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What is opioid dependence/addiction?
Taking strong opioid painkillers, in large doses, for an extended period of time, can cause physical dependence in humans.
This means when the medication is discontinued abruptly, withdrawal symptoms occur. This is normal physiology and does not require addiction treatment.
However, if an uncontrollable compulsion develops and is accompanied by an increased quantity of drug to achieve the same effect, and opioid use continues despite negative consequences, such as loss of a job, then these conditions may be considered addiction and may require treatment.
Opioid addiction is a brain disease
Opioid addiction is a treatable chronic brain disease precipitated by fundamental, long-term, changes to the structure and functioning of this organ. Once someone becomes addicted, areas of the brain are altered from the normal healthy state. This is why addiction is classified as a disease. These are physical changes to the brain ...