Naturally found in the opium poppy plant, opioids are a class of drugs that is frequently used as medicine to relax the body and alleviate pain. Due to their ability to make people feel relaxed and “high,” opioids are frequently abused for non-medical reasons. Since opioids are highly addictive, the risk for overdose is also very high. Common prescription opioids include hydrocodone, oxycodone, oxymorphone, morphine, codeine and fentanyl, while heroin is the most common non-medical opioid.
Opioids and Your Brain
Prescription opioids help to alleviate pain by directly affecting your brain. By binding to and activating opioid receptors, opioids black pain signals that are sent from your brain to the body. They also get your body to release large amounts of dopamine, which strongly reinforces the desire to use the drug more.
While opioids do offer pain relief and help to create feelings of relaxation and happiness, they can have several harmful effects. This is particularly true if opioids or used over a longer period of time. Some of these harmful effects include confusion, drowsiness, constipation, nausea and slowed breathing. This slowed breathing can also lead to hypoxia, which can then lead to short- and long-term neurological and psychological effects.
Opioids and Addiction
Repeated misuse of prescription opioids can lead to addiction. For those who become addicted to opioids, going even a few hours without opioids can lead to withdrawal symptoms including muscle and bone pain, trouble with sleeping, uncontrolled leg movements, diarrhea and vomiting, cold flashes and severe cravings. If you or someone you love is addicted to opioids, contact Advanced Spine & Rehab to learn more about hour suboxone treatment program today!