Physical Effects of Opioid Addiction

As the nation struggles with an opioid addiction crisis, it’s important to understand the effects that opioids have on the human body. There are both mental and physical effects of opioid addiction, and both can be devastating.

The physical effects of opioid addiction are mostly short-term and long-term. Short-term effects are those that occur when someone is under the influence of opioids. These effects can include drowsiness, slowed breathing, and decreased blood pressure. Long-term effects are those that occur after someone has been using opioids for an extended period of time. Long-term effects can include liver damage, kidney damage, and decreased cognitive function.

Opioid addiction can have a profound effect on every aspect of a person’s life. It’s important to seek help if you or someone you know is struggling

What is Opioid Abuse?

Opioids are a class of drugs that include illegal drugs like heroin as well as prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone. Opioids work by binding to receptors in the brain and spinal cord, which alters the perception of pain. They also have mood-altering effects, which is why they are often abused.

People who abuse opioids may take them in ways other than how they are intended to be used. For example, they may crush pills and then snort or inject them. Or they may take someone else’s prescription.

Opioid abuse can lead to addiction, which is a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite negative consequences.

What are the short-term and long-term effects of opioid abuse?

The short-term effects of opioid abuse can be divided into three categories: physical, mental, and behavioral.

Physical Effects

The physical effects of opioid abuse can be both short-term and long-term.

Short-term effects include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Slowed breathing
  • Decreased blood pressure

Long-term effects include:

  • Liver damage
  • Kidney damage
  • Decreased cognitive function

Mental Effects

The mental effects of opioid abuse can also be both short-term and long-term.

Short-term effects include:

  • Euphoria
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety

Long-term effects include:

  • Depression
  • Paranoia

Behavioral Effects

The behavioral effects of opioid abuse can also be both short-term and long-term.

Short-term effects include:

  • Aggression
  • Mood swings
  • Impulsivity

Long-term effects include:

  • Isolation
  • Financial problems
  • Legal problems

How does opioid abuse lead to addiction?

People who abuse opioids are at risk for developing addiction, which is a chronic, relapsing disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite negative consequences. Addiction is a brain disease that affects both the structure and function of the brain.

People with addiction often have difficulty controlling their drug use and may continue to use opioids despite negative consequences. They may try to quit but find themselves unable to do so.

Addiction is a difficult disease to overcome, but it is possible with treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please seek help.

Drug Abuse & Withdrawal symptoms

Withdrawal from opioids is different for everyone. It depends on how long you’ve been taking opioids, the dose you’re used to taking, and your overall health.

Some people who stop taking opioids may experience withdrawal symptoms within a few hours. Others may not experience them for a week or more.

Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle aches
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Cold flashes with goosebumps (“cold turkey”)
  • Increased heart rate
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Dilated pupils
  • Runny nose
  • Sweating
  • Yawning

The severity of withdrawal symptoms depends on a number of factors, including how long you’ve been taking opioids, the dose you’re used to taking, and your overall health. Withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable, but they are not usually life-threatening.

Treatment for Opioid Addiction

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there is help available. Treatment for opioid addiction typically includes rehabilitation, medication, counseling, and support groups.

Medication

There are a number of opioid medications that can be used to treat opioid addiction. The most common are methadone and buprenorphine.

Methadone is a long-acting opioid that is taken daily. It binds to the same brain receptors as other opioids, but it does not produce the same euphoric effects. Methadone can help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Buprenorphine is a partial opioid agonist that is also taken daily. Like methadone, it binds to the same brain receptors as other opioids, but it does not produce the same euphoric effects. Buprenorphine can also help reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Counseling

Counseling can help you understand your addiction and learn how to cope with triggers and cravings. It can also provide support and accountability as your recover.

Support groups

Support groups can provide peer support and understanding as you recover from addiction. They can also be a great source of information and resources.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment for opioid addiction. The best approach for you will depend on your individual needs and circumstances. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please seek help.

Rehabilitation Centers

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, there are rehabilitation centers that can help. Rehabilitation centers or mental health services administration can provide a safe and controlled environment where people can detox from opioids and receive treatment for their addiction and even avoid an opioid overdose.

Recovery is possible. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction, please seek help.

How can you prevent opioid abuse?

It is important to be aware of the risks associated with opioid use and to take steps to prevent abuse.

Some tips to prevent opioid abuse include:

  • Know the risks. Opioids can be addictive and dangerous. Be sure you understand the risks before taking them.
  • Use only as directed. Follow your doctor’s directions when taking opioids. Do not take more than prescribed.
  • Dispose of unused opioids properly. If you have unused opioids, be sure to dispose of them properly. Do not keep them around “just in case.”
  • Know the signs of abuse. Be aware of the signs of opioid abuse and get help if you or someone you know is exhibiting them.
  • If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please seek help.

Emmaus Medical & Counseling provides a variety of services to help those struggling with addiction treatment, including detoxification, opioid abuse treatment, counseling, and support groups. Our locations are Weber City, Bulls Gap & Johnson City, Tennessee. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our services.

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