Why Are Opioids Addictive and How Is Opioid Addiction Treated?

So once you start taking the opioids, the things that used to make you satiated or pleasurable in the past, it’s not going to be as effective. Having an opioid addiction or loving someone who does can be scary and stressful. Treatment options are available to help quit abusing drugs, but it requires wanting to quit and having a good support system. There are things that can be done if there is concern about someone abusing opioids. If someone is prescribed opioids, the tips below are some of the ways to stay safe and prevent abuse.

The abuse of opioids can have long-lasting effects on someone’s health, possibly even resulting in death. It is a disorder in which someone is misusing opioids to the point where it is becoming difficult for them to be able to stop using them or decrease their use. The abuse can interfere with the person’s ability to perform everyday tasks, like go to work or school. Your brain starts releasing more noradrenaline again, even when opioids are attached to brain cells. Parts of the brain create a memory of those good feelings you get when you take an opioid medication, which may lead you to want that feeling of well-being after the opioids wear off. You may hear the phrases opioid addiction and opioid use disorder used to mean the same thing.

Withdrawal therapy

Another medication, naltrexone, blocks the effects of opioids so that they don’t provide any type of high or pleasurable feeling. If too much of an opioid is taken, opioid addiction treatment a person’s respiratory drive becomes severely diminished. This can lead to very shallow breathing or may even cause someone to stop breathing altogether.

They may have a problem with controlling themselves, or have impulse control. But we recognize the more we’ve studied it that it really has some biological drivers. And one of the first things that I thought we could talk about is terminology. I was wondering if you might explain exactly what that is and how it relates to the concept of addiction.


One of his specialties was in the field of chemical dependency, being involved with evaluations and treatment. Since his retirement, he has focused on consulting and freelance writing. With the idea of buprenorphine, now not needing a special waiver to prescribe, I’m hoping that more physicians will feel a little more comfortable with prescribing that. We see that remodeling of the circuitry, that linguini, so to speak, that you mentioned.

As of December 2022, the MAT Act has eliminated the DATA-Waiver (X-Waiver) program. All DEA-registered practitioners with Schedule III authority may now prescribe buprenorphine for OUD in their practice if permitted by applicable state law, and SAMHSA encourages them to do so. Prescribers who were registered as DATA-Waiver prescribers will receive a new DEA registration certificate reflecting this change; no action is needed on the part of registrants. History may be limited as patients are often not forthcoming when discussing substance abuse patterns. However, it is crucial to obtain detailed history in patients in whom OUD or its sequelae are suspected. Extreme caution should be used if you’re considering breastfeeding (chestfeeding) while taking opiates.

NIH Director Francis Collins on America’s Opioid Crisis (5:

There is not a single approach that works well for everyone, and a person may try several therapies before finding the ones that support lasting recovery. Emergency department visits due to complications and overdose have increased annually since 2010. Rates of ED visits involving opioids more than tripled from 1999 through 2013. Dosages at or above 50 MME per day increase risks for overdose by at least two times the risk than someone would have at less than 20 MME per day. Never share your opioid medication with someone else or sell your medication.

  • Too many people in the U.S. find themselves in this state of desperation because of opioid use disorder (OUD) — the medical condition that results when someone has an addiction to opioids.
  • Four million people admit to the nonmedical use of prescription opioids.
  • Motivation is the most important psychological predictor of effective treatment for opioid addiction.

Once you’ve been addicted to a drug, you’re at high risk of falling back into a pattern of addiction. If you do start using the drug, it’s likely you’ll lose control over its use again — even if you’ve had treatment and you haven’t used the drug for some time. Opioids are narcotic, painkilling drugs produced from opium or made synthetically.