Opana Addiction

Opana is an opioid pain reliever containing oxymorphone, widely prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA, pharmacists filled more than a million oxymorphone prescriptions in 2007.

More Americans are struggling with Opana addiction and other prescription drugs than ever before. The White House calls prescription drug abuse, "the nation's fastest-growing drug problem." Except for marijuana, prescriptions such as Opana are the most abused drugs among young Americans. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 7 million people in the United States were using psychotherapeutic drugs non-medically in 2010, which means they took it to get high or for a condition other than the one for which the doctor had intended.

Long-term abuse of some prescription drugs, especially powerful opioids such as Opana, can lead to physical dependence and addiction. Anyone can develop an Opana addiction or dependence after taking this drug for a long time. Using large doses of Opana, using it longer than prescribed, or using Opana in an unsafe way can increase your risk for developing dependence or addiction. Physical dependence and Opana addiction are serious diseases, requiring the help of a qualified professional.

Admission rates for Opana addiction and other substance abuse problems are on the rise as well. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports the U.S. admission rate for the abuse of opioids other than heroin went up 414 percent between 1997 and 2007. This means admission rates went from about seven people in every 100,000 to 36 people per 100,000 in just ten years.

Prescription opioids are plentiful in the United States. Americans take more of these drugs than another other nation on earth. Even though Americans account for about 5 percent of global population, they consume 80 percent of the world's supply of opioids, according to the Institute of Addiction Medicine.

The Definition of Addiction

Opana addiction is a disease that makes changes to the cells in your nervous system. These changes interfere with the function of your brain's reward, motivation and memory circuits. This neurological dysfunction leads to the characteristic physical signs and behaviors associated with Opana addiction, such as craving and drug-seeking behavior. Doctors look for these physical signs and behaviors when diagnosing a person as having an Opana addiction. An addict will crave Opana and be unable to abstain from using this drug. He is unable to recognize the significant harm his Opana addiction does to his life or to those around him. He will experience several cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment, Opana addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death.

Addiction versus Dependence

Opana addiction and dependence are two independent medical conditions. With continuous use, anyone can become addicted to Opana, dependent upon it, or both.

Your body responds to the things you put into it, such as food, cigarette smoke or medicine like Opana. Your body adapts to some foreign substances by adjusting its own chemical balance. If you continue to use Opana for a long time, your body starts to depend on a certain level of Opana to feel "normal." When Opana levels drop, your body struggles to maintain chemical balance. You will experience this battle for stability through unpleasant, flu-like withdrawal symptoms.

Doctors will diagnose you as being opioid-dependent if you experience withdrawal symptoms after the level of opioids decline in your body. You may cause this decline by missing a dose, taking a smaller dose than usual or by consuming a medication that causes opioid levels to drop. One such medicine is naloxone, used by doctors to bring opioids down to safe levels after an overdose. Opana withdrawal symptoms are similar to other opioids and include:

  • Abdominal Cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever, Runny Nose or Sneezing
  • Goose Bumps and Abnormal Skin Sensations
  • Hot Sweats and Cold Sweats
  • Insomnia
  • Low Energy Level
  • Muscle Aches or Pains
  • Nausea or Vomiting
  • Pain
  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Rigid Muscles
  • Runny Nose
  • Shivering, Tremors
  • Teary Eyes
  • Yawning

If you are opioid-dependent, you will experience unpleasant, flu-like withdrawal symptoms a few hours after your last dose of Opana. If you suffer from Opana addiction, you will express behavioral symptoms such as cravings and drug seeking when you run out.

Symptoms of Opana addiction include:

  • Inability to Consistently Abstain from Opana Use
  • Other Behavioral Control Problems
  • Cravings for Opana
  • An Inability to Recognize Significant Problems with One's Own Behaviors and Interpersonal Relationships
  • Inappropriate Emotional Response

You can be addicted to something and not dependent upon it, and the other way around. For example, you could be dependent on insulin; if you do not take your medication, your blood sugar will rise and your body fights to maintain chemical stability, but you would not feel cravings for insulin or engage in drug-seeking behaviors. On the other hand, if you use cocaine for a long time, you may become addicted to it but not dependent on it. In other words, you will crave cocaine if you stop using it but you will not suffer the flu-like symptoms typically associated with opioid withdrawal.

Drug seeking activity

You may feed your Opana addiction by getting prescription drugs from doctors and pharmacists. One drug-seeking tactic is to place an emergency call or visit just as the physician is closing up the office and then refusing examination, testing or referral to another facility. The DEA calls these types of activities "diversion" because of the way abusers divert medicine from legal to illegal use.

Other forms of diversion include losing prescriptions frequently, tampering with written prescriptions to get more pills in each bottle. You may even go "doctor shopping" to get as many written prescriptions as possible. Most often, you get Opana free from friends, relatives, or buy it on the black market.

Addiction: What Family Members Should Know

Opana addiction is a disease that affects your loved one's central nervous system. Opana addiction is not an indication of poor child-rearing skills, or that your family member is a criminal or has a weak moral character. Like with any other neurological illness, your family member relies on your love and support to help him through the recovery process. Opana addiction is a chronic disease, so family members should expect cycles of remission and relapse - your commitment to your loved one must last for weeks, months or even years.

Everyone directly related to the addicted individual shares a risk for developing an addiction. Scientists now know that genetics play an important role in the development of addiction. Researchers have also established that stresses within the home environment raises everyone's risk for developing an addiction sometime in their lives.

Stress and Other Environmental Factors

Stress within the home or at the workplace increases the risk for addictive behaviors for everyone within that environment. These stresses can include fighting between individuals, financial difficulties or other substance abuse. Researchers think some people suffer from hypersensitivity to stress that increases their changes for developing an addiction. Parents may pass this hypersensitivity onto a child.

Children also pick up many positive and negative behaviors from their parents. Adults who do not know how to deal with stress pass along poor coping mechanisms to their children. Children who watch parents deal with stress by drinking or taking drugs such as Opana are likely to cope with pressure the same way when they grow older.

Reducing environmental stress decreases the risk of Opana addiction for each member of the family. It is important to learn how to resolve conflicts within the home or office without resorting to arguments or violence. It is helpful to balance household responsibilities fairly and reduce the ambient stress levels within the home.

Opana addiction afflicts the entire family and places everyone in peril. Opana addiction inflicts collateral damage to a large radius surrounding the addicted person, including his children, spouse, family members, friends and co-workers.

Opana addiction is a thief - it steals money from the family's grocery budget, rent and childcare. Opana addiction also steals time and compassion. A parent battling Opana addiction is unable to give his children the guidance, support and financial care they need because the addiction steals an ever-increasing share of his time and resources.

Opana addiction interferes with job performance and may result in lesser pay or job loss. Opana addiction may cause your loved one to lose the job your family depends on.

Opana addiction leads a person to associate with people he probably would have avoided in the past. Doctor shopping, filing phony prescriptions or other drug-seeking behaviors stop working after a while. Your loved one must now get his Opana from drug dealers. At first, he may keep his drug dealer at a safe distance from your family but as his disease gets worse, he drops his defenses and invites this criminal element into your home. This endangers everyone in the residence, including you.

Without a job, your family member may have to resort to crime to pay for Opana. Long-term criminal activity usually ends in arrest, jail time and conviction. The legal system is expensive. When the police arrest your loved one, you will need to hire a qualified lawyer, spend time away from work to attend court hearings and transport your family member to probation hearings. In the worst-case scenario, your family member will spend time in prison.

Opana addiction can also drive up the family's medical costs, especially if it results in overdose or an infectious disease commonly associated with drug use.

Addiction: What Parents Should Know

You should know that teenagers and young adults are abusing prescription painkillers more frequently than ever. Prescription drugs are widely available and there seems to be less of a social stigma attached to prescription drugs than to illegal ones.

In surveys, teenagers say they usually get opioids such as Opana free from the family medicine cabinet, from friends or relatives. Opioids are widely prescribed, and most families do not throw away old prescriptions just in case they need it to treat another illness.

Parents of teens or young adults should look for warning signs including:

  • Unusual loss of interest in things that once were important
  • Drop in academic or athletic performance
  • Loss of motivation or energy
  • Finds ways to sneak off
  • Money issues
  • Items missing from the home

Caring for a Family Member with an Addiction

Your family must work together to maintain a supportive network that helps the individual recover from his Opana addiction. Assign each member of the family a job appropriate for his age and abilities. For example, ask a grandparent to prepare meals, teach a younger child how to do some light housework and trust an older child with a license to run errands.

Open lines of communication so that the family can function as a team. This communication can happen between just two or three individuals, but it works best if the whole family shares ideas and viewpoints. Hold family meetings on a regular basis to discuss your loved one's progress and treatment options.

The person battling Opana addiction does not have to participate in family meetings at first - he may be resistant to talking about his illness in the beginning. He might even become angry when he learns his family wants to become involved in his Opana addiction. Fortunately, these feelings of anger and resentment typically fade as treatment restores his neurological function.

Opana addiction inflicts plenty of collateral damage on innocent bystanders but recovery affects your family in a positive way. Opana addiction treatment will bring your family closer together, just as any family challenge does. Getting your family to work as a team helps not only the individual facing Opana addiction, but the group effort benefits everyone within the family.

Your plays a critical role in your loved one's recovery from Opana addiction. Encourage your family members to look into treatment centers. It is common for a family member to have chosen the treatment facility the addicted individual eventually attends. Every person in the family should then encourage the addicted individual to seek and complete treatment.

The treatment and recovery experience works best when you help the individual to feel physically, emotionally and spiritually safe in his home environment. Remind yourself that Opana addiction is a disease and avoid the temptation to blame your loved one for his illness.

When to Suggest Treatment

It is possible to stop the progression of Opana addiction at any time. Like other medical conditions, recovery from addiction may be easier with early treatment, before the disease can make lasting changes to the nervous system.

Do not let your loved one hit rock bottom before encouraging her to seek treatment. The rock bottom of Opana addiction could include a lengthy prison sentence, disease, toxic overdose, divorce, unemployment, homelessness or even death. Each consequence of Opana addiction puts recovery another step further away.

Recovery often starts when the individual feels the full brunt of the problems her addiction causes. Frequently, caring family members try to cushion their loved one from the consequences of her Opana addiction. This allows the addictive behaviors to continue. It is important to know how to support your loved one without enabling her addiction. Family counseling can give you the skills you need to help the one you love without harming her.

Signs of Addiction

Opana addiction causes neurological changes that alter the way a person thinks, feels and behaves. Doctors use these cognitive, emotional and behavioral changes to diagnose a patient as having a Opana addiction.

Behavioral, Cognitive and Emotional Changes


If you are struggling with an Opana addiction, you will use this opioid excessively, frequently at higher doses and more often than you intend. You might say you want to cut down or stop completely, even while you are taking more Opana. You may try to quit Opana several times but have trouble staying away permanently.

Your Opana addiction causes you to spend a great deal of time looking for this opioid, getting high or recovering from drug abuse. Opana addiction takes time away from work, engaging in a relationship or taking care of a child.

Your Opana addiction drives you to continue abusing this drug, despite the terrible toll it takes on your life. Left untreated or poorly treated, Opana addiction will change the reward circuitry of your brain so that you eventually loses passion for everything you used to love. Soon, you only feel a sense of reward when you use Opana.


Opana addiction changes the way you think. If you suffer from Opana addiction, you are preoccupied with Opana - it is all you can think of. Your view of the relative benefits and risks associated with Opana shift so that you acknowledge only the positive aspects of Opana and none of the harm. You may blame other people or situations for your problems rather than attributing them to your Opana addiction.


Opana addiction changes the way you feel. An addicted person often expresses increased anxiety, unhappiness and emotional pain. Opana addiction often makes the world seem more stressful.

Opana addiction makes it hard for you to identify or express your feelings. Additionally, you may be unable to distinguish your emotions from your bodily sensations.

Symptoms of Addiction

Addiction manifests itself in a variety of physical and psychological symptoms. These symptoms can be obvious or subtle, and vary from person to person.

Physical Symptoms

While specialists normally describe Opana addiction as a behavioral problem, a person addicted to Opana does display certain physical symptoms.

Physical symptoms of drug addiction include:

  • Unexplained Weight Gain or Weight Loss
  • A Change in Sleep Patterns
  • Deteriorating Physical Appearance - Looks Sickly
  • Nagging Cough
  • Diminished Hygiene Care
  • Body or Clothing May Have an Unusual Odor
  • Bloodshot Eyes with Large or Small Pupils
  • Tremors
  • Slurred Speech

Psychological Symptoms

The psychological symptoms of Opana addiction can be difficult to recognize because this disease often separates the addicted individual from those people who know him best. Psychological symptoms of Opana addiction can perpetuate drug abuse and increase resistance to treatment. Left undiagnosed, untreated or poorly treated, psychological symptoms of Opana addiction may prohibit a successful recovery.

Psychological symptoms of addiction to opioids include:

  • Inability to Abstain Consistently
  • Impairment in Behavioral Control
  • Cravings for Drugs or Intense Reward Experiences
  • Diminished Capacity to Recognize Significant Personal or Relationship Problems
  • Dysfunctional Emotional Response

Gender Differences

According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, men were twice as likely to abuse illicit substances or be dependent on drugs such as heroin, cocaine or marijuana as women. In 2010, 5.9 percent of females admitted to using illicit drugs, as compared to 11.6 percent of males.

While fewer women abuse illegal drugs such cocaine or heroin, females are more apt to use prescription drugs, such as opioids, to get high or to treat a condition for which it was not prescribed. Females are also more likely to combine prescription drugs like opioids with alcohol, marijuana or other opioids.

Men abuse their drug of choice differently than women do. Men tend to get high in social settings, while women abuse drugs alone, in the privacy of their own homes. Women with substance abuse problems hold very few friendships, whereas addicted men have wide social circles. The way the two genders abuse drugs such as opioids could be because men feel comfortable getting high while women face strong social stigmas against drug use and addiction among females.

Men and women may come to opioids addiction differently. Men abuse drugs for recreational purposes while women often begin opioids addiction after using this medication as prescribed. For example, studies suggest physicians prescribe mood-altering drugs more frequently to female alcoholics than to male alcoholics because the healthcare providers attribute the cause of the female's condition to be rooted in depression, anxiety or some other emotional difficulty. 

Cause of Gender Differences

Opana addiction affects men and women of all races, economic and educational levels. While anyone can become addicted to Opana or other substances, scientific studies have shed light on some surprising gender differences when it comes to substance abuse, dependence and addiction.

A woman's Opana addiction or other substance abuse problems may have its roots in her early childhood. Addicted women often come from families where one or more relatives struggled with substance abuse problems or addictions. Addicted women sometimes report having to carry too much domestic responsibility as a child. These women also report a turbulent childhood home environment

Addicted women often believe a difficult relationship or traumatic event lead them to substance abuse and addiction. Women name genetics, family history or environmental stress responsible for their drug abuse problems.

Women with addictions are frequently in relationships with a partner who also has a substance abuse problem. A woman who shares a Opana addiction may feel like she is abandoning her partner, or that she is breaking some sort of bond between them. Abstaining from substance abuse and dealing with Opana addiction is difficult, especially if there is an abundance of available drugs in the home. A woman may rely on her addicted partner financially, and feel she will lose this financial support if she quits doing drugs.

Addicted females often have co-existing psychological problems such as a poor body image or eating disorders and are more likely to have attempted suicide. Women with opioids addiction report lower expectations for their lives. Women with addictions tend to have less education, fewer marketable skills and less job experience than males. 

Females seek out help more frequently than males do but females do not complete rehabilitation as often. Women face additional barriers to recovery, such as being able to afford quality treatment or finding childcare while the mother is in rehabilitation.

Treatment Options

Addiction causes "disability or premature death, especially when left untreated or treated inadequately," according to the American Society of Addictive Medicine. Long-term drug abuse increases your risk for contracting an infectious disease, such as HIV/AIDS or hepatitis C. According to the CDC, 27,000 people died in the United States from accidental drug overdose, about one person every 19 minutes. Since 2003, more people die from overdose of opioids such as Opana than from cocaine and heroin combined. For every unintentional overdose, nine people are admitted for substance abuse treatment.

Treatment for Opana addiction has two phases: detoxification and rehabilitation. Detoxification is the medical process of lowering Opana levels in your body. Detoxification treats opioid dependence, not Opana addiction.

Behavior modification addresses Opana addiction. Behavior modification teaches you how to live without Opana, and how to change the behaviors associated with Opana addiction. Rehabilitation restores the neurological function affected by Opana addiction.


You may be tempted to try self-detoxification, sometimes called "going cold turkey." Cold turkey refers to your skin will appear cold and clammy with goose bumps, much like a plucked bird. Your skin's appearance will return to normal after withdrawal symptoms fade.

During self-detoxification, you will experience several days of intense withdrawal symptoms and face an increased risk for suffering complications. One complication is aspiration, which vomiting then inhaling the stomach contents. Aspiration may cause in fluid in the lungs and lung infections. Excessive diarrhea or vomiting may result in dehydration when, left untreated, can cause electrolyte imbalances and other serious medical conditions.

The main complication of detoxification is relapse. Many people battling Opana addiction go through countless cycles of relapse and remission. Overpowering withdrawal symptoms and uncorrected addictive behaviors make it difficult to overcome Opana addiction without professional help.

Withdrawal symptoms, known in the medical world as opiate abstinence syndrome, occur several hours after your last dose of Opana.

Symptoms of Opana withdrawal include:

  • Abdominal Cramps
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Blurred Vision
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Sweating
  • Tremor
  • Vomiting

A person attempting self-detoxification can expect five or more days of physical withdrawal symptoms, with the worst symptoms occurring on or about the fourth day. Many people take another dose of Opana just to ease the discomfort and relapse to drug abuse.

Some people create treatment plans that include specific medicines to reduce individual withdrawal symptoms in hopes of improving their chances for success. One well-known remedy is The Thomas Recipe, which includes valium or some other benzodiazepine to calm the nerves and help with sleep. Imodium eases diarrhea while mineral supplements and hot baths relieve muscle aches.

On or about the fourth day, overwhelming fatigue sets it, making it nearly impossible to move around. L-Tyrosine with B6 provides a burst of energy. As symptoms fade, the individual weans himself from the valium or other psychoactive drug.

The medicines included in the Thomas Recipe address some withdrawal symptoms but the patient is still at significant risk for complications such as aspiration, dehydration and relapse. Returning to Opana addiction after even a short attempt at detoxification can end in toxic overdose. A person's tolerance to Opana drops throughout the detoxification process; as a result, he can overdose on a smaller amount of Opana than he used to take before experienced withdrawal symptoms.


Opioid overdose can cause death. If you think you or someone you know has taken too much Opana, seek emergency assistance immediately by going to the emergency room or calling an ambulance, whichever is fastest. If you need immediate help, contact your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222.

Symptoms of Opana overdose include:

  • Breathing that Stops
  • Cold, Clammy Skin
  • Confusion
  • Extreme Drowsiness
  • Fainting
  • Pinpoint Pupils
  • Shallow Breathing
  • Weak Pulse

Opana overdose requires immediate care. In the emergency department, doctors give you naloxone and other medications to reduce Opana to safe levels. The toxic effects of opioid overdose often outlast the benefits of naloxone, so you may need several doses of naloxone to keep opioids within safe levels.

Nurses establish an airway to help you breathe and monitor your vital signs. Nurses may pump your stomach or administer charcoal to absorb excess Opana. If necessary, nurses and doctors perform CPR or other procedures to save your life.

If you struggle with an Opana addiction but are in otherwise good physical condition, you could benefit from DRT, or Drug Replacement Therapy. DRT replaces Opana with methadone, Suboxone or buprenorphine. These drugs act similarly to opioids, so the patient does not experience withdrawal symptoms, but they do not get you high. This allows you to put off the detoxification stage while you begin the behavioral modification process. After you develop skills that allow you to live without Opana, you will wean yourself from the replacement drug or go through the detoxification process.

DRT allows people to work and live at home while they engaged in treatment. Opponents of DRT say it is merely trading an Opana addiction for a methadone addiction. Many people have trouble quitting the replacement drug. Harvard Medical School says that about one-quarter of methadone DRT patients eventually quit using drugs altogether while another 25 percent continues to take the replacement drug. About half of all DRT participants go on and off methadone for the rest of their lives.

DRT is just one kind of Medication-Assisted Treatment, or MAT. Medications reduce the overpowering symptoms of withdrawal, enabling the patient to tolerate the process long enough to successfully detoxify his body.

Rehabilitation professionals say that MAT is an important and effective treatment approach because it:

  • Improves Survival Rates
  • Increase Retention in Treatment
  • Decreases Illicit Opioid Use
  • Decreases The Risk for Hepatitis and HIV
  • Decreases Criminal Activities
  • Increases Employment
  • Improves Birth Outcomes for Pregnant Women Battling Addiction

Standard MAT requires an inpatient hospital or treatment center stay. During inpatient care, doctors give you naloxone and other medications to reduce Opana levels along with drugs to ease your withdrawal symptoms. While standard inpatient MAT relieves the strength and duration of your withdrawal symptoms a bit, you still face a lengthy, uncomfortable and demoralizing battle that leaves psychological scars that can interfere with your recovery.

Many experts consider rapid detox to be the most humane form of detoxification available today. Rapid detox quickly puts you in a good place to deal with your Opana addiction. During rapid detox, board certified anesthesiologists administer the standard detoxification and anti-withdrawal drugs alongside sedatives and anesthesia, so you doze in a restful "twilight sleep." When you awaken, you will have no recollection of the grueling detoxification process. Instead of a few days, you are ready for meaningful behavior modification in a few hours.

Medically assisted detoxification is only the first stage of treatment for Opana addiction and by itself does little to change long-term drug use or addictive behavior. Rehabilitation and behavior modification is required for the treatment of Opana addiction.


Because Opana addiction causes you to engage in certain behaviors such as craving and drug seeking, behavior modification and rehabilitation is an essential part of treatment. Without proper treatment, you are at high risk for returning to those behaviors associated with Opana addiction.

Each person experiences Opana addiction differently, therefore no single treatment is appropriate for everyone. There is a wide variety of treatment options available, from outpatient counseling centers to long-term, residential programs.

Opana addiction is a complex condition that can affects many aspects of your life. Seek out a program that fits your needs - treatment must be convenient and readily available so that it is easy for you to participate. It is vital that you remain in treatment long enough to restore some of the neurological function affected by Opana addiction.

Treatment should address the complexity of your illness, not just the behavioral aspects of your Opana addiction. If you are like many others, mental disorders, legal trouble, social problems or relationship issues compound your Opana addiction. Left untreated or poorly treated, the complex nature of Opana addiction increases your risk for relapse.

Your rehabilitation specialist will assess you for HIV/ AIDS, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis and other infectious diseases associated with Opana addiction. You may receive counseling to help you identify and change behaviors that increase your risk for getting or spreading infectious diseases.

You may engage in individual counseling, group therapy and other behavioral modification programs to treat your Opana addiction. Your rehabilitation professional will monitor your progress and amend your therapy so that your treatment always fits your needs.

Relapse is common when treating Opana addiction. Close monitoring by a professional reduces your risk for relapse.