Opioids became regularly used in the Civil War era as an essential medicine. They are found in nature through the opium poppy plant. They were first used to treat soldiers’ pain and stop internal bleeding, vomiting and diarrhea caused by infectious diseases. What doctors discovered back then — and now know today — is that opioid use comes with a high risk of addiction due to relaxing the body and creating a “high.”
What Prescription Opioids Can Treat
Opioids tend to have a negative reputation but are helpful for treatment if used in a controlled environment. Some conditions they treat include:
Moderate to severe pain is a significant reason for opioid use. Patients often receive morphine after major surgery to relieve any discomfort. Wisdom tooth extraction may also call for a codeine prescription to help with gum soreness.
Prescription opioids are not limited to these examples — there are a few reasons doctors may prescribe opioids for pain. Doctors are knowledgeable about these drugs and can prescribe the right amount to help with pain relief but not cause addiction.
Antidiarrheal drugs are fiber-forming substances that produce healthier digestion in an individual. The most effective types are opioid derivatives. These drugs slow down the intestines’ mobility to allow for proper absorption of water and electrolytes, stopping diarrhea.
Overall, opioid receptors are linked with a protein that helps regulate gastrointestinal functions. This increases the drug’s effects to aid in pain relief.
Opioids have also been used as a treatment for severe, distressing coughs. They can suppress the cough center in the brainstem, allowing for clearer breathing.
Can Prescription Opioids Be Misused?
Yes, while doctors do their best to prescribe a specific amount for a certain duration, prescription opioids can still be misused. A few ways this can happen are:
- Taking more than the dose prescribed at one time.
- Taking the medication for long extended periods of time.
- Changing the route by which the medication is taken (i.e. injecting or snorting).
- Taking someone else’s medication following your own prescribed dose.
Misusing opioids can be very dangerous. Maintain contact with a doctor before, during, and after treatment with opioids.
Contact MedMark Treatment Centers for Help Today
At MedMark, we offer various services to aid in opioid addiction. If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid misuse, contact us today to find a clinic near you. Our staff is committed to walking alongside you every step of the way in your recovery journey.