What are Opioids?

Last Updated: Feb 24th 2020

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

With opioid use at an all-time high, many now consider the problem an epidemic. What are opioids and why are they so dangerous? Learning more about their physical and psychological effects and addictive potential will help you avoid them.

What are Opioids?

Essentially, opioids are any substance that binds to the brain’s opioid receptors. This definition includes synthetic or partially-synthetic substances, as well as those naturally derived from the poppy plant. Therefore, experts consider opiates like heroin and morphine opioids as well.

Furthermore, many common opioids have tremendous pain-relieving properties and are therefore available in prescription form. Unfortunately, a dependency can occur just as easily when taking prescription medications as when taking street drugs. NBC News reports that 1/3 of all Americans had an opioid prescription in 2015. Unfortunately, this is another reason why prescription drug addiction is so high today.

Signs of Dependency

Aside from knowing the opioid definition, you should be aware of the common signs of dependency as well. For example, when people continue using prescriptions longer than necessary, they may be dependent on them. For instance, an individual may fully recover from surgery, but continue taking prescription medications for pain.

Additionally, doctor shopping is a common indicator of prescription drug dependence as well. This involves seeing multiple physicians to obtain more than one prescription. An individual with addiction might also frequent the emergency room with unusual complaints that seem to arise from nowhere.

Over time, people build a tolerance to opioids. When this happens, they require more of their drug of choice to achieve similar effects. Many then begin crushing pills or injecting powder to intensify the results.

Some users alternate between legal and illegal opioids. As such, it’s not uncommon for people to spend more time searching for drug dealers as dependency worsens.

Successful Programs for Conquering Opioid Addiction

Overcoming an opioid addiction is tough. However, 1st Step Behavioral Health in Pompano Beach, Florida offers the following programs to help you through the process:

Psychotherapy
Dual diagnosis treatment
Family counseling
• Music and art therapy
Holistic therapy

The staff at 1st Step Behavioral Health believes family support and talk therapy go a long way helping many people reach lasting sobriety. Overall, our focus is on helping you uncover the root of your drug use and offer solutions for your unique needs. Only then can you make life-changing habits to ensure your successful recovery.

Seek Treatment Today

Now that we’ve answered, “What are Opioids?” don’t let them control your life. The best way to remain sober is by visiting a quality rehab facility like 1st Step Behavioral Health. Contact us today at (866) 319-6126. It’s never too late to get the help you need.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.