The Lowdown on Opioids
Opioids, known as narcotics, include prescription pain medications like Vicodin. OxyContin, Percocet, Ultram, morphine, methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, fentanyl, codeine and tramadol. The illegal drug heroine is also an opioid. Continued use of opioids comes with serious risks, including physical dependence, increased symptoms of depression, and opioid overdose, which can lead to sudden death. Risk of overdose is increased when opioids are combined with alcohol, benzodiazepines, other sedatives and other opioids.
What is Opioid Use Disorder?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition describes opioid use disorder as a problematic pattern of opioid use leading to problems or distress. Opioid use disorder has several unique factors that separate it from other substance use disorders. Opioids can lead to physical dependence in as little as four to eight weeks of continued use. (Saxon, Renner, Greenfield, & Aoun, 2018) In chronic use, abrupt discontinuance can result in severe symptoms of withdrawal which is manifested through reports of generalized pain, chills, cramping, diarrhea, dilated pupils, restlessness, anxiety, nausea, vomiting, insomnia, and very intense cravings. The severity of these symptoms decreases motivation to discontinue using opioids.
At Olympic Medical Physicians, we recognize the need to support and advocate for people in the community who are battling with opioid use disorder. Medication-assisted treatment is offered on site using medications to help manage the disorder while working within a behavioral health model to gain control over the triggers (ie; pain, depression, stressors) leading to continued use of the opioid.
- Saxon, A., MD, Renner, J., MD, Greenfield, S., MD, & Aoun, E. G., MD. (2018, November). Opioid Use Disorder. Retrieved May 2, 2019, from https://www.psychiatry.org