How Opiates Destroy Your Body

Opiates are an enormous problem in the U.S. and the world. They’re powerful and often deadly, yet they’re frequently found in the average family’s medicine cabinet. Opiates include prescription painkillers like OxyContin, for which hundreds of millions of prescriptions are written by doctors every year. Heroin is also part of the opiate class of drugs, and this is something hundreds of thousands of people are addicted to in the U.S.

Often an addiction to opiates can begin innocently. Someone may be injured in an accident or have surgery, and then their physician prescribes them an opioid painkiller. Unfortunately, these painkillers, while effective, also have a very high likelihood of abuse, dependence, and addiction. All too often what happens is that someone who was prescribed opioids and became dependent on them then moves to other more potent drugs like heroin, as the effects of the initial opioid diminish.

Opiates can destroy every aspect of your life, and they also destroy your body. So, how do opiates destroy your body?

The following are a few of the many ways how opiates destroy your body when you abuse them.

How Opiates Destroy Your Body
When you take opioids, they flood the brain with dopamine, which is what creates the pleasurable euphoria people feel on these drugs. It’s around a thousand times more of an effect than what you would experience under normal circumstances with your pleasure and reward centers in your brain, and very quickly your brain can become adjusted to the presence of opioids.

As the brain starts to see the presence of artificial opioids as normal, it rewires itself. The brain changes so that activities that would normally activate pleasure centers such as enjoying a meal or even sex tend not to have the same effect.

After abusing opioids, the brain has to recover and relearn how to function without the drugs.

Also notable is the fact that your brain is designed to continue to seek out activities that bring pleasure, which is why using opioids quickly becomes an addiction.

If you’re considering how opiates destroy your body in the long-term, along with it being difficult for your brain to recover from the way it rewires itself if you are a chronic user of opioids you also have a much higher chance of developing major depression.

What about how opiates destroy your body beyond your brain?

Opiates have a huge impact on your respiratory system. They depress the central nervous system, which means they are also a respiratory depressant. When you take heroin or prescription opiates, it can slow your breathing, and sometimes to the point where you can lose consciousness or die.

Regarding how opiates destroy your body in the long-term, if your rate of respiration slows too much it can lead to respiratory arrest. This prevents your brain and organs from getting enough oxygen, which can lead to damage and severe injury to your organs.

One of the areas you’ll often hear about when it comes to how opiates destroy your body is the digestive system. There are opioid receptors throughout the digestive system, and the brain also controls this part of your body. When you take opiates, it impacts the muscles of your digestive system, which is why opiate abusers often have severe constipation.

Ultimately what can happen with chronic opiate use are issues like obstruction of the small bowel and perforation.

Drug use, in general, can harm the liver, and this includes the use of opiates. Many opioid painkillers are combined with acetaminophen, and the liver can sustain damage as a result of toxicity from this substance. Particularly risky opiates when it comes to liver damage include Lortab, Norco, and Vicodin. This is compounded when people combine alcohol with these opiates.

The liver’s ability to process these toxins is reduced, and there is the potential for liver injury or failure as a result.

These are just some of the ways how opiates destroy your body. Some of the ways how opiates destroy your body happen over the long-term, but many can happen relatively quickly. Other ways how opiates can destroy your body include the development of a condition called hyperalgesia, which creates an increased sensitivity to pain, slowing of movements and coordination, and a weakened immune system leading to susceptibility to sickness and infection.

How Opiates Destroy Your Body
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