Recognizing that you have a problem with opiate dependence is a step in the right direction. The problem of opiate dependence has two facets – the physical dependency that is possible, as well as the psychological one.
There is a difference between dependence and addiction although the two terms are often used in a general sense. Physical opiate dependence occurs when a person has taken a regular dose of opiates over a prolonged period. The body becomes used to having the medication (tolerance) and responds if it's taken away. This means that a physical dependency can lead to physical symptoms of withdrawal.
Knowing The Difference
Many people can take opiates such as Vicodin and Percocet without incident, but when treatment with these medications is ongoing, they will likely be physically dependent. Doctors can remedy this problem by changing the dosage or weaning the patient and prescribing another drug.
Physical dependence combined with psychological dependence means that a person has become opiate addicted. This is of bigger concern because this problem almost always indicates some level of misuse or abuse. People who take prescription painkillers as directed, such as OxyContin, usually do so safely.
What Can Be Done To Address Opiate Dependence?
Opiate abuse is a very serious issue and can lead not only to addiction, but to overdose as well. Breaking the cycle of addiction is hard because opiate withdrawal can be especially painful. The fear of having to face withdrawal often keeps many people addicted to opiates.
Being dependent upon opiates doesn't mean the end of the world. If there has been progression in this condition or if you are beginning to abuse your medication, it's best to seek professional opiate treatment as soon as possible.
This can include opiate detox, opiate rehab or rapid opiate detox. Detox combined with some form of therapy can help patients to break their reliance on opiates and live a more rewarding life. For patients with chronic pain, there are other considerations to be made. If opiate use has progressed to dependency or addiction, an addiction and/or pain specialist can help to make the adjustments necessary to break the dependence and manage the pain.