Opiate addiction is an epidemic across the United States and around the globe. It is a problem that is felt in every town throughout America, from big cities to small farm communities. Addicts usually starts off with small doses of the painkiller drugs they use. It makes the user feel euphoria that they have never experienced. It is almost as if everything in their life is better. You can put a horrible task in front of you but when you take the drug, the task doesn't seem that bad. This is why the drug latches it's claws onto the user. That feeling that you get the first time will never be felt again. This is known as “chasing the dragon.” Over time, if the abuser uses every day, the drug will begin to alter the way the brain functions. The brain stops producing some chemicals and overproduces others. This sends the brain into a chemical in-balance.
Once an abuser has been using for more than a month, the functions of their body and brain have been changed. Their body is no longer functioning normally and to function without getting horribly sick, you must take more of the drug. Our bodies are always seeking a stage of normalcy. This is why our body temperature stays at 98.6 degrees. When an addict does not use their drug, this normalcy goes out the window. The withdrawal symptoms begin very rapidly. Hot and cold sweats along with body aches, agitation, anxiety, insomnia and depression begin. Many recovering addicts explain withdrawal symptoms as having the flu, but multiplied by a hundred. It is an almost unbearable feeling. When one has the flu, they usually are not battling extreme depression, agitation, and anxiety on top of it. The addict feels like nothing is worth living for and all they can think about is their drug. The brain tries to convince them to go get more. The scary thing about withdrawal is that it can be stopped in minutes. All the addict needs to do is take one pill or one bag of heroin and the withdrawal symptoms go away almost immediately.
When an addict has reached the point where they can no longer function without the drug, they continue to use in order to feel “normal". They are no longer chasing the high that they once loved so much. They are now taking the drugs to function. When addicts use for a prolonged period of time, they no longer remember what a natural healthy normal feels like. That natural normal is never achieved with using drugs. It amazes those in recovery how great normal feels like...it is better than any day using the drug. This is what is so mind-boggling about using opiates. You chase the high you enjoyed in the beginning, but that high no longer exists.
Addicts strive to feel normal. They do everything in their power to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Opiates make an addict act compulsively to avoid the sickness and this compulsive behavior is what causes addicts to do erratic things like commit crimes. Many recovering opiate addicts refer to themselves and their actions while using as acting like a monster. They do things they never would have dreamed of when they were clean. If you or someone you know is addicted to opiates, seek professional help immediately.