The opioid is a class pain relief medication that induces the feeling of euphoria when taken recreationally. Opioids are legally prescribed by physicians to treat chronic pain in patients.
Unfortunately, Opioid addiction can stem from both legal and illegal consumption. Because it provides a feeling of heightened well-being, users often fall victim to opioid addiction from taking it as a pain relief medication.
It is a recognized complex substance abuse-related illness called Opioid use disorder. The symptoms of opioid addiction include physical dependence on opioids, an unhealthy increase in opioid intake, drowsiness, financial trouble, and more.
It is essential to detect the signs of opioid addiction for a successful and early recovery. This article will discuss the symptoms and effects of opioid addiction on its user.
Opioid Addiction Symptoms
Among the substances that are abused, opioid drugs are one of the most dangerous. Even under careful prescription, the user is at risk of getting addicted to opioids. Opioid drugs have different names, including morphine and heroin.
Although opioid addiction is dangerous and sometimes lethal, some users do not get addicted to the drug. There is medical evidence as to why opioids turn some into addicts and some not.
Symptoms of opioid addiction are divided into 2 types. Here are the common symptoms of Opioid Addiction, otherwise known as opioid use disorder –
Physical Symptoms Of Opioid Addict –
- Changes in physical appearance
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Sudden drastic weight loss
- Change in appetite
- Sores, scabs, and injection wound
- Deteriorating motor skills
- Lack of coordination in daily activities
- Sickness o.r. diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting
- Miosis (Shrink in pupil size)
Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of A Opioid Addict –
- Stealing pain medications from others
- Intake of pain medication more than the prescribed dose
- Withholding information about the medications they are on
- Having appointments with multiple physicians to increase the supply and dose of opioids
- Unsatisfactory work performance, decrease in quality of work
- Making excuses to take opioid medications, even when not in pain
- Staying apart from family and friends
- Long and frequent absent periods without a valid reason
- Cognitive thinking decelerates with time
- Defect in judgment
- Deterioration in problem-solving ability
- Trouble concentrating on the task at hand
- Detachment from the surroundings
- Mood swings
- Sudden outbursts from trivial disagreements
Some of the symptoms here intersect with other kinds of drug addiction. The warning symptoms of Opioid addiction are:
- Financial trouble
- Stealing money and valuables
- Drastic weight loss
- Change in appearance
- Poor hygiene
- Loss of appetite
- Severe deterioration in cognitive function
The effects of opioid addiction are critical and require immediate attention.
Effects Of Opioid Addiction On Its User
The most noticeable effect of drug addiction is a financial struggle. Effects of opioid addiction also include –
- Strain in relationships with people
- Losing jobs & unemployment
- Difficulty in forming thoughts in words
- Constant sickness
- Deterioration in libido, appetite, and pain reception
- Higher tolerance for morphine and opioid medications
- Heightened dependence on morphine or similar medication to function
- Giving up on appearance and personal hygiene
- Struggling with Sleep
The worst possible effect of opioid addiction is overdosing and death. Many other psychological disorders accompany Opioid use disorder.
Diseases That Accompanies Opioid Addiction
Substance abuse is highly correlated to many other mental health disorders. An Opioid addict may also experience the following mental health diseases in the later stages of addiction –
- Bipolar disorder
- Anxiety Disorder
- Psychotic illnesses
- Borderline Personality Disorder
As substance abuse increases, the tolerance for opioid drugs also increases. Down the lane, it increases the possibility of overdosing for the user.
Overdose Symptoms of Opioid Addiction
Chronic exposure to morphine decreases the receptiveness of the body. To feel the euphoria on the same level, users increase the dose and frequency of their opioid abuse.
Symptoms of overdosing on opioids are –
- Bluish tint on skin and lips
- Foaming out the mouth
- Constricted pupils
- Muscle spasms
- Delayed or no response to stimuli
- Shortness of breath
- Slowed or shallow breathing
- Decreasing heart rate
- Losing consciousness
If you notice these symptoms in someone, you know and use opioids, immediately get professional help. Opioid addiction is a complex problem; its recovery takes time and effort. Quitting opioids is far from easy because of the withdrawal symptoms.
Opioid Addiction Treatment: Withdrawal
Withdrawal is when an opioid-addicted body shifts back to functioning without opioids. Treating opioids starts with withdrawal; the symptoms occur within 24 hours of quitting opioid drugs.
While opioid withdrawals are not life-threatening, the experience is extremely distressing.
- Uncontrollable craving for opioid drugs
- Muscle spasms
- Severe anxiety
- Loss of appetite
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes (Epiphora)
These do not threaten the patient’s life but support during this time is crucial to recovery. To help with recovery, counseling and opioid receptor antagonist drugs are administered.
Typically, naltrexone and naloxone are prescribed to help the patient avoid relapse. To properly comprehend how opioid users slip into addiction, we need to understand how opioid affects the brain.
Understanding How Opioids Affect The Brain
From an outsider’s perspective, understanding opioid addiction is a complicated matter. Giving up Opioids addiction is far more difficult than most drug addictions. Opioids, otherwise known as morphine, fentanyl, Codeine, and more, create a euphoric feeling for the user upon entering the body. So how does that happen?
The sites of action for opioids are two. 1. the presynaptic nerve terminal and 2. the postsynaptic neuron. The spinal cord, midbrain, thalamus, primary afferent neurons, and other nervous areas transmit and regulate pain. And they also include opioid receptors.
However, the endogenous opioid system is activated in pathological circumstances. Upon entering the bloodstream, opioids inhibit the neurotransmitter release to pain receptors. Which then produces analgesia that relieves the user from pain. The activity also excites the neurons and synapses to feel euphoric and enhanced well-being.
This sequentially explains why people get addicted to Opioid drugs. Generally, people who have experienced traumatic incidents or struggling with mental illnesses are very susceptible.
The Correlation Between Addiction and Mental Health
Several medical studies indicate a correlation between the two. It was observed that the young adults who went through these things below are likely to be addicted to opioids –
- Traumatic life events
- Loss of parents
- Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder
- Suffering from chronic illnesses
- Untreated ADHD
- Untreated Anxiety disorders
- Undiagnosed depressions
- Undiagnosed personality disorders
Having to go through painful experiences, these people usually look for relief, which directs them to substance abuse like opioid addiction.
Because the drug quickly inhibits mental suffering and provides a sense of well-being, they become dependent. Opioids make the users dependent and increase tolerance. However, studies suggest that dependence builds more quickly than tolerance.
As the dependence grows, young adults and adults swiftly slip into abusing opioids. They either get their supply illegally or legally from their physicians and then abuse the drugs.
Medical professionals are always extra careful with prescribing and administering morphine and fentanyl, but patients develop an addiction. And gradually, with prolonged use, they build high tolerance for opioids.
Types Of Opioids
There are two types of opioids. One is natural, collected from opium poppy flowers. And the other is synthetic, an artificial substance developed in the laboratory. It mimics natural compounds.
Drugs That Are Classified As Opioids
There are various names and formulations of drugs under opioids. These drugs are developed and sold by different pharmaceutical companies.
Here are the prescription opioid drugs to relieve pain and inflammation –
The street names for opioids are – Chandu, Gee, Guma, Midnight Oil, Chinese Molasses, Dopium, Dream Gun, Fi-do-nie, Aunti, Aunti Emma, Big O, Black pill, and Zero.
Are There Any Medicines That Help With Opioid Addiction?
Several medications can help people stop using opioids by lowering cravings or obstructing the pleasurable effects that opioids produce.
These medications may be used as part of an individual’s opioid use disorder treatment. They are not a replacement for the medicines that cause the person’s problem; they are therapeutic remedies. With these drugs’ aid, highly driven patients with strong social support typically fare well.
To treat opioid use disorder, methadone is a medication given in a clinic or inpatient setting. Methadone helps with cravings and withdrawal symptoms. It can be consumed as a wafer, a drink, or a pill.
Doctors may also recommend it to relieve pain. Buprenorphine, a different medication, reduces opioid cravings but does not cause euphoria. This is normally taken once daily under the tongue and is prescribed by many doctors in office settings.
Additionally, it can be given as a monthly injection or through six-month-long tiny tubes implanted beneath the skin. Naltrexone, on the other hand, turns off the effects of sedatives and euphoric feelings from opioids.
Opioid addiction is a destructive addiction like other hard drugs. We discussed the symptoms, effects, and how opioids affect the braid leading people to addiction. We hope it will banish the stigma around opioid addiction.
There is hope for opioid addiction. If someone you know is struggling, urging them to reach out for help. Because with support and therapy, an addict can recover and enjoy a healthy life.