Exactly What is a Narcotic Anyway?

When it comes to drug abuse, the term “narcotic” is often used to describe any addictive or illegal substance. However, true narcotics are drugs that induce feelings of sleepiness and pain relief, and are primarily made up of substances that belong to the opioid drug class. Fortunately, most drug rehab centers that treat narcotics addiction often treat addiction to nearly any substance, including amphetamines, inhalants, and opioids.

If you or your loved one is struggling with drug addiction, call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-934-1582(Who Answers?) to learn more about nearby drug rehab centers that specialize in narcotics addiction.

Medical Definition of Narcotics

What is a Narcotic

Doctors prescribe opioid narcotics to relieve pain.

In the medical and healthcare industries, narcotics are described as drugs that dull the senses, relieve pain, and induce sleep when used in moderation. When used excessively, these same drugs can cause dangerous side effects including confusion, coma, and convulsions.

Narcotics are mainly comprised of drugs from the opioid drug class, and are considered highly addictive substances that can be difficult to quit using without experiencing strong cravings and withdrawal.

Legal Definition of Narcotics

When used in a legal context, narcotics refer to drugs that are prohibited or used in violation of governmental regulation, such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and LSD. In this instance, narcotics may or may not be physically and/or physiologically addictive. However, those who suffer addiction to any substance can usually overcome physical dependency on that particular substance at any drug rehab center that treats narcotics addiction.

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Opioids and Addiction

Opioid drugs attach to opioid receptors in the brain that control feelings of pleasure and reward. This means that as you continue using opioids for an extended period of time, your brain and body come to rely on these drugs for feelings of happiness, euphoria, relaxation, and other sensations associated with pleasure and reward. As a result, you may become addicted to opioids and take higher doses in an effort to “chase” an ongoing sensation of euphoria.

Drugs in the opioid drug class include:

Treating Narcotics Addiction

Narcotics addiction is commonly treated using a combination of detoxification and counseling. These therapies are offered at most inpatient and outpatient drug rehab centers that treat opioid addiction, and drug addiction in general.

Detoxification helps you overcome physical dependency on opioids and other drugs so you no longer experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Detox is often performed under close medical supervision, and may involve the use of medications that relieve opioid cravings and withdrawal. These medications relieve symptoms by mirroring the effects of illicit opioids without offering the same feelings of euphoria and pain relief.

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Counseling helps you overcome behaviors and any co-occurring mental health disorders that may have caused you to start abusing narcotics in the first place.

For instance, if you rely on narcotics to relieve stress, counseling teaches you new, healthy ways to manage stress without turning to drugs. If you generally use narcotics to avoid symptoms of depression or bipolar disorder, counseling teaches you how to overcome or manage these mental health conditions so you can stop using narcotics to self-medicate.

If you are struggling with addiction to narcotics, understand that getting help at a drug rehab center is your best option for turning your life around and achieving lifelong sobriety. Call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-934-1582(Who Answers?) to speak with a drug abuse counselor about local drug rehab centers devoted to helping you overcome narcotics addiction.

the Take-Away

Although many narcotics are prescribed to treat legitimate health issues such as chronic pain, these drugs have a high rate of abuse and are extremely addictive.