The United States is currently facing one of the largest, most destructive epidemics in the nation’s history. The opioid crisis is truly devastating, and unfortunately it will continue to worsen if not addressed in the public and political arenas. Prescriptions for these drugs are easy to obtain and abuse crosses over all socio-economic boundaries. Surprisingly few understand the problem or how to deal with a friend or family who develops an opioid addiction.
For those not 100% certain what an opioid is, here’s what you should know:
Opioids are a class of drugs that include the illicit drug heroin as well as the legal prescription pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl and others. Prescribed regularly to treat acute pain that may occur after many medical and dental procedures, these drugs can lead to potential dependence and long-term substance abuse.
Opioids are depressants and they work on nerve cells in the nervous system and brain to alleviate pain and produce feelings of pleasure. Over time, the body can become dependent upon the drugs and users can become addicted and incapable of stopping the regimen, ultimately destroying their personal relationships, finances and professional lives.
Decreasing chronic usage to take these drugs does not mean that you must be resigned to a life of ceaseless pain and agony. An effective option is meditation, a highly regarded holistic alternative to opioids that gets positive results.
Mindfulness meditation is a therapy where patients focus attention on their breath with a resulting reduction in his or her awareness of external sensations and thoughts. Studies have shown that areas of the brain that respond to opioid drugs are also activated through meditation but with absolutely no negative effects.
The use of opioid drugs to control pain was always intended to be a short-term solution. It is a tragedy that so many people have become dependent on a doctor-prescribed medicine that may ultimately cost them their lives.
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