Opioid dependence

Description of Opioid dependence

Opioids, sometimes called narcotics, are a type of drug. They include strong prescription pain relievers, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, and tramadol. The illegal drug heroin is also an opioid. Some opioids are made from the opium plant, and others are synthetic (man-made).
Dependence is caused due to excessive use of:
1. Prescription opioid to reduce pain after a major injury or surgery
2. Medication to relieve chronic pain
Signs and Symptoms
Opioids can cause side effects such as:
1. Drowsiness
2. Mental fog
3. Nausea
4. Constipation
5. Slowed breathing, which can lead to overdose deaths
6. The person's face is extremely pale and/or feels clammy to the touch
7. Body goes limp
8. Fingernails or lips have a purple or blue color
Complications and When Should You See a Doctor 
Other risks of using prescription opioids include:
1. Dependence and addiction
2. Opioid abuse can include taking too much medicine, taking someone else's medicine, taking it in a different way than you are supposed to, or taking the medicine to get high.
3. Women abusing opioids during pregnancy can lead to babies being addicted and going through withdrawal, known as neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS). 
The main treatment for prescription opioid addiction includes:
1. Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): It includes medicines, counseling, and support from family and friends.
2. Medications include naloxone which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose and prevent death, if it is given in time.
NIH: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Content Details
Last updated on:
01 Nov 2021 | 04:56 PM (IST)
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