Opiates are derived from the poppy plant and change the way the body perceives pain. Opiates also produce feelings of euphoria in the user. People who use opiates to control pain are at risk of addiction due to the highly habit-forming nature of the drugs. Some signs of opiate addiction include the following:
- Needing a supply of the drug on hand at all times
- Needing more of the drug to achieve the same level of relief or experience
- Becoming preoccupied with getting and using the drug
- “Doctor shopping” to get new prescriptions for the drug
- Engaging in illegal behaviors, such as stealing, to get and use the drug
- Participating in dangerous activities, like driving, while under the influence of the drug
If you or someone you love struggles with opiate abuse, getting into treatment is the best way to deal with the problem.
Effects of Opiates
The following seven areas of concern are some of the most common effects of opiate abuse:
- Tolerance: Tolerance to opiates can lead to a variety of life-changing side effects. Opiates are often the last option when it comes to treating chronic pain. People who misuse their drugs and become tolerant risk developing an addiction. Once an addiction is present, the only way to deal with the situation is through detox and rehab. A person who develops a tolerance may be one step away from not being able to use opiates to manage pain.
- Physical dependence: Physical dependence on opiates develops quickly after tolerance is present. When a person is physically dependent on an opiate, he or she is unable to feel and function “normally” without the drug. This makes everyday tasks difficult and takes the joy out of life for the user and the people he or she loves.
- Psychological dependence: When a person becomes psychologically dependent on a opiate, he or she is no longer able to make good decisions when it comes to even the smallest of tasks. The drug is now the center of the user’s life, and he or she is preoccupied every moment of every day with getting and using the substance.
- Health problems: Long-term, inappropriate use of opiates leads to numerous health issues. Vein collapse, skin infections, a weakened immune system, and heart and lung difficulties from depressed respiration are all associated with opiate addiction.
- Family issues: A person who is addicted to opiates puts his or her family into a very difficult situation. As the drug becomes more and more important, family relationships suffer and deteriorate.
- Employment problems: Those who are addicted to opiates can find it difficult to stay gainfully employed. Dependence on the drug makes use at work a real possibility, putting the user and fellow employees at risk.
- Relationship difficulties: Staying in a long-term relationship while struggling with opiate dependency can be a struggle. Spouses and significant others feel helpless to make a difference when the drug has taken over their loved one’s life. Further involvement in the drug culture can make safety an issue, so many times marriages end over opiate addiction.
Opiate addiction impacts every aspect of life.
Finding Help for Opiate Addiction
If you or a loved one struggles with opiate addiction, we are here to help you. Call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline to speak to an admissions coordinator. We are ready to answer your questions and help you find treatment.