By: Shannon Persad
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Tolerance, Dependence, and Addiction Featuring Opioid Prescriptions
When it comes to addiction, sometimes it isn’t so clear cut. Is a person dependent on the drug? Did they become tolerant? Knowing the true cause of abusing drugs can help someone get the proper help they need.
Opioid prescriptions have been going down in recent years, with the prescription rate decreasing every year. Thanks to monitoring programs, abuse isn’t so easy, and overprescribing by doctors has reduced.
However, much of the nation still has issues with opioid prescriptions. The CDC revealed the opioid crisis to be in three waves, where we are currently in the third wave. The first wave begins with opioid prescriptions, then heroin, then fentanyl, and other synthetic substitutes.
Read more about the differences between opioid prescription tolerance, dependence, and addiction.
Are You Tolerant, Dependent, or Addicted?
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA):
- “Long-term use of prescription opioids, even as prescribed by a doctor, can cause some people to develop a tolerance, which means that they need higher and/or more frequent doses of the drug to get the desired effects.
- Drug dependence occurs with repeated use, causing the neurons to adapt so they only function normally in the presence of the drug. The absence of the drug causes several physiological reactions, ranging from mild in the case of caffeine, to potentially life-threatening, such as with heroin. Some chronic pain patients are dependent on opioids and require medical support to stop taking the drug.
- Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive, or uncontrollable, drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences and long-lasting changes in the brain. The changes can result in harmful behaviors by those who misuse drugs, whether prescription or illicit drugs. “
Whether you’re tolerant, dependent, or addicted—it’s important to get the help you deserve.