How Opioid Abuse Impacts Quality of Life

Opioid use has tremendous ripple effects throughout your life. They can affect your health, relationships, family life, career and finances.

Negative Effects of Opioids: How Opioid Abuse Impacts Quality of Life

Estimated watch time: 6 mins 6 secs


When you’re using opioids, there is often a cascade effect. It can be gradual, so you may not notice it right away. Many never notice the impact of opioids personally, but must hear it from others around them. Your family life and relationships can be destroyed, your career ruined, and you may experience financial or legal impacts as well.

This video explores the far-reaching effects of opioids to help you begin the process of seeking help and building your recovery.

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Negative effects of opioid use

In this lesson, we will discuss the negative effects of opioid use, how it affects us and our quality of life.

One of the ways in which our opioid use may affect us is within our home life. We may experience relationship issues, we may create a situation in which we are putting our child at greater risk for future health and addiction issues simply by being an active addict ourselves.

When we are using, we are often unable to be fully present and engaged with people we care for the most.

We are also at risk for neglecting or endangering those under our care as we focus on our addiction over their welfare.

Work and school is another area in our lives that is affected by our opioid use. When we’re actively using, we may not complete our work as efficiently as we had in the past or when we are sober. We will be at an increased risk for calling out and missing shifts. We also are creating safety hazards for ourselves as well as those around us.

Additionally, the quality of our work may go down. Not only are we unable to complete as much work as we had in the past, but the quality of that work may not really be representative of the work that we had done prior to our use.

And with all of these effects, we are at risk for losing our job. Or we may not be hired for a job to which we applied because of our past performance.

Our opioid use may also affect our social life. We may choose to stay home so that we can use or we may be spending more time pursuing access to getting more drugs. And in doing so, we leave behind the time that we would be spending with our support systems.

Additionally, we may not engage in the same activities that we used to. As we are now focusing more of our time on our use.
When you are under the influence, you are not effectively present to those you care for. And so your relationships may be affected by a growing distance between you and those that you have previously relied upon.

Finally, if your friends are also dealing with their own substance issues, when you need support, you may find that they are not as reliable for you as they struggle with their own issues.

So let’s look at how our health is affected by our opioid use. In another lesson we’ll go over in more detail some of the things that we may experience physically as we continue using opioids. But let’s look at some of these basic issues here.

If we are pregnant and we are using opioids, we have put the child at risk for neonatal abstinence syndrome. This Syndrome is a set of symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal within a child after birth.

For ourselves, as we use opioids, we put ourselves at an increased risk for death due to the ease at which we may overdose.

Continued use of opioids put us at risk for experiencing withdrawal symptoms. And ironically, the use of opioids for its pain management actually increases our sensitivity to pain and decreases our quality of life.

Opioid use comes with significant financial and legal ramifications as well. Using opioids puts us at risk for charges related to drug use. And such charges may lead to legal and court costs, the loss of income due to incarceration and a more difficult time finding employment post incarceration.

At a more basic level, our financial costs add up quickly with increased use. The more we use, the more it will cost us. As noted earlier in this presentation, we may experience a loss of our job due to our performance changes as we use, and therefore we may lose our income.

We may experience a loss of property in order to cover the costs use, and we may experience an increase in medical bills as we continue to seek medication or as we experience the health problems that come along with opioid use.

Per the CDC, the economic burden of prescription opioids misuse is 78.5 billion dollars a year for the US. So, when the CDC is talking about the economic burden, we’re talking about the additional costs to the economy for our use. These are the costs that are in addition to the amount of money we spend on the medication itself.

So ask yourself, is it worth it?

How has your opioid use affected you? And where are those hidden costs?

Not just the financial costs, but social costs. Legal costs. Health costs.

Additionally, let’s look at where you’re spending your time. What are you attending to more often and where are your resources going on a regular basis?

For this lesson, I’m going to ask that you start journaling, which you can do in your account, to track these costs for yourself, on a daily basis. Just for you to get an idea of where your resources are going for that day, where your time was spent and where you’re spending more of your attention.

As we get a better understanding of these costs to us, then we can ask ourselves, how can we increase safe behaviors? How do we decrease these risks as we continue to use?

In our next lesson, we will review risk factors and causes for opioid use disorder.

Thank you for choosing The Recovery Village. If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health or substance abuse and would like to find out more about the programs we offer, please reach out to us directly at 855-387-3291.

Medical Disclaimer

The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.