With the opioid epidemic claiming tens of thousands of lives every year, it remains a national health crisis. It’s also created a need for more information about the origins and nature of opioids. The original drug that prompted the creation of all other natural and synthetic opioids is opium. There is a lot of mystery that surrounds this drug in the western world as it is not particularly common. The natural question arises then, “What is opium exactly?”

What is opium exactly? Specifically What Is Opium Exactly?

Opium is made from the seedpods of Papaver somniferum plants, better known as bread-seed poppy. It’s a narcotic painkiller. Opium is the source for several other narcotics, including morphine, heroin, and codeine.

Forms of Opium

Opiates and opioids are two drug types that can derive from the opium plant. These two substances cause largely similar effects. However, there is a slight variation between the two that’s helpful to know.

  • Opiates: Opiates are substances that contain active ingredients that are naturally derived from the opium plant. Common examples of opiates include morphine and codeine, which are both directly made from the opium found in poppy plants.
  • Opioids: Opioids are synthetically manufactured substances that stimulate the “natural” effects of opium. Some opioids are 100% synthetic, while others that are partially synthetic – meaning they still contain natural opium.

Opioids and opiates both depress the central nervous system. This causes a temporary feeling of relaxation and relief. It’s important to note that although opium itself is natural that doesn’t take away from the fatal dangers of its misuse. Both opiates and opioids hold the same risks for abuse and addiction.

Opium Abuse: The Effects of Opioid and Opiate Addictions

When it comes to what opium is, it’s important to be aware of the signs of addiction. When someone depends on an opiate or opioid, they feel the need to use the drug, no matter what. Moreover, they may take risks that affect various aspects of their life in negative ways.

It’s not unusual to notice someone with a substance abuse issue having difficulties with their finances or encounter legal problems. Also, they may retreat socially and not show interest in the things they once enjoyed. Other consequences include career problems, strained relationships, and health that significantly suffers.

These health-related consequences can include weight loss, sleep issues, unexpected changes in mood, dry mouth, constipation, and feeling light-headed. You might also notice a flushed face, sweating, constricted pupils, or lack of coordination.

Aside from the physical dependence that may develop, psychological dependence steps into the equation too. The individual may feel that they cannot function without the drug daily. They may feel the need to use drugs in order to re-create feelings they believe they cannot achieve otherwise. This is one of the most obvious tell-tale signs of addiction.

In addition to reducing pain, opium also creates a euphoric or dreamlike state of mind. Other common effects include sleepiness or mild confusion. When abused, opium can cause constipation, dry mouth, and addiction.

Symptoms of an Opioid and Opiate Addiction

As we discuss what opium is, it’s also helpful to understand what the symptoms of addiction are. Signs and symptoms of an opioid or opiate addiction can be quite similar. It’s important to note that each individual can experience symptoms that are unique to them. The severity and frequency of use play a major role in this as well. However, we can sum up some general symptoms that most individuals experience. It’s important to get a better idea of what kinds of symptoms are caused by an opioid or opiate addiction.

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Lying about pain to receive prescriptions for opioids
  • Making appointments with a variety of doctors to receive multiple prescriptions for opioids
  • Suffering performance at work
  • Unexplained periods of absence
  • Alienation from loved ones
  • Stealing medications from others

Physical symptoms:

  • Significant changes in personal appearance, such as weight loss or changes in hygiene
  • Scabs, sores, or puncture wounds suggestive of IV drug use
  • Poor motor skills and coordination
  • Digestive problems, such as vomiting or diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Pupil constriction

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Slowed thinking
  • Impaired judgment and problem-solving
  • Feeling detached from one’s surroundings
  • Trouble concentrating

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Emotional swings
  • Sudden, unprovoked outbursts
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Paranoia

Levels of Care for Opioid or Opiate Addiction Recovery

There are varying levels of care offered depending on the severity of addiction at hand. We encourage you to contact our caring specialists to discuss the levels of care more specifically. But, here is an overview of the types of care that our facility provides.

Medically Supervised Detox

When opium use rises to the level of addiction, the question of what is opium exactly takes second chair to the question, “What is the treatment?” All opioid treatment begins with medical detox. Detoxing from opioids isn’t typically a dangerous process. It is profoundly uncomfortable, which helps explain why at-home detox attempts fail so often.

Medically-supervised detox offers a few key advantages. You can receive replacement medications that vastly reduce the misery of withdrawal. You also get around-the-clock access to a trained medical staff if anything goes wrong. It also limits your ability to get more opium during a moment of doubt.

Outpatient Programs

Outpatient rehabilitation offers the most flexible form of care. Patients will reside at home and travel to the facility for treatment. This kind of program is suited best as either a step-down treatment or for those with a very minor addiction. This may also work if the patient has a supportive environment at home. Outpatient treatment generally requires no more than 9 hours of treatment per week.

Intensive Outpatient/Partial Hospitalization Programs

Individuals with certain needs, such as those with a dual-diagnosis, may be eligible for an intensive outpatient program (IOP) or a partial hospitalization program (PHP). These programs offer a higher level of care than outpatient services, with less time required compared to inpatient rehabilitation.

In an IOP, patients receive treatment for 9-20 hours per week and have frequent contact with physicians, psychiatrists, and therapists. Patients can make the schedule work based on their needs and obligations outside of rehab since they will live at home. Partial hospitalization programs require the most hands-on level of care as compared to the other outpatient services.

Partial hospitalization treatment takes place for at least 20 hours per week. Individual, group and family therapy are major components of treatment. Patients also have the opportunity to take advantage of other amenities such as yoga or acupuncture therapy. Patients in PHPs may have the option of living on-site as well.

Residential Treatment Programs

Residential treatment programs, also referred to as inpatient rehab, are for patients with severe addictions. These programs can also be fitting for those with a harmful home environment. This level of care provides patients with the highest level of care. Residential treatment offers benefits such as:

Aftercare Support

This treatment aims to prevent relapse and provides support after the completion of a treatment program. Aftercare support can include sober living homes, support groups, or a step-down treatment program. Aftercare ensures that the patient is being taken care of even after the initial treatment has ended.

Full recovery is a journey. It is normal to experience cravings and temptations even after treatment. It’s all about how you respond to them and your coping mechanisms.

Help for Opium Addiction in Asheville, NC

CVRC specializes in the reality therapy model that provides life skills training in addition to standard therapy approaches. We’re located in Asheville, NC.

Don’t let opium addiction decide the rest of your life. A good rehab program can help you overcome it. Call 866-327-2505 and let Crest View help you onto the road to recovery. Now that you know what is opium exactly, you can overcome addiction in your life.

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