Opiate Addiction and Malnutrition

Opiate Addiction and Malnutrition

Opiate Addiction and Malnutrition

Opiates are one of the most famous groups of drugs. They are made from the opium poppy plant and can include the natural form, like heroin, or a synthetic, chemically engineered form found in many painkiller medications. They can be effective medications for treating chronic pain for patients who find pain unbearable in day-to-day life and for those recovering from painful procedures. However, their efficacy also makes them dangerous due to potential overdose, addiction and side effects. One of these side effects is malnutrition, which can have a lasting impact on the mind and body.

Malnutrition Resulting From Changes in Mental Function

Opiate use changes how the brain works. By changing neural pathways, the drug can actually alter how a person interacts with his or her world and his or her community of family and friends. Specifically, opiates affect the memory, and otherwise normal sensations may no longer feel natural to someone who is affected by opiates. Users may not remember to eat or to make good food choices. While high, food may not sound appealing or even be on the user’s mind. Conversely, when not high, individuals will prioritize obtaining more of the drug over going grocery shopping, cooking or going out to eat at a good restaurant. Because opiates are so addictive, users make them a priority over everything else in life, including nutrition. Fast food may become the only immediately affordable option, if the user buys food at all.

Opiates also affect the body on a deeper physiological level. A less psychological and more physical reason as to why opiates cause malnutrition is that they actively damage the stomach and other organs used for digestion. Opiates slow the digestion and voiding process, which often causes constipation, and users may not want to eat as a result. With motivation to not eat, distraction from the need to eat and lack of funds to purchase food, malnutrition can happen quickly for the opiate addict.

Ending Malnutrition Related to Opiate Use

All addiction warrants professional intervention; however, professional help for opiate addiction becomes even more important when malnutrition is an issue. Not only is the addict suffering psychologically, but his or her body will become even weaker when malnourished making fighting the addiction even more difficult. Withdrawal symptoms can worsen an already precarious health situation by causing diarrhea, vomiting and further loss of appetite. For this reason, opiate addicts suffering from malnutrition need professional help in a medically supervised facility to safely rid the body of the opiate drugs. Professional detox services ensure that individuals stay hydrated and receive the nutrients they need to get strong and stay healthy throughout their recovery. By choosing to detox in a trained facility, addicts set themselves up for a much better chance of a sober life soon.

Get Help for Opiate Addiction Today

Opiates pose a definite danger for any user. It is important to get help before your health and your life are irreversibly damaged. We are here 24 hours a day, so please call our toll-free helpline now to learn more about getting clean and getting healthy. All calls and phone services are free and confidential, and there is no reason to put off learning more. We can even check your insurance coverage for you to see what financial help may be available to you. Please call now.