Happy Monday, everyone! It’s your mental health expert, Mya and I’m here with another blog. Today I want to discuss opioid awareness, why it’s important and how we can address this issue if we know or suspect someone is struggling. Dealing with loved ones who battle addiction can often seem impossible, but help is available if you are knowledgeable about what’s going on. So let’s break it down.

What is opioid addiction?
First, it is important to remember that opioid addiction is a chronic disease. Understanding this will help you relate to those fighting this disease. It is often easy to become angry and frustrated with an addict, because the assumption is, they do not have a desire to be well. But this is not necessarily true. There are often bigger issues at work.

Opioids are a class of drugs that provide the addict with a moment of pleasure or pain relief. This is why it can be easy for many individuals to become addicted. Commonly prescribed opioids can include morphine, oxycodone, and methadone. Heroin is an example of a common, illegal opioid.

How Do Opioids Affect an Individual?
Even if an individual is prescribed opioids for medical reasons, one can become addicted. Opioids are known to change the chemistry in the brain, causing tolerance of the drug. This means, over time, they will require higher dosages in order to experience the same euphoria or pain relief as before.

Once an individual is addicted, they will often place receiving drugs, or, their next “high” as extremely important. This begins to affect their relationships, health and can also cause economic problems. It is also important to note that once someone stops taking the drug, they can experience muscle cramping, diarrhea, and anxiety. Both legal and illegal opioids carry a risk of overdose.

If you know or suspect that a loved one is dealing with opioid addiction, it is important that you seek a professional to help you intervene. Confronting them on your own will not resolve their addictive behavior. Look up local opioid treatment centers who can provide professional guidance and strategies.

Residents in the Atlanta, GA area may reach out to my company, Changing Phases, Inc. for assistance and more information.

Be Well,

Dr. Mya