According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, “Opium is a highly addictive non-synthetic narcotic that is extracted from the poppy plant, Papaver somniferum.” Though most individuals use––and abuse––opioid drugs that are either derived directly from the poppy plant or synthesized to create the same properties and effects, some people do still abuse opium in order to get high, feel relaxed, and experience an absence of pain.
Opium itself is, as stated above, highly addictive, and those who abuse it frequently are likely to become addicted to the drug and to abuse any type of opioid that they can get their hands on when opium itself is not available. If you have been experiencing these issues, it is often beneficial––and even necessary––to seek professional treatment for opium addiction.
The Dangers of Opium Addiction
When someone becomes addicted to opium, they are likely to experience a number of troubling, uncomfortable, and even dangerous side effects, such as:
- Dry mouth and mucous membranes
- Nausea and vomiting
- Appetite loss
- Stomach pain
- Mood changes
- Respiratory depression, which can become deadly
- Drug-seeking behavior
- Legal problems
- Job loss
- Financial issues
- Relationship problems or breakups
Opium addiction is just as problematic as other types of opioid drug addiction, perhaps even more so in some ways, which is one reason why someone who becomes addicted to opium should consider seeking professional treatment. In addition, “an opium high is very similar to a heroin high; users experience a euphoric rush, followed by relaxation and the relief of physical pain.” Because an opium high is very similar to that same rush caused by heroin, an individual who becomes addicted to the former may begin to abuse the latter as a less expensive and more readily available source, thereby strengthening the likelihood of their becoming addicted to heroin.
Why Can’t I Quit on My Own?
Many people attempt to stop abusing opium and other types of opioid drugs on their own because they believe it will not be very difficult for them to do so. When someone attempts to go through opioid withdrawal on their own, immediately stopping their use of the drug without the help of medications or professional treatment, this is called going cold turkey, a name that refers to one of the common opioid withdrawal symptoms: “cold flashes with goose bumps” (National Institute on Drug Abuse).
The withdrawal symptoms caused by opium dependence are not normally life-threatening, but they can cause pain in the muscles, bones, and joints because of the sudden absence of the drug’s pain relieving effects. This can be so painful in fact that many individuals who have been abusing opium return to their drug abuse to make the pain stop. And because their tolerance has sometimes been weakened by not taking or smoking opium for a specific amount of time prior to that relapse, there is a stronger chance of overdose and death.
It is not safe for someone to stop abusing opium on their own and to attempt to go through the withdrawal process without treatment. In addition, someone who does make it through the process will then require addiction treatment, and if they do not receive it, it is likely that they will relapse as well. Due to the lower likelihood of success and the dangers involved in trying to quit opioid abuse on your own, it is much better to attend some sort of treatment program to help you during your recovery from opium addiction.
What Type of Treatment Should I Attend for My Opium Addiction Recovery?
This depends heavily on your situation. If you believe that your opium addiction is extremely severe and you need to be in an environment that is controlled by medical professionals who will help you through your recovery, you may need to attend inpatient treatment. If, however, you do not believe you need this more intense type of treatment program, you can consider outpatient care or another type of treatment.
According to the NIDA, there are several types of rehab programs and methods that you may want to consider for your opium addiction treatment, including:
- Long-term residential treatment
- Short-term residential treatment
- Outpatient treatment
- Individualized drug counseling
Mutual-help groups can also be extremely beneficial and may be paired with another type of program, like outpatient treatment, but if you feel you have a strong enough handle on your opium addiction, you may be able to utilize one of these groups as your sole treatment method. Either way, it is important that you receive some type of treatment for your opium addiction in order to have a better chance at recovery.
Does Treatment Work?
As stated by the NIDA, “According to research that tracks individuals in treatment over extended periods, most people who get into and remain in treatment stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve their occupational, social, and psychological functioning.” Someone who attempts to quit abusing opium without the help of professional treatment has a lower chance of success than someone who does seek professional care, as the rates for the former method of recovery are not as high as those associated with professional treatment. Treatment does not always work perfectly, but it gives patients a solid basis for their recovery and helps them avoid possibility of further drug abuse in the future.
Though for some individuals there are obstacles to treatment, it is still very important to attend some type of program in order to have a better chance of recovery. Addiction treatment can sometimes be expensive, but there are low-cost and even free programs for the individuals who need them. Other issues, like time, the need to take care of children, etc., can be dealt with when you find a program that takes your needs into account.
It is always important to seek professional addiction treatment for opium addiction, as this is the only way you will gain the tools you need to quit abusing opium and to be safe while you learn to do so.
Do You Have Questions About Opium Addiction Treatment?
Call 800-442-6158 Who Answers? today, and we will help you find a program that benefits your needs and get you on the road to recovery from opium addiction.