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Opioid Dependence

Suzanna Dotson, MD -  - Family Medicine & Addiction Medicine

Mind, Body & Spirit Med Center

Suzanna Dotson, MD

Family Medicine & Addiction Medicine located in Pembroke Pines, FL

In a recent study, Blue Cross Blue Shield discovered that from 2010 to 2016, the number of people diagnosed with an opioid addiction climbed 493%. That included both legal prescription drugs like oxycodone and hydrocodone, as well as illegal drugs. If you think you or a loved one might be suffering from an opioid addiction and live around Pembroke Pines, Florida, Dr. Suzanna Dotson at Mind, Body & Spirit Med Center can help. She compassionately treats patients suffering from addiction, helping them regain control of their lives. Call today or schedule an appointment online.

Opioid Dependence Q & A

What are opioids?

Opioids are a type of medicine that help relieve pain. Acting on your nervous system, they work to reduce the amount of pain signals your body sends to your brain. Opioids also change how your brain responds to pain.

What are opioids used for?

Opioids can be administered as tablets, capsules, or in liquid form. Doctors most often prescribe opioids to relieve pain from injuries or surgeries.

Opioids are usually safe when you use them correctly, but people who do not follow their doctor’s instructions, and people who misuse opioids, can become addicted.

What causes opioid addiction?

Opioid drugs alter your brain by creating artificial endorphins. Not only do the endorphins help to block your pain, but they make you experience a sense of euphoria. Your brain starts relying on these artificial endorphins when you overuse the opioids, causing it to stop producing its endorphins. The longer you use opioids, the more likely this is to happen.

What are the symptoms of opioid addiction?

The signs and symptoms of substance abuse can be physical, behavioral, or psychological. If you can't stop using the substance and find yourself taking more than the recommended dosage amount, you may be suffering from an addiction. Other signs and symptoms of opioid abuse include:

  • Poor coordination
  • Drowsiness and abnormal sleeping patterns
  • Shallow or slow breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Physical agitation
  • Poor decision-making
  • Slurred speech
  • Mood swings and euphoria (feeling high)
  • Irritability and anxiety attacks
  • Depression and lowered motivation

How can you treat opioid addiction?

The first step toward recovery involves recognizing that you may have an unhealthy dependency on opioids. Dr. Dotson can then create a personalized treatment plan to wean you off the drug.

The primary goal of treatment is to help you stop using the drug. Dr. Dotson may prescribe certain medicines to help relieve your withdrawal symptoms and control your cravings. Such medicines include methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone.

After the detox period, behavioral treatments can help you learn how to manage depression. These treatments can also help you avoid opioids, deal with cravings, and heal damaged relationships.

If you think you or a loved one may be addicted to opioids, there are options to help you. Dr. Dotson and her team at Mind, Body & Spirit Med Center take a personalized approach to help you regain control of your life. Call today or schedule an appointment online.