Opiate dependence is caused by persistent use of opiates and is thought to be a disorder of the central nervous system. Opiates are powerful painkillers that cause sedation and euphoria and are commonly abused. These include oxycodone, Suboxone, Fentanyl, Dilaudid, heroin, Norco, hydrocodone, methadone, and Vicodin. Once addicted, many opiate users feel completely powerless and continue to use despite potentially dangerous or life-threatening consequences. Unlike some drugs, which can elicit one or the other, opiates can cause both addiction and physical dependence.

Although sometimes used interchangeably, the terms “addiction” and “dependency” are clinically thought of as two separate things. The National Institutes of Health says drug addiction is present when a person compulsively uses a drug despite negative and dangerous consequences and effects. A physical drug dependence means a person needs the substance to function and can have intense cravings, according to the organization.

Dependence does not always entail addiction. The American Academy of Pain Medicine, the American Pain Society and the American Society of Addiction Medicine, in a collaborative effort, have adopted the following definitions:

  • Addiction: “Addiction is a primary, chronic, neurobiological disease, with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations. It is characterized by behaviors that include one or more of the following: impaired control over drug use, compulsive use, continued use despite harm, and craving.”
  • Physical dependence: “Physical dependence is a state of adaptation that is manifested by a drug class specific withdrawal syndrome that can be produced by abrupt cessation, rapid dose reduction, decreasing blood level of the drug, and/or administration of an antagonist.”

Addiction is a chronic disorder with a strong potential for relapse. This means users who are trying to get clean fall back into old patterns of drug use and abuse. Because opiates are so potent, they have a particularly high relapse rate. Strong cravings and other withdrawal symptoms can trigger relapse, even after a period of abstinence.


Actiq Buprenorphine Codeine Darvocet Darvon Demerol
Dihydrocodeine Dilaudid Duragesic Fentanyl Fentora Heroin
Hydrocodone Kadian Lorcet Lortab Methadone Morphine
MS Contin Norco Opana Opium Oxycodone OxyContin
Percocet Percodan Roxicodone Stadol Suboxone Subutex
Tramadol Tussionex Ultram Vicodin Vicoprofen Xodol

Opiates are naturally derived from the poppy plant, which contain opium. Opioids are synthetic or partly synthetic, which means that they are manufactured through chemical synthesis instead of the poppy plant. Opioids can act similarly as opiates in the human body.


Opiate addiction has become a national epidemic. According to the CDC, in 2010, 1 in 20 people in the United States was reported using prescription painkillers for non-medical reasons and nearly 15,000 people die every year due to prescription opiate overdoses. In addition, deaths from opioid painkillers surpassed those caused from all illegal drugs.



  1. A compulsive desire to take the drug
  2. Difficulty controlling opiate use
  3. Experience of physical withdrawal symptoms when opiate intake is stopped or reduced.
  4. Increased tolerance to the drug, resulting in increased dosage in order to achieve effects originally produced by lower doses
  5. Increased focus and time taken to obtain or take the drug
  6. Continued drug use regardless of harmful consequences


Opiates elicit their powerful effects by activating opiate receptors that are widely distributed throughout the brain and body. Two important effects produced by opiates are pleasure (or reward) and pain relief. The rush of pleasure and reward or relief from pain is so strong and powerful; it can lead to opiate abuse and addiction.

The brain itself also produces substances known as endorphins (the body’s natural painkiller) that activate the opiate receptors. Research indicates that endorphins are involved in many things, including respiration, nausea, vomiting, pain modulation, and hormonal regulation. After prolonged opiate use, the nerve cells in the brain, which would otherwise produce endorphins, cease to function normally. The body stops producing endorphins because it is receiving opiates instead. The degeneration of these nerve cells causes a physical dependency to an external supply of opiates. Abrupt or sudden abstinence from opiates induces yet another traumatic disorder – withdrawal syndrome. This also leads to addiction. Learn more about opiate addiction and brain chemistry.

opiate addiction


Hyperalgesia occurs when opiate use causes the body’s pain threshold to lower and also result in increased tolerance to the drug. When this happens, pain can feel worse regardless of increased opiate dosage and intake.
Learn more about opioid induced Hyperalgesia.


In response to the growing epidemic of opiate abuse and addiction, the Waismann Method® pioneered rapid opiate detox. We do not use any opiate substitutes, but completely detoxify the patient. Learn more about our rapid opiate detox treatment.

We are here to help.

We are here to help. To receive assistance or information about the Waismann Method advance rapid detox treatment for opiate dependence, please complete the form below. We will respond to you via email or telephone.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Notice to recipient: This e-mail is meant for only the intended recipient of this transmission, and may be a communication privileged by law. If you received this e-mail in error, any review, use, dissemination, distribution, or copying of this e-mail is strictly prohibited. Please notify us immediately of the error by return e-mail and please delete this message from your system . Email by its nature may not be a secure and private communication since it is sent over the Internet. We cannot guarantee your email to us or our response to you will be secure. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.