You may have heard of opiates or opioids. These terms are often used interchangeably, but they do differ. Opiates usually refer to naturally derived medications, while opioids are synthetic street versions. However, both are derivatives of the poppy plant. 

The fact that these powerful drugs come from a naturally occurring plant can raise a lot of questions. Therefore, what is opium and how does it become addictive substances? No matter their form, these drugs are highly addictive. 

The staff at Crest View Recovery Center is well-versed in the treatment of such substance abuse. Keep reading to learn more about what opium is and the types of drugs that are in this class.

Specifically What Is Opium?

what is opium?

Opium is a type of poppy flower. It is commonly grown in the middle east for the primary reason of manufacturing opioids and opiates. It’s used in the production of opiate pain medications such as fentanyl, Dilaudid, and hydrocodone. The opioid, heroin, is the most well-known synthetic drug in this category.

Other opioids that are either synthetic or partially-synthetic include codeine, morphine, and oxycodone. No matter which form is used, the effect is similar. The addictive properties are also similar, even when the drug is initially given as a prescription for pain.

The drugs that are made from opium are highly addictive and dangerous. Although it can relieve pain if prescribed and taken properly, misuse is a common side effect. 

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.

The Statistics of Opioid and Opiate Abuse in the United States 

It is a well-known fact that the United States is in the midst of an opioid epidemic. About 10.3 million Americans aged 12 and older misused opioids in 2018, including 9.9 million prescription pain reliever abusers and 808,000 heroin users. These numbers are shocking and a major wake up call that action must be taken.

In 2017, there were more than 70,200 overdose deaths in the United States. 47,600 of those overdose deaths involved opioids. Over 130 people died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses in 2016 and 2017, as stated by the US Department of Health & Human Services.

No matter who you are or what your background is, this epidemic can have an effect on you. So, it is crucial to be aware of the dangers of taking prescription drugs such as opioids. We encourage anyone reading to do your research and help someone around you that may be suffering from addiction. If that someone is you, please remember that it is possible to overcome the struggles of substance abuse and live a much more fulfilling life. 

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. 

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.

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:

  • A structured recovery environment
  • 24-hour staffing
  • Full use of amenities 
  • A community that promotes living skills

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. 

How the Crest View Recovery Center Can Help

Addiction to opium and its derivatives is a widespread epidemic that has brought countless numbers of people to seek rehab. Treatment is the key to successfully recovering from these issues with lasting, confident sobriety. If you’re looking for an addiction treatment program, Crest View Recovery Center has programs that can help. 

Our expert staff is knowledgeable, and our center has the resources to treat these specific types of issues.

For example, available services include:

You don’t have to face opioid addiction alone. It can seem overwhelming. But, the staff at Crest View Recovery Center will address the unique needs of anyone dealing with this type of dependency. Feel free to reach out to us here today. We’ll be happy to answer your questions about what opium is, and any other questions regarding treatment.