During the early stages of opiate abuse, it’s not uncommon for a person to function effectively in daily life as far as work and family obligations go. However, when opiate abuse is ongoing, the damaging effects of the drug become increasingly apparent with each passing day.
After a certain point, signs of opiate addiction start to develop and before long, start to impair a person’s ability to function effectively. While the appearance of opiate addiction symptoms varies from person to person, three symptoms in particular develop as a result of the drug’s most powerful effects, regardless of individual differences.
Over time, these three symptoms hold the potential to ruin a person’s life when drug-using behaviors continue.
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Symptoms to Watch Out For
1. Psychological Dependence
During the course of opiate abuse, the brain’s chemical environment adapts to the drug’s effects, reducing its own neurotransmitter production rates along the way, according to the Journal of Addiction Science & Clinical Practice. These changes come at a cost with chemical-producing brain cells undergoing structural damage in the process.
Likewise, the brain’s cognitive and emotion-based centers also adapt to the changing chemical environment. These adaptations in particular lie at the heart of a growing addiction problem.
This opiate addiction symptom leaves a person unable to face everyday life without the effects of opiates. Under these conditions, he or she is willing to sacrifice most anything to get and use the drug.
2. Emotional Instability
Emotional instability develops out of growing chemical imbalances in the brain. With compulsive opiate abuse, it’s only a matter of time before a person starts to experience episodes of depression and/or anxiety as the brain’s chemical levels continue to skew out of balance.
For these reasons, full-blown psychological disorders tend to develop alongside opiate addiction, especially in cases of ongoing abuse practices. Once psychological problems become an issue, this opiate addiction symptom has the potential to wreak havoc in a person’s relationships and greatly disrupt his or her ability to interact with others.
Whether a person abuses heroin, hydrocodone or Vicodin, the risk of overdose increases the longer a person continues to abuse the drug. Overdose develops out of the cumulative effects of opiates in terms of their ability to slow down the body’s major systems.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, overdose-related opiate addiction symptoms can cause extensive damage to the body’s systems as well as the risk of death that every overdose event brings. Medical problems commonly left behind by opiate overdose include:
- Respiratory problems
- Gastrointestinal conditions
- Mental illness
- Heart problems
While opiate abuse may not be a problem during the early stages of drug use, a growing addiction problem will make it more and more difficult to function effectively in daily life. As the damaging effects of opiates tend to worsen with time, someone experiencing one or more of the above opiate addiction symptoms stands to experience the very worst of what addiction has to offer with continued drug use.
With needed treatment help, a person can stop the damaging effects of addiction in its tracks and take back his or her life from the inevitable decline that opiate addiction brings.