You already know that you shouldn’t be using opiates. From prescription pain pills to heroin, you understand the risks, the chance of contracting Hepatitis C, or worse, HIV. The chance of overdose. Of withdrawal. Of getting bad dope. Of getting arrested. The list goes on and on.
But do you know the real risks? Do you realize just how bad the long term effects of opiate use can be? If you’re addicted, call our helpline toll-free at 800-654-0987 for help.
Read on to see 10 long term side effects of opiate use that will make you want to quit today.
Opiates are body depressants, meaning the drugs depress the body’s systems, slowing them down, and your digestive system is not immune to it. That in combination with the additives found in many opiates, compact your bowels and makes them slow to the point that things aren’t moving.
Change in Brain Receptors
When you use an opiate, a surge of dopamine is released in the brain. After extended use, extra dopamine receptors are created to deal with the surplus that is always present in the brain. This means the drug is needed just to reach baseline and normal levels are no longer enough.
Change in Brain Chemistry
Because of this surge in neurotransmitters that these narcotics create, one of the long term effects of opiate use is the brain stops making as much dopamine. This means that your brain chemistry now relies on you using just to feel normal.
Loss of Brain Matter
Perhaps one of the scariest long term effects of opiate use is the deterioration of the brain’s white matter. This area of the brain regulates behavior, stress response, and decision making. While the changes in brain chemistry mentioned above can heal and return to a homeostasis after a length of time, that’s not the case with the white matter.
Decrease in Pain Tolerance
You’d think when you chronically take prescription pain pills or other opiates, you’d have an increase in pain tolerance, but that doesn’t happen. Instead, the opposite occurs and it’s as though your pain sensors are now hyper sensitive to pain, causing a significant drop in the pain you can handle.
Counter Effective Pain
But it gets worse than just not being able to handle pain, it actually creates pain. Without the constant numbing effect of the opiate, simply not having it causes pain and the normal aches and pains of every day life become excruciating. The only thing that can counter act this is a time without any opiates, including methadone and Suboxone.
You’ve probably already noticed, but another long term effect of opiate use is a loss of libido. Sex just isn’t on your mind and when it does come across it, you’re just not that interested.
Respiratory Brain Damage
Due to its depressing effects, breathing becomes shallow when you use opiates. When this happens, the brain receives less oxygen. With long term opiate use, this lack of oxygen delivery can lead to permanent brain damage.
Because of dopamine and receptor changes that occur in the brain with long term opiate use, it leads to changes in mood. From surges in dopamine to neurotransmitter crashes, it’s no wonder those addicted can’t seem to stabilize their moods.
Let’s face it. Addiction kills. And it not only kills people. It kills dreams. It kills relationships. It kills families. And it can kill you. The only way to prevent addiction from taking your life is to stop using.