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Understanding the Effects of Opioid Dependence

a medical professional holds a bottle of medicine while other medication bottles are the table and discusses the dangers of opioid dependence to patient

A lot of attention has been given to the opioid crisis and the high risk of fatal overdose. There are many negative consequences related to opioid dependence besides overdose. These include social isolation, financial instability, and increased risk of infectious diseases. Addiction is a complex and chronic condition that affects not only the individual but also their loved ones and community.

However, addiction is treatable, and recovery is possible with the right resources and support. Opioid addiction treatment can prevent and possibly reverse damage caused by opioid use disorder. Call Evoke Wellness at Waltham at 866.276.1920 today for more information about our addiction treatment programs.

The Side Effects of a Painkiller Addiction

Opioid is the term for a class of drugs that includes prescribed painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl. Opioids work by binding to the opioid receptors in the body and brain, which decreases the ability to feel pain and creates a feeling of euphoria.

When used as prescribed for a short term, opioid painkillers are considered safe. However, this class of drugs is highly addictive. Any misuse or overuse can quickly create opioid dependence—the state in which the body depends on opioids to function. Long-term opioid dependence and addiction pose serious risks to both mental and physical health.

Physical Effects of Opioid Dependence

Opioid use can cause long-lasting effects on your physical health. Some of the problems caused by opioids may continue even after you have stopped using them.

Part of the reason opioid dependence is harmful is that people struggling with addiction issues often neglect their healthcare. Ignoring health problems, skipping checkups, and neglecting preventive care can lead to a number of health issues.

In addition, opioids have a direct effect on the body. Some of the health issues related to opioid dependence include:

  • Brain damage, forgetfulness
  • Constipation or bowel blockage
  • Heart failure
  • Heart attack
  • Respiratory failure
  • Sleep apnea
  • Increased risk for bone fractures

Fatal overdose is the most serious health effect of misusing opioids. Signs of overdose include loss of consciousness, pale and clammy skin, and slowed breathing rate. If you suspect someone has overdosed, call 911 immediately.

Mental Effects of Opioid Dependence

The chronic use of opioid drugs changes brain function. Some people may use opioids to self-medicate mental health concerns, but opioid dependence only makes things worse in the long run.

Some of the mental health risks associated with painkiller addiction include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Inability to feel pleasure
  • Drug cravings that last for months or years
  • Difficulty focusing
  • focusing thoughts

Though some of these effects can last up to 24 months, they are reversible with care.

Other Negative Effects of Opioid Dependence

The social and personal costs of developing an opioid use disorder can’t be overlooked. Addiction disorders can cause estrangement from loved ones, career loss, financial loss, legal problems, and the loss of personal confidence and self-esteem. Many people who become dependent on opioids feel shame and may isolate themselves from those who love them.

In addition to suffering from the physical and mental health concerns related to opioid addiction, becoming dependent on the drug can destroy your life as you know it. Poor judgment caused by drug use may lead to taking unnecessary risks, including putting others in danger. People with drug use disorders will do anything to get the drugs they need, including lying, stealing, and cheating the people they love.

When a body is dependent on opioids, fulfilling the need for the drug becomes the number one priority. The combination of cognitive impairment and overwhelming physical and emotional cravings can cause a person to behave in ways they never imagined they could.

Call Evoke Wellness at Waltham and Get Help for Painkiller Addiction

Opioid dependence and opioid use disorder are treatable conditions. With an individualized treatment program that addresses your specific needs, you can overcome opioid misuse and repair your life. The compassionate team at Evoke Wellness at Waltham is committed to helping individuals with opioid addiction find lasting recovery. To enroll in our opioid treatment program or learn more about it, call Evoke Wellness at Waltham at 866.276.1920 or contact us online.