Many substances that are sometimes abused will cause side effects in the person abusing them, and the realm of prescription drugs is no exception. One of the most common examples here is opioids, which are sadly a frequently-abused prescription drug – and opioids may come with a wide variety of side effects in those who abuse them.
At Moonlight Mountain Recovery, we’re happy to offer caring addiction recovery services for a variety of substances, including prescription drugs like opioids and several others. Part of what makes side effects of opioids so significant is the simple number of different ways they can be present – here are some of the key categories, including those that are present not just for the person abusing the opioids, but also often for their friends, family and others close to them.
Physical Side Effects of Opioids
The largest and most well-known set of side effects associated with opioids is its physical effects – these can include depression, extreme tiredness, difficulty breathing and greater vulnerability to falls or accidents.
The most common of these physical side effects are relatively well-known, such as nausea, constipation and weight gain, but other side effects can be more insidious. One example here is that opioids are believed to weaken the body’s natural defense against infection – leading to a greater risk of illness in those abusing them, especially if they’re also engaging in risky behaviors or sharing needles with others.
Major Adverse Reactions
Down related lines, there are a few different serious reactions that some people have to opioid abuse, especially in larger quantities. These include:
- Respiratory issues: Opioids can slow down breathing, leading to many potential issues.
- Cardiovascular problems: Opioid abuse is associated with increased risk of heart attack or stroke, especially if the person abusing them already has a history of cardiovascular disease.
- High blood pressure: Opioid abuse is associated with higher than normal blood pressure, leading to an increased risk of stroke.
- Cognitive issues: Opioids can lead to impairments in cognitive functioning, such as difficulty with memory recall or problems with concentration.
- Allergic reactions: Some people are prone to allergic reactions when abusing opioids, leading to a range of serious side effects that can be difficult to treat.
Psychological Side Effects of Opioid Abuse
Many people who abuse opioids will also face a range of psychological side effects, ranging from depression and anxiety to feelings of guilt or shame. In some cases, these issues may become so severe as to require professional intervention – such as therapy or counseling.
Some of the most significant long-term psychological effects of opioid abuse include:
- Mental health concerns: In some cases, opioid abuse can lead to long-term mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. This is largely due to the fact that opioids interfere with the body’s natural chemical balance, leading to a disruption in mental and emotional stability.
- Changes in mood: Opioid abusers may also experience changes in their mood – from feeling unusually happy or euphoric to angry or even violent. This can be very dangerous, as it is often difficult for those abusing opioids to control their behavior.
- Social issues: Opioid abusers may also find themselves isolated or withdrawn – leading to difficulty maintaining relationships or participating in the community. This can be difficult to recover from, so it is important for those who are abusing opioids to seek help before these issues become too severe.
- Paranoia: Lastly, opioid abusers may also become paranoid – believing that others are out to get them or trying to harm them. This can be incredibly dangerous and may even lead to violent behavior, so it is important for those abusing opioids to seek professional help at the first sign of the problem.
Indirect Side Effects of Opioid Abuse
Finally, some of the most damaging potential side effects of opioid abuse come from the indirect consequences of the drug. One example here is that opioid abusers are more likely to engage in risky behaviors, such as unprotected sex or driving while under the influence – leading to potential long-term damage or even death.
Here are some other common examples, including those that impact not only the person abusing the drug, but also many others around them:
- Loss of social support and isolation: In many cases, opioid abusers may find themselves increasingly isolated from friends and family – leading to a lack of social support or help when needed.
- Financial issues: Many opioid abusers also end up with significant financial problems, as the cost of obtaining the drug often leads to unmanageable debt. This can be difficult to recover from without outside help.
- Domestic abuse: Abusers of opioids are more likely to engage in domestic abuse, either towards their partner or other family members. This can have a severe impact on the entire family dynamic and can even lead to criminal charges in some cases.
- Family disruption: Lastly, opioid abusers may also cause significant disruption within the family unit – both financially and emotionally. In many cases, this can cause long-lasting damage and may even lead to a permanent breakdown in family relationships.
Overall, opioid abuse is associated with many short-term and long-term side effects – both physical and psychological – that can have a severe impact not only on the person abusing the drug, but also their loved ones. It is therefore important for those abusing opioids to seek help as soon as possible in order to avoid potential long-term issues.
For more here, or to learn about any of our addiction recovery programs or services, speak to our caring team at Moonlight Mountain Recovery today.