Suboxone and Subutex Information: Opiate Definitions, Endorphin Downloads

Suboxone and Subutex Information: Opiate Definitions, Endorphin Downloads

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6


Before understanding how buprenorphine, an opioid, works, it is necessary to understand the way that all opioids and opiates work in our bodies.


An opiate is a substance that is obtained from the opium plant like:
  • Heroin
  • Morphine
  • Codeine.


An opioid is a synthetic narcotic that acts like an opiate in the body like:
  • OxyContin
  • Vicodin
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone
  • Lortab
  • Lorcet
  • Percocet
  • Methadone


Opioids and Opiates activate receptors in the brain that increase endorphin production. The word "endorphin" was created by combining endogenous (something originating in an organism) and morphine. Endorphins are protein molecules that bind with receptors located in your brain, spinal cord, and other nerve endings. Simply put, endorphins block pain signals from reaching the brain. Think for a moment about what happens when you bend your elbow. There are bones moving against bones. When you breathe your chest expands your ribs. Were it not for endorphins, many of the normal acts of life-breathing, walking, talking--would be uncomfortable or even painful. Endorphins are naturally produced by a variety of activities such as running, swimming, cycling, skiing, deep breathing, and even laughter. Because of our different DNA and metabolisms, the amount of endorphins produced by us and what activity is required for their production varies. For some people they may start to feel "high" after exercising for ten minutes but others may not get a similar feeling until they have exercised for 20 minutes or even longer. Interesting for those of us who love chocolate, there is now evidence that endorphin production is elevated by chocolate. It is also elevated by eating hot chili peppers-the hotter the peppers the more endorphin production. Music has also been found to stimulate the production of endorphins. The body also naturally produces endorphins by sending chemicals to activate endorphin receptors. These receptors are molecules on the surfaces of cells to which opioid compounds attach and through which they exert their effects. Different types of these receptors are present in the brain. This may at least partially account for the fact that some of us are more sensitive to pain than others. Some of us can fall and not feel more than discomfort while others may experience real pain when they fall. Many believe that the difference between feeling pain and not feeling pain is directly related to endorphin production in our bodies. For our normal activities, the body does a good job of keeping us from feeling pain. However, if we experience unusual pain, like from a medical surgery or dental surgery, the body may not create enough endorphins to block the pain signals and we will feel the pain.


When the person feels more pain than the body can handle with natural endorphin production, endorphin downloads are accomplished by taking a prescribed or unprescribed opioid. These drugs accomplish the endorphin download by activating endorphin receptors and the resulting endorphins block the pain signals by increasing the endorphin production in the body. Taking one or two of these pills to block the pain signals while the body is healing is not going to create dependence or addiction. You are still taking drugs that disrupt your body's normal functions, but much more serious problems can and do arise when the pain blockers are taken for longer periods of time. This continued use of drugs to obtain endorphin downloads can lead to dependence or addiction.

Read About Dependence And Addiction, How Drugs Create Dependency And Addiction And The Purpose Of Pain-Part 3.

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