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Opiate Addiction

What Are They?

Opiates are a class of prescription drug traditionally derived from the opium poppy. More modern versions of this type of drug are synthetic. This means they are made in a lab rather than being derived from a poppy. Opiates bind to special receptors in the brain and have been used to treat pain for centuries. They also have a long history of abuse. Opiates are often taken recreationally because they induce feelings of happiness, euphoria and relaxation.


Some of the most commonly abused prescription opiates are dihydrocodeine and oxycontin. These are commonly prescribed for acute or chronic pain and may result in dependence. Other opiates include codeine, fentanyl, hydromorphone, meperidine, methadone and morphine. There are so many types of opiates because they are very effective at controlling pain. That made them a lucrative investment for many drug companies.

young woman asleep on sofa
addiction treatment group therapy room


Help Me Stop’s opiat addiction treatment plan is provided at approximately one-tenth of the cost of traditional residential treatment programmes. We can work around your current commitments like your job or your family and loved ones. It should, however, be noted we do not do detoxes, although we can signpost to appropriate providers of these pending our assessment of you and your situation.


Opiates bind with opioid receptors in the brain. This triggers a cascade of effects that results in fewer pain signals being sent to the brain. In essence, opiates reduce your ability to feel pain. While this is the primary effect of this class of drug, it is not the only effect. Opiates can also cause feelings of euphoria, sedation, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, constipation, respiratory depression and physical dependence. 

Symptoms Of Abuse 

  • Spending more time alone and avoiding loved ones
  • Not bathing or engaging in normal hygiene
  • Mixing with new groups of people
  • Losing interest in formerly enjoyable activities
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Feeling tired or depressed
  • Rapid mood swings
  • Sleeping at strange times
  • Missing important appointments
  • Engaging in illegal activity
  • Missing work or school
  • Struggling with money

When someone is abusing opiates they will eventually build up a tolerance to the drug as well as a physical dependence. This means they will need more opiates to feel normal. When they stop taking the drug they can feel very sick. This is called withdrawal. Some common  early withdrawal symptoms are:

  • Muscle aches
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety
  • watery eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Excessive sweating
  • insomnia 

As withdrawal progresses common symptoms are:

  • Diarrhoea
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Goosebumps
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Vision issues and dilated pupils
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Increased blood pressure

Getting Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with an opiate addiction it is important to get professional help. Going cold turkey can make an addict very sick and is unlikely to result in sustained recovery. At Help Me Stop we provide counselling and therapy sessions to help people overcome their addiction. Our counsellors can work with you to understand the problem. They are experts in the field of opioid addiction. Our group and one to one sessions are scientifically proven to help you break your addiction and start the road to recovery. Call us today to learn more.