There are many consequences that go along with opioid abuse, including both short-term and long-term consequences. While many people only focus on the short-term, such as withdrawal symptoms after quitting and drug cravings, there are many long-term consequences including damage to the mind and body.
To learn more about how opioid addiction can affect your or your loved one in the long run, keep reading. If you’re looking to learn more about the treatment options we offer for opioid addiction, give us a call.
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Shortly after ceasing opioid use, patients will experience withdrawal symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Muscle and bone pain
- Cold and hot flashes
Because the body gets used to opioids being in the body every day, it stops producing its own. When the opioids are removed abruptly, this shocks and confuses the body, resulting in withdrawal symptoms. Depending on the length and severity of the addiction, opioid withdrawal can range in severity.
Sometimes, symptoms may last for a few months before going away entirely. However, for the most part, withdrawal symptoms only stick around for a few weeks before subsiding.
Even after quitting using opioids, patients may be left with undesirable systems. Gastrointestinal symptoms are quite common in those who used opioids for a long period of time. Opioid abuse can result in recurrent or chronic constipation or recurrent symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, and bloating.
The use of opioids consistently can result in slow or irregular breathing in patients. Some patients may even experience complete respiratory arrest, which can lead to coma, brain death, or death. This is more common in patients who are currently using a high volume of opioids on a consistent basis.
Long-term opioid use may also affect your cardiovascular system. Opioid use is actually listed as a risk factor for heart rhythm abnormalities such as atrial fibrillation in the American Heart Association Journal. Atrial fibrillation is a condition that can lead to cardiac events such as heart failure, stroke, and death.
While using opioids, people may experience other heart-related symptoms such as a fast or slowed heart rate, irregular heart rhythm, and more. In some cases, overdose can occur, causing serious heart issues that lead to death.
Overdose from opioids often results in cardiac arrest, meaning that the heart stops working entirely. Overdose may also cause brain damage. While Narcan may be able to bring someone back from an overdose, they may still experience life-long symptoms like brain damage and heart issues.
Reproductive issues can occur in both men and women who took opioids for a long period of time. Some studies have shown that opioid addiction and abuse lead to decreased fertility and an increased risk of pregnancy loss and other complications in women. In men, opioid use can decrease the quality and quantity of sperm, making it hard for them to impregnate a woman. In both cases, opioid use decreases the chance of having children.
Seek Treatment for Opioid Addiction to Reduce Long-Term Symptoms
As you can see, there are many side effects associated with long-term opioid addiction. By admitting that you have a problem and seeking treatment as soon as possible, you can avoid many of these dangerous, long-lasting symptoms.
If you or someone you love is addicted to opioids, it’s not too late to seek help. Our treatment programs have helped many addicts become sober, reducing their risk of dangerous side effects. To learn more about Asheville Recovery Center and how we can help you get sober, call us today to speak with an addiction specialist.