Opioid Addiction

A health care provider may give you a prescription opioid to reduce pain after you have had a major injury or surgery.
Opioids are a wide-ranging drug and include both prescribed medication and illicit substances.

What are Opioids?

Opioids, (narcotics) are a type of drug that include strong prescription pain relievers.

  • Opioids, sometimes known as narcotics, are substances that act on opioid receptors to produce morphine-like effects and are typically used to treat moderate or severe pain. Due to their strength, they can quickly lead to dependency and full-blown addiction.
  • Opioids are a wide-ranging drug and include both prescribed medication and illicit substances.
  • Opioids are prescribed to treat many issues, including pain resulting from severe injury, post-surgery pain relief, dental procedures, and chronic conditions such as cancer.
  • All opiates are opioids

Some prescription cough medicines also contain opioids, and these are frequently misused due to the high users can get from consuming the medicine in high doses.

Opioids work by lowering the number of pain signals that your body sends to the brain. They also change how the brain responds to pain.

When used correctly, opioids are safe. But when people misuse the medicine (opioid use disorder), they can become addicted. People can also become addicted to opioids by using the drug illegally.

The ONS data reports that there seems to be an underlying pattern of increasing deaths in which an opioid pain medicine (OPM), especially tramadol, is mentioned as present on the death certificate. In the latest data set, deaths related to tramadol have risen to 240 per annum.

While deaths have largely mirrored prescribing levels but in recent years there has been some significant increase in rates of death per prescription.

Common opioids and opiates include:

A health care provider may give you a prescription opioid to reduce pain after you have had a major injury or surgery.

You may get them if you have severe pain from health conditions like cancer. Some health care providers prescribe them for chronic pain.

Prescription opioids used for pain relief are generally safe when taken for a short time and as prescribed by your health care provider. However, opioid abuse and addiction are still potential risks.

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How Does Opioid Addiction Occur?

Opioids work by blocking pain and releasing endorphins, which make you feel good. Increased opioid use can cause your brain to rely on these artificial endorphins and make it harder to function without them.

Once your brain does become programmed to the effects of the drug, it can even stop producing endorphins, leading to withdrawal symptoms such as depression and the inability to feel pleasure if usage ceases.

The longer that opioids are used, the more likely this is to happen. Users also rely on stronger dosages overtime to produce the same effects, which can lead to addiction.

Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Addiction

Opioid addiction is debilitating and can cause stark physical, psychological, and behavioural changes in the user. These include:

  • Shallow or slow breathing rate/Physical agitation
  • Poor decision making or Abandoning responsibilities
  • Mood swings and Irritability
  • Depression/Lowered motivation/Anxiety attacks

What Happens During an Opioid Detox?

Opioid detox is a medically supervised way to remove the effects of the substance from the body. This is essential for a successful recovery from opioid abuse.

Opioid Withdrawal Timeline

  1. Opioid withdrawals are considered to be some of the most uncomfortable of any illicit or prescription drugs, making it a greater obstacle to face when experiencing opioid addiction.
  2. Withdrawal times depend on the type of opioid that someone is taking. Short-acting opioids, such as morphine, and immediate-release forms of oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl, can produce withdrawal symptoms within 8-24 hours after the last use, and last up to around 10 days.
  3. However, longer-acting opioids, such as methadone and extended-release forms of morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl may result in the first withdrawal symptoms developing up to 36 hours after the last use and can continue up to two weeks, or even longer in acute cases.

An opioid detox is an essential part of the recovery journey, and when done under medical supervision, the patient is made to feel as comfortable as possible and will be in a safe environment, conducive to a successful withdrawal.

Severe side effects may be experienced during the detoxification process, which can make the user uncomfortable. However, when managed in a safe environment such as Castle Craig, we work tirelessly to ensure your safety during this difficult process.

Symptoms may include:1

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhoea/Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Increased body temperature
  • Racing heart and Muscle and bone pain
  • Sweating/Chills/High blood pressure

The timeline for withdrawal varies, dependent on the severity and duration of addiction, and the frequency and level of opioid dosage that the user is taking.

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Medically assisted treatment for opioid addiction has been efficacious in achieving recovery from opioid addiction for many patients, with many clinical studies evidencing this.

Whilst medical treatment is useful in treating opioid addiction, it’s essential to look at the root causes, including psychological underpinnings that may have contributed to addictive tendencies, or the need to find some form of escapism in life, something many opioid users seek.

Opioid addiction tends to be acute, due to the drug’s high potency, and is most effectively treated with a stay at a residential rehab, as it provides the immersive experience of recovery care.

Residential rehab provides a medically facilitated detox process, supervised withdrawal, and a rounded treatment programme determined on your requirements.

Residential Rehab for Opioid Addiction

Rehab is a great option for opioid addiction, as the patient can fully dedicate themselves and their time to the recovery journey.

Victoria Greenshields
Victoria Greenshields: Senior Therapist / Continuing Care Coordinator at Castle Craig.

Castle Craig offers a world-renowned service for addiction, and treats an array of drug addiction, including vast experience with Fentanyl addiction.

At Castle Craig Rehab we offer an integrated program for Fentanyl detox and addiction to fentanyl medication such as Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze. Each patient works on their treatment plan with their therapist. 

Our detox is medically supervised and ensures patient care and comfort at all times. Our primary aim is the comfort of the patient, making them feel at ease, with round the clock care.

Our treatment is evidence-based, and our independent outcomes studies provide further evidence that our treatment works for the majority of patients, with 91.8% of our 2015 cohort questioned either living with reduced alcohol or drug use or abstinent after 1 year.

Alongside a supervised medical detox and a specific treatment plan, Castle Craig works to address emotional and psychological issues, that may have contributed to Fentanyl abuse.

Getting to the stem of where addiction arose is important in reducing the risk of relapse, as we work with you to build positive new mechanisms, giving you the best chance of recovery.

Take the First Steps on Your Journey to Recovery with Castle Craig

Opioid addiction can be all-consuming, and it’s hard to imagine a way out of the throes of addiction. The most fundamental step on your journey is recognising that you may be struggling with addiction, and you’re willing to accept that you need help.

Castle Craig has successfully treated addiction for over 30 years, with a specific opioid addiction treatment programme in place, due to the specific requirements and needs of opioid users, including a clinically managed detox and withdrawal process. 

Our team go above and beyond to ensure your comfortability and safety throughout your stay, and focus on the person, not the addiction. We are committed to providing aftercare, well after the residential stay is over, with a two-year aftercare plan set up with your specific recovery journey requirements in mind.

If you are suffering from opioid addiction and are ready to seek help, contact us now to find out about the treatment options available to you.

We’re here to help.

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