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Opioid Addiction Treatment Wilmington, NC

What is Opioid Addiction?

Opioids are a specific type of pain medication that blocks pain and creates a feeling of euphoria for the person using these drugs. A handful of different types of drugs fall under this label: Oxycodone, Fentanyl, Buprenorphine, Methadone, Oxymorphone, Hydrocodone, Codeine, and Morphine.

Often persons addicted to opioids begin their usage innocently. The person may have sustained an injury that requires legitimate pain medication. Then eventually, the pain meds don’t work as well as the person hopes, or they find themselves taking more meds to get the same effect.

They begin to deal with their pain with only the meds, and before they know it, they’ve developed an opioid dependence. Even when the opioid is prescribed appropriately, an addiction can result.

The transition from opioid use to opioid addiction starts when the opioid changes the chemistry of the brain. This leads to drug tolerance. The person needs more of the drug to achieve the same effect.

Opioids are not necessarily a bad thing. After all, doctors–people who pledge to protect life–prescribe them.

But the desire to kill more than just physical pain has led to the overuse of opioids, and then dependence, and subsequently desperation. When opioids are used to escape or numb emotional pain, this is a sign for concern.

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What Are the Symptoms of Opioid Addiction?

Short-Term Opioid Addiction Symptoms

Drowsiness: Feeling abnormally sleepy or tired during the day. Forgetfulness or falling asleep at inappropriate times.

Slowed breathing: Opioids can dramatically slow the breathing rate. An opioid overdose is life-threatening and causes the person to stop breathing completely.

Constipation: The heavy usage of opioids can make the person using constipated.

Unconsciousness: Opioids can lead to a decreased level of consciousness, pinpoint pupils, and respiratory depression.

Sunset at Carolina beach
The Cape Fear Memorial Bridge, an iconic arch bridge crossing the Cape Fear River in Wilmington, NC, during a partly cloudy day.

Long-Term Opioid Addiction Symptoms

Continued use or abuse of opioids can result in physical dependence and addiction. The body adapts to the presence of the drug and withdrawal symptoms occur if use is reduced or stopped. These include: restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, and goose bumps. Tolerance can also occur, meaning that long-term users must increase their doses to achieve the same “high” effect.

What Are the Symptoms of Opioid Withdrawal?

Opioids can cause problems, but once you’re addicted, you cannot stop the drugs without experiencing even more problems. Withdrawal symptoms vary.

Early Withdrawal Symptoms

People experience early withdrawal symptoms as soon as 12 hours after the last use. The strength of the drug determines the severity of the withdrawal. These symptoms include agitation, anxiety, muscle aches, increased tearing, insomnia, runny nose, sweating, and yawning. Your body is reacting physically to its desire for the drug.

Later Withdrawal Symptoms

Later withdrawal symptoms come after the early symptoms. These may last up to a week and typically peak about 72 hours after drug usage. They include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, dilated pupils, goose bumps, nausea, and vomiting.

While the symptoms are uncomfortable, they are not life threatening. 

What Are the Dangers of Opioid Addiction?

More than any other danger in an opioid addiction, death can result from an opioid overdose. Unfortunately, not all opioids are made the same, and overdoses can easily lead to death. High doses of the drug cause breathing to slow or stop and then leads to unconsciousness and death if not treated immediately.

Opioid drug overdose tops the list of causes of death for Americans under the age of 50. This is a serious problem in America today.
A young female counselor gestures as she sits in a circle with clients during a group therapy session and speaks. She is looking at the female client next to her.

If you do not die from an opioid addiction, you will find your life forever changed by it. You might experience financial problems and potentially lose your home. You could lose your family, your children, your spouse, and your close connections. Your support system may dissolve as you begin to do whatever you need to do to get the drugs that feed your addiction.

You will experience physical problems, such as neural deficits, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and gastrointestinal bleeding. You’ll experience cognitive impairment including drowsiness and lethargy.

Opioids greatly affect the respiratory system. When you overdose on an opioid, the high levels of the drug will induce unconsciousness. As you sleep naturally, the carbon dioxide feedback loop keeps you breathing normally. However, during an overdose, the high levels of opioid will block this loop. Individuals can suffocate because of this overdose.

Signs of an Overdose

Overdoses occur far too commonly. If you see someone experiencing these symptoms, contact 911 or medical help immediately.

Overdoses lead to slow, shallow breathing, and extreme sleepiness. A person overdosing will not be able to talk and will have a blue tinge to their skin and dark-colored lips. You will hear snoring or gurgling sounds as the person slowly begins to suffocate.

Brighter Start's Mission

Our Mission is to help each client find life-long recovery, health, and a purpose filled life. You will see yourself, others, and your experiences in a new and positive light after completing treatment.

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Learn More About Brighter Start's Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Opioid Addiction Treatment Wilmington, NC

Partial Hospitalization Treatment

During partial hospitalization treatment, the individual receives continuous care. This involves supervision from a medical staff and near-daily therapeutic groups. For long-term users of opioids, this can be one of the best options. They’ll participate in one-on-one and group therapy led by experienced counselors. During treatment, the individual will learn important skills for coping with life without cocaine. These programs typically last either 30, 60, or 90 days.

Intensive Outpatient Treatment

This type of treatment involves a client completing care while living either in a sober living or at their own home. Instead of residing in a center, they’ll attend treatment and groups for 3 hours 3 days per week, meeting with a drug counselor and participating in group therapy sessions. Intensive Outpatient care is a good option for people who need low levels of accountability, or have already completed a higher level of treatment.

Sober Living Recommendations

Regardless of whether a person completes PHP or IOP levels of treatment, it is still important that they continue their recovery outside of a treatment center. Sober living is a great way to continue to receive accountability over time, while building up their lives. Sober living houses do not usually provide any therapy, but they do provide drug testing, as well as ensure that residents are attending recovery groups such as AA outside of the house.