What Are the Long-Term Effects of Opioid Addiction?
The short-term effects of opioid abuse and addiction are well known, from the risk of overdose to financial problems and arrest. In that environment and emergency focus, it is easy to overlook the long-term effects of opioid abuse, but users and their families do so at their peril.
If you or someone you care about has been using opioids and become addicted, you need to worry about not only their short-term safety and well-being but their long-term physical, mental and emotional health as well. Continuing to use opioids for the long term could have devastating consequences for everything from gastrointestinal health to their ability to sleep soundly through the night.
Now that you know the dangers are ongoing, getting your loved one or yourself into treatment is even more critical. The faster you act, the easier it will be to head off some of the most severe consequences, including the long-term effects of opioid addiction.
What Makes Opioids So Addictive?
The class of drugs classified as opioids has powerful painkilling properties – that is what makes them valuable to doctors, hospitals, and others involved in treating both short-term and long-term discomfort. But these same potent painkilling properties also make opioids highly addictive, especially when used to excess.
Opioids are powerfully addictive on both an emotional and physical level, taking a toll on the body and the brain. The highly addictive nature of these drugs is due to several different factors, including how they interact with brain chemistry and the neural pathways they can open up.
But no matter what the reasons, the fact that opioids are so powerfully addictive means that professional help is needed to get off them. If you or someone you care about has been using these drugs, we encourage you to reach out to the experts at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today.
Long-Term Opiate Abuse Effects on the Body
The chronic use of opiates can have profound negative implications for the user’s physical health, and the longer the use goes on, the worse the damage can be. The long term effects of opioid addiction are well known, and they include the following:
- Chronic constipation – One of the long-term effects of opioid abuse is chronic constipation, an uncomfortable problem with serious consequences.
- Bowel obstruction – Those who suffer from constipation associated with opioid use are at increased risk of bowel obstruction, an emergency that requires prompt treatment to resolve.
- Breathing problems and insomnia– Chronic opioid users often experience sleep difficulties, including frequent insomnia and breathing difficulties that can wake them from a sound sleep. Similar to sleep apnea, this long-term effect of opioid abuse can be severe.
- Heart problems – Long-term users of opioid medications are also at higher risk of heart problems, including deadly heart attacks and heart failure.
- An increase in pain sensitivity – One of the most devastating effects of long-term opioid use is increased pain sensitivity. This impact can make an already bad chronic pain problem that much worse.
Long-Term Effects of Opioid Abuse on the Mind
The long term use of opioids can have a severe impact on the mind as well, including:
- Intense cravings
- Mood changes
When to Seek Help for Opioid Abuse
If you are experiencing any of the long-term effects of opioid abuse, you may be wondering if the time has come to seek help for your problem. Rest assured that it is never too late to seek treatment, and if you are wondering if you have a problem, you should trust your gut and find addiction treatment today.
WhiteSands Addiction Treatment Programs
When it comes to prescription painkillers and illegal opiates, overdose is far from the only danger. The long-term use of these potent drugs can have long-term consequences, and the sooner you reach out for help, the better off you will be.
We encourage you to pick up the phone today and give the experts at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab a call. We are standing by to take your call, and we are ready to help you turn your life around before the worst aspects of your long-term opioid abuse have a chance to kick in.
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.