About Addiction:


am I addicted or just physically dependent on opioids?

Many patients with a history of increasing and relapsing opioid use wonder if their trouble with the medications can be over once the "withdrawals" are gone.  While this may be true for those patients that took opioids in a very controlled way purely for pain, it is not usually true for those who took opioids to obtain any euphorogenic effects, get high, or deal with emotional problems such as anxiety. The reason is that the latter patients have a compulsive need to use the opioids for their psychological effects, i.e. addiction to opioids.  Many such patients may attend detox programs that address the brief physical withrawal effects, but then quickly relapse to use after the detox in search for the euphoria, relaxation or "high" that the opioids offered.  This is a very important distinction as it can change the best treatment mode for the patients.  For patients that have an addiction to opioids, detox programs are generally unsuccessful; these patients are served better in a maintenance program with methadone or suboxone.

Opiates are powerful painkillers that cause sedation and euphoria and are commonly abused. These include OxyContin , morphine, codeine, Fentanyl, Dilaudid, Lorcet, Lortab, heroin and Stadol. Opiate addiction is caused by persistent use of opiates and is thought to be a disorder of the central nervous system. Once addicted, many opiate users feel completely powerless and continue to use despite potentially dangerous or life-threatening consequences. Unlike some drugs, which can elicit one or the other, opiates can cause both addiction and physical dependence.