As prevalent as opium-type drugs have become, many people may be taking these drugs while not knowing the types of harmful effects they cause. Opium, commonly associated with the opium poppy seed plant, actually exists in a variety of forms, some natural and some synthetic.
Prescription pain pills and heroin top the charts for opium use, with addiction rates increasing on a yearly basis. According to Columbia Health, the “high” most often experienced with opium use does a good job at camouflaging the damaging effects of these drugs on brain and body processes.
As analgesic, pain-relieving agents, opium-type drugs interfere with normal pain signaling processes throughout the central nervous system. Over time, users start to experience warning signs of opium use but become increasingly helpless to do anything about it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, the overwhelming effects from opium use accounts for scores of emergency room admissions that have more than quadrupled over the past 10 years. If you suspect you or someone you know may be struggling with a drug problem, here are 10 warning signs that opium use may be turning into an addiction:
1. Mood Swings
Continued opium use disrupts normal brain chemical processes. These changes affect regions of the brain regulating thoughts and emotions. Eventually a person’s emotional state will become unstable causing frequent mood swings to develop.
2. Confused Thinking
Ongoing opium use causes brain chemical imbalances that essentially “rewire” a person’s cognitive processes. Over time, it becomes more difficult to think clearly, make rational decisions or concentrate for any length of time.
3. Loss of Energy
Opium’s ability to depress central nervous system functions has a slowing effect on most all major bodily processes. Likewise, the digestive functions slow down considerably, which affects the body’s ability to convert food nutrients into energy. As a result, feelings of fatigue persist for much of the time.
4. Random Pain Sensations
As opium naturally interferes with the body’s pain signaling processes, nerve pathways start to breakdown with ongoing drug use. Random pain sensations in the form of muscle aches and pains happen more frequently as damaged nerve signals start to misfire.
5. Bouts of Depression
Bouts of depression start to take hold as the brain neurotransmitter chemicals that regulate emotions become depleted.
Opium’s sedative-like effects eventually leave users in a state of perpetual lethargy where actual lapses in consciousness can occur.
7. Changes in Body Temperature
Frequent opium use impairs the brain’s ability to regulate body temperature. Users may experience alternating episodes of sweating and chills.
8. Bouts of Anxiety
Bouts of anxiety result from an “auto-adjust” mechanism in the brain that attempts to balance opium’s sedating effects. In the process, the brain may “over-correct” these effects, causing bouts of anxiety to develop.
Signs of addiction take the form of:
- Compulsive drug-seeking and drug-using behavior
- Drug-oriented priorities
- Failing relationships
- Financial problems
- Overdose Events
Once the brain reaches a certain tolerance level, users start to ingest massive amounts of opium at a time. This level of opium use can easily overload cardiac and respiratory processes, causing a life-threatening overdose episode to develop.