The opioid drug category might cause some confusion for people. The reason is that some opioids are natural, but others are semi-synthetic or completely synthetic. One consistent attribute among them, however, is that they're all addictive. Although, some people might argue that synthetic opioid addiction is the worst.
What Are Synthetic Opioids?
The term "synthetic opioid" refers to human-made substances that have a similar chemical structure to opiates. On the contrary, opiates are completely natural, and semi-synthetic opioids contain some natural opium compounds.
Pharmaceutical and secret underground laboratories make these drugs with chemical compounds. Underground labs may also press synthetic opioids into pills to sell as fake painkillers. It's not unheard of for them to add the chemicals into cocaine and heroin too.
Common Synthetic Opioid Drugs
Fentanyl is the most common synthetic opioid, and it's 50 to 100 times as potent as morphine. While less common, carfentanil is a more potent analog of fentanyl. Tramadol is also common, although it's not as strong. Physicians may use any of these to treat moderate to chronic pain.
It surprises some people to learn that methadone is a synthetic opioid too. The reason is that rehab centers use it to treat opioid addiction. With proper dosing and supervision, however, the risk for synthetic opioid addiction from methadone is low. Other drug examples include:
- Acetyl fentanyl
How Synthetic Opioid Addiction Develops
In general, all opioids act on the central nervous system to decrease pain. They have a similar structure to endorphins, which the brain naturally makes to ease stress or pain. To do that, they attach to opioid receptors that interrupt the transmission of pain signals.
However, this process is also the reason why synthetic opioid addiction occurs. It floods the brain with dopamine, which stimulates the reward system. Because of that, the body thinks that taking opioids is pleasurable and wants more.
After repeat opioid abuse, a tolerance can develop that requires people to take greater amounts to achieve the desired effects. Then, their brains become reliant on the overload of dopamine to function as normal. If they stop using and the dopamine level drops, they'll likely experience withdrawal symptoms. Anxiety, diarrhea, and muscle cramps are common during withdrawal.
The Effects of Synthetic Opioid Abuse
Along with tolerance and withdrawal, synthetic opioid addiction has many signs and symptoms. Mentally, it can cause euphoria, delirium, mood swings, reduced consciousness, depression, psychosis, and uncontrolled cravings.
Physically, it can cause headaches, changes in body temperature, shallow breathing, and vomiting. Slowed heartbeat, constipation, low blood pressure, constricted pupils, and bluish lips or fingertips are symptoms too. With ongoing opioid abuse, some people's immune systems become weak, which makes them susceptible to diseases.
In addition, loved ones might recognize opioid addiction in those with unexpected financial trouble or lack of inhibitions. Stealing pills from loved ones and doctor shopping for more opioids are signs as well.
Overcome Synthetic Opioids at Spring Gardens Recovery
Do you have a substance use problem with synthetic opioids? Whether it started with a prescription or recreational use, it's possible to overcome it. Spring Gardens Recovery can provide the help that you need.
At our facility, we like to begin treatment with medical detox and addiction education. Our team even offers gender-specific detox programs. Then, we can begin your residential or outpatient treatment. Some of the services that we provide include:
Don't hesitate to get the synthetic opioid addiction treatment that you need. Experience first hand how Spring Gardens Recovery can lead you to sobriety. Learn more about our facility by calling 866-244-9556.