Opioids are powerful drugs that are widely used to treat a range of medical conditions. However, they can have severe consequences if abused. People who misuse opioids will experience a range of side effects. These include addiction, overdose, tolerance, addiction symptoms, withdrawal and more. In fact, opioids are the most commonly abused drugs among both adults and teens.
This article will explore the ways in which opioid abuse can affect the brain. It will also discuss the symptoms of opioid abuse, including addiction and overdose.
How Heroin Affects the Brain
Studies on animals show that opioids affect the brain in specific ways. Specifically, they have neurological properties that can cause tolerance, dependence and reward.
The reward system of the brain is responsible for creating the “high” that people experience when they take an opioid. The reward system is important in many areas of the brain, including the brain’s reward circuitry. Therefore, the more often people engage in activities that produce a high, the more often they will experience the “high” associated with that activity.
When people engage in activities that produce a high frequently, like when they’re young and in the midst of having fun, their reward circuits in the brain are more active. As time passes, the circuits become less sensitive to the effects of drugs like heroin. Over time, people who abuse opioids will develop a tolerance to the effects of opioids and can then experience higher doses of the same drug without experiencing a high.
What is Heroin?
Heroin, like other opioids, is a naturally occurring substance found in the opium poppy. It is also known as naluket or golden syrup.
In the 1960s and ’70s, heroin was used as a pharmaceutical drug to treat chronic pain. It was later discovered that opioids are able to bind to opioid receptors in the brain, which are responsible for creating the “high” or “stoned” feeling that opioids cause.
Opioids Are the Most Commonly abused Drugs
As mentioned above, opioids are among the most commonly abused drugs. This is likely because they have powerful properties that can treat serious conditions and ease painful symptoms. People who abuse opioids often seek out substances that have a similar impact on the brain, like stimulants and cannabis.
This can make it hard to know which drugs are causing which side effects. It can also be hard to know if a given drug is causing any side effects at all.
Heroin and Addiction
People who abuse opioids develop a tolerance to the drugs and are able to take higher doses without experiencing a high. This happens because of an increase in the amount of drug in the brain. Tolerance is a side effect that many drugs, including heroin, experience.
People who become tolerant to opioids often need higher and higher doses to achieve the same level of effect. This is when the drug starts to show addiction symptoms. In the early stages of opioid addiction, people may not be able to understand why they’re having certain side effects. They may not know they’re having a headache or a GI (gastrointestinal) effect. This is why it’s important to talk to your doctor about how you’re feeling and why.
Signs of Opioid Withdrawal
When people abuse opioids, the withdrawal symptoms tend to very unpleasant. This is because the person is trying to interrupt the reward system in the brain and stop enjoying the high that comes with taking the drug. With mild withdrawal symptoms, people are more likely to continue taking the drug without realizing how bad it is for them.
With more severe withdrawal symptoms, people are likely to stop taking opioids and then have a lot of difficulty recovering from withdrawal, including seizures and muscle spasms.
Opioids are a class of drugs that includes heroin and other painkillers. While many people think of these drugs as a type of medication, they are actually neurotransmitters.
Like other neurotransmitters, opioids affect the brain in specific ways and cause specific side effects. Moreover, these side effects are observed only during chronic use. When people stop taking opioids, their systems reboot and the effects wear off.
People who abuse opioids may experience a range of side effects, including addiction, overdose, tolerance, withdrawal and more. In fact, opioids are the most commonly abused drugs among both adults and teens.
Oasis Recovery is Here For You
If you feel that you or a loved one may be struggling with substance abuse, you are not alone. Substance abuse and addiction can affect anyone. If you or a loved one are currently struggling with addiction, help is available! We encourage you to reach out to the professionals at Oasis Recovery to learn more about our personalized treatment programs and mental health services.
Oasis Recovery was founded from firsthand experience of addiction and recovery, with a mission of providing a space where people can heal from addiction in a compassionate, creative, open-minded, and heart-centered environment. We believe recovery is always possible. Our experts work with you to design a treatment plan that fits your needs. Common treatment programs include:
- Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)
- Full-time Addiction Treatment on campus
- Aftercare Services
Contact us today for more information about how our programs and services can help you get your life back on track. You no longer have to struggle with addiction on your own. We are here to help.