Friday, August 6, 2021

Opiate Addiction

 As someone who works in emergency medicine, I encounter a lot of people who are addicted to drugs or other substances. I mostly encounter people who are addicted to opiates, mainly heroin and fentanyl. These patients have typically prescribed opiates as painkillers or use the drug to escape what is going on in their life. Opiates are prescribed to treat pain, when the use of this medication is prolonged the effects are lessened and can stop working, the user builds tolerance and eventually dependence. Once a person is dependent on opiates they will experience withdrawal symptoms when they attempt to stop. Addiction happens when the dependence starts to interfere with the person's daily life. The user has a craving and is unable to control the urge to use opioids regardless of the negative effects that it may have on the user. Since they now regularly take the opiate they will progressively take more each time they take it which can lead to overdose or death. Treating opioid addiction varies by the patient. It typically starts off with the discontinued use of the drug and the use of other medications to help with the symptoms and cravings during the withdrawal process. It is also important to get the patient into a program to help with recovery so they do not relapse and start using again.

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