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What are Opiates?
Opiates are a common type of drug. They are powerful drugs that are often used to relieve pain. Some opiates are used in hospitals under strict management. This is because opiates are addictive.
Opiates are made from poppy plants. Poppy seeds were used to relieve pain even during ancient times. Today, opiates come in the forms of oxycodone, Vicodin, methadone, fentanyl, morphine and more. While opiates are effective pain relief, a product derived from morphine is more often used for recreational purposes. This product is heroin.
What are the Effects?
As mentioned, opiates are used commonly for pain relief. Doctors prescribe opiates for patients recovering from surgery, injury, or other painful conditions. But like many medications, opiates have side effects.
Side effects may include dry mouth, slowed breathing, drowsiness, nausea, and vomiting. Taking them at the right dosage can prevent or manage these side effects.
Prolonged intake of large doses may also incur tolerance to its effects. Intolerance to opiate may make it ineffective as a pain reliever. Thus, it is advisable to take them as per your doctor’s instructions.
Opiates are classified as narcotic drugs. Narcotic drugs are addictive drugs that relieve pain and cause euphoria. This means that opiates can be addictive. Addiction to opiate can cause further side effects.
Pain relief is achieved because opiates affect the body’s opioid receptors. The natural opioids in the body cause calmness and trigger the pleasure system of the brain. By taking in synthetic opioids, or opiates, it creates a rush in the opioid receptors. The rush gives high levels of pleasure in the body.
Our body would instinctually want to repeat an activity that provides such pleasure. This is where the addictive effect of opiates start. With the rewarding effects of opiate, the brain believes that it’s something good. However, despite the pleasurable effects of opiate, abuse may become dangerous.
Effects of opiate abuse may include drowsiness, respiratory depression, nausea, paranoia, and lethargy. Opiates can also cause pinprick or pinpoint pupils. This is because opiates tend to relax the irises. This effect is a telltale sign of opiate abuse.
Opiate abuse can also affect your reaction time. This would make driving under the influence dangerous. Getting caught doing so may revoke your license.
Extended opiate abuse can also cause constipation, liver damage, brain damage, tolerance, abdominal distention and bloating.
What can we do?
If opiate addiction incurs, it’s best to treat it as soon as possible. Treating addiction early may prevent its effects to your health.
When it comes to addiction, it is advisable to seek professional help. Treating addiction can have withdrawal symptoms that can make the patient feel sick. Withdrawal treatments can help in managing the discomforts of treating addiction. Joining support groups can also prevent future relapses after the treatment.
With modern medicine, there are countless drugs that provide us both relief and undesired side effect. This includes addiction. But addiction can be treatable. The patient must only take the first step to recovery and have hope.
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