Opioid Addiction: Why Is There an Opioid Epidemic in the United States?

August 3, 2021

Opioid addiction has become an increasingly prevalent reality for many, especially in the United States. Opiates are highly addictive substances that are known for providing pain relief. So what are some of the signs of opiate addiction, what has made it so common in the United States, and what can be done to overcome an addiction to opioids? Take a look at our guide to understanding opioid addiction.

What Are Opiates?

There are essentially three different classes of opiates – morphine, opioids, and synthetic compounds. All three classes have the same effect, impacting the nervous system to relieve pain, and when taken in large enough doses, can cause a high. One way that many find themselves addicted to opiates is through prescription pain medication. 

Over time, someone who is frequently taking opioid drugs will find that their tolerance to the opiates increases. This makes it so that, in order to receive a high, they need to take larger and larger doses. When someone takes too many opiates, their respiratory system starts to fail, causing a loss of breathing and even death. This is a serious addiction that more and more individuals are falling victim to.

Opioids in the United States

In the last 20 years, the United States has seen a steady increase in opioid addiction. It is often referred to as an Opioid Epidemic because the number of deaths from opioid addiction has dramatically increased in the last few years. Many believe that this crisis is in part due to the fact that chronic pain has become an more and more prevalent issue for individuals in the United States, and coupled with steadily increasing health care costs, many turn to opioids as a fast acting solution, despite the long-term negative effects.

Signs of Opiate Addiction

There are a handful of opiate addiction signs that you can keep an eye out for. Consider the individual’s sleep habits – one surefire sign of an opiate addiction is increased drowsiness and even sleep disorders, such as insomnia. 

Opiate addiction will also cause high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and can also cause a decrease in appetite, often causing the user to become severely underweight. Another telltale sign of opiate addiction is pin-dot pupils – this is due to a constriction of blood vessels. 

Options for Opiate Addiction Recovery

When an individual addicted to opiates stops taking them, there will be a period of withdrawal. During this time, they can experience symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and sleeplessness. In some cases, a doctor might prescribe some medication to help the individual through the process. 

In addition to seeking medical help, It’s also a good idea to seek help through a recovery center. This will ensure that those seeking help are provided with the necessary tools to work through their recovery in the moment, as well as obtain the strength and knowledge needed to stay strong in the future.

Contact Steps Recovery Centers

At Steps Recovery Centers, we know that understanding and overcoming an opioid addiction can feel overwhelming. However, we firmly believe that there should be obtainable opportunities for those seeking help with working through an addiction. Our opioid addiction recovery services are available across the state of Utah. With offices in Salt Lake County, Utah County, and Washington County, you’re sure to find a location that works for you, and that is well-equipped with staff members that are patient, understanding, and trained to help those overcoming addictions. Contact us today for more information.

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