Opiates refer to substances that are derived from the opium poppy. They have pain relieving effects when taken, and are used in some prescription painkillers. They also cause harmful highs. The following medications are classified as opiates:
- Morphine is the most common natural alkaloid in the opium poppy. It’s frequently prescribed to patients that have undergone major surgery and are in need of significant pain relief.
- Codeine, synthesized from morphine, is frequently combined with Tylenol when prescribed for pain. The effects of codeine are less intense than those of morphine.
- Thebaine is poisonous, so it is not used in medicine. However, it can be converted into synthetic opiates, also known as opioids. Some examples of these are hydrocodone and oxycodone. Opioids are often prescribed for the treatment of pain.
Both natural and synthetic opiates cause dependence, and many people abuse these drugs for their ability to induce euphoria.
Opiate abuse affects the user’s digestive system. Common side effects of opiate abuse include constipation, nausea, and vomiting. These symptoms can lead to a lack of nutrients and an imbalance of electrolytes. The side effects of nausea and vomiting often decrease the user’s appetite, making it difficult to maintain a healthy diet. Another side effect of opiate abuse is fatigue. This can lower the user’s metabolic rate, which again will cause a change in eating habits.
How Opiate Abuse Affects Weight
People that abuse opiates may experience either weight gain or loss as a result of their drug use. Opiate users that experience side effects, such as nausea and vomiting, may experience weight loss. However, users that do not experience these side effects may experience weight gain. The high the drug causes may encourage them to eat more food to feel even better. Opiate users may even gain weight because substance abuse often leads to inactivity. People that become addicted to opiates may abuse drugs so often that they do little else. As a result, they may not participate in many activities that require physical exercise.
Help Finding Treatment for Opiate Addiction
If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to opiates, please allow us to help. Call our toll-free helpline to reach our admissions coordinators that can help you find treatment that is right for you or your loved one. Our staff is available 24 hours a day to take your call and to connect you to the help you need to achieve recovery. Don’t hesitate to call us now.