Opiate drugs offer effective remedies for treating most any condition involving pain symptoms. The chemical makeup of opiates integrates easily within the brain and body’s own chemical systems. Unfortunately, these same benefits make for a highly addictive substance, even when taken as prescribed.
People prone to addictive personality face an especially high risk of developing opiate addiction whether using these drugs for treatment purposes or recreationally. In effect, opiates attack the body on both a physical and psychological level, leaving users all but helpless to control drug-using behaviors after a certain point.
Opiate addiction treatment approaches address the physical effects of addiction as well as the addictive mindset that drives drug-using behaviors. For these reasons, someone who struggles with addictive personality traits and addiction issues will likely benefit from the interventions that make up an opiate addiction treatment program.
What is Addictive Personality?
Whether caused by a substance or an activity, compulsive behavior develops out of the chemical processes that take place in the brain. According to Stanford University, research over the last decade reveals addiction per se to be a maladaptive form of learning based on the effects compulsive behaviors have on the brain’s reward system.
Both addictive substances and addictive activities, such as gambling and sex, trigger the release of beta-endorphin chemicals in the brain, which act as the body’s own “feel good” chemicals. An addiction-prone individual incorporates this behavior (opiate abuse) and its effects into his or her overall psychological make-up and in the process becomes psychologically dependent on the effects this behavior causes.
Risk Factors for Opiate Addiction
In essence, someone with an addictive personality has a natural tendency to control the world around him or her, according to Indiana University. Over time, opiate abuse turns into opiate addiction as a person’s psychological dependency on the drug’s effects grows stronger. Opiate addiction risk factors, such as stress, depression and anxiety, only work to aggravate one’s addictive tendencies.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, stress, in any form, activates many of the same brain centers and chemical processes as opiates. Whenever a person experiences stress, chemical processes in the brain automatically take steps to restore some degree of equilibrium in the body’s system. As opiates naturally have a slowing effect on the body as a whole, someone with an addictive personality quickly learns to use opiates as a means for coping with everyday life stressors.
Feelings of depression develop out of existing chemical imbalances in the brain. Much like the brain attempts to restore equilibrium when under stress, it works in the same way when depression arises. While not everyone dealing with depression will succumb to opiate addiction, those with an addictive personality are most at risk.
Ongoing or frequent bouts of anxiety alter the brain’s chemistry and also tap into the body’s “fight-or-flight” response. Over time, the effects of anxiety become a self-perpetuating source of stress, which drives the brain to seek out ways to restore balance. Someone with a tendency towards addictive personality can easily get caught up in opiate addiction as a way to gain relief and feel “normal” again.
The Need for Opiate Addiction Treatment
Once opiate addiction takes hold, the brain has essentially been reconfigured, chemically and structurally. These changes have lasting effects on a person’s thinking, emotions and behavior. Without some form of professional treatment help, the effects of opiates combined with the natural tendencies of an addictive personality will leave a person helpless to the effects of the drug abuse/addiction cycle.
If you or someone you know struggles with opiate addiction and are considering getting treatment help, please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free helpline at 800-442-6158 Who Answers? for more information. Our phone counselors can also provide you with information on opiate addiction treatment programs in your area.