Addiction to drugs is something that affects many people across the world each year. A common drug of choice that is abused often is opioids. People typically use opioids to control pain. However, the lasting impact of recreational use or using the drug above the recommended limit can be severe.
First and foremost, it should be explained that opioids are not inherently harmful. This is because the human body has an internal opioid system of its own. When taking supplementation, the molecules in that substance merely activate the receptors our bodies have by binding towards them. This activation causes the release of neurotransmitters that can dull signals of pain coming in from the central brain while activating feelings of pleasure simultaneously. This is why they are so addictive.
It is a natural inclination for many to compulsively seek sources of euphoria, be it from the surrounding environment or psychologically. For many, prescription painkillers provide just the fix that they require. Opioids have come a long way in helping many manage pain, but with that comes the increase in the temptation to take it more than needed. Highly potent synthetic opioids such as fentanyl are abused in this manner, leading to fentanyl withdrawal when access to the drug is discontinued. If use continues, tolerance goes up.
This creates a situation where a greater amount of the drug is required to hit the same point of relief that they previously needed. Because of the gradual shift in the body’s new requirement for the drug, the body will not respond in the way it did before. The threshold continues to gradually rise, and even more amounts of the drug are needed to compensate. This can eventually lead to the loss of being able to experience happiness and comfort in a natural way.
Prescription opioids such as Vicodin and OxyContin are common sources of opioid tolerance. When someone enters a state of tolerance, this means that the more substance that a person puts into their system, the brain will gradually adapt to that level of drug use. Other highly controlled substances such as fentanyl work in a similar fashion.
Another dangerous condition that drug addiction can predispose many people to is a state of withdrawal. Withdrawal is a condition in which the addicted person in question stops taking the drug and the brain starts to enter a frenzy. Without adequate addiction treatment, most addicts going through withdrawal will relapse. This is because the body simply cannot just rapidly revert to the condition that it was in before the addiction started. To compensate for this rapid change, a flood of neurotransmitters are sent out from the brain to try and find an equilibrium. This leads to a seesaw-like effect in which the affected person experiences disruptions in sleep, severe depression, fatigue and panic attacks. The “cure” for these symptoms is a return to use.
In terms of harmful long-term physical effects, using opioids irresponsibly can lead to respiratory failure. Taking abnormal doses will lead to a point where breathing will be difficult because the overload of opioids in your system will lead to the brain not getting enough oxygenated blood. In extreme cases, this can lead to outright respiratory failure, a situation in which the body’s natural breathing reflex is suppressed almost completely. Other issues include impaired sex drive and bowel impairment.
If addiction is something that is suspected, get help immediately before your body pays the ultimate price for the abuse.