Opium has many side effects, some of which are mildly annoying and others which are potentially harmful. Many people who abuse opium attempt to deal with these side effects by taking over-the-counter medications or using home remedies, but some of them can cause real issues for the individual if they are not careful.
Opium’s Effects on the Mind
According to the DEA, “The intensity of opium’s euphoric effects on the brain depends on the dose and route of administration.” While many people abuse opium for its euphoric and relaxing effects, the drug can also cause other side effects to the brain and the way it works. Some of these are:
- A “relief of physical pain”
Opium can also cause users to experience mood swings that come out in their behavior toward others; one minute the individual may feel calm, happy, and relaxed and the next, they may feel irritable or depressed. People who abuse opium regularly may feel that the euphoria and relaxation outweigh the other effects opium has on the mind, but it can cause issues in a person’s professional and social life.
Opium’s Effects on the Body
Opium actually has many physical side effects. Constipation, for example, is one of the most common side effects caused by this drug as it “inhibits muscle movement in the bowels.” Individuals who use it regularly might take over-the-counter medication in order to treat their constipation. Over time, other issues could result from this effect.
Other side effects opium use has on the body are:
- Dry mouth
- Dry mucous membranes
- Loss of appetite
- Coordination issues
Many of these symptoms are common when the individual is intoxicated but some, like constipation and loss of appetite, can be constant for those who abuse the drug over time.
Opium’s Harmful Side Effects
While many of these effects seem harmless, there are other effects opium has on the body that can be dangerous and even deadly, such as:
Many individuals grow a tolerance for opium quickly and need to take more and more of the drug in order to feel its effects. This can be dangerous and lead to overdose and addiction.
Dependence occurs when a person cannot feel normal without being on opium. It will result in withdrawal symptoms (such as muscle pain, insomnia, anxiety, runny nose, and chills) if the individual stops using the drug.
- Respiratory Depression
This is one of the most dangerous side effects of opium because many people die as a result of it. Shallow, slow, or no breathing can result from heavy doses of opium, and this usually occurs when someone overdoses on the drug.
Seizures are another result of opium overdose.
Another result of opium overdose, the individual may slip into a coma and become unable to wake.
According to the DOI, “Narcotics’ effects are multiplied when used in combination with other depressant drugs and alcohol, causing increased risk of an overdose.” This is an extremely common behavior in opium abusers and those who abuse other narcotics. It is important to be aware of the side effects of opium and their dangers.