Mississippi Opioid Abuse & Addiction Rehab
In 2018, almost 60% of drug overdose deaths in Mississippi were caused by opioids . While Mississippi has been slowly lowering the number of opioids prescribed each year with the help of the state-sponsored Mississippi Prescription Monitoring Program , our state has been hit as hard as any by the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States.
At Extra Mile Recovery, we want to be part of the solution, and we believe that starts with education. Below, you can learn more about opioids, including what they are, how they affect people who abuse them, what makes them difficult to quit, and how our Mississippi opioid rehab programming can help clients recover from their opioid abuse and addiction.
What Are Opioids?
Opioids and opiates, also known as “narcotics”, are a class of drugs that includes the illegal substance heroin, the highly potent fentanyl, and prescription opioids commonly prescribed for pain relief, including oxycodone (OxyContin) and hydrocodone (Vicodin).
Opioids can be a safe and effective pain reliever when taken for brief periods and as prescribed by a doctor. However, these drugs are highly addictive. When they enter the system, molecules bind to opioid receptors in the central nervous system that stimulates the production of dopamine, a chemical in the brain that causes pleasure. Because they have euphoric effects in addition to pain relief, even those using their medication as prescribed can and do become dependent. Over time, this will lead to addiction.
Often, people lose access to these medications due to cost or a prescription running out. In some cases, they will start buying them on the street (illegally), or move on to more affordable and accessible “street” opioids like heroin and fentanyl, which are stronger and more dangerous.
Opioids vs. Opiates: What’s the Difference?
The terms “opioids” and “opiates” are often used to mean the same thing. While this may be the case sometimes, it’s not always true. The key difference between opioids and opiates is that opioids describe every drug that acts on the opioid receptors in the body’s nervous system, while opiates are a more narrow group of drugs that are derived naturally from the opium poppy. There are three classes of opioids: Opiates, semi-synthetic opioids, and fully synthetic opioids.
Opiates include some of the first known pharmaceuticals, including morphine and codeine, which were used as early as during the Civil War to treat severe pain. Before this time, it was common for people to consume pure opium for pain relief.
Semi-synthetic opioids came next. These medications are made in a lab and derived from natural opiates, and are most commonly prescribed to treat severe pain after surgeries or serious injury. This category includes hydrocodone and oxycodone, better known by their brand names, Vicodin® and Percocet® or OxyContin®, respectively.
Fully synthetic opioids are even more recent and are not derived from opiates at all. They are made in a lab to mimic the effects of other opioids on the nervous system. Fentanyl, which has contributed to an uptick in opioid overdoses over the last decade, and methadone, the drug that has commonly been used in treatment for addiction, belong to this category.
Types of Opioids
There are many types of opioids, and they vary in their potential for abuse and addiction. For example, codeine and methadone are considered safer than morphine, which is only prescribed when patients are experiencing severe pain, or fentanyl, which is rarely prescribed at all. Drugs that fit in the class of prescription opioids include:
- oxycodone (OxyContin, Percodan, Percocet)
- hydrocodone (Vicodin)
- diphenoxylate (Lomotil)
- fentanyl (Duragesic)
- hydromorphone (Dilaudid)
- meperidine (Demerol)
- morphine (Kadian, Avinza)
- propoxyphene (Darvon)
There are also non-prescription opioids that are rarely — if ever — used in a clinical setting. The one that most people know is heroin, which is multiple times stronger than morphine. A synthetic version of fentanyl has become more commonly available on the street in recent years, and the fact that it’s much more powerful than morphine or even heroin means that the risk of fentanyl overdose is extremely high.
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Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Addiction
Opioids can affect a user’s physical health and behaviors. While every case is different, there are some common signs of opioid abuse and addiction. Opioid users may use them differently over time compared to how they used these drugs when they started:
- The body builds up a tolerance, gradually needing more of the drug to get the same effects
- The user develops a “dependency” on the drug, and now has negative symptoms while not using
These factors are key contributors to the reasons why overdose occurs with opiates and opioids. The user slowly uses higher levels of the drug over time, and with each period of usage, raises their risk of overdose.
They may also experience physical symptoms, some of which are flu-like, including:
- Nausea and dizziness
- Vomiting and dry mouth
Behavioral changes are some of the most obvious:
- The user is unable to control their use
- The user engages in risky behavior to continue their use
- The user isolates themselves from family and friends
- The user has new problems with money, work, and the law
- Lowered energy, motivation, and libido
- Poor hygiene
- Hyperactivity, speaking quickly, and not making sense
- Disorientation and confusion
- Sudden mood changes and inappropriate anger
Opioid Detox and Withdrawal in MS
Opioids require a careful detox. At Extra Mile Recovery, we never recommend that anyone trying to quit opioids do so without the professional supervision offered in a Mississippi opioid detox center.
Once a user is dependent on pain pills or opiates, they cannot stop using them without having unpleasant side effects, referred to as “withdrawal symptoms.” Opioid withdrawal is known as one of the more uncomfortable and severe withdrawal timelines. It may include the following:
- Increased cravings
- Mood problems, including irritability and anxiety
- Thoughts of suicide
- Shaking and feeling cold
- Muscle and bone pain
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure
- Abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration
Quitting opioids often causes the user to experience unbearable cravings and discomfort, which not only makes the user return to their substance, but can also result in overdose. During the early days of withdrawal, the body’s sensitivity to the drug changes, making it easier to take too much if relapse occurs.
The period of withdrawal from opioids like pain pills and heroin is commonly known as “dope sickness,” a period of intolerable discomfort with powerful cravings. Vomiting and diarrhea can lead to dehydration and other health complications, especially if the person in withdrawal is unconscious and alone. Opioid withdrawal typically lasts 3-5 days, but may last as long as ten days.
In some cases, people quitting opioids suffer from a long-term condition called post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS), and may have one or more of the symptoms of opiate withdrawal last as long as ten months. It’s recommended that someone trying to quit opioids do so under supervised drug addiction treatment and hands-on counseling — we provide various recovery services and programming options at our opioid rehab center in Mississippi.
Suffering from Opioid Addiction? You’re Not Alone
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Opioid Abuse Treatment in MS
No one should have to go through drug detox alone — and when it comes to getting clean from prescription and non-prescription opioids, isolated detox can be life-threatening. At Extra Mile Recovery, we speak with each client to learn about their substance abuse, personal circumstances, and how their addiction is affecting their life. From there, we craft a custom treatment plan that uses a variety of evidence-based and holistic therapies, and other supportive recovery services.
Clients are never alone at The Extra Mile. On our serene, wooded campus, we keep our groups small so everyone we treat gets the individualized attention and care they deserve. This also allows our all-male client-base to build lifelong bonds with one another.
We believe that drug addiction affects the individual’s body, mind, and spirit, and our combination of evidence-based and holistic therapies ensure that every symptom of withdrawal and challenge during recovery is addressed in our rehab programming. If you or a loved one is struggling with opiate or opioid addiction, please call Extra Mile Recovery at 662-810-4146 today.