What is Opioid use disorder (OUD)

Opioid use disorder (OUD) is a disorder characterized by compulsive use of opioids despite negative consequences. OUD is a chronic brain disease that can cause physical, psychological, and social problems. It develops when the brain becomes dependent on opioids due to repeated exposure, leading to changes in the brain’s reward and pleasure centers.

People with OUD may experience symptoms such as intense cravings, inability to control drug use, withdrawal symptoms, and tolerance to the drug, meaning they need higher doses to achieve the desired effects. They may also continue to use opioids despite negative consequences, such as legal problems, job loss, and relationship difficulties.

OUD can be caused by prescription painkillers, illicit opioids like heroin, or a combination of both. It can affect people of all ages, genders, and backgrounds. OUD is a serious condition that can lead to overdose and death if left untreated.

Treatment for OUD typically involves a combination of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), behavioral therapy, and support from healthcare professionals and recovery groups. MAT involves the use of medications such as methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone to manage withdrawal symptoms and reduce cravings. Behavioral therapy can help individuals learn coping skills, manage triggers and stress, and develop healthy habits and lifestyles.

If you or someone you know is struggling with OUD, it’s important to seek professional help as soon as possible to prevent serious health consequences.

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