Opioid Addiction and Treatment: Recovering from Opioid Misuse

Opioids are substances that can be used for treating moderate to severe pain.
Common Opioids are:
  • Fentanyl
  •  Codeine
  •  Morphine
  •  Hydrocodone
  •  Oxycodone

All of the above are effective pain relievers when used as prescribed.


Opioids are substances obtained from poppy plants. The word ‘opiate’ is usually used when referring to natural components of opium while synthetic substances are usually labeled as opioids, however, the term ‘opioid’ is now used to include the entirety of these drugs.

Opioids are used to help treat severe and chronic pain. Many of these drugs can help patients who are suffering from moderate to severe pain, post-surgical pain, and even pain caused by cancer. Because these drugs are so effective at treating pain, they can easily be unconsciously misused.

Licensed physicians often prescribe these drugs, however, they can be obtained illegally without a prescription. As prescription drugs, opioids are often abused because they are easily accessible. Many users may “doctor shop” or be given a family member or friend’s prescription to use.

Opioid Use and Withdrawal

Patients using these drugs as prescribed may sometimes be tempted to abuse their prescription as opioids are known to produce a euphoric high when taken in high doses. Many users may develop a mental dependence on these drugs, believing they cannot live a normal life without them.

A person who is abusing opiates may display behavioral changes including anxiety, confusion, or forgetfulness. Common adverse effects include muscle pain, tremors, depression, chest pain, fatigue, and respiratory depression. Opioid withdrawal can also cause psychological and emotional responses such as mood swings and sleeplessness.


Many people can unknowingly develop a tolerance and dependence for these drugs, even when taking them as prescribed, which is why it is important to understand the effects of opioids.

A combination of behavioral therapy and medical detox can help a person begin recovery for opioid addiction. Rehabilitation may be done in an inpatient or outpatient setting. A proper treatment plan will be made for the patient after an initial medical assessment.