Long-Term Effects of Opioid Addiction

What Are Opioids?

Opioids, which are also called opiates, are a class of drugs that are all chemically related. Some opioid drugs derived from the opium poppy, while others may consist of some synthetic formulas. Opioids are available illicitly or as prescription medications, depending on the drug and its effects.

Here are some of the most common opioid drugs:

  • Morphine
  • Codeine
  • Oxycodone
  • Heroine
  • Fentanyl
  • Vicodin

Most opioid drugs can be taken orally, inhaled through the nose, smoked, or injected into a vein. They work by interacting with opioid receptors on nerve cells in the body and brain to relieve anxiety, reduce pain, and even cause a high feeling or a euphoric sensation. Most prescription opioids are generally safe when taken according to dosage for a short period of time, but can become dangerous after dependence or addiction begins to form.

A Guide to Opioid Addiction

Tolerance to opioids typically increases very quickly. Therefore, opioid use can lead to abuse and addiction if misused or used for an extended period of time. Opioids are highly addictive, both physically and mentally. They may cause the individuals using them to crave the drug and desire the effects of the high constantly. Someone who is addicted to opioids will do whatever it takes to get more of the drug because of opioids’ chances of temporary sensation and intense pleasure.

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Opioid Addiction?

Effects of opioid addiction may vary depending on the individual’s drug of choice and their method of consumption. However, there are long-term bodily, behavioral, and social effects that people who are addicted to opioids are likely to experience. These effects may include:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Hallucinations
  • Slow breathing rate
  • Collapsed veins
  • Clogged blood vessels
  • An impact on quality of life
  • Spending excess time & money on drugs
  • Turning to crime
  • Financial issues
  • Mental health changes

In addition to long-term side effects, opioids may also pose other health risks.

More Risks of Using Opioids

It is possible that using opioids can cause the following issues or conditions:

  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Increased risk of HIV and hepatitis
  • Coma
  • Choking
  • Withdrawal symptoms
  • Premature death
  • More health complications
  • Overdose incidents

Some of these consequences can be severe and may require immediate medical attention. If you or someone you love is experiencing an opioid addiction, contact a doctor or rehabilitation professional as soon as possible.

Opioid Alternatives and Treatment

Opioids should not be consumed with alcohol and should not be used if you have an existing mental illness. If you have an addiction to opioids, the first step is to admit that you have a problem and address the components of addiction. After someone decides to become clean, they should seek treatment. Hospitalization may be required, depending on the severity of withdrawal or overdose. Withdrawal and overdose can both typically be managed in a rehab facility with Naloxone and other forms of treatment. Treatment methods for opioid addiction include medication, support groups, therapy, exercise routines, acupuncture, and more.

To learn more about the short-term and long-term effects of opioids and other types of drugs, contact our team of substance abuse and medical professionals by calling 866-345-2147.

Sources

https://www.healthline.com/health/opioids-and-related-disorders

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids