When Your Dealer Wears a White Coat…
Opioid addiction is a very common problem amongst many South African, especially because codeine is so readily available on the market and one does not need a prescription to buy it.
Twin Rivers Rehabilitation Centre had helped individuals from all walks of life, from executives to housewives, through very difficult rehabilitation, which included medically supervised detoxification.
The human brain has opiate receptors, which are usually reserved for the body’s natural pain relief hormones. All pain is located in the brain and the body produces hormones called Endorphins to help the brain block out certain kinds of pain. Without Endorphins, a person would not be able to exercise, perform physical labour, or even be able to sit down for long periods without experiencing severe pain. When the body releases Endorphins into the brain, an individual not only experiences pain relief but also a sense of wellbeing.
Opioids like codeine are extremely effective because they also attach directly to the opiate receptors. The result of opioids entering the brain is immediate pain relief as well as a sense of euphoria in the patient. Unfortunately, prolonged use of opioids creates a dependency on the patient. In addition to the body’s craving for the euphoric feeling, it reduces the number of Endorphins that the body produces, making the patient even more sensitive to pain. In response to this, the individual starts using more and more medication, leading to side effects such as nightmares, insomnia, liver damage, seizures and other potentially life-threatening symptoms.
Recovery from this type of overuse is a difficult process. Recovering from overuse of opioids can be likened to recovering from heroin addiction. It is painful; it takes time and a multi-disciplinary team of professionals.
Addiction to pain medication, over the counter and prescribed medication, and the recovery of such addictions should not be taken lightly. Withdrawals can be fatal, and individuals who find themselves addicted to these kinds of substances should seek out professional help from treatments centres that are legitimately qualified to deal with the recovery process. In all such cases, medically supervised detoxifications should be implemented as a first step, and just as with any other addiction, therapy and a 12-step program should be in place for the addict to successfully overcome this kind of addiction.
Twin Rivers employs the help of professionally trained staff members who are equipped to deal with every step of the recovery process from pain killer addiction. The danger of becoming addicted to these types of substances cannot be overstated enough.
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process