Side Effects of Opiate Addiction

Opiates are often referred to as narcotics and have been used medically to relieve pain for centuries. In the early 19th century, pure morphine extract was suitable for solution, and with the advent of the hypodermic needle in the mid-19th century, injection of morphine became a common method of pain relief. In 1898, heroin was introduced into the medical community as a remedy for addiction to morphine. However, it was soon revealed that heroin was even more likely to produce addiction than morphine. While opiates began their start in the medical community, they have quickly become one of the most commonly abused drug groups. Today, only codeine and morphine are still used in the clinical setting for pain management. The opiates drug group includes opium, morphine, codeine and heroin, among other synthetic opiates such as Demerol.

Short-term and Long-term Effects of Opiates

Opiates can cause serious health complications, such as fatal overdose, spontaneous abortion, and infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and hepatitis, particularly in users who inject opiates.

Opiates have short-term effects that appear quite soon after a dose and last a few hours. After injection of opiates, the user typically reports feeling a rush of euphoria, an increase in body temperature, dry mouth, and a heavy feeling in their limbs. The user then spends the next few hours alternating from a wakeful to a drowsy state until the drug wears off.

Regular use of opiates leads to a buildup of a user’s tolerance. This means that the user must increase their subsequent dose of opiates to achieve the same effect as before. As the user increase their dose and its frequency over time, they develop physical dependency and addiction. Their body has acclimated to the drug use, and has grown to depend on the presence of drugs in order to function properly. If the user stops the drug flow, uncomfortable and even dangerous withdrawal symptoms may occur. Death from a opiate overdose often occurs when a user who has been off opiates for some time resumes taking the same amount of drug they are used to. During a period of time when a person is not using the body’s tolerance will decrease, the resulting effect is a drug overdose.

Opiates also have long-term effects that appear after repeated use over a long period of time. Addicts who have been using for a long period of time often ignore their health because the only thing that matters is getting more of that drug. This self neglect can take the form of not eating and ignoring personal hygiene, which makes the user more susceptible to disease. Longtime users may develop collapsed veins, infections in their heart and valves, and liver disease. Because opiates depress respiration, pulmonary complications, such as pneumonia, may occur in longtime users due to respiratory depression and the poor health of the drug user.

Opiate Withdrawal

Opiate withdrawal can be incredibly painful, and in some case very dangerous. Withdrawal symptoms may occur as soon as a few hours after the last dose in users who have been regularly abusing opiates. Withdrawal symptoms include intense cravings for opiates, restlessness, body pain, insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, and cold flashes among other symptoms. In longtime, heavy users who are in poor health, withdrawal can occasionally be fatal. Withdrawal symptoms for most users typically subside within a week.

Addictions – Why Are You An Addict And Can You Learn To Live Addiction Free?

Cheryl has a dirty secret. Her husband is unaware that she has accumulated millions of dollars in debt due to her obsessive online gambling.

Luke cannot seem to stop watching porn. Not an occasional video now and then; but for more than 4 hrs every single day.

Kate had resorted to drinks as a way to reliever her stress after a nerve-wracking day at the office. But now she cannot fall asleep without first downing 6 bottles.

Serge needs a snort of cocaine to keep him going through the day. He is lethargic and lifeless without it….

Addiction – be it to drugs, internet, food, work, gambling – is plaguing millions of lives today. It can be defined as an excessive physical and/or psychological dependence on something.

People with an addiction do not have control over what they are doing, taking or using. Originally pleasure, relief or enjoyment may have been sought from the substance or the activity. But over a period of time, continuous involvement with the substance or activity is needed to feel normal.

Addiction may not refer to only the physical substances we consume but can even include abstract activities like gambling or shopping. In this regard, addiction can be categorized as substance dependence and behavioral addiction.

Substance dependence (physical addiction) is when a person is addicted to a particular substance, he develops tolerance to the substance (needs increased amounts to experience the effects). He experiences withdrawal symptoms when the use is reduced or stopped. Some common addictive drugs are:

a) Opiates (heroin, morphine, codeine, opium) are very addictive, and are usually consumed by injecting the drug into your blood stream, smoking, or snorting. These drugs are used as painkillers, and create an euphoric, and very relaxed state of mind.

b) Prescription drugs (percocet, hydrocodone, Oxycontin, vicodin, etc.) this list could go on and on. If there is a pill or drug available more than likely someone has abused it!

c) Methamphetamine or speed! This drug has ruined countless lives, and is usually injected, smoked, or snorted. Very highly addictive, and can lead to death in just a few years.

d) Cocaine (crack cocaine) Comes from the leaf of the coco plant. Highly addictive, and very expensive, many a fortune has been spent on this drug.

e) Alcohol Alcohol in it’s various forms, while legal, is also very addictive and is perhaps the most abused drug out there.

f) Tobacco Tobacco products are again legal, but addictive, and widely used the world over.

Behavioral addiction (or psychological addiction) does not rely on ingestion of any substance. It occurs when someone repeatedly engages in an activity to the point where it negatively affects their lives. And they are unable to stop themselves from engaging in the activity. Behavioral addiction can negatively affect a person’s health, finance and personal relations. The most recognized types of behavioral addictions are:

a) Gambling addiction Those suffering from this are not in control over whether they will gamble or not. They cannot stop gambling despite the negative consequences or the desire to stop. They get a high from the experience and will continue doing so to get the same feeling over and over again, even though losses continue to accumulate.

b) Porn addiction When porn becomes the focus of one’s life so much so that they spend hours and days at a time, thinking or viewing porn then they are caught up in a porn addiction. Porn addiction is more than viewing erotic material for personal enjoyment. Their obsession with porn affects their real-world relationships.

c) Shopping addiction For a shopping addict, the urge to spend is out of control. They feel compelled to buy items they may not need or want. They use shopping as a way to deal with their anxiety or stress. It can lead to severe financial consequences if not controlled.

d) Exercise addiction An exercise addict is over involved with physical activity. Their extreme fixation on physical activity is more than is required to be fit or to train for a particular sport.

d) Sex addiction Sex addicts use sex as a coping mechanism to deal with one’s stress, escape from negative feelings or to get a rush. They do not use sex to intimately connect with their partner. Their sexual activities tend to negatively affect their lives.

e) Video game addiction Video game addicts are more engaged with playing than with their real lives. Playing becomes more important to them than work or school and their personal relations.

f) Work addiction Work becomes the focus of a work addict’s life and he cannot stop thinking or obsessing about work. Work addiction can have a huge strain on a person’s mental and physical health and also on his personal relations.

If you find yourself addicted, either physically, or psychologically, you are not alone, and you can ‘kick’ the habit, no matter what your addiction is. Don’t give up on yourself, find a program catering to your particular addiction, and free yourself from it’s hold.

Addiction to Cough Syrup and Over the Counter Drugs – Teenage Drug Abuse

Substance addiction can come in many forms and widely differing materials. Aside from being addicted to illegal drugs and household chemicals, there is now an inexpensive alternative: cough syrup, as well as over the counter drugs, both of which can be acquired quite legally. The sad thing about it is that the teens addicted to these drugs are abusing a substance that was originally created to heal sickness and alleviate pain.

Cough syrup contains codeine, commonly used for analgesic purposes. It can be extracted from opium or synthesized from morphine, both of which are addictive drugs in themselves. Prescription-grade cough syrup contains larger concentrations of this chemical.

A common effect is an altered state of mind and sedation of the user, causing numbness. Users can easily go overboard as well, with overdose symptoms in common with other opiates. Some medicines also contain antihistamines that can cause another sedative effect.

Promethazine is also combined with codeine to combat cough, but this is also a chemical that, on its own, could also cause strong reactions in the user. It is a sedative drug, and as normally goes with these types of chemicals, causes inhibited function in terms of vision, and being slowed and having slurred speech as well. Users describe this feeling as being “zazzed”, when everything around you goes slowly.

Codeine in cough syrup is usually taken in a form called Purple Drank. The moniker comes from its color, which usually ranges from purple to pink depending on the cough syrup used and the ratio of mixing it with other drinks such as sodas.

This practice first gained influence in the southern states, and hip-hop artists popularized its use with the masses by including it in their songs. Effects include increased auditory sensations and visual stimuli, and leads to a feeling of being disconnected and strange, erratic behavior.

Among the foremost dangers in addictions of this type is how easy someone can get the materials, considering that it’s legally purchased from drugstores. Another scary factor is how cheaply it can be gotten, and considering the prices for illegal drugs, this would seem like a no-brainer for most teens on tight budgets wanting to get high.

A few dollars is all it takes to get high. The chemical of choice for most of the youth is Dextromorphan, also known as DXM, a substance found in many cough syrup formulations as well. This is what is commonly referred to as “Skittles” in underground lingo, and may even cause heart palpitations if it is abused. Medicine in tablet form contains much larger quantities of DXM; therefore a similar effect of consuming large amounts of syrup could be duplicated by just a few tablets.

Even cough syrup based drinks are easy to obtain, because all it takes is some prescription cough syrup, a can of soda, a Styrofoam cup, and you’re ready to get high. This is a very simple process in comparison to other types of drugs. Scary when you think of the implications. This is used as a recreational drink, and the effect will depend on the amount of the cough syrup, the ratio of mixing, and what else you put in it, commonly other pain-relieving tablets.

Sleeping aids can also be addictive in large enough doses, and could also have long-term effects on the user. Narcolepsy is common, and causes episodes of micro-sleep. This is particularly dangerous when driving, then falling asleep at the wheel. Diet pills being taken in larger than prescribed doses to shed weight faster is also dangerous, because the effects on the body are increased to a dangerous level.