Opiate Treatment

Opiate Addiction Effects & Symptoms

What is Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic brain disease that can make your opiate use more than you can control. It alters the way your brain functions and changes the way you feel, think, and make decisions, affecting your mind and body.

Addiction’s Effects

Opiate use affects your brain both psychologically and physically. The psychological effects of opiates use include:

  • Changes in the way you interact with others – this may include damaged or altered relationships with friends, family and coworkers
  • Changes in your feelings about yourself
  • Changes in behavior, judgment and decision making – you may do things that you normally wouldn’t while using drugs

The physical effects of opiate use change the way the brain reacts and adjusts to the constant presence of opiates.

  • When people use opioid drugs the chemicals mimic endorphins, a natural pleasure chemical, by binding to the same receptors as endorphins.
  • This creates an intense, pleasurable high for many people that may be more intense than the brainʼs natural sensations.
  • When this feeling ends, the brain craves it again.

Tolerance Develops Over Time

When opiates are used regularly, the brain develops tolerance by adjusting to the constant presence of the drugs, and more chemicals are needed to feel the same sensations.

Stopping opiate use abruptly can cause withdrawal. The fear of withdrawal symptoms keeps many who are struggling with addiction from undergoing treatment.

Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Increased heart rate
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