With over 3 million Americans suffering from an opioid addiction in the United States alone, it’s safe to say that many of us know at least one person who is struggling, either inwardly or outwardly, with what is now considered to be one of the worst epidemics our country has ever seen. Opioid drugs are known for being extremely addictive. Therefore, it is very difficult to stop taking them without some sort of external intervention.
While opioid addictions are extremely dangerous, claiming the lives of around 130 Americans every day, they are treatable.
What Defines an Opioid Addiction?
An opioid is a class of drugs that is prescribed to patients who are experiencing severe pain. These drugs act on opioid receptors in the brain in an effort to desensitize the brain to pain. They’re effective as pain relievers. However, the problem is they are also highly addictive. It can take only a week of daily opioid use to become physically and mentally dependent on it. Thus, breaking this particular addiction is one of the hardest in the world.
An opioid addiction can be defined as an addiction in which the person craves opioids so much that they struggle to focus on anything but acquiring more. The addiction can become so extreme that a person can ruin relationships over it. Opioid addictions also jeopardize a person’s job, and consequently their living situations. It’s not uncommon for an opioid addict to sell their possessions in order to acquire more opioids.
Making matters more complicated is the fact that opioids are widely available through the black market, so even if a doctor has monitored a patient’s use, the patient can obtain it on the street to maintain their addiction.
How Does a Person Develop an Opioid Addiction?
An opioid addiction can begin in one of two ways:
- A patient is prescribed an opioid drug to manage pain, and after taking the drug for a specific period of time, they become addicted.
- Taking them recreationally rather than for medicinal purposes.
More experts are believing that some people are prone to becoming opioid addicts than others based on specific genetic and hormonal factors. This would explain why some patients can maintain an opioid routine under a doctor’s supervision, while others get hooked quickly and cannot stop seeking out more to feed their addictions.
What are the Symptoms of an Opioid Addiction?
Everyone’s experience as an opioid addict is unique. But, there are some common traits.
- The biggest trait is an inability to relax or feel content until the next dose is taken.
- Those who are addicted to opioids typically struggle to focus, or even function, when they don’t have opioids in their system. Thus, reinforcing the need to get more.
- An opioid addict may also lose considerable weight because opioid drugs can disrupt appetite.
- These drugs can also cause troubles within the digestive system.
- A person can take on a generally unhealthy appearance.
Of course, there are risks as well.
- A person can overdose on opioids and die as a result.
- Also, opioids can become deadly if mixed with certain substances. Even in moderate doses, too, such as alcohol or other drugs.
Is an Opioid Addiction Treatable?
Opioid addictions are treatable. Their success is largely based on how much the patient is willing to commit to getting better. There are various treatment options available such as:
- Cold Turkey Withdrawal: This method is not advisable, as it involves simply stopping opioid usage at home, cold turkey, without any medical supervision. The symptoms of withdrawal are notoriously severe, including fever, diarrhea, flu symptoms, body shakes, chills, excessive sweating, headaches, and negative effects on mood. Attempting to go through this alone is exceedingly difficult and can ultimately lead to failure.
- Detox: Detoxing is a program in which a person withdraws from their opioid usage in a medical environment. During this time, they are closely monitored, and there are healthcare workers who ensure that the patient does not obtain access to opioids during this time. During detox, the patient will experience withdrawal symptoms that can be severe, and they can last for a couple of days.
- Inpatient Programs: Known as rehab centers they consolidate the detox process with therapy sessions that seek to help the patient lose their psychological attachment to opioids. The nature of inpatient programs implies that the patient must stay at the center until treatment is complete, which can be days or weeks depending on their unique case.
- Outpatient Programs: Allow the patient to spend most of their time at home, but they must visit the treatment center a certain number of days out of the week to complete their treatment.
- Medications: There are some meds that can lessen the withdrawal symptoms, that can be taken for a fairly long period of time to wean the patient off of their addiction.
Is Kratom a Suitable Form of Treatment for Opioid Addiction?
It seems as though more people are looking into kratom treatment as an option for breaking their opioid addiction. Kratom comes from the Mitragyna speciosa tree that grows in Southeast Asia, and has offered therapeutic value to residents for centuries. Now, it’s popular in the United States, and offers something unique to opioid addicts.
Kratom has been found to possess alkaloids which interact with opioid receptors just like opioid drugs, only in a manner that seems to produce a less addictive response, and lighter withdrawal symptoms. Further, kratom may be less likely to cause severe side effects, although that is still being studied.
While researchers continue to determine whether or not kratom is a safe and effective means for withdrawing from opioid drugs, what we can tell you is that if you are trying to break an opioid addiction, you can talk to your doctor about kratom. He or she can make specific suggestions based on your particular medical needs and the nature of your opioid habit in a personalized way. It’s important to follow their suggestions, and consider other treatments that can be used alongside kratom therapy.
Kratom is a game-changing natural substance with a unique composition of alkaloids that may mimic the compounds of opioids, thus acting as a natural means for reducing an opioid addiction. While the research is still underway, you can speak about kratom with your doctor, and consider it an option along with more traditional treatments.
Remember that kratom is illegal in some states, so check in with your local laws to make sure that you can obtain it legally.