Headline after headline attests to America’s growing problem with opioids; indeed, experts have dubbed opioid addiction a true national health crisis, and an epidemic. Even so, there remain many myths and misunderstandings about what opioids are and how they work. To clear things up, here’s a quick FAQ.

What are opioids?

Opioids are any chemicals that bind to the body’s opioid receptors—which in turn determine the body’s response to pain and to pleasure. Opioids come in many different forms, and in fact some are produced by the body itself. The opioids that are produced outside the body are known as exogenous ones; these are the opioids that can cause problems.

Which drugs fall under the opioid classification?

Exogenous opioids include a number of prescription painkillers, such as morphine and codeine, as well as illegal narcotics like heroin. These drugs differ in their potency, but work within the body in much the same way.

How do opioids affect the body?

When they bind to opioid receptors in the body, these substances can both mask the presence of pain while also producing intense, pleasurable highs.

What happens in opioid addiction?

Opioid use stimulates the brain’s reward center, producing an unnatural euphoria; over time, it can become impossible to feel pleasure without increasingly high and frequent doses of opioids. This is why opioid addiction often starts with something milder, like painkillers, and evolves into a more serious trouble with illegal drugs.

What can be done about opioid addiction?

Opioid addiction is serious, but it is not untreatable. Through the proper clinical intervention, opioid addiction can be combatted and long-term recovery can be achieved. However, it is critical to seek medical care to assist in the addiction recovery process.

To learn more about hope for opioid addiction recovery, reach out to Get Real Recovery at your convenience.

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