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What Is Addiction?

Opioid Addiction

Opioid releases an excess of dopamine in the body causing the use to need an opiate occupying the opioid receptors in the brain continuously. Most opioid including heroin and Oxycontin are short acting opiate, meaning the “high” lasts 2-3 hours. Therefor, a person addicted to opiates will experience the beginning of the withdrawal symptoms within 2-3 hours. To relieve the withdrawal symptoms, opiate addicts will use again, continuing the cycle of abuse. The withdrawal symptoms are felt as the opioid receptors in the brain become unstable, or in other words, not filled with an opiate. Rather than experience the withdrawal symptoms, opiate addicts will do what they feel is necessary to “feel normal” again and able to function.

During active use, the opiate addict is unable to focus on anything else but relieving the withdrawal symptoms to make themselves feel normal. Traditional drug free treatment modalities have not been effective with this population due to the physical withdrawal symptoms experienced and the opiate addicts need to alleviate the symptoms.

what is addiction

Side Effects Of Opioid Addiction

Mood side effects:

  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Euphoric mood for a few hours
  • Irritability

Behavioral side effects:

  • Forging prescriptions for opiates
  • Stealing narcotics from friends and family
  • Robbing pharmacies and other medication dispensaries
  • Not fulfilling familial and other responsibilities
  • Decreased performance at job or school
  • Preoccupation with obtaining, using, and recovering from usage of opiates
  • Lying to others to cover the amount of drug taken
  • Withdrawing from once-pleasurable activitiesSocial isolation
  • Restlessness
  • Lethargy
  • Exhaustion

Physical side effects:

  • Exhaustion
  • Pain relief
  • Respiratory depression
  • Sedation
  • Muscle spasms
  • Vomiting
  • Insomnia
  • Constipation
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Death

Psychological side effects:

  • Addiction
  • Memory problems
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Paranoia
  • Worsening of mental health
  • Decrease in emotional wellbeing
  • Increase in symptoms of mental illness

Contact us to learn more about addiction.


For more addiction info:


Erie County Gov.

Addiction Treatment Forum