As humans, we do all we can to avoid pain and suffering. In fact, pain relief makes up a significant portion of medical treatment today. For some pain, over-the-counter medications just do not provide relief. That is why many people turn to their doctors for help. However, do you know the difference between opioids vs opiates? The two painkilling drug types confuse many people, even those actively using them. So how do these drugs compare?
Opioids vs Opiates
The easy way to distinguish opioids vs opiates involves where these drugs come from. Opiates include natural painkillers coming from the poppy plant. Opioids, on the other hand, mimic these natural drugs but are man-made. Both types of drugs lead to serious addiction if abused.
Opiates include morphine, codeine, heroin, and opium. Opioids include methadone, oxycodone, hydrocodone, pethidine, hydromorphone, and fentanyl. On the streets, the most popular opiates and opioids include heroin, oxycodone, hydrocodone, and fentanyl. If you take any of these medications or street drugs for too long or abuse them recreationally, you develop tolerance, dependence, and a full-blown addiction.
Both opioids and opiates change how you sense pain. The pain does not go away, but you no longer feel it. This happens in your brain, where chemical changes take place at your opioid receptors. Your nerve cells stop sending accurate signals of your pain.
At the same time, the chemical changes at your opioid receptors affect how you feel pleasure. This means that taking opiates or opioids for a long period makes you unable to feel pleasure without the drug.
Are Opioids and Opiates Safe?
If your doctor prescribes opioids or opiates for chronic pain or acute pain from surgery or injury, using the medication is generally safe. However, you should never use opiates or opioids for a lengthy period. This leads to tolerance, the first step into addiction. Tolerance means you need more of the drug over time to feel its effects.
Many people mistake the term “painkillers” with the medications’ actual purpose. No pill will take away all of your pain for the long term. They only help you when extreme pain keeps you from living a normal daily life. You still will feel some pain and need to look closely at the cause of your pain to gain the right treatment.
Help for Opioid or Opiate Addiction
When you experience addiction to opiates or opioids, you need addiction treatment. This treatment must not stop with detoxing your body of the abused substances. Instead, you need long-term drug addiction treatment through a quality rehab program. Addiction treatment for opiates and opioids includes:
- Residential rehab and outpatient programs
- Extended care, sober living, and aftercare
- 12 step program participation
- Exercise and outdoor therapies
- Spiritual activities
- Individual, group, and family therapies
With the right opioid addiction treatment, you can end your addiction. In San Diego, Soledad House provides opiate and opioid addiction recovery for women. Call Soledad House now at 866-314-3222 for your best chance of lasting recovery.