Many use the terms opioid and opiate interchangeably. That said, there are some marked differences in the substances these words describe. What do you need to know about the opioid vs opiate discussion? More importantly, where can you get help if you’ve fallen victim to an addiction?
Opioid vs Opiate
Opioids are synthetic medications. Physicians prescribe them for pain management and control. Examples include oxycodone, hydrocodone, and Fentanyl. The reason that many people use the terms interchangeably has to do with the similar ways opioids and opiates work.
Opiates are natural pain relievers that we derive from the opium poppy. Examples of these types of drugs include morphine, codeine, and heroin. These substances relieve pain and result in feelings of well-being. Both opiates and opioids are highly addictive substances.
Understanding how the Drugs Work
Both substances alter the way that the brain processes pain signals. Opioid receptors are part of the central nervous system. These bind the painkillers — synthetic or natural — as they enter the system. Typically, they bind endorphins that the body makes itself.
As the substances enter the system more frequently, they change the brain’s chemistry and overwrite endorphin production. These drugs now create a new normal. The body relies on the influx of opioids for pain management, feelings of well-being, and even euphoric highs. Failure to provide the substances results in withdrawal symptoms.
You might experience depression or anxiety. Your muscles cramp. You feel sick, suffer from gastrointestinal upset, and start to sweat. The only way to stop the pain is to take more opioid or opiate painkillers.
Beyond the Opioid vs Opiate Debate: How to Overcome an Addiction
Addiction is a chronic, progressive brain disease. Once the drugs hook you, it takes professional assistance to free you. Therapists can provide this professional assistance during opiate addiction rehab. There, you undergo treatments such as:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps you to explore use patterns against the backdrop of behaviors, thoughts, and feelings
- Dialectical behavioral therapy that provides you with stress relief tools and trigger disablers to handle situations without using
- 12 Step recovery meetings that introduce accountability in the form or positive peer interactions
- Family therapy, which builds your support network and re-establishes trust and communication
- Talk therapy that puts you into private conversations with a trained therapist who helps people just like you to overcome addiction
What Happens if You Do Nothing?
Your addiction will get worse. Opiates are not safer or less addictive simply because they’re more natural. In the same way, opioids are not more harmless because they come from a pharmacy. Your dependence on drugs will result in your desire for increasing dosages.
Some, unfortunately, take so much of the drugs at one time that their breathing slows significantly. This condition can result in death. You’re at a greater risk if you combine the drugs with other substances. But, you don’t have to continue down this road.
At Crestview Recovery, compassionate therapists want to help you overcome your addiction. Call 866.262.0531 today to schedule an intake interview.