Opium is a drug that has been around for a very long time. It’s highly addictive and widely available because of a global illicit trade in the drug. Addiction to opium is a serious problem that has many dire consequences for the user. The following will provide you with information about opium and the effects of opium addiction.
A Historical View of Opium
Opium has been a part of human culture for thousands of years. It was used by the Egyptians and Romans due to the powerful pain relieving properties of the drug. The modern history of opium really began in 15th century China, when it started to grow as a recreational drug. Opium became a real problem in China in the 17th century, as many people began to smoke it with tobacco on a daily basis.
The British attempted to use opium as leverage when doing trade with China during this time. This ultimately resulted in the historic opium wars. By the end of the 1800s, nearly one out of every four people in China was addicted to opium.
It took until the early 1900s for regulations against opium to appear. The drug began to spread beyond China, leading many countries to ban the substance. Morphine and heroin were created for medical use during this period, although these purified forms of the drug were widely available to the populace. The middle of the 20th century is when opium addiction began to become a significant issue for the United States and the world at large.
How Addictive Is Opium?
Opium is one of the most addictive substances available today. One of the main reasons for this is that human beings have special opioid receptors in the brain. The substances in opium fit perfectly into these receptors, creating a powerful high. Opium stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain in a very efficient way at first. This causes many people to start coming back to the drug and using more. The cycle quickly leads to physical dependency on opium. Some become dependent or addicted after just a few uses. Additionally, it’s very difficult to stop using opium because of withdrawal symptoms and changes to brain chemistry.
The Risks and Side Effects of Opium Addiction
Addiction to opium can have a devastating impact on your body and your life. The drug causes fundamental changes and damage to the body that sometimes cannot be reversed. The problems you experience will grow increasingly worse until you eventually decide to get professional help. You should know some of the risks and side effects of opium addiction.
Abusing opium damages many different cells in the body. It specifically targets blood vessels in the eyes. Opium will slowly degrade those blood vessels and destroy them. The ultimate result will be vision changes. You’ll start to have difficulty seeing clearly, which can eventually lead to the inability to see normally or possibly even legal blindness.
Using opium in any form changes the chemistry of the brain. It affects the neurotransmitters and hormones required to regulate your mood. Opium use leads to mood swings that can become severe. You could spend days depressed and then days in an agitated state. The mood swings could become more frequent. Mood swings are dangerous because they can lead you to take irrational actions that could cause injuries or other problems.
Decreased Mental Functioning
Your brain will start to degrade the longer you’re addicted to opium, and you’ll begin to have trouble thinking. You might appear slow or confused to other people and suffer short-term memory problems, such as not being able to remember what you just did. Opium will decrease your ability to solve problems or think through everyday tasks. This decreased mental functioning sometimes cannot be reversed.
Lack of Response
One of the most well-known and visible effects of opium addiction is a lack of response to the things happening around you. Opium creates a type of lethargy because it’s a sedative. The effect becomes very pronounced when the drug is abused on a daily basis. People addicted to opium will tend to just sit still or move slowly even when something potentially dangerous is happening nearby. This can lead to injuries in certain situations.
Escalation to More Dangerous Drugs
One of the most significant risks of addiction to opium is escalation to more dangerous drugs. Physical tolerance of the drug could cause you to seek out purified forms of opium. These are substances like morphine and heroin. These drugs are more dangerous because they can lead to an overdose fast. They also carry other risks, such as contracting diseases from needles or destroying the veins in the body.
Addiction to opium can cause withdrawal symptoms if you stop using the drug or don’t take enough of it. Withdrawal from opium can be very unpleasant. It can cause vomiting, sweating and insomnia. You could start to hallucinate. Withdrawal from opium might cause muscle and bone pain. Some people could even have a seizure or heart attack. This is why it’s important to go through a medical detox program when trying to quit opium.
Using opium regularly can damage your internal organs. Your liver and kidneys are particularly vulnerable to the drug. Addiction can lead to renal failure over time. This occurs when your kidneys become so damaged that they stop functioning. Renal failure will change your life and could cause death.
Permanent Brain Damage
A final potential side effect of addiction to opium is permanent brain damage. This can happen over time as the opium alters the structure of your brain. The damage could cause you to shake uncontrollably. It can make it impossible for you to communicate normally. You might even become unable to make rational decisions. The only way to prevent brain damage is to get help for your addiction.
Opium addiction is something that can destroy your life quickly. The addictive nature of the drug means you’ll need help in order to stop and reclaim your life. If you’re struggling with an addiction to opium, call the hotline at 800-447-9081 right away to find out how to get into a recovery program.