Severe, persistent pain symptoms can develop out of any number of injury-related conditions or chronic disease states. Pain management therapies that use opiate drugs offer much needed relief and can greatly enhance a person’s overall quality of living.
While effective at relieving pain symptoms, the benefits of opiate-based therapies only last for so long before users start to experience the dangers of ongoing opiate use. Ultimately, opiate drugs should only be used on a short-term basis, or else the potential for dependence and opioid addiction becomes more so apparent over time. Knowing when to get needed opiate addiction treatment can help save you from a lifetime of pain and endless frustration.
Pain Management Therapy
According to the Journal of Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology, opiate-based pain management therapies have become the standard of care for treating conditions involving acute and chronic pain symptoms. Compared to non-opiates or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opiates offer certain benefits that make for effective treatment remedies, including:
- Opiates have no “ceiling effect,” meaning increased dosage levels continue to deliver stronger pain-relieving effects
- Opiates cause no direct damage to the body’s organs
- Opiates can be formulated to treat most any type of pain symptom
- Opiates can be formulated to produce both short-term and long-term, pain-relieving effects
While the benefits of opiate-based pain management therapy are many, using these drugs for longer than three months at a time opens a person up to the dangers of abuse and addiction.
How Opiates Work
Mechanism of Action
Opiates work by binding to specific cell receptor sites within the brain, central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. These interactions cause the release of endorphin chemicals, which act as the body’s own pain-relief agents. Incidentally, opiates also have a chemical make-up that’s similar to the body’s endorphins so the brain can easily integrate opiate effects within its own chemical processes.
The effects of opiates on the body work to block incoming pain signals from reaching the brain. Ultimately, opiates don’t actually treat the source of pain, but rather camouflages pain’s effects.
In cases of chronic pain management therapy, individuals often require high dosage levels in order to alleviate pain symptoms once brain tolerance levels reach a certain point. In fact, the brain’s rising tolerance for opiate effects account for much of the danger associated with long-term opiate use.
According to University of Utah Health Care, for some people, opiate pain management therapies can cause a condition known as opioid-induced hyperalgesia to develop. With opioid-induced hyperalgesia, the body’s central nervous system becomes overly sensitive to opiate effects. When this happens, opiate treatment no longer relieves pain symptoms and can even cause pain intensity levels to worsen.
When to Get Opiate Addiction Treatment Help
Opiates not only interfere with the brain’s chemical system, but also impair the brain’s reward system functions. The reward system determines what a person’s priorities are, what motivates him or her. It also dictates thinking patterns, emotional responses and for the most part shapes a person’s behaviors throughout any given day.
By the time addiction takes hold, getting and using opiates becomes the most important thing in a person’s life. In effect, the drug’s pain-management functions have evolved into a psychological coping mechanism for coping with daily life. At this point, the need for opiate addiction treatment becomes plainly apparent to those closes to the addict.
If you or someone you know have questions or concerns about opiate-based pain management therapies, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-584-3274 for more information. Our phone counselors can also help connect you with treatment programs in your area.