and vomiting
Since various opiates and opioids are metabolized differently, the onset of these symptoms could change. Typically, symptoms of withdrawal from heroin start before the 12-hour mark from usage.
Severity depends upon chemical dependency decided by dosage and duration of consistent use. A typical time span for this is a few weeks, but symptoms could occur after a single week of heavy opiate abuse. In heavy long term abuse, chemical dependency can become so intense that withdrawals can actually be fatal.
In situations like this, a medically supervised detox is necessary. “Cold Turkey” detoxes, or completely ceasing use during chemical dependency without reducing dosages, is what many opiate addicts may try in their first effort to get clean. The harsh reality of their opiate addiction usually leads to relapse in these situations.
Another approach is to gradually use less of the abused drug. However, the enchanting effects that come from substance abuse make this near impossible for any substance use disorder, let alone opiates. And since street opiates or opioids typically become the ordinary here, measuring the dosage amount is difficult in itself.
Because of the powerful chemical dependency opiates have in addiction, getting clean through medication-assisted treatment is highly recommended. Opiate addiction treatment centers like ours in Orange County may use medicines proven to help in addition to evidence-based therapies.
At locations like our Laguna Niguel, CA drug rehab, professional monitoring through detox, and rehab can be closely watched with residential treatment. These treatment options give continuing care throughout a patient’s stay and can drastically lower the chance of relapse. Professionals here keep close contact with patients to avoid accidental overdoses upon relapse in occurring disorders like OUD.
Our Laguna Niguel Opiate Rehab
Our inpatient opiate addiction treatment program is an ideal decision for anyone who wants to escape the stress of work, school, or toxic relationships. The immersive nature of inpatient rehab allows our patients to focus entirely on their recovery.
Our inpatient program (AKA residential program) provides behavioral therapies like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). These therapies encourage patients to question the way they react to stressful environments and encourages them to change the way they relate to the world. For people with OUD, these changes are necessary for a long term recovery from opiate addiction.
Individual therapy and group therapy sessions will teach our patients life skills that they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. By learning how to regulate their emotions and deal with other people in a reflexive, healthy way, patients are able to prosper outside of the residential opiate rehab setting.
Southern California Sunrise Recovery Center’s opiate rehab also provides holistic treatment plans like Yoga, Reiki, and Meditation. A strong body and a peaceful mind will allow individuals in recovery to deal with stress confidently and control their emotions. By learning coping skills and practicing mindfulness, we equip our patients with every tool available to help them not fall back on old, unhealthy habits.
Contact our Admissions specialist to get inpatient treatment for opiate addiction. Our Residential Opiate Rehab accepts most PPO Insurance Plans and can help you or a loved one on their journey to recovery.