Opiates are a drug that has been in existence for centuries. Although they have been around for a long time, opiates are among the most addictive drugs in the world. In most cases, prescription opiates are used to provide relief for chronic pain. Some commonly prescribed opiates include morphine and codeine. Illegal opiates include drugs like heroin and opium have no official medical use. Opiate addiction is a powerful addiction and requires medically supervised treatment to effectively cure. The main reason for this is because opiate addiction actually changes the brain chemistry. Opioids act by attaching to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which are found in the brain, spinal cord, gastrointestinal tract, and other organs in the body. When these drugs attach to their receptors, they reduce the perception of pain.
When opiate use is discontinued, in many cases, unpleasant withdrawals occur. The withdrawals and dependency make it difficult to overcome opiate addiction without consistent help. But the good news is that it can be done.
Opiate Relapse Facts
When a person uses opiates over a period of time, the person’s central nervous system begins to stop producing endorphins, the body’s natural painkiller. The body quickly realizes that it is receiving plenty of painkillers from an outside source (the opiates) and eventually stops producing endorphins altogether. Over time, the opiate user needs more and more opiates just to stop feeling physical pain. This creates a dependency that is both emotionally difficult and physically painful to stop.
If you have been treated for opiate addiction, you know how strong the pull of opiate drugs can be, and you know relapse can be a matter of life or death. Most importantly, you need to be aware that returning to opiate use after a long period of abstinence can often shock the body and lead to instant death. If your body is no longer used to the opiate drugs, introducing them to a clean body can be extremely hazardous.
Battling Temptations to Relapse
Perhaps you are feeling pain, or maybe you are under a lot of stress in your life. If you are still surrounded by opiate users, or have an opiate prescription nearby, now is the time to take a stand. When you are tempted to return to opiate use, take the time to go through each step in this list. Make sure each option is completed, and then check to see if you still feel tempted. Don’t hesitate to reach out for help with this process which would provide you with both support and accountability.
- Be open and honest with yourself. Admit you are tempted. There. You said it. Now you can deal with it.
- Call a trusted friend, sponsor or family member. Be honest with them. If you do not have anyone you can call, please use our toll free 24-hour helpline.
- Remove yourself from the temptation. Distract yourself. Get up and leave the situation. Remove temptations from your home or residence, or have a friend do it for you.
- Go to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting. If you have never been to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting before, don’t worry. You can even sit quietly and just observe if you would like.
- Talk to a counselor. Relapse issues happen for many reasons. Everyone is different, and a good counselor understands this. He or she will provide you with valuable insight.
Opiate Relapse Help
Please know that there are many forms for treatment in recovery. The Drug Addiction Treatment Act of 2000 gave physicians the right to use approved opioids (buprenorphine) to treat opioid dependence in their offices. Methadone is often used as well as psychotherapy or 12-step programs.
If you are tempted to relapse, or even if you have already relapsed. Don’t give up—help is available. We offer a 24-hour toll free helpline that is staffed by trained counselors. Some of our counselors have even gone through the recovery process themselves. When you call, you will receive the support you need as well as information about the different treatment options for opiate relapse. We want to help you get back on track for recovery. Pick up the phone today.
 https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/prescription-drugs/opioids/how-do-opioids-affect-brain-body How Do Opioids Affect The Brain and Body?
 https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/revolutionary-recovery-healing-the-addicted-brain/200909/addiction-is-treatable Addiction is Treatable. Urschell, Harold. Published September 18th, 2009.