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What Is Opiate Addiction?

Learn what an opiate addiction is from Dr. Paul Hokemeyer in this Howcast video.


Opium addiction is just like it sounds, somebody becomes addicted to opiates. Opiates are a class of drugs that are typically prescribed for pain relief. What happens with them is that there is a euphoric effect that people get from taking them and they get addicted to that. They get addicted to the euphoria that comes from the drugs. What happens also is that they develop a tolerance for them, so over time they need to be taking more and more of them. They may have started up by taking one as prescribed, but they became so used to the euphoric effect, that they began abusing them and taking three, four or five.

I've treated patients who have take ten opiates a day, so there's this huge tolerance that people develop to them. Also what we will look for in an opium addiction, is this withdrawal. So that even the notion, that the person will not have access to them or the person will not be able to take the opiates, they're filled with physical nausea and psychological distress. So they experience both tolerance, which means this increased capacity to handle the drug and this sense of withdrawal. That they have this profound physical and psychological distress and anxiety, when the mere thought of pulling the drug away is presented to them.

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