Most come to opiate addiction in the form of heroin by way of prescription medications. Recent articles have exposed that many of the leading pharmaceutical brands relied upon for pain long lasting pain relief don’t live up to their advertisements. Twelve hour dose medications for pain only last a fraction of that time.
Becoming Addicted to Opiates
Opiate painkillers work by interacting with the brain’s natural opioid receptors. In the case of physical injury or trauma, the brain’s opioid receptors get blocked. As a result, pain is inhibited as the heart reduces its blood pressure and creates a sensation of warmth. Opiate drugs immediately rush to these receptor sites stimulation the production of natural opioids. Receiving higher quantities of the relaxing stimuli, an injured body releases pain.
Opioids are not the only brain components activated in the opiate process. A neurotransmitter called dopamine is responsible for how the brain receives and understands pleasure. Opiates have a euphoric character when they are abused in high quantities, due to the hyperproduction of dopamine.
Combining both dopamine and the opioid receptors, the brain develops a pattern that is highly enjoyable. Especially when compared to feelings of pain it is experiencing, the effects of opiate drugs become preferable. Quickly, the brain makes this known. Dopamine interacts with glutamate, a channel in the brain that dictates memory. Connecting the dots between opioid based stimulus and pleasure, glutamate makes record and tells the brain that more of the opiate should be consumed. Simultaneously, the brain is losing its marvel at what the drug can produce. More and more of the drug is needed because the brain wants more of the sensations but also requires more of the drug to obtain any sensation at all.
Overtime, the drugs lose their effect entirely and the user can hardly feel. Though the drugs barely work anymore, the user continues to search for the pleasure and relaxation caused by opiate drugs. This is exactly the point when a pain pill addict might search for an equal choice in heroin use.