What is Our Best Chance at Fighting Opiate Addiction?

What is Our Best Chance at Fighting Opiate Addiction?


Your best chance at fighting an opiate addiction is to surrender and call a treatment center to get help for your problem.

In order to do this you are going to have to admit to yourself that your master plan for yourself is no longer working. Meaning that the way that you live your life has failed you, and you need to find a new way to live.

When an addict first discovers their drug of choice it is like a huge light bulb turning on over their head–suddenly everything makes sense in their world because the drug fixes every problem that they have.

We cannot deny this basic truth–drugs are a perfect solution to every problem that the struggling addict has in their life at the moment that they discover that drug. This is why they become an addict! Of course the drug is a perfect solution for them.

For example, when I started drinking alcohol, it perfectly fixed the parts of my personality that I felt were holding me back. I truly believed that my drug of choice made me into a better version of myself. And the truth is that, for a brief period of time, this was absolutely true. Of course it worked perfectly, of course it fixed my personality perfectly–that’s why I became addicted to it!

Of course, at some point, that stopped being true. At some point, the alcohol was no longer “fixing” my personality, because it essentially turned me into a monster. At some point, my drug of choice stopped doing what I really wanted it to do for me, and it was no longer any fun to be drunk all the time. Being intoxicated became the new normal, and being without the booze just made me miserable. And I even got to the point where being on the booze had me miserable as well. I couldn’t win.

Such it is with opiate addiction. The addict will start out loving the drug because it actually will work perfectly for them. Over time they will build a tolerance and eventually being high on opiates all the time will become the new normal for them. Furthermore, the opiate addict has a second problem going on that has to do with their body’s physiology.

Every human body has the ability to give itself a boost of dopamine in order to make it through fight or flight situations and overcome the stress of various occurrences. Our dopamine system is part of our survival mechanisms. In order for this system to even exist in the human body, we have to have a baseline amount of dopamine always in our system, which our body regulates for us. In other words, every human body has a tiny amount of dopamine slowly being drip fed into their brain in order to make them feel normal. When they get into an emergency situation, their body can deliver a little extra dopamine in order to help them to get through a stressful situation. That is how our body is wired for survival.

When you abuse opiates every day, you screw this system up in a very profound way. Essentially what happens over time is that your body eventually says “Hey what a second, this person is constantly putting opiates into their system and giving us all of this extra dopamine, and therefore my human body no longer needs to produce that baseline amount that we normally make every day.” And at that point the body shuts off production of its own natural dopamine, because it is already being artificially provided.

This is fine so long as the opiate addict continues to abuse opiates every day. The problem comes in when they land in jail, or run out of drugs, or run out of money, or whatever the case may be. That is when full blown withdrawal kicks in and produces flu-like symptoms for the struggling drug addict. These symptoms can be so uncomfortable and so miserable that the addict will do nearly anything in order to get more opiates.

So the only real option at this point is to either get more opiates or go to rehab. If the addict agrees to go to treatment then they can detoxify completely from the drugs and their body will, at some point, resume production of its own natural dopamine. This is why some people need MAT, or medication assisted treatment, in order to overcome opiate addiction. Their body has been addicted to opiates for so long that even after they fully detoxify from the drugs their body is reluctant to “turn back on the natural dopamine factory,” and therefore they need a bit of chemical help in order to feel decent.

So that is one of the things that we can do in order to combat opiate addiction–explore new treatment methods such as MAT and various medications that may be able to help people who would otherwise relapse quickly after detoxifying their systems.

There are other things that we might be able to do in the battle against opiates, such as incentivizing the drug companies to research and develop safer alternatives to addictive painkiller drugs. And we might be able to make a dent in the rate of new users by increasing our prevention efforts early on in the cycle. We might also be able to educate doctors in such a way that they only use opiate based medications as a last resort, after exhausting physical therapy, alternative measures such as massage, and non addictive drugs.

But even after all of that, we are still going to find certain individuals in this world who become addicted to opiate based substances. And for those people, the quest to recovery is a personal one in which they must first surrender and then accept a new way of life. We can generally only doing that by humbling ourselves and then taking advice from other people. We have tried, as addicts, to take our own advice for far too long, and we have to finally admit at some point that this has not worked well for us.

Breaking through denial happens when the addict realizes that they are not happy while taking their own advice. So the decision can then be made to get out of their own way and take someone else’s advice for a while.

Therefore your best chance at beating an opiate addiction is to ask for help, follow the advice that you are given, and to get out of your own way. Doing this is how the individual addict can best overcome their dependence on opiates. As a whole, we need to educate people about the option of going to inpatient treatment in order to get help for their dependency.