Effects Of Opiates


Opiate Side Effects

Side effects are defined in The Concise Oxford Dictionary as the secondary and typically undesirable effects of a drug or a medical treatment. Since opiates are drugs and are sometimes medically prescribed, they also produce side effects.

Opiate Addiction

Opiates are taken from opium poppy seeds or are synthesized in laboratories. The opiates that are more commonly derived are morphine and codeine, while heroin is synthesized in laboratories. Many opiates are used by doctors for treating pain. The body produces neurotransmitters known as endorphins which have nerve cells that can be enhanced by opiates. When this happens the opiates are able to suppress pain and reduce anxiety, and cause a feeling of euphoria when high doses are injected, since this method works fastest to produce the best response. Opiates can also be smoked, snorted, or taken orally.

When taken as prescribed opiates do not produce serious side effects, but they can cause constipation and they can also depress breathing. The more serious side effects occur with misuse of and overdosing on the drugs. They therefore resemble the usual withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, flu-like symptoms, dry mouth, etc, while the more severe ones include confusion, coma, clammy skin, circulatory collapse and heart attack.

There can also be allergic reactions to opiates, and these include swelling, itching, rash, dizziness, and difficulty in breathing.  The side effects experienced depend on the dosage, exposure, and method used to take the drugs. In an effort to experience much pleasure from the drugs, users may take them in a way that was not prescribed by a doctor. To achieve this, users may chew, break or crush the drug and take it orally or inject it. If they do this more often or take more than they should, severe side effects may be experienced, and addiction could set in.

The use of opiates may cause sluggish bowel movements, or constipation. Constipation may be temporary and mild since it can be treated easily by taking laxatives, changing diet and eating habits to include fiber, exercising regularly, and drinking more water. Opiates upset normal bowel movements by causing the smooth muscles in the intestines to relax so that they are prevented from contracting and expelling the waste materials from the body. Regular use of opiates can cause stools to become very hard and block the bowels. In severe instances the bowels can burst, and this can result in sepsis – which is an infection from harmful bacteria and their toxins – or death.

Other side effects like impaired thinking, impaired reactions, and slowed breathing – a dangerous condition, can result from the misuse of methadone. Many substances can react to methadone and cause serious side effects also. These include alcohol, other narcotic drugs, herbal supplements, and minerals, as well as sedatives, tranquilizers, and muscle relaxers. These side effects include hallucinations, dizziness, fainting, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, and confusion. Some side effects can even lead to death. Allergic reactions can also occur with methadone, and these can be deadly also. Immediate medical assistance should be sought if hives develop, or the lips, face, throat, or tongue become swollen. Side effects which are less serious include nervousness, drowsiness, restlessness, insomnia, diarrhea, decreased libido and impotence.

Opiate AddictionSince side effects can have deadly consequences and closely resemble symptoms relating to opiate addiction, treatment involving detoxification is very important and necessary. A good medical detoxification program can effectively manage and deliver opiate-free methadone treatment for methadone addiction. The Waismann Method of Accelerated Neuro-Regulation offers an opiate rapid detoxification program that is reputed to be safe, humane, reliable and very successful. They have treated persons who were addicted to opiates like methadone, heroin, and morphine for over ten years.

Opiate replacement therapy is not used to treat opiate addiction and remove opiate side effects. Instead, patients are put to sleep comfortably and lightly under anesthesia. During sleep, special medications are used to cleanse the patients’ opiate receptors, accelerating withdrawal symptoms and eliminating them painlessly. Patients wake up opiate free in a matter of hours, and serious side effects and painful withdrawal have been removed. They therefore leave the program with dignity, not worrying about a second detoxification program, and are able to contribute meaningfully to society.

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