Opioids can be effective tools for pain management; in fact, doctors have long turned to opioid drugs to help those suffering with chronic pain, cancer, or other ailments. As time goes by, however, the treacherous side effects of opioids become increasingly clear. Not only are they powerfully addictive, but they can damage the body and the mind in a number of ways—and in some cases, they can even prove fatal.
In this post, we’ll list some of the most common side effects of opioids—and we’ll also explain the promise of opioid rehab and recovery.
How Do Opioids Affect the Body?
First, it is important to understand how opioids work, basically.
- Opioids—which include such prescription painkillers as morphine, and OxyContin, among many others—depress the central nervous system.
- Opioid drugs mitigate feelings of pain, while creating an intense feeling of pleasure or wellbeing.
- Over time, opioids actually rewire the nervous system, and make it impossible to feel a sense of wellbeing without the use of drugs.
- Those who become addicted to opioids may require higher or more frequent doses just to experience that same feeling of euphoria.
What are the Physical Side Effects of Opioids?
There are a number of ways in which opioids affect the physical body. A few of these physical side effects of opioids include:
- Prolonged periods of constipation
- Nausea or vomiting
- Constricted pupils
- Inability to feel good without opioids
In some of the most extreme cases, opioid addiction can even result in death. Usually, it is specifically due to either respiratory arrest or cardiac arrest. The risk of death is most pronounced when opioids are abused in tandem with other drugs or with alcohol.
What are the Mental or Emotional Effects of Opioids?
There are some subtler effects of opioid addiction that are worth noting—some various ways in which opioid drugs can impair mental health. A few of the most significant ones include:
- Restlessness, or inability to fall to sleep at night
- An intense feeling of elation
- Feeling “down” or depressed, especially as a dosage of opioids wears off
These effects may initially be harder to observe in friends or loved ones, yet they are clear indications of a problem with opioid abuse.
What are the Behavioral Effects of Opioids?
There are also a number of ways in which opioids can impact behavior. Here are some of the most common behavioral side effects of opioid use:
- Lying, stealing, or being secretive in an attempt to cover up drug use
- Doctor shopping—going to different physicians to try to get more prescriptions
- Using prescription painkillers longer than is necessary
- Losing interest in activities that once brought pleasure
- Neglecting school, work, or family responsibilities
- Social withdrawal—losing interest in relationships or friendships
These forms of behavioral are all classic symptoms of drug addiction, and of opioid abuse in particular.
What are the Effects of Opioid Withdrawal?
Because opioids impact the brain in such a powerful way, their effects can be difficult to undo. In fact, attempts to stop taking opioids can result in withdrawal symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms of opioid withdrawal include:
- A general sense of anxiety or jitteriness
- Aches in the muscles
- Vomiting or nausea
- Profuse sweating
- Dilated pupils of watery eyes
- A fast heart rate
At times, the pain associated with non-medically supervised opioid withdrawal can be so intense, it causes relapse or even overdose. For this reason, home detox is not recommended. A medical detox facility can help you remove opioids from your system as quickly, effectively, and as safely as possible, all while keeping these withdrawal symptoms in check.
Is There Hope for Opioid Recovery?
To summarize, the effects of opioid addiction can be intense, long-lasting, and even life-threatening. They do not have to be permanent, however. Opioid recovery is attainable, and it begins with clinical intervention.
Through opioid rehab, you can find freedom from your dependence on opioids—and also eliminate these physical, mental, and behavioral symptoms.
To learn more about recovery from opioid addiction, we invite you to contact us at Experience Recovery. We can help you develop a personalized plan to detox from opioids, safely and smoothly, and then to lay a foundation for lifelong addiction recovery. If you’ve faced any of these opioid symptoms, contact the team at Experience Recovery today.