Dangers of Untreated Opioid Misuse
Physical Effects of Opioid Misuse
The most noticeable side effects of prescription painkiller misuse are the physical effects. These medications have a sedative effect on the user and cause the person to become sleepy, as well as slow their breathing, cause their pupils to become constricted, and slow their digestive system and cause constipation.
If used for too long or in doses larger than prescribed, opiate painkillers can cause dependence. This means the body is starting to get used to being on the drug and isn’t able to function well without it. The person will require larger amounts of the drug to feel the same level of pain relief and will experience withdrawal symptoms if they stop using. After a while, cravings set in as the person becomes addicted.
Prescription painkillers are abused in many different ways, and individuals who crush and snort the pills will experience frequent bloody noses. Those who dissolve the pills and inject them intravenously might suffer from infection at the injection site or infection in the bloodstream. Too much of an opiate in the body can lead to loss of consciousness and even overdose death.
Physical effects include:
Psychological Effects of Opiate Addiction
Unseen side effects of opiate addiction include the psychological dangers. These medications interfere with the brain’s normal functioning and change the way the mind reacts to experiences. The person will suffer from memory lapses, trouble concentrating, and problems with learning, all of which can cause emotional distress and confusion, as well as feeling emotionally overwhelmed.
Certain mental health disorders have been linked to drug abuse and addiction, including anxiety, depression, delusions, and hallucinations. These side effects lead to other changes in the individual’s personality and coping skills, and if the person continues to feed their addiction, they will notice even more problems with decreased self-esteem, difficulty making decisions, and lack of confidence and motivation.
Behavioral Problems from Addiction
Prescription drugs can quickly control a person’s life, including their ability to make decisions. Opiate addiction can lead to trouble with the law and other authority figures, with employers, family, and friends. As the person sinks deeper and deeper into addiction, they will become desperate to get more drugs, which will lead them to engage in dangerous behavior. Stealing, lying, cheating, and risky signs of desperation are common among addicts, and as these behaviors continue, the person becomes more unreliable and untrustworthy, which perpetuates the psychological and relationship issues they are already experiencing.
Relationship Problems Caused by Addiction
All the physical, emotional, and behavioral problems caused by opiate addiction quickly lead to struggles with the individual’s relationships. Family and loved ones often suffer the most as they are concerned with their addicted loved one, but also experience feelings of anger, disappointment, frustration, and embarrassment. Spouses are torn between wanted to protect their loved one’s reputation and wanting them to get help. Children of addicts lack structure in their lives and are left wondering what they did to contribute to their parents’ problems. All family and friends of addicts struggle with wanting to help their loved one but not wanting to enable them.
Legal Issues from Addiction
As an individual becomes controlled by addiction, they begin to do things they would never normally do. They might lie to loved ones about where their money is going, or steal medications from friends or family. They might buy drugs on the black market, or forge a doctor’s prescription to get medication. Others jump from doctor to doctor, lying about symptoms in order to get more drugs. Legal issues stemming from these desperate behaviors are a natural result of opiate addiction. Other legal issues such as driving while under the influence, domestic violence, or drug possession are also common among opiate addicts.
Financial Burdens Caused by Addition
Untreated addiction is costly. It costs money to buy the drugs and drug paraphernalia, and individuals and families often find out too late that they have spent all their money on opiates. Loss of job or days off of work due to illness also contributes to the financial burden of addiction. Health care costs usually rise for the untreated addict, as they struggle with physical and psychological effects of addiction. Frequent trips to the hospital quickly add up and put a strain on an already stressful situation.
Finally, and most importantly, an individual suffers spiritually when their opiate misuse goes untreated. Placing drugs in the most important spot in one’s life means God gets pushed farther to the back. As the person separates themselves from God, they will experience feelings of hopelessness and despair, and their spiritual health becomes weaker and weaker.
Thankfully, there is hope for anyone struggling with opioid drug abuse. The right kind of treatment can take away the power addiction has over the person and direct them back to the forgiving arms of their Savior. Christian drug rehab provides healing not only of the body and mind but of the spirit as well. A faith-based treatment program puts the focus back on God and the person’s relationship with Him and shows them the only way to find true comfort, peace, and hope for the future.