Opioids: Dependence versus Addiction

Opioids: Dependence versus Addiction
View the video, Opioids: Dependence versus Addiction. Is the distinction between dependence and addiction meaningful? In a clinical context, is it important to differentiate between those dependent upon opioids versus those addicted to opioids? How does this distinction relate to the states of opioid intoxication and/or the grades of abstinence and withdrawal?
Opioids: Dependence versus Addiction

Opioids discussion 2

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Opioids discussion
The distinction between addiction and dependence is meaningful. This helps in knowing the current state of an individual when it comes to the use of opioids. When people refer to addiction, they refer to the harmful traits linked to substance use, while dependence is the physical symptoms of tolerance and withdrawal (Ballantyne et al., 2019). In most cases, dependence is present with addiction. It is vital to note that physical dependency on drugs is not synonymous with being addicted. There is a significant difference between the individuals addicted versus those dependent on opioids (Wang et al., 2019). Addiction results from chronic substance abuse, while dependence is physical reliance on using drugs mainly characterized by different symptoms. The signs and symptoms vary and may include increased pulse, increased pain, muscle aches, anxiety, diarrhea, and restlessness.
A person dependent on opioids may have a high tolerance and requires to ingest higher dosages to feel the impact of the drugs. Also, physical dependence is a prevalent physiologic response evident with chronic opioid use when the dosage is rapidly reduced or discontinued resulting in withdrawal. Some individuals may be addicted to opioids, while others may not. The theory/reason behind this is that the genes individuals are born with account for half of an individual’s risk for addiction. Also, ethnicity, gender, and the presence of mental disorders may impact the rise of addiction and opioid use (Frost et al., 2021). The distinction between addiction and dependence relates to states of opioid intoxication and the grades of abstinence and withdrawal since opioid intoxication presents as somnolence, intractable nausea, delirium, hyperalgesia, or myoclonic jerk and hallucinations. Three signs and symptoms can characterize an opioid overdose: difficulty breathing, pinpoint pupils, and unconsciousness.

Ballantyne, J. C., Sullivan, M. D., & Koob, G. F. (2019). Refractory dependence on opioid analgesics. Pain, 160(12), 2655-2660.
Frost, M. C., Blosnich, J. R., Lehavot, K., Chen, J. A., Rubinsky, A. D., Glass, J. E., & Williams, E. C. (2021). Disparities in documented drug use disorders between transgender and cisgender US veterans health administration patients. Journal of addiction medicine, 15(4), 334.
Wang, S. C., Chen, Y. C., Lee, C. H., & Cheng, C. M. (2019). Opioid addiction, genetic susceptibility, and medical treatments: a review. International journal of molecular sciences, 20(17), 4294.

Opioids: Dependence versus Addiction

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