Opiates addiction

Opiates are a class of pain-relieving drugs which contain compounds found naturally in the opium poppy plant. This substance can be found in many over-the-counter medications and is prescribed to treat moderate to severe pain. However, the benefits of inducing pleasure and significantly reducing discomfort make opiates extremely addictive.

Opiate addiction is an ever-growing problem, with many users falling victim to its dangerous consequences. In fact, almost half of all drug poisoning deaths in 2020 involved an opiate. With such a high level of risk, it is essential that if you are concerned about your opiate use, you seek immediate support.


Why are opiates addictive?

In addition to their properties as an anaesthetic, some of the sensations induced by opiates can lead users to become dependent on the drug, taking the substance far longer than approved by the prescribing doctor.

Opiates can be so addictive because of the way they work in the brain. By triggering a release of endorphins, these chemicals help to relieve pain naturally, repressing pain perception in the body and boosting more pleasurable sensations. Some users have described their experiences with opiates as euphoric, with the drug improving their overall mood and relaxing them.

However, as these drugs act strongly on the brain’s pleasure centres, before long, those who abuse the drug will feel driven to take more of it in shorter intervals to achieve that same initial feeling. This is how opiate addiction develops.

Am I addicted to opiates?

Sometimes it can be difficult to admit that your opiate use has developed into an addiction, as the condition will present itself differently from person to person. However, if you feel that any of these below statements apply to you, this may indicate you are suffering from addiction to opiates.

Some classic signs of opiate addiction can include:

  • Regularly taking the drug in a way not approved by the doctor
  • Seeking the same medication from multiple physicians
  • Heightened tolerance to the drug
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Stealing from loved ones to fund your drug use
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed

If you have been abusing opiates, some of the short-term symptoms associated with the substance include:

  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Significant changes to mood


Myths about opiate addiction

I can’t get addicted if my doctor prescribes me opiates…
FALSE. Unfortunately, this misconception often prevents individuals from seeking out the crucial support that they need to overcome their addictions. However, just because opiates can be authorised by medical professionals, this by no means indicates that they are not addictive. In fact, because of the drug’s ability to bind to opioid receptors in the brain, makes them a very powerful, but very addictive medication. Therefore, you should always seek support for opiate addiction right away if you believe that your habit is verging on a dependence.
Opiate addiction is just a weakness in character…
FALSE. For those who have not experienced addiction first-hand, it might seem difficult to comprehend why someone would keep abusing substances like opiates if they are causing harm to their health and wellbeing. However, opiate addiction is a condition that alters brain chemistry, leaving the individual compelled to keep taking the substance, whatever these consequences might be. Therefore, simply referring to addiction as a ‘weakness’ takes away from the realities of this affliction, and the level of strength that those suffering have had to demonstrate over the course of their personal recovery journeys.
My opiate use is under control, so I am not addicted…
FALSE. Each person’s experience with opiate addiction will be unique and specific to them. For example, some people might be functional in an active opiate addiction, maintaining professional and social responsibilities whilst misusing the drug. However, whether you believe your opiate use to be ‘controlled’ or not, if you are taking the drug in a way not recommended by the prescribing doctor this is still very dangerous and a cause for concern.

Risks associated with opiate addiction

There are a number of risks associated with chronic opiate use; therefore, it is vital that you seek treatment as soon as possible to protect your welfare. Some of these risks include:

Physical side-effects…

Studies show that chronic opiate abuse can lead to significant declines in health-related quality of life, and it is possible for a number of physical side effects to manifest following continued use. Some of these include:

  • Serious fractures
  • Bowel obstruction
  • Breathing problems

Strained relationships…

When people become addicted to a habit-forming substance, this can make it particularly difficult for them to see things as clearly as they once did. Things in life that were important, such as relationships, can fall by the wayside in favour of opiates. Oftentimes, this can prove too difficult for loved ones to witness, and watching this illness unfold from such an intimate setting cause irreversible damage to a relationship. This is why it is essential to seek the help that you need as soon as possible to begin rebuilding your life as it was before opiate addiction took hold.



At high doses, opiate consumption can decrease both breathing and heart rate to dangerously low levels, which, in some circumstances, can result in death. An overdose will usually occur by taking too much of the substance, and those struggling with opiate addiction are likely to abuse more and more of the substance to achieve the same effect. Therefore, if you are taking opiates in a way not recommended by your doctor, it is essential that you seek support to come off opiates.

Can I overcome opiate addiction?

Opiate addiction can feel like a tremendously difficult illness to overcome, especially without the proper help and support to begin coming off the substance. Fortunately, however, there are a number of different programmes out there that can help you overcome your reliance once and for all.

It is widely understood that opiate rehab is the most effective option for addiction to opiates. Here at Primrose Lodge, our holistic combination of medically assisted opiate detox, and variety of therapeutic activities will enable you to address both the psychological and physical aspects of your addiction in a safe, nurturing space.

Types of opiate addiction we treat

At Primrose Lodge, we provide addiction treatment for a number of opiates, including:

Reach out today

If you are struggling with opiate addiction, we at Primrose Lodge would like to assure you that there is help available, and you are not alone. With a fantastic team of dedicated staff, you will be in the best of care as you start on your journey to recovery. If you are ready to take this vital first step, our expertise can be at your disposal in only a few moments. Opiate addiction can be a terrible affliction, placing a huge strain on you and your loved ones. However, by engaging with our intensive support, you can begin to seek freedom, free from the binds of addiction.

If you would like any more information about opiate addiction, do not hesitate to contact us right away.

Frequently asked questions

What are the most abused opiates?
Aside from heroin, prescription opiates are the most commonly abused opiates. Drugs like oxycontin, Vicodin, codeine, fentanyl and morphine are all frequently abused and pose high risk of addiction.
Can you overdose on opiates?
Opiates can be extremely dangerous when abused and sadly, an overdose can happen. In fact, fatal overdose from opiates have increased over the past fifteen years. This is why it’s imperative you seek help and support for opiate addiction straight away.
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Who am I contacting?

Calls and contact requests are answered by admissions at

UK Addiction Treatment Group.

We look forward to helping you take your first step.

0203 553 9263