Opiate Addiction Facts & Information

Opiates (also called opioids) are a class of pain relievers. The earliest versions derive from the opium plant (poppy) and include heroin and morphine. Man-made substitutes called opiods include the drugs oxycodone (found in brand names like percocet and oxycontin), hydrocodone (brand name vicodin) and methadone.

Effects of Opiates on Your Body

Use of opiates for pain relief or other reasons can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Use of opiates can lead to:

  • constipation
  • sedation
  • fatigue
  • anxiety
  • itching
  • stomach upset
  • allergic reactions
  • dry mouth
  • small pupils
  • confusion
  • irritability.

Misuse, abuse and overdose of opiates can lead to respiratory arrest and death. It can also cause clammy skin, breathing problems, stupor (or coma), a dangerous drop in circulation, and cardiac arrest.

Opioid Withdrawal

Depending upon how much and how long you have been using, if you stop opioids you may get sick. Opioid withdrawal can include pain, diarrhea, restlessness, sweating, muscle spasms, trouble sleeping, flu-like symptoms, large pupils, anxiety and irritability. However, under the care of a qualified physician the symptoms and potential complications of opioid withdrawal can be reduced.

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

  • Initial withdrawal symptoms are best treated in a safe, supportive environment (a hospital or other medical facility) under the care of a qualified physician. Medications (buprenorphine, for example) may be prescribed to help ease any discomfort, and possibly help shorten the length of detox.
  • Following detox, ongoing treatment for opiate addiction often includes a combination of medication and involvement in support or self-help programs. Outpatient counseling, intensive outpatient counseling, and partial hospitalization (day programs) are also important treatment options, especially early on in your recovery.
  • The team of mental health professionals at the Brattleboro Retreat is uniquely qualified to help you, or someone you love, overcome opiate addiction and other chemical dependency and mental health challenges.

For more information about the Brattleboro Retreat’s programs & services for treating opiate addiction and other mental health or addiction issues, call 802-258-3700 or go to our  Central Intake Department.