Why Opiate Addiction Leads to Compulsive Behavior

Why Opiate Addiction Leads to Compulsive Behavior

Why Opiate Addiction Leads to Compulsive Behavior

Compulsive drug-seeking is a symptom of opiate addiction, and a sign that someone needs professional help. Since opiate abusers are driven to spend a great deal of time and effort obtaining and using opiates, this compulsive behavior may carry over to other areas in their lives.

Users often continue to abuse opiates, despite the negative consequences that develop – even the threat of death by overdose. Their health usually deteriorates dramatically as the drug abuse continues over time.

They typically experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms between uses. Many opiate abusers truly want to stop the downward cycle; in their more rational moments, they see the destruction that lay in the wake of their out-of-control addiction. However, they fear they may never feel normal again without their drug of choice. In most cases, professional help is essential to successfully overcoming opiate abuse and the compulsive behaviors that progressively accompany drug addiction.1

Does Opiate Abuse Really Change How the Brain Works?

Although the behavior of an opiate user may simply appear selfish, drug addiction works in such a way that it overwhelms a user’s willpower to get and stay clean. Excessive or long-term opiate abuse causes abnormalities in the brain that alter a user’s motivations and emotions. Eventually this will lead to tolerance, dependence and addiction – all of which may dramatically take control of a user’s behavior. By increasing the amount of dopamine in the brain and activating reward circuits, opiate abuse causes a rush of euphoria. Abusers typically demonstrate strong, uncontrollable cravings that are nearly impossible to resist without professional help. Bottom line: opiate addiction leads to compulsive drug abuse quickly.1

Is Recovery from Opiate Addiction and Compulsive Behaviors Possible?

Opiate addiction is indeed manageable with professional treatment. Addiction treatment limits the damage of opiate addiction and teaches users to cope with life’s difficulties and challenges without drug abuse. Opiate addiction recovery occurs when people abstain from opiate abuse; while this is a lifelong process, addiction’s powerful pull is greatly reduced over time and with the appropriate precautions.

As with other chronic diseases, individuals often experience an occasional relapse, but reentering treatment helps users regain control over their addiction. Some users undergo treatment programs several times before achieving long-term opiate addiction recovery. Although addiction can be debilitating, users can overcome their symptoms by dedicating themselves to treatment and the prudent practices taught in reputable drug rehab programs. So reach out for help right now to get and stay sober.2

Where Can the Best Treatment for Opiate Addiction and Compulsive Behaviors Be Found?

Highly reputable, evidence-based addiction treatment programs can help opiate users successfully overcome their compulsions. In returning to their “authentic self,” these individuals can find it possible to once again lead a happy and productive life.

The most successful treatment programs typically provide integrated (or multi-disciplinary) services; they also possess the capability to treat co-occurring disorders – such as mental health conditions. Patients overcoming opiate addiction often benefit from knowing that the disease originated in the brain. When patients understand that addiction has a biological basis, they often gain the confidence to fight for recovery.3

Treatment for opiate abuse can help patients resolve both the physical and psychological aspects of opiate addiction as they cultivate a sober, fulfilling lifestyle. Staying clear-headed means staying clear of drugs.

If your or someone you love struggles with opiate addiction and the compulsive behaviors that accompany drug abuse, we urge you to call our 24/7 toll-free line. One of our friendly, knowledgeable admissions coordinators will provide you with not only the answers and information you want, but also the kind words of encouragement and support you need to hear right now. Trust a name that is known for excellence and success in the field of opiate and opioid addiction and recovery from mental health conditions, including compulsive behaviors. We provide compassionate care…one person at a time.

1 “How Do Opioids Affect the Brain and Body?”, National Institute on Drug Abuse, https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/prescription-drugs/opioids/how-do-opioids-affect-brain-body , (November 2014)

2 Volkow, Nora D., M.D. and Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “Prescription Opioid and Heroin Abuse”, NIDA, https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2015/prescription-opioid-heroin-abuse , (April 29, 2014)

3 “Integrated Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders”, Evidence-Based Practices KIT (Knowledge Informing Transformation), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, https://store.samhsa.gov/shin/content/SMA08-4367/BuildingYourProgram-ITC.pdf