Opioids are typically prescribed to manage pain, but some people are at risk of misusing them. Factors such as a personal or family history of alcohol or drug abuse, social environment, or genetic makeup can put you at higher risk of misusing drugs.1-4
How Using Opioids Can Lead to Dependence
The brain responds to an opioid by releasing a chemical called dopamine. This rewards the brain with “pleasure” and may encourage repeated use of the drug.
If more opioids are taken than were prescribed or for longer than what was recommended, the body’s natural tendency to produce dopamine (and feel pleasure) will eventually slow down.5
However, the person taking the opioid continues to feel like they need the drug and may take higher doses to achieve the same satisfaction they once had.5
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