Substance Abuse and Addiction – Why Opioid Abuse is So Dangerous

Written by Chloe Nicosia

Why Opioid Abuse is So Dangerous

America has a widespread problem with opioid abuse. The American Society of Addiction Medicine reported that in 2015, around 2 million Americans had substance use disorder involving prescription opioids. A further 591,000 people were abusing heroin. In the same year, 12,990 died of a heroin overdose and 20,101 people died as a result of opioid abuse. The overdose risk is just some of the reasons why opioid abuse is so dangerous.

Without professional help, recovering from an addiction to opioids can be very difficult.

What are Opioids?

Opioids include all of the prescription pain relievers that are commonly prescribed to people who suffer from chronic pain, such as the pain people experience during recovery from surgery. Opioids block receptors in the brain responsible for pain and increase the feelings of reward through the dopamine and serotonin receptors. The euphoric feeling opioids give when misused is the reason why most people abuse the substance.

Opioid Addiction Signs

Noticing the signs of addiction in a loved one can be enough to bring the problem to light so that they can get the help they need. If you see the signs in yourself, contact Better Addiction Care today on 1-800-429-7690 so that they can help you beat the addiction.

Addicts are often aware of the problems that their abuse of drugs is causing but choose to ignore it.

The following highlights several common opioid addiction signs to look out for:

  • Drowsiness and sedation
  • Confusion
  • Slowed breathing rate
  • Seeing multiple doctors to get prescription pain killers
  • Shifting moods
  • Constricted pupils
  • Noticeable euphoria
  • Constipation
  • Social isolation
  • Financial problems

Short-Term Effects of Opioid Abuse

In the short term, opioid abuse can cause feelings of paranoia, lethargy and drowsiness. Nausea is also common in some people. The main concern with short-term opioid abuse is the risk of overdose. This risk is increased as a person become more tolerant to the drug. With overdose, there is respiratory depression that can lead to cardiac arrest as breathing can halt entirely. This is the main reason why opioid abuse is so dangerous in the short term.

Effects of Long Term Opioid Use on the Body

The effects of long term opioid use on the body are generally the same in all individuals who continuously abuse the substance. The main reason why opioid abuse is so dangerous in the long term is due to the addictive properties that the substance has. It can cause the person to become completely reliant on it in order to cope with their life. The more the drug is abused, the more their brain chemistry tries to adjust, eventually leading to reduced amounts of natural feel-good chemicals, and in some cases, production may stop entirely. This makes a person reliant on taking opioids in order to feel anything good and one of the reasons why opioid abuse is so dangerous.

As a person becomes addicted to the substance, they will begin to experience other negative effects including the following:

  • Possible brain damage due to respiratory depression
  • Dependence
  • Severe Cravings
  • Constipation
  • Abdominal bloating and pain
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Liver damage and possible failure

Even a person who has become completely dependent on opioids can recover. Addiction is a disease and it can be treated professionally as other mental disorders are. Call Better Addiction Care today at 1-800-429-7690 to find out more information about opioid addiction treatment.

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2016/americas-addiction-to-opioids-heroin-prescription-drug-abuse

https://www.asam.org/docs/default-source/advocacy/opioid-addiction-disease-facts-figures.pdf