Opioids are a kind of drug that includes prescription pain relievers including hydrocodone, oxycodone, tramadol, and fentanyl. Some of these drugs are made from the opium plant while others are man-made or synthetic. Doctors prescribe opioids for chronic pain. Using them for recreation that is not prescribed by doctors is considered abuse.
The abuse of opioids can be very addictive. Both addiction and abuse may result in serious health problems and might lead to death. They can be taken in different ways such as the following:
- taken orally
- injected into veins
- inhaled through nose
Symptoms of opioid addiction and abuse
The signs and symptoms include the following:
- the inability to reduce or stop usage
- an enhanced tolerance for a drug
- withdrawal symptoms
- an effect on life such as employment and relationships
- extreme weight gain or loss or excessive sleeping
- desire to use them when there are health complications
When people are addicted to opioids and stop using them, they can face withdrawal symptoms such as the following:
- muscle aches
- extreme physical and mental discomfort
People who have a slight dependence on prescribed opioids may suffer from withdrawal.
The health consequences of Opioids misuse
- Opioids affect the brain, giving a temporary feeling of great pleasure. The addiction develops quickly with minimal use. This addiction may be physical, wherein the body of the habitual user craves the drug.
- The impact can be mental, wherein users desire drug consciously. People addicted to it can get more irrespective of the consequences or risks.
- The long-term effects have adverse health consequences that impact multiple organs. Its abuse can impact the natural production of painkillers by the brain.
- Some of the other risks of prescription opioids are addiction and dependence. Addiction is a brain disease, which makes a person search for drugs compulsively though they might cause harm. Dependence is the withdrawal symptoms when people do not take drugs. The risks of addiction and dependence are greater when you misuse medications.
- Opioid addiction, misuse, and overdoses are severe health problems. Another problem is when women misuse them during pregnancy. It might lead to babies being addicted to or go through withdrawal. Opioid misuse may
lead to the use of heroin as some people switch from the prescribed medications to heroin.
The main treatment for opioid misuse and addiction is MAT or medication-assisted treatment. This includes counseling, medicines, and support from friends and family. MAT can assist you to stop using it, go through withdrawal, and deal with cravings. Naloxone is a medicine that can reverse the impact of opioid overdose and can prevent death when given in time.
People misusing opioids or becoming addicted to them remain at a higher risk for serious health complications and premature death. The only way to eliminate or minimize the risks is through quitting. Prolonged opioid use might lead to a tolerance that needs greater dosages to feel its effects. The higher dosages enhance the risk of death or serious health consequences.