First Time User? Sign Up Now
First Time User? Enroll now.
Home > Health Library > Opioid Use Disorder
Opioids are strong pain medicines. Examples include hydrocodone, oxycodone, fentanyl, and morphine. Heroin is an example of an illegal opioid. Opioid use disorder means using these drugs in a way that keeps you from living the life you want. Moderate to severe opioid use disorder is sometimes called addiction. When your use is out of control, it harms you and your relationships.
Even if you don't see these effects in your life, it can be dangerous to use opioids in a way that your doctor didn't prescribe.
Taking too much of an opioid can cause:
You may have an opioid use disorder if two or more of the following are true:
Treatment usually includes medicines, group therapy, one or more types of counseling, and drug education.
Sometimes medicines are used to help you quit. They may help control cravings, ease withdrawal symptoms, and prevent relapse. This treatment is called medication-assisted treatment, or MAT. During MAT, you take a medicine (usually methadone or buprenorphine) in place of the opioid you were using. This can help you focus on getting healthy. Most people take the medicine for months or years as a part of the treatment, along with therapy or counseling.
Treatment focuses on more than drugs. It helps you cope with the anger, frustration, sadness, and disappointment that often happen when a person tries to stop using drugs.
Many people with this disorder, and sometimes their families, feel embarrassed or ashamed. Don't let these feelings stand in the way of getting treatment. Remember that the disorder can happen to anyone who uses opioids, no matter what the reason.
Naloxone is a medicine that reverses the effects of an overdose. If you take it or someone gives it to you soon enough after an overdose, it can save your life. Naloxone comes in a rescue kit you can carry with you. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about having a naloxone rescue kit on hand.
Current as of: February 5, 2019
Author: Healthwise StaffMedical Review: Kathleen Romito MD - Family MedicineMichael F. Bierer MD - Internal Medicine, Addiction Medicine
Current as of:
February 5, 2019
Medical Review:Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine & Michael F. Bierer MD - Internal Medicine, Addiction Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2019 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
UNC Medical Center
101 Manning Drive
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
UNC Health Care Citrix
UNC Medical Center Intranet
Copyright 2019 UNC Health Care. All rights reserved.