Opioid abuse can have a serious impact on a user’s life. Even though most opioids are medically prescribed, there is a risk intended for overuse that leads to opioid dependence and addiction. These substances can affect almost every part of the body, potentially leading to permanent damages to the body. In addition to the common hazards of overusing opioids, sharing needles for heroin has its own short and long-term dangers. There is a multitude of consequences that can accompany long-term abuse, but there are just as many that are seen immediately. Below we explore the short and long-term effects of opioid abuse.
Short Term vs Long Term Effects
Short-Term Effects of Opioid Use
The short-term effects of opioid abuse can be felt quickly after use. However, the duration depends on the type of opioid and the amount taken. Noticeable short-term effects is a feeling of being “high”, along with pleasure and relaxation. Common short-term side effects are:
• Itchy skin
• Feelings of heaviness in the arms and legs
• Mood swings
• Decrease in respiratory rate
• Intestinal bloating
Over time these short-term effects can start affecting the body systems. Although this is not common for those who are taking their prescribed amount, over extended use will affect:
• Gastrointestinal system
• Musculoskeletal system
• Cardiovascular system
• Endocrine system
• Central Nervous system
• Respiratory system
• Immune system
Long-Term Effects of Opioid Use
Long-term use of opioids may have adverse consequences. Some of the major side effects may cause frequent infections and possible liver problems. Frequent constipation, increased sensitivity to pain and possible infertility are also noticeable effects.
Continual use after experiencing these effects will lead to dependence and increased tolerance. Studies show that users will have a higher chance of opioid overdose when these two factors are present. On the same hand, continual use will result in oxygen deprivation, increasing the possibility of permanent brain damage.
Other research also shows that the opioid addiction may deteriorate the brain’s tissues that contain nerve fibers. As a result, users will have difficulty making decisions, experience a decline in some motor controls and cause abnormal reactions to stressful conditions.
Symptoms of Extended Opioid Use
Understanding when and how someone is on opiates is the first step to helping them. However, the scary fact about extended opioid use is usually that clear signs won’t show up until it is too late. It is up to friends and family members to take the initial step to help their loved ones.
Below are the eight common signs to know how someone is on opiates.
Constricted Pupil Size
One of the best indicators of opiate abuse is the user’s pupil size. While there may be many reasons why someone may have dilated pupils, there only a few things that make them small.
Therefore small pupils are a significant indicator of opioid use.
When the body begins reacting to the opioids, the pupils will have a physiological response. Pupil constriction will occur when the circular muscle, which is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system, contracts. This is why one of the first points doctors do is take a look at their patient’s pupils.
Why do opiates cause itching? According to the chemical reactions in the body, opioids release histamine which can create an intense itch. Some new opiate users are particularly uncomfortable and worrisome with this side effect. They believe that it is an allergic reaction, however, that is not the case with most incidents.
Scientists may have found a specific receptor protein that triggers itching. These receptors respond to a signal that releases inflammatory factor like histamine. When this occurs, other cells are brought to the area of inflammation to get rid of the infection. This can cause allergies and present itself as itching.
Those that use opioids continuously may experience impaired sleep. However, with extensive use outside of the prescribed dosages will lead to worse sleep quality, sleep disturbances and longer time to fall asleep. Abusers were also more likely to possess rest apnea – this potentially serious disorder is definitely when breathing repeatedly stops and starts while asleep.
Other symptoms that might arrive for sleeping difficulties with opiate make use of are:
• Restless limbs
• Racing mind
• Cold sweats
• Aches and pains
• Constant toss and turning
Since intensive utilization of opioids can result in sleep issues, other problems might arise from insufficient it. Complications such as failure to revive physical well-being, decreased info processing, weakening of your body and harmful mood regulations.
Feeling nauseous can be an extremely common side-effect of opioid use. Frequently seen as a short-term effect, it could last for the whole duration of opioid make use of. If the user is taking the opioids while a prescription medication or using it all illegally, queasy is unwanted.
When patients are recommended opioids in a clinical environment, there are choices to consume antagonists in reducing nausea. However, in the home make use of is a different tale. Those afflicted will end up running to the toilet more, searching more “green” and make an effort to rest more often. Although nausea is even more recognizable in a nutshell term use, users with dependencies could find themselves encountering nausea and vomiting.
Opioid-induced constipation can be a common symptom of opioid use. Although constipation is not simply a side effect of opioids, it really is undoubtedly among the bigger culprits.
Indications of constipation from opioid make use of include stools that are hard and dry to pass. Additionally, there is the lack of attempting to visit the bathroom when needed. With short-term use, the symptom is minimal. Nevertheless, long-term abuse provides more serious problems as time passes.
The key reason why this occurs is that of the muscles located around the tiny intestines. The muscles are accountable for a movement that assists press stool through, called peristalsis. When opioids are introduced into the body, these squeezing motions decreases. This causes the muscles never to perform since it should and users are still left with feeling “constipated”.
Dramatic Behavioral Changes
If loved types display dramatic changes in their behavior then it might be because of opioid use. Usually, a short feeling may be the just clue, if they are medically recommended or not.
The more prevalent types of changes are:
• Not looking after their personal hygiene and appearance
• Lashing out at family; mood swings; increased irritability
• Creating a habit of stealing
• Trouble at the job, school, home, and additional personal relationships
• Insufficient respect, care, interest and responsiveness to others
• Less look after their living surroundings
• Consistent trips to fresh different physician’s offices
Recognizing these early signals in behavioral changes might help battle the habit sooner.
However, occasionally these symptoms could be overlooked for various factors. Similarly, the symptoms could be minimal and just appear like minor problems that many people generally proceed through. On the other hand, the abusers might just conceal their changed behaviors.
It is the work of the friend, relative or spouse to identify these adjustments. The first rung on the ladder would be to confront those affected. If this fails, consulting with a physician for treatment will be the next greatest move for help.
Here are a few resources that you can check out to learn more about opioids, including how to prevent opioid overdose, overcome opioid addiction and the duration of withdrawal during treatment.
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