Addiction and dependency are two separate issues, though many people use the terms interchangeably. When it comes to opiates, it's possible that a person may have a physical dependence that doesn't progress to addiction. Both are serious problems and may require professional assistance to get through them.
Knowing the Difference: Opiate Dependence and Opiate Addiction
People who take opiates regularly for a medical condition will likely develop some degree of physical dependency. This means that they can't simply stop taking the opiates without developing opiate withdrawal. If a patient will be on opiates for a chronic condition, doctors may decide to switch medications altogether or adjust the dosage. People who become dependent but only need opiates for the short term may need opiate treatment to assist in the withdrawal period.
Opiate addiction includes the presence of both a physical and psychological dependence. Although it is possible that people taking opiates for medical reasons may become addicted, most people who develop this have misused or abused the drug in some way.
Opiate Risks Can Be Reduced By Practicing Safe Use
Opiate withdrawal can be both dangerous and painful. This is especially true for those folks who abuse opiates or use them in high dosages. Powerful drugs made from opiates include OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. These drugs are called opioids and also have a high rate of abuse and addiction associated with them.
Opiates and opioids should be used only by people who have a legitimate prescription. This doesn't mean that these folks will avoid problems with dependency and addiction, but they have less of a chance for risk. People who take opiates for non-medical reasons (recreational use) put themselves at risk for abuse, dependence, addiction and overdose.
Opiate Treatment May Be Necessary To Detox Safely
The bottom line is that everyone needs to be careful when taking opiates or opioids. They can be taken safely and are often a very effective way to manage pain. But no one can ignore the risks. Opiate addiction is very serious and often requires professional opiate detox so that people are safe.
Dependence and addiction can be treated with various programs and treatments. These include detox, rehab, rapid opiate detox and opiate replacement therapy. Each of these has its own success rate so patients should thoroughly explore program options.
Opiate dependence and addiction have taken a toll on our society. You can protect yourself by staying informed about opiate prescription painkillers. Safe use can also help patients to avoid medical risks.