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Opioid Addiction Terms To Know

You may be suffering from addiction or know someone who does. You may now be entering a new world of addiction recovery that you know nothing about. By knowing specific terms in relation to addiction recovery, you will understand these terms when spoken to by a medical professional at a rehab center or your therapist.


An agonist is a chemical that binds to a receptor in the brain which is what is responsible for producing a biological response. The drugs that lead to addiction and the medications used for addiction recovery affect the opioid receptors in the brain.


An antagonist may seem like the villain of the story when it is actually the hero. Its job is to block opioids from the brain by attaching to the opioid receptors without activation. All of the mood-altering effects that drugs can cause to you are stopped because of antagonists by blocking agonists from opioid receptors. Examples include naltrexone and naloxone. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This therapy changes the way you think by challenging negative thoughts, improving how you regulate emotions, and help you to find healthy ways to cope. 


Dependence is when the body starts to get used to having this particular drug constantly in your system that it adapts to it. When you stop taking that drug, uncomfortable physical symptoms occur. Dependence is different than addiction in that a dependence on something will not always bring serious negative consequences to you such as having a dependence to caffeine.


Detoxification is the process where you manage your severe withdrawal symptoms in a short-term, supervised setting. It is said that if you detox without medication-assisted treatment, this will increase your chance of relapse.


An illicit drug is when the drug is illegal or against the law. Examples include heroin, marijuana, and meth. While the decision to take an illicit drug for the first time is voluntary, an unexpected addiction can make it seem like it is impossible to stop. Treatment at an in-patient rehab center is best option to stop in order to learn healthy and productive coping skills to maintain sobriety and achieve a happy life.

Motivational Enhancement Therapy

Also known as motivational interviewing, this form of therapy encourages positive behavior to better help people explore their own feelings. You learn to develop empathy to learn how your actions affect others. You also learn to better extinguish reality from fiction in understanding the seriousness of your problem compared to thinking that it is no big deal. This therapy also teaches you to have a positive response on this therapy, realizing how their behaviors are impacting your goals and relationships, and believing in your ability to achieve your goals.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

This condition occurs where drugs that the mother takes passes onto the fetus during pregnancy. This will cause the baby to become drug dependent and experience withdrawal symptoms after birth. This will not mean that a baby will be born addicted to drugs. Neonatal abstinence syndrome can be treated as well as prevented if mothers decide to treat their addiction before and during pregnancy.


While originally derived from the opium poppy, opiates are synthetically made. Opiates can go from legal drugs like fentanyl, codeine, and morphine to illegal drugs like heroin and opium. These drugs are depressants that affect the brain’s pleasure systems and affects the brain’s ability to take in pain. Because of their intensely calming effects, these painkillers have high rates of abuse that lead to addiction. 

Substance Use Disorder

Substance use disorder is when substance use continues to happen to you despite the negative consequences that come as a result. It can happen as a result of a person’s genes, the reaction of the drug, peer pressure, feeling emotional distress, mental illness, or environmental factors. There are several stage in substance use disorder such as experimenting, regular use, the negative consequences, and addiction. While substance abuse disorder may not be easy to treat, it is possible when you are in the good hands of trained professionals and you have a strong support group.


Tapering is when you gradually decrease the amount of medication you take instead of stopping it cold turkey. If you are feeling dependence on a drug but you know the dangers of stopping it completely, a slow reduction in dosage over a long period of time can decrease withdrawal symptoms.


It is possible that when you have taken a particular drug for a long time, your body becomes so used to it that you no longer achieve the euphoric effects that you felt before you started. When someone feels like they are not achieving the desired effects that they want, they decide to increase doses compared to their initial slow doses that were able to previously achieve the effect. 


Withdrawal is when you feel uncomfortable physical and psychological effects when you stop taking a drug that you are dependent on. It is a way of telling your brain that you cannot survive without the drugs so your body will react in a way that will make you think you need the drugs in order to survive. These symptoms may include headaches, shakiness, racing heart, nausea, sweating, muscle tension, anxiety, depression, etc. By controlling your withdrawal symptoms going to detox as your first step towards treatment, you will be able to get through your recovery much more easily.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center using evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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