Found naturally in the opium poppy plant, prescription opioids are used to treat moderate to severe pain. In some cases, these drugs can also be used to treat coughing and diarrhea.
In addition to occurring naturally, opioids can also be created by scientists in labs. Whether occurring naturally or created artificially, opioids can also be used to make people feel extremely relaxed or to experience a “high”. This is why opioids are also frequently used for non-medical purposes that can lead to addiction.
Opioid Effects on the Brain
Prescription opioids are able to have an effect on pain because of the way they affect the brain. The drug is actually able to bind with and activate the opioid receptors that are located on cells throughout the brain, spinal cord and other organs. When the opioids attach to the receptors in this way, they actually block out the pain signals that the brain sends to the body. They also release large amounts of dopamine throughout the body. The pleasant feelings that result from using opioids are the main reason why users become addicted, as they want to try to repeat the same experience over and over again.
Risks of Opioid Use
While opioids can be beneficial for those who need them and when used properly, they are also highly addictive and death can result from overdose. Similarly, illegal use of non-prescription opioids, such as heroin, is extremely dangerous. If you or someone you love is struggling with opioid use, contact Advanced Spine & Rehab to learn more about our suboxone treatment program and how it may be able to benefit you.