To answer the question, what are opiates, they are simply drugs derived from or related to opium. These are drugs that bind to opiate receptors in the brain; when misused, they can become habit forming and require help for people to discontinue their use. Currently, it is acceptable to use opiates for pain when a doctor prescribes them but this could lead to prescription drug addiction.
How do They Work?
Opiates interact with receptors in the brain. There are two kinds of opioids, there are agonists and antagonists. First Step Center provides opioid addiction treatment for both. An agonist binds to a receptor and activates it, an antagonist binds to a receptor and blocks its activation. Opium is a receptor agonist, and naltrexone is an antagonist.
- Drugs that interact with receptors in the brain
- Resemble opium
- Can trigger feelings of euphoria
- Are highly addictive
Naturally, receptors bind to hormones that are naturally made in the body, usually during times of stress. When people take synthetic opiates, they reduce the efficacy of natural opiates released under duress.
Also, the ingestion of opioids from the outside regulated the production of a primary pain sensory opioid receptor called the mu-opioid receptor. This will cause people to be more sensitive to pain in the long run if they ever come off of the opioids they are putting into the bodies.
Opiates are largely responsible for supporting the reward system in the brain. You do something good; you feel good. That is an opiate signaling response. When you take opiates not produced by your body, especially for an extended period of time, you are skewing this signaling pathway.
For most people, this is how they become addicted to opiates and need an opiate addiction treatment program. They get stuck in an addiction cycle and think that they cannot live without getting high.
The cycle of addiction will affect many parts of the brain. One of the first, being the pleasure or reward center. Here, they bind to receptors and turn on pleasurable signaling, and you feel good. They also go to work in your grumpy zone to make you feel less irritable and anxious. Over time you need more and more opiates to produce the same effect. This happens because as you fill those receptors with opiate compounds, your cells make more receptors that need to be filled. So you take more and more to feel better, and it slowly begins to ruin your life.
You can’t stop taking the opiates because that is the only way that you feel normal or not totally depressed and sick. Your brain tells you to keep taking them because it thinks that is the best way to survive, even though use is hurting you.
The cycle of addiction:
- Take Drugs to Feel Better
- Need More and More
- Repeat for a Bit
- Need the Drugs to Feel Normal
- Continue Use
- Finding Help for an Addition
Once you have entered not the cycle of addiction, you may want to consider finding an opiate addiction treatment program in your area. First Step Center offers a range of programs in the Scottsdale, AZ area, give us a call today at 866.832.6398 to find out more and learn what are opiates.