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Drug Addiction is complicated and Buckeye Clinic wants to make it as simple as possible for you or your loved ones to find help. Below is a list of Frequently Asked Questions and Resource links to outside sources of information and treatment. We understand Buckeye Clinic may not be the best fit for you but getting treatment elsewhere is more important to us than not getting any treatment at all.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do Opiates effect the brain?

Opioids are naturally found in the brain created by the body in limited quantities. Opioid drugs, like heroin, flood the brain with chemicals, attaching to the receptors in the brain causing an opioid effect which causes a user to feel happier, slows down their breathing, and blocks pain.

How do I ease opioid withdrawl symptoms?

There are a few different prescription drugs that are typically used to treat opioid withdrawl:

Buprenorphine (Suboxone) – Similar to a nicotine patch for someone who is trying to quit smoking, buprenorphine is a lesser version of an opioid that gives the body a mild dose reducing, withdrawal symptoms and cravings to allow the user to function. This is a long-term treatment prescription that when gradually changing doses, will bring a patient to normal living drug-free.

Naltrexone (Vivitrol) – This prescription works as a deterrent for an addict to use again. Naltrexone blocks the ability to feel pleasure if a user relapses, essentially nulling the reason to use in the first place. This causes the perception of the user to feel differently about the drug when it doesn’t create the “happy effect” the drugs would normally make them feel. This is typically used in conjunction with other long-term medications like Buprenorphine and Methadone.

Methadone – Unlike Suboxone, Methadone is a full opiate. With patients who are heavy opiate users, methadone will be able to treat heavy withdrawal symptoms where Suboxone won’t be nearly as effective. Both are intended to be long-term treatments for opioid withdrawal but because of the potency, Methadone can be addictive itself. In the beginning of recovery, methadone treatments are only given at a clinic because of the addictiveness. Suboxone treatments can be taken home one day one.

Clonidine – This prescription treats withdrawal type symptoms caused by opioid addiction such as nausea, agitation, muscle aches, and general anxiety. Clonidine is typically used in conjunction with other treatments since it does not reduce the cravings of opioids.

 

 

What are the dangerous effects of long-term opioid use?
Any drug that is taken regularly – and that alters the brain can have long-term negative effects. Opioids can cause hormonal imbalance that results in menstrual changes and reduces fertility and sex drive. 
 
The body’s immune system is suppressed and users are more at risk of infections, cancer. and are more likely to acquire HIV or AIDs, especially those who use heroin or other needle-injected opioids. 
 
Opioids directly affect pain sensors which can lead to reduced sensitivity. 
 
Opioids often cause slower breathing, meaning less oxygen to the brain, causing brain damage through hypoxia (lack of oxygen to the brain.) 
Other withdrawal symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, sweating, anxiety, muscle aches, and many more. 
How long do withdrawal symptoms last once opioid treatment has started?

Withdrawals symptoms are the highest within the first few days. Detox from opioids typically takes 5-7 days when following a medical detox treatment plan.

How can I help a family member or friend with their opioid addiction?

Avoid any type of blame as you do not want the person to get defensive about their addiction.

Be supportive and encouraging. Don’t force them to talk about their habits but ask open-ended questions to get them talking.

Gain support from friends and peers that the addict is still close with. Build new relationships with those that have gone through addiction recovery in the past. Hearing stories of recovery and hardship can help an addict learn from other’s mistakes.

Don’t cover up or make excuses for their behavior. Often times addiction is a hard realization users have to come to. To truly get better, they have to take self-responsibility of their situation and want to become sober.

Speak with a doctor – Drug addiction can be treated by a professional who deals with addiction counseling daily. Speaking with a professional can only help the situation. Your personal information is safe with those who treat you and/or your family.

Listen to law enforcement. Drug addiction, doesn’t always but, is often associated with other types of criminal behavior. Stealing and driving under the influence are the most common.

What symptoms can I look for to identify a drug addict or drug abuse?

Physical symptoms such as:

  • dilated pupils
  • bloodshot eyes
  • overall lethargy (very low energy)
  • abnormal sweating or chills are common.
  • Grinding teeth and muscle cramps are common too but more difficult to notice

You will be more likely to notice behavioral changes in their personality – they become more irritable or aggressive, or act in a paranoid way for no reason.

Lastly notice changes in their actions:

  • Have their habits or priorities drastically changed?
  • Do they show signs of NOT caring about personal hygiene?
  • Do you notice they are often broke looking for money or suddenly have a new group of friends?

All of these can be telltale signs that something is different with a potential addict.