Did you know that on average, 78 Americans die every day from opioid overdose? Opioid addiction is more common than you might think. Millions of Americans are prescribed opiates to treat injuries or illnesses, but most of them are unaware of the long-term effects on their bodies.
The key to understanding opioid addiction begins with your brain. How does the addiction occur and why is it so prevalent? If you have ever fractured a bone or had surgery, you probably took an opiate for pain. With as many as 100 million people suffering from chronic pain, opioids have become the treatment of choice. It’s what happens to your brain while taking the medication that really holds the answer.
Many people are unaware that the human body produces opioids. If you are ever severely injured, naturally occurring opioids will provide pain relief until you can seek medical attention. Endorphins are a naturally occurring type of opioid. You probably have heard of the term “exercise euphoria,” which occurs when endorphins are released by the brain. It’s that great feeling you get after working out. Natural opioids trigger receptors in your brain that mimic pleasure and act as a pain reliever. Once your brain gets used to the ingested opiates, your body slows down the production of natural ones.