In the state of Kentucky, it is estimated that 1 in 10 people struggle with some form of opioid addiction. In recent years, this number has only continued to rise, as more and more individuals find themselves caught in the throes of this dangerous addiction.
Unfortunately, due to a variety of socio-economic factors, Kentucky has been hit particularly hard by the opioid epidemic. Treatment for those suffering from addiction is essential, but often difficult to come by.
This blog post will explore the background of the issue and what needs to be done in order to provide better care for those affected by addiction in Kentucky.
Defining Opioids and Addiction
Opioids are a class of drugs that interact with the opioid receptors in the body, giving it a feeling of euphoria. These drugs can be derived from natural sources such as opium or synthetics like fentanyl and are commonly prescribed for pain management.
Unfortunately, this can result in addiction or physical dependence on opioids with signs such as an increased tolerance or an inability to stop using. The long-term use of these drugs can lead to respiratory depression and other severe medical issues if not properly treated.
How Addictive Are Opioids?
Opioids can have addictive effects on the brain due to the dopamine released when opioids are taken. Over time, repeated opioid usage results in changes to the neurotransmitter pathways within the reward centers of the brain leading to physical dependence.
The pleasure signals caused by opioids activate these circuits, which lead individuals to compulsively seek out more drugs even in the face of significant harm. Addiction further increases when an individual seeks out opioids to relieve withdrawal symptoms.
This type of behavior is how opioids become increasingly addictive over time without increasing doses.
Consequences of Opioid Addiction
Opioid addiction has resulted in an alarming number of devastating consequences for individuals and communities in Kentucky. The opioid crisis has been linked to:
- Respiratory problems, such as difficulty breathing and slowed breathing.
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as constipation, diarrhea, and nausea
- Cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat
- Neurological problems, such as confusion, memory loss, and sleep disorders
- Mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and paranoia
- Immunological problems, such as increased susceptibility to infection
Moreover, the economic cost associated with opioid addiction is staggering. Treatment costs alone can be very expensive and further add to the strain on public resources. It’s also important to consider other hidden costs related to compounded losses of family members affected by addiction, impacts on the child welfare system as well as the emotional burden of coping with the frightening reality of addiction-related deaths due to overdose or suicide.
As a result of these consequential effects, it is evident that combatting opioid addiction in Kentucky requires serious measures beyond treating individual cases.
In Kentucky, individuals struggling with opioid addiction have access to a range of treatment options. Treatment plans may include the following:
- Medication-assisted therapy (MAT)
- Outpatient behavioral counseling
- Self-management programs which focus on building skills and problem-solving
- Stress management
In addition to these evidence-based approaches, case management is available to assist with making appointments, as well as provide resources for patients’ physical and mental health needs.
All of these treatment options are designed to be provided in combination for the best possible outcomes. By providing people with targeted support services and caring professionals, those who suffer from addiction can start down a path that leads to long-term recovery from opioids.
How to Get Help if You or Someone You Know Is Addicted to Opioids
If you or someone you know is struggling with opioid addiction, Robert Alexander Center for Recovery in Kentucky can provide help. Offering both short and long-term treatment programs, we strive to give individuals the necessary tools to overcome their addiction.
This includes providing medical services, therapeutic support services, and educational opportunities. They also work to address challenges that occur after patients leave the program, connecting them to other resources to ensure a successful recovery.
Robert Alexander Center for Recovery is ready and willing to help those who are struggling with opioid addiction. With experienced support teams, healing resources, and long-term recovery plans, you can find the support that you need as you make your way through this challenging time. Don’t hesitate to reach out today to confront your opioid addiction issues head-on!