Long Term Effects of Opioids : Chronic Constipation
Severe constipation is one of the long term effects of opioids. This is a issue for the many of opioid users. It can be quite severe. It varies from person to person, and usually dose dependent. More drug=more constipation.
Severe constipation can cause multiple problems. Hemorrhoids can bleed and may require painful surgery. Narcotics slow the gut and food can gather and cause a blocking in the abdomen that requires medical treatment. The possibility of tearing of the bowel from accumulation of feces is present and can be fatal. Severe constipation is very uncomfortable. It may need more medications for its treatment.
Problems with the bladder and urination is another issue. This results in pain and discomfort. Also, severe problems with urination can cause as kidney problems from not going to the restroom and ridding the body of the urine.
Long Term Effects of Opioids : Physical Dependence
What is the difference between physical dependence and addiction? Many drugs cause physical dependence if taken in high enough amount over a period of time. Physical dependence can occur in just a few weeks. A person dependent to a medication does not usually have an addiction to the medication. Physical dependence is the body adjusting to the drug. Once the body makes changes to itself as a result of taking certain drugs, the drug cannot be abruptly stopped or there will be withdrawal symptoms. The medication need slow reduction for a person to get off.
Long Term Effects of Narcotics : Addiction
Falling into addiction is one of the long term effects of opioid use. Despite the publicity, opioid addiction is a problem for a small, but significant minority (around 5% of opioid users). However, when it happens, it is causes a lot of proglems. The person starts using too much of the drug, then they lose their job, and then their families get fed up with the addiction. Over 95% of opioid addicted individuals relapse. It is very difficult to quit once truly addicted.
Once addicted to narcotics, many consider it a long term problems. Some people can recover through detox and therapy. Others will use drugs such a methadone or suboxone to avoid the long term effects of opioid abuse. These medications help people from having to go out and steal the medication or to steal to get money for the medication. One becomes dependent on these opioids under the supervision of a doctor. Patients in these clinic improve greatly with work and the are able to get their family lives together. However, they require long term medication.
For those who uses opioids to get high, stopping breathing in the main fear. This usually happens from opioid overdose. Withdrawal symptoms are short term and can worsen severe medical conditions in unhealthy individuals.
Patients on long term opioid treatment for pain are usually not “addicted.” Most can get off the opioid and won’t steal or find illegal ways to get the opioid once their pain is improved. They will slowly get off the drug under the supervision of their doctor and stop the drug slowly. Those who are addicted to opioids will continue to use. They will use even where there are severe consequences when continuting.
Long Term Effects of Opioids : Hormones
There are other long term effects of opiod abuse on the hormones. A decrease in estrogen, testosterone,, cortisol, leutenizing hormone, and gonadotropin releasing hormone have been found. These decreases can lead to lack of a menstral cycle and osteoporosis for women. In males, one can have erectile dysfunction, decreased sex drive, and lower energy.
More Long Term Effects of Opioids
-Opioids can prolong the Qt interval of the heart. This can cause to irregular rhythms and death. This effect is rare and is usually dose dependent.
-Narcotics can suppress the immune system. This varies among the different opioids. Heroin addicts had been show to have an increase in bacterial infections.
-Opioids cause one sedated and tired. Sedative drugs can impair one’s ability to drive a car and perform certain function the require a lot of coordination. It can interfere with the normal sleep from people falling asleep during the day and different times. Sedative drugs can affect memory and recall.
Hyperalgesia: Patients will start opioids because they are in pain. But chronic use of opioids can actually sensitize the body to feel more pain as one of the long term effects of opioids. This also happens in patients who use the medication as prescrbed. This increased sensitivity to pain make people feel they continue to need the narcotic.
Summary of Long Term Effects of Opioids
There are a number of long term effects of opioids. These are from continuing opiod use. Although constipation is the main side effect, there are other side effects of concern. Opioids can cause hyperalgesia, tiredness, cognitive changes, immune suppression, and cause hormonal alterations. Physical dependence and addiction are also problems. Because of these problems, it is important to use this medication under proper medical supervision.
Suboxone Treatment Directory For Help With The Long Term Effects of Opioids
Dr. Rich is a Board Certified Psychiatrist with licenses in Texas and Hawaii. He specializes in the treatment of opioid addiction with buprenorphine and runs a FREE locator service to find Oxycontin Treament including Suboxone treatment of oxycontin addiction. Suboxone Treatment Center in your area.
Dr. Rich has written more articles on the cost of oxycontin, buprenorphine (Suboxone) including frequently asked questions and a recent post : How Do I Find A Buprenorphine Doctor?
Other related articles to longterm effects of oxyContin abuse:
1. Opioid Complications This pdf discussed complications and side effects of opioids
2. Oxycodone is associated with dose-dependent QTc prolongation : Another technical paper on the hear effects of oxycodone.
3. Long-Term Effects of Opiate Use : From Livestrong