Addiction Is Just One of the Many Negative Side Effects of Opioids
When it comes to the consequences of opioid abuse, the risk of overdose and death is what family members worry about most. If you have a friend or loved one who is addicted to opioids, either in the form of street drugs like heroin or legally prescribed painkillers, you probably live in fear of the midnight phone call and constantly worry that the person you care about will end up in the emergency room, or jail.
The risk of addiction is all too real when it comes to opioids, but dependency is not the only danger. There are severe consequences to even short-term casual use of opioids. It is essential to understand the seriousness of the situation if you or someone you care about has been using these potentially dangerous items.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at 877.969.1993 to learn how we can help.
What Are Opioids?
When doctors and other medical professionals talk about opioids, they refer to an entire class of drugs, some legal and illegal. The type of opioids runs the gamut, from powerful painkillers used to treat cancer patients and ease discomfort after a significant operation to low potency drugs used to make cough medicine and irritable bowel treatments more effective.
Opioids take many forms and can go by scientific names like:
As you can see, some of the drugs on this list do have legitimate medical uses, while others are far less useful and far more dangerous to the human body. For those with chronic pain conditions, long-lasting opioids like OxyContin and Percocet can indeed be game-changers, but other opioids are very dangerous.
Fentanyl and carfentanil, for instance, can be deadly in even the tiniest of doses, creating a highly toxic situation for users, first responders, medical personnel, and even otherwise unaffected family members. If someone in your family or yourself is addicted to these dangerous drugs, it is essential to seek help for your opioid addiction as soon as possible.
Short Term Effects of Opioid Drugs
Some people may think that using opioids for a short time will be no big deal, and it will take a long time for addiction and dependency to set in. But these drugs can be dangerous even before turning addictive, creating hazardous short-term effects that can include:
- Slowed respiration – No matter what form they take, opioids are depressants, and they can slow respiration to dangerous levels. Even short-term use can have this effect.
- Depressed heart rate – Opioid use can also slow the heart rate, possibly to dangerous and even life-threatening levels. It does not take a lifetime of use to slow the heart, and chronic opioid users are at increased risk for serious heart problems.
- The risk of arrest – Using street drugs like heroin is illegal, carrying a serious risk of arrest. Even if you start out using legally prescribed opioids, you may find yourself turning to illicit drugs when your regular supply runs out.
- Financial problems – Feeding an opioid habit is expensive, and it does not matter whether the drugs in question are legally prescribed or purchased on the street.
- Violent mood swings – Opioid users, even short-term ones, are prone to violent mood swings, affecting their spouses and other family members.
- Excessive drowsiness – The depressive effects of opioids can result in excessive sleepiness, and users may nod off without warning, even when behind the wheel.
- Nausea – Upset stomach and nausea are frequent side effects of opioid use. Even short-term opioid users can experience these kinds of unpleasant symptoms.
- Unconsciousness – It is easy for short-term opioid users to cross the line from simple drowsiness to actual unconsciousness. It is not at all uncommon to pass out from opioid use.
- Coma – In extreme cases, the short-term use of opioids can even trigger a coma, leaving the user unresponsive and family members struggling for answers.
Signs and Symptoms of Opioid Abuse
If you think someone you care about has been experimenting with opioids or inappropriately taking their pain medication, it is vital to watch out for the warning signs and symptoms. Here are some of the classic symptoms of opioid abuse and addiction:
- Taking more pain medication than prescribed
- Visiting multiple doctors to obtain additional prescriptions
- Lying about the amount of pain they are in to get extra painkillers
- Sleeping more than usual
- Having trouble breathing
- Experiencing sudden and unexplained weight loss
- Chronic constipation
- Frequent bouts of nausea
Opioid Addiction Treatment at WhiteSands
Even the short-term abuse of opioids can have long-lasting implications for addicts, their family members, and anyone else who cares about them. If you are concerned about the opioid use of yourself or someone you care about, you should reach out for help as soon as possible before those short-term side effects turn into something even worse.
At WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab, we have the resources and facilities needed to diagnose opioid addiction. Our staff has the training necessary to address the situation head-on. Through a combination of careful medical monitoring, ongoing support, and effective aftercare, we can help you or your loved one heal, giving the entire family a new lease on life.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.