Opium Abuse Side Effects
Opium abuse is quite prevalent in many parts of the world, both in its refined form, as a component of varied prescription drugs, and in its unrefined form. However, the use of the drug in its raw form has been decreasing recently.
Many people who are abusing opium started taking it as a prescription drug, as a remedy to chronic pain. In fact, opium has been widely prescribed in hospitals as a way of managing chronic pain, more so in the case of cancer patients, and before, during, and after surgical procedures. This is due to its strong analgesic properties. However, many times the drug is abused thanks to its ability to produce a high and take the individual from the real world.
Opium abuse is defined as a situation where an individual takes the drug in defiance of the prescriptions of qualified medical practitioners in terms of frequency, amounts, and the length of use. This is quite probable for those taking the drugs as a prescription and for recreational purposes, mainly due to the ability of opium to alter the reward system of the body. With time, the body learns to depend on the drugs as a fast and immediate way of activating its reward system rather than on normal processes.
This causes degeneration of nerve cells in the central nervous system that are responsible for production of feel-good and painkilling chemicals. With complete changes in the functioning of the central nervous system, dependence and chemical tolerance to the drug develop, trapping the patient to an addiction cycle.
Like other drugs, opium comes with a number of side-effects with varied severity. Note that these side-effects do not have to occur in a particular individual, but depend on factors such as the dose, how the drug is taken, and the individual’s metabolism. In addition, these side-effects depend on the duration of time in which the drug has been taken. In the short term, opium abuse brings about side-effects such as drowsiness, sedation, depressed or slowed breathing, glazed or red eyes, slurred speech, headaches, confusion, nausea, sleeping disorders, a runny nose, sinus irritation, excessive energy, rapid speed, mania, and a loss of appetite.
In addition, the individual may undergo side-effects such as mood swings, depression, apathy, slowed reflexes, vomiting, constipation and other gastrointestinal problems, extreme anxiety, restlessness and tension. In severe cases, the individual may have a weak pulse, lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate, difficulty or labored breathing, and changes in the color of lips and fingertips. Seizures, convulsions, hallucinations, confusion and psychomotor retardation also take place. These necessitate immediate medical attention.
In most cases, side-effects are experienced at the early stages of abuse and decrease as time goes by. This is no reason to continue taking the medication, especially taking into consideration the possibility of overdose and death. In this case, it is important that one seeks treatment 800-303-2482 in case tolerance and physical dependence develop.