Using opioids over time can lead to dependence or addiction. Learn the symptoms of opioid withdrawal and when to seek help to stop the drugs.
What is an opioid?
Opioids are drugs your doctor might prescribe temporarily to treat pain for an injury or surgery. Common names include fentanyl, oxycodone (Oxycontin), oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet), hydrocodone (Vicodin), codeine, morphine and others. The drugs interact with pain receptors on nerve cells in your body and brain. Unfortunately, in addition to treating pain, they can produce a sense of euphoria, or “high,” and, when misused, you can become dependent or addicted.
Even when opioids are properly prescribed for pain, dependence or addiction can occur — especially if you end up taking the medications for an extended period of time. And, no matter how much you may want to get off opioids, the symptoms of opioid withdrawal can be hard to face.
November 02, 2017
Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA