Opioid Addiction: How Does One Become an Addict?

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With more than 2 million Americans and around 15 million people worldwide misusing prescription opioids and heroin, it is clear that opioid abuse is a serious issue. In fact, more than 20,000 deaths in the United States were attributed to an overdose of prescription opioids in 2016 along with another 13,000 deaths resulting from heroin use. As such, drug overdose has become the leading cause of death among adults under the age of 50 in the United States, with opioids being responsible for about half of those deaths. 

With so many deaths attributed to opioid abuse, it is only natural to wonder what causes this addiction. Unfortunately, there is not one simple “cause” that can be avoided in order to prevent abuse of opioids. Rather, opioid addiction is a complex issue that results from a combination of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors. Those genes thought to be involved with opioid addiction are found in the endogenous opioid system, which is the body’s system for regulating pain and reward. It involves those opioid substances that occur naturally in the body, but opioid medications and heroin are able to exert their effects on these same receptors. Current research indicates that differences in the structure of these receptors influence how the body responds to opioids. 

Of course, understanding how addiction occurs is only one component toward recovery. At Advanced Spine and Rehab, we utilize Suboxone along with other behavioral methods to help treat opioid addiction in a multi-faceted way. Contact us today to learn more!

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