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Can I Become Physically Dependent on Opium?

Can I Become Physically Dependent on Opium?

Opium causes psychological and physical dependence that can be extremely difficult to overcome

Opium is one of the oldest drugs in the world. It has been used for centuries as a medication and recreational intoxicant, and it has caused major societal and personal disruptions due to addiction. Opium dependence has caused wars, enriched terrorists and led to countless deaths. Despite its legacy of destruction, this drug has been making a comeback in recent years due to its perceived safety relative to other drugs. However, opium causes psychological and physical dependence that can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to overcome without professional help.

Physical Opium Addiction

Opium is made by collecting the sap of certain poppy flowers, and people use this drug by smoking, eating or injecting it. The active ingredient in this drug binds to some of the brain’s chemical receptors that are involved with transmitting both physical and emotional pain throughout the central nervous system. While opium is in the brain, users cannot experience negative physical and emotional symptoms, so they are left with feelings of euphoria. Many drugs have been synthesized from opium, including morphine, Demerol, oxycodone, hydrocodone and heroin. These drugs, all of which are highly addictive, are potent painkillers, so opium is commonly used for its ability to induce euphoria.

The brain creates a natural supply of chemicals that manage pain, but opium causes the brain to stop producing natural painkillers, like endorphins or hormones. When opium addicts stop using this drug, they are likely to experience any of the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Intense pain throughout the bones, muscles and joints
  • Nausea, vomiting and other flu-like symptoms
  • Diarrhea
  • Chills and fever
  • Tremors, convulsions and seizures
  • Skin crawls

These symptoms will persist until brain chemistry returns to normal, which usually takes about one to two weeks. However, psychological withdrawal symptoms can be more intense, thereby harder to overcome. Psychological withdrawal symptoms cause many relapses, and they can affect people for months or years after detox ends.

Help Overcoming Opium Addiction

In cases of severe opium abuse, withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous or even life threatening. It is dangerous for addicts to quit cold using this drug turkey, and it is also dangerous for these users to quit using drugs without close medical supervision. In addition to preventing catastrophic withdrawal symptoms, medical supervision can relieve the worst withdrawal symptoms by administering medication.

However, the most effective and lasting opium addiction treatment must address the physical and psychological aspects of the disease. Many treatment programs offer some or all of the following elements to address this powerful disease:

  • Individual and group counseling
  • Education and information about the functioning of addiction
  • Meditation, prayer, acupuncture or other spiritual support
  • Restful conditions and low-stress environments
  • Ongoing aftercare

If you want to get and stay clean from opium abuse, then seek professional help.

Opium Dependence Help

If left untreated, opium abusers often move to harder drugs as their tolerance for opium increases. If you are concerned about your own drug use, or if you want more information about how to help a loved one overcome addiction, then call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day with free, confidential advice. Call now to begin recovery as soon as possible.