Why people struggle with opioid addiction

7:47 AM, Feb 16, 2018

With each year, the staggering number of opioid related deaths rises.

With that rise, the perception of those we view as drug addicts change. Long gone is the stereotypical dirty, disheveled, anxiety-ridden individual hanging out under a bridge and showing obvious signs of waning health. As we look around our very own community, we would be shocked to find out those who are addicted to opioids as they have statistically become people who know.

They are the grandmother or grandfather, the neighbor, or the parent whom you share Little League triumphs. 

Opioids not only encompass the street drug heroin, but it is also in prescribed medications such as Oxycodone (OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet), Hydrocodone (Vicodin, Lortab, Lorcet), Hydromorphone (Dilaudid) and Codeine. The ability to obtain these forms of opioids from physicians enables the face of the opioid epidemic to take a much different form as well as an easier access.

Taking these medications in the properly prescribed fashion does not mean you are automatically going to become addicted to opioids, however the abuse of these prescribed medications can lead to a chemical dependency.

How do opioids affect individuals, and why is it that they have a hard time stopping the drug seeking behavior and abuse?

“Opioids attach to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are found in the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs,” according to the National Institute for Drug Abuse. “When opioid drugs attach to these receptors in certain brain regions, they can diminish the perception of pain. Opioids can also cause a person to feel relaxed and euphoric by affecting areas of the brain that deal with what we perceive as pleasure. These feelings can be intensified when opioids are abused using routes of administration other than what is recommended.

“Repeated abuse of opioids can lead to addiction— compulsive drug seeking and abuse despite its known harmful consequences.”

 “Every day, more than 115 Americans die after overdosing on opioids,” the National Institute for Drug Abuse says. “The misuse of and addiction to opioids — including prescription pain relieversheroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl — is a serious national crisis that affects public health as well as social and economic welfare.”

The question that we are then left asking is, what do we do as a community to help combat this growing epidemic?

First and foremost, as a community we must become educated on opioids, their effect on our bodies, and where we can seek quality help in order to overcome the addiction. Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital looks at the entire individual and what they can do to help ease the symptoms that come from detoxifying the individual from the opioids.

Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital recognizes the importance of educating individuals and their families in recognizing trigger behaviors and giving them the proper tools in order to be successful in their recovery process.

Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital values the community in which they serve and believes in helping educating wherever possible. Together we can grow and thrive and tackle these addictions one step at a time. They understand that the road to recovery can be a long one, however together, our community will not travel that path alone.

Bakersfield Behavioral Healthcare Hospital does not just provide chemical dependency treatment, it provides CARE.


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