While opium use in its purest form has decreased considerably since the 60s and 70s, opium-based drug use abounds. Today, opium use comes in the form of prescription pain pills and heroin, both of which contain opium-based ingredients. Consequently, today’s drugs carry the same side effects potential as their predecessor.
Opium side effects stem from its psychoactive effects, which enable the drug to interfere with chemical processes in the brain, according to Columbia Health. When abused, opium side effects set off a range of physical and psychological problems that grow increasingly worse the longer a person keeps using the drug.
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Tolerance Level Increases
The chemical make-up of opium closely resembles the brain’s own endorphin chemical agents. Both opium and endorphin chemicals produce pain-relieving effects. This similarity in chemical structure enables opium-based substances to infiltrate the brain’s chemical system, and over time alter essential brain chemical processes.
During the course of opium use, the brain employs an auto-adjust mechanism that responds to opium’s influence over chemical processes. In effect, the brain decreases its own endorphin chemical production as opium effects become more prominent.
In the process, the brain’s tolerance for opium increases, driving users to take larger and larger dosage amounts in order to experience the desired drug effects. As an opium side effect, brain tolerance levels will continue to increase for as long as a person keeps using. This ongoing progression plays a pivotal role in driving drug abuse practices.
The Withdrawal Cycle
Over time, the brain’s growing tolerance for opium sets the stage for physical dependency to take root. At this point, opium side effects have taken over in regulating endorphin chemical processes throughout the brain and central nervous system. This means normal bodily functions have come to rely on opium’s effects in the brain.
In the event a person decreases dosage amounts or stops using altogether, uncomfortable withdrawal effects start to develop, some of which include:
- Feelings of anxiety
- Sweats and chills
- Irritability and restlessness
These opium side effects create a vicious cycle that drives users to keep taking drugs.
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Once brain chemical imbalances reach a certain point, opium side effects essentially reconfigure the brain’s reward system. This reward system determines what a person values and strives for in daily life. This system also depends on a delicate balance of endorphin chemicals to work properly.
The combined effects of tolerance level increases and withdrawal effects create a self-perpetuating cycle that gradually impairs a person’s belief systems, emotions and behaviors. Over time, this opium side effect turns a person’s lifestyle upside down, making opium the top priority in his or her life.
The brain’s endless tolerance for opium side effects places users at an ever-increasing risk of overdose. Once dosage amounts reach a certain level, opium effects can shut down one or more major bodily systems.
Ultimately, opium side effects evolve over time, to the point where a person’s physical and mental stability undergoes considerable decline as the drug gradually takes over brain and body functions.
We can help you find treatment to overcome addiction. Call 800-584-3274 toll free today.