Get E-Book on COVID-19

Addictions Data Verified

Opioid Addiction and Abuse

Written by
Dr. Ajay Singh
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Oct 14, 2017 and last reviewed on Dec 28, 2018   -  2 min read



Opioids have been used as pain relief medication for the past several centuries. But, in today’s age, apart from its medicinal use, they are also being taken recreationally, leading to rampant abuse and the growing menace of opioid addiction. This has severe implications on physical as well as psychological (mental) health.

Opioid Addiction and Abuse

Opioids are the derivatives of the plant Papaver somniferum, commonly known as the poppy husk. They are medically used as analgesics to relieve moderate to severe pain.

They Are Classified As

  1. Natural opioids: those which occur naturally such as Codeine, and Thebaine.
  2. Semisynthetic opioids: those which partly consists of naturally-occurring opioids such as Morphine, Oxymorphone, and Heroin.
  3. Synthetic opioids: those that are synthesized entirely in the laboratory and do not occur naturally, such as Tramadol, Fentanyl, and Dextropropoxyphene.

Mode of Administration

  1. Oral route (ingestion via mouth): for tablets and syrup.
  2. Inhalation: for vapors and smoke.
  3. Intravenous, intramuscular, and subcutaneous routes: for injections.

The Intoxicating Effects Include

  1. A sense of euphoria.
  2. Lightheadedness.
  3. Increased anger and irritability.
  4. Pain relief.
  5. Enhanced sexual prowess.

As per the latest reports, there has been a paradigm shift in the consumption pattern in terms of switching from naturally-occurring opioids to synthetic opioids consumption, which has lead to a significant rise in physical illnesses as well as psychiatric illnesses.

  1. Physical illnesses associated with opioid use are tuberculosis, cellulitis, abscess formation, pulmonary hypertension, HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), hepatitis C, oral thrush, jaundice, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and edema.
  2. Psychiatric illnesses associated with opioid use are anxiety disorder, depressive disorder, psychosis, bipolar disorder, sexual disorder, and sleep disorder.

Withdrawal Effects Include

  1. Body aches.
  2. Rhinorrhea (watering from the nose).
  3. Lacrimation (watering from the eyes).
  4. Sneezing.
  5. Goosebumps.
  6. Loose stools.
  7. Vomiting.
  8. Increased anger and irritability.
  9. Decreased sleep.
  10. Seizures.

Signs of Opioid Dependence

  1. The person has a persistent craving for opioids.
  2. He/she has difficulty in cutting down on the daily dose of opioids.
  3. A persistent increase in the quantity of opioids consumed, in order to feel their intoxicating effect.
  4. The appearance of withdrawal signs if the person does not consume opioids.
  5. Giving up other activities and neglecting one’s responsibilities to procure and consume opioids.
  6. Continuing with the drug abuse even after being made aware regarding its harmful physical and psychological effects by a healthcare professional.

A diagnosis of dependence can be made if any three of the above-mentioned symptoms are present together at any given point in the past one year.

Treatment Modalities

1. Pharmacological treatment: The pharmacological treatment consists of two phases, detoxification phase, and maintenance phase.

2. Non-pharmacological treatment: The non-pharmacological methods are used in conjunction with the pharmacological treatment to enhance the therapeutic regime. It comprises therapies such as the following.

  1. Motivation level assessment.
  2. Motivation enhancement therapy.
  3. Family therapy.
  4. Group therapy.
  5. Cognitive behavior therapy.
  6. Relapse prevention management.

For more information consult an addiction and substance abuse specialist online -->


This is a sponsored Ad. icliniq or icliniq doctors do not endorse the content in the Ad.

Last reviewed at:
28 Dec 2018  -  2 min read


Dr. Ajay Singh

Dr. Ajay Singh

MBBS, MD (Psychiatry)

Consult by PhoneConsult by Phone Video ChatVideo Chat


Comprehensive Medical Second Opinion.Submit your Case

Related Questions & Answers

Stress in a Broad Perspective - More Than Merely a Mental Illness!!

Article Overview: Stress is not always due to the mental (psychiatric) illnesses. Physical wellness also counts for stress levels in modern life. Read Article

Dr. Muhammad M. Hanif Md.
Internal Medicine Physician

      What Do You Think Is Stress in Your Daily Life? Stress is not just a mental illness. It is not merely a disease of your brain and not always mean that you have a serious psychiatric disorder. It is a multi-factorial disorder including general physical wellness, issues related t...  Read Article

What precautions need to be taken to prevent HIV and AIDS?

Query: Hello doctor, What are the precautions that need to be taken to avoid HIV and AIDS?  Read Full »

Is it safe to exercise if I do not have structural heart problems?

Query: Hello doctor, I have PVC and bigeminy. I have had tests done and I do not have structural heart problems. Are alcohol and exercise harmful in case of PVC and bigeminy? Also, is it absolutely safe to exercise, if I have PVC and bigeminy during exercise and afterward as well? I take Thyroxin, bu...  Read Full »

Popular Articles Most Popular Articles

Do you have a question on ?

Ask a Doctor Online

* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Disclaimer: All health articles published on this website is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical diagnosis, advice or treatment by a trained physician. Seek the advice from your physician or other qualified health-care providers with questions you may have regarding your symptoms and medical condition for a complete medical diagnosis. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice because of something you have read on this website.