It is estimated that 2 million Americans 12 or older are addicted to prescription pain relievers. According to the CDC, deaths from prescription pain killers have more than quadrupled since 1999, with 91 Americans dying every day from an opioid overdose.TELL DR. PHIL YOUR STORY: Life in crisis?
“People sometimes think that an addiction is psychological. But we’re not talking about a psychological addiction here. We’re talking about an addiction that affects a number of structures [in the brain],” Dr. Phil says.
He is joined by Dr. Charles Sophy, who is board certified in adult, child and adolescent psychiatry, and family practice, and is the medical director for DCFS in Los Angeles, to explain how using opioids and heroin affect the brain.WATCH: Doctors Shed Light On The Opioid Crisis In America
“Any drug that you’re putting in your body is changing the chemistry of your brain, which will affect parts of your brain,” Dr. Sophy says. “Frontal lobe is the part that does executive functioning, judgment, insight, impulse control.”
Dr. Phil adds that opioids and heroin change the efficiency with which a person performs cognitive functions, and affect the cerebellum which involves coordination. “Once these brain structures are changed, they’re recoded,” he says.
Dr. Sophy concurs. “They don’t go back to the way they ever were,” he says.
In the video above, the doctors explain to Carrie, a guest who admits that she is addicted to Oxycodone and has abused heroin in the past, what other areas are affected by this drug use. And, two other doctors weigh in with the correct way to take opioids to prevent getting addicted. This episode of Dr. Phil
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What You Need To Know About The Prescription Pill Epidemic Killing Americans