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What are Opiates?

Opiates or opioid drugs are prescriptions drugs used to treat pain. Opiates are helpful in treating patients with severe injuries or recovering from surgery.

But with the benefits of opiates comes with a price. Opiates also have side effects that may be inconvenient. One of these side effects is that opiates are addictive.

How do they Work?

Many toxins enter our bloodstream. These toxins may affect our organs, including the brain. Opiates work by passing through the blood-brain barrier. This means that opiates work by entering our bloodstream and then reaching our brain to function. It takes only a few minutes for opiates to reach the brain. Therefore, opiates are preferred for fast relief.

Part of our brain is the opioid receptors. These receptors affect the pleasure system of our brain. It also blocks pain, slows breathing, and have an antidepressant effect. Our body produces natural opioids for the receptors to process. By taking in opiates, the receptors are activated with opioids from an outside source. With powerful opiates, the opioid receptors are stimulated to produce a euphoric effect.

What are the Side Effects?

Like most drugs, opiates come with side effects other than what is intended. With opiate affecting the brain, these side effects might become harmful when prolonged.

During short term use, opiates can also cause drowsiness. Because opioid receptors can affect breathing, opiates may also slow breathing. This is why it is not recommended for patients with existing breathing conditions. Opiates can also cause constipation and nausea.

Opiates are categorized as narcotics. This means that they are highly addictive.

How do they become Addictive?

We remember what gives us pain and what gives us pleasure. This is why we like to repeat activities such as eating and avoid going too near the fire.

By taking in opiates, the opioid receptors are flooded. This causes the euphoric effect that overwhelms the brain. The brain remembers this as something pleasurable. So, the brain wants to repeat the activity that caused this. Here is where opiate addiction starts.

What Happens during Abuse?

Opiates flood the opioid receptors. This could overwhelm the brain. Here are few of the symptoms that occur during opiate abuse:

  • Weakened immune system
  • Respiratory depression
  • Paranoia
  • Lethargy
  • Tolerance to its pain relief effects

In severe condition, opiate abuse can also cause abdominal distention, liver damage, and brain damage.

Remedies for Abuse

People who have abused opiates still have an option to flush the toxins from their system. Checking into rehabilitation centers can help patients recover from opiate addiction. Joining supports groups and therapies can help patients avoid repeating the addiction in the future. Detox centers can also offer help to rid your body of the chemicals.

For any method in recovering from opiate abuse, it’s advisable to seek a medical professional’s advice. Their advice can help in avoiding or managing withdrawal symptoms.

Sometimes, medication is unavoidable. The key to prevent or manage undesired side effects is to follow your doctor’s instruction and use prescription drugs in moderation. Ask your doctor about the effects of the medicine you’re taking to know how to manage unwanted effects.