Opioid dependence is a disease in which there are biological or physical, psychological, and social changes. Some of the physical changes include the need for increasing amounts of opioid to produce the same effect, symptoms of withdrawal, feelings or craving, and changes in sleep pattern. Psychological components of opioid dependence includes a reliance on heroin or other drugs to help you cope with everyday problems or inability to feel good or celebrate without using heroin or opioids. The social components of opioid dependence include less frequent contact with important people in your life, and an inability to participate in important events due to drug use. In extreme cases, there may even be criminal and legal implications.
The hallmarks of opioid dependence are the continued use of drugs despite their negative effect, the need for increasing amounts of opioids to have the same effect, and the development of withdrawal symptoms upon cessation.
There are a variety of factors that can contribute to the continued use of opioids. Among these are the use of heroin to achieve the same effect, and the need for a “high”.