Addiction is a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is driven by an overwhelming desire to seek and use drugs, despite the harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain and how it functions. These brain changes can be long-lasting, life-changing and lead to harmful behaviors for the addicted person. These actions affect the health and welfare of the addicted person as well as their family and friends.
- the illegal drug heroin,
- human-made opioids such as fentanyl,
- pain relievers like Vicodin®, Percocet®, and OxyContin.®
Prescription opioids are often used to treat moderate to severe pain, though some opioids can be used to treat coughing and diarrhea. Opioids affect the brain’s “reward circuit,” causing euphoria (the high) and flooding the brain with the chemical messenger dopamine.
Harmful Effects of Opioids
Opioids can make people feel happy, relaxed, and pain-free in the short-term. Because of the “good” feeling that comes from the increased dopamine in the “reward circuit” of the brain, one might be tempted to create that pleasurable feeling again and again.
However, opioid use can have serious consequences, including:
These are more likely if you are abusing an opioid:
- taking too much
- taking someone else’s medicine
- taking it to get high
- taking it in a different way than prescribed
Taking too much of an opioid can lead to drowsiness, nausea, constipation, slowed breathing, and can cause breathing to stop, leading to death. Dependence is when you feel withdrawal symptoms when you don’t take the drug. Addiction is when a person compulsively seeks out the drugs, even though it is causing problems in their life.
Medication Treatment for Addiction Program is available at the following locations:
Taft, CA 93268
N. Chester Avenue
Bakersfield, CA 93308
Bakersfield, CA 93309