Tag Archives: detox for opiates

How Going To Rehab Now Can Help You Avoid Long Term Effects of Opiate Addiction

Research continues to show us the science behind highly-addictive drugs like opiates. This research has allowed us to better understand the relationship between addiction and the human brain. Addiction is a disease of the brain, working both chronically and progressively. It is caused by an alteration of brain functioning, which can be due to a variety of factors, such as genetics, chemical imbalance, or injury and trauma. When this alteration in functioning occurs, a person often engages in impulsive, compulsive, and destructive behaviors. When opiates get involved, it is particularly dangerous and more difficult to kick the habit. Opiate addiction is one the most challenging to overcome, and the United States is currently experiencing an epidemic of opiate abuse.

What are Opiates?

Opiates are a particularly dangerous breed of drug due to the fact that they molecularly mimic the natural painkillers produced in the brain. Opium is derived from the poppy plant and can then be modified into many different forms, from patches and pills to powder and injectable fluid. Many opiates are legal, as they are used in medicine to treat pain. Morphine is one such example, as are many prescription painkillers.

Prescription painkillers work by bonding with the opiate receptors present in the brain, triggering pain-relieving effects within the nervous system. In small doses and when used only as necessary, they are not bad for the body. However, when opiates are taken in high doses, a different, euphoric effect is produced. The brain is triggered to release large amounts of neurochemicals, like dopamine and serotonin, flooding the brain and body with a pleasure response. When individuals take high doses for prolonged periods of time, the body becomes chemically reliant on the substance and people become dependent on the effect. The sensation caused by this flooding of neurochemicals is much more more intense than the effect produced by small doses of painkillers, which are meant to relieve pain but not overwhelm the senses. The intensity is so strong that the brain is tricked into believing that these outside substances are superior to the naturally-occurring painkillers, which in turn reinforces the drug-seeking behavior and, eventually, addiction.

Long-Term Effects of Opiate Addiction

Long-term abuse of opiates has profoundly negative effects on both the body and the brain. They fundamentally alter the internal structure and functioning of neurons and other components of the brain and change a person’s ability to cope with stress and pain. Extended opiate use inhibits the body’s ability to tolerate pain and discomfort, reducing its ability to fight pain naturally. This explains why many people, who begin by taking prescription painkillers after an illness or surgery, become dependent upon the pills and need them more and more. When a person stops taking the medicine after the body has become dependent on it, they can experience pain more intensely. Furthermore, when someone is given a normal dose after becoming accustomed to higher doses, the medicine can fail to be effective, as there are not enough chemicals to attach to all of the brain’s available receptors In addition to causing a sick person to feel pain again, the lack of available neurochemicals can play a nasty role in mood and emotional function, causing the person to feel sad, hopeless, and powerless without the higher levels of opiates.

Unfortunately, these negative effects are long-lasting and can remain even after a person has begun the process of recovery. The psychological effects in particular can last for many years after addiction treatment, and each day is another battle in the struggle. This reason, in particular, is why it is best to seek medically-assisted treatment when deciding to try to get clean and begin recovery.

How Going to Rehab Can Help

Choosing to enter rehabilitation is the first step in the long process of recovery. At an opiate addiction treatment facility, individuals are given medical attention and assistance with detox and withdrawal and throughout recovery. The psychological components of opiate addiction are addressed through individual counseling and group therapy sessions. These are necessary elements for treating this disease. Just like a person suffering from a chronic illness needs support, so, too, do people struggling with opiate addiction. With the proper methodology and social and medical support systems, the cycle of opiate addiction can be broken, and the goal of achieving long-lasting recovery can be seen as attainable.

Don’t let your life be destroyed by opiate dependence. Our counselors are ready and waiting to help you help yourself now. Call us today at 800-737-0933 to start your journey to recovery.

Why Does Heroin and Other Opiates Cause Constipation?

Opioids and opiates are drugs that depress your central nervous system. This means your breathing and other bodily systems slow down. But opioids are notorious for causing constipation. Why is this?

Your gastrointestinal system also slows down when you take opioids. Not only this, your GI tract has receptors for the opiates that you produce naturally. The opiates and opioids that you take then bind to these receptors. This causes the usual contractions in your large and small intestines to decrease. Opioids may also paralyze your stomach so that it cannot process food the way it usually does. Food not only stays in your stomach, but opioids interfere with the enzymes needed to break it down. Even if everything else was working, opiates even reduce the urge to move your bowels. When you do try to move your bowels:

  • The feces are hard, dry and painful. This is because the longer it takes for the stool to pass through your large intestine, or colon, the more water your body absorbs from them.
  • You have to strain at stool.
  • Even when you do have a bowel movement, it feels incomplete. There is actually a word for this: tenesmus.

The constipation that happens when you take opioids can occur at any time when you are taking the drug. It also doesn’t go away over time like other side effects, because you GI tract doesn’t adapt to the drug the way the rest of your body does. Indeed, the longer you take the drug, the worse your constipation gets. Moreover, the usual remedies that help normal constipation do not work well when you are constipated from opioid use.

Complications of Opiate Caused Constipation

The complications of constipation caused by opioid use is rarely life-threatening, but can be very uncomfortable, and degrade your quality of life. Common complications include:

  • Hemorrhoids, which occur when the veins in the rectum or anus dilate and fail due to straining.
  • Diverticulosis, which are tiny pouches in the wall of the large intestine. If these pouches become inflamed, it can lead to a condition called diverticulitis. Diverticulitis can be serious.
  • Fecal impaction, which happens when a large amount of hard stool simply cannot be passed. This is often accompanied by a watery discharge from the rectum, nausea and malaise.

Call Genesis House for Help

If you need detox for your opiate use and its complications, give us a call at Genesis House. Our number here is 800-737-0933