opioid use

Opioid Use Disorder

What is an Opioid Use Disorder?

Opioids are a class of drugs made up of heroin, synthetic substances like fentanyl, and pain relievers such as oxycodone (OxyContin), hydrocodone (Vicodin), morphine, codeine, and others. While the choice to begin taking these medications is often supervised by a physician and fully voluntary, continued use and eventual misuse of the drugs can result in brain changes that interfere with one’s ability to stop taking them.

Opioid Use Disorder is defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a problematic pattern of opioid use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress. It is also referred to as opioid addiction.

Unfortunately, America is currently in the midst of an opioid epidemic. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 11.5 million people self-reported that they had misused prescription opioids during the past year. That number doesn’t even include the people who gave false responses or didn’t participate in the survey. Opioids are typically prescribed as relief for physical pain, but their highly addictive nature quickly builds physical and psychological dependence. Of those who misuse, over half (53%) obtain these medications through a friend or relative.

Signs of Opioid Addiction

In order to be considered to have an opioid use disorder, one would exhibit at least two of the below signs. This list is taken directly from the DSM-5 and should be considered a general guideline. If you are concerned that yourself or a loved one may have an opioid use disorder, we encourage you to reach out to Calming Goat for immediate treatment – it’s not too late to save a life.

  • Opioids are often taken in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.
  • There is a persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down on or otherwise control opioid use.
  • A great deal of time is spent on activities necessary to obtain the opioid, use it, or recover from its effects.
  • Craving, or a strong desire to use opioids.
  • Recurrent opioid use resulting in failure to fulfill major role obligations at work, school, or home.
  • Continued opioid use despite having persistent or recurrent social or interpersonal problems caused or exacerbated by the effects of opioids.
  • Important social, occupational, or recreational activities are given up or reduced because of opioid use.
  • Recurrent opioid use in situations in which it is physically hazardous.
  • Continued opioid use despite knowledge of having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been caused or exacerbated by the substance.
  • Exhibits tolerance (needs increased amounts of the substance to achieve the same effect or has a markedly diminished effect with continued use of the same amount).
  • Exhibits withdrawal (side effects from discontinuation of the drug, including nausea, sweating, goosebumps, diarrhea, insomnia, fever).

Treating OUD: FDA-Approved Medication For Opioid Use Disorders

Opioid use disorders require careful, intentional treatment orchestrated by a team of medical professionals. In combination with the proven therapeutic methods offered by our partner organizations, Calming Goat prescribes FDA-approved medications that alleviate the symptoms of withdrawal and curb cravings so that you can focus on getting well.

  • Buprenorphine + naloxone – office-based opioid agonist/ antagonist that blocks other narcotics while reducing withdrawal risk; daily dissolving tablet, cheek film, or 6-month implant under the skin, or monthly injection.
  • Naltrexone – office-based non-addictive opioid antagonist that blocks the effects of other narcotics; daily pill or monthly injection.
  • Naloxone -an injectable drug used to prevent an opioid overdose.
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